Originally Posted by NadalAgassi
Again not a Sharapova fan but lets not delude yourself into thinking she only won slams since someone had to. She denied a peak Justine Henin (who this forum seems to think is some god) 2 slams at the 2006 U.S Open and 2008 Australian Open. She arguably played a large role in ruining Henin's career and legacy to an extent as it left Henin with the stigma of a 1-3 slam finals year at her peak, and with only 1 year as the clear and undisputed #1 (2007, as 2003, 2004, and 2006 all now have question marks, whereas 2006 would be clear had she won that U.S Open final over Sharapova), while the 2008 Australian Open beatdown was part of the start of her loss of confidence, poor string of early 2008 results and subsequent retirement. Meanwhile for all the years of humiliation now at the hand of Serena beatdowns, she even denied Serena the 2004 Wimbledon title and 2004 WTA Championship title. The only major title you can maybe say she won since someone had to was the 2012 French, but then again she could have just not won it and allowed another Schiavone or Na to, but she didnt and instead won a slam on her worst surface (never easy for a non GOAT caliber player regardless your competition) to complete her Career Slam. So as much as I cant stand Sharapova one must give credit where credit is due. She is clearly much more than some random default Champion.
One would have to dispute your notion Serena is the only World class player out there. Sharapova won 3 of her current 4 games from 2004-2008 when Venus, Henin, Serena, Mauresmo, Davenport, Clijsters were all mostly at a given time around and going strong. She proved herself a World class player a long time ago. Azarenka as well is a World class player, if the field she is ranked #1 (and yes I know Serena is hands down the real #1 and isnt ranked there since she doesnt play enough to cater to the WTA ranking system but that is aside the point of Azarenka being a worthy World class contender) over lacks depth it isnt her fault. The mens is the same as the womens now anyway, 3 or 4 really strong, and nothing after that, no difference.
No I'm not saying Sharapova won slams because no one else was there, but I am saying she is wildly inconsistant. She has won 4 slams in 8 years, and is perhaps a bit fortunate to have one of each which gives her a slightly higher standing than if she just had 4. She was a good enough player to be a threat to the other to players but only on her best form was she able to win slams, and that form very rarely occured. Now she is even less likely to pose any threat and it perhaps makes sense she won a slam where where Serena and other players suck, because she'd probably never get past them on a surface thay play well on.
But from now on, I think her winning more slams as a regular occurance is out of the question unless there is no one to really give her a match.
As for people like Azerenka, good player, but not in the same league as Serena, Venus, Henin, Clijsters and a prime Sharapova (a few others too) especially mentally, and not really better than a Tsonga or Soderling from the men's game, it's just easier to be number one in the women's game the way it is and the way Serena hardly lays sometimes. But Henin and Venus could stand up to serena mentally, the newer players are like Ivanovic and Jankovic, they don't quite have the guts. You saw that in the US Open final where Azerenka almost won despite being well below serena in winners, but choked serving for the title.