View Full Version : Serena the best ever?

Sep 8th, 2002, 02:45 PM
If she isn't now - then she is definitely going there IMO.

Good on Serena for cleaning her act along w/her errors up. She has come a long way.


Commentary: Serena the best ever?

September 7, 2002 Print it
Steve Wilstein

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- She's No. 1 in the family, the world and, arguably, the history of women's tennis.

Dancing from clay to grass to hardcourt in a sizzling summer of Grand Slam triumphs, Serena Williams leaped into an elite circle of champions and made a case for being the best woman ever to play the game.

And she's getting better all the time.

It takes a rare talent to win the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in succession. Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King and Margaret Smith were the only ones to do it in the Open era.

Serena joined them Saturday night after taking out her big sister, Venus, the two-time defending champion, 6-4, 6-3 in a final that was more historic than dramatic. Nothing fazes Serena. Not a stalker who was arrested early in the tournament. Not the pressure of sustaining a Grand Slam winning streak that has reached 21 matches. Not the glitz of a final night with champions all around the court, celebrities in the stands, a prime-time television audience watching, and Venus across the net.

Serena's nerves and serves were steady and she launched her body into attacking shots with utter abandon, her feet off the ground, her bleached blond tresses flying, her thick arm and leg muscles gleaming in the lights. She aimed for the lines and frequently hit them.

Three weeks shy of her 21st birthday, Serena won her second U.S. Open and fourth major with a synthesis of power, control, athleticism and tennis savvy that no woman has ever displayed.
Over long careers, Graf and Navratilova are still the champions to beat. They dominated their eras, amassed extraordinary records and had greater single seasons than Serena had this year. Graf swept the four Grand Slam tournaments in 1988. Navratilova won 74 straight matches in 1984. But neither of them, in their prime, could match Serena's serves, foot speed or strength.

Graf and Navratilova only occasionally served faster than 100 mph. Serena does it all the time on first serves, and is often over 110 mph. Her top speed against Venus was 117, and she had only one double-fault. Venus clocked a couple of 120 mph serves, but she double-faulted 10 times.

Graf and Navratilova were faster afoot than any of the women of their time. Venus is faster than they were, and Serena is faster still, reaching balls neither of them would have touched. She can pound winners from the baseline, whack volleys from midcourt, and drill overheads at the net.

If Graf or Navratilova or Evert had an edge over Serena in setting up points and putting away winners, she's catching up quickly. She's learned to harness her power and create points with smart play.

Sep 8th, 2002, 03:14 PM

Sep 8th, 2002, 03:37 PM
Best ever? You can argue against that with longevity, records,...etc. But she definitely is playing at the highest level ever. That to me is not in dispute. :cool: