Originally Posted by FedSampras
before the knife incident, monica seles moved as quickly and effortlessly as anyone who has ever played the game. two-handers are supposed to have limited reach, and when she hit with two hands on both sides we might suspect she would not get to everything, or at least be reaching or off-balance. players who hit the ball quite hard have reduced recovery time as the ball crosses the net and returns more quickly than would occur with a defensive player – and remember no one hit the ball any harder than monica. and finally, compared to the muscular athleticism we see on the women's tour today, monica was not a super human specimen. well that said, how then did she move so well? the story is told in her knack for the split-step and how she converted this floating move into a sudden yet effortless start, time and time again. seles employed two moves that have only recently entered the teaching lexicon – the one-legged split-step landing, and the open stance running recovery.
I am a HUGE fan of Monica Seles, but I would have to disagree with you on this point. If there was one thing I could say about her game, it wouldn't include the term graceful. She would often barely get to balls, but her great wrists and hands, combined with her strength and power and good footwork, allowed her to still hit an offensive shot. I never considered her game to be graceful at all. Ferocious, yes. Graceful, no.
I do think she was quicker with regards to footspeed before the stabbing and that part of her game, which I never thought was a real strength of hers to begin with, really suffered because of the layoff and the weight gain and she was noticeably slower when she returned.