There are many things that can be said of Serena Williams’ tennis, especially so when she puts on her A-game level of performance - that which demonstrates that she is undoubtedly the very “best [female tennis player] ever”- L. Jon Wertheim (a sentiment I personally hold to quite vehemently). First among others, on keen observation most everyone note that the Serena Serve “is the best ever seen in the women’s game”- Martina Navratilova, Pam Shriver, Mary Joe Fernandez, Lindsay Davenport, etc. Secondly, that when she is on her A-game “Serena is practically unbeatable”- Chris Evert & Monica Seles. Thirdly, “she is a dynamic athlete and quite simply the strongest female player the game has ever known”- Pat Cash. Fourthly, “Serena's will to win is incomparable to any other player”- Chris Evert & Mary Carillo.
It was Lindsay Davenport, who I first heard about 10 years ago, opined on how much difficult it is to play Serena particularly on how much pressure she puts on her opponent serves (both first and second)simply on account of her enormous ability to return serve with tendency to punish all second serves-short or long. Davenport says Serena force her opponents into more double-faults than anyone else she (Davenport) knows. But to me, among the many weapons Serena has in her arsenal is her ability to execute forehand return shots from opponent’s first serves with such a precision, speed, ferocity, and fury the likes of which has never been seen from anyone else in the sport – male or female. It is Serena’s boxer punch-like forehand return of first serve.
Upon review of the 2003 Australian Open Women’s Finals Highlights you will witness the existence of this special shot of Serena Williams-observe how peculiarly Serena hits a forehand return shot to return a 117 mph first serve from Venus with much more mustard (power) than she received it. Check this out at around 4.44 min of the following video: http://youtu.be/6d6up7iQE_0
. This same shot was on display when Serena beats Lindsay Davenport at the 2003 Charleston semifinals, and when Serena totally destroys Barbara Schett and Amelie Mauresmo at the 2003 French Open. Last week in Madrid while playing Sharapova, Serena puts this peculiar shot on display once again. Check it out at around 2.58 min of the following video: http://youtu.be/N2g1izw_IeQ
. In amazement, the Eurosports commentator wished out load there was radar gun to measure the speed of that particular shot. He remarks further that that is the most remarkable shot he has seen all year.
The Serena Williams’ boxer punch -like forehand return of first serves is one of the most remarkable shots in professional tennis and it is peculiarly hers.