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View Full Version : Discussion/Analysis on Serena's current game.


Nobody's Perfecc
Apr 24th, 2004, 07:52 AM
Current being Miami and her few matches at Amelia Island and Charleston. My observations will be mostly based on her matches at Miami. I never saw her AI and Charleston matches.

First of all, Serena's serve. This is the part of her game that still seems to be 100% intact. In the match against Sharapova, she hit several aces in the T in just one game. Her second serve is still great, although Sharapova did manage to attack a couple of short serves. I noticed that in the semifinal match against Eleni that she wasn't getting a full knee bend into her serve, which is what gives her the leverage for a powerful serve. It must've been bothering that day. Her serve speed that day was about the same, but she was using more arm in the service motion. I didn't notice a problem with the knee bend in the final, though. In her quarterfinal loss to Nadya Petrova in Amelia Island, I read that her knee was giving her a lot of trouble. I didn't see the match, but from the stats that I saw, the percentage won in her serve was very low. Did anyone see this match? Aside from that, her serve has been good overall.

Serena's groundstrokes. To me, it seems that Serena is less aggressive in rallies. I was watching some old matches yesterday and I noticed how much more aggressive she was even last year. Sharapova was overpowering her in some rallies, which shouldn't happen. In the few points that Elena Dementieva won in the final, she also overpowered Serena. Even Jill Craybas managed to overpower Serena in some points! She was attacking serves like the Serena of old, though. Her differential were mostly positive, more winners than errors. Her backhand was on against Sharapova. Her forehand is still probably the best in the tour. She lost some forehand battles against Sharapova and Dementieva, though, which concerns me a bit. Overall, I think Serena's groundstrokes are still good but not where it used to be.

Serena's movement. Her movement is still hampered. She's still speedy, sure, but I think she's a quarter of a step slower. It's not that noticeable, but it's there. It's probably a mental thing. She doesn't want to push herself to the limits for fear of damaging her knee again. She also seemed uncoordinated a few times. Hopefully, her knee will get better soon!

Serena's mental game. Still pretty good, but she hasn't really been tested mentally. Her win against Likhovtseva was in three sets, but I felt she wasn't really challenged mentally. She is still getting her anticipation back. Her first real mental test will probably be in Rome or the French Open.

Serena's strategy. Same, but I think she forgets to use the whole court sometimes. I also noticed that she forgot some of the deceptive strategies, like hitting behind the player.

Did I forget anything?

I think Serena still has some ways to go before she's back to her old form. It's that darn knee that is slowing her progress. If she keeps up her current rate of progress though, she should do well at Rome and French Open. I'm not expecting her to win, but I'll be rooting for her all the way.

So what do you guys think about the way Serena has been playing in her comeback? I know, it's great that she won her first title, but I'm talking about her game. Comparisons to her old form, observations, etc.

tennisjunky
Apr 24th, 2004, 09:00 AM
Serena's serve. I agree, no problems here. It may have to do with her good technique which helps in her being able to depend on it. Serena has always impressed me with both her first and second serves and comparing her serves in Miami to her serves last year, it’s hard to see a difference.

Serena’s return of service. I don’t think this aspect of her game is where it was last year. That may have to do with anticipation which plays a part in returning service. She’s still being aggressive and going for the winners on weaker serves, it just seems as though she was missing more than normal. Overall her return game still looks good, but I think it still has some ways to go before it was as good as it was last year.

Serena's groundstrokes. I actually don’t see that much of decline in the overall effectiveness on her strokes. In the last two years Serena has incorporated more angles and has been using more strategy in winning points. When Serena was playing in Miami I was real happy to notice her angles were looking just as good as before and I could also tell she was thinking a lot on court which also impressed me. When Serena is having a bad day one of two things is usually happening. She’s either going for winners and just not finding the lines. These are the times where she is error prone and ends up having a very large negative differential. The other thing that can happen when Serena is having an off day is that she will take off a lot of pace on her ground strokes. That’s what happened when she played Kim at Oz in 2003. When she was down it was partly due to her not really going for her shots, she got timid, which from time to time does happen, even to Serena. But in the end she was able to correct that problem by finding her aggression again. As for this year I have to disagree with you. I still think she’s playing an aggressive style of tennis just like she was when she was dominating. Sharapova is a player that Serena has never played before so you have to figure that during the first set Serena was feeling her out. Anyone can over power Serena on a single shot here and there, but there aren’t many players that are good enough to do it consistently enough throughout a match to beat her. Kim hits winners past Serena every once in a while, so why not Sharapova? Sharapova and Dementiava are going to win their fair share of battles on the forehand side that’s both of their weapons and they hit the ball just as hard as Serena does on the forehand side. The difference between them and Serena is when Serena is at her best she has the ability to chase down a “would be winner” and instead of hitting back a defensive shot, Serena can hit back a winner. Overall her groundstrokes seem just as lethal as ever to me.

Serena's movement. This is the area where Serena is not like the old Serena. I think this is the single biggest difference in Serena now and Serena then. To me she seemed a step slower and in Miami and there were a few balls that went by her that I thought the “old” Serena would have chased down. I think of all aspects of her game this is where she needs the most improvement. I really didn’t see her chase down that many balls and hit them back for winners, and that’s something that Serena is known for. Her aggressive game is still in tact, but her defensive game still needs a lot more work. Like you said hopefully, her knee will get better soon!

Serena's mental game. It’s hard to comment on this one. I want to say it’s as great as ever but with a stiff knee that has to play a part in her psyche so I don’t really know about that. If the past tells us anything then we shouldn’t worry too much about this aspect of her game. Winning her first title after her long layoff, had to do wonders for her confidence. I think her mental game, even at its worse, is better than average. She might not be at her all time high, but that’s just a matter of time.

Serena's strategy. Like I said earlier using angles is a good thing and it shows that she’s thinking about things on the court. As for her hitting directly to the player, Serena had actually commented that she noticed that she found herself always hitting the ball right back to her opponent. I think that has more to do with instincts and anticipation than strategy. I get the feeling that when Serena takes the court she has an idea of how she would like to see things unfold. I always thought that Serena never got enough credit in this area, she is really a player that thinks a lot. Just because she hits the ball hard doesn't mean she isn't thinking about things. So good, so far.

Nobody's Perfecc
Apr 24th, 2004, 10:16 AM
Hmm, now that I think about it you're right. Maybe those shots that I thought were "overpowering" shots by her opponents were just shots that Serena would have normally retrieved back, particularly those wide and deep to the forehand and backhand sides. It looked like Serena was overpowered perhaps because she didn't anticipate a reply that powerful from her opponent and couldn't respond in time.

You make a good point though. I was a bit exaggerating a bit. Serena wasn't totally overpowered by her opponents. I did point out that it was only in some points, so give me some credit here. :p

Time for me to go to sleep!

bandabou
Apr 24th, 2004, 10:25 AM
I´ve to agree...the part that seems to be the most off right now is the movement aspect. Serena looked slower at Miami, but I think with time that will come back as she gets more confident in the knee.

Stefwhit
Apr 26th, 2004, 11:57 PM
Serena's serve. Just as good as ever.

Serena's groundstrokes. No complaints, although there is room for improvement. She seems to be missing a few second serves, but I like that she’s always attacking.

Serena's movement. I agree that there is a big difference here, but that’s understandable. When she has more confidence in her knee I think we’ll see her be more explosive, which will cut down the number of winners that some players are having against her.

Serena's mental game. Do you guys remember when Serena first came on the scene? Like a lot of great players, in the beginning she wasn’t really good in that department. She had the mental toughness nescassary to battle anyone and she definitely wasn’t afraid of anyone but she still had some problems closing out matches. I still remember her losing to Aranxta at the French and losing over and over to Jennifer, and we all know the mental problems she had against Vee. The good news for Serena was once she over came those obstacles she’s never looked back. So even though it’s really early to get a good read on where her mental game is I’d have to assume that it’s just as good as ever. She seems to be playing with a new passion and motivation so that’s going to be work in her favor big time!

Serena's strategy. I would say she’s not totally there on this one, but the more she plays the more that will improve. I agree that she’s a really smart player and I also agree that she’s not given enough credit for how much she thinks out there on the court.

Stefwhit
May 20th, 2004, 06:16 AM
It's nice to know that Serena still has her weapons workin' at full force, but in her match against Jenn she said her serve had abandoned her a little. The funny thing about technique and good forum is that it's something that takes constant work, what's good one week might be suspect the following work. One thing I really like about Serena is her ability to make the necessary changes. I'm not sure what category that falls under, but I'm glad that Serena still has that....

Marcus1979
May 20th, 2004, 06:19 AM
When Serena's serve is on and flowing she is almost unbreakable.

DeDe4925
May 20th, 2004, 11:20 PM
I will say more or elaborate later, but seeing that last semi she was in against JenCap in Rome, Serena was definitely not there, mentally or physically (i.e. she played like she didn't feel like being out there). She was listless and moody looking. No fire in her belly. I think her personal (love life with UGH Brett) is getting in the way of her tennis. But, I do want to comment later on her game itself.

Stefwhit
May 21st, 2004, 07:46 AM
I will say more or elaborate later, but seeing that last semi she was in against JenCap in Rome, Serena was definitely not there, mentally or physically (i.e. she played like she didn't feel like being out there). She was listless and moody looking. No fire in her belly. I think her personal (love life with UGH Brett) is getting in the way of her tennis. But, I do want to comment later on her game itself.
I actually think you would be better off commenting on her game rather than making inferences that things in her personal life are negatively affecting her tennis. What you interperet as listless, moody looking, not being there mentally or physically could be a number of things ranging from severe menstral cramps to god knows what... with such little info to support your theory I think it would actually be better to hold off placing "blame" on anyone or reading too much into just one match... That's just my opinion...

DeDe4925
May 24th, 2004, 10:28 PM
I actually think you would be better off commenting on her game rather than making inferences that things in her personal life are negatively affecting her tennis. What you interperet as listless, moody looking, not being there mentally or physically could be a number of things ranging from severe menstral cramps to god knows what... with such little info to support your theory I think it would actually be better to hold off placing "blame" on anyone or reading too much into just one match... That's just my opinion...
Hold on sister, let's get this straight, I wasn't talking about you, your man or any relatives of yours. Serena is a public figure and is fodder for comment and speculation. Especially when she puts it out there for everyone to see. I comment on what I want to comment on. What I'm better off doing is what I want to do without any direction from you or anyone else.

Now, back to my comment, I only commented about Brett being a distraction because she didn't look tired or listless at any of the functions she attended with him after that match. In fact, she looked very much in love and very happy. The complete opposite of the way she looked on that court. She wasn't about the business at hand. Sometimes when you fall in love in your 20's, you can't think about anything else or you don't want to be anywhere else but with him. Again, I'm speculating and it's just my opinion and just as if I were to comment on her game itself, it would still be mere speculation and opinion. Yeah and it could have been God knows what else. She could have had severe cramps, but that's no excuse for a woman these days. Cramping or not, you gotta take care of business. She didn't look like she was pain. She looked out of it emotionally. I can't even say that her tennis was bad, because she played pretty good tennis, she just made too many errors and Jen made less. She was not motivated to win that match.

P.S. If she plays the same during the FO, will you still say that I'm reading too much into one match? BTW, did you even see the match?

DeDe4925
May 24th, 2004, 10:41 PM
Regarding Serena's game:

Serve: Her serve looked good against JenCap. It wasn't the best I've seen, but I really didn't see any flaws in it. Jen was just returning really well. Also, I think that the red clay took some of the sting out of the velocity of Serena's serve.

Forehand: It looked good in spots. It's hard to say, because she sprayed quite a few and hit quite a few into the net. I think she was trying to determine how hard she could hit it without it going out, but I don't think she ever really got her rhythm down in that match.

Backhand: Same as forehand. She seemed not to be getting into the right position to hit a good one the majority of the time.

Movement: Rather tenative and slow, i.e. not as quick as usually. Hardly any sliding into the forehand or to the net, as I've seen her do in the past. I think this is what was causing her forehands to go wild. She still may be favoring that knee.

Mental game and strategy: I think she's still a little rusty in this department, as she has not played enough matches to get into the groove. I'm not counting on her getting past the quarters at RG, I'm hoping, but I'm not counting on it. She just doesn't look match tough enough.

GO SERENA...I LOVE YOU GIRL. :kiss:

Stefwhit
May 25th, 2004, 01:37 AM
Hold on sister, let's get this straight, I wasn't talking about you, your man or any relatives of yours. Serena is a public figure and is fodder for comment and speculation. Especially when she puts it out there for everyone to see. I comment on what I want to comment on. What I'm better off doing is what I want to do without any direction from you or anyone else.
:yawn: I hope you didn't mistakenly misinterperet me and think that I was coming off condescending or authoratative. In no way was I implying that you couldn't express your opinions about any and everthing you so chose to- truth be told I could really care less! The only point I was making (take it or leave it,) is that peeps who make comments using subjective and minimal amounts of evidence are less credible. I still maintain that you would be better off resisting the urge to pull theories out of your ass based on one match. And just like you have the right to say whatever you want, I use that same right to voice my opinion on your opinions...

P.S. If she plays the same during the FO, will you still say that I'm reading too much into one match? BTW, did you even see the match?
If she plays the same at the French then your basis for what you're saying wouldn't be based solely on one match, it would be based on two which is far more convincing then one solitary match- wouldn't you agree... And nope, I didn't see the match.

Be warned, I'm over this verbal exchange with you... Serena is playing in the French Open so I got other things I'd rather be talkin' bout right about now...
:kiss:

DeDe4925
May 25th, 2004, 02:15 AM
:yawn: I hope you didn't mistakenly misinterperet me and think that I was coming off condescending or authoratative. In no way was I implying that you couldn't express your opinions about any and everthing you so chose to- truth be told I could really care less! The only point I was making (take it or leave it,) is that peeps who make comments using subjective and minimal amounts of evidence are less credible. I still maintain that you would be better off resisting the urge to pull theories out of your ass based on one match. And just like you have the right to say whatever you want, I use that same right to voice my opinion on your opinions...


If she plays the same at the French then your basis for what you're saying wouldn't be based solely on one match, it would be based on two which is far more convincing then one solitary match- wouldn't you agree... And nope, I didn't see the match.

Be warned, I'm over this verbal exchange with you... Serena is playing in the French Open so I got other things I'd rather be talkin' bout right about now...
:kiss:
Credible to whom? :lol: Like I really give a shit whether someone else thinks my opinions on this board are credible. I'm just voicing what I think, whether it seems credible to you or not. I don't need any evidence, because it's my SUBJECTIVE opinion. I never said it was a fact. BTW I don't think I was mistaken about your tone. I really didn't take it as being authoritative or condescending, just personally affronted.

However, you still maintain how I would be better off. I never said anything about you being better off by not pulling your unsolicited advice out of your ass. BTW, there's a difference between giving advice and giving an opinion on someone else's opinion. You can disagree until the cows come home, but advising someone on what they'd be better off doing is a whole other matter. I still maintain that you be better off keeping your advice to yourself. If you had resisted the urge, we wouldn't be having this little conversation.

If she plays the same at the French then your basis for what you're saying wouldn't be based solely on one match, it would be based on two which is far more convincing then one solitary match- wouldn't you agree

And, no I wouldn't agree because it makes no sense. If she plays the same at the French, my opinion would still be based on one match, seeing as that's where my opinion originated. The second match would just confirm my opinion.

And nope, I didn't see the match.
Maybe you should have. You'd probably be in a better position to comment on my opinion.

Be warned, I'm over this verbal exchange with you
Good, that means I get the last word. :lol:

Enjoy the Open. :kiss: :wavey:

tennisjunky
May 26th, 2004, 12:34 AM
OK children, this was a great thread lets not go and ruin it like all the other threads on the GM board. I agree with Stefwhit, I dont think that Serenas personal life is getting in the way of her tennis- but DeMond is entitled to his/her opinion.

How did she look today? Was she in a lot better form, anyone know? I read the scores but I didnt see the match.

DeDe4925
May 26th, 2004, 10:52 PM
OK children, this was a great thread lets not go and ruin it like all the other threads on the GM board. I agree with Stefwhit, I dont think that Serenas personal life is getting in the way of her tennis- but DeMond is entitled to his/her opinion.

How did she look today? Was she in a lot better form, anyone know? I read the scores but I didnt see the match.
She looked great, but I'm probably not "grown up" enough to tell. :rolleyes:

tennisjunky
Aug 9th, 2004, 02:27 AM
Well one thing that concerns me about post Serena is that once things in a match start to go downhill she hasn't been able to fight and turn things around. Thats why she has had some really one-sided losses this year. The nice thing though, is that she is only lossing to quality opponents. I think once she wins one of the big tournaments things will start falling back into place for her. I wish she would stay aggressive and not let up like she's been lately. Once she gets more offensive and aggressive it good night to everyone else.

bandabou
Aug 9th, 2004, 06:35 PM
Uhum...that is a problem..she hasn´t been stepping it up in the finals as she used to do, but she´s only losing to quality opponents, so that´s cool...

tennisjunky
Jan 14th, 2005, 11:05 PM
im really interested in serena's 2005 form. i hope she handles herself better in finals this year and i hope she cuts down on the unforced errors. we will all be able to provide a real analysis once the australian gets underway. sometimes you can tell a lot about form even in the early rounds.