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Williams Family Woodshed 06/30/2009 - 3:00 PM

88759111 by Pete Bodo

You know women's tennis - or women tennis pros, at any rate - are in trouble when their players start using Grand Slam trophies as makeup brush holders, the way Serena Williams says she does. You have to wonder, what next? Using the French Open trophy as a vide poche? A planter, for growing tomatoes on your deck? A spittoon, if you travel in that sort of company?

Today at Wimbledon, Venus and Serena each took the penultimate step to a rematch of their final here last year. They did it so convincingly that even the customarily jaded British pressmen were left delivering eloquent encomiums impersonating questions pertaining to the outright superiority of the Williams sisters. Okay, so the British press is Wimbledentric, and wouldn't know Roland Garros from an obscure French aviator. But the way Venus and Serena - always lightning rods for disgruntlement or criticism - had them eating out of their hands confirmed the Any Questions? nature of the way they've been playing here during the fortnight.

It doesn't make much sense to try to analyze the way Venus dismantled Agnieszka Radwanska, or how powerfully Serena dismissed the latest WTA upstart, Victoria Azarenka. It would be like trying to write about how a massive tidal wave took out a tiny village filled with half-clothed natives (which is exactly what Wimbledon village itself looks like, in the midst of this heat wave), or wasting adjectives on the explosion of a power plant that leveled four square miles of shopping malls, car dealerships and apartment towers. How many synonyms are there for "commanding" or "powerful" or "awesome?"

On Thursday, Venus plays Dinara Safina and Serena will meet Elena Dementieva, with the finals berths on offer. It's pretty hard to imagine that Wimbledon will have its first all-Russian final; more likely that Wimbledon will see a two-for-the-price-of-one execution.

One of the themes emerging from this edition of the Championships is that the Williamses may have gotten better with age, even as they've had to struggle with (or simply endure) waning motivation as the siren song of "normal" life has lured them toward the shoals of inconsistency. The girls may not be as reliably destructive as they once were, but when they paint on their game faces, they may be playing the best tennis either of them has ever conjured up. This may not be true at all tournaments, either, but if you're going to pick one event at which to go medieval on your rivals, this one would be it.

We know for a fact that Serena had lain in ambush, waiting for Azarenka for a few months now, ever since the hot-headed and increasingly hot-handed Belarusian by way of Scottsdale, Ariz., snatched the Key Biscayne title out of her hands. This we know because Serena admitted as much in the presser after she took Azarenka to the Williams family woodshed for a 6-2, 6-3 beating.

"Well, you know, I really wanted to do well today," Serena admitted. "I didn't do well the last time we played. I was not feeling great. And, uhm, you know, I felt like I really wanted to show up today."

And while Venus had no such grudge against Radwanska, she was just as harsh with the willow switch, even though she gave up two more games than did Serena, winning 6-1, 6-2.

That tells me Aggie better watch out when she next meets Venus, just in case the older Williams sister took it personally.

88758944 We know the Williams sisters well enough by now to understand that as stony and opaque they can be on the heels of a loss or a particularly tough match, they're relaxed and, if not exactly verbose, at least amiable and light-hearted when they win. Either of them would have been justified doing standup comedy when the post-mortems were being conducted today. Venus was asked to recall the night she played her first pro match, in Oakland, Calif., and the outstanding thing she recalled was that as she arrived at the venue she realized that she'd left all her tennis clothes laid out on the bed back at the hotel. 

It's been a long time since that wild-card appearance in 1994, and Venus has matured a good deal. Given her obvious physical gifts - starting with that impressive, lean frame - it's easy to overlook how many other components are required for the degree of success she's had. We tend not to contemplate these factors, perhaps because Venus' God-given advantage already appears to give her a formidable edge. For one thing, it takes enormous resilience (as well as basic emotional stability) to dig yourself out of some of the career holes she's fallen into. For another, a mastery of strategy doesn't necessarily involve chalkboards, a blizzard of diagrams and X's and O's. Most hugely accomplished people will tell you that it's not all that complicated: success consists mostly of a kind of shrewdness that enables you to remain true to yourself and resist the burgeoning temptation to complicate things - whether it's because of pressure from others, or your own impulse to teach yourself a lesson.

Ultimately, success is about knowing what you want and figuring out a way to get it, and that's a pretty good description of how Venus and Serena approach their tennis. As Venus said, when she was asked to describe her style of play: "Just very aggressive. There's more room for error than maybe before, but just very aggressive. I do have strategy. Maybe it doesn't look like it, but I do. I think that's my secret weapon, that it doesn't look like I'm thinking, but I am."

That's about as close to getting philosophical as either of the sisters will go and that's probably a good thing. Nostalgia is something else, although Serena made a point of explaining that she doesn't really want to stop to smell the tennis roses until her career is done - that's when she'll take those trophies, remove the makeup brushes, dust, polish, and line them up on the credenza. Still, I pressed the issue with a simple question: Does she consider herself a better player than she was during those glorious "Serena Slam" years (2002-'03)?

She said, "I think, you know, you can't be just a shot-maker, just a power maker, and win any Grand Slams. I think it definitely takes, you know, a lot of strategy and strategic moves.  Definitely underestimated, but it's fine."

It was an interesting remark, given what Venus had said earlier. Perhaps the girls huddled over Venus' interview transcript between pressers, and decided to cover some of the same turf. 

The Williams have never been much for verbal smack downs, even when they're too busy berating themselves when they ought to be praising opponents. They do have a pretty good feel for innuendo, but the acerbic or trenchant quip has never been their domain. But when Serena was asked which trophies make the best makeup-brush holders, she didn't miss a beat:

"My Indian Wells '03 (smiling). Or was it '01? Whatever year that was."

Ouch! It was '01, Serena, but we know that for someone like you, they all tend to run together.


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Posted by Master Ace 06/30/2009 at 03:17 PM

Venus did struggle against Agnieszka at Key Biscayne this year as that match went the distance with Venus prevailing at the end. When most WTA players play the Williams(ova) Sisters at their best, they have very little chance of winning especially at a Slam(other than the French Open). Also, they do practice tomorrow against Anna Lena-Groenefeld and Vania King. Overall, I do expect a 8th Wimbledon trophy to be showcased in the WS household after tomorrow unofficially(officially on Saturday). Question is will Venus collect her 6th and 3rd in a row for the first time since Steffi Graf did it in 1993 or Serena collect her 3rd and 11th Slam overall tying Billie Jean King.

Posted by TennisFan2 06/30/2009 at 03:17 PM

Can't get enough of the Williams Sisters Pete. Thanks! They have been tremendous for U.S. tennis. It may be years after their retirement before the average fan realizes how important they've been for the game. It's too bad some tennis fans can't get past the missteps of their youth to appreciate the champions they are and continue to be.

I will be happy for whichever sister takes Wimby this year.

Posted by Aaress 06/30/2009 at 03:21 PM

Great article, Pete! Thanks for the updates.

Given Serena's feelings for Indian Wells, I wouldn't be surprised if she really would use that trophy as a make-up brush holder. Talk about collecting dust.

Posted by Cotton Jack 06/30/2009 at 03:23 PM

Will Serena's "My Indian Wells '03 (smiling)" count towards the publicity she has to do to avoid a sanction for not playing?

Posted by Beckham (Le Sigh Gulbis!) 06/30/2009 at 03:29 PM

"My Indian Wells '03 (smiling). Or was it '01? Whatever year that was."

Ooh snap!!!

Posted by creig bryan 06/30/2009 at 03:31 PM

Pete:

You go boy.

Keep Smiling

Posted by yello fuzzy 06/30/2009 at 03:33 PM

Pete
that was brilliant! Loving the Indian Wells trophy as the brush holder! Only Serena!lol

Posted by Boli 06/30/2009 at 03:34 PM

Does anyone know what matches are going to be covered tomorrow,

I can see that ESPN2 has 6 - 9 CT and noon - 4 CT and NBC has I think 10 CT slot,
so I am wondering what matches are going to be shown live, which one is going to be delayed and so on...

As you know schedule for tomorrow is:
Central Court
7AM CT Federer - Karlovic
Second match: Murray - Ferrero

Court 1
7AM CT Djokovic - Haas
Second match: Roddick - Hewitt

Thanks a lot

Posted by PC 06/30/2009 at 03:36 PM

Watching the Williams absolutely dismantle their doubles opponents is wondeful to watch.

Serena hit a swinging 2 handed backhand at the net that caught her opponent in the butt.

All the oppenents could do is laugh.

Posted by AA 06/30/2009 at 03:39 PM

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=4296709&categoryid=2491545

Love this. I thought it was funny.

Posted by 70's tennis fan 06/30/2009 at 03:45 PM

Hi Pete. Hope you're enjoying Wimbledon's very special atmosphere, and our unusual temperatures!!! Not to mention our lack of air-con in houses!

I was going to come along tomorrow and watch some outside court stuff (OK I admit it..'Over 45 mens Invitational Doubles')However temperatures of 32 have put me off and a shady garden bench with BBC Radio 5 live and an ice cold pimms beckons!

Enjoy the action for me...and say "hi" to big Willy Vilas !!

Posted by L. Rubin 06/30/2009 at 04:04 PM

"tennis pros . . . are in trouble when their players start using Grand Slam trophies as makeup brush holders, the way Serena Williams says she does."

Hell, why not? She's just being resourceful, no? I'll bet that the US Open trophy, in particular, can serve as a fairly decent mirror.

--Liron

Posted by ramkumar 06/30/2009 at 04:16 PM

Boli,

I had the same question as you. However, I heard at the end of the NBC telecast today, that they were going to show Fed's QF.

After watching the women's QF, I think NBC gets the Centre Court matches and ESPN2 gets Court 1.

Posted by Robert inTexas 06/30/2009 at 04:21 PM

Obscure French aviator! Now that is hilarious. The British can be just a little insular, no doubt!

Posted by Koko 06/30/2009 at 04:32 PM

err, Venus gave two games less and not more than did Serena.

Posted by Pspace 06/30/2009 at 04:33 PM

Was Serena's match today such a bad shellacking? I thought it was a good match, and 2 & 3 might've been slightly unlucky for Vika. *shrug*

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 06/30/2009 at 04:41 PM

Pspace - I did not see the match but I just wondered from the stats why Vika did not do much on ReRe's second serves because ReRe served at 46% although I know ReRe has a good second serve but still... Meanwhile I think the huge difference in the match came with the W/UFE differential and the ace/DF differential.

Posted by Codge 06/30/2009 at 04:52 PM

"I mean, I use some of my trophies for makeup brushes"
Comedy gold. Very fitting use for that particular one I think :D

Posted by Boli 06/30/2009 at 04:54 PM

Thanks ramkumar,
I think tomorrow:

ESPN2 7AM CT - LIVE( even though coverage begins at 6AM CT )
Djokovic - Haas

NBC 10AM CT - DELAYED
Federer - Karlovic

ESPN2 noon CT - Probably combined LIVE % DELAYED
Murray - Ferrero
Roddick - Hewitt

Posted by crazyone 06/30/2009 at 05:03 PM

*Was Serena's match today such a bad shellacking? I thought it was a good match, and 2 & 3 might've been slightly unlucky for Vika. *shrug**

Pspace, that's exactly what made it so impressive, IMO. Vika played well and all she got was 5 games. In the first set especially Serena was unplayable.

People talk about the Williams sisters as if they are just about power but I think they also have a lot more variety and knowledge about how to smartly use their power than other power hitters like Safina.

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 06/30/2009 at 05:03 PM

Great blog, I enjoyed. The title is perfect. V and Ree mowed them down on the grass, took them to the woodshed and then use a leaf blower on them, straight off the court. Unbelievable. Congrats to Aggie and Vika on making it so far. Sabine too and Frannie.

Posted by M.J. 06/30/2009 at 05:05 PM

Today just went to show that when Serena's healthy (unlike when she had a bum leg in the Miami Final) and in championship form (unlike her early rounds in Australia this year), Azarenka can't hang with her. She also beat Azarenka in straight sets the first time in Australia '08 when she was healthy and in good (not yet championship) form. I thought it was foolish for anyone to pick Azarenka to win over BOTH Williams to take the title.

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 06/30/2009 at 05:05 PM

The dig at IW was LOL, you go girl.

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 06/30/2009 at 05:10 PM

Forgot to add, Pete good point on the revenge factor, remember what Serena said after Miami, I look forward to playing her again, she sure wasn't kidding. She gets more motivated by the players that beat her, she did the same with Sharapova after she lost to her.

Posted by Mark 06/30/2009 at 05:11 PM

Tennis is going to be in very bad shape once the sisters are gone. Hope everyone is watching and enjoying them now. And.........US tennis better come up with some realistic stars or else we are in a huge world of hurt.

Posted by federerfan 06/30/2009 at 05:21 PM

"And while Venus had no such grudge against Radwanska, she was just as harsh with the willow switch, even though she gave up two more game than did Serena, winning 6-1, 6-2.

That tells me Aggie better watch out when she next meets Venus, just in case the older Williams sister took it personally."

Maybe I interpreted this incorrectly but I thot Venus gave up 2 "fewer" games not "more" games, if anything, Aggie must be relieved for the next encounter ! :)

Posted by Marsh Harrier 06/30/2009 at 05:31 PM

Pete, interesting as always. But I found watching Serena stomp around the court today disturbing. I had the feeling I get when I watch images of the 1996 Tour de France, when all the front runners were hurtling up the most savage slopes at incredible speeds. It's too good to be true and we now know it WAS too good to be true. Most of the field was in the grip of a chemical arms race, and I'm afraid I sense exactly the same thing is now happening in women's tennis. I'm not blaming anyone for starting it, but the extraordinary muscularity of the women, and the phenomenon of famous names transforming their physiques in the off season, is all too good to be true. And the monstrous hitting today, exhilarating though it is, is too good to be true.

Posted by Hortense 06/30/2009 at 05:31 PM

My, my, my, my, my, MY.
Another all-American WimbleTON finale.
Wheeeeee, this is getting fun!!
Prrrrrrrfect.

Thanks Pietro. Another good 'un!
I've enjoyed learning to love the sis's.
Woodshed analogies are hilarious.
Can 'o Compton Whoop-Arse!

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 06/30/2009 at 05:35 PM

Marsh Harrier, I'm not sure, why is it to good to be true? Thanks.

Posted by Hortense 06/30/2009 at 05:35 PM

...couple 'o Reds to plow down.
Let's get ahead of ourselves, why not?

Posted by Pspace 06/30/2009 at 05:42 PM

avid, Vika missed some returns on Re's second serves. But, Re also hit some unbelievable second balls. At 0-0 in the first, down BP, she hit a second serve ace. What are you gonna do? Anyways, Vika should've played a better game after she broke for 3-2. She had 30-15...Re wasn't doing anything that special, but Vika's fh broke down as it did in the first. The first set was all Serena thought. Total domination.

Posted by Pspace 06/30/2009 at 05:43 PM

Sorry that should be BP at 0-0 in the second.

Posted by sonya 06/30/2009 at 05:46 PM

I agree with you Crazyone. Serena was plain perfect in the first set. But Vika could have doe a much better job in the second, there were tons of bad errors and she let the occasion get to her, which was unfortunate. I still believe that she can hang with Serena, girl can play very well and quite smart on occasions.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 06/30/2009 at 05:49 PM

Pspace - oh ok. I guessed as much. I figured the higher no of UFEs (especially some missed returns on second serves) Vika had on some chances in the second set may have cost her a closer scoreline.

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 06/30/2009 at 05:53 PM

Pspace, I saw it a little differently. I think Serena was doing something special in that second set. I think Vika's FH broke down because of the weight of Serena's shots and her inability to absorb the power of those shots. I saw two shots where she hit under the ball because it was moving at such a fast pace and she couldn't catch up to it. The pace of Serena's return was unbelievable. Vika is a power player, but just not at the same level as Venus or Serena. She was over powered in both sets. I'm not sure she is at Sharapova's power level, prior to the shoulder surgery. Although she might be now, I would have to see them play.

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 06/30/2009 at 05:57 PM

Forgot to add, when I watch a match, I like to trace the ball across the court. I had no trouble tracking Vika's balls, but Serena's returns moved too quick across the net.

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 06/30/2009 at 06:06 PM

One more thing, did anyone see when they compared Vika's serve speed and her return speed to Serena. I forget the exact number, but Serena's was higher in both area. Again, a problem with absorbing the power of the shots.

Posted by Pspace 06/30/2009 at 06:12 PM

Samantha, ok. I thot Re was spraying her return all over the place at the start of a second. More than a few landed metres long. Vika was also getting the better of her at the baseline. Then at 3-2, 30-15, Serena started putting more returns in play...they weren't anywhere near as big as what she was hitting in the first. Vika made the UFE after three or four shots. If she had pulled out that game, we'd be talking about a different match. But, Re played well after she broke back...she located her first serve straight away, and the rest followed.

Posted by creig bryan 06/30/2009 at 06:25 PM

And while Venus had no such grudge against Radwanska, she was just as harsh with the willow switch, even though she gave up two more games than did Serena, winning 6-1, 6-2.

That tells me Aggie better watch out when she next meets Venus, just in case the older Williams sister took it personally.

federerfan:

Like you, I've read this three times and I'm still clueless, even with the substitution. Less is more for sure, but I think there's some confusion as to the Aggie sentence. Perhaps Pete could clear is up, although it is of no real consequence since the results are clear. The woodsheds are being refurbished for use again Thursday.

Keep Smiling

Posted by evie 06/30/2009 at 06:36 PM

What I so appreciate watching them is not just their amazing shots, but their ability to make them in difficult situations. They have a strong will and belief that is missing from virtually every other woman's player on tour, except Sharapova. Without those three, I'd have thought every modern woman's player was a basket case.

Oudin showed nerves of steel, to my eye, for a player so young at her first GS. Hopefully she can keep it up and be part of a new crowd of players not afraid to win.


Posted by Deuce 06/30/2009 at 06:47 PM

Well done as always Pete. I think this very much summed up the Williams sisters so far this fortnight. They are simply playing at a level no one else is. It would be interesting to see how an in form Graf could match up but then we digress into the comparing the ages bit. Thanks again.

Posted by Samantha Elin(supporter of all things Scandinavian.) 06/30/2009 at 07:02 PM

I think of all the current players, Sharapova prior to her injury came the closest to matching the Williamses in serve speed, power and the return. Her movement particularly up and down wasn't as good. However, Brad Gilbert said that she has lost about l0MPH on her serve, and her sideway movement isn't as good as it used to be, and her shots not as accurate as they used to be. He might be right because Dulko had no problems breaking her serve many times when prior to her surgery she would beat Dulko very easily. It will be interesting to see if she can get it back to pre-surgery levels. I don't see Azaranka as a threat to Serena on a fast court unless she's injured.

Posted by Catrice 06/30/2009 at 07:26 PM

It is great for people to appreciate watching them play well instead of criticizing. I don't pretend to think that they have always been the best players on tour, but when you take into account wrist and knee surgeries, I can't think of any other women that have come back from major surgeries and contended for Grand Slams and won. The "holes" and lapses have always, to me, been more about recovering from injury and personal loss than the other outside interests. The recovery from injury is what impresses me most. Had they always been healthy who knows what they could have accomplished?

Posted by Chany 06/30/2009 at 07:33 PM

Thank Pete! With Rafa gone - I LOVE to see my fiery Serena on court.
Much love to AA for posting the ESPN link...

Posted by Ku 06/30/2009 at 08:10 PM

It was funny how the ESPN clip described Venus as 29 going on 40 and Serena 27 going on 8.

Posted by court1234 06/30/2009 at 08:20 PM

Some women hit just as hard if not harder then the Williams...some women can have as good court coverage if not better ...but no one combines both power and speed like they do..

Posted by HootyHoo 06/30/2009 at 08:27 PM

This was a good article Pete, however I think it would have been even more poignant if you didn't lump Venus and Serena together so much. Venus and Serena are VERY different in pressers IMO (although u would know more than I would) and seem to react differently to wins and losses. A lot of you criticisms in this article seems to come directly from Serena's personality and actions and not Venus, yet you say "Williams Sisters." What do you think?

Posted by AA 06/30/2009 at 08:42 PM

Thanks. I thought it was funny when I saw it in Tv.

ps: I think it is insulting to the sisters (and even Hingis) when Sharapova is put in the same sentence with them. She is yet, I repeat yet to achieve one tenth of their accomplishments. Until she shows that like Henin, Clisters and the sisters that she can comeback from trial and tribulations and beat the field and win slams, there is just no comparison. I don't know where people get off making such comparisons. Right now she is in league with Davenport, Capriati and Mauresmo.

Posted by tommy 06/30/2009 at 09:00 PM

I don't think it's that wild to throw in Maria with Serena and Venus.
Since the start of 2004, when Maria was 16, she won 3 majors. Venus has won 3 majors since then. Serena has won 4 since the start of 2004.
Right now Maria looks like she might be finished, but she's 22.
If she can get her game back, she has a lot more years left

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) 06/30/2009 at 09:07 PM

Good evening All. I saw the matches today at work and am now waiting on the replay on TC. I have to say that today was the best I have ever seen Serena play. Venus has been playing well all tournament long, but today I saw Serena from AO 2007. She was just focused and fiery. The only thing that concerns me about both sisters right now is their lapse of concentration in the second sets of their matches. Their next 2 opponents are not pushovers and they will take advantage of any little lapse in concentration. Dinara seems to be getting to her 2008 thing of winning matches in 3 and coming from behind and Dementieva has been flying under the radar. I have to say that I attempted to watch a couple of LenaDs matches but they were so boring that I had to switch on the Wimby Live Feed. Heres hoping that both sisters come out swinging for the fences on Thursday and then give us an exciting 3 set match on Saturday.

Posted by tennis roids 06/30/2009 at 10:08 PM

No reason to mention steroids, I suppose. That couldn't possibly be a factor amongst the four players left.
http://www.tennishasasteroidproblem.blogspot.com/

Posted by TennisFan2 06/30/2009 at 10:25 PM

I'm in agreement with AA. Sharapova is no way near the champion class that Serena and Venus are in - not even close!

tommy, it's silly to compare Maria's three majors to what Venus and Serena have accomplished. The Sisters are hands down better players than Maria. Singles titles, doubles titles, Olympic titles...please, there is NO COMPARISON.

Posted by Jbradhunter 06/30/2009 at 11:03 PM


Capriati did come back from personal turmoil, burnout, arrest, etc... So her story nabs a special place in my heart as a testament to a person's ability to fall from such heights And still get back up and achieve even more

Posted by MDez 07/01/2009 at 12:31 AM

I agree with Mark; tennis is definitely going to be a lot poorer when they leave the game.

I don't see what's so strange about putting Sharapova in the same sentence as them and this is coming from someone who really isn't a fan. Winning 3 different majors like she's done ain't easy. If it was, wouldn't JJ and Safina have won theirs by now? In terms of legacies, yes she can't compare cos the Williams have been around longer but imo she deserves to be mentioned with them in terms of ability.

The Williams sisters were incredible yesterday (Tuesday). Love love love them. Poor Vika. Still love her game though and I'm definitely a fan. Can someone also tell me why in the post-match presser almost every question to Azarenka had Serena's name in it? Even for a Rena KAD, I thought it was a bit much!

Posted by phillykat 07/01/2009 at 12:49 AM

Loved the post!

Last night I was thinking the Serena/Azarenka match could be tricky for Serena. Azarenka by far has the most going for her among the young'uns, just a matter of time as to when she gets her 1st Slam as opposed to if IMO. Was crazy in the 1st set at one point she was hitting 98% 1st serves vs Serena's 50%, yet Serena was up and dominating play, Carillo was wondering what she could possibly do and Johnny Mac noted the scary thing was how much better than 98% can you get and Serena still had room for improvement.

Really looking forward to the semis. This Wimby is finally starting to heat up. Hoping for good play all around, that Dinara can clean up her serve and play a real high quality match.

Posted by charles 07/01/2009 at 01:06 AM

masterace:
I believe BJK has 12

Posted by phillykat 07/01/2009 at 01:10 AM

AA posted:
ps: I think it is insulting to the sisters (and even Hingis) when Sharapova is put in the same sentence with them. She is yet, I repeat yet to achieve one tenth of their accomplishments. Until she shows that like Henin, Clisters and the sisters that she can comeback from trial and tribulations and beat the field and win slams, there is just no comparison. I don't know where people get off making such comparisons. Right now she is in league with Davenport, Capriati and Mauresmo.

I'm in agreement based on the fact that Serena and Venus have won Slams after being written off by almost everybody, after injury, and family tragedy. But I differ and say that Capriati and Mauresmo closer fit that analogy than Henin and Clijsters. Capriati had to come back from all those personal demons of her past and Mauresmo had been pretty much regarded as the supreme talent who couldn't close the deal prior to her '06 Wimby. Also since bursting on the scene and beating Serena for her '04 Wimby Sharapova hasn't beaten either Williams on the big stage since. Don't know if that's what the OP meant, but that's my take on the post.

Posted by JohnC 07/01/2009 at 01:38 AM

tennis roids,

While the current opaque and inadequate drug testing regime is in place, one can unfortunately only speculate. Only a major crackdown (with accompanying scandal, á la cycling) is going to turn things around.

No sensible person would deny that PEDs are a major problem in tennis, and it is time tennis journalists started biting the hand that feeds them and pushed for some firmer action.

Posted by tennis roids 07/01/2009 at 02:13 AM

John,
Until journalists such as those gracing the pages of this site grow a pair, it's just my blog. I wish I could retire my blog and leave this to professionals, but they all know where their bread is buttered. Enjoy:
http://www.tennishasasteroidproblem.blogspot.com/

Posted by mick1303 07/01/2009 at 06:22 AM

Posted by phillykat 07/01/2009 @ 1:10 AM

AA posted:
ps: I think it is insulting to the sisters (and even Hingis) when Sharapova is put in the same sentence with them. She is yet, I repeat yet to achieve one tenth of their accomplishments. Until she shows that like Henin, Clisters and the sisters that she can comeback from trial and tribulations and beat the field and win slams, there is just no comparison. I don't know where people get off making such comparisons. Right now she is in league with Davenport, Capriati and Mauresmo.

=========
I agree about putting Sharapova in a league with Davenport and Capriati.
But to say that she didn't achieve one tenth of either sister - it just undermines your credibility. Blatant lie, no matter how you slice it - in Slams, in overall tournament wins, in match wins, whatever.

Posted by TripleF-FedFanForever(Sergeant Pepper Fed's Second Reich!) 07/01/2009 at 07:25 AM

Morning all
Is new CC out?

Posted by Master Ace 07/01/2009 at 07:31 AM

Charles,
Correct on BJK titles. Was going off memory. Speaking of the WS, they lead Groenefeld/King 3-1

Posted by Master Ace 07/01/2009 at 07:55 AM

Williamses are having a good practice taking the first set at 2.

Posted by Mrs Tennis 07/01/2009 at 07:57 AM

OK...I've found justification (for my perceptions) and finally an explanation of why - oh why - 5-time AND defending champion Venus Williams and Serena spent so much time away from Centre Court and Mr. Federer spent every single match on it.

Forgive me, I don't know how to put the link here, but if you go to http://tennis.fanhouse.com/2009/06/30/looks-not-tennis-is-central-factor-on-centre-court/? you will find an article entitled "Looks, Not Tennis, Is Central Factor On Centre Court". I won't summarize it - read it for yourselves and see how tarnished this revered tennis tournament really is.

I'm disgusted to say the least as I consider future viewing of these championships.

I'm done with this issue. I started to post a blog yesterday after both Venus and Serena played their quarterfinal matches OFF of Centre Court. No way should that have happened.

Guess now would be a good time to revisit my "brown and white" hypothesis? And for those who don't get my inference, let me spell it out: white and blond get on Centre Court regardless of the talent or accomplishment and brown and brown are dispatched to the outer courts - regardless of their accomplishments.

Wimbledon, et.al. - you have lowered yourself in my eyes. I have no respect for your ways. I'm glad Rafa wasn't here this year. No telling where they would have put that little brown boy!

Posted by Samantha Elin 07/01/2009 at 07:58 AM

Mick, I would disagree I think Sharapova rightly deserves to be in the same league as the Williamses and Henin. She's only 22 with 3 slams to her credit and if not for her injury I think she would have been on the same path. She had everything in her game to win a similar number of slams. I frankly don't think Capriati and Davenport who were close to 3O with three slams were in her league, nor do I feel their games was as good. I remember her AO run and she could have beat anyone at that level. Her speed of serve, the placement and her return game was close to the Williamses and Henin, and given time could have reach that level. If you compare them at similar ages I think she matches up well. Please keep in mind I'm talking about Sharapova prior to her injury. At her current level I would agree that she's not as good, but she could make a full recovery you never no. I think in my time of watching tennis she's the best Russia has produced. The match against Dulko who I don't consider a great player leaves room for concern. My feeling is that an even recovering Sharpova should be able to beat someone like Dulko on grass. But let's give it sometime.

Posted by Samantha Elin 07/01/2009 at 08:05 AM

To put Sharapova in the same category as Davenport is to assume that from the age of 22 to 3O she wouldn't get another slam is something I don't agree with, that is why I would put her at a higher level. I think that this could be true if her shoulder doesn't fully recover allowing her greater speed on her serve. But it certainly wasn't true prior to her injury where she was averaging a slam about l in every 1.5 years. To me, she's a far better player than Capriati or Davenport.

Posted by Samantha Elin 07/01/2009 at 08:10 AM

I follow the WTA closely and here's how I would rank the active players. 1. Serena, 2, Venus, 3, Sharapova, 4. Kuzzy, 5,Dinara. not active, I would put Justine has 3 with Sharapova has 4. Neither Capriati or Davenport would make my top 5 with all due respect.

Posted by Samantha Elin 07/01/2009 at 08:14 AM

I forgot to add, I don't believe Sharapova at her present level can win a slam, but if her shoulder heals fully then yes.

Posted by mick1303 07/01/2009 at 08:26 AM

Samantha - I was talking about Sharapova's achievements up-to-date. Everything she may or may not win in future is a speculation.
I would like her to win some more, but don't hold my breath.
My point was that what she already achieved is greatly exceeds "one tenth" of either sister achievements.

Posted by AA 07/01/2009 at 09:58 AM

At the same age 22, the sisters had more titles and more slams. Again, how/why do people make these comparisons? True, ther's no way of knowing what her future brings in terms of winning slams but I fully agree with the commentators who said that athlecisim and speed( like Henin, Serena, Clisters and even Capriati) helps the comeback further along than it would if the said player had not much of it (see Davenport). But even Davenport honed her serve enough to keep her off the run, get back to number one and even a few slam finals in her waning days. So while I agree that sharapova has the same power shot and competitive abilities as the sisters but other physical abilities? no
But she could horn her serve like Davenport to keep her off the run and then maybe.... but even that remains to be seen. Davenport didn not have shoulder problems.

Posted by Jerell 07/01/2009 at 10:49 AM

Samantha, I disagree about her shoulder being there.

Sharapova was occasionally hitting in the 105 to 100 range on serve, and her fastest serve was 113.

She is the same player she was in 2004, 2006, and early 2008. The game is just just stronger right now. That's why Ivanovic has fallen so rapidly, besides her confidence going away of course.

Posted by Guttaboy44 07/01/2009 at 11:19 AM

"Wimbledon, et.al. - you have lowered yourself in my eyes. I have no respect for your ways. I'm glad Rafa wasn't here this year. No telling where they would have put that little brown boy!"

Mrs. Tennis, you do realize that Spaniards are not "brown," but are actually white Europeans.

Posted by Bobby 07/01/2009 at 01:23 PM

I initially didn't get the part about the Indian Wells trophy being Serena's favorite makeup-brush holder. Now that I do… ouch is right… go, Serena! As for the quarterfinal matches, the Williams sisters played the best tennis I've ever seen them play. It was also nice to see them both playing well on the same day. Altogether impressive!

Posted by phillykat 07/01/2009 at 01:47 PM

mick1303, I neglected to include quotation marks, but my 1:10AM post bagan with the earlier post from AA, so I did not originate that Sharapova only has 1/10 of the Williamses achievements. (Not that it matters a whole bunch, Pete's blog was about the WS but someone we posters got off-topic.)

Sharapova's 3 Slams, on 3 differnt surfaces at her age speaks volumes for her extreme talent. My take on the OP comment was that when considering that V & S have won over the long haul, after personal tragedy and injury, and withstood the young up & comers on the biggest stage (the Slams) Sharapova has not proven herself to this standard. (this may have not been the OP intent, just my take on it)

If Sharapova cannot come up with the necessary improvements to her movement and serve issues and the Azarenka's and Wozniakis comethrough on their potential, Sharpie might be done for in the Slam count. However, she seems to determined and gritty not to make the tweaks to get herself back in the throes of getting to a Slam final.

But back to Venus and Serena. I loved this post because with all the hoopla on the ATP/Murraymania/TMF (TMF deservedly so) I think Venus in particular has gotten shortchanged. She IS the 2-time defending champ, she does hold 5 Wimby titles, going for her 6th, yeah she's gotten accolades, but much like the Vee/ReRe final being overshadowed by "THE GREATEST MATCH EVER", she just appears not to be fully recognized this year either. Some players greatness is fully lauded while they are still playing (ie TMF, Rafa) yet is seems to begrudgingly acknowledge that oh,yeah, Venus has won Wimby 5 times, so. I marvel at the fact that this young lady is still here playing beautiful tennis on the lawns of Wimbledon this entire DECADE.

Posted by AA 07/01/2009 at 03:26 PM

I agree about Venus. Why doesn't she ever get the hype and attention she should and deserves? Again, something I don't get.

Phillycat, concur fully with your second paragraph. That's what I've been trying to say. But thanks all for hearing me out.

Posted by AA 07/01/2009 at 03:29 PM

Also like to add that even determination and grit can wane after taking a few hard losses ( see Henin, Hewitt-where did his much lauded grit go?) Again, in her case this remains to be seen. Until then NO comparisons to the Williamses is valid nor accurate.

Posted by AA 07/01/2009 at 03:31 PM

Agreed with Phillycat's second paragraph. That's what I've been trying to say. But thanks all for hearing me out.

Posted by tina 07/02/2009 at 11:37 AM

why do I find myself wondering where samantha might place Seles? Or, heck, Navratilova? And, of course, I agree with jbrad, that Capriati's triumphant comeback was one of this sport's great stories. I have never been a Bratapova fan, so the hypotheticals about her future don't interest me.

And yeah, while I tend to prefer Serena's feistiness, I must agree that people forget too easily what Venus has accomplished here.


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