People need to stop blaming Sharapova and the other top players for getting thrashed by Serena. How is it their fault? They obviously go out every time to try and win the match, but Serena's power is too much. In fact, it's too much for any other woman ever. Her power is an anomaly, an outlier in women's tennis. She's figured out the golden recipe for winning, just hammer the serve and return. No one else can even come close to matching her power so this strategy will always prevail if Serena is playing well on a fast surface. Other power players will never have a chance because Serena is obviously the most powerful by miles and they'll never be able to match her serve-return combo. Their entire gameplan gets effectively handcuffed because Serena will eliminate rally opportunities and always get the first strike. Look at Sharapova's performance today, she was helpless and hit only 5 winners. This is one of the most aggressive players on tour who's used to hitting 25+ winners per match and it didn't matter today because Serena's power is in another league. If she plays well on this low-bouncing, fast-paced surface it doesn't matter who's on the other side of the net, she'll win.
But guess what? There's more to it. Serena has a psychological edge as well due to the hyper-aggressive nature of her game. It's not easy to keep confident and try to get back into a match when someone is just blasting aces and returns at you all match (not to mention come on's after hitting winners). Azarenka said it herself after she lost to Serena last year in Toronto I believe, it's not easy to play when someone's just going at you like that all match. Serena basically brutalizes her opponents mentally as well as game-wise.
So is Serena invincible? Of course not. In fact, her ground game isn't GOAT at all. And like every other human being, she can have off days. But on a good day and on a fast surface, her serve-return combo won't be beaten. However, take away a good serving day and replace a fast surface with red clay and you get the R1 Razzano match from this year. You could say that this was an anomaly and that bad losses happen to everyone right? Yes, but all you have to do is look at Serena's RG results compared to her other slam results to notice the trend. On a slower, higher-bouncing surface that favours endurance, point construction, and movement over power and quick reflexes, Serena's golden strategy suffers. Facing a barrage of cannonballs is impossible, but when the blasts come a bit fewer and farther between, openings are created. Players can get into rallies with Serena and they can beat her. You don't even have to look at the surface, just look at the players that have done best against Serena long-term: Hingis, Henin, Jankovic, Capriati (ASV as well, though that was more at the beginning of Serena's career). They're all players who were among the best at rallying and working points when they were at their prime. Henin had the all-court game which gave her many options to cause Serena problems consistently, Hingis had the prime counterpunching game and her devilish variety, and Jankovic and Capriati would fight for a point to their last breath. Another thing they all shared? They had confidence against Serena. For the most part they didn't allow themselves to be intimidated or frustrated by Serena's gameplan and they came to win. They took Serena's aces and winners in stride and focused on their own game, never giving in on any point and just hanging with Serena until an opening presented itself.
So today's generation? Power play dominates more. And this just favours Serena. Her serve-return golden strategy will always prevail against these players because Serena gets the first strike more often than anyone. And she's worked her way into the minds of the top players as well. You can just see it in Azarenka and Sharapova's faces sometimes against Serena. The tension. You know in the back of their mind they're thinking about every shot/serve they make and how Serena's going to pummel it if it isn't good enough. They can't play their own game and they're helpless. Can you blame them? They have so many things going against them. But that's tennis. Serena is obviously an amazing champion and all congratulations to her for winning OG, but it's just disheartening to see players come up against her time and time again, knowing they will have little to no chance against her power. If Serena stays fit and motivated, she'll just keep winning. Who will stop her? No one, she's an unstoppable force on the WTA. Some other top player would need to raise their level remarkably or some new prospect will have to rise out of nowhere and shock everyone. These options are possible, but not highly likely. So to Serena's fans, enjoy the glory, and to her haters, well, there's always the 2013 clay season :lol: For us neutrals, I guess we'll just try and enjoy whatever tennis is presented to us.