by Jonathan Newman**
I’ve been thinking about your career, and something is troubling me.
When I first wrote you back in 2006, I was worried you weren’t taking your career seriously enough. Now, as you’ve won your twentieth slam title, I am concerned you’re taking tennis entirely too seriously. You had to work so hard to win your eighteenth slam and equal Martina and me last year; isn’t it time you took a rest? Your place in history, equal to us greats, is already secure.
Congratulations on another French Open title! I know it’s a great feeling, especially since it’s only your third win here. Don’t worry about trying to reach 7 – beating my record is just not a realistic goal. But, that’s OK, we can’t all be the best at everything.
So, here’s an idea: in the future, why not just skip the clay season? I used to skip the Australian Open all the time, and look how great things turned out for me. I know how much you hate losing, I totally get that. I’m a perfectionist too! But, I think you are playing way too much tennis – it’s even making you ill.
When I last wrote you, I said you had all the time in the world after tennis to focus on everything else. I didn’t expect you to be still going at the age of 33! You must be tired. Relax, take a break, you’ve earned it!
I speak on behalf of your many fans when I say I look forward to your appearances on HSN. I must confess I was disappointed that you chose to fly to Europe instead of appearing in the studio for your last show. Instead, you dialed in. It’s not like you to dial anything in, Serena. I’m concerned. You’re just not taking your outside interests as seriously as you ought to.
Now that you have passed me and Martina, is there really anything more to prove? Even the beautiful and graceful Roger Federer, the greatest men’s tennis player of all time, is giving some of the spotlight to younger players.
I hope you take my suggestions into consideration like you did last time. I am so pleased that my words of encouragement all those years ago helped you get to where you are today. I don’t regret writing that letter at all. Not at all.
I’m so happy I could inspire you, Venus, Lindsay, and Jennifer to reach for the same heights I achieved. Perhaps you could take some young Americans under your wing, too! So many young players look up to us, Serena. All the great players are becoming coaches these days, I have my own academy – you could make sure the next generation is just as good, like I did with yours.
Gosh, at this point, you’re basically only fighting yourself on court. You are so much better than the rest of the women, so why worry? I mean, Martina Navratilova really helped to keep my slam count humble. You’ve achieved so much, it’s time to forget about all the silly records. Nobody will remember how many Grand Slams you won (after eighteen).
People will remember you as a great champion, a ferocious competitor, a woman who never backed down from a challenge and one of the world’s great sporting figures. Just like they remember me!
I look forward to welcoming you to the commentary booth,
**Ed. Note: Parody. As his name suggests, Jonathan Newman is not actually the wonderful Chris Evert.