No WTA tournaments on this week, so I thought this would be the perfect time to have a stroll down memory lane with a youtube video “marathon”! Hurrah!
Monica not your cuppa? She wasn’t mine either. I liked the other one, you know, German, fearsome forehand, won a few slams …
Of course, Fraulein Forehand featured in one of my favourite matches against … who else but the Swiss Miss!
Okay girl, since you’re not getting married anymore, how about a comeback?
Of course, Hingis wasn’t always the easiest little lady to like.
While good ol’ Pat Rafter was every fangirl’s first crush, Gabby Sabatweeni was probably the one for the boys.
And then, there was this lady.
We miss you, Momo. 😦
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye…
Players gathered in Paris to give defending champ Amelie Mauresmo her grand farewell.
Is that Tati Golovin I spot, rocking a pair of killer boots? And Flavia Pennetta, showing off her new Adidas contract? How about Nutty Patty, trying to blend in amongst the French players?
Mentioning the French players, where’s the Hamster? Or Aravene Rezai?
On a scale of Marat Safin to 10, the farewell ceremony scored high marks. It was classy, it was touching, and unlike the Hippo, Mauresmo was emotionally invested. There were a lot of tears…
And plenty of memories to reminisce …
Elena Dementieva was all class in her eloquent speech in French to Momo.
Je me sens triste. (…) En tant que personne et comme joueuse, tu resteras dans les mémoires. Il y a une génération Mauresmo.
I feel sad. As a person and as a player, you will stay in our memories. There is a Mauresmo generation.
Franny followed with a speech in English, declaring to a laughing crowd:
You were too strong, don’t come back.
Urgh. Love her.
But in the end, there were smiles all round as Momo confirmed that she wasn’t remotedly interested in ‘pulling a Belgian‘.
“Aujourd’hui, je peux dire sereinement que je ne ferai pas de come-back (sourires). Je profite.”
Today, I can say calmly that I won’t come back (smile). I’m enjoying life(?).
And you know what? I believe her.
Unlike Justine and Kim, Amelie Mauresmo has no unfinished business left in this sport.
Au revoir, Amelie. They don’t make ’em like you anymore.
Mass wailing is called for: Amelie Mauresmo has announced her retirement at the age of 30.
She’s been through wilderness and back, and now she’s hung up her rackets to join Marat Safin.
Can someone I hate retire for a change? Why is it always the players I love? BOO!
“I’ve come here to announce the end of my career. I made this decision after careful consideration,” an emotional Mauresmo told a news conference at Issy on the outskirts of Paris.
Appropriately, her final title came at the Paris Open earlier this year when she defeated Elena Dementieva. Her last match was at the US Open, where she lost to Aleksandra Wozniack in the second round.
I wish she had decided to play another season, Momo deserves a proper send-off.
But here it is: Fare thee well Amelie. To quote one of my favourite poems, “had we but world enough, and time.”
The competition may have stopped, but the news certainly haven’t.
Here I was thinking that I can just sit back with a stack of trashy romance novels and enjoy my summer, apparently, relaxation isn’t in my dictionary. And I much prefer lowbrow tennis writing to Mills & Boon. Who knew?
So let’s cut the crap shall we?
Amelie Mauresmo has officially called it a season after pulling out of her last two tournaments of the year, Linz and Luxembourg.
Let’s just say that the dreaded “R word” has been mentioned for the 30 year old champ:
Since my return from the US Open, I tried to practice, but I haven’t found the thirst to compete. I won’t rush into things or force the issue. I’ll give myself time to think,in order to make a decision as for the rest of my career.
I know I’ve had my frustrations with her, but honestly, I’ll be devastated if Momo decides to call it a day. Beautiful game, beautiful person.
Please don’t finish your career like this Amelie, come back next year and we’ll give you the proper send-off you deserve.
I was going to write a Day 1 wrap up, but then I saw these pictures…
… And forgot what I was going to say.
Such hair godliness the world has ne’er seen.
Credit to anutam from RF.com, polaroided by me for extra McDreaminess.
Twas a peaceful day over in Cincy with very few upsets. Karlovic took out 13th seed Gael Monfils, but then again, Dr Ivo acing past anyone 64 67(5) 76(2) is not technically considered an upset.
Unfortunately, Ivo looked really, really excited about it.
Too excited in fact.
Optical illusion win.
Over in Toronto, Nadia Petrova is to Sharapova what Roddick is to Federer. A sure win, but also a nice one – with the victim being top 10, totally likeable, and full of potential.
Maria wrapped it up 6-3 6-4 and kept her serve under control, which in these days just means she only double faulted 5 times.
Someone who can’t wrap anything up these days, much less her head – Amelie Mauresmo. Momo lost to Schiavone 62 36 61 in a battle between two of the three one-handed backhands left in the women’s top 100.
Yup, it really is that bleak. Mentioning the third one – Carla Suarez Navarro also lost to ARad 63 63. The girl’s yet to win a single match on the summer hard courts. Who are you? Reeshie?
Back in Cincy, Stan lost in straight sets to Daveed Ferrer 75 62, making a third round ‘clash of the concubines’ with the Fed impossible. But Marin Cilic bounced back from back-to-back losses to oust the Mosquito 63 64. It’s probably all for the best – JCF has played an awful lot of tennis lately, and Marin hasn’t played much at all.
And the Marat Safin’s Heartbreak Train keeps rollin’ along, and the fact that he actually won another match (beating Ginepri 75 76) prevents those onboard from just diving off it altogether. Too many hurt feelings, but against our better judgment, we still cling on.
Love to hate you Marat. Love and hate you.
With a win under his belt, Safin went all philosophisationing:
Q. You’ve had your motivational ups and downs in your career. What do you think keeps someone like Federer so motivated all the time?
MARAT SAFIN: Being a fanatic.
Anyone who welcomed twins, and then organized a transatlantic family trip has to be a bit of a fanatic. Spot on as usual, Marat. But fanatic about what?
MARAT SAFIN: About tennis. In a nice way. I think you have to really love what you’re doing. You have to love it and you have to be a very great competitor, otherwise there is no –
I cannot understand him.
No shit. You started out together, and ended with a difference of 13 slam (and counting). If only you understood Fed…
Marat further added that Federer and Murray, for all their smack talking, are really two peas in a pod.
But maybe it’s because they are so similar that they get on each other’s nerves. As my wise and noble ancestors proverbialised, “one mountain cannot hold two tigers”.
Whatever that even means.
MARAT SAFIN: [Federer] has more ability than others. Maybe a lot other players. Like Murray, he’s a player. You can see that he knows what he’s doing on the court and he knows exactly at what moment what’s he gonna do, and he reads the point pretty well.
Same. They’re pretty similar to each other. Federer probably he has a nicer technique, but the rest is very similar to each other.
And in case you were secretly hoping that a few good wins might change Safin’s mind about ending his tennis career:
MARAT SAFIN: I don’t like any sports. For example, I would not play soccer. I would not play hockey. Basketball I hate. I never watch any sports on TV. It’s amazing, and I’m a tennis player.
But I don’t like it, the competition. For example, if I have to play soccer against neighborhood, I will play for ten minutes and then I get bored. I’m not a player.
Q. How did you last this long at this level?
MARAT SAFIN: It’s a miracle, huh? It’s a miracle.
Yeah, that felt like getting punched in the ovaries. I’m jumping off this heartbreak train before we end up in a bloody, teary heap at Bercy. Honest. I will do it. Watch me.
So over it,
Wait – there are tennis tournaments going on this week?
Sometimes I just want to stop the world for a bit and savor the moment, but that can’t be done, so it’s bye bye, Wimbly. You’re not my favourite slam. Actually, I hate you like an unloved child. And just because I’m a Federer fan, doesn’t mean I buy into your pomp and stickupyerassness the way TMF does.
But hey, you’ve delivered, yet again. You can go away now, with my parting thoughts…
1) If Brooklyn is okay with it, ARod and Dementieva should get together for a drink and some serious commiserations. They both had hugely improved their games. Both conquered some demons and played the match of their lives. Both knew that their chances to win another slam (a slam in Dementieva’s case) were running out – it was now or never for the pair of them. Both had points in their matches that will haunt them forever – Roddick in the second set tiebreak, and of course Dementieva and her dramatic match point.
Both faced opponents heavily favoured to win, but nevertheless didn’t play their best tennis on the day. But both their opponents served near-record numbers of aces to save their asses. Both Fed and Serena dug themselves out of deficits, and practiced the art of survivorship – being the last man/woman standing, which takes slightly more than just day form. Roger and Serena didn’t end up with set points or match points that would haunt them forever. They survived long enough to put themselves in a position where just one flinch from their opponents would give them a lifeline. In the end, they both earned their victories thoroughly.
And thus the difference between Fed/Serena v Roddick/Dementieva? 25 slams. My deepest respect for the losing pair aside, my faith in Fed and Serena was reaffirmed by those two matches, not that it needed anymore reaffirming. But Roger, Andy, Serena and Elena will remain the four heros of the tournament for me.
2) Wimbledon as a tournament irks me, and the trophy presentation irked me too. You had Borg, Laver and Sampras sitting there in the Royal Box – why couldn’t any of them have presented the trophy instead of the Duke of Whatever? They were the real royalties on Centre Court.
And how did the photographer manage to make the four GOAT contenders of men’s tennis look this fugly?
Other Wimbledon stuff-ups that irked me: the girls-on-centre-court issue, the not-so-subtle ignorance of Novak Djokovic issue, the trying-to-call-Henman-Hill-Murray-Mound issue…
Redemption points for their tweeting and Facebook page. Best use of social network sites ever.
3) This question was posed to Lleyton Hewitt after his third round defeat at Roland Garros:
Q. If you look to this tournament you see some former No. 1 players like Safin, Ferrero, you. You’re not still in the 30s, but it seems like your generation cannot pick on anymore. How do you see that?
No need to hang on to Roger. With the exception of Safin, the rest of the ‘old balls’ – Ferrero, Hewitt, Haas and Roddick – all came roaring back during Wimbledon. And Ivo Karlovic too: in his 30s and making his first grand slam quarterfinal. Maybe it’s because of these guys, but we saw some fairly old-school tennis during the fortnight – massive serves, tactical S&V, there was a few singlehanded backhands hanging around that did not belong to Roger Federer too. Meh.
4) I’m a bit stuck on Venus Williams – I keep rooting for her to win a slam this year, and keep feeling disappointed whenever she loses. At least she played divinely to get to the final, but Serena wasn’t to be denied.
Oh well, I’m already on the bandwagon, so how about … I’ll support her like crazy again for the US Open? Can’t be that far-fetched, can it? *sigh*
5) Still ignoring Dinara Safina, and obviously failing at it. Actually why don’t we ignore Jelena Jankovic too. When your opponent hit double the number of winners as you, it’s a case of sour grapes to say that she has no weapons.
While we’re at it, Caroline Wozniacki is dangerously close to being in the Ignore Club. I’m still waiting for her to step it up at a grand slam. When you’re announcing yourself as the next, next big thing, it’s probably not good enough to lose to Dokic, Cirstea or Lisicki before the quarterfinals of slams. I did enjoy “Bumpgate” though.
6) Random-assortment-of-forgettable-players-worthy-of-a-mention: Dudi Sela, Philippe Kohlschreiber, Francesca Schiavone, Virginie Razzano (yay top 20), Amelie Mauresmo (come on she’s pretty forgetable these days), Radek Stepanek, Melanie Oudin, Sorana Cirstea …
Just because you fell before the finish line doensn’t mean you didn’t have a fantastic tournament.
And a better draw for poor old Rendy Lu next time, please?
7) And the almost-heroes:
Sabine Lisicki – any girl who can serve that well deserves to be in my Bandwagon Park.
Stanislas Wawrinka – Stan decided to step it up in a major way, and flaunt his backhand now that Reeshard is no longer around. He still fell valiantly short, but showed that he deserves to be back in the top 10. Keep it up: onwards and upwards to the Masters Cup!
Lleyton Hewitt – a round of applause for Rusty for taking out del Potro, surviving dangerous opponents like Petzschner and Stepanek, then taking Andy Roddick to a thrilling five sets. Didn’t like him a few years ago, but it was good to see him hanging around again. Let’s hope the hip holds up.
8.) Regardless of your opinion on the so-called ‘Big Babe tennis’, the WTA needs its Big Babes to do well right now. Not a fan of either of them, but I was glad to see Daniela Hantuchova and Ana Ivanovic pull reasonable performances at Wimbledon.
Slightly freaked out about Maria though – I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that the rust will eventually wear off. She’s young, she’s still got time, right? RIGHT?
9) Who wants to sign my “Roger Federer needs a coach ASAP” petition?
Here’s what the stubborn Roger had to say about his team during the French part of the post-Wimbly presser:
Pouvez-vous nous parler de votre équipe ?
J’ai cru dans mon équipe. Cela a payé. Je suis très fier car je n’ai pas fait les changements drastiques que tout le monde attendait. J’ai eu raison, vous avez eu tort (sourires). »
Can you talk about your team?
“I believed in my team. That paid off. I am very proud because I didn’t make any drastic changes as everyone expected. I was right, you were wrong.” (Laughter)
No we’re not wrong. I still think Federer should get a coach, but let me just hide that petition somewhere for a rainy day.
10) Like Serena, Federer now hold 3 out of the 4 grand slams. Unlike Serena, Federer is No 1 in the world. I’d like to shut up about the WTA rankings, but it’s so goddam hard.
Mentioning rankings, I’m feasting my eyes on this …
Potential to rise for Andy Roddick. Potential to crash and burn for Gilles Simon.
11) Rafa to return in Montreal. My guess is that Roger’s pulling out.
12) I thought Andy Murray dealt well with the pressure and expectations at Wimbledon, but his smacktalk pre-Wimbledon appears a little silly in hindsight. Truth be told, whether or not Federer should’ve chosen to comment on Murray’s game after their match in Dubai last year, he was pretty spot-on with his assessment. Larry Stefanki said almost the same thing about Murray on Wimbledon Radio after the semifinals:
“Besides Roger Federer he is the best mover in the game. He has the best footwork and he is technically very sound. He has to change his mentality of the way he wants to play this game at the very top level.”
“He is going to have a great future if he gets to the point of recognising balls to attack and to come into the forecourt and play there rather than 15 feet behind the baseline.”
“I like Andy Murray a lot and I respect his game. He plays it very smart but I still believe the game is played in the forecourt and at the net in order to win some big titles.
That’s one area that Nadal has hugely improved on in the last year: choosing when to come forward proactively and attack, and when to defend. No reason to suppose Andy Murray can’t improve on the same front.
13) And onwards we roll: what are Andy Murray’s chances at the US Open? Good? Very good? Sure bet?
After Roger’s wins in Paris and London, I don’t even care if he wins the US Open anymore, if he does – cherry on top, any slam’s a bonus. If he doesn’t, I’d like to see him at least keep the semifinals streak alive.
I haven’t done the calculations, but is there any chance of Rafael Nadal dropping to No 3 in the rankings before the US Open? Hell, I do NOT want a Federer/Nadal semifinal.
14) I miss/hate Richard Gasquet.
15) 15th tidbit for 15 slams: HURRAH! YAY! WOOHOO! Still basking in the afterglow of Federer and Serena’s victories.
Having said that, the GOAT debate is now slightly more annoying than the grunt debate, which is slightly more annoying than grunting itself … which is saying a lot.
Time to take that “GFC” icon off my sidebar, me thinks. The irony of it all is that Federer said at the end of Miami “thank God the hard court season’s over”. I wonder what he thinks about this upcoming hard court season.
I just can’t shake of this nasty feeling I have for Roger Federer this Wimbledon. Why? Roger Federer is majorly due for an early round upset, that’s why. That 20 consecutive semifinal streak is just a sitting duck, a gross statistical anomaly waiting to be snapped. It’s not rational of course for me to suppose this. This is Wimbledon after all – the slam where freak upsets and surprise runs are least likely to happen. The odds are stacked favorably for Federer. So let’s hope it’s my subconscious reverse psychology at work here.
Meanwhile, WTA picks are much less stressful where there’s no Potato Nose clouding my judgment. So here’s Team Dootsie – complete with fabulous glam shots, since you know, “sex sells” and all. We’re out to kick Wimbledon’s pompous ass.
Face it. She’s beautiful: Italian Marie Claire
Venus Williams: Here is when you say “duh Dootsie!?”
Does anyone else think Wimbledon should’ve chosen Venus instead of Roger to play first on centre court? Like Roger, she’s a five time champion at Wimbledon, but unlike Roger, she’s actually the defending champ. So why not give women’s tennis the limelight and get Venus to open play? I think it would’ve been more fitting and symbolic. It’s not like Roger is owed anything.
Venus had a strong start to the year despite her early exit from the Australian Open, but she’s looked very patchy during the clay season. That’s not so different to the usual however. As always, Venus makes it hard to pick her, or to pick against her coming into Wimbledon. I’d personally love to see her win, her grace, athleticism, and dominance on grass are a privilege to see. And there’s something about seeing Venus and Federer posing with their respective trophies that restores order in my tennis universe.
Serena Williams: assuming she’s injury free, I actually think Serena has a better chance of winning this year than Venus. Last year’s defeat did not go down well, nor did the loss of the top spot. I think Rena’s out for blood. Ironically, if she wins this, she’ll be the current title holder for three out of the four grand slams, but she still won’t be No 1 in the world.
Are there any other contenders apart from the Williams sisters?
Victoria Azarenka: At some point, the girl’s gotta be ready for her first slam. Why not at Wimbledon? Sharapova aside, Vika is the only player on tour who doesn’t suffer an inferiority complex when the player across the net goes by the surname Williams. And at the moment, she’s resembling a hungry pit bull more and more. It’s time.
It says something about the power dynamics of the WTA tour when I pick 3 past and present No 1’s as “outsiders” to win Wimbledon.
Gladiators gone wrong: The Sunday Times
Dinara Safina: I’d put her in the contenders for Wimbly as the No 1 seed, but her less-than-glamorous record on grass and the sting of her recent defeat in Paris suggest she’s better considered as an “outsider”. In theory, there’s nothing about Safina’s game that suggests she can’t be good on grass. In reality however, I don’t think she’s comfortable with the surface and the atmosphere of Wimbledon.
Maria Sharapova: I can’t believe so many commentators and writers out there are picking Sharapova to win. I’m still keeping my expectations low for Sharapova at Wimbledon. Her fight and will at Roland Garros were more impressive than the actual tennis she played. She’s very rusty and those double faults are still too Dementieva-like. This doesn’t say much of course, given Dementieva’s success last year. She’s in Azarenka’s eighth of the draw. Assuming she makes it past the first 3 rounds, that would be one hell of a match. I hope they put it on centre court … with the roof closed. It HAS to happen.
Agniewska Radwanska: I love Radwanska. I think the Hingis comparisons are overdone, but there’s something admirable about the way she constructs her points and how she handles the offence of players much bigger than her. She is in the top 10 now, but that doesn’t mean she qualifies as a “contender” yet. She certainly hasn’t performed to my expectations at the slam level. But if she were to have a breakthrough, it’s more likely to be at Wimbledon than any other slam. Radwanska won Eastbourne last year and was a semifinalist this year, not to mention a past junior Wimbledon champ. She moves well and looks comfortable on this surface and I’d love to see her make it happen with a good run in the next two weeks. If Bartoli and Zheng could do it, so can she.
Caroline Wozniacki: she belongs in the same group of WTA surgers as Victoria Azarenka, but she’s probably the calmer but mentally more fragile one of the two. I love her solid tennis, her charisma and personality. Love that smile. But unfortunately, something about her is a little too ‘Kim Clijsters’ for me. I really hope she’ll win a slam soon, and winning Eastbourne is probably a nice way to start her Wimbledon campaign.
The Upset Squad
Tamarine Tanasugarn: I don’t get her. She’s invisible for the vast majority of the year, only to come out and shine during the grass season. I just don’t get it.
Sam Stosur: on paper, Stosur’s game looks good for grass. In reality I think her topspin forehand and kick serve would suit the red clay of Roland Garros a lot more than Wimbly grass. And just because she has a good serve, and volleys well doesn’t mean she serves and volleys – which she should.
Jelena Dokic: I don’t know if her back is still bothering her, and I don’t know about a second round clash with Stosur. I just don’t know. But she’s Jelena Dokic, and surely she deserves a smile from the Tennis Gods? I never liked her back in the day, but my heart breaks for this girl the way it breaks for Baghdatis.
Li Na: Li Li Na Na frustrates the hell out of me. The girl has so much game and personality that you just can’t help loving her, but she is also a complete headcase. Out of the “three gold flowers” – Zheng, Li and Peng (Shuai) – I do believe Li Na is the one with the most talent, but she is also the biggest mental mess out of those 3. I don’t see her ever going all the way, but pulling an upset? Quite probable.
Zheng Jie: everything about Zheng’s game is solid and compact like her build. She’s a lot calmer under pressure than Li. AND I just flove the girl okay? I want to fold her up and pop her in my handbag. She’s adorabubble.
Daniela Hantuchova: at the end of the day, Hantuchova is always going to have the game to do some damage, but she’ll never have the heart, the fight or the mind to sustain her throughout an entire slam. An upset? Yes. A run? No.
Errm … the spot is distracting. And not in a good way.
Ana Ivanovic: it’s a poor reflection on how far she’s fallen that I have Ana on the upset squad. Firing coaches at this stage of her career looks more like a denial of her problems than a change for the better. But I think she’s close to hitting rock bottom now, so surely the only way to go is up? She’s too talented to just keep slipping. Or are we looking at a Beta version of Nicole Vaidisova here?
Her first few rounds should be easy, and who knows, she might get a bit more confident by the time she plays Venus. All it takes is one off-day for Venus and a good day for Ivanovic.
So Not Happening
The antipicks and the prove-me-wrongs.
Oh no! JJ turned Transylvanian cosplayer: photo Tanjug/ STR
God gave me beautiful eyes, so I can roll them at slumping sisters:
- Jelena Jankovic: what’s your name? Who are you? If she doesn’t have the passion or motivation to play, there is no reason for her to make it far.
- Amelie Mauresmo: ex-believer, I love her. I wish her luck, but it’s not happening. You know it.
- Svetlana Kuznetsova: Sveta on grass is a bit like Davydenko on grass, theoretically there’s nothing stopping them, but again, it’s just not happenin’. Some players were never born to rule tennis’s Sacre Coeur.
- Elena Dementieva: Not a Lena D fan, but I really wish I could say she’s due for her first slam after years of frustration. She started her year fabulously, but just seemed to run out of gas completely by the American winter hard court season. I assumed she would rest, reboot and return strong, but it’s taken a bizarre Ivanovic-like turn ever since. Perhaps it’s time to look at getting a proper coach rather than an over-attentive mother.
- Vera Zvonareva: grass is not her surface, and she didn’t get enough match play coming into Wimbledon. But I look forward to seeing more from her in the summer hard court season.
Final Prediction: you know what would make my tournament? A Venus v Azarenka final, the regal Goddess v the adorable banshee, veteran v challenger, massive serves and heavy groundstrokes, going deep into the third set. That would really really make all this WTA love worthwhile. Going with Azarenka for the win.
Oh yes I am.
You might’ve noticed that Ana Ivanovic lost to Nadia Petrova, or maybe not. Ivanovic hasn’t been all that noticeable lately unless you subscribe to the Serbian Hello magazine. The most pathetic part is that we can’t even call it an upset since Nadia is seeded No 7 in Eastbourne and Ana is … unseeded? Have we really come that far?
Just 12 months ago, she was the poster gal for tennis, newly crowned French Open Queen and No 1 in the world. To say it’s been a free fall since then is an understatement. I may be a non-fan of Ivanovic, but I don’t kick players when they’re down. Get a coach Ana and pull yourself together. Choking away a double break in the third set against one of the biggest chokers of the game is a new low, even for you.
And how about her compatriot Jelena Jankovic? Losing to a struggling Chakvetadze – surprise? Hardly. I actually saw it coming given the surface and Jankovic’s H2H against Chakvetadze. Anyhoo, Jankovic is now Chakvetadze’s bitch with a 3-7 record against the Russian, struggling or otherwise. That’s not really saying much though – JJ’s everyone’s bitch these days.
I am always torn between loving and hating Jelena Jankovic whenever I read her pressers. Don’t suppose this time would be any different. JJ’s latest laundry list of miseries include:
1) the surface change was too sudden
2) the ball bounce was too low
3) her legs got tired in the third set and didn’t want to bend anymore.
4) she lacks motivation right now and wants a break
5) she can’t eat chocolate
Sheesh, no motivation? Girl you’ve yet to win your first slam. Your mother is laboring her ass off, lugging around your LV suitcases so you may train and practice in peace. You’re about to go down in history as the biggest fluke of a No 1. No fucking motivation?
Don’t, don’t give me that “my No 1 spot didn’t fall out of the sky” argument. You know it did. Ivanovic imploded, Serena didn’t play much, and Sharapova got injured. You were always deserving of the No 2 or 3 spots, and instead you ended up as No 1 because it fell into your lap.
It’s just not good enough for Jelena Jankovic to insist that on one hand, she deserved her No 1 ranking with or without a slam, and on the other, that she has no motivation right now to even win her first slam with Wimbledon just around the corner. Build a bridge and get over it.
What JJ needs right now is a coach and someone on her team who can play the bad cop. Whip that girl back into shape I say!
‘I’m lacking a bit of motivation right now. I’m still not doing that badly but I’m far from what my calibre is and the results that I’m capable of. I’ve been No 1 in the world and it’s not so easy to stay there. It’s a constant battle against yourself.
‘You need to be disciplined. When you want to eat chocolate you have to say No. No to yourself because it’s not good for you to eat chocolate all the time. You need to go out there and practise four or five hours a day. It’s not easy to do that, but that’s the life of a professional. You need to be strong and keep going.
‘I need to get back the desire to fight and work hard, especially in matches. Why am I lacking in motivation? Lots of playing, lots of travelling. We’re all human, we’re all allowed to make mistakes. There’s not one player in any sport who just went uphill. All of them had ups and downs, even when they were doing well.
‘I wish I could have a break now, maybe not play for a little bit and get to the point where I want to play tennis again and I want to run after balls – things I am missing at the moment. I’ll play Wimbledon and then we’ll see.’
Props to Vera Zvonareva, who lost to Amelie Mauresmo in 3. First match back from an injury on your least favourite surface against a former Wimbledon champ – no one’s gonna read too much into it. Nice to see her back at least.
Props also to Dancevic, who downed Igor Andreev handily last night. Another dark horse to keep in your files, just in case he decides to pull an upset or something. If you haven’t seen Dancevic play, clickey.
Boohoo. Sveta is Sveta again. 3 games? THREE GAMES?
We talk about wanting a longer grass season, but why are grass court warm ups so damn boring. Ayee.
Trivia: who in the WTA has the highest winning/loss ratio this year? (answer at the bottom of the post)
Not much I can say about the men’s draw – take a wild guess as to who I think is going to win.
The only thing I might add is that the Draw Gods have not been kind – not only is Rafael Nadal the only real contender for the Roland Garros trophy, but he’ll be able to do it without having to face the double hurdle of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. Roger, on the other hand, would have to really earn his spot in the finals if he wants to defend his points there. Either way, I’m not putting anyone straight through to the semifinals at this stage except for Nadal, so I’m not even going to think about Djokovic v Federer until the middle of week 2.
On the other hand, the women’s draw is as open as the men’s draw is closed. Picks are useless, but also damn fun, so here are mine:
- Dinara Safina: the clear favourite, Safina’s got all the momentum with her, and the determination to prove her worth as the world no 1. Plus I’ve got a new theory: Safina 08-09 = Ivanovic 07-08. Berlin –> Roland Garros finalist –> Australian Open finalist –> Roland Garros winner. See how history works in perfectly repetitive narratives? One slight complication – she has by far the hardest draw out of all the contenders with Azarenka and Ivanovic in her quarter.
- Venus Williams: results will show that Venus hasn’t had the ideal lead-up to Roland Garros, but history will tell you that if your surname was Williams, you don’t need no stinkin’ lead up. Unfortunately, Lisicki second round could complicate things a la Aussie Open.
- Svetlana Kuznetsova: you say no, the draw says yes, given that I don’t see Serena getting far with one good leg.
- Caroline Wozniacki: I don’t really see it happening for Caroline to be honest, but it’s a choice of her, JJ and Elena D in that section of the draw, and recent form dictates that I pick her over the other two.
So not happenin’ for…
- Ana Ivanovic: Ana’s becoming more and more forgettable these days. Get ready to say bye-bye to ranking points.
- Jelena Jankovic: if you had asked me who would win Roland Garros 3 months ago, I would’ve picked JJ. She has actually shown signs of improvement in the last few tournaments she’s played, but not enough. I do have a slice of humble pie waiting just in case though.
- Victoria Azarenka: she’s hungry, she’s been playing well, but at the end of the day, this is not her surface, not her slam and not the best draw for her.
- Vera Zvonareva: I actually wouldn’t be surprised if Vera decided to pull out last minute or retire mid-match along the way. Straight back from injury with no matches under her belt: it’s the kind of thing that Venus Williams does on grass, and Vera Zvonareva is clearly not Venus Williams.
- Maria Sharapova: goes without saying. But (and it’s a big ‘but’) – if, in the unlikely event, she managed to get past Nadia Petrova, fourth round would be doable.
Grooming the Dark Horses…
- Carla Suarez-Navarro
- Sabine Lisicki
- Alize Cornet
- Amelie Mauresmo
- Anna Chakvetadze
- Nicole Vaidisova
Australian tennis is no longer worth analysing these days, simply because … well, Australian tennis doesn’t quite exist. But if anyone’s interested in the Aussies: bad news all round – Hewitt against old nemesis Karlovic first round (I believe Lleyton is 0-3 against the Croat). Should he get past Karlovic, he’s got the Spanish Terminator himself in the third round waiting. Wild card Bernard Tomic is up against Kohlschreiber first round. Dead meat.
Jarmila Groth (formerly Gajdosova) facing Kinnie Laisne of France and most likely Chakvedatze second round. Dokic v Sprem (and should she get past first round, which she most likely won’t – Elena Dementieva awaits) and Sam Stosur up against Francesca Schiavone.
Trivia answer: Vera Zvonareva (.833). Half a mark if you answered Victoria Azarenka.