Originally Posted by The Dawntreader
Smarter- yes. Better ballstriker, better returner, better match-player? No. That's no insult though. It just shows you how insane her level was a decade ago. She was basically unplayable.
Sharapova still isn't the same player that she was 5-6 years ago.
I respect your opinion, but Serena has improved in all of these areas, because she's HAD to.
Since she's older, and since her speed is visually a step below (compared to her 2001-2003 form), she has had to improve other areas to compensate.
I'm not arguing with you though. I'm simply saying that we both see a different Serena when watching her play today as opposed to 2001-2003. The Serena of today is so much more polished and balanced than her 2001-2003 prime years. I have old tapes from back then, and though I agree that she was scary, she's even more scary today what with her patience, improved court sense, and even mentality.
She's been through a lot to get to this point, and has made improvements in areas that I originally prayed that she would. Particularly in the areas of net play, slice returns, and lobs.