Below-par Inter go back on top

Premium content not available

Power is the name of the game

That is why players like Serena and Sharapova will continue to rule tennis, says Pierce

Mary Pierce
She is a big strong girl, she hits hard, she’s aggressive... she’s got the power, yes. - Mary Pierce on Garbine Muguruza

She was stumped by the imaginative guile of Martina Hingis in an entertaining Australian Open final in 1997, and on nine other occasions between 1994 and 2000.

But Mary Pierce believes that the creativity and court-craft of players in the mould of Hingis cannot match up to the sheer power that dominates the women's game today. 

Speaking on the sidelines of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, the now-retired Pierce  points to power as the baseline of Serena Williams' dominance, asserting that players such Spain's statuesque Garbine Muguruza will see more joy than the tricksy Pole Agnieszka Radwanska. 

"Power is important, if you don't have it, you're not going to defeat everybody. You will get very far, but then you'll get to a point where you can't beat the other players," said Pierce whose power saw her overcome Hingis six times during her playing career most remembered for two Grand Slam wins, including an emotional French Open title in 2000.  

"That's why Serena's dominating, she is physically at a level that's greater than all the other girls . 

"She takes the ball earlier than everyone else, she hits the ball harder than everyone else, the most aggressive, and that's why she's dominating." 

Pierce is a non-playing legend of the WTA Legends Classic, and her point seems to be substantiated by Radwanska's two losses in Singapore, and world No. 2 Simona Halep's 6-4, 6-4 loss to Maria Sharapova on Tuesday. 

"I just think Simona's lacking just that little bit of firepower. Obviously, she did so well here last year, she beat Serena, then lost the final," said Pierce, recalling Halep beating Williams in the group stage, only to lose to the American in the final.  

"But I just don't think, from what I've seen so far, that she's got enough power to beat the other girls," added the Frenchwoman, who has tipped Sharapova to win in Singapore. 

When asked if games centred on subtlety and cunning - of the likes of Hingis and Radwanska - will be snuffed out by power, Pierce did not mince her words.

"I was going to say that. Obviously, Hingis has tried to play singles, it didn't work for her obviously because she's lacking the power, and she recognises that," said Pierce of the Swiss former world No. 1, who has five Grand Slam singles wins. 

Hingis retired in 2007, and returned six years later to play in doubles competition, with Daniela Hantuchova. Hingis and India's Sania Mirza are now the No. 1 ranked doubles pairing in the world.   

"That's why she's so successful in doubles, it's half the court, it's craftiness. She's got amazing hands and she returns really well. She places her serve really well, it's hard to read, and she can do great - she is doing great in doubles," added Pierce. 

The dominance of the power game is not just confined to tennis, added Pierce, who is keeping one eye on the ongoing Rugby World Cup, even though her countrymen were booted out of the tournament by the New Zealand at the quarter-final stage.

The All Blacks will face Trans-Tasman rivals Australia in Saturday's final in which Pierce can't see any other outcome besides a New Zealand victory. 

"It's sad for France, but they're not bad, they're just not the best. The All Blacks are too good, it's like Serena - the same thing - they're stronger, physically, than all the other guys, they're amazing," she said. 

"I've no doubt (that the Kiwis will win), I'll be surprised if they didn't."

Home again

Federer is seeking his seventh title in his hometown of Basel where he started tennis

FEDERER: Easy opening win in front of an appreciative home audience.
Premium content not available

IOC suspends Kuwait for government interference

Premium content not available

Better than the class of '99

Larkham says current Wallabies trump his World Cup winners

KEY MOMENT: Stephen Larkham (centre) scores decisive extra-time drop goal to win the 1999 Rugby World Cup semi-final against the Springboks.
Premium content not available

Choo takes cue from Sharapova

I Played good, and also hit some bad shots. Maybe I was a little lucky as the mishits fell in the right spots, but overall I kept my calm. — Choo tze huang (above)
Premium content not available