Originally Posted by Mexicola
Ordinarily, I would agree with you. If Azarenka had been healthy all year and continued with her high level of play heading into the clay, I would have considered her a serious threat to Maria and anybody else. I think she will be a threat to win the French and other clay tourneys in the years to come. But with her slow to heal injury combined with her considerable time away from real match action and her lack of past clay proficiency, I don't see her bothering Maria on this surface in 2013.
Clay isn't something you can suddenly make a quantum leap on in terms of progress. It's a gradual process, as we saw with Maria. Vika has yet to have a real clay breakthrough and it will still take some time and commitment on her part to get there. She may make a semi or a final, but she won't be beating Maria, Serena, Li, or even maybe Errani in that situation. I think Stosur or Petra could give her problems as well.
I agree with all of this.
And I feel like the same thing applies to Serena, as great as she is on grass, slow HC, fast HC.
On clay it's a whole different story she hasn't won a single title on red clay since 2002 now and people expect her to win FO like that, she needs to prove that she can maintain a high level of tennis on clay courts yet she usually retires after 3 or 4 matches played on the surface.
I'm glad she and Maria will be seeded N1 and N2 all clay season cause we will see if Serena can reach the latter rounds of tournaments on the red dirt consistently.
I expect her to do great at Madrid though, her serve will be a bigger weapon than it should be on real clay courts and if she goes far in Madrid she will retire in Rome after playing 2 or 3 matches like last year.
Serena hates playing on clay no matter what she is saying, her footwork really is dire on the surface and her serve isn't a big weapon on it.
I'm pretty sure Na would have beaten Serena if they had played in Rome semi final last year.