Quarterly Report Cards
It’s taken two months, but the first act of 2007 is now complete. While that doesn’t quite bring us to the quarter mark of the season—it’s almost 11 months long, after all—it does make a convenient time for an initial assessment of some the major players and trends on tour. Here we go, from the star students to the biggest underachievers.
Serena Williams: A+
It’s hard to argue with a 15-1 record, titles at two big events, the Australian Open and Key Biscayne, and final-round wins over two different No. 1 players. Williams has done it with her best, most untouchable stuff (she likes to save it for Maria Sharapova, it seems), but she’s also done it with less than her best. Which has been more impressive, in a way—she’s shown again just what a competitor is in this sport. That by itself has made the entire tennis season more exciting.
Justine Henin: B+
The little fighter showed a human side by putting her personal life ahead of her tennis life, at least for one tournament, when she skipped the Australian Open to deal with marital troubles. But she was able to shut it out again right away, bouncing back to win in Dubai and Doha. Still, in her biggest moment of the year, she blinked, playing tentatively when she tried to serve out the Key Biscayne final against Serena Williams.
WTA On-court Coaching: B
The once-per-set experiment may not be enough to affect many matches, but it makes for good TV. When the rule was made, did anyone think it would give Richard Williams a second chance at stardom? He’s still smart, and still funny—did he really tell Serena to hit to Sharapova’s backhand so she could get some practice for her next match?
Kim Clijsters: D
Quitting at her peak was odd, but quitting her own farewell tour is just perverse. It's clear she doesn't care about tennis; how much can we care about her?
2 Grand Slam (Mixed Doubles) Titles
(1) Wimbledon ('98), (1) US Open ('98) (both w/ Max Mirnyi)