CNN Would Have You Believe That Serena Williams Was 'Rescued' by a Man

Illustration for article titled CNN Would Have You Believe That Serena Williams Was Rescued by a Man

Serena Williams is better at tennis than most human beings will ever be at anything, ever. And this year in particular she's been on a tear: After the embarrassment of a first-round knockout at the 2012 French Open, she's racked up 11 titles, including the U.S. Open and the WTA Championships.

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It's been an impressive comeback, and likely evidence of superhuman amounts of drive. CNN doesn't seem to see it that way, though. Behold their headline for an interview with Williams's coach, Patrick Mouratoglou: "Down and out in Paris: The man who rescued Serena Williams."

What, did she fall in the Seine or something? Nope, it's just their way way of transforming her accomplishments into the tale of a proud woman brought low, before a well-timed rescue by an obliging knight. From the CNN story:

The indomitable figurehead of women's tennis had been humiliated and cowed — turfed out of the 2012 French Open in the first round by an unheralded and unseeded opponent.... Given all she had achieved, it would have been easy to throw in the towel — but even at her lowest ebb, Serena's desire to clamber back to the top was insatiable.

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Hark—the sound of hoofbeats! "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," CNN adds.

There are Harlequin romances in the WalMart checkout line less on-the-nose.

It certainly seems Mouratoglou has been a valuable addition to Williams's team of helpers and handlers. But he spends most of the CNN interview giving Serena the credit: "She's a real champion. It's not about the strokes, it's about what you have inside — and she has something really special inside." And to frame one of the most talented women in tennis as the passive heroine of some Disneyfied fairy tale is insulting—not to mention cliché.

Plus, Think Progress suggests that maybe CNN is confused about who's carrying whom here. They write:

The reality is Mourathoglou struck gold when Serena agreed to take him on. Prior to teaming up with Serena he coached a string of promising but largely anonymous professional players, none of whom ever won a Grand Slam and only one of which — Marcos Baghdatis — ever cracked the top 10 of the world rankings.

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Sweet, sweet irony.


Image via AP.

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DISCUSSION

And of course they had to go to the "linked romantically" rumor, which pretty much isn't a rumor and is still irrelevant. Serena is the one out there on the court, and what she needed was recovery and rehab time. I'm not dismissing that she and Mourathoglou have been good for each other, but he wasn't exactly around for the 13 or so Grand Slams she won prior to them working together. She recovered from a life-threatening injury without him. He may have helped her regain some form and focus, but he hardly rescued her from some high tower or a dragon's clutches. Serena did that shit on her own, as she always has. That's why she's won 32 Grand Slam titles across singles and doubles, and is better than ever at an age when most former champs had already retired.