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09.15.09

The Tao of Serena Williams

All those F words at the U.S. Open? Taboo in the tennis queen's new memoir, On the Line. Read 14 hilarious Serena quotes about staying zen.

To be true is to stay inside the line

“I didn’t cheat on the lines. If my shot was out, I called it out. If her shot was in, I called it in.”

Strength is restraint, retaliation is weakness

“If someone hurls an untruth in your direction, it doesn’t always pay to swat back. Sometimes the thing to do is to just let it hang there, unanswered, and wait for it to disperse.”

They admire me; I admire me

“I have a responsibility to those little girls who look up to me, just as I have a responsibility to myself.”

Don’t follow the leader; be the leader to follow

“All I have to do is set a positive example. Piece of cake, right?”

When anger rises, find prayer and peace

serena-williams-on-the-line-book-cover
On the Line. By Serena Williams with Danie Paisner. 272 Pages. Grand Central. $26. ()

“People are always asking me why I don’t go crazy over bad calls, or get all emotional when a match tilts the wrong way, and it’s because I try to carry myself in a certain way. I don’t want to give my religion a bad name—and I never lose sight of this when I’m out on the court.”

She who conquers herself is the fiercest of fighters

“I couldn’t control the umpires or the line judges any more than I could control my opponent. The only person I could control on the court was me.”

Turn cheek before giving lip

“It wasn’t like me to mouth off to an official.”

To foul is to be human

“Every official misses a call from time to time; but you’re only supposed to miss the close ones, right?”

Dwelling on the past halts resolution in the future

“One of the great things about tennis is it doesn’t give you any time to dwell on your mistakes. Spend too much time on one and you’ll make another. And another. There’s always a next point to occupy your full attention, so I set that mental error aside and step to the line.”

To be challenged is to rise

“The thing to do when you’re on the receiving end of adversity is to rise about it. Or at least to try.”

Make a negative a positive

Paul Campos: Serena Was Totally Justified

Full U.S. Open coverage.
“I think I hit every shot long or into the net, but that’s how it goes sometimes. You look ahead to some meaningful moment and set it up in your mind like it’s going to be this huge, consequential deal, and then it just fizzles. The trick, really, is to find some takeaway moment in the fizzle and carry that with you instead, and here I managed to shrug off that I’d played so poorly and ending up crying because Venus played so well, and remember instead that I got to hit with the great Billie Jean King.” (on playing with Billie Jean King at 7 or 8)

A heart filled with love is never alone

“There was a lot of love in our house; we were bursting with it.”

Disappointment gives the gift of wisdom

“We can take pleasure and pride in the thrill of anticipation, but at the same time we must be careful not to invest too heavily into any one situation, in case it doesn’t work out the way we’ve planned. That’s life, right? We get disappointed from time to time. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look forward to anything, or even that we should keep our expectation reasonable. Not at all. What it means for me is to aim high and to know that if I fall short of the mark it was still worth doing. Whatever it happens to be, if it’s worth looking forward to it, it’s worth taking aim, it’s worth doing.”

Frowns are fuel with which to smile

“The real push came from taking all those negatives and mashing them together into a great big positive. I put it in my head that I would not be beaten down. By my critics. By my peers. By my sponsors. By my opponents. Together, it became my silent fuel, to power me through.”

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