Did Serena Williams Clay court season surprise you? - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2002, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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Did Serena Williams Clay court season surprise you?

Serena made the quarters or semifinals of Family Circle Cup, the final at the German Open and WON the Italian Open, and in style too, I might add, so did this surprise some of you who thought Serena needed more time to adjust on clay? Personally I knew she had game, but needed to work on her patience a bit. But I knew she had the game to win a big tourney on the red dirt. Even though I knew she would win a clay tourney, I must say the way she moved and played from the FCC to the way she played in Germany and the Italian Open, kinda surprised me somewhat, because she adjusted so quickly, and she moved pretty darn good on the clay, and played a smart clay court game.

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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2002, 10:33 PM
 
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I'll admit that I was surprised that she played the full clay season .

Not surprised by the results though really - Serena has always been someone who doesn't lost often, irrespective of the surface .
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2002, 10:35 PM
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She surprised me too Dawn. I didn't think Serena had gained the patience or the confidence to play on clay yet to be able to defeat legitimate clay courters in such resounding fashion. She even said herself that people were saying she (and Venus) couldn't play on clay, and we Williams fans know about all the prophesies posted on this message board. Leave it to Venus and Serena to march to a different beat.

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2002, 10:42 PM
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In a way, I was a bit suprised, but not really. Serena has played the hell out of some tennis since she came back from the ankle injury this year. She's shown such determination and drive, that I sort of expected her to do well, even on clay. I think Serena can conquer anything she sets her sights on.

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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2002, 10:43 PM
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Yes. I would have been happy with one semi, ecstatic at a final. This clay court season has been like Christmas. All Williams all the time. (And the week one of them DIDN'T play in the final, it was Patty vs Iva, rather a treat for 'nostalgia buffs'. )
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2002, 10:43 PM
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I think Serena can win BOTH The French Open AND Wimbledon.

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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2002, 10:43 PM
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no not really, ever since her defeat to jen cap at wimbledon serena has been playing as though she's possesed!!, i knew she would do well this year irresepctive of the surface, she seems determined and has the game to win on any surface if she is determined enough.....
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2002, 11:16 PM
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I was not suprise one bit. After her match with Patty. I knew she realized she had to be patient. She almost won that match playing an all out tennis.

I have been challenging the doubters here for a while on this.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2002, 11:35 PM
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Yes it did. Before this season, I was pretty much expecting a mediocre performance like last year's FO when Serena choked. Thank goodness it's a new day!


Go Serena!!!
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2002, 11:42 PM
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I wasn't surprised by the results themselves, by surprised by the fact that she actually played 3 clay events before Roland Garros. Nice to see.

If anything I was surprised she didn't do more. Serena, whether she is a "clay specialist" or not, is considered a favourite on any surface, and capable of beating anyone on any surface aswell. I was surprised she lost quarterfinals of Family Cicrcle Cup, because I expected to see her in the finals, and I was also surprised she didn't win the German Open because I considered her the favourite against Justine. But I think those losses were good for her, because she probably learned a lot as far as what she needs to do to adjust on clay, and she showed that in Rome by winning the title, so I think this preparation could be the difference to her at Roland Garros if she is going to finally make a big breakthrough there.
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2002, 11:52 PM
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I'm a Serena fan, but I was surprised. I never thought she was "terrible" on clay as many people have said about her, but I didn't think her game, particularly her patience (or lack thereof) and apparent dislike for long baseline rallies, was well-suited to clay. I wasn't certain Serena really cared about improving those aspects either, as she over the past couple of years has avoided most clay events. I saw her QF match at FCC in person, and she didn't seem too hot on clay to me. She couldn't slide well, didn't seem to even be trying to do so, was making semi-crazy shots to end rallies (most of them worked, lol), but the surface seemed foreign to her like she was battling it. To my surprise, I watched the Italian Open final and semifinal, it was like she was another player. No, she doesn't slide as easily as Justine or other people who "truly" have grown up on clay (though I think her size and weight don't lend themselves well to a great slide), but as a player, she was, in my opinion, totally transformed. I think Venus was the same before 1999. Venus had an aversion to the surface. Then in 1999, Venus just dug in, entered the tournaments, and tried her best. She ended up with 2 big titles, Hamburg and Rome with quality wins over Mary Pierce and Martina Hingis. I was waiting for Serena to do the same, just don't be scared, enter the darn events, be willing to take some losses, and learn how to gut it out. Until this year, I wasn't sure Serena was willing to do this. But she did, and she seems to have conquered what I think was a mental dislike or even block for the surface. While I'm not getting my hopes up at the French Open for her because she may have conquered those demons one tournament too early, Serena is streaky, and she seems to have a lot of confidence right now. Serena breaks a lot of rules of the game. Maybe she'll break the Italian Open curse. Remember her bailing from the Canadian in 99? It didn't matter at all. While I wouldn't place money on her for the French Open, she is a real threat at the French now, more than ever before. If she plays long term, she will win it one day, in my opinion! Tennis is so crazy now, I'd do better betting at craps or roulette.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2002, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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I wasn't surprised that she actually played more clay tourneys this year as she was healthy going in, and she has been saying that she is going to play more this year. Randy, Serena is a threat on any surface, you're correct, but her movement during the Italian Open and her shot selection, was really sweet to see, and frankly I think Serena could very well win the RG slam. Heck I can see Serena winning the NEXT 3 slams, barring injury. *Knock on Wood*

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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old May 21st, 2002, 12:05 AM
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Definitely the movement and patience are a key improvement Dawn. I too saw her against Patty in Charleston, and although she was definitely capable of winning the match, it was just a few crucial errors here and there that made all the difference. Patty was obviously more comfortable on the clay, and Serena was still able to make it so close based on raw power and ability, but she did lack the sliding techniques, and particularly the patience (have 15-40 to send it to a tiebreaker, she netted 4 straight returns).

Her power alone can bring her far, and beating Henin in that final was probably great for her mentally, and also shows that she is becoming more patient, and developing the necessary skills that could be the difference between champion and quarter/semifinalist.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old May 21st, 2002, 12:06 AM
 
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I agree with the people who were surprised that she played a full clay season. It may be true that she has previously only not played because of injury, I just had the impression she chose not to play because she didn't like it. I think Serena's big challenge is staying healthy and I'm glad to see her doing that.
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old May 21st, 2002, 12:43 AM
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Personnally, I don't think surface matters as much in women's tennis as it does in men's. As a result, I was bemused by all this talk a couple of months ago as to whether Venus or Serena was a good claycourter. Given that many posters thought they were not, I started to question my own position. After all, one can always overlook something. So, I was watching to see if I was on solid ground. Serena (and Venus to some extent) proved to me that I was.

Now, was I surprised? No. I was just content.

However, there is still Davenport who does marvel everywhere else but on clay, thereby throwing off my theory of surface irrelevance in women's game. Oh well!

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