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Serena Williams beats Maria Sharapova in powerful, noisy French Open final

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Serena Williams

Serena Williams nearly doubled her points advantage in the WTA rankings. (Michel Euler/AP)

By Nick Zaccardi

PARIS — Three thoughts off Serena Williams’ 6-4, 6-4 win over Maria Sharapova in the French Open final …

1. Serena Williams won this tournament because of consistent dominance. Saturday’s scoreline suggests that, like all of Williams’s matches these two weeks, there was little doubt over the outcome. That’s not totally true — Williams was broken on her first service game — but the feeling throughout was Sharapova was fighting an uphill battle. A pretty unwinnable one, too. Williams broke Sharapova three times in the first set and again in Sharapova’s second service game in the second set. She stayed on course to close it out in one hour, 46 minutes, dropping to her knees after match point, overcome with emotion on the Court Philippe Chatrier clay.

The difference was succinct: the serve — Williams’s was too powerful, Sharapova’s too erratic. Williams captured her 16th major singles title (and second French Open, 11 years to the day after her first, over sister Venus) by mowing through a women’s field in a little over eight hours on court. Only 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova took a set off Williams, and Sharapova was the only other player to even break her serve.

It’s hard to believe Williams went out in the first round here last year. She’s lost just three matches since and is on a 31-match winning streak. She’s in better form (compared to her peers) going into the grass-court season than at any point in her career. What, if anything, can stop her from lifting a sixth Wimbledon next month? To quote Williams from before the French Open began, “the lady in the mirror.”

2. Sharapova put up a better fight than many thought she would. Few gave the Russian a chance, given she hadn’t beaten Williams in nearly nine years, losing their last 12 meetings (and winning just one set in their last nine). And Sharapova’s quick demise seemed apparent after the first three points, when she went down love-40 on her serve, being bullied around by Williams as usual.

But Sharapova fought back this time and even took an early break. Her come ons to winners ratio was nearly 1:1. She showed — quite audibly — she was not intimidated. Her Achilles heel first serve, however, could not hold up in gusty conditions. Williams had break chances on each of Sharapova’s first three service games. Sharapova landed fewer than half of her first serves in the opening set, a 51-minute affair when she came pretty close to matching Williams stroke for stroke from the baseline.

Many recent women’s finals have the reputation of being duds, unsettling appetizers for the following day’s men’s final. But this was certainly competitive in comparison and could end up being more memorable than Sunday’s final between Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer.

This was the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 in a women’s major final at Roland Garros since 1995 (Steffi Graf d. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario) and the first in any major since the 2004 Australian Open (Justine Henin d. Kim Clijsters). The state of the women’s game didn’t change Saturday — it’s still Williams, then Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka, then the rest — but Sharapova made Williams work for it. Again, better than expected.

3. Is Williams the best player of this generation — man or woman? She won her 16th career Grand Slam singles title, moving her two behind Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert for a share of fourth all-time among women. She’s still eight majors behind record holder Margaret Court, who raked in 11 Australian Open titles against less than stellar competition. That record is almost surely insurmountable.

Of more realistic note, she’s now only one behind Roger Federer’s men’s record. Federer and Williams were born within seven weeks of each other in 1981, so it’s natural to compare the two most accomplished players of this century.

Williams missed at least one major every year from 1999 to 2006 (save 2001) and then three straight in 2010 and 2011 after she stepped on glass in a restaurant, suffered a pulmonary embolism and had complications from surgery. Federer, meanwhile, has played every single major since 2000. During that time, we’ve seen the pendulum swing from a deep field of WTA stars to a golden era of the men’s side. Federer had little competition at the beginning of his run, and now Williams stands alone.

Federer struck out in the quarterfinals here and it’s arguable whether he can win another major. It would be stunning if Williams’s trophy case doesn’t grow. She looked better at the 2013 French Open than at the 2002 French Open. A scary thought considering she’s the oldest-ever No. 1. There’s no doubt Williams has aged better than Federer. If trends continue, there will be no doubt who had the better career, either.

  • Published On Jun 08, 2013
  • 169 comments
    cleopatra209
    cleopatra209

    everyone needs to ignore and forgive michael9. he has been off his meds for some time!!

    CLivvyLuvsTennis
    CLivvyLuvsTennis

    John McEnroe stated..."Serena is the best female tennis play that the world has ever seen."  I agree wholeheartedly.

    Ali Akhtar
    Ali Akhtar

    Okay, Michael9, we've seen enough of your lengthy posts filled with links, cites, quotes, etc. (only thing missing is a table of contents, and a clear plastic cover).

    Just some friendly advice, dude: chillax a bit.  No one here is trying to submit a Master's thesis or Ph.D. dissertation.

    Federer is one of the all-time greats, no question.  Greatest ever?  That's essentially an unwinnable argument.  Purely subjective.  Comparing different eras, different surfaces, different training regimens, different racquet and string technology, etc., is a never-ending debate, no matter how many quotes or links you cite.  It's like trying to convince someone that caramel sundaes are "superior" to hot fudge sundaes (or vice versa), using quotes from 20 different confectioners and culinary students.

    Michael9
    Michael9

    I’ve posted earlier about Serena’s titles (Grand Slam, Year-Ending Championships), total titles/finals, matches played/won. A objective study of WTA records speaks for itself: Serena very rarely tops any category in the WTA records (all players since 1973, not just active/current players ).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WTA_Tour_records


    The hard facts are clear when you objectively compare the record books:  Federer is certainly the most accomplished tennis player of this century. The number of times his name pops up and number of categories that he tops is astounding. This is what accomplished and greatest looks like.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATP_World_Tour_records


    Federer has had a far better career in the ATP era as well as in all-time men's pro tennis...  than Serena has had in the WTA era as well as in all-time women's tennis. That's the only comparison that's appropriate. Outside this, it’s not "natural" to compare Federer with Serena because -- Toni Nadal and other experts have noted -- the quality of Serena and WTA tennis simply does not compare with the top 300 players of ATP tennis. In other words, Federer is competing in the toughest possible level of tennis, Serena did not. 

    --

    The two primary measures of greatness and dominance in pro tennis are titles won and also time as No. 1. Looking at the measures of No.1 (see link), it’s obvious that Serena has not spent as much time as No.1 as many other players in the WTA era – she has not had to endure the competitive and other pressures of staying No. 1. It’s one thing to win big titles, but it’s more demanding to win week in and week out as well as win big titles.

    - Serena has only 140 weeks as No.1 for sixth on the all-time list behind Seles (178), Hingis (209), Evert (262), Navratilova (332), Steffi Graf (377).

    - Serena is not even in the top ten for consecutive weeks  No. 1 (73 weeks is the minimum, Steffi’s 186 weeks is the WTA record). In other words, Serena has never been able to succeed and dominate consistently on the WTA tour to hang on to the No. 1 ranking.

    - Serena has been Year-End No. 1 only two years in her career (joint 8th), a far cry from Graf (8 years) and Navratilova (7), who were both consistently excellent.

    http://tinyurl.com/mhj6bwl


    In these measures, Serena certainly does not come anywhere close to comparing with Federer, who was 237 consecutive weeks at No.1 for a total of 302 weeks at No.1 

    Ali Akhtar
    Ali Akhtar

    Federer's and Serena's careers are like pendulums swinging in opposite directions.

    It can certainly be argued that at the beginning of Federer's dominance, he played in a weaker era (before Nadal and Djokovic reached their prime), and it can definitely be argued that now at the latter stage of Serena's career, she is playing in a weaker era.  Which of the other women show the fighting spirit to challenge Serena consistently.  Sharapova, Azarenka, Wozniacki, etc.??  These ladies just fold against Serena, time and time again. 

    Yes, I fully expect her to retire with more Slams than Federer has.  But the same folks who criticize Federer for dominating early in a "weak era," should say the same now about Serena, out of consistency.

    Pinkfloyd
    Pinkfloyd

    Do people refuse to read?

    The article's argument was that Serena (may) have a better CAREER. Not that she would beat Federer or anyone on the ATP tour. 

    TheSteelGeneral
    TheSteelGeneral

    Would Serena be outside the top 500 if she played mens tennis? That's really exaggerated. It's just not really comparable. The only thing that WOULD be comparable is the serve SPEED and she does pretty well on that respect.

    TheSteelGeneral
    TheSteelGeneral

    Ha ha, no doubt such a provocative title would arouse much dissing of women in general, and dissing of Serena in particular.

    The ONLY reason Graf won 22 majors was that a fellow German stabbed Seles. NOWAY she would even be above 15 if Seles had been around. Maggie Court won 11 titles in Australia, which you can't call Open with a straight face seeing how little competition there was. Some very famous players, like Borg, Navratilova never or hardly went there. Court won a lot of her titles NOT in the Open Era, including those doubles. Australia, at that time, hardly had a huge active tennisplayer base, so the competition was very, very weak. OTOH, Martina had real competition, Evert.

    And some of the "criticism" of Serena I read here are laughable. People are whining about her not playing for "questionable" reasons???? What da F ... do they know? they aren't her doctors, and they aren't owed a damn thing in the way of explanations. 

    All criticisms of Serena, always come down on one thing: Uppity Negro-ism! A bunch of ol' whites who can't STAND that a woman of color is beating them at their own game. I, for one, am glad she's doesn't take crap from anybody, because while overt racism is hardly around, except for Hingis and Eastern European media, the subtle put downs in America and Europe are many, and lots. Whites never get how much black parents prepare their kids for racism. It's a big and integral part of raising a black kid in any Western country. 

    Michael9
    Michael9

    It is incorrect that Serena “share of fourth all-time among women” Her 16 slams places her sixth all-time, behind Margaret Court (24), Steffi Graf (22), Helen Wills Moody (19), Chris Evert (18) and Martina Navratilova (18). Margaret Court holds a record 62 Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles.

    http://tinyurl.com/l42y9xr


    It’s really illogical to try to compare Federer and Serena. It’s like trying to compare Federer’s achievements in ATP World Tour (the top tier of men’s international pro tennis competition) with the achievements of the dominant player on a tennis circuit equivalent in quality to the ITF Men's Pro Circuit futures tournaments (the third tier of men’s tennis where players in tournaments are typically ranked between No. 300 to No. 1000).


    That’s right: Serena would be ranked outside No. 300 on the ATP rankings – probably outside No. 500. And the rest of the top 30 female players would be ranked somewhere between 500 to 1000, or worse. 

    Last October Toni Nadal (Rafa’s coach) assessed that Serena Williams would lose to any top 300 male player because her shots, conditioning and flexibility are insufficient to hurt and compete with these male players. French Open finalist David Ferrer agreed with Toni Nadal, adding that Serena’s leg speed and physique are inadequate to compete against men. Then No. 51-ranked women’s player Anabel Medina Garrigues explained that the assessments of Toni Nadal and David Ferrer are correct and appropriate: “Serena may be physically superior to other women but when compared to a man it would be different.” Former World No. 1 Carlos Moya was more emphatic: "I can assure you that if Serena were playing on the ATP Tour she would probably be outside the top 500.”

    http://tinyurl.com/asqhj3c

    http://tinyurl.com/k7y6uww 

    http://tinyurl.com/8tcckv5


    Regardless, Federer is obviously the best player of this generation once the evidence is examined objectively. 

    The greatness of Roger Federer over Serena Williams is apparent when you compare their respective records in the ATP and WTA. It’s clear that Federer’s dominance and success in the ATP era is much greater than the over-hyped Serena.

    - In the ATP era since 1972, Federer appears at the top of numerous records (in the link,  do a search/find for Federer and scroll down to see where Federer’s name lights up). It’s obvious that Federer has been the best player of the ATP era, and therefore the best player of this generation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATP_World_Tour_records

    - In the WTA era since 1973, Serena’s name rarely appears at the top of individual records. It’s obvious that Serena still has a lot of work to do to deserve to be hyped as the best player of the WTA era, even though she is the best player of her generation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WTA_Tour_records


    Furthermore, the performance and productivity records of Federer and Serena over their careers clearly indicate that Federer’s results are superior to Serena’s:

    - Federer’s performance results

    http://tinyurl.com/lylz2t4 

    - Serena’s performance results

    http://tinyurl.com/nzdqf9o 

    6marK6
    6marK6

    Steffi Graff dominated in what was probably the greatest era ever.

    Michael9
    Michael9

    @cleopatra209No wonder you have to resort to cheap personal attacks: other than meaningless jabs, you have failed to make even one sound comment/rebuttal based on facts, sound logic and consistent principles. You don't need meds, you need to think harder.

    Michael9
    Michael9

    @Ali Akhtar If you don't like my post, use your common sense to skip it and be  quiet.

    second, "Greatest ever?  That's essentially an unwinnable argument.  Purely subjective." is presumptuous and arrogant to believe that you are the final authority on these debatable issues. It's not purely subjective.

    PatrickFinley
    PatrickFinley

    @Michael9 "The two primary measures of greatness and dominance in pro tennis are titles won and also time as No. 1"


    Why?  Because you say so?  Weeks at #1  is obviously dependent on ranking systems which reward activity as much as excellence.  Serena, for whatever reason, didn't play as many tournaments in her teens and early 20's as most of the so-called greats.  

    And that is, in part, why at the age of 31, Serena is at the very top of her game at an age where Roger, God bless him, seems to be in decline.  Steffi Graf, the consensus GOAT (wrongly) was out of the game completely by the time she was 30.

    It's not how many wins you have against weak competition, in my judgment.  It's how you do against the best players of your time.   Serena is 26-4 against her two leading rivals.  Federer has a huge negative against Rafa, and a small negative against Murray, who no one (to my knowledge) has placed  among the greats.

    As for the Evert-Navratilova-Graf era, please bear in mind that in those days talented 15-16 year old girls routinely shot to the top of the rankings.  Evert, Austin, Graf, Sabatini,  Seles, Capriati, Hingis, Venus, and others.  Ask yourself how could such a thing happen.  The only reasonable conclusion is that that the talent pool in the WTA in the 1970's, 1980's, and early 1990's was so thin that these adolescents could beat all but a handful of the established players.   That's how Evert  was able to win 125 consecutive matches on clay.  That's how she (and Martina and Steffi) were able to make the semifinals of nearly every slam throughout most of their careers -- there just weren't many capable players then.  

    It would be unthinkable now for a 15-16 year old to make the top 10.   There are only a few players under 21 who are even in the top 100 now, and only one or two of them are less than 19.

    Think about Tracy Austin.  She was 5' 5" and yet she won the US Open when she was 16.  How could she possibly have done that, if she had had to win seven matches against strong adult opposition?

    I'm not demeaning the players of the past -- they were great players.   But there were precious few quality players until about 2000, and each year since the numbers grow as tennis becomes an important sport in different parts of the world  -- Serbia, China, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Poland, Italy, and more.



    kolade10
    kolade10

    @Michael9 Flawed analysis! Serena has a better winning percentage than RF. This is more significant than any form of argument you have out there. Within the same era, Serena did not play 10 Slams as compared with RF, yet she has 16; one behind RF. Guy wake up!

    Pinkfloyd
    Pinkfloyd

    @Michael9 From 2003 to 2008, there were 4 players who were multiple slam winners that Federer competed with. Who were they? 

    Nadal. And...wait for it, wait for it, wait....an aging Andre Agassi (retired), a talented but ultimately unreliable Marat Safin (retired), and the super counter puncher Leyton Hewitt (needs to retire).Djokovic*arrived* in 2008.

    Harping on about ATP quality level and depth when 4 guys have owned the tour for almost 10 years is kind of shooting yourself in the foot and doing your hours and hours of research a disservice. 

    BraxtonPope
    BraxtonPope

    @Michael9 What's your point?

    Comparing WTA stats and ATP stats is redundant. And comparing Serena to past female greats is waste of time as well. Any person with common sense can go on youtube and watch a graf, evert, navratilova match and see that the game was SIGNIFICANTLY less physically taxing on the body than the game is when Serena arrived on tour and now. NO man or woman today could win the amout of titles that Martina, Chris, and Graf won. It's physically impossible. 

    BraxtonPope
    BraxtonPope

    @Ali Akhtar I totally agree. There is no doubt that Serenas' competition today is much weaker. And I personally think its a shame that Kuznetsova was the only player that actually challenged her en route to the final. At this point she is basically competing against herself.

    Michael9
    Michael9

    @TheSteelGeneral: Enough with the ridiculous racial card. The cold hard facts are there. And Serena herself was easily beaten 1-6  by the drunk No. 203-ranked, 30-year old male player Karsten Braasch at 1998 Australian Open. Braasch said afterwards, "500 and above, no chance" as he claimed he had played like someone ranked 600 in order to keep the game "fun."

    http://tinyurl.com/me5onpf


    Then WTA No. 51 (I think No. 68 now) Anabel Medina Garrigues pointed out that the views of Toni Nadal and David Ferrer have nothing to do with chauvinism: "Serena may be physically superior to the other women, but when she plays a man, it would be different."

    http://tinyurl.com/asqhj3c


    Here is basic info on the Graf-Seles rivalry. Their head to head is Graf 10-5 Seles. Who knows, maybe Seles might have inspired Graf to win 25 majors.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graf%E2%80%93Seles_rivalry

    Michael9
    Michael9

    It’s a false argument to give Serena a pass for missing more majors than Federer. This becomes obvious when Serena’s record is compared against Steffi Graf.


    In the WTA era, it is clear that about to be 32-year old Serena has played significantly less tennis and was much less successful than Steffi Graf – even though Steffi retired in August 1999 (a few weeks after her 30th birthday).

    - Serena competed in only 51 majors since 1998 Australian Open – while Steffi competed in 54 majors since 1983 Australian Open.

    - Serena won only 16 of 51 total majors competed (31.3%) – while Steffi won 22 of 54 total majors (40.7%).

    - Serena won 236 of 271 matches at the majors (87.1%) – while Steffi won 282 of 316 matches (89.2% – Steffi  won more matches than Serena has played at majors).

    - Serena won only 3 Year-End Championships – while Steffi won 5 YEC.

    - Serena won only 52 titles in 68 finals – while Steffi won 107 titles from 132 finals!

    - Serena won only 597 of only 707 total WTA matches played (84.4%) – while Steffi won 902 of 1017 matches played (88.7%). Even 27-year old Nadal has played 751 total matches despite being 5 years younger than Serena!


    If Graf could do it, why couldn’t Serena? What if Serena tried to play as much as Graf and Federer -- would she have burned out, become more injured and been less successful – like so many other players?


    Serena was absent from 11 majors throughout her career while Federer missed only 1 major (through losing in the qualifying rounds) early in his career. Serena may have had good reasons for skipping 3 majors from 2010 US Open to 2011 French Open, but most of her reasons for being absent from the remaining 8 majors are questionable. Curiously, Serena’s best-attended majors are Wimbledon and US Open (the two majors where she has her highest winning percentages) and she is most absent from the French Open (where she has her worst winning percentage).


    Giving a pass to Serena for skipping majors penalizes Federer for diligently showing up for work. Unlike Serena, Federer made the effort to attend every major regardless of whether he was sick (e.g., 2008 Australian Open – Mononucleosis) or injured (e.g., ankle injury at 2005 year-end championships; back injury at 2008 year-end championships) or lost motivation. After the 2008 AO, Federer was diagnosed with a dangerously-enlarged spleen from playing with mono. Mono has been a debilitating career-ending, career-reducing and/or performance-reducing illness to almost all athletes who had it – they’re never the same after contracting mono. Yet Federer did not miss a single tournament even though his results plunged for 17 months in its aftermath – from beating Nadal in 5 of his past 7 matches before mono, he went to losing 5 straight times to Nadal after the mono. Yet he took his losses while continuing to compete. He has not retired from any started match in his entire career, which also happens to be the ATP record. He has withdrawn from only two matches before they started, probably also an ATP record. This is a player whose attitude is to show up for work, even when he does not feel at his best (and therefore more vulnerable to defeat).

    http://www.worldtennismagazine.com/archives/3511

    At 2005 Year-End Championships in Shanghai, Federer had a 4.5 five-setter final on a bum ankle – and still fought to the bitter end to try to win it, even though he could not move well. Five weeks earlier he had torn his right ankle ligaments, was in a cast and on crutches – even though he was not fully healed, he still showed up in China to try to defend his title.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bm_wClDQoa0

    JonathanD
    JonathanD

    @6marK6 What are you talking about?  The only great player that Graf had to face in her prime was Seles, and Seles had been completely DOMINATING Graf for several years when she got stabbed and had her career ruined.  Without that stabbing, Graf might be behind Williams already.

    BraxtonPope
    BraxtonPope

    @6marK6 Greatest Era? I'm sure you can't name at least 8 players off the top of your head that won multiple slams during that era...

    Michael9
    Michael9

    @PatrickFinley @Michael9You really are not in touch with reality.

    Those are the measures not because I say so. It's because that's what the greatest players and experts consider are the criteria for greatness.


    Martina Navratilove on what makes the greatest player ever who played the tennis game: "It’s a combination of how many grand slams have you won, how many tournaments have you won, how many years you were number one, and he’s got all those combinations. The body of work is phenomenal and now he has got that French Open and I think he can just go on and sip Margaritas for the rest of his life."

    http://tinyurl.com/nr6yu63


    Take a look at how the intelligent Ivan Lendl summarizes his career to highlight his greatness.

    http://ivanlendl.net/Tennis_Career.html


    I see Roger's decline as his choice. It's too coincidental that his current decline started 10 months ago after he practically secured the 300 weeks at No. 1 by won the Cincinnati Masters without dropping a set, and bageled Djokovic 6-0 in the final. Since then he seems somewhat disinterested and his level of fitness and game at tournaments has dropped. Compare these past ten months with the previous ten months between 2011 Basel to 2012 Cincinnati Masters: Federer won 9 titles (incl. 1 slam, 1 WTF, 4 Masters) and won 90% of 79 matches -- he was superfit, winning Madrid despite a hip injury, winning records over Nadal, Murray and 2-2 with Djokovic. He has done what he wanted, and has been coasting on his talent since Cincy.


    Your judgment is irrelevant. What's relevant is how the tennis tour measures success and chooses the player of the year. It's NOT how you do against a few best players of your time. The tennis tour measures success by how well you dominate your overall field of competition -- as defined by big titles won and by ranking achieved.


    It's flawed to judge Federer by his clay-biased head to head against Nadal, and even Toni Nadal said that. Moreover, Nadal, given his age, is not really in Federer's generation -- but because Rafa matured early and Federer continued his good play beyond age 27, they have still been meeting. It's not a true generational rivalry because Nadal has been in his prime in recent years. Anyways, this is outside the scope of my original post and I have other things to do so here is some reading material:

    http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2010/11/29/the-federer-nadal-rivalry-rekindled/

    http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2011/06/03/federer-nadal-on-clay-closer-than-you-think/

    http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2013/03/14/federer-vs-nadal-a-rivalry-continued/


    Phenoms exist, though are relatively rare. Nadal was still 18 years old when he first broke into the top 5 in 2005 winning against "strong adult opposition".  I saw courtside Sabatini, Graf, Hingis, etc. when they were 13 or 14 years old -- it was obvious to me that they already had something special. 


    Michael9
    Michael9

    @kolade10 @Michael9Better winning percentage and 16 slams? It's you with the flawed analysis. If Federer played on the WTA tour, his winning percentage would probably be 100% and he would have won over 50 slams -- that's because the quality of the top 30 female players is probably equivalent between No. 500 to No. 1000 male players (see Toni Nadal's comments in my post below). As I've said in my earlier posts, you cannot directly compare Federer's stats with William's stats because of the lower quality of the WTA tour.

    Serena was absent from 11 of 62 slams since her first slam at 1998 Australian Open. That's a lot of slams to be absent from: compare with Federer who was absent from only ONE of 57 slams (he failed to qualify for 1999 US Open) since his first slam at 1999 French Open. Serena may have had good excuses for missing a few but some of her other excuses are dubious, questionable. It's likely she skipped a few slams because she felt beatable/vulnerable or was not interested. In other words, when she showed up at a slam, she was more prepared to win. So no, not going to compare Federer's 17 slams in 57 slam opportunities with Serena's 16 slams in 62 slam opportunities. It's not Federer's fault that he shows up for work at a slam regardless whether he is injured, sick or not bothered, while serena does not. 

    Michael9
    Michael9

    @Pinkfloyd @Michael9 Clarify: who exactly are the "4 guys have owned the tour for almost 10 years" ?

    Federer was competing with more than just slam winners because he took most of the slams. Bottom line, the reason why the average age of the top 100 in the ATP era is  older in 2012/2013 compared with 2003 is that relatively more players from Fed's generation are still competitive today than players from the sampras-agassi generation were able to compete against Fed's generation in 2003.

    I've seen Safin beat Sampras from courtside as well as Lleyton Hewitt. You're underestimating them.



    Michael9
    Michael9

    @BraxtonPope @Michael9What’s YOUR point?

     How else do you objectively compare careers if you don’t compare factual records of stats? Federer is already one title away from tying McEnroe for third in total titles in the ATP era. It’s physically possible if you are really a great player who consistently competes.

     You want to rely on your subjective personal opinion. If you write off the past eras as “the game was SIGNIFICANTLY less physically taxing on the body” then 20 years in the future others will do that to Serena’s era. Every player exists in the context of how they performed in their era relative to other players performed in their eras.

    JonathanD
    JonathanD

    @Michael9 Do you have the slightest idea how bad Graf's competition was?

    gustavus
    gustavus

    @JonathanD @6marK6   Look at their head to heads.  How can you call a losing record dominating?  It would be easier to make the dominating comment the other way around to he honest.  

    gustavus
    gustavus

    @BraxtonPope @6marK6  

    Evert, Navratilova, Mandlikova, Austin, Seles, Sanchez, Pierce, Capriati, Venus, Serena, Hingis, Davenport, Novotna, Sabatini. That makes 14 multiple slam winners, 10 former world no. 1's.  Graf played them all and beat them all.  

    gustavus
    gustavus

    @BraxtonPope @6marK6    Name 8 active female players that have won multiple slams in this era!  There aren't 8.  What a silly threshold you decided to set.  

    Michael9
    Michael9

    @kolade10 @Michael9 And you are even stranger...

    Toni Nadal was not the only person to say it. David Ferrer, Carlos Moya, Anabel Medina Garrigues (WTA player), and other players also did -- they are obviously all smart and sane people. 

    Why don't we make it simple and compare Serena's career with Esther Vergeer's better career?

    http://tinyurl.com/p378o5o

    kolade10
    kolade10

    @Michael9 @kolade10 You are certainly a very strange fellow, so i will indulge u a little. Your premise is so illogical, irrational and out-rightly absurd to say the least. Is RF a woman or is SW a man? If you can answer that question then you would appreciate the futility of this discussion. If Toni Nadal were sane why would he compare SW with ATP players? and you ridicule your analysis by making reference to it all the time. Or is it that SW is that good that the only way to dim her ability is to compare her with men. Let's stretch it further, why not compare Usain Bolt with a cheetah or Micheal Phelps with dolphins! This is a huge joke, not analysis. Your "analysis" has become so dysfunctional that you have chosen to benchmark records with "opportunities" as against participation! I believe RF is older than SW, so why don't you take the datum to the number of slams played since their birth? This is a huge joke and yet you call it analysis. Is it that difficult to recognize greatness when you see it? SW has spanned 2 generations of great tennis players and she certainly tops them, rather than acknowledge that, you come up with warped logic by comparing her with men. If you are looking for men in the WTA, please take a good look at Sam Stosour.   

    Michael9
    Michael9

    @Pinkfloyd @Michael9It's a big myth that Federer's first 5.5 years of domination lacked quality/depth of competition. (Since Federer won Wimbledon and WTF in 2003, let's make it 5.5 years from 2003 Wimbledon to 2008 US Open) 


    To understand why, you need to compare the quality/depth of competition in other eras. Let's take the Sampras-Agassi era as the example. I'm giving you the scenario from 1993 to 1999 when Sampras/Agassi were most dominant: Sampras was year-end No. 1 from 1993 to 1998, and Agassi in 1999.


    From 1993 to 1999, there were 28 available slams: Sampras won 11 slams from 12 finals; while Agassi won 4 slams from 6 finals. In total, Sampras and Agassi won 15 slams (53.6% of 28 slams). Sampras and/or Agassi were in only 15 of those 28 finals -- in other words, Sampras and Agassi failed to reach 13 finals. 


    Sampras and Agassi faced each other in only 3 finals in those 7 dominant years. Most of Sampras's 11 titles in these 7 years were won against weaker or no-name players.


    Thus, during those 7 years of Sampras/Agassi domination there were many no-name slam champions and finalists.

    - There were 13 slam champions not named Sampras/Agassi: Korda, Moya, Krajicek, Bruguera (2), Muster, Kafelnikov (2), Kuerten, Rafter (2), Courier, Becker.

    - There were 25 losing finalists not named Sampras/Agassi: Enqvist, Moya, Rios, Berasategui, Bruguera, Corretja, Medvedev, Washington, Rusedski, Philippoussis, Pioline (2), Martin (2), Stich (2), Chang (3), Edberg, Courier (2), Ivanisevic (2), Becker.


    Most of these names from the Sampras era are inferior in quality to Safin, Hewitt, Roddick, Coria, Ferrero, Agassi, Gaudio, Gonzalez, Philippoussis, Baghdatis, Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Tsonga who competed with Federer for the four slams in the 5.5 years from 2003 Wimbledon to 2008 US Open.


    In Federer's first 5.5 years of domination, there were 22 slams.

    - Federer won 13 slams (59.1%) of those 22 slams (17 finals, 77.3%) -- and he did it against a better overall group than Sampras faced. Federer by himself in 5.5 years won just 2 less slams than Sampras plus Agassi won in 7 years against weaker competiton! 

    - Nadal won 5 slams from 7 finals. 

    - Federer plus Nadal won 18 of the 22 slams (81.8%). 

    - Federer and Nadal played each other in 6 finals -- including twice in 2008 while Federer was rebounding from a bout of mononucleosis. 

    - There were only 4 other slam champions were Roddick, Safin, Djokovic, Gaudio: the first 3 players are on Tennis Channel's 100 Greatest Players list. 2004 FO champ Gaudio has a winning record over Nadal on clay.

    - The other 16 finalists: Safin, Hewitt (2), Roddick (3), Agassi, Djokovic are on Tennis Channel's 100 Greatest Players list. Ferrero and Murray won a slam before or after. Philippoussis was in two slam finals. The remaining five are Tsonga (No. 33), Coria (No. 51), Gonzalez (No. 58), Baghdatis (No. 117) and Puerta (No. 209) -- most are ranked relatively high on match winning percentage in the ATP era since 1973.

    http://www.atpworldtour.com/Reliability-Zone/Reliability-Overall-Career-List.aspx

    Pinkfloyd
    Pinkfloyd

    @Michael9 @Pinkfloyd I'm using slam results to justify any arguments I'm making. You know the statement, 'you're only as good as your competition' right? So, to demonstrate the lack of quality competition Federer faced the first 5 years of his domination, I discussed the four men who had also won at least a couple of majors. Of those 4 men, only Nadal was able to make inroads on Federer. After 2008, only two different men have made any progress, at all, in the majors. That's not quality.

    But you're right, it wasn't 4 guys, it was 3 (Murray is still a 1 slam wonder). Surely you know who they are, you've listed every single stat I can think of here. And that's even more of an argument to show the (lack of) quality competition before Djockovic's arrival.

    I'm not denying the jist of your argument. However, please don't quote *depth* or *quality* when referencing the ATP's journeymen. 

    Michael9
    Michael9

    @BraxtonPope @Michael9 Don't let me stop you: why don't you imagine everything I am thinking, write it down and pretend I said what you are really thinking :)

    BraxtonPope
    BraxtonPope

    @Michael9 At the end of the day, comparing numbers is REDUNDANT! 

    Instead of posting these long essays, just post how you really feel which is "I dont care for Serena Williams and what she has accomplished means nothing to me"

    JonathanD
    JonathanD

    @gustavus @JonathanD @TheSteelGeneral @Michael9 You're still trying to count matches AFTER the stabbing?  Everyone knows that Seles was never as good again after that.

    Graf's first three wins came when Seles was 15.   Graf's last four wins came after the stabbing.  Take away those, and Seles won the rivalry...and that's when she was just a teenager!

    When Seles was 16-18 years old, she won EIGHT grand slams.  Graf could only win 1 grand slam during that time, and was distantly behind Seles until the stabbing.

    gustavus
    gustavus

    @JonathanD @gustavus @TheSteelGeneral @Michael9  

    That's ridiculous.  Their head to head matches spanned 10 years, not just when Seles was 15.  And to be accurate, Seles actually had her few wins early.  Once Graf figured her out, Seles barely won again. Final tally, Graf 10, Seles 5.  

    JonathanD
    JonathanD

    @Michael9 @kolade10 @TheSteelGeneral @JonathanD 

    Those were AFTER the stabbing.  You realize the whole issue was that Seles got seriously stabbed at her peak and never played the same, right?

    I can't figure out if you're trolling or just ignorant.

    JonathanD
    JonathanD

    @gustavus @TheSteelGeneral @Michael9 @JonathanD Look at ther Head-to-Heads"

    When?  When Seles was 15?  We're talking about winning majors, and in the 2 years before she got stabbed, Seles had won 8 of the previous 9 majors.  Graf looked like she would never win anything again.

    And Seles was stabbed just a few months after turning 19!  So from the time Seles turned 17, Graf only was able to win ONE major with Seles in the field.  That's domination.

    JonathanD
    JonathanD

    @Michael9 @JonathanD Seles was fantatic.  But she was stabbed and lost her gave before she even turned 20.  In the 2 years before that, Graf had extreme difficulty getting a win in a major.

    gustavus
    gustavus

    @TheSteelGeneral @Michael9 @JonathanD "Seles got stabbed by Graf's fellow German..."  

    Are you suggesting some sort of complicity?  A conspiracy between the two? Or are you just being racist?  You can only beat the players who are put in front of you.  It is not Graf's fault that Seles was stabbed OR that the attacker happened to have a German passport, therefore it does not diminish her results.  Also, look at their Head-to-Heads.  Seles only managed to beat Graf a few times in her entire career.  

    JonathanD
    JonathanD

    @gustavus @JonathanD @6marK6 Seles won 8 slams between the time she turned 16 and her stabbing at the age of 18.  Graf only could win 1 slam during that time.  That's what I call domination.

    BraxtonPope
    BraxtonPope

    @gustavus @BraxtonPope @6marK6 silly how?

    Serena had consistent competition throughout the 2000s.  Venus, Henin, Clijsters, Capriati, Davenport, Mauresmo, Kuznetsova, Sharapova, and coutless others. Those women I named competed and defeated Serena multiple times on the big stage and in between the big stages. Graf had Seles(briefly) , Sabatini, and a bunch of one hit wonders. So for Serena to have accomplished what she has in an era where you have women that were winning  4 and 5+ slams is remarkable.