Serena Williams: 4 Changes She Must Make to Her Game in 2012

Alex SimsCorrespondent IIIMay 31, 2012

Serena Williams: 4 Changes She Must Make to Her Game in 2012

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    Serena Williams is one of the most successful female tennis players of all-time. 

    She has won 41 singles and 20 doubles titles in her career, but most recently, the aging star was ousted from the French Open, in the first round.

    It was the first time in her career she was a one-and-done at a Grand Slam tournament.

    Here is how she can bounce back from the disappointing loss:

Win the Mental Battle

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    The mental game is an enormous aspect of sports, perhaps even more so for individual sports such as tennis.

    It was clear during Serena Williams' loss to the virtually unknown French veteran Virginie Razzano, that she made a complete mental collapse.

    She was dominating, up 5-1 in the second set, and shortly after, her shot was called out by the line judge, and she allowed Razzano back into the match.

    While this time she chose not to verbally abuse the official, she still seemingly lost her mental edge.

    She was visibly upset, particularly in the third set, and ultimately completed her collapse by losing the match.

    The main problem likely isn't with Williams' technical game, but her mental game may need some work going forward.

Regroup and Move on

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    At the end of the day, this is just one loss.

    Now, the French Open singles event is just a sunk cost, and Williams needs to move forward and focus on the next tournament.

    Her next major chance for redemption at the Wimbledon comes next month.

    The grass courts in London (where she has claimed four singles titles) have traditionally been more welcoming to Serena than Roland Garros, so that is what she needs to focus on now.

    She needs to learn what she can from her French Open defeat, but forget about it right after.

Cut the Unforced Errors

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    In her loss to Razzano, Serena committed 47 unforced errors.

    Almost 10 more than her opponent.

    In the past, Williams has been able to compensate for unforced errors with her sheer athletic ability and versatile playing style.

    Now, as age and injury continues to work against her, Serena needs to improve her fitness and the detail in her play.

    Aging athletes of any sport need to find ways to make the game easier and take pressure off themselves.

    Committing nearly 50 unforced errors in three sets of tennis does just the opposite.

Reduce Aggressive Play Style

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    Serena has made her name through her aggressive style of play.

    But now, as injuries have piled up, it is time to take a step back and analyze how she plays the game and how she will play going forward.

    Recurring knee, ankle and other injuries have taken a toll over the years.

    Reducing her aggressiveness and playing a more defensive style could not only help her win more now, but could also increase her longevity as an athlete.

    She still certainly has the ability to win tournaments, but adapting her style of play to how her physical abilities have changed will dictate whether or not she can add to her Grand Slam totals.