Saturday, November 7, 2009

The woes and worries of the disposed Serbian tennis stars

Ana Ivanovic is one of the players famed for her combination of glamour and good tennis. However, she has quickly faded out of the spotlight. She has not won a title this year, 2009. She has not passed the round of 16 in the past 6 slams. Her best performance was at Indian Wells, a premier mandotory event, often referred to as the 5th slam. Unfortunately, she fell in the finals to the tenacious Vera Zvonereva in straight sets.

Her woes started last year after she won French Open. Ever since her clay-court title, she has underperformed in every tournament. In 2008, she lost to Zheng Jie, China, in the 3rd round of Wimbledon. Then she lost to Julie Coin , France, in the 2nd round of US open. In 2009, she failed to defend her final appearance in Australian Open 2008 and bowed down to Alisa Kleybanova in the 3rd round. Her Roland Garros campaign was a total disaster, and her fans saw her crash out in the 4th round to rising star, Victoria Azarenka, Belarus. Ivanovic was stunned in a 36, 26 defeat. Ouch. At Wimbledon, she retired in the 4th Round against Venus Williams whilst trailing 16, 10. Then the Ivanovic slump spiralled further down. She had dismal results in the US Open series where she lost to Samantha Stosur in Los Angeles. Then she lost to Melinda Czink and Lucie Safarova in the opening rounds of Western Financial and Cincinnatihese results would. She lost in the 1st round of a slam for the first time in her career. She was beaten in a tight 3 setter at US Open. She blew a matchpoint when she hit wild cross-court forehand. Her tennis woes contined at the Pan Pacific Open where she lost to Lucie Safarova for the second time in the year. She has not played in any other tournaments ever since and pulled out of Beijing as she had developed an upper-respitory tract infection. Her win-loss record this year stands at 24-14 and she ended her year at number 22. After her US open, Pat Cash, a former champion of Wimbledon claimed that Ana Ivanovic’s serve was painful to watch. He also said Ivanovic suffered from a lack of confidence and was over-analysing her game.
ESPN analyst Pam Shriver agreed with Ivanovic's tough self-assessment, saying the building blocks of her game have toppled like dominoes. "Whatever aura she had ran out, and people realized she was vulnerable,'' Shriver said "While Safina had her meltdowns in the late stages of Slams, Ivanovic was having hers in the early rounds.''After the series of losses, Ana made a public statement on her website and to journalists that she was glad to be ranked so high despite a year of unremarkable tennis. She quotes: I guess having to withdraw from Beijing is an appropriate ending to a very disappointing season"

Meanwhile Jelena Jankovic, another fallen Serbian star claims to be empathetic towards Ana’s slumping form as she to has suffered from the death of her granmother, illness of mother and an ill-advised training program where she lost alot of weight an over-trained. Jelena Jankovic started the year ranked number 1. However, was disposed by Marion Bartoli in the 4th round at Australian Open in straight sets resulting in her loss of the number 1 ranking. She was defeated in the 4th Round by youngster Sorana Cirstea after failing to serve for the match. At Wimbledon, she lost in 3 sets to Melanie Oudin and at US Open, she bombed out in the US Open, losing to Yaroslava Shredova in 3 tight sets. Many tennis commentators comment that she has a severe loss of confidence throughout her matches. Despite an awful year of tennis, she has claimed a title against Dinara Safina at Cincinnati. She also reached the final of Tokyo, where she retired due to wrist injury against Maria Sharapova. At the end of the year, Jelena quotes, ''To come out of this as a champion, it's I think a good achievement, no matter what your ranking is,'' she said. ''But to overcome those obstacles and to become a better player, I think it makes you much stronger as a person and as a player as well. ''So if you can do that, I think it can be a plus, it can be a positive thing.''
Both of the Serbian rivals have found it hard to establish themselves this year, 2009. Hopefully, both will have a more fruiful year in 2010. Both players will also be representeing Serbia in Fed Cup as they have qualified for the World Group in 2010.

Who can overthrow Serena Williams?

What happened to the Serena Williams conquerors? Here are a list of them...courtesy to ESPN.

Dinara Safina: She consistently came up short when she had the opportunity to consolidate her hold on the top spot or to make an authoritative statement validating the ranking.

Jelena Jankovic: She unfortunately overtrained at the end of last year, explaining her horrific start to 2009. It certainly doesn't explain her patchy, ragged, up-and-down year.

Svetlana Kuznetsova: Want to be No. 1, Sveta? "No, but thanks for asking!"

Elena Dementieva: It's funny how someone who seems like a no-nonsense player with great athletic gifts can find so many ways to avoid bagging a Grand Slam title or piecing together a run that takes her to the No. 1 ranking and keeps her there for good. My guess: She sabotages herself at some obscure emotional level.

Venus Williams: The demand of greatness is tough enough to begin with; it's that much more crushing a burden when your heart isn't exactly or entirely into it. (Just ask Andre Agassi.) Venus has become an error-prone and somewhat sloppy player, which tells you that she's mentally played out. And her problems were further exacerbated by the fact that her kid sister, Serena, simply appeared to want the top ranking more.

Vera Zvonareva: She's got an A-game but a C-spirit. She is famed for her emotional meltdowns on court.

Victoria Azarenka: She started strong but faded, consistently falling victim to her emotions. But unlike the self-pitying and easily broken down Zvonareva, Azarenka is a fighter who may learn to channel her anger and frustration in a positive manner. I'd watch out for her next year.

Maria Sharapova: She's recovering from a shoulder injury.

Ana Ivanovic: Please call home.

Caroline Wozniacki: Her game may not blow you away, with its moon-balling, retrieving defensive cast. But she's got a great attitude and took enormous strides in accepting her success with an impressive degree of composure and maturity. She shows signs of becoming a crafty, reliable and solid player who has what most of her peers lack -- the ability to find a way to win.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Battle of the Babes

If they weren’t playing on the women’s tour, they would easilly make a living through modelling. With their posh frocks on, whenever these girls battle it out for the match, they also battle it out for the glamour and looks. It’s always a 100 percent attendance when these girls play it out. Their looks rather then then their tennis prowess are a magnet for spectators Here are the list of the glamour girls.

Daniela Hantuchova: It's not just her looks, either; it's also the sexy and elegant way she moves. "I guess the attention paid to appearance is something that belongs to tennis, too."- Daniela Hantuchova

Ana Ivanovic: She says she can’t wait to meet Mr. Right. You could call Ana Ivanovic the Serbian girl-next-door. She is just like the girl next door. She has a charming smile. Her personaility is very likeable and sweet as well. Her glamour will always substitute her recent poor form. Apart from that, she is gorgeous.

Maria Sharapova: The queen of babes who needs no formal introduction. When the phrase "Sports Hottie of the Week" is mentioned, the name Maria Sharapova immediately springs to mind.Some say she's quite handy with a tennis racket and can handle herself on the court, but she's second to none when it comes to alluring good looks.

Flavia Pennetta: A passionate hater of Mauresmo and her sexual orientation, she is by far one of the more kinky tennis players. She has stated on interviews about her fantasies of having quickies with Safin. She also says she does not practise abstinece. Her long time bed partner on the tennis tour was Spaniard, Carlos Moya. In an interview, she said she would never do it with Federer, Nadal or Del Potro. She also likes to boast about how she "did it" in the toilets of a plane. She is one horny bitch.

Caroline Wozniacki: The new it girl. She is one fast rising star. Caroline is a youthful and glamorous tennis player of the new generation. She is one babe!

Elena Dementieva: Blonde, tall and photogenic, she is the perfect stereotype. She resembles a school girl when she ties her hair up. Her long legs makes anyone envy the ballboys.


Stay in tune for more articles
The Battle of the Beasts: The Williams Sisters, Francesca Schiavone and Kim Clijsters

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Nicole Vaidisova, a fallen star?

Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic has been one of the greatest disappearing acts of tennis history. The photogenic teen was once a grand slam contender dubbed to be the next number 1. Her ranking now? A pathetic 186. According to Wikipedia: “On 9 August 2006, at the age of 17 years, three months, and two weeks, she became the 12th-youngest player in women’s tennis history to be ranked in the top 10. She achieved a career-high ranking of World No. 7 on 14 May 2007.” She has now been totally out-shadowed by current young guns of the women’s tour including Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

The year 2009 just hasn’t been very spectacular for Vaidisova. Just visiting the Vaidisova activities page on the WTA website will shock you with disappointment. She started the year at a rank of 40. She failed in the opening rounds in the exhibition tournaments before Australian Open. Then at the slam, she failed to defend her 4th round appearance points from 2008. Disgusted at her 1st round lost to Severine Beltrame- Bremond at the Australian Open, Vaidisova boycotted her news conference and was fined. This attitude shown is not good enough, she should have accepted defeat with grace. By accepting her defeat, she would be able to recognise her mistakes and prevent them from occuring in future matches. She continued a streak of losses from Paris. She showed a glimmer of hope of a comeback when she thrashed Alona Bondarenko(top 30 at the time) twice in Indian Wells and Miami. However, she was ousted in the opening round of Roland Garros to unheralded Virginia Ruano Pascual 6–4, 6–3. She also lost in the 1st round of Wimbledon to Rossana De Los Rios in a tight 3 sets. Her lost at Wimbledon was devastating as she had failed to defend points accumulated from her 2007 Wimbledon quarterfinal appearance. After Wimbledon, Vaidisova did not pass qualifying rounds or the 1st rounds. Her unspectacular streak of loses include her US Open loss during the qualifications to Yung Jan Chan of Chinese Taipei in an unimpressive 3-setter, 6-7 6-2 2-6. Before this defeat, Vaidisova had lost to rising star, 2009 US Open semi-finalist Yanina Wickmayer in Los Angeles.

There are various reasons behind her decline in tennis which had already started in the early- middle of 2008 around Roland Garros. In 2008, she had a streak of losing 6 rounds starting with a 64, 60 loss to Ana Ivanovic at Dubai. These were the signs that her tennis was going hay-wire. There are many public speculations about her plummet. Whilst some claim her ex, the repulsive Radek Stepanek wooed her and she was distracted, others cite her early successes as a junior in the Women’s tour made her sick of the sport. Her decline has caused a new phrase to emerge: “She was Stepaneked” or simply “step-naked”. Her fans referring to her prowess been stripped after been wooed by former lover Radek Stepanek. The WTA website also indicates she has not participated in a tournament since failing to qualify in the US Open. This indicates her loss of interest in the game of tennis. However, she is yet to make a press conference to discuss of her tennis woes. All we can do is hypothesise the reasons of her downfall.

Her poor performance in the main tours is only enhanced by her refusal to play in lower level tours including ITF’s and Challenger tournaments. Instead of choosing to play in main tours and losing in early rounds, Vaidisova should have realised her dire need for match play to gain confidence. Thus she should have entered more low level tournaments to give her match experience to build up for higher levels. Early this year, she broke with her coach, David Felgate who brought her early successes as a teen. Her new coach, Ales Kodat who is also her step father has not proven to be a good trade. Her succession of bad results can be partly blamed on her coach’s poor methods. Vaidisova was notoriously known for her fiery temper on court. Her lack of control over her ange would often result to free points awarded to her opponent. She has smashed uncountable number of rackets. She simply didn’t have a great attitude on court. A fatal error with her game today is that she commits to many double faults and unforced errors. All these reasons combine together to collectively bring down Vaidisova’s game.

The saddest news of all is that there have been suggestions that Vaidisova has quit the sport altogether. She has angered the Czech people by quitting the Fed Cup team. Fellow Czech player, Tomas Berdych so claims in the article,

Nicole Vaidisova’s fan website is also a total disaster. It is hardly updated and there is no latest news of her whereabouts, for all we could know, she might be a barmaid, or airhostess, the imagination is up to you. I want to know what she’s up to, but I can’t because there aren’t any articles written about her. Even the WTA site has forgotten about her. Nicole is a sad story of a failed tennis star. An easier way for her would be to start modelling or live of the millions she earned in the prime of her career. Perhaps there is still hope for her in the future as she is still very young! However, she will have to train very hard and smart to regain what she lost.


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Dinara Safina deserved to be number 1

After hearing about her retirement to Jankovic at Doha, I am deeply saddened that she will not be able to hold the number 1 ranking at the end of 2009. Throughout the year, there was a controversy as to whether she deserved the number 1 ranking. Many tennis commentators have slaughtered her for not winning a slam whilst retaining her number 1 status in the world. They have often cited Serena Williams as the better of the 2 players, therefore she should have been the number 1. Dinara Safina has often defended her ranking by blaming the ranking system. Instead of blaming her performance in slams, she often told reporters and commentators to blame the WTA officials who were responsible for creating the system. Other players who have reached Number 1 without earning a slam title include Jelena Jankovic, Kim Clijsters. Kim eventually won the US Open twice but not during her reign as number 1. Serena Williams has been firing verbal comments at her arch rival Dinara throughout the whole year claiming that she would rather win slams and be number 2 than not to win slams and be number 1.

People who were against Safina when she held Number 1 ranking
Pat Rafter has been criticising Safina and supporting Serena in the Australian Tennis magazine. Serena who was at one time in 2009, the holder of 3 slams, Australian Open 2009, Wimbledon 2009 and US Open 2008 is apparently the rightful heir to the number 1 ranking.

People who supported Safina when she held Number 1 ranking
Daniela Hantuchova in an interview with the tennis channel website states that Safina has worked hard for her number 1 ranking.
At the end of the day, you cannot criticise Dinara Safina for holding the number 1 position without winning a slam. The fact is, when she was holding he number 1 position, she performed more consistently on the tour compared to Serena Williams. Women's tennis is not only about the slams, it also about the other important premier mandatory tournaments that occur in the year. The reason why the ranking system is created this way is because if winning slams was a prerequisite to gaining the number 1 ranking, then slams would have to award the majority of points. Players would not enter as many tournaments throughout the year and the game of tennis would practically be only be played in slams- 4 times in the year. How would WTA feel about the loss of money from needing less sports commentators, spectators and sponsors? Personally, I would prefer to win many small-scale tournaments and a couple of Premier Mandatory events than win some of the slams and do pathetically in other tournaments as the Williams sisters are famed for. The lesson is that Serena Williams should not underestimate the importance of tournaments outside the slams. Safina is truly a great tennis player; hopefully she will perform well in 2010 despite extra competition from Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin.