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Volcana said:
Take the top ten (or eight, or six, or sixteen)

Now re-arrange them according to point building skill. You can't hold good serves against players, but it aces aren't 'built' points. Ties go to the higher ranked player, so if you aren't sure, assume the rankings have SOME validity. Don't go crazy. ALL top ten player build points better than ALL player ranked outside the top hundred.

Understand, this isn't a list of 'who's the best'. If you don't understand yourself how points are built, you're going to have a little trouble.

I'm not planning on heavy defense of my choices, this is too subjective, but here's my first take on the list.

00 Hingis - (Cause standards are nice)

01 Henin-Hardenne
02 Rubin
03 Maursemo
04 V Williams
05 Davenport

** I would have had Venus and Lindsay reverse on this list in past years. But Venus is constructing points better since its become obvious she can't beat Serena any other way. (Actually, that way hasn't worked either, but things are closer.) And Lindsay is not constructing points as well as she was three years ago, or finishing them off as well.

06 S Williams

** This might be kinda low for Serena, but her idea of 'opening up the court' is getting a six inch wide lane she can get the ball through. She does try to construct points, in the late round, vs her sister or Capriati or the Belgians. But against most players, it never becomes necessary to do more than move them back and forth along the baseline.

07 Myskina
08 Sugiyama
09 Capriati
10 Clijsters

Note that Sugiyama and Myskina are ahead of Kim. 'How can that be?' You ask. Easy. Myskina, for example, knows what she's doing out there. She'll ATTEMPT to construct points, but it's virtually impossible for her to get a ball outside Kim's range. Kim can keep returning til she gets a ball she can put away.

Constructing points is just a skill. It's like having a good forehand. It won't win the tournament for you, but its nice to have.
Well, if you're going to include Hingis in the conversation, you also have to include all the other retired players who were great thinkers, which I believe is the real skill:

1. Billie Jean King
2. Martina Hingis
3. Maureen Connolly
4. Helen Wills Moody
5. Chris Evert
6. Steffi Graf
7. Nancy Richey
8. Margaret Court
9. Julie Heldman
10. Alice Marble

You'll note that 7 of the above 10 are baseliners. The serve-and-volley style of play allows much less time to think, as well as more to think about in the way of possible ways the point will play out. It is a much easier thing to run along the baseline all day long and construct hypothetical points (with a much higher correction rate) than it is to force the percentages. This is why agressive, attacking play, when executed correctly, will always beat the baseliner game.
 

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alfajeffster said:
Well, if you're going to include Hingis in the conversation, you also have to include all the other retired players who were great thinkers, which I believe is the real skill:

1. Billie Jean King
2. Martina Hingis
3. Maureen Connolly
4. Helen Wills Moody
5. Chris Evert
6. Steffi Graf
7. Nancy Richey
8. Margaret Court
9. Julie Heldman
10. Alice Marble

You'll note that 7 of the above 10 are baseliners. The serve-and-volley style of play allows much less time to think, as well as more to think about in the way of possible ways the point will play out. It is a much easier thing to run along the baseline all day long and construct hypothetical points (with a much higher correction rate) than it is to force the percentages. This is why agressive, attacking play, when executed correctly, will always beat the baseliner game.
That may be true....but as a serve and volleyer when you get the returns at your feet before you finish your serving motion....there isn´t much you can do then.
 

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bandabou said:
That may be true....but as a serve and volleyer when you get the returns at your feet before you finish your serving motion....there isn´t much you can do then.
Another thing that makes serve-and-volley play such a difficult style to master- it all revolves around great serving. This is why Serena Williams camping at the baseline is such a shame. She has the greatest serve to follow into the net- a perfect mix of pace, spin, and placement, as well as a great kick second serve. She could make life so much easier for herself if she just took a few passing shots and returns on the chin, and kept coming in. I'm telling you- no one could touch her for a much longer period of time than if she stays on the baseline! :bounce:
 

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Um she's not that great a volleyer. Now if Venus had that serve.....
 

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DA FOREHAND said:
Um she's not that great a volleyer. Now if Venus had that serve.....
I don't think we know yet how good a volleyer she is. She doesn't use her volley, and hasn't been taught to. It's difficult to remember that Serena's game is still largely undeveloped, because she is so dominant. She has alot of unexplored room for growth in her game. If she spend 5-6 months practicing the serve-and-volley game, I'm confident she could use it regularly on everything but clay. Volleying isn't as hard as most people think- in fact, it's much easier than hitting a ground stroke- much less can go wrong with a short punch than a full groundstroke.
 

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I think we know how good a volleyer she is, maybe not how good she could become. I have seen nothing in Serena's net play to suggest that she's a good volleyer. When Serena approaches the net she benefits from the intimidation factor.

I play some players who when the venture forward I know I have to make a good shot to have a chance of getting the point, be it a clean pass, or a low pass that gives me a second shot, and then there are those who I know I simply can get the ball over the net and still have a good chance of staying in the point.
 

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Hmm, I had always the impression that Kim is one of the best players who can really construct points. She reads her opponent game and tries to find an answer. That's why it sometimes takes her some games before she starts winning and turns the match around. It's true that Kim will play often more defensive then offensive but it is just because she knows that her opponent will make the error more often. She is a very clever player. She certainly knows what she's doing out there and she is always ready to use a plan B.
 

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XMan said:
Hmm, I had always the impression that Kim is one of the best players who can really construct points. She reads her opponent game and tries to find an answer. That's why it sometimes takes her some games before she starts winning and turns the match around. It's true that Kim will play often more defensive then offensive but it is just because she knows that her opponent will make the error more often. She is a very clever player. She certainly knows what she's doing out there and she is always ready to use a plan B.
2003 Australian Open semis, 5-1 up in the third: time for plan B!!! I think Kim could benefit from watching Arantxa Sanchez Vicario matches. ASV was the quickest player moving from defense to offense, right in the middle of a point sometimes. If Kim could learn to do this better, she could etch out a great career on that solid defense foundation. :bounce:
 

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Congrats...you remembered ASV
 

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Hazy said:
What a poor excuse for another Kim-bashing thread...
Oh good lord, the Kim fans are the new Williams fans, it's official :rolleyes: Pa-ra-noid.

Very good thread Volcana, and good analysis too. The trouble with starting intelligent threads like this is that people take umbrage because they don't see that 'point building' or 'footwork' does not = 'overall talent'. And just because Kim is tenth out of the TOP TEN at point building does not mean that she's bad at it.

I'll stick to the top ten. Hingis may be the gold standard, but she's also ranked 103 (Volcana, what was that you were saying about players outside the top 100? ;) )

1. Amelie Mauresmo
2. Justine Henin-Hardenne
3. Chanda Rubin
4. Venus Williams
5. Serena Williams
6. Lindsay Davenport
7. Anastasia Myskina
8. Kim Clijsters
9. Daniela Hantuchova*
10. Jennifer Capriati

These actually aren't the best ten point constructors on tour; I could slot a fair few names in as high as third. Off the top of my head - Ai Sugiyama, Lisa Raymond, Vera Zvonareva, Patty Schnyder, Maja Matevzic. Indeed, often lower ranked players, or players with no particular weapon, wil be the best point builders because they HAVE to be. Matevzic in particular has so little power that if she didn't think and use variety on the court I doubt she'd be top 100, but as it is she's top 40.

*Daniela has the variety to potentially be very near the top of the list, but even when she was playing well she seemed reluctant to use it.
 

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What "variety" does/has Daniela displayed?
 

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She has a great serve, and is one of the few women to possess a second serve which can be a weapon. As well as her groundstrokes, she has fine net skills, and I've seen her hit some great drop shots. Really, it's the fact that there isn't a stroke she struggles with which makes her so dangerous.

Of course, being one of the most tactically vacant players around wouldn't help.
 

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DA FOREHAND said:
Congrats...you remembered ASV
Us old farts need you youngsters to jog our memory about the recent past every now and again. Ever tried to construct a point, and get half way there, and forget your original plan? It'll happen to you!!! :lol:
 

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disposablehero said:
I seriously doubt if anyone other than Kim's fans has actually ever seen one of her matches.
Yeah, the French Open (=) ratings kinda prove that point.
 

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I have a question.

If Kim is not a particularly good point constructor, how does she beat the players who are with just defence? As superior point constructors, shouldn't they just use her defence to set her up for an eventual winner?
 

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disposablehero said:
I have a question.

If Kim is not a particularly good point constructor, how does she beat the players who are with just defence? As superior point constructors, shouldn't they just use her defence to set her up for an eventual winner?
1. Kim is a very good point constructor. Eighth out of the top ten does not = bad.

2. She's being characterised as pure defence, which is erroneous. What's so good about her overall game is the fact that she has superlative defence and superlative attack; the former is emphasised vs top players such as Venus and Serena, but when she's playing people like Rossana Neffa De Los Rios, she's all aggression.

3. Pure defence players like Anna Pistolesi tend not to be good point constructors either. "Run every ball down until the opponent misses" is not the most complex of strategies.
 

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disposablehero said:
I have a question.

If Kim is not a particularly good point constructor, how does she beat the players who are with just defence? As superior point constructors, shouldn't they just use her defence to set her up for an eventual winner?
dont worry, Venus fans dont seem to like Kim ;)
 

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sartrista7 said:
1. Kim is a very good point constructor. Eighth out of the top ten does not = bad.

2. She's being characterised as pure defence, which is erroneous. What's so good about her overall game is the fact that she has superlative defence and superlative attack; the former is emphasises vs top players such as Venus and Serena, but when she's playing people like Rossana Neffa De Los Rios, she's all aggression.

3. Pure defence players like Anna Pistolesi tend not to be good point constructors either. "Run every ball down until the opponent misses" is not the most complex of strategies.
That´s the stupid part. Why does Kim play defense only just when she´s playing either Williams?! Doesn´t she know that won´t cut it?! :rolleyes:
 

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bandabou said:
That´s the stupid part. Why does Kim play defense only just when she´s playing either Williams?! Doesn´t she know that won´t cut it?! :rolleyes:
There's a level of power among only a few of the top players:

Serena, Clijsters, Henin-Hardenne, Lindsay, Venus, and Capriati

These are the only players who hit consistently with aggressive power, however, of these players, if we factor in movement, shot selection, and the ability to construct points playing defense and offense, the list is whittled down to:

Serena, Henin-Hardenne and Venus. These are the three players that Kim has the most trouble with. With Lindsay she simply retrieves all the power until she gets a wide-open court to hit into, and the point is over. With Jen, Kim does much the same, only she can rely on Jen not being the best thinker out there, and almost always centering the ball, and then making the unforced error after the ball is in play longer than 5 or 6 strokes.
 
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