Sports is business, and business is politics, where true fans & athletes mostly lose. — Ric Size
Cable TV and ESPN changed sports in the 1980’s. In the 1990’s, sports would be revolutionized again, this time by women’s participation. The US Women’s National Soccer team won two of the first three women’s World Cup events. Their first was the inaugural 1991 World Cup for women, and almost no one cared or noticed. Norway won in 1995, defeating the US in the finals.
After being blacked out of their 1996 gold medal triumph in Atlanta at the summer Olympics, all the pressure was on in 1999, when America hosted the World Cup. In possibly the most dramatic sporting event ever, the entire world watched as the US defeated China 0-0, 5-4 in penalty kicks. Mia Hamm Michelle Akers, Brandi Chastain and all the rest defined this new era for everyone. Soccer moms are now mainstream.
Since these revolutionary advances in sports, we now view men & women equally in the media. We can adore & criticize men & women equally now, because both groups have star appeal. One unique difference with women is that the issue of pregnancy comes to the fore. Women have to deal with it directly, verses men. This social difference has made its way into right-wing politics (#MeToo campaign), and big money sports where Serena Williams is now extolled as the poster-child for athletes as mothers.
Background: Kim Clijsters (above) was born June 8, 1983 and won 41 singles and eleven doubles titles. She won four Grand Slam singles titles: three at the US Open, in 2005, 2009, and 2010 and one at the Australian Open in 2011. Interestingly, Kim Clijsters announced her retirement from professional tennis when she was pregnant on May 6, 2007. Clijsters gave birth to daughter, Jada Elle, on February 27, 2008 meaning she was just shy of age 25 at the time.
In March 2009, Clijsters publicly declared her intent to return to the WTA tour, and won 3 more majors in her career before retiring for good after the 2012 season. On September 18, 2013, Clijsters gave birth to a son, Jack Leon Lynch. In October 2016, she gave birth to her third child, Blake Richard Lynch. That’s a remarkable career, which doesn’t often get remembered by the #MeToo liberal-Democrat crowd, for some unexplained reason.
Victoria Azarenka was born July 31, 1989, and has won two Australian Open singles titles– 2012 & 2013. Belarus is her home, which is bordered by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital and most populous city is Minsk. This forested country of about 10 million became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991, and remains in their sphere of influence. Thus ESPN doesn’t cover Victoria Azarenka much.
Azarenka and her former boyfriend Billy McKeague have one son, Leo, born December 19, 2016– when she was age 27. Following their split immediately after 2017 Wimbledon, they became involved in a legal child custody case for their son which resulted in Azarenka’s withdrawal from the 2017 US Open and all other 2017 tournaments. Here’s excerpts from an interview she gave to the New York Times, published April 25, 2017.
With Baby in Tow, Victoria Azarenka Returns to Tennis — and Her Roots 
After an extended break from competition, Azarenka is training in her native Belarus with a new coach and a new traveling companion: her infant son.
MINSK, Belarus — The child care was done, if only for a moment, and Victoria Azarenka was back where it all began, leaning against the wall that had been her first tennis companion. “It was the best hitting partner, because it never misses, never complains,” Azarenka explained. The wall is in a small gymnasium in the Republic Olympic Training Center, a labyrinthine tennis facility in Minsk that was a short walk from the small, two-bedroom apartment Azarenka shared with her parents, her older brother, Max, and her grandparents.
“Yes, I’ll do it for me, because I want to achieve my full potential, but it’s not anymore just for me,” Azarenka said. “I want to have my son be proud of me. I want to give him a good example that if you have a goal and you have a dream, you can achieve it if you work hard.” She resists calling it a comeback. After all, she was not sidelined by injury, illness, burnout or misfortune…
Victoria Azarenka admits that she was depressed (when she was injured in 2014-15), but has grown from it:
“I don’t want to sound like a mental person, but, yeah, I was,” she said. “It’s just when you are in those moments it’s difficult to realize that, because you think you’re fine and you’re trying to kind of command your mind that you’re OK, but it’s really just going through that and experiencing that and really admitting it to yourself. I think the first time I admitted that I wasn’t OK it made me feel a little bit better, and being an athlete I think it’s not a weakness to admit that, because we’re all human, and we all go through difficult situations and it’s OK to be that way. The important thing, and what’s exciting is how you come out of it. That’s what shows a strong personality, a strong character, because it’s a challenge of life; it’s more.”
Victoria Azarenka: Facebook August 17, 2017 ·
My incredible fans and friends, who have supported me throughout my career deserve to know why I may not be able to compete at the U.S Open this year.
The day my son Leo was born, back in December of last year, was by far the happiest day of my life. I now have a brand new appreciation for how new mothers – and fathers – juggle the many different responsibilities for their families. However, like most working mothers, despite my unconditional love for my son, I am faced with a difficult situation which may not allow me to return to work right away.
In Belarus back in March, with my family in tow, I started working toward the goal of returning to the tennis tour and competing at a high level by July 31st. I was able to return early, playing in Mallorca mid-June followed by Wimbledon.
Shortly after Wimbledon, Leo’s father and I separated and as we work to resolve some of the legal processes, the way things stand now is that the only way I can play in the US Open this year is if I leave Leo behind in California, which I’m not willing to do.
Balancing child care and a career is not easy for any parent, but it is a challenge I am willing to face and embrace. I want to support men and women everywhere who know it is ok to be a working mother – or father. No one should ever have to decide between a child and their career, we are strong enough to do both.
I am incredibly grateful for all of the support I have received from women and men around the world who recognize the importance of supporting working moms and our right to be with our children. I look forward to hopefully having positive developments soon so that this difficult situation can be resolved and I can get back to competing. No parent should have to decide between their child or their career.
I remain optimistic that in the coming days Leo’s father and I can put aside any differences and take steps in the right direction to more effectively work as a team and agree on an arrangement for all three of us to travel and for me to compete but, more importantly to ensure that Leo has a consistent presence from both of his parents.
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To finish this tale to the present, Victoria Azarenka received a wild card for the year’s US Open champion. Azarenka is currently ranked #87. The July 16 WTA rankings were used to determine direct entries into the US Open, which begins Aug. 27. She has quietly worked her way back (no Facebook posts on her page since the one cited above), and has demanded no preferential treatment. She has made it clear that her priority is her son, and no one doubts it. People can respect & understand that.
Serena Williams was born September 26, 1981 and is also a mother preparing for the US Open, but much differently. On April 19, 2017, Williams posted a picture of her midsection on Snapchat. It had the caption, “20 weeks,” sparking speculation that she was pregnant. Later that evening, her spokesperson confirmed that she was expecting.
On September 1, 2017, Williams gave birth to a daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian. Williams had a cesarean-section delivery due to complications, which has short-circuited her long-planned “comeback.” The biggest factor working against her professional success from the start is her age. She gave birth to her daughter when she turned age 35, and is now approaching age 37. Athletes (men & women alike) don’t get better at this age, they decline & retire. Williams and her longtime coach Patrick Mouratoglou spin it differently.
Serena Williams Confirms She’s Pregnant After Day of Speculation: NYT April 19, 2017 
[Patrick] Mouratoglou expressed delight for Williams and Ohanian. From a tennis perspective, he said he was not upset about missing the chance to chase more titles in the coming months. “Honestly, not,” he said. “I am not disappointed because I know how important what is happening right now is for her, and I also know there’s a really good chance that she’ll come back afterward. “What is fabulous is all these challenges, and now there’s a new challenge that’s incredible. She’ll be over 35 and a new mother trying to win Grand Slams.”
Mouratoglou, a confident and enterprising Frenchman, recently opened a large tennis academy near Nice after having operated an academy in the Paris suburbs for years. He is also a prominent television analyst and has been one of the biggest factors in Williams’ late-career renaissance. When they began working together in 2012, Williams was 30, and Mouratoglou said she told him that she wanted to win one last major singles title. She has far exceeded that. She won her first tournament with Mouratoglou — Wimbledon in 2012 — and has gone on to win 10 major singles titles and an Olympic gold medal in singles with him as her coach.
Once involved romantically, Mouratoglou and Williams have remained a team professionally… “It’s difficult to say, because it’s a situation that’s completely new and that she has never been through,” Mouratoglou said. “It’s very difficult to imagine in advance how someone will react when they are a mother. It’s so special and such a life change. I do think she’ll come back, and she will come back all the more if everyone thinks she’s done. So I encourage you to write that she’s finished. Please.”
Political footnote: Serena Williams last title was the 2016 Australian Open, after which she revealed she was pregnant. Coincidentally, a few weeks later it was announced to the world that Maria Sharapova (a longtime professional & personal rival) had failed a drug test at that same event. Sharapova wouldn’t return to a major until the 2017 US Open, facing #2-seeded Angelique Kerber in the 1st round, with Sharapova prevailing– stunning everyone.
Serena Williams’ “comeback” (as she has marketed this campaign) has been hyped by ESPN and the rest of the liberal media since after the 2018 Australian Open. These are screenshots of her appearances since then, with everything you need to know from the WTA Rankings homepage.
It started with Indian Wells & Miami (above) which are hard-court tournaments. Indian Wells is a rockstar event, so every player wants to show up and be part of it. Serena beat the warm bodies in the first two rounds, then lost to her older sister Venus Williams 6-2. 6-4. If you know sports & injury recovery, then that was a HUGE red flag.
Nevertheless, Serena Williams was determined to play in Miami, which is her hometown. She now actually owns the event; as she’s a major investor & on the board. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this event needs to switch to clay to have any appeal to serious professionals trying to win the next major which is the French Open in this case. Indian Wells, LA outclasses Miami, Florida– so re-invent this tournament; please.
We’ll see what Serena Williams can do as an owner, but as a pro player she’s finished. In Miami 2018, 20-year old up & comer Naomi Osaka crushed Serena Williams in the first round: 6-3, 6-2. This is exactly the kind of confident young player Serena Williams can’t beat anymore.
Serena Williams’ next tournament was the 2018 French Open. She beat #17 ranked Ashley Barty in the 2nd round, then #11 Julia Georges in the 3rd round, and was set-up to face Maria Sharapova in the 4th Round, when she suddenly announced a “torn pectoral muscle” which left her unable to serve, and thus compete. She retired just an hour before the match was scheduled to start, leaving her opponent and fans in a state of shock.
Miraculously, less than a month later, Serena Williams began her Wimbledon run to the finals, before she was soundly defeated by Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-3. Serena Williams never even played a top-50 opponent until the semis, and again it was Julia Georges, whom she handled easily– as always. Serena Williams was ranked #181 in the world, yet was given a #25 seeding, which was unprecedented. Wimbledon 2018 was most likely a fixed draw to help Serena win a 24th major. The mathematical possibility of this draw happening randomly in her favor was so remote as to not exist, and it was a disgrace to the sport of tennis.
After Wimbledon, it’s back to the hard-courts again. Below is how Serena Williams looked in San Jose less than a month ago, in a 1st Round 6-1, 6-0 loss to #48-ranked Johanna Konta. As you can see in this image from that match, there is no athletic balance or control here. Serena Williams’ core is devastated, and she needs rest & recovery before trying to compete again. Any other conclusion is delusional.
Of course she isn’t listening to her body or science, so the media hype machine is pressed into action…
Serena Williams to play in Montreal after accepting Rogers Cup wild card
Updated: July 24, 2018 
MONTREAL (AP) — Serena Williams will play in the Rogers Cup in Montreal next month, her first tournament since her runner-up finish at Wimbledon. Tournament officials announced Tuesday that Williams received a wild card into the event, which begins Aug. 3. Her ranking jumped from No. 181 to No. 28 after her run at Wimbledon. The 36-year-old has played in four tournaments this year after giving birth last year.
The Rogers Cup is a tuneup for the U.S. Open. Williams last played it in 2014, when she reached the semifinals. She won the event three times when it was played in Toronto. After her loss in the Wimbledon final to Angelique Kerber, Williams said she had proved to herself that she could still compete to win Grand Slams. Her next Grand Slam title would tie her with Margaret Court for the most with 24. She already has the most major trophies in the professional era.
But after seeing her draw of tough hard-court opponent Alize Cornet in the 1st Round…
Serena Williams out of Montreal tourney for personal reasons Aug 4, 2018 
MONTREAL — Serena Williams has pulled out of next week’s Rogers Cup hard-court tournament, citing personal reasons. The tournament announced Williams’ withdrawal on Saturday. The 23-time Grand Slam champion is coming off the most lopsided defeat of her career, a 6-1, 6-0 loss to Johanna Konta in San Jose, California, on Tuesday.
Williams, 36, was the runner-up at Wimbledon last month. That was just her fourth tournament since returning to the tour after having a baby in September and dealing with a health scare related to blood clots. The year’s last major tournament, the US Open, starts on Aug. 27. Williams will be replaced in the draw at Montreal by Tatjana Maria, who faces Alize Cornet in the first round.
Unless anyone has a better explanation, that’s what it is. The rest can be dismissed as convenient excuses at this point. Serena Williams needs to play matches to be ready for the US Open, so Cincinnati is the next stop on the tour…
Serena Williams falls to Petra Kvitova in Cincinnati second round 8:15 AM ET 8-15-18 
Serena Williams was eliminated from the Western & Southern Open on Tuesday, falling to eighth-seeded Petra Kvitova in a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 second-round loss. Williams was making her first appearance at the tournament since winning the title in 2015. She opened with a victory 6-1 6-2 against Daria Gavrilova, a match that took just 65 minutes.
Cincinnati was her fifth tournament since she had a baby last September. She has dealt with blood clots and recently said she has been struggling with postpartum emotions. “You know, this is a long comeback,” she said. “I just began. I just started — definitely at the very, very beginning. I’m getting there, and I’m going to just continue to work hard and, hopefully, I’ll start winning more matches.”
What’s happening here is a glorious career ending in a slow-motion train wreck. Many of the achievements Serena Williams has made for herself (and women) are being undermined by her lack of character and ethics at the end. She’s being pushed and is reaching for something she has no right to anymore, which is to be considered the best women’s player in the world. These are the current WTA rankings;
Right now there are at least 12-15 WTA professionals that Serena Williams can’t beat.
All this became apparent at Roland Garros, when Serena Williams ducked Maria Sharapova. Her career mark again Sharapova is 19-2*. The asterisk is for that duck, because she couldn’t handle going 19-3, which smacks of ungraciousness & poor sportsmanship. Where’s the role model in that?
Footnote on PED testing: If doping is widely suspected by professional peers, then that athlete is tested more frequently. Roger Federer agrees that this is good policy for the sport, so who’s to argue? Only Serena Williams it appears.
Every time a WADA agent shows up for a sample, she’s in front of a camera and/or posting her indignant reaction [!?#) on social media. No other professional player does this. Many comments in the forums & chatboards remind people that they’ve heard this routine before from Lance Armstrong. Serena Williams is a real student of the game, if you know what I mean.
Update: Thursday August 23, 2018 ~ 5:00 PM ET
The men’s & women’s draws for the upcoming US Open have been released, and here are my conclusions. The men’s brackets look balanced & fair. I don’t expect any objections/complaints from the players, or too many surprises over the next two weeks. The women’s draw is a different matter entirely, as the brackets have clearly been fixed again– to accommodate Serena Williams who was seeded No. 17 for the US Open, nine spots higher than her current ranking of No. 26.
Once again, it’s not the inflated seeding that matters, as much as the fact that nearly all the best women’s players who can handle Serena (pointed out above) are bracketed far away from her. The only two players who can beat her, in her section of the draw are; sister Venus Williams, whom she could face in the 3rd-Round, and #1-seeded Simona Halep, a potential 4th-Round match.
I basically predicted this, and that’s why I published this piece before the US Open draws were announced– to anticipate (prove) the next fix in a women’s tennis major. I’ve identified which players Serena Williams avoids, through her heavyweight connections with the most prestigious tournament officials; and now you see how skillfully this is done. ESPN has already gone into overdrive with their Serena puff pieces & flak machine.