Who's gonna get aggressive?
You all saw the Wimbledon final. Venus was covering the baseline like a gazelle jacked up on amphetamines, and she got beat in straight sets. Face it sports fans, you're not beatin' Serena from the baseline. Patty Schnyder didn't beat her from the baseline. Justine didn't beat her from the baseline. Basedliners won in the past because Serena went Wild Thing. Now she justs blasts away at the opponent, tossing in the occasional slice or drop shot, waiting for a weak return she can move in and kill. 'Just blasts away'. Understand, these groundstrokes are DEEP, and they are often ON the lines.
Playing baseline defense is suicide. Serena treats it like a shooting gallery. The only tactic offering a hope for success is aggression. Not 'I can hit the ball harder than you'. But rather tactical aggression and 'first strike' aggression. You have to take control of the point from the first stroke of the racket, and IMMEDIATELY try to force a weak return, and kill it. You can do it like Martina, you can do it like Venus, You can do it like Monica, but you better do it because Serena is going for control right away, and when she gets it she tries to force errors. She's jumps every weak return and follows it to net. Serve and volley its not, but it is good all court tennis.
So? Who's going to change? It's not so easy. You notice Venus played the same way she did the last two times. I cannot imagine Jelena Dokic aggressively seeking the net. Justine Henin, OTOH, clearly already understands the dynamic involved.
Who's going to take THEIR game to the level of aggression necessary to match Serena? Serena winds up playing three feet inside the baseline every match, because she just wills the whole match forward. She just constantly pressing, attacking, trying to wear you down or break you down. But she's vulnerable to that to, as Justine showed in Berlin. Patty quite honestly made her look a bit silly at Charleston. Serena just couldn't handle her. Patty threw everything at her but the kitchen sink. But I digress.
Who's coming off the baseline this hardcourt season, and meeting Serena and FIGHTING for dominance of attack, and therefore dominance of the net?
Who's going to use tactics that force other players into errors? For example, a real sharp angle shot pulls the opponent out of court, and puts them in a position where they almost have less risk by going for the winner. If this player is Elena Dementieva or Jennifer Capriati, you just lost the point. But it you go down the line the other way, and move in, taking the next ball on the rsie, you get a MUCH sharper angle. Or course, you're in 'no man's land'. So the return may land at your feet. If you half-volley like jusine, no problemo.
Anyway that's what I mean by 'aggresive'. Hitting hard is only half the trick. Venus Williams explained her French Open success this year by saying 'mostly, I'm trying not to hit the ball so hard'. But word to Monica, Venus, Lindsay, Jelena and Jenn. That baseline thing is passe. Okay Venus will continue to get some wins, because of her serve, court coverage and nuclear weaponry. But the head-to-head will inextolerably tilt Serena's way, if Venus keeps trying to camp out back there. The slower the baseline, the worse Serena will make them look.
Well, that was verbose. So who's your choice?
Proud to be an American
Not blind. Not uninformed. We are party to atrocities. But the response of the world after 9/11 is worth noting. Even our most dire enemies offered aid. We should all be so lucky.