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.