Re: The Reliable Three
Fans of the ol' big four won't like this. But the truth is right now for better or worse, Wozniacki, Clijsters and Zvonareva are the top 3 in the world and certainly the three most consistent players on the tour and the toughest to defeat as well.
I know how the arguments go...yeah but they are only winning because the real big 4 are either not fit or or they are out with injuries. It is true. This can't be questioned. Venus and Justine are both struggling for fitness and not at their best and of course the "real" number 1 is AWOL. Once the "real" number one returns from injuries she will quickly restore world order and reclaim her place as the best current player in the world, it is argued.
But will she? Serena Williams will be thirty immediately after the US Open. Winning Grand Slams after the age of 30 is a very rare thing. Of the 172 Grand Slam titles given out in the Open Era only 11 of them have gone to players over thirty. Only five players in the Open Era can claim to have won a Grand Slam title past their 30th birthday and none of those 5 won more than 3. And Incredibly only one single Grand Slam title has been won past the age of 32.
When Serena Williams returns to tennis, and there is no indication yet as to when that might be, she will at the very least match her longest period of inactivity since becoming pro, that period being between Wimbledon 2003 to Miami 2004. When Serena came back at Miami she did win her 1st tournament back. However she would then go on to win only three more titles, two of them the Australian Open, over the next three years.
This time around, she will be substantially older than in 2004 and unlike 2004 when the death of her sister was largely responsible for Serena's extended leave of the tour, this time she will be out soley due to her foot injury, an injury that has pretty much prevented her from practicing for almost the entire period she has been out.
Personally I would say to assume she will simply pick up where she left off after such an extended time out is optimistic at best. Anyone who follows the game knows how difficult it is for most players on the tour to regain their preinjury form when they have been forced to take an extended period away from the tour. Given the severity of her injury, the extended period out and her age, I do not believe we can comfortably assume she will ever return to her preinjury form.
I know I will probably be labeled a "hater" for stating this but I do not consider that to be justified. My motivation in writing this is simply to encourage her fans to have realistic expectations once she does return to the tour and thereby prevent themselves from being too disappointed if it turns out she is unable to regain her preinjury level.
Let me be very clear, Serena Williams is without question the best player of her generation and one of the four or five best players of the open era. Furthermore there is not a single player in the game who has even the smallest remotest chance of surpassing her accomplishments. But she is still flesh and blood. Injuries can hamper even the best of players from returning to their best level. We only need to look at Sharapova to be reminded of this.
Perhaps, great champion that she is, Serena Williams will be that rare exception, a player who can comeback from an extended period off and pick up where she left off. She certainly has sprung some impressive surprises in the past. But I would have to say were Serena to comeback after this foot injury and go on to win more Grand Slams I would consider it to be the most remarkable and impressive achievement of her career and you can put it on record that should that happen I will be as fullsome with praise and admiration as any of her fans could be.
That said, until the time that Serena proves that she is back as a force and for that matter until such time as Venus and Henin demostrate they are back as forces I think we have to accept that right now the three best players in the world are indeed the three who are the highest ranked namely, Wozniacki, Clijsters and Zvonareva.
Last edited by Shvedbarilescu; Jan 24th, 2011 at 09:04 PM.