Key different between men's and women's tennis

The key distinction between men's and women's professional tennis? The impact of the first serve

With so much else so similar around the court between men and women, the raw serving power to begin the point is the dominant theme. Only 20 women reached double figures in aces for the tournament, although it must be factored in that they were playing best-of-three-sets matches instead of best-of-five. Still, 10 aces are not a lot, and 67 men were able to pull that off.

Because the serve is not quite as venomous on the women’s tour, it makes sense that the return games would flourish. The women’s tour always gets heat because its players can’t hold serve as much, but that holds little weight because they don’t have an Isner or a Raonic fireball to rely on. Imagine giving players on the ATP Tour only one serve, which would automatically drop serve speeds, and you would start to see the men having substantial difficulty holding serve as well.

The game of tennis has changed overall in lots of ways in my lifetime. The advances in racket technology (synthetic gut strings, carbon fiber wide-body frames) has radically increased the power and spin of groundstrokes, meaning a huge spike in winners from the backcourt. Simultaneously, very few players come to the net anymore, it's just too easy to get passed unless you hit a near decisive approach shot. 

The other major shift is the convergence of the playing characteristics of playing surfaces, most notably the grass courts of Wimbledon which offer a much truer bounce than they once did, allowing Wimbledon to be won with great groundstrokes. Clay is the one court that has remained the most unique of the surfaces in pro tennis, and I'd say the biggest challenge in tennis is beating Nadal at the French Open on the terre battue.