It isn’t easy to try and get inside the life of an athlete known the world over. The social world we live in now has made elite performers even more guarded, and probably more controlling than ever before. That’s when you hear about a new documentary one that the athlete or performer had a direct hand in, you kind of roll your eyes and look for the sanitized story.
However on Wednesday at 8 p.m., premium TV network EPIX® will debut the Original Documentary Serena, a look at Serena Williams as she futilely chased the Grand Slam last year. Williams and her team gave the filmmakers great access and its shot in verité style, which frankly sets it apart from all the other Williams Sisters stories that have come out over the years.
There is not a lot of rehash about things we already know about Serena; family, failings, successes of the past; it brings casual fans into focus with her training, her business dealings, and her social life throughout last year, going through just before the French Open to her disappointing finish at the US Open. You get a better feel for her as an athlete and better understand the grueling 24/7 pace that individual sport athletes who succeed are really on. You get a lot of you and weight training, a little karaoke, and a nice slice of behind the scenes that improves the access away from the court that much more.
Will tennis fans deep into the Williams story learn a lot? Not as much as casual fans for sure, but for everyone, Serena is worth the time investment with Wimbledon coming, and follows in the solid tradition of EPIX sports and lifestyle docs that the platform has served up in recent years.