On Monday morning, Serena Williams became the latest big-name to fall at Wimbledon, following in the footsteps of the other favorites in both draws including Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal and Maria Sharapova. Serena fell in a closely-contested three-set match to 23-year-old German, Sabine Lisicki, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.
Lisicki, though relatively unheard of, isn't a slouch and plays her best tennis on grass. She's got a thing for upsets at Wimbledon, too. She's knocked out the most-recent French Open champion four times at Wimbledon, with Serena becoming her latest victim.
Despite Lisicki's ability on grass, Serena's loss still comes as another shock during a strange tournament. The 2-1 favorite to win Wimbledon won 34 matches in a row while dominating competition at the French Open, but simply didn't have enough to take down the on-fire Lisicki.
Serena's loss means Sloane Stephens is the lone American left in the tournament, and also provides an opportunity for someone else to grab some of Serena's spotlight on the women's tour. Unfortunately, as ThinkProgress's new sports section points out, Serena is too exciting to make things interesting in major tournaments because she is either the only person worth watching or too superior to her competition to make it interesting. Whoever wins Wimbledon has a chance to change that with a bit of sustained success in the rest of the tennis season.
It's also possible this loss will be forgotten in the midst of Serena's trophy collection if no one can step up. As Grantland's Louisa Thomas wrote following Roland Garros:
I wonder if Serena’s greatness, for all the press it gets, is actually taken for granted. It’s not really tested, debated, scrutinized, or comparable, except to players who are fading or gone. Since it’s a foregone conclusion, there seems to be less of a general public sense that something’s at stake. Women’s tennis has lots of competitive, compelling characters. But even on the rare occasions when Serena loses, the gulf between her and those other players remains wide.