Simon Reed

Unstoppable Serena still the world’s best

Simon Reed

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Serena Williams remains the best player in the world and her presence as an unstoppable force was exemplified with her stunning display in Charleston.

It was not the simple fact that she swept aside every player that was in her path in taking the title, but the message that she sent out to the rest of the WTA Tour.

"I am still here and playing as well as I ever have done" — that was what her performances in Charleston said to her rivals.

Serena did not just beat her opponents, but butcher them in quite ruthless and emphatic fashion: it was truly frightening to watch.

Sam Stosur and Lucie Safarova were tough players to face in the semi-final and final, respectively, but they were made to look completely helpless in the wake of Serena's charge.

It was a truly awesome display of power-hitting and crushing groundstrokes, and there is no player in the world that could have competed with her in such form.

Serena has, without any doubt, been the best player in the world for the last decade and there is no one who has come close to matching her.

When the American is fit and healthy, there is no stopping her.

Serena's performances in Charleston were certainly the best I have seen from her over the last five years: she was very aggressive and clinical, but with a calm and assured manner.

What was also very noticeable about Serena's play was how quiet she was out on the court, and how in control her emotions were.

Losing just 15 games en route to winning a WTA title is frankly absurd in terms of dominance, and it's an alarming statistic for the other players on the Tour.

Quite frankly, the rankings are entirely irrelevant when it comes to Serena: when she is fit and confident there is no one who can touch her.

Her performance in taking her fourth WTA clay court title has to make her the clear favourite for Roland Garros.

The clay may not be Serena's favourite surface, but the women's game is all about timing and form: if she continues her momentum into the summer then she could romp through most tournaments.

Make no mistake; Victoria Azarenka deserves her status as the world number one, but Serena is currently playing the best tennis.

Azarenka has earned her top ranking as a result of consistent displays and brilliant performances in big tournaments, but Serena remains the best player in the world on her day.

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It was disappointing to see Great Britain defeated quite comfortably by Belgium in their Davis Cup tie but, to be perfectly honest, it was expected.

I was pleased to see the clear improvements in Josh Goodall and Dan Evans's games, but the consistency of quality was not quite there.

It was a first taste of defeat for Leon Smith as the coach, but he has done an incredible job in galvanising the players at his disposal and in ensuring good performances from whoever takes to the court.

The only frustration I have with the situation is that Goodall and Evans appear to be 'big time Charlies' in the sense that they raise their game in front of passionate crowds in the Davis Cup but cannot produce such displays on Tour.

There is no doubt that James Ward would have played had he not been injured, but Goodall and Evans both produced fine displays to compete with a strong Belgium team.

It was particularly clear to everyone that this is GB's right level: they cannot feasibly move up further in the competition without Murray committing long term to the team, while I cannot see them dropping like a stone once more.

Andy Murray will always be greatly missed when he is not featuring, but anyone who thinks he does not have good reasons to withdraw from the competition is barmy.

Murray has clearly been encouraged by his coach Ivan Lendl — and rightly so — to manage his schedule very wisely with the London Olympics and Wimbledon coming up later this summer.

The British number one has a crazy schedule in place for this year, and that is a pity; but everyone must respect his right to manage his personal workload.

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