Laj, your points were completely credible and logical. And I'm not the only one who thinks this.
What I don't understand is why so many posters feel that double Olympic Gold is on the same level as a Tier I tournament.
Come on people. Are you all serious?
So what, Serena flubbed the FO. Small deal there.
She still returned thereafter to annihilate the field on the largest stages for the second half of this year.
I could possibly accept that 2002 is equal to 2012 in terms to tournament success. However, Serena did not win the 2002 YEC, and also there was no Olympics that year. But this year she took both, and in dominating fashion.
IMHO, these are the two events that sets 2012 and 2002 apart for me.
As far as Serena being a step faster in 2002. I agree that she was.
But today, she no longer has to be as fast as her 2002 self since she is a more complete player, and has a wider arsenal of shots on which to fall back on to negate the necessity of speed. Though even in 2012, she's still one of the fastest WTA athletes in the field.
So speed is negligible in the overall argument.
No one has yet truly demonstrated how 2002 is superior to 2012. Even in terms of achievements.
What I've been reading is all relative opinion.
That said, I maintain that 2012 was a monster year for Serena, and edges out 2002.