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Serena Williams: The Greatest Ever?

Serena Williams, at 31, is the best player on the WTA tour by far. Her biggest “rivals” at the moment, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, have a combined 3-25 record against her. It has become conventional wisdom that she is the best woman to ever pick up a fuzzy yellow ball. Serena Williams is playing…

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Serena Williams, at 31, is the best player on the WTA tour by far. Her biggest “rivals” at the moment, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, have a combined 3-25 record against her. It has become conventional wisdom that she is the best woman to ever pick up a fuzzy yellow ball.

Serena Williams is playing arguably the most dominant tennis of her career, winning her fifth U.S. Open championship and the 17th major title of her career.

She moved within one of the legends Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, who won 18 apiece, tying her for fourth all-time among women. Margaret Court is the all-time leader with 24 majors.

Despite winning the most major titles of any man, there seems to be a healthy debate about whether Federer is the greatest male player of all time.  He has a losing record against chief rival Rafael Nadal, but the chorus is increasingly singing Serena’s praises as the greatest WTA woman of all time.

“First of all, I think she’s the greatest tennis player that we’ve ever seen up until this point,” Evert said after her 17th Grand Slam win in the U.S. Open finals. “Maybe 20 years from now somebody else will come out but she’s the greatest tennis player.”

Evert went on to add: “As far as the greatest record, she doesn’t have the greatest record. Margaret Court has the greatest record. Steffi Graf (22 Grand Slams) has a better record, and Serena’s the first to admit that.

“I think still right now, I go by numbers,” Williams said. “I don’t think I’m the greatest because Steffi has way more Grand Slams than me. I just go by what’s written down.”

Despite what the numbers say, Serena’s dominant serve and punishing ground strokes are unlike anything women’s tennis has seen before and she is playing at perhaps the peak level of her career right now.

She has won four of the last six Grand Slams — including Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2012 (as well as taking the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics).

“Nobody has had a game like hers,” Evert said. “Nobody has had the power, the shots, the serve and the complete package that she has, so she’s the best tennis player.”

Williams credits some of her current dominance to her coach — and reported boyfriend — Patrick Mouratoglou.

“One of the main reasons I was able to work with Patrick is because he was telling me a lot of the same things that my father told me,” Williams said of her father and former coach, Richard Williams. “I think that had he told me something opposite or something different, or he wasn’t just doing almost similar stuff, I wouldn’t be able to work with that because I just wouldn’t accept it.”

At 31 and playing at this level, there is no reason Serena cannot continue to assert her dominance for two or three more years and ultimately challenge Graf and Court on the all-time list.

“If she plays for another three years, if she wins one or two [majors per year] she could very well pass Steffi,” Evert said. “The key to her game is staying healthy, being fit, and just staying interested and inspired.

Serena has always had trouble maintaining interest in playing tennis. She has periodically drifted away from the tour to pursue business, publishing, reality-TV and other interests.

She has proved once again that when she’s firing on all cylinders, no one can beat her.

“This is peak Serena.” said Billie Jean King, who won 12 majors in the Open Era and for whom the USTA National Tennis Center is named, added a similar sentiment in a recent TV interview.

“If Serena keeps going, she’s probably going to be the greatest player ever to have lived,” King said. “But right at this moment I’m a big believer that every generation gets better so Serena, should be, could be, the best that’s ever lived.”

cedric@prestigemagazine.net

 

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Reggie Bush: Paying college athletes will ‘destroy some people’

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College athletes getting paid for their services has been a worthy argument for a long time, but the NCAA finally supports a proposal to allow college athletes to sign endorsement deals and receive payment for their work after some of the best basketball recruits in the country have declared for the NBA’s G League instead of attending college.

While being paid for their work certainly is a step in the right direction, former NFL star Reggie Bush doesn’t think it’s such a great idea.

“Guidance is the one thing that young athletes coming through the college system miss on so much,” Bush told Playboy, according to ESPN. “I missed on it. They’re about to start paying college athletes. This is something that has never been experienced before, and it’s going to destroy some people if their foundation is not in the right place.”

A formal proposal for the new rules is set to be submitted no later than October to the NCAA board, and they will then vote on the proposal sometime before January 2021.

Bush was a two-time All-American running back during his days at USC, and helped the school win back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. He won the Heisman Trophy as college football’s best player in 2005, but forfeited the award in 2010 after the NCAA found that Bush received money and gifts from sports agents when he wasn’t allowed to do so.

The 35-year-old went on to have a successful NFL career after his collegiate days at USC. He played for the New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers before hanging up his cleats in 2017.

It’s weird to think that Bush is against athletes being paid for endorsement deals, especially considering he improperly accepted cash during his collegiate days.

Many college standouts will be able to use the money they earn to take care of their families, and that alone is a terrific reason why paying them is the right thing to do. They perform like professional athletes, earn their colleges and universities massive amounts of money and provide entertainment to fans, so why shouldn’t they be paid?

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Victims In Kobe Bryant Crash Have Now All Been Identified

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Here’s what is known so far about the tragic helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant and eight other people.

Nine people were on board the Sikorsky S76 when something went wrong just before 10 a.m. Sunday.

The passengers were on their way to a basketball game when the chopper went down.

The helicopter’s flight path shows it going from Orange County to the San Fernando Valley and then hovering over the Glendale area as it waited for clearance to travel through the Valley to Calabasas. The tracking ends at the crash site in Calabasas.

Kobe Bryant’s 13-year old daughter Gianna was among those killed. Gianna — often called “Gigi” — was the second oldest of Bryant’s four daughters.

Bryant had coached Gianna’s AAU basketball team out of his Mamba Sports Academy training facility in Thousand Oaks for the past two years.

They were all reportedly headed to an AAU game when the crash happened.

In addition to Bryant and his daughter, three members of one family died in the crash.

John Altobelli was the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. His wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa were also on board.

The husband of Christina Mauser posted on Facebook that she died in the helicopter crash. Mauser was a basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Newport Beach, where Kobe’s daughter attended school. Mauser’s husband says he and his kids are devastated.

Sarah Chester and her middle school aged daughter Payton were on also on board the helicopter piloted by Ara Zobayan.

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Arrest warrant issued for Odell Beckham over alleged battery on police officer

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Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is potentially in legal trouble over an incident that took place in LSU’s locker room after Monday night’s national championship game.

Video appears to show Beckham slap the butt of a police officer who was in LSU’s locker room. NOLA.com reports that New Orleans police obtained an arrest warrant accusing Beckham of simple battery in connection with the incident.

The report said authorities originally wanted Beckham charged with misdemeanor sexual battery, but a judge denied that request.

Beckham, who played at LSU, was celebrating with the team on the field and in the locker room after they won the national championship. Beckham has already been under scrutiny over potentially breaking NCAA rules by handing cash to players, but this legal scrutiny is potentially much more problematic for him.

After Beckham appeared to slap the officer, the officer turned around and exchanged words with Beckham, but he was not arrested at the time.

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