Fighting at 40: Older fans confident in Serena’s success

Watching Serena Williams, 40, beat the world’s No. 2 to advance to the third round of the US Open has inspired many older tennis fans

Watching Serena Williams, 40, beat the world’s No. 2 to advance to the third round of the US Open has inspired many older tennis fans

Imagine if they could bottle a potion called “Just Serena”.

Here’s Serena Williams’ succinct and smiling explanation of how she managed to beat the world’s No. 2 and advance to the third round of the U.S. Open on Wednesday at the age of nearly 41, So far, she doesn’t feel like a goodbye.

“I’m just Serena,” she told ranting fans.

Apparently, there is only one Serena. But just as many find her accomplishments superhuman, especially some older fans — middle-aged or older — say they’ve also seen a very human and relatable takeaway from Williams’ recent play. That said, they too can perform better and longer than they ever imagined through fitness, practice, and perseverance.

“It makes me feel good about what I’m doing at my age,” said Bess Brodsky Goldstein, 63, a lifelong tennis lover who last week Four entered the Open, just a day after Williams beat 26-year-old Arnett. Contavert.

Goldstein’s passion for the sport is stronger than most women his age. She plays several times a week and competes in the USTA Mixed Doubles League for New England Age 55 and Over. (She also plays competitive golf.)

However, like any athlete, Goldstein has suffered from her pain and injuries, like a recent knee issue that set her back a few weeks. Watching Williams show the average person that injuries — or, in Williams’ case, a life-threatening childbirth five years ago — can be overcome, she said.

“She’s inspired you to be your best even in your early 60s,” Goldstein said, also praising Serena’s 42-year-old sister Venus Williams. Williams).

Evelyn David was also watching tennis at the Open on Thursday, and she was thinking about the night before.

“Everyone’s saying, ‘Wow!'” said David, who laughs at being “60 years older than me” and is the site director for the New York Junior Tennis Learning Center, which works with children and teens . She cited Williams’ physicality and the role fitness plays in tennis today. “The rigorous training that athletes go through right now is different,” David said.

“She’d say, ‘I’m not going to fall. I can catch the ball.'”

“Totally inspired,” David said of Williams’ performance — she has some outstanding company.

“Can I put this in perspective here?” former champion and ESPN commentator Chris Evert said on Wednesday’s broadcast. “This is a 40-year-old mother. It took me by surprise.”

In 1989, Evert retired at age 34, long before fitness and nutrition became a major factor in tennis today. It was even worse when trailblazer Billie Jean King, now 78, was in her prime.

“For those of us older, it gives us hope and it’s fun,” King said in an interview with Williams on Thursday. “Get your feet up. Gives you energy.” She points out how health on the tour has changed since the 1960s and 1970s.

“We have no information and no money,” Kim said. “When people win tournaments now, they’re like, ‘Thanks to my team.’ They’re lucky to have all these guys. We don’t even have a coach.”

No. 8 seed Jessica Pegula, who won Thursday, is 28 years old, half a century younger than Kim. She is well aware of the difference fitness makes.

“That’s a big part of that,” she said. “Athletes, the science behind how they take care of their bodies, sports nutrition, training and nutrition — (it) has changed a lot. In the past, you would see a player drinking a Coke on the sidelines, or they were Have a beer after the game. Health is always the number one priority now, both physically and mentally.”

She said she remembered thinking Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Williams would all retire, but “they kept pushing the boundaries.”

Federer, 41, has not played since Wimbledon last year due to surgery on his right knee, but said he will try to play Wimbledon shortly before his 42nd birthday next year. Nadal, 36, known for his love of fitness, won two Grand Slam titles this year, raising his total to a men’s record of 22. No one would be surprised if he wins another major. By contrast, Jimmy Connors’ famous match in the U.S. Open semifinal at age 39 in 1991 is considered an event in history.

Of course, fitness is just the cornerstone of greatness—in any sport. Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons, who likes Pegula at 28, noted that while it’s encouraging to see Williams maintain an athletic edge to some extent through preparation Yes, but “not everyone is Serena and Venus Williams. Maybe there are some genes in there that not everyone is lucky enough to have, but it’s still cool to know, hey she’s genetically gifted , but some of the things she did help her extend her career tremendously.”

Dr. Michael J. Joyner, who studies human performance at the Mayo Clinic, says Williams has joined forces with other superstar athletes, from baseball’s Ted Williams to golfer Gary Player and star quarterback Tom Brady, 45, famously unretired) have a lot in common, they both enjoy long careers.

“What you see with all these people is they’ve stayed motivated, they’ve avoided catastrophic harm … or they’ve been able to come back because they’ve recovered,” he said. Equally important: they live in the “modern age of sports medicine.”

The question, he asked, is can Williams perform at the same level every other day to win the entire game? He hoped so.

Jamie Martin, a Williams fan who has practiced physical therapy since 1985 and owns a chain of clinics in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, said she sees many women playing vigorous competitive sports in middle age and beyond. After years of focusing on work or family, some people return to their sport, or start a new one.

She noted that Williams’ quest for another U.S. Open title at age 40 is a reminder that women can not only stay competitive longer, but compete for the fun of it now.

“She really enjoys the game,” said Martin, 59. “That’s the fun of watching games now.”

Brooklyn teacher Mwezi Pugh said the Williams sisters are good examples of living on their own terms — including deciding how long they want to play.

“They’re still following their script,” said Pugh, 51, “‘Are you ready to retire, Serena?’ “I don’t like that word. I would rather say evolution. “Are you ready to retire, Venus?” ‘Not today. ‘”

“The older you get, the more you should be able to organize your life the way you like, and the way that works best for you,” Pugh said. “That’s what the sisters are doing, and they’re teaching us all a lesson.”

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: