Still The Queen? Venus Williams
Still The Queen?
(LTMN.com) June 23, 2003
Two-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams returns to Wimbledon this year a mystery;
in somewhat the same manner in which she debuted at the Lawn Tennis Championships back in 1997. The
only woman currently on tour to beat Venus in London just happens to be her younger sister and
world number one Serena Williams. Venus has twice beaten newly crowned French Open
champion Justine Henin at Wimbledon, but Henin, world number two Kim Clijsters and more
of the field may feel more of a chance this year to win against Venus now that her
game may not be so devistating in their minds due to recent setbacks from Venus.
Coming off a fourth round exit at the French Open to upcoming Russian Vera Zvonareva, Venus Williams
looks to shake off rust and a stomach injury and should not face too many problems early in her
draw. A fourth round rematch with Zvonareva looks likely, but Williams' first test could be a
Lindsay Davenport quarterfinal match or facing Clijsters or surprise Eastbourne winner Chanda Rubin
in the semifinals. If Venus is serving and moving well, she should leep into the final where she
could face Serena Willians, Jennifer Capriati or Justine Henin.
If grass court form holds another all-Williams final should occur but will Venus be ready this time?
After losing four straight matches to Serena, Venus employed a new tactic in rushing the net against
Serena in Melbourne almost successfully. But her forehand and second serve faltered as is a pattern with
Venus in that her techniques breakdown under pressure at key times.
Mentally Venus seems reserved but hungry for another grand slam title and this may be her best
chance. Williams has the longest wingspan and fastest serve on the WTA Tour but often succombs to
unforced errors late in a three set match. Venus will need to cut her errors and also her baseline
game. Getting to the net should be a priority for Venus.
Clijsters, Henin, Davenport and both Williams sisters all could do themselves well with a victory
this year on the grass. For Clijsters a victory or final showing would mean the number one ranking due in
part to Serena Williams' limited competition of only 15 events the last 52 weeks. Justine Henin
will look to build on her Paris win and Davenport will seek once again to regain her pre-surgery form.
An early exit from Serena would for sure mean the loss of her number one ranking. But possibly Venus
Williams desperately wishes to end her losing streak and silence those who say she is not serious about
tennis or inferior to Serena in talent.
Last year a sore shoulder prevented Venus from playing her best. But I think Venus has the game to beat
Serena this year on grass. Venus must attack before Serena can. Once Serena takes control of the rallies
she will never let up. This is why Venus must get to the net. Serena Williams does have weaknesses but
they are much better hidden than the weaknesses of most other top players. Serena can be attacked from the net or rushed and frustrated at the baseline but this is very difficult. There is no shaky place to which to hit. Venus must realize these strengths of Serena and then make these work against her. When Serena runs, Venus must wrongfoot her. No matter the big serves, Venus must return them well and hard to Serena's body. Venus must not forget to take care of her own game as well. Risking doublefaults may wellbe better than a second serve that gets punished. Also Venus must go after her own forehand and hit it with conviction but also more topspin.
Anything less than a win will be a major dissapointment for Venus. After all in her mind Venus Williams is
still the queen.
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