The Jelena Story--What the hell happened?
In 2001 and 2002, Jelena Dokic was a SOLID fixture in the top ten. She consistently held her seed week in and week out at nearly 30 tournaments a year, coming through with enough big wins to secure two or three tier one titles. Before that, she was a consistently improving junior who hung in the low twenties and high teens. Then, suddenly, she loses to Elena Bovina at the US Open 02, and we never hear from her again. She has that one good tournament in Zurich in 03 to keep her in the top thirty or fourty, but then falls to 500 something in the rankings, and can't get back up.
This is, to my knowledge, a unique story in tennis. Hantuchova was in the top ten for a year, and then had her fall, but that fall was only to no. 64, and Dani quickly worked her way back into the top thirty, and then back into the top twenty (where she belongs, IMHO.) Lucic comes to mind as someone who fell and never made it back, but she was only in the top fifty or so, and even that was a brief year or less in the limelight. Dokic was solid as a rock for two years, with flashes of brilliance for the two years before that. Clearly she has immense natural ability. How does a player with that much natural ability not manage to stay in the top 100 just on talent?