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View Full Version : How much better has Serena gotten since 1999?


GoGoMaggie
Feb 26th, 2003, 11:58 AM
Everyone is saying she's so much better now than she was back in '99. that makes me wonder the Serena who won the '99 open was crap. Don't you think some of you are a bit exaggerating the improvement she's made from then to now?
I'm not saying she's pre much the same player as she was a few years ago. there is no doubt that she's become a better player.. but to what extent?? I wonder if that's not as much as some people make it out to be.... just my thought.....

GoGoMaggie
Feb 26th, 2003, 12:03 PM
I think the difference is mostly about her confidence level. Technique wise, I dont think there's much of a difference..

Experimentee
Feb 26th, 2003, 12:13 PM
She makes much less unforced errors now than she did then, and shes also improved her mental strength. She wasnt bad in 1999, but she wasnt dominating the tour, losing all the time to Venus and getting beaten by other players too, and she was choking away matches a lot. It was a big step up for her to go from that to dominating the tour and being so far ahead of everyone like this. So i'd say shes improved a lot.

tennisfan1972
Feb 26th, 2003, 12:21 PM
I think alot of it is mental, her confidence is at an all time high, and her decision making is improved, as well as her health. Serena still isnt as strong emntally as Venus is even though she has done well against her lately. Venus handles pressure much better than serena, the other players just havent exploited that aspect of her mental game yet. Some have come close but no one has done it yet. I cant really say that its one particular things beacuse it seems that she needed everything to click before she started dominating. Venus seems to have been able to win a bunch of matches not even playing near her best. Serena seems like the pressure gets to her when she is less than 100%, whereas Venus just goes along and plays to win with whatever she has. u know gogomaggie, i thought this was actually an easy question. now i can honestly say i really dont know why serena is so good now. Must be the shoes and catsuit. i think technique wise serena hasnt changed much. just making few errors. less erratic than she used to be. i think with serena of the past, everybody feared her because of what they knew she had the potential to do, now they fear her because of what they know she is going to do,, if that makes any sense. players knew that if serena was on , they had no chance, now they just come to expect that she will be on and that she will play great most 95% of the time. i dunno i would love to hear what others think about this though. great post gogomaggie.

DunkMachine
Feb 26th, 2003, 01:21 PM
I think you guys summed it up actually. Serena and Venus used to play high risk shots. You could notice because of the shrieking during return. They don't shriek that much anymore and that's when they play their best.

All this shit about "powertennis" is just that: bullshit. In my opinion, it's just mediahype to all it anything else but skill. Men hit even harder, I don't hear Agassis, Mark Phili's or Roddicks game getting hyped into powertennis. Yes S and V hit harder but that's just their standard. When they accelerate rallies you'll notice it.

That's where Serena improved the most, she picks her shots better and takes less risks. Remember her awesome high angle shots. When playing Clijsters in the finals last year she tried them alot and kept hitting the net. Nowadays she refrains from using them thus lowering her unforced error amount. Really that is the only thing that decides the outcomes of her matches and since she makes less mistakes she wins more.

Serendy Willick
Feb 26th, 2003, 01:51 PM
I'm sorry but I disagree Tennis1972. Serena has improved mentally by alot. You say that she cant handle pressure situations? I guess all of those tough matches with Jennifer in 2002 were just cakewalks huh? Serena played horrendous tennis in both her French Open semi matches and her Austrailan 2003 semi matches and still pulled out the win. Serenas improvement comes from less UFE's, Exhibiting more patience, and improved confidence level. She has simply stopped letting people off the hook in these tight, close matches. In 2001 and earlier years when things got tight in a match (alot of times, not everytime) Serena would just back off and expect that person to back off. I think with the Wimbeldon match of 2001 she just expected Jennifer to back off and got a rude awakening, same with Seles. She has since continued to fight every reguardless of the scoreline.

MarcusRock
Feb 26th, 2003, 03:16 PM
I think it's a combination of everything people have said here plus harnessing her power. I think that was huge for her in reducing the number of UE's she used to make. This leads to an increase in confidence which is vital for closing out those close matches. Just look at her tiebreak record since the start of 2001. It's a whopping 13-1. How great is it going into a tiebreak knowing you've performed like that?

Serena y Monica
Feb 26th, 2003, 04:11 PM
gogomaggie

What is your obsession with team Williams? Do you have a favorite...if so, how much has he or she improved?

GoGoMaggie
Feb 26th, 2003, 04:26 PM
Serena y Monica. I don't know what led you to that question, but my obesession with Serena and Venus has absolutely nothing to do with this thread. I really thought this was an interesting topic.
If you dont get it, that's fine with me.
To answer your pointless question, Maggie hasn't improved much. She was already a complete player a few years back. But I think she's adapting to the tennis of the new generation better than any other player from her generation. thus, she's improved more or less.

King Lindsay
Feb 26th, 2003, 04:56 PM
What's funny is that Serena y Monica couldn't deduce GoGoMaggie's favorite player.

Pureracket
Feb 26th, 2003, 05:51 PM
Serena's serve consistency is the difference between now and '99.

SerenaSlam
Feb 26th, 2003, 05:56 PM
her serve is very much better, i mean it was very dominat at that usopen 99', but now its more dominant than ever in her matches. also serena is much stronger than what she was back then, i mean when she is given pace, serena feels the need to send the ball back w/ even more. her return of serve, right now she has the best on the tour, monica and lindsay were conisdered the best, b/c they always attacked the second serve, serena did that as well, but since monica and linsday were considered "the starters" of it all, they were 1 and 2, anyway, serena's return of serve, i mean off the first serve, she is hitting winners, if the serve isn't placed well, the power seems not to bother her, good example is just to watch all her matches with venus, i mean venus would bomb 1 down aroun 115mph down the middle of the "T" and since it was right into serena's power zone, she would just take a crack at it, no one really can do this. serena also mentally has gotten better. she is very much so a totally different player from 99! i would say she has gotten even better since 2002, they way she was playing amelie at the Paris Indoors, this was the best i'd seen her serve since serving 100% against hingis at the 2001 usopen semis!

Pureracket
Feb 26th, 2003, 06:25 PM
Umm... . SerenaSlam,
You don't have to try to copy everything I write.

Pureracket
Feb 26th, 2003, 06:26 PM
:)

TSequoia01
Feb 26th, 2003, 06:36 PM
Physically Serena was great in 99 but even greater now. Her serve has evolved with greater power and variety. Her 2nd serve has improved as well. But the main component is the evolution of her forehand. Once erratic, it has become one of the most dominant shots in tennis. Serena is also smarter, footwork has improved, and her variety has increased. She now uses angles as well as anyone in the game. Mentally, she maintains her focus, handles expectations pressures better (still needs work), and plays from behind much better than in the past. In addition her net play is beginning to improve especially her backhand volleys. The best Serena is probably a couple of years away. :cool:

Rollo
Feb 26th, 2003, 09:50 PM
She's about 10% better, which in tennis is a lot at that level!
I'll agree with Sequoia-especially on the use of angles. She could get a hell of a lot better at net IMO, but really she doesn't have to.

As long as she holds that kick second serve and no one else does she's going to lose only to a select few. She's got to be riding a huge mental high-like Luci said she was only only points from going down to Capriati at last year's French and handled it all better than Clijsters at Oz.

But once a choker always a choker I say! Serena is in the same category as Margaret Court and Martina Navratilova-great players who may go a couple years without signs of a major choke until someone knocks them off their confidence high.

In 1999 she was still choking away even when she won the US Open. Now with all those slams behind her Serena has an armor of confidence. The mental difference is the biggest:)

TM
Feb 26th, 2003, 09:53 PM
Watch her first grandslam win and compare it to one of her grandslam wins in 2002 and or 2003.

SerenaSlam
Feb 26th, 2003, 10:41 PM
copying? i don't even read the posts dumb ass... i read the topic, and reply!

tyk101
Feb 26th, 2003, 10:42 PM
basically, her mental strength has pulled her through, and with wins comes confidence. Confidence is so important in winning and once u win, u don't lose that often.

Lisbeth
Feb 27th, 2003, 01:11 AM
I don't think she was ever really "crap" but she has become a lot more consistent - less errors and more really great shots. Her top shots were always really good, but she manages to play a lot more of them now.

Bright Red
Feb 27th, 2003, 01:57 AM
In terms of mental strength, a lot. She also refined her technique.

LUIS9
Feb 27th, 2003, 03:05 AM
Yes Serena pretty much has harnessed her power and controlled the unforced errors to a minimum allowing her to become the dominant force she has become today. i mean she always had the power just look at her us open final how by only sticking her racket out or just blocking shots she would create winners.and especially mentally thats her biggest asset, mentally she's too strong at this nowadays. but yeah i think Venus is the best mentally out there even stronger than Seles bc Seles has always had problems with players who are ranked higher than her(obviously i am referring to Seles post 1996).Venus just never concedes to her opponents, she always believes she's going to win no matter who she is playing or even if shes down 1-5 love 30.and yes the variety in Serenas game has improved greatly, i have to admit she posses some fabulous angles with that lethal forehand of hers. of course hingis' will always be my favorites bc of the acuteness and smoothness she possed.but serenas posses equally lethal angles especially while in the dead run.thats what in my opinion has allowed her to evelve into the champion she is today.Now more importantly i think having Venus as a sister has also helped her become a champion, she always emulated Venus since childhood so that to must of rubbed in causing this dramatic effect; hence Serena has become the most dominant player of current times.

Leena
Feb 27th, 2003, 03:12 AM
1) Her technique... especially on her backhand. Her backhand used to be so technically poor... and it's much improved now.

2) She's stronger. She was a big girl before, but compare the two, and Serena's much bigger now. She has more power and consistency on both her serve, and groundstrokes.

3) She plays more intelligently... constructing points, not just going for winners at stupid times.

I don't think confidence has anything to do with it... because they both have always been confident. They knew they were going to best before they even started on tour.

kku
Feb 27th, 2003, 03:20 AM
Originally posted by Leena
1) Her technique... especially on her backhand. Her backhand used to be so technically poor... and it's much improved now.

2) She's stronger. She was a big girl before, but compare the two, and Serena's much bigger now. She has more power and consistency on both her serve, and groundstrokes.

3) She plays more intelligently... constructing points, not just going for winners at stupid times.

I don't think confidence has anything to do with it... because they both have always been confident. They knew they were going to best before they even started on tour.

And I'd like to also point out that Serena is so much more mature. I could remember back in 1998 when she kept saying that she'll be number 1 that year. I believe it was her over-confidence back then that made her believe that she was unbeatable and therefore, didn't need to commit to a 6hr daily tennis practice like Hingis or Davenport did.

Now that Serena's much more mature and wiser, she's committed herself more to improving her tennis skills. She's acknowledged that she has crucial aspects of her game that needed polishing (IMO: the unforced errors on her backhand) and is willing to pull off the hard yards to reach her goals.

Serena's just like many of us: once she's realised her mistakes, she's willing to work hard to correct them. She's made almost 0 unforced errors on her backhand at the US Open.

So I don't think Serena's come a long way from 1999 ON HER GAME. Rather, she's made that long journey mentally by maturing. And that's why she deserves to be #1.

Rollo
Feb 27th, 2003, 06:27 AM
Talking the talk and believing it are two different things Leena. Every person who plays tennis knows knows that confidence translates into stronger nerves and usually better tennis. Call it better nerves or confidence-Serena is much stronger in that department now than she was in 1999. It's been more than a year since she choked a match. In years past you could look in her eyes and see the fear as matches slipped away. Watch a tape of the 1999 US Open and you'll see what I mean. That deer in the headlights look is gone now-she didn't even have it vs Clijsters.

Gandalf
Feb 27th, 2003, 07:21 AM
As everyone has said, I think that the main difference is mental. She's also much more consistent right now, in '99 she could play well for a couple of weeks and then lose it completely. Now she knows what to do when things go wrong, and how to control the matches better.

rhz
Feb 27th, 2003, 07:36 AM
Simple Answer, WAYYY better

Dawn Marie
Feb 27th, 2003, 10:40 AM
First I would like to state that just because Serena won a slam in 1999 and people think she is playing better does not mean that the Serena in 1999 was crap. I don't get that logic at all.

Ok, what Serena has gotten better on is:

1.cutting down her errors
2.her serve and it working through-out the ENTIRE match.
3.angles are more acute
4.not getting injured: her physical therapist is working on injury before they take a hold.
5.mental
6.her return of serve which imho gets overlooked ALOT. Infact she has the best return game on the WTA tour at the moment.
7.her focus.
8.net game

irma
Feb 27th, 2003, 10:47 AM
dawn you are right about that return. did you see her match against I think bedenova at the us open last year? amazing :eek:

I think when serena serve and return would both be 100% on some opponents would hardly reach the ball :eek:

I think the biggest difference is experience. she knows better now what's she is doing and wich shot she should use!