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Patrick Hruby

Atlantic Sports Roundtable: the End of Serena?

Serena Williams is out. But is she over? In this week's Atlantic Sports Roundtable, we discuss what Williams' opening round loss at Roland Garros -- her first-ever day one exit at a Grand Slam tournament -- means for her professional future:

Patrick Hruby: ... the loss left Serena—who typically responds to clunkers with a signature mix of imperial confidence and blithe indifference—in tears. It also raised the question: Is the greatest player of last decade kaput as a dominant force, an oft-overwhelming favorite to win every tournament she enters? Serena is 30, a generation removed from many of her peers. She has suffered a series of physical setbacks—including two foot operations and frightening blood clots—and the shocking, heartbreaking murder of her oldest sister. To this point in her (admittedly still incredible) career, she hasn't demonstrated the sort of all-consuming focus that helped Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras rage against the dying of the light. Meanwhile, the talent and depth on the WTA Tour gets better all the time ...


Hampton Stevens: ... you can call Serena "leaky boat," because it's time to start bailing. Oh, you could chalk up Serena's meltdown to the presence of chair umpire Eva Asderaki—the same official who made the notorious call against Williams for screaming during last September's U.S. Open final. Don't. Did you mention the two foot surgeries and blood clots in her lungs? Yikes. The question is: Who will be next to dominate the game? ... Serena's biggest rival, besides her sister, is Maria Sharapova. Unfairly written off as Kournikova-like, she's five years younger, a tad healthier, and has made great strides in her clay game ...


Jake Simpson: ... is Serena done, Hampton? That's like asking if water is wet, or if FOX's new show The Choice is a major step backward in human evolution. Serena's been done since she stepped on that broken glass at a Munich restaurant in July 2010, despite her 2011 U.S. Open finals appearance ... since her freak foot injury and subsequent 11-month layoff from the game, Serena has not been the same player. Even when she was steamrolling to the finals in Flushing last year, Serena relied mainly on hyper-aggressiveness, brute power, and her aura to strike fear into the heart of her opponents. When Sam Stosur didn't back down in the final and matched Serena power for power, the younger Williams sister folded in a shockingly lopsided 6-2, 6-3 loss ...


Read the full article at the Atlantic Online