© Ella Ling

Centre Court - Serena

Hingis column: Serena's serve keeps you guessing


Serena Williams has the greatest serve in the history of the women’s game – and that’s not just down to the power, but also because of the placement and disguise. You don’t have a strategy when you return her serve. You just have to guess. So if Agnieszka Radwanska is to win a first Wimbledon title, she will have to keep guessing right with Serena’s serve. She has to get a lot of returns back and make Serena play. That’s what I tried to do when I played Serena. Radwanska has to think that every ball back is a good ball.
You want to try to tire Serena out so she might not be able to serve as quickly as she did in her semi-final. Serena’s serve is amazing. It’s always getting her out of trouble. She hit 24 aces in her semi-final victory against Victoria Azarenka, breaking her own record in two sets. When I played her, it was so hard to read her serve. She can place the ball in the corner whenever she wants. It’s hard to read because she only flips the wrist at the end of the service motion. The movement stays the same until then so she has unbelievable disguise. She puts so much pressure on your returns. I wasn’t the worst returner out there, and I found it hard. Some players have their habits, things that they do at certain times at crucial times and crucial points, but she can go anywhere. That’s why you don’t have a strategy. Against Serena, the only strategy is to try to get into the rally.

It’s difficult to say whether Serena or Venus is the best grass-court player. That’s a hard question. Venus has five Wimbledons and Serena has four titles, and I think she will win a fifth as I find it hard to see her losing to Radwanska. When Venus was on, she was hard to beat, and when Serena’s on she’s also hard to beat. Soon the Williams family could have ten Wimbledon singles titles and that’s amazing. They’ve brought so much to tennis, especially to the United States, when you consider where they’ve come from. Their story is like a fairytale. They’ve changed women’s tennis in terms of power and technique. People talk about their power game, but I don’t think it’s just about power. You have to control the power as well. I think they’re better here at Wimbledon than at other majors – you have to think that when are almost at double figures for their singles titles.

Only Venus can say whether she will be back next summer to play Wimbledon. I know from my own experiences that you have to be 100 per cent determined that you want to carry on playing, and you have to still be winning the matches that you should be.

People say that Radwanska reminds them of me. Of all the players on the tour now, she’s definitely the closest in style to how I used to play. She has an all-round game. I really enjoy that she comes into the net and hits some winning volleys. When she has the opportunities, she takes them. People have also compared me to Caroline Wozniacki. But the comparison with Radwanska is much closer. It’s going to be a new experience for her when she plays in her first grand slam final. But that’s because of the difference in the opponents. In the semi-finals, she played Angelique Kerber and now she’s facing Serena Williams.

  • http://twitter.com/Mashutka__ Mashutka

    Love your page Martina X

  • Gametech

     Greate note !!!! You are the best Martina. I call may child Martina for you !. :)
    Love you.
    Marcelo. (Mac)

  • Ryan Lloyd

     This is an excellent write-up coming from an experienced world class champion, provides better perspective!

  • Anonymous

    Yes Radwanska does remind me of Hingis. Only Hingis is better.

    Martina please come back to the tour! You can still challenge for slams :)

  • Floeem21

    I wholeheartedly agree with you, Martina. You have good insight to the game and explain it objectively. Radwanska is also sick, I don’t know if she would be 100% fit in the final. Having said that, I think this is Serena’s match to lose.

  • olaf82


  • KWG

    Here’s hoping for a Radwanska vicory in the final.  It would mean a triumph for the
    Hingis style of play that we all miss so much. 

  • luis

    your game is unique Marina Hingis

  • Arnold2787

    Wow Martina, what an outstanding analysis!  Like reading the mind of one of the best strategists of the game of tennis.  You have a rare gift for this!

  • Anonymous

    nice write-up from a great tennis player.. im a big big fan of yours, martina!

  • A1

    Radwańska jest bardziej jak Steffi Graf. Bardziej czuje grę i widzi świat w lepszej perspektywie. Radwańska is like Steffi Graf. Maybe she has some similarities to Hingis, but is much more wise, just like Graf.

  • Abcd

    In the next few years you will see Radwanska winning the Career Golden Slam and maybe the Golden Slam in 2016 just like Steffi Graf in 1988.

  • Joshua Penn

    How come you didn’t put Serena in your top 3 favourites at the beginning of the tournament? You should know NEVER to discount a Williams, especially Serena. Does it hurt a little bit to see Serena still dominating? Remember this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3uY3wesJmQ