This needed to be pointed out by going back into the archives for that specific underrated aspect of Maria's game which in our opinion she does better than her compatriot. Maria has innumerable qualities : kindness, passion, devotion... talents too and in the one she outshines the best, tennis, there's something for which she never gets recognition. Venus, praised as she could have been or can be for that does not reach in our opinion the height or flight of that specific attribute between the bigger ladies.
"She's indeed at her very best a better [...] than Venus Williams"
-- This statement is not bold it's more than reality when one ventures him/herself into the periods of Maria's brilliance... her footwork/movement is a fine piece of art but these are not the focus, just her defenses, how, what [...] she does in defensive situations is certainly.
The phrase then completes on it's own with the missing word to become as a whole "Maria at her very best defends better than Akgul Amanmuradova, Ana Ivanovic and [...]".
It becomes inappropriate then to justify our claims with illustrations...
Quick extract from the 2007 Ivanovic highlights to illustrate (one of many other matches) (1) :
4:36 - Forehand defense (requires exquisite amount of touch, quick hands/reactions, no/little time), cross-court backhand defense flick to get the angle (good left hand, balance moving backwards) and sprint forward to the dropper (how easy she gets there, could have even nagged the opponent).
7:00 - Again, forehand defense, anticipates too fast quick readjustments for the inside-out backhand, measured forehand lob.
7:25 - Back-hand pass #1 and #2, superb dropper [Opponent], anticipates good (could have only been another dropper) and wrong (not in the forehand side) readjusts dynamically to get to the back-hand, great lucidity and measures the lob.
8:47 - How she reads the game early and great improvisation, probably resumes all the above.
It then becomes convinient to establish Maria as one of the greatest thus most complete player to have ever played the WTA game.