Foot Fault!

Calling all the lines of professional tennis

What To Take From Serena Williams’ Stanford Victory

Serena Williams announced her comeback yesterday by clinching the first title of her comeback and first summer US hardcourt title in ten years, defeating Marion Bartoli 7-5 6-1 in the final.

1) She’s back, baby
Starting with the painfully obvious - yes, she is back. It’s pretty amazing actually. After a 49 week layoff with two foot surgeries and a near-fatal health problem, in her third tournament back she dusts aside three of the standout players of the last couple of months in straight sets. This may sound a touch melodramatic, but I almost feel like this makes her even more feared than back when she won Wimbledon last year. I mean, she completely trashed Sharapova and Lisicki before eventually beating Bartoli easily, yet there is still so much room for improvement.

2) Still so much room to improve
For her, the fact that she is beating all of these great players yet still has so much room to improve is brilliant. Even now, you can see she’s still quite unsure about certain aspects of her game, and still having to almost re-learn them after so long out. Particularly her timing, footing and general feeling around the ball has been off since the comeback, with her being forced to dramatically improvise her strokes on some of the most seemingly routine balls.

3) Serena’s patience - looking to the future
Serena’s patience this week was also notable. Over the years, so much has been said about her power and athleticism. It’s as if people see the big muscles and are immediately compelled to wax lyrical about how much bigger and stronger she is than the rest. What often goes unnoticed is the fact that both today and long before (as the story goes) the rest of the tour raced to the gym in a futile attempt to “catch up” with Serena and her sister, one thing that has set Serena apart is her ability to construct points before using her strength to finish the point. And with her turning thirty and losing some of the natural athleticism and explosiveness of old, this patience has become far more central to her game. Her last three scorelines were easy, but they were no 07 Australian Open final. Instead, she alternated between keeping the ball at a great length, using angles to drag her opponents off-court, before crushing anything that was, well, crushable. And that is ultimately what could help her to prolong her career for years more.

With this win, Serena’s name will undoubtedly fly to the very top of the US Open bookies’ favourites list. But there’s still a long way to go in this US hardcourt season, and after a period of such steep and dramatic decline on the WTA, we’re entering into quite an interesting period ahead of the US Open. It will be fascinating to see who else stands up and commands attention as we edge closer to the final slam of the year.

Because, in every sense of the word, it really could be anyone.

About these ads

2 Responses to What To Take From Serena Williams’ Stanford Victory

  1. Kimmy August 1, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Correct! Much like yesterday, a win or loss at the USO will not surprise me…I know she’s just back, but I also know if anyone can will their bodies to do what seems almost impossible, it’s Serena Jameka Williams…

    She’s been smart in adapting her game to her unavoidable loss of speed and explosiveness due to age and knee surgery…I remember one point yesterday where she was almost outside the doubles alley and hit a sharp fh angle to marion’s bh, and knowing the inevitable dtl shot was coming, she covered it and played it into the open court…heavy shots…makes her GOAT in my eyes

  2. TennisFan August 1, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Wow, great ‘effin analysis. I so glad you defeated the online web gremlins and came back for more.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,541 other followers

%d bloggers like this: