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Discussion Starter #1
Only 15 months separate the Williams Sisters by age, but the gap that separates their career results seems much wider.

Consider for example,

Venus: 4 grand slams, 21 career titles<br />Serena: 1 grand slams, 11 career titles

Serena was quickest off the mark by winning the first grand slam event, but since then Big Sis' has definitely made the biggest impact.

Serena is now the same age that Venus was when Venus began her winning trend. What do you think needs to happen for Serena to get her "fair share" of results?

In my opinion, she should avoid playing Venus as much as possible. I think that the biggest mental block on the tour is Serena vs. Venus. Those losses will only make Serena more vulnerable (mentally) against other players.

Serena should also try to establish a more separate identity. She often refers to Venus in interviews. For example, she says she eats what Venus eats, and she calls Venus back at home for assurance, etc. Serena should stop making such references in public. We know she loves Big Sis'.

While there's nothing wrong with showing familial affection, having a very separate identity could have major benefits for Serena. She'll immediately move out from under the shadow of Venus. She'll hear the output of her own fans dedicated to her and that will give her a different kind of pride and therefore confidence.

These two things should results in better showings for Serena in the future. Any more ideas of what Serena should do?
 

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I think you make an interesting point about Serena's results since 1999. However, I must disagree with you about one point. I would be a huge mistake for Serena to continue to avoid playing Venus, especially since Venus is one of the most dominant players on the tour. The more she avoids her sister; the more difficulty she will have in obtaining better results at tier 1 events and slams. I think Serena and Venus should play each other as much as possible. This will not only allow them to get over that mental block you speak of; playing against each other will also allow them to improve their games. After all, you can only beat the best by competing against them, figuring out their game and then improving your own to exploit their weaknesses. By playing against each other, the Williams sisters can improve their play and become better players. (Don't misunderstand! I am not trying to underscore other great players here. I'm sure that Venus and Serena have learned a great deal from other players on the tour!)

I totally agree with you that Serena needs to establish her own identity. She seems to want to stay submerged in Venus' shadow. When Venus missed the first six months of 2000, Serena played her worst tennis. She lost in the fourth round of Oz, was beaten by Tauziat in France, lost to Pierce in the quarterfinals of IW's, lost in the fourth round of the Ericsson to a pre-2001 Capriati, lost in the second round of the Bausch and Lomb championships. There is nothing wrong with losing to Pierce,Tauziat or Capriati, but Serena on a good day can beat them both easily. Serena only improved when Venus returned. (Remember how Serena decimated the field @ Wimbledon until that semifinal?) I think making a true commitment to play more tennis would only be beneficial to Serena as well as playing against her sister.

Great topic Cheops. Thanks for posting it. <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
 

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She needs to keep her weight down.

She needs to play her sister the way she played Justine Henin at Sanex. Let Venus do the attacking.

Lindsay, Jenn, Justine, Monica, Serena. They all attack Venus. And Venus returns their best stuff and they're done. The UE's start to mount.

Serena has to be willing to rally a little longer with other players. LET them screw up. She doesn't have to win every point. The opponent is often gracious enough to simply give the point away.
 

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I have followed Serena ever since she entered the tour. Never has anyone hit the tour running like she did. With little or no experience she defeated the #1 and #2 players on the tour. She defeated the great Steffi Graf. Only when she was expected to win did trouble pop up. I understand why, her natural talent is amazing, but she still needed to learn how to play, especially big matches. Last summer Serena was just paying dues. Really learning how to play under pressure. When you consider her real match experience it is not that much. Venus endured some real heartbreaking defeats at the hands of Hingis and Davenport. Venus had to pay her dues as well. Serena now has emerged on the other side ready to do battle. She will emerge in 2002 as one of the greatest tennis players ever to pick up a racquet. <img src="cool.gif" border="0">
 

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I think Serena needs to play more tournaments so that she can gain confidence. Serena is very different from Venus. She is much more emotional. When her confidence is high, she can decimate any one. When it is low, you can tell. She will lose a match she was winning. So I think she needs to win a slam or reach a few finals just to kick start herself. Get the confidence, then go on a roll. But she'll need to play more matches to do that. Hopefully, Serena will do better next year, winning a slam, and maybe she'll start to do better in all her tournaments <img src="biggrin.gif" border="0">
 

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Originally posted by apoet29:<br /><strong>I totally agree with you that Serena needs to establish her own identity. She seems to want to stay submerged in Venus' shadow. When Venus missed the first six months of 2000, Serena played her worst tennis. She lost in the fourth round of Oz, was beaten by Tauziat in France, lost to Pierce in the quarterfinals of IW's, lost in the fourth round of the Ericsson to a pre-2001 Capriati, lost in the second round of the Bausch and Lomb championships. There is nothing wrong with losing to Pierce,Tauziat or Capriati, but Serena on a good day can beat them both easily. Serena only improved when Venus returned. (Remember how Serena decimated the field @ Wimbledon until that semifinal?) I think making a true commitment to play more tennis would only be beneficial to Serena as well as playing against her sister.<br /></strong><hr></blockquote>

Excellent point apoet29! I absolutely agree with you!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I agree that Serena would probably win more if she played more patiently. The only concern I would have is that by doing so she would drastically alter her style of play, and she'd probably end up losing more. When I think of 2001's matches, only the USO finals provide an example of Serena being too impatient. At other times, she seems to be able to handle her own pace.

AO, RG and e-Style.com gave good examples of Serena blowing leads due to her nerves. She seems to be over it, for now, after Toronto and USO. I don't think she'll choke at AO 2002.

As far as playing more tournaments, I agree that it will help Serena out. But only because she'll maintain a higher rank. I don't think that she really needs the match play, or gets rusty to the point of losing matches she'd otherwise win.

Winning another Slam will be a big boost for Serena. I think that it will be more of a self-validation for her than a confidence booster. The reason I say this is that I doubt winning another slam would make think Serena believe she can beat the other top players--She already believes it! Except VENUS. And I doubt winning a Slam will make Serena feel she can beat Venus.

Which brings me back to Venus. Playing Venus more would seem to give Serena more practice against top players. But don't you think she already practices with Venus? And don't you think that Venus wins more often. I totally agree that playing the other top players more will help Serena, but how would playing Venus in public give Serena any more than she already gets from playing Venus in private?

[ December 05, 2001: Message edited by: Cheops ]</p>
 

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Originally posted by Cheops:<br /><strong>Which brings me back to Venus. Playing Venus more would seem to give Serena more practice against top players. But don't you think she already practices with Venus? And don't you think that Venus wins more often. I totally agree that playing the other top players more will help Serena, but how would playing Venus in public give Serena any more than she already gets from playing Venus in private?</strong><hr></blockquote>

<br />That's exactly what I was thinking Cheops.

I also agree that Serena should play more, but not too much. I don't think she needs to play 17 or more tournaments. If you take the 7 main events of the year. 4 GS, Indian Wells, Ericsson Open, Sanex Championships and add in warm-up tournaments before and after them I think 15 total would be enough. 1 warm-up before the AO, 2 before the French, 2 before the USO, and 3 in the fall. If she needs the extra tournament or two she can always take it, but if she doesn't there shouldn't be any reason for her to overexert herself just to please other people. With her game I'm sure 15 would be enough.
 

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Queen V... check your PM <img src="biggrin.gif" border="0">
 
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