A fantastic posting by Peter Bodo today analyzing the now-forgotten amuse bouche that prefaced the entree now known as the GMOAT men's final. I disagree with his assertion that the women's final was the "highest level of women's tennis". Highest level that we've seen in a while, yes. But some of those Graf/Vicario, Graf/Seles matches of old had some ridiculous shotmaking and on top of that, they were entertaining. For me, the women's final was a high level and it was impressive. But it wasn't entertaining. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Serena choked.
But the analysis and comparison between the Williamses' serving and the Rafa/Raja's serving was really interesting:
For that reason, a serve statistic unearthed via my correspondence with Tribe member who challenged my analysis of the match might be telling: Serena Williams fastest serve was 121 mph, her average first serve clocked 109, and her average second serve was 87 mph. Venus's fastest serve was a 127 thunderbolt, she averaged 111 on her first serve, and hit her second at an average of 92.
Now let's dare compare that to the men. In the final, Roger Federer's fastest serve was 129, and he averaged 117 on his first deliveries. His average second-serve traveled at 100 mph. That was slightly better than Rafael Nadal (who, in case you hadn't heard, won that match), whose fastest first serve was 120, while his first-serve average was 112 and his average second clocked 93. The takeaway: Venus Williams topped Nadal by a whopping 7 mph in the "fastest" department, and she trailed him by a single mile per hour in the other two critical averages. Granted, Nadal is a spinmeister, which costs him mph numbers. Still, the statistics are a tribute to Venus - and they set a new benchmark for the women's game. To borrow a phrase from Barack Obama (who appears to have stolen it from that other great statesman, Bob the Builder): Yes, we can!
I'll be honest, I didn't realize the sisters Williams were serving THAT hard while watching the match but clearly the empirical evidence proves otherwise. Very impressive stuff.
Anyway, check out the article. It's a good read and great food for thought.