During this weekend of the Super Bowl and the Beijing Winter Olympics (let alone the NBA All Star Game on the way), there are plenty of sports-related issues to talk about in this week’s column. But as for me, I’d rather talk about Serena.
First, congratulations on the six Oscar nominations she and sister Venus, as executive producers, just received for the film “King Richard.” Hopefully, the two will win at least one of the categories in which the film is nominated. Although Will Smith did a tremendous job in the title role as Richard Williams, the tennis sisters’ mercurial father, it is unfortunate this year that he is up for one of those Oscars in the same category as Denzel Washington in the lead role for the film version of one of Shakespeare’s least performed but well-loved plays, “MacBeth.”
Anyway, needing at least one more major tennis victory to become the undisputed G.O.A.T. of women’s tennis (although most have already acknowledged that as a fact), most of us are still anxiously awaiting news for when Serena will adorn the tennis court again. She has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, but at the very advanced age of 40 years old in the tennis game, she doesn’t seem to have many chances left to achieve another elusive victory. Winning one more French Open, or Wimbledon or the U.S. Open in 2022 would be divine for her millions of fans. There are four majors a year and she already had to miss this year’s Australian Open.
But Serena seems to have her eye on other opportunities this year, anyway, so a final majors victory may not be in the cards right now. And the young players she and Venus stood tall for have now adapted much of their own games to match that of the Williams sisters’ power, so watch this space.
So what else is Serena looking into? For one thing, she’s become familiar in TV commercials. The main two she’s been doing lately use “The Matrix” film as a backdrop and are done quite well for those familiar with that film franchise. She is also scheduled to appear in the Wimbledon of commercials this weekend—a Super Bowl set. And really, she’s no stranger to such grandiloquence, having already starred in two previous Super Bowl commercials. In 2019, she did one for Bumble, an online dating app, and last year, she starred in a Spike Lee-directed Michelob Ultra spot.
Serena has described doing a Super Bowl commercial as a really big thing, the ‘crème de la crème’ for sports athletes and she welcomes the chance to be seen in another one this weekend.
But in a recent interview with a sports magazine, in answer to the big question of when she will get back to her most famous gig, Serena was coy. She noted that she was “feeling real good, and almost tournament ready, which is different from just regular physical training.” She says when she hits the courts again, she won’t be playin’ around, and everybody better come big! Maybe (hopefully) we’ll see her reach that Black Girl magic at least one more time in 2022.
We can call it ‘24 for 22 !’ and that’ll be an alright delight.
Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.
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