Serena Williams and LeBron James have a lot in common. Former child prodigies who made good on their early promises to dominate their respective sports, Serena and LeBron are winners who with their intensity, focus and physical prowess intimidate opponents while imposing their wills. Except when they don’t, which is what happened on Wednesday. Williams, world #1 and a heavy favorite, got crushed in the second round of the French Open. The score was 6-2, 6-2, but the time told the story even better: Spain’s Garine Muguruza needed only 64 minutes to send Serena to the Chanel-scented locker room. Williams, whose all-around game is second only to her commanding serve, suddenly found herself without her most dependable weapon. She served like a hack, winning barely half of her first-serve points and being broken five times. There will be articles about her imminent demise. They will point to her age (32), her diminished aura, the intimidation factor that loses its swagger with every show of vulnerability. Don’t you believe it. Serena Williams simply had a bad day. As she said after she will “go home and work five times as hard to make sure I never lose again.” That won’t work forever, but it will work for now. She tweeted: “There’s always tomm and I will be ready.” Pity the doubters.
LeBron James knows when his tomorrow is–it’s Friday night. He doesn’t tweet during the playoffs, but if he did he’d probably quote Serena Williams verbatim. James played only 24 minutes in the Heat’s Game Five loss to the Pacers in Indiana. He averages 40. He committed five fouls. He averages 1.6. He scored a career playoff low seven points. He is averaging 27.6 per game in the playoffs this year. He, like Serena, had a bad day. The Heat almost won anyway, losing by three. The Indiana Pacers headed into Miami Friday night will face a LeBron who, to borrow from Serena, “will be ready.” Williams’ tomorrow doesn’t come until Wimbledon on June 23. Once in a while, you have a bad day. These two superstars shared one Wednesday. It doesn’t usually happen again anytime soon.