French Open Results: 10 Reasons Serena Williams Is Awful At the Open
We find ourselves once again talking about Serena Williams and a deflating loss at the French Open.
It's sadly a long—term trend that became even more dramatic Wednesday when the No. 1 seed lost to Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals after having match point in the third set.
There's a pox against Serena at Roland Garros. That's what we all want to say.
The truth is Williams has often brought on the questions herself.
She finds new and interesting ways to bow out of Paris early or not show up at all.
Serena supposedly spent much of the spring trying to solve the mystery of her disappointments in the clay Grand Slam.
We have some theories.
Her Game Doesn't Fit
This is the most obvious in the list.
Williams is a baseliner who is not a big fan of net play in singles.
She likes to control her opponent by playing power shots and angles. The red clay creates a slower bounce and gives her foes a split second more to chase down the ball.
Plus, she doesn't get the kind of bounces off the clay that she requires to play a pure power game.
Too Many Distractions
The Williams are famous for their love of fashion and Paris is the fashion capital of the world.
It's more than reasonable to think that Williams' business interests have created too many off-the-court distractions for the superstar.
She's taking too many meetings with designers and not focusing enough on how to attack the field.
This year, Williams had the added pressure of dealing with a high-profile breakup.
In Touch and the New York Post both reported last week that Williams broke up with actor and rapper Common, whom she has dated for the past two years.
There was much talk of marriage, but over the last few months, sources told the Post that the pair grew apart. They attended the Hollywood premiere of "Date Night" together in April but Common went with his mother to his own movie premiere for "Just Wright" on May 4.
Neither side has confirmed the split, but a broken heart can certainly get in the way of Serena's trademark competitive streak.
Williams' resume in Paris is filled more with ailments than successes.
She lost in the third round to Mary Jo Fernandez in 1999 and complained of a wrist injury.
She didn't play the Slam in 2000, 2005 or 2006 because of ankle and knee issues.
Often when she has played, she's been battling leg issues.
Not Enough Time On Clay
Even when Williams has played the French, she has rarely committed to a full spring clay court season.
There have been multiple years when she didn't play a single clay court match that year before heading to Paris.
Clay is a surface where you need repetitions to alter your game. Yes, alter your game, which leads us to...
The American Curse
The American style of play is just not a match for Paris. Yet few American players have committed to adjusting their game to win at Roland Garros. Rather, they have stuck to power, angles and baseline play and failed time and time again.
It's no surprise that Williams' win in 2002 is the only win in Paris by a current American on either tour. And even then, Williams never tailored her game to the court.
She was just too powerful and too perfect that year—much like Robin Soderling Tuesday against Roger Federer. She hit through everyone, opting for power 99 percent of her shots.
She was locked in like never before, losing just two sets in the tournament.
Fans Are Against Her
Those absences stick in the minds of the French crowd. They have often felt like Williams is avoiding Paris.
Combine that with an infamous incident in 2003 with Justine Henin in a semifinal loss.
Williams questioned Henin's sportsmanship throughout the match and as a result, the crowd turned on her and started applauding her errors.
Those memories are still alive in Paris seven years later, as the story is often brought up in the French press.
Crowds are still lukewarm to her at best.
Always Runs Into the Hot Player
Even in the years when she was healthy and playing her best, Serena just ran into a buzzsaw of a player on a hot streak.
That started in 2001 with a loss to the revived Jennifer Capriati in the quarterfinals.
She lost again to a streaking Capriati in the 2004 quarters.
She was the only former champion in the field in 2008 and seemingly had a cakewalk to the final. However, Williams lost in the third round to 27th-seeded Katarina Srebotnik.
She once again ran into the rising star in 2009 in a quarterfinal loss to eventual champ Svetlana Kuznetsova.
She Can't Figure Out Slide and Hit
It is the key to winning on clay. It's what the European players have pounded into their brains from the minute they pick up a racquet.
It truly isn't rocket science. In fact, the clay is your friend if you let it be.
There's far less wear and tear on the body playing on the clay if you learn to slide into your shots.
Williams has never mastered this approach. She rarely slides to the ball, preferring to let the ball come to her.
It just doesn't work in Europe, especially at Roland Garros.
Williams has even admitted that she has not always been at the top of her fitness before heading to Paris.
This makes the least sense of any possible excuses.
While the clay helps your body take less of a physical beating, the surface is all about stamina and endurance.
It's harder to put points away. The ball sits up and the court plays slow, so you have to be ready for the long matches.
Williams is a quick finisher. She's just not built for the marathon.
There's a winning formula in some combination of these 10 reasons.
Until Williams actually tackles the full list of issues, there are no French singles titles in her future.