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This was posted yesterday in Wertheim's mailbag:

Recently Lindsay Davenport said that Serena Williams has the best serve ever in women's tennis. Your thoughts? I'm more inclined to call Serena's return of serve the best ever; it's the most devastating I've seen on the WTA Tour. I started to notice this during her 2000 Wimbledon quarterfinal match against Lisa Raymond. Why have pundits failed to appreciate this side of Serena's game?
—Chris Tate, Memphis, Tenn.

You pick an interesting match upon which to base your case. To this day Serena points to that Raymond match as the closest she has come to perfection. But I would agree that Serena's return might be the most underrated facet of her game. Having a nasty return is like being a skilled shot-blocker in basketball. You have to look beyond the raw numbers and consider how many times the intimidated opponents alter his/her shots. One wonders how many times Serena is able to induce double-faults because an opponent knows that a garden variety second serve to the middle of the box ain't gonna cut it.


To me you can make a statement that she has both. Both the best serve AND the best return ever. Her return is unbelievable. When you see her return Venus and Lindsay's FIRST serves for winners, then you have to agree that her return must be the best out there.

Her serve is also the best IMO. To me a great serve is the ability to produce aces and service winners and nobody does that better than Serena. She consistently has the most aces of any player at slams. 4 straighth years at the Open and the last 4 GS's.
 

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Babygirl's got it all. It's no coincidence, with her skills, that she's the only active WTA player who has won all four GS events! YAY SERENA!!! :hearts:
 

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I just replying to the title.

I agree for me she has the best serve and return ever.

She leaves me :eek: when i see how she returns Venus serve.
 

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I didn't see all serves and returns in tennishistory but I saw her semii against martina at the us open 2002 and her match against bedanova at the us open last year and I think when she would serve like in the first match and return as she did in the second. then many players would not get many points in the match!
 

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No her return is not that great. She is very explosive but that costs her, especially when she is not playing well. Players like Seles, Davenport, and Hantuchova (who's return is awesome) hit an equal number of return winners but are less likely to flub a weak second serve into the net, like Serena often does. She is hit or miss, while the other aforementioned girls are hit, hit, and hit.

For that matter, the best returner in the game retired a few months ago, but I won't bother to explain that one to those who only comprehend MPH.
 

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Yo o0O0o , if that retired player was the best returner how come she could just watch serves of certain players go by especially Serena's ?? hehehehe How come her winners were never all that?? Oh don't answer, it must have been da feet?? :wavey:
 

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To be critically honest, when Serena's game is ON, she has the best serve and the best return. But when she is a little off, say with her serve it effects the rest of her game. For example, last year when she was playing Patty S. in Charleston, Serena's game was just a little off and instead of taking just a little bit off on her returns and just hit an offensive, deep return, she would go for way, way too much and smack it into the net or hit it wide. I think with Serena's game it all starts with her serve, if its on and "clicking" the rest of her game clicks, she gets a lot of confidence with her serve and it follows with the rest of her game, but if her serve isn't on, neither is her return and the rest of her game.

And I make this analysis with Serena being my favorite player. The player that I think has the best and most consistent return game is Lindsay Davenport. Watch for Lindsay's return the next time she plays, if LD doesn't hit a winner off of the serve, or forces the error, she most times will be in control of the point.
 

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You want to see a real return of serve? Watch Serena vs Lindsay at 2003 Family Circle and Serena vs. Venus at 2003 Aussie Open. She is returning 105+ mile per hour serves for winners! That is Agassi good!! If Venus and Lindsay's serves are nothing for her, then what hope do the rest of the women have? Monica used to be the best returner in the game but that was before women were consistently hitting serves in the 110-115 range, not to mention Venus's occasional 125mph bomb. Monica does not return those big serves with the same ease as Serena, although Monica can eat a weak second serve up. If Monica were still the best returner, I think she would have had more wins against Venus. She would have been able to capitalize off of Venus's second serve the way that Serena has. In fact, I would say Lindsay's return is better than Monica's.

Just to respond to an assinine post left earlier in the thread by a real zero, the strength of Hingis's return was in the consistency and her ability to anticipate. But the minute the big servers became more consistent and got the first serve percentages up, Hingis lost any of those benefits. Somehow Serena still hangs in there with them though. There's no contest right now.
 

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Midnite Surfer said:
You want to see a real return of serve? Watch Serena vs Lindsay at 2003 Family Circle and Serena vs. Venus at 2003 Aussie Open. She is returning 105+ mile per hour serves for winners! That is Agassi good!! If Venus and Lindsay's serves are nothing for her, then what hope do the rest of the women have? Monica used to be the best returner in the game but that was before women were consistently hitting serves in the 110-115 range, not to mention Venus's occasional 125mph bomb. Monica does not return those big serves with the same ease as Serena, although Monica can eat a weak second serve up. If Monica were still the best returner, I think she would have had more wins against Venus. She would have been able to capitalize off of Venus's second serve the way that Serena has. In fact, I would say Lindsay's return is better than Monica's.

Just to respond to an assinine post left earlier in the thread by a real zero, the strength of Hingis's return was in the consistency and her ability to anticipate. But the minute the big servers became more consistent and got the first serve percentages up, Hingis lost any of those benefits. Somehow Serena still hangs in there with them though. There's no contest right now.
you must have not seen Monica vs. Venus at the champs

Monica was hitting winners off Venus' 113 serve, that was right down the T

Damn that netcord ;)
 

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I think her serve is slightly better cuz overall it's a tad bit more consistent.

It's understandable that for Serena it is generally a hit or miss. She goes for it all and tries to force the issue with power.
 

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Seles has an excellent return of serve when she's in position. It matches Serena's return of serve.

However, Serena is a much better athelete and can get into much better position. That gives her an evident advantage.
 

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Kart said:
Seles has an excellent return of serve when she's in position. It matches Serena's return of serve.

However, Serena is a much better athelete and can get into much better position. That gives her an evident advantage.
I think it is debatable. Serena handles jamming serves better and you're right she is able to get to the serves quicker than Monica. I think Serena consistently sends back a more offensive return than Monica though. No one mentions Lindsay's return anymore. Why is that?
 

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Midnite Surfer said:
I think it is debatable. Serena handles jamming serves better and you're right she is able to get to the serves quicker than Monica. I think Serena consistently sends back a more offensive return than Monica though. No one mentions Lindsay's return anymore. Why is that?
we're talking about back in the day

Monica is way to tentative w/ returns nowadays

and yes Lindsays return is lethal
 

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best serve ever- serena- of course! a woman's first AND second serves have never been such weapons. martina navratilova is really serena's only rival here. venus's first serve is awesome, but that second ball really puts her back. lindsay's is also very very good.

best return ever- monica- a league all her own. hardly missed, and took so much risk. whenever she needed it, it was there. she has the best crosscourt angled returns of all time, and she could easily zip it up the line or just send the ball back harder than it came over right into the body. girls were afraid to serve to her. never had there been a time where players opted not to serev first game up until seles came along.
 

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we are talking about the best return of serve, martina hingis was no where near this category, seeing all she did was get the ball back in play, and when it came to getting it back against Linday Venus and Serena, the point was then over, b/c the ball was sitting up so much, they either hit a winner, or they were on top of the rally from that point, and evetually won the point

Don't get me wrong, Martina had a very good return of serve, but the only justice it did her, was to keep her in the point (as in not get aced) but after that, the point was over, either by outright winner, or running Martin all over (her poor feet, maybe since her returns sucked so bad, and forced her to do all that running, this would also be another reason why she has foreced to retire?)

But Serena, yes she has the best return ever. We already can all agree she has the best Serve. But when you watch Serena. Serena does not go for hit/miss, most of the time, she returns the balls nice and deep, but you can tell when she is going for the winner, or the forcing shot off the first serve to end the points. And when it comes to the second serves, Martina Hingis, never can i remeber consistely hititng "winners" off the second serve, well hell "winners" for the whole matter, espeically against the top players (yes maybe she did this against ranking 50-up) But Serena, since she has played Venus so many times, she has officaily adjusted to her, and these 115 avg serves really don't bother her at all. She does not even necesarily block them back, she has actually adjusted so well she can take full swings. So when she is up against everyone else (they average around 105pmh the entire match) She is just clocking their first serves, as if they were second serves. Her arms have gotten really loose on the return of serves, yes she does have off days, but doesn't just about everybody? And how about davenport, off day? Hell id call it an off year since last year, b/c her returns are not that crisp anymore. Without a doubt Serena has the best return of serve, and the best serve ever in womens tennis :)

and about monica, returning venus' 113, let me say this, she did that 1 time the entire match, lindsay has done it a couple times, if you guess right, and i mean lean extra early and wait for the return (hell you are a pro tennis player), you'd best believe you better be able to create something speical :)
 
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