So…Who Can Stop the Williams Domination? (LONG) - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 58 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2002, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Question So…Who Can Stop the Williams Domination? (LONG)

The Williams sisters, in 2002, have all but shut out the competition. Many fans have been saying they have been the best for a few years now, but it was easy for detractors to point to underachieving Grand Slam results, an underachieving ranking, too few tournaments, and a losing record against other top players. Everything was an “if” or a “maybe” (maybe if they can win on clay, maybe if they get to #1 or #2, maybe if they play more tournaments).

But Venus’ recent win over Martina Hingis was the official nail on the coffin: nobody in women’s tennis is better than the Williams sisters.

Not that I think they are great tennis players in the traditional sense, nor do I think they are better than players like Hingis or Capriati at their prime. Nor do I think they have “pretty” games, and they aren’t earth shattering doubles players.

But when a Williams sister walks out on the court against anybody, they are the favorite, by far. Let us face it: their last dozen or so losses, they beat themselves. The only recent matches (not against each other) where I can truly say “okay, the other player WON, the Williams didn’t hand it to them” was in the last two Australian Opens: Seles against Venus, Hingis against Serena. That’s one loss per year where the other player actually “wins”, in a sense. That just shows how dictating they are.

The question is, how long will this trend last? Is there anybody who can beat a Williams sister at least 50% of the time? Let’s look at the top players, and how they tend to do against Venus and Serena.

Martina Hingis

Up until last year, Hingis was the thorn in the backside of Venus and Serena. Winning records against both of them, a brutal 6-1 6-1 crushing of Venus, eliminated them in many Slams, etc. In fact, Hingis would make jokes about it. But since Australia 2001, Hingis is 0-5 against the Williams sisters. Four of those losses were in straight sets, two were under an hour, and the one three set match against Serena never appeared close anyway. Her loss to Venus today on clay is perhaps the most telltale sign; she lost to the sister she prefers to play on the surface she prefers to play on.

So what can she do? For Hingis, I would hate to say her time is up, but it is. I think she has more Slams to win, and will beat Venus and Serena many more times, but it is hard to see her beating them consistently. They keep improving, and Martina is maxed-out. What can she do to improve her game, really? For her physical restrictions, she does what she can. First, she needs to consistently beat the Tier II power players (Capriati, Dementieva, Dokic, etc) before she tries to tackle the Williams sisters.

Lindsay Davenport

Here is a player who always beat Venus, but like Hingis, has lost that dominance and gone zero for her last five against the sisters. She is the only player on tour who truly has as much power and more consistence than the Williams sisters, and the only player who can match their serves in mph. But the problem here is simple: Davenport is tall, strong, and aggressive. The Williams sisters are tall, strong, aggressive, and FAST.

I cannot picture Lindsay scoring many more wins against either sister. If she does, it will be a service-holding affair. Besides, Lindsay’s commitment to the game has been shoddy: constant injuries, and the fact that she seems content to not play tennis points to retirement some time soon.

Jennifer Capriati

Capriati is zero for her last five against the Williams sisters, and her seeming dominance of Serena has ended. The problem with Capriati is she is “Williams 90%”. She runs 90% as fast as them, hits it 90% as hard, serves it 90% as well, mixes is it up 90% as much, is 90% as successful as them at net, hits 90% as many winners. The problem with this is of course, she does nothing better. Maybe Jen has a better forehand, but not as good of a backhand as either of them. So what this means is that if both Jen and Venus/Serena are playing their best, Jen will lose. And Venus and Serena have been playing their best a lost recently. However, of all the players, Jen is CURRENTLY the biggest threat to take a Williams sister if either of them are slightly off their game.

Monica Seles

She deserves a round of applause. Of all the players on tour (besides Shaughnessy), Monica is the only one who has a good recent record against the Williams sisters…she is two for her last three. And full credit goes to her for her win over Venus in Australia (despite what some say, Venus showed no signs of injury except in the first set, the set Venus won anyway). But the times Monica has been winning she has been “in the zone”, if you will, playing at 100%. I put her in the “Lindsay Davenport” category…she can beat the Williams sisters every once in a while if she serves good enough.

Justine Henin

I have a hard time picturing Justine ever beating a Williams sister. Yes, you heard me right. She just doesn’t have the game. She does everything almost as well as the Williams sisters, but makes more errors doing it. Perhaps she tries too hard on each shot, and maybe it is her serve. But Serena has crushed Henin in the past, and if it’s not on clay, Venus has too. The problem is, once she gets close, Henin has a choking problem. Henin might stop one of them at Roland Garros in the future. Other than that…

So there are most of the top players on tour, and all of them are rather SOL when they play Venus or Serena. From this point forth I see each winning about ¼ times. So can anyone beat the Williams sisters consistently? No, not at all. But there are two players who have the potential.

Kim Clijsters

Kim Clijsters, you say? Absolutely. Although her last two matches against the sisters were jokes (a 6-2 6-0 crushing at the hands of Serena, and the official ugliest match ever at the US Open quarters to the hands of Venus), she has more game than any other top ten player. She runs as fast as both sisters, but moves less awkwardly. She hits the ball off the ground with at least as much velocity as both players, but with more depth and topspin. She volleys better, and has much better drop shots and slices. So why has she come close to but never beaten either sister?

She has two problems: her serve and her consistency. When Venus makes an error, it is because she is going for the winner. Kim Clijsters goes on into these funks where she makes errors just for the sake of making errors…where every shot she hits, even if she’s not going for anything, sails long. Her other problem is her serve. This is the only part of her game that will absolutely never become as good as Venus’ or Serena’s. But other than that, she has the potential to do everything they do, but better, when she “fills out” her game.

Daniela Hantuchova

Here is the biggest question mark, the wild card. Daniela has the forehand, backhand, and court coverage of Venus, the great second serve of Serena, and some nice variety. But what she lacks is consistency and experience. She gets nervous, and tends to send balls into the net. That’s fine: Venus used to do the exact same thing when she was a young player on tour. Daniela is the Venus of three years ago, no doubt. She should iron that out. But this will take time: she needs to get matches under her belt before she becomes completely comfortable. Not to mention the fact that she might not always get to play Venus or Serena, as she tends to lose early.

So there you have it. Kim Clijsters is, realistically, the next major threat to Venus and Serena, with Daniela Hantuchova close behind. But with these players still young and learning how to complete their games, the next two or three years are wide-open for Venus and Serena.

So what do you think? Do you think there is any player who currently can beat a sister half the times they play, or are there young players with the potential? Thoughts?
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post #2 of 58 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2002, 09:41 PM
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Absolutely agree! Finally someone that doesn't ignore Kim! Did you know that Kim was last year 5/3 ahead of Serena in the finals of indian wells in the last set? But then she missed som experiance so that Serena still won that match.

But now if Kim has a good day, she can beat Venus and Serena, especially on clay. Maybe tomorrow in Hamburg or maybe Serena in the SF of Berlin... We'll see, but one day I know she will do it

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post #3 of 58 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2002, 09:44 PM
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I appreciate the time taken to do this RockSteady, but why no mention of Jelena Dokic? Just a thought!

I'm going out now, but I'll take time to think through what you've written later.


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post #4 of 58 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2002, 09:44 PM
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Wow great post. I agree with almost everything you said, but the fact of the matter is that not every day will be for Venus and Serena. Oh I would love it if they won all the time but that just isn't reasonable. Witness, sandrine testud, patty snyder and as you mentioned, monica seles have take out a williams sister this year.

To me their current level of play just reinforces what people said years ago, that the two have yet to realize their potential. In fact even today the sisters supreme can improve on so much that they can only get better and better and better with the proper commitment to the game.

I'm so sure about kim but I think youre dead on with daniela. That girl is little vee and will one day slug it out with her for tour dominance.

I do think you write lindsay off a little too early though. The woman is what 25? I think jennifer is older than lindsay so she still has at least five more years left.

Martina can still gain back lost ground if only she would improve her serve. she needs to seriously consider rebuilding it like henin did.

jen, well I'm not too fond of her at all. In my mind she has become since winning the 2001 AO the evil stepchild of the wta. she has a great game but sometimes her behavior and attitude sucks the big one.

henin is so lovely to watch. I think if she can get a grip on her mental block that she will continue to flourish as a player, the same with kim really but somehow i just dont see kim challenging the sisters though im probably wrong.

monica, well i love her to death but really I'm thinking she has only two or three years left to grab another slam. so she better grab it while the grabbing is good.
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post #5 of 58 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2002, 09:54 PM
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Great analysis RockSteady.

Whereas, I don't see anyone in the future beating them with any consistency. I see them beating themselves. I measure them against themselves.

Therefore, I see Serena dominating. She REALLY wants it. She has the fire and the drive. I remember Richard (the father) stating that all Serena thinks about is her game. That told me alot. She's focusing, a few tweaks here and there and its Cruise Control.
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post #6 of 58 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2002, 09:55 PM
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I agree that the William sisters are very dominated. And thank you for taking Kim serious!!
But what I don't like about the Williams sister is their father Richard. He thinks that WTA stands for Williams tennis association and says that his girls are the best. Well, I think that a little bit modisty is needed for this man. It' s true that his girls are very good but he must show also respect for other players.

Anyway I hope that Kim will win tomorrow!!!

A huge Lleyki

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post #7 of 58 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2002, 09:55 PM
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Great post, RockSteady, and good reply Cybelle.

I do think the FASHION business might do it.

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post #8 of 58 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2002, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by cybelledarkholmexx
I'm so sure about kim but I think youre dead on with daniela. That girl is little vee and will one day slug it out with her for tour dominance.
Who's little vee? Kim or Daniela?

A man may fight for many things. His country, his friends, his principles, the glistening ear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally, I'd mud-wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock and a sack of French porn.
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post #9 of 58 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2002, 10:00 PM
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I think you should learn to judge people on their actions and not the actions of their parents. I know a some very honest and good people who parents just happen to be racist pigheaded snots. Does that mean I have to turn around and dislike their children if their children are nothing like them? My answer is no and hope yours would be too.

You see I like Richard and take what he says with a grain of salt. I think too many people try to take him seriously when he is really just having fun at their expense. And even if he means every word, he is not his daugters. They are the tennis players not him. The same goes with jennifer and stefano, i will never blame jennifer for the antics of her father. He has to be accountable for himself, not his daughter


little vee is daniela because her game and body type is so similar to venus

kim is her own woman.

Last edited by Cybelle Darkholme; May 4th, 2002 at 10:24 PM.
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post #10 of 58 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2002, 10:07 PM
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I didn't mean to say that I don't like Venus and Serena because I do like them. But Richard not, on the circuit he is not a popular man and I understand why. Serious, sometimes he have to watch his mounth and change his attitude.

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post #11 of 58 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2002, 10:18 PM
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Well, Kim is ranked #3. The fact that she's the 'next' big challenge isn't rocket science.

Any player who wants to beat Venus and Serena consistently has to improve over their own current level.

Jenn won't become a better player than she is now.
Lindsay won't become a better player than she is now.
Monica won't become a better player than she is now.

Martina COULD become a better player than she is now. Enough better to challenge Venus and Serena? Quien sabe?

Kim WILL become a better player than she is now. And the player she is now is #3 in the world and made the RG final last year.
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post #12 of 58 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2002, 10:20 PM
 
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I basically agree with what you wrote Rocksteady except that I think you underestimate the potential for Lindsay to beat Williams sisters if she returns to full health. I think we have to wait until she comes back.

Also, if she stays healthy for long enough, I think that Amelie will eventually post some wins over Serena and Venus in the future. She has the game to, although I have to admit I can't see it happening in the imminent future.
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post #13 of 58 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2002, 10:25 PM
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Quote:
Not that I think they are great tennis players in the traditional sense, nor do I think they are better than players like Hingis or Capriati at their prime. Nor do I think they have “pretty” games, and they aren’t earth shattering doubles players.
Okay so how does one play great tennis in the traditional sense

Let's see Hingis' time of dominance was in a vacuum. Now that the rest of the field has caught up she is what she always was...a good player with no weapons but a love of strategy.

Capriati...Just lol, you'll have to forgive me.

Was this supposed to be a compliment, cause it's not. More importantly it shows just how bitter you are that these two "non traditional" players just may be the greatest ever...besides Steffi. Afterall they are reigning over the toughest competition women's tennis ever faced
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post #14 of 58 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2002, 10:36 PM
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I don't agree regarding the two Belgians.

Kim isn't as fast as Venus and Serena, she slides on hardcourts to get to the ball, but that's dangerous.

She doesn't hit as hard as them, not even close.

I agree she has a better overall game, she volleys better, places the ball better and moves better, but Kim is essentially a power player and with power alone, she is not going to beat the Williams sisters. To beat them in their own game you need to be stronger and/or faster than them and IMO nobody is. The big question is, does Kim have other weapons to beat them? maybe, but I haven't seen it yet.

Regarding Justine, she doesn't have a chance??? well, it's true that she chokes, it's true that her serve sucks at the moment and she is in a bit of a slump.

But what other player has had Venus 6-2 4-0?, she was one point away of being 5-0 in the second set.

Justine doesn't have Kim's power, but has more variety in her game, something that IMO is the only thing that can beat the Williams sisters if they are on. She needs to keep focused the whole match, and she needs to stop choking. But the fact that she has choked against them is significant isn't it?, you can only choke if you are ahead, if you are favoured to win the match. What other top 10 players have been in that position in the last two years?

We all know that Serena was on fire at the US Open last year, and yes, she won the second set against Justine 6-0, but Justine just gave up in that set, the first set was very close and wasn't decided until the very end, at some point in the match, Justine was even dictating, how many player have dictated against Serena on hardcourts?

What I mean, she does have the weapons, I don't mean it's easy or will happen often, and she obviously needs to overcome her mental problems, but that's all workable, it's much more difficult to develop new weapons. Think, if Justine has pushed Venus to 3 sets 4 times, serving like crap, do you imagine what she could do serving well?
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post #15 of 58 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2002, 10:59 PM
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I think the Williams are going to dominate but Kim, Justine and Jelena are going to be there. Lets face it if Jelena could just get a big serve she would be deadly. As soon as Kim can iron out her game a bit and get rifd of these weird injuries she should be a major force. I don't Justine is going to dominate the Williams on a very fast court, but on a slower surface should really win. Daniela Hatuchova is going to be a major threat also in future years. Don't count Lindsay out yet.

In general though there are several players who will challenge the Williams we don't even know about yet - the new generation over the next five years.
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