Tennis pro Serena Williams shocked her many supporters with her behavior at the 2009 U.S. Open. After being called on a fault, Williams cursed at and threatened the lineswoman who made the call. Although published prior to the incident, I wondered if her background had any bearing on her actions. I have admired Williams as an athlete and role model so I sat down to read her autobiography, On the Line.
While On the Line offers some inspirational messages from this exceptional tennis player, the pace can be a bit slow… ok, painfully slow.
In reading this book I discovered the only thing that Serena Williams and I have in common is our love of the card game Uno. And while she claims to be good at that game, I am fairly sure that I could hold my own against her.
To be fair, although I enjoy watching the occasional match, I would not consider myself a big tennis fan. Interspersed throughout the book are retellings of some of Serena William’s big matches. In these sections she does not just gloss over the highlights of the match, she relives them for the reader in agonizing detail. Tennis requires a degree of grace, skill, and strategy, and although some matches can be exciting, I did not find these sections to be a very dynamic read. If not familiar with the specific match, opponent, and tennis terminology, reading these sections can be rather tedious.
In the sections that take place off the court, Serena Williams opens up about her childhood, family, and introduction to tennis. She shares the good, bad, and even some of the ugly in this honest reflection on her life and tennis career to date. Her anecdotes include growing up as the sometimes spoiled and selfish baby in her family. Other examples show her overwhelming determination and desire to win. I found these provided some insight into her actions at the U.S. Open.
If you consider yourself a big fan of tennis, I think that you might enjoy this book. If you are only interested in reading an autobiography by Serena Williams you might want to wait for the movie.
Image credit: Rob Young