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Discussion Starter #1
Runs fast.<br />Runs all day (conditioning)<br />Big pace off the forehand<br />Big pace off the backhand<br />Hits flat, topspin and backhand<br />Drop shot<br />Reliable volleys<br />Does at least one really acrobatic thing every match.<br />Can be very, very aggressive<br />Fast first step. Hard to hit a serve by.<br />Builds points, doesn't just whack at the ball.

The above is pretty much a description of an elite 21st Century female tennis player.

I look at that list and four (young) names come to mind.

Age 21 - Venus Williams<br />Age 20 - Serena Williams<br />Age 19 - Justine Henna<br />Age 18 - Kim Cloisters

The difference between the first two and the last two was on display at Sanex. Serena's serve was a rock she could lean on. Kim and Justine both had multiple double faulted in deciding tie-breaks. In other words, Kim and Justine are younger and less experienced than Serena, and not so in control of their nerves. Another year on the tour should take care of that.

The other half of the top ten simply isn't as fast or as acrobatic as this half. On the other hand, they are bigger and stronger. These are real purveyors of 'Big Babe' tennis, because they don't rely on running fast to bail themselves out of bad tactical decisions.

Lindsay Davenport<br />Monica Seles<br />Jelena Dokic<br />Jennifer Capriati<br />Amelie Mauresmo

And of course, there is the woman who does it with mirrors, Martina Hingis.

But that first group, the Belgian/Williams group, is going to be around for a long time, and I expect them to be the template for future champs. All four are now trying to play finesse tennis and power tennis at the same time. At speeds unequalled in the history of tour. We've never had four players who move that fast, that well, and hit that hard. (And there are THREE multiple GS champs, still in the top ten, who aren't in that group.) Kim and Justine will work out their serving problems with maturity. Take serving out of it, and K and J were the better players in their final matches of the year. (Of course, you can't take serving out of it on the court.)

Participation is never guaranteed, especially in this day and age, but if all the players play at least 17 tournaments, I can't see how 4 of the top 5 spots (order not included) don't go to these four players by the end of 2002. They just have better tools than everyone else.

The fifth spot has to be Lindsay's. She's bigger than everyone else, hits harder, has a huge serve, and is in control of her weight.

But where does that leave Jenn?<br />But where does that leave Martina?

Jenn lacks the extreme foot speed of Henin. But she has the best forehand in tennis. When she's in condition, she can hang those four and Lindsay. Add even ten pounds, she falls short. Right now, she's not there.

If Jennifer Capriati played Justine Henna a week from now (let Jenn get healthy), who would win? IMHO, Justine.<br />If Jennifer Capriati played Kim Cloisters a week from now, who would win? IMHO, Kim<br />If Jennifer Capriati played Serena Williams a week from now, who would win? IMHO, Serena<br />If Jennifer Capriati played Venus Williams a month from now (Let Jenn AND Venus get healthy), who would win? Venus<br />If Jennifer Capriati played Lindsay Davenport a month from now (Let Jenn AND Lindsay get healthy), who would win? IMHO, Lindsay

Match up anyone else on tour (not named Testud) against Jenn, I'd expect Jenn to win. In this totally subjective ranking system, that makes Jenn #6.

But that's a side issue. I think THE issue of 2002 is going to be the 'Belgian/Williams' crew vs everyone else. They are very difficult player to hit winners against. They simply run every down. And if you can't hit the ball past a player who can hit as hard as these four, it's going to be a long day.
 

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Nice analysis, however you left out mental toughness. The intangibles are just as important as the tangible assets. Venus is head and shoulders above anyone on your list. So place an intangible component in your criteria.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Arne - I'd put Monica #7, figuring if she played Williams,Williams, Clijsters, Henin, Davenport or Capriati she's lose, and she'd win against all others. If Monica recovered her foot speed from 1991, she'd be in the lead group. (This assumes health, od course.) Right now, Monica is basically Lindsay with slightly less power and MUCH less serve. Monica might be better than Jenn right now, but they haven't played in so long, it's hard to tell. Without more recent results, I'll let the #1 ranking and the two GS titles tilt it to Jenn.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Mental toughness - Hard to measure. But it helps youa void double faulting in tie-breakers.
 

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You fail to take into account the difference that surface makes. When it comes to clay, Venus and Serena are nowhere near as good as Seles, Capriati, Henin, Clijsters, Mauresmo, perhaps Dokic.

Also, I think Jelena is starting to make the transition from power player to power + finesse player. Her last few matches have featured some extremely good drop shot winners & her new coach has indicated that he wants her to work on variety and coming into net more. So I think we will see her at the same kind of standard to Venus, Serena, Henin & CLijsters very soon. Also Monica Seles combines power & finesse also.

Not a bad analysis, but I think a little simplistic.
 

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Originally posted by Volcana:<br /><strong>Match up anyone else on tour (not named Testud) against Jenn, I'd expect Jenn to win.<br /></strong><hr></blockquote>

Rita Kuti Kis? <img src="tongue.gif" border="0">

I really hope these Belgian girls get over their nerves and that everyone stays healthy.
 

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Dokic will never get as far as the Williams sisters, Justine or Kim.

I just don't think she is as talented as the others.
 

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Well I simply love Volcano's composite of the modern female tennis player. To me, that's it.

If we look at Jelena, she moves well, but not that well. I wouldn't call her volleys reliable. They're OK, and of course the drop-shot will always be her piece de reisistance. Rarely see Jelena constructing points.

Hopefully this will come with the new coach, and then we will really see what Jelena is made of. I think she can take Jenn's 'theoretical' #6 spot. But not yet.
 

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As far as I'm concerned the jury is definitely still out on Dokic's talent/potential. There are definitely things she can improve on, we'll just have to wait and see if she manages it. The new coach is definitely encouraging news and she has been getting better at constructing points although I'd agree that it's not exactly a strength of hers. But she's only 18 and we'll just have to see how she matures.
 

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It would be extremely exciting to see the battles on the WTA tour in 2002!!

I hope there will be matches like:<br />Clijsters vs. Seles<br />Hingis vs. Clijsters or Henin<br />Clijsters vs. S.Williams<br />Davenport vs. Henin<br />Dokic vs. Clijsters or Henin

It would just be nice to see the three hottest 2001 up-and-comers: Clijsters, Henin and Dokic to play against other Top 10 players in 2002!!!

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