Changing the guard: 2007 is the year of transition
...the year when the new forces will finally establish themselves and relegate the older generation to a quick disappearing/fading act…
After yet another year of strong quarterfinals and the occasional and unimportant semis and finals, Martina Hingis will have to reevaluate her decision to come back to the Tour and the blaring weaknesses in her game that are preventing her of amassing the Grand Slam titles she so yearns for. Contrary to the first time around, the culprits to Hingis’s impending retirement will not be named Williams or other English names, but constant losses to Eastern European “ova’s and eva's” will demise the Swiss Miss confidence and desire. She will retire in 2007 with no other singles Slam titles to add to her collection.
Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport, Mary Pierce and Monica Seles will be all officially retired, after, in Mary’s and Jennifer’s cases, unsuccessfully trying to come back for a little while. Venus Williams will remain in her seemingly perpetual state of semi-retirement. Venus’s fans have no idea how close the older sister came to retire from playing in 2005 after another dismal first half of the year. After a disappointing early exit from the French that year, Venus herself told me that if she could not reach at least the semifinals of either Wimbedon or the US Open, she would seriously consider stop playing at the end of the year. She would then go on to win Wimbledon in stunning fashion of course, and the rest is history, but another weak performance in London or New York should renew her desire to quit.
The physical demands of modern tennis and her own lack of size and health will finally catch up to Justine Henin-Hardenne’s game. She will not have a 2007 as successful as 2006 has been for her, far from it. She will slowly but surely be overpowered and overplayed, and painfully fade away to non-top 10 ranking. The undersized Belgian is a feisty fighter, but her physical limitations will impede her of remaining in the top echelon of tennis stratosphere, and she will amass no more than 8 Slam titles at retirement time, if many.
Amelie Mauresmo will be able to remain a top player and still fight for titles and glory with her younger peers, but her total number of Slam silverware will still be very limited. Kim Clijsters will have a rather uneventful and slamless 2007.