There are only THREE groups of Slam contenders
After three months of good and bad tennis on the WTA tour, it has become very apparent that there are only six Grand Slam contenders, in three different groups.
GROUP I (the best players on tour)
Honestly, no one has had a better year than Capriati, and no one is better than Serena. For a while now I've said Serena is the better sister (better ground strokes, better serve, more touch, better return) but was always told to look at the head-to-head, the Slam titles, etc. Serena is just too strong, too fast, and lately, too consistent to be beaten. Maybe on clay, on a bad day, someone like Martina or Jennifer can beat her, but in her current form, she could dominate. As for Jennifer, she is a better fighter than anyone on tour, and although she has losing records to most players (Venus, Lindsay, Martina), she is without a doubt the second best right now and the best this year overall.
Group II (players who should win a Slam on their surface)
Martina is having the best year as far as points are concerned, and Venus is having the best year as far as titles are concerned. Martina is the better player (IMO), and I think Venus' one-dimensional game is catching up to her. Similarly, Martina's lack of power has already caught up to her (three years and counting). Both of these players are usually considered the favorite heading in to matches, and share the best rivalry. But again, I see both of them losing to Capriati and Serena unless Martina plays them on clay and Venus on grass.
Group III (Slam threats, not favorites)
Monica Seles hits it harder than anyone except Lindsay Davenport, and Kim Clijsters hits it harder than anyone except...Monica Seles and Lindsay Davenport. Monica showed against Venus and Capriati this year that she hits it hard, flat, and pinpoint, and can beat any player on any day. Kim is a future number 1 IMO, and runs faster than anyone, but is too explosive and erratic (like the old Serena) on her shots. Once she gets some consistence, watch for Kim, the best "raw" talent, to win some Slams.
There you have it. Anyone outside of these six players is just not a Slam contenders IMO. Serena is the best right now, Jen is close behind, Martina and Venus are favorites on clay and grass, and Monica and Kim are the x-factors. Thoughts?