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Juan Martin Del Potro

Serena Williams looks to be part of an event bigger than her

Serena Williams looks to be part of an event bigger than her

Serena Williams prepared for the Rio Olympics probably longer than the local organizers did, and with greater attention to detail.

The world’s No. 1 female tennis player circled this date on her calendar four years ago, soon after she had added a singles gold medal to the three Olympic doubles golds she won with her sister, Venus. She didn’t do it because she had anything to prove in Rio de Janeiro, or an unsatisfied wish to fulfill. She wanted to be here to represent her country and be part of an event that’s bigger than even she is, and it would have taken something extraordinary for her to change her plans.

That wasn’t the case for everyone. Many...

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