So you want to know which statistics you need to master to be a professional women's tennis player?
Better get your return game going.
As Reeves Wiedeman of The New Yorker wrote in 2012: "The serve is tennis’s slam dunk, home run, and Hail Mary." He would later go on to praise Serena Williams' serve as threatening to overshadow the entire game of women's tennis.
He couldn't have been more wrong on either count.
In fact, Williams wins no more service games than the other players in the top five of the tour. She manages 64.4 percent, while the others succeed up to 71.6 percent (in this case, world No. 3 Maria Sharapova).
Although it is vital to win service games as a whole, it appears that the mere threat of the big stick is irrelevant.
So what makes a winner, then? Mostly the return game.
For comparison's sake, the top five women on the WTA, Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Sharapova, Agnieszka Radwanska and Li Na, will be compared to each other and to No. 20 Dominika Cibulkova and No. 49 Stefanie Voegele. The results are clear.
The best offense is a good defense.