Originally Posted by stromatolite
It's interesting to discuss how the game changes and evolves over time. But the statement that every generation is always
better than the previous one is not a very promising way to initiate such a discussion, even if it's not (entirely) intended as trollbait
For the record, I personally don't see any of the new generation so far as having more potential/talent than Serena, and I would only consider any of them to be greater than her if they exceed her achievements.
My point is (even if it's not the most eloquent point I've ever made) is that, in debates comparing Serena to Graf/Navratilova/Evert, many people (not always Serena fans) are quick to say that, even though Serena has achieved less, her achievements have more weight simply because this era is (so the theory goes) stronger and better due to sport always evolving. And my point is, if you take that argument to its logical conclusion, those same people would have to say that if Azarenka/Kvitova/Stephens/Keys/Vekic/whoever got to 10 Slams or something, they would surely have to be considered better than Serena (again, ONLY going by the logic that they're applying to comparisons between Serena and former generations).
Originally Posted by Sam L
I don't think you can say every generation is better than the last one. But once in a while, there comes a generation that lifts the bar. Monica Seles is often thought of as a transformational player in the women's game because she brought power on both wings and a strong baseline game.
The generation of Pierce, Capriati, Davenport, Williams, Clijsters, Henin etc... all took this concept to the next level. That's why the early 2000s is often seen as a sort of Golden Age in women's tennis.
Before, Seles was the only one hitting like that. Now you have to hit like her to win slams. That's where Hingis fell behind because she couldn't keep up when the bar got lifted even though she herself actually improved.
So until another generation comes along that lifts the bar like that, I'd say that generation is the standard.
And as Serena was the last woman to hold all four majors and doing so during that period, I guess that makes her by default the standard female tennis player as well. I mean, let's face it, which female player wouldn't kill to have a serve like that?
But see, if you start making exceptions to the "each era is better than the last one" theory, then the whole argument for Serena being better than Graf/Navratilova/Evert collapses, because it's so easy for people to justifiably argue that the current era isn't stronger than the 1990s Era at all. Saying that the current era is stronger is entirely subjective, and any argument pointing to a general rule that the sport generally always evolves will, again, mean that you would have to accept by that argument's logical limits that Serena would be exceeded by the next generation. Either it's an ironclad rule that every generation exceeds the previous one, or it's not a rule at all, seeing as there would be all kind of subjective ways of saying a certain era is not stronger than the previous one.
(and for the record, even if the last few days I've been doing a good impression of a Steffica Greles Blastfromthepast-ian, I don't believe the current era is weaker
than the 1990s. I think it's stronger in some ways and weaker in others, but overall, there isn't any quantifiable way in which this era is overall stronger than the 90s, or that it's harder to dominate the sport to the extent Graf did now than it used to be. And that's why I don't accept the argument that Serena is greater than players that have accomplished more than her, simply because of the era she's in.)