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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2006, 08:01 PM Thread Starter
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Wimbledon final to be a test of nerves

By STEVEN WINE, AP Sports Writer
July 7, 2006

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- Thunderclap serves, swing-for-the-backstop forehands and fist-pumping shrieks will be absent from the women's final Saturday at Wimbledon.

With the Williams family missing for the first time in seven years, raw power is out, replaced by feathery volleys, elegant backhands and bountiful butterflies.

Justine Henin-Hardenne and Amelie Mauresmo bring to the final all-court finesse and a history of edgy nerves. Both expect a fetching final -- as long as they can keep their composure.

"That's the key at this stage of a tournament," Henin-Hardenne said Friday. "It's no question really about tennis, it's a question of how you deal with the situation. The nerves are very important.

"Women are more emotional. It's not easy all the time."

Rattled by big occasions early in her career, Henin-Hardenne has coped well enough in recent years to win five major championships, including her third French Open title last month. The Belgian has reached the final in all three Grand Slam events this year, and with a win Saturday, she would become the 10th woman to win all four major titles.

For the top-ranked Mauresmo, pressure remains a problem. To her credit, she admits it.

She wavered in her semifinal victory over Maria Sharapova, blowing a 3-1, 40-love lead in the second set and enduring another lapse leading 4-0 in the third set. She dug in and ended a streak of three consecutive losses in Wimbledon semifinals.

"It's always a learning experience every time you go out on the court," the Frenchwoman said. "I'm trying to learn from the bad moments I had, learn also from the moments where I was able to overcome these moments of tension.

"We're all very different. Justine had very different experiences. She was able much younger than me to control her emotions better."

Mauresmo has been a perennial flop before home-court crowds at the French Open. She won her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, but without having to close out the final -- Henin-Hardenne retired in the second set, citing an upset stomach from pain medicine she took for a shoulder injury.

Henin-Hardenne's decision to quit annoyed Mauresmo, who considered it unsporting that she was denied a chance to win match point. Their relationship has been strained since.

"I don't pay much attention to that," Henin-Hardenne said. "I play my tennis for myself."

"It doesn't matter for me what happened there," Mauresmo said. "This final is going to be about tennis. That's what I want."

It will be a different kind of tennis from recent years. Venus Williams, eliminated in the third round, is a three-time champion who reached the final five of the past six years. Serena Williams, hoping to return soon from a knee injury, is a two-time champion and was also a runner-up .

Neither was ever accused of relying on finesse -- or succumbing to nerves.

Henin-Hardenne and Mauresmo play with a vast repertoire and deft touch. Both hit picturesque one-handed backhands, and neither is shy about coming to the net. Mauresmo even plays serve and volley, a strategy now rarer than grass courts.

"It's going to be tactically very exciting, very interesting," Henin-Hardenne said. "I hope we can both be in our best shape and show good tennis to the crowd."

"I think it's a great `affiche,"' said Mauresmo, using the French word for "showcase." "Talking about the style of play we both play on this surface, it's going to make it pretty exciting."

Both expect to be nervous Saturday morning. Henin-Hardenne said she'll rise early, eat a couple of hours before the match and try to visualize how she wants to play. The routine will be similar for Mauresmo, and both players expect butterflies.

The question is how quickly they subside.

"Nerves might be a big part in the match, maybe at the beginning, maybe after," Mauresmo said. "I don't know."

With a victory, Mauresmo will become the first Frenchwoman to win Wimbledon since Suzanne Lenglen in 1925. That would provide her nation with a memorable prelude to Sunday's World Cup final between France and Italy.

"I hope it's a big weekend for France," she said.

The pressure's on.

Updated on Friday, Jul 7, 2006 12:15 pm ED

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2006, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gabrielle
She won her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, but without having to close out the final -- Henin-Hardenne retired in the second set, citing an upset stomach from pain medicine she took for a shoulder injury.

Henin-Hardenne's decision to quit annoyed Mauresmo, who considered it unsporting that she was denied a chance to win match point. Their relationship has been strained since.

"I don't pay much attention to that," Henin-Hardenne said. "I play my tennis for myself."

"It doesn't matter for me what happened there," Mauresmo said. "This final is going to be about tennis. That's what I want."


The pressure's on.

Updated on Friday, Jul 7, 2006 12:15 pm ED

If sex is such a natural phenomenon, how come there are so many books on how to?
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2006, 08:47 PM
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I'd say the pressure is more on Justine than Momo...afterall she has to prove that she can win when healthy...mentally I do give Juju the edge as you never know when Amelie's will collapse however she did get through beating Maria with just one "hiccup" the 2nd set but am looking forward to a good close competitive match...Good Luck to both gals!


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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2006, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gabrielle
"Women are more emotional."
Spoken like a true feminist Justine!

Venus: US Open Champ (2000, 2001) Wimbledon Champ (2000, 2001, 2005, 2007)
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2006, 09:02 PM
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Hoping for a great final

best of luck Justine !!!

ALLEZ Mary Pierce


My MARY PIERCE SITE !!!


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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2006, 09:12 PM
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very true
that's why juju has got more chances to win


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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2006, 09:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Spruce
Hoping for a great final

best of luck Justine !!!
Mary will be gunning for Amelie I guess.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2006, 09:19 PM
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I've already lost the battle for my nerves. Could one of you call me when it's all over? TIA!


There's a bit of Justine in all of us.


"The great thing about Henin and Federer is that each of them is a beautiful player and a superior competitor, so the divide is effectively bridged. Have there ever been a pair of No. 1 players who so fully represent the abundantly gifted as well as the fully-ripened competitor?"
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2006, 09:36 PM
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I am going to be a nervous wreck watching this match, especially if it is close can't bear to think about it.
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2006, 10:58 PM
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Thanks for the article, Gabbs!!

awwwwwww...I'm so excited about the final - I really hope it will be a great match, with both of them playing their finest tennis!!!


Good Luck Amelie!!
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2006, 11:15 PM
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Doesn't sound like a match I want to get up to watch. From what is being described here it's far more comfortable to in bed and get the results later.
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2006, 11:17 PM
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gonna be so nervous tomorrow...go Amelie!!!!!!!!

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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2006, 11:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veenut
Doesn't sound like a match I want to get up to watch. From what is being described here it's far more comfortable to in bed and get the results later.
I know what you mean I've done that whenever the sistah's have played!

Either match-fix or snoozefest!
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2006, 11:25 PM
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i dont even wanna think abt it but i know i will...justine come on..hope u come firing ur guns...

SANIA JUSTINE ELENAD

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When I have my goals set, I always attain them- Justine
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old Jul 7th, 2006, 11:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justine Fan
I know what you mean I've done that whenever the sistah's have played!

Either match-fix or snoozefest!
All good and you are entitled to make your own choices even when you are in the minority. Justine can never generate the tv ratings that both sisters have. If they should show the mixed doubles on tv I'm sure that would command a larger audience than the singles. Just reading about the mixed is exciting not to mention watching it.
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