CNN credits Serena Williams' phenomenal success since her shock loss in the first round of the 2012 French Open to finding a man who "rescued" her from a career low. In "Down and out in Paris: The man who rescued Serena Williams", author Chris Murphy pinpoints the hiring of coach Patrick Mouratoglou as the key ingredient to her career resurgence and dominance over the past 18 months. Although Serena had won 13 Grand Slam titles and was, bar none, the best player of her generation, she was at a crossroads - though she had the desire and the talent, she couldn't do it on her own.
But she needed help and, while still in Paris, she found it in the shape of coach Patrick Mouratoglou, with whom she has been linked romantically.
Not only did she find a new coach to help her on court, but she scored a man to help her off it too! What more could a girl want?
Tennis is an individual sport, unique in that players must figure out strategies on their own and adjust on the fly. Though many are heavily reliant on coaching time-outs and look to their boxes for help, Serena has always bucked that trend and done it by herself. While many crumble on court, Serena steels herself to victory more often than not. Thus, it's curious that Murphy conjures the sexist Disney formula of the damsel in distress - needing to be rescued by the knight in shining armour - as her missing ingredient. Who should get the credit for her prior 13 Slam titles? Richard Williams?
In defence of her coach, all the quotes attributed to him in the article spoke to Serena's personal strength and determination as the main reason for her "comeback." It's clear that this was CNN's doing and not Mouratoglou angling for his place in the spotlight. Chris Murphy succeeded in perpetuating archaic gender stereotypes while demeaning the accomplishments of one of the greatest athletes we've ever seen. The article is also symptomatic of the current media climate where sensational headlines are used to grab attention at the expense of adhering to basic journalistic standards. Murphy should be ashamed and embarrassed.
As is often the case when “the media” discusses the Williams sisters, there is a coded and seedy element of racism. We cannot overlook that Serena is black and Mouratoglou is white. This fact adds another dimension that complicates CNN’s article. How is it that the most successful black, female athlete in history needs a white man to rescue her? It’s a stale narrative that has been commonly used to stifle the agency of black women, to discredit their achievements. Yes, you have done well, but only because you have had the benefit of the white man’s help.
What makes this all so absurd and problematic is that this depiction of Serena is laughably false, and used only to concoct a convenient narrative in support of lazy storytelling.
Sisters are doing it for themselves!
Serena fought back today via her Twitter account crediting her success to God and not anything having to do with the help of a man. She has the man on her side!
11/9/2019 08:13:17 pm
Serena Williams has always been regarded as one of the best tennis players in the history. But we cannot deny the fact that there are also problems that might have something to do with her career. You know, no one's perfect and we can still make a mess even we are regarded as the best. But that should never put us down because we can still use it as a thing that can make us bounce back! Right now, many people still look up to her.
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