Tough and mean, or funny and nice?

The Serena conundrum

Tough and mean, or funny and nice?

For the seven opponents blown away by her thunderous serve over the past fortnight at Wimbledon, "tough and mean" does not quite do justice to standing on the other side of the net and being caught in the crossfire of a Williams bullet.

The American sent down a record 89 ace — shattering her own previous tournament mark of 72 — as she wiped the floor clean to win her fourth singles crown at the All England Club with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over an unfortunate Vera Zvonareva.

It was little wonder that after such a stupendous exhibition by her fearsome muscle-bound right arm, there was no doubt in her mind who the Venus Rosewater Dish belonged to. "I'm going to definitely give it (the trophy) to my serve. It really deserves it," she told a select group of invited journalistss  

"I'm so excited, I really hope I can keep up serving like that. This is a new turn in my life and I would love to continue to do that." If rivals are discovering that Williams' serve is coming down harder, faster and more powerful than ever before, they can blame Samantha Stosur for the sudden transformation. Williams was unexpectedly jettisoned out of the French Open five weeks ago by the Australian and squarely blamed her misfiring serving arm for that misadventure.

“The French Open is why my serve is so good because I thought I served so bad in my quarterfinal match," said Williams, who jigged off with her 13th Grand Slam singles title without dropping a set.

"Usually when I go home I take a day off but I just went straight (to practice) as I said I'm gonna have to work on my serve because if I'm gonna serve like this again, I don't know how much longer I'm gonna be out here. Maybe that happened for a reason."

The fact that she managed to change tactics within such a short space of time, and to such a devastating effect, will no doubt strike even more fear into anyone who has to face her from now on.

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