Australian Open Contenders Discussion Thread
The Australian Open is just around the corner, so it's only right we seriously start considering the contenders:
#1 Justine Henin:
- Weapons: forehand, backhand, athletism, touch, serve, all-court game
- Undoubtedly, the best player in the world. Her confidence should be sky high after her best year to date in 2007. The surface apparently suits to her style of play and she will be the one to beat. Clear favourite.
#2 Svetlana Kuznetsova:
- Weapons: speed, forehand, agility.
- A surprise world #2, Svetlana has provided consistent results all year round and pretty much always makes the second week of a slam. Although there are many players who are considered more of a contender than her, she is still a force to be reckoned with as she can be tough to beat when playing her best... however, this year, she doesn't have a lot of hope to win the title.
#3 Jelena Jankovic:
- Weapons: athleticism, backhand, consistency
- A player often accused of playing too much seems to have put herself in a bit of doo-doo. Having injured her thigh and buttock during the Hopman Cup, her chances of being healthy for the Australian Open seem slim, which means is it is highly likely we won't see Jelena lift the trophy. Maybe Jelena has now learned her lesson that quality is better than quantity. However, she's always a tricky opponent and full of surprises.
#4 Ana Ivanovic:
- Weapons: forehand, power, serve
- One of the hardest hitting girls on tour, Ana has proved she deserves to be at the top of the game. However, recent showings at Hong Kong with losses to girls she ought to have beaten have put a spanner in the works. The new 'faster' courts should help her style of play, but if the courts remain as slow as they have been said to be she may struggle. A definite second week showing should be in order but, even if she did reach the final, nerves could still be a liability.
#5 Maria Sharapova:
- Weapons: backhand, power, fight, determination, serve and returns
- Last year's runner-up, Maria has proved she can cut the grade in Melbourne. After making the semis in 2005 and 2006, followed by a final in 2007, is 2008 Maria's year? The shoulder injury is no longer causing problems and, after showing fantastic form in Madrid, Maria looks like she could make a repeat performance of 2007 and get back to her best (the sort of form we saw at US Open 2006). However, after a few sloppy matches in Hong Kong and with Henin and the William sisters showing good form will Maria be able to pick up that winner's cheque?
#6 Anna Chakvetadze:
- Weapons: variety, speed, footwork
- Anna has shown she can make it far into the Grand Slam by making the semis of the US Open last year. However, she hasn't shown she can beat the top players back-to-back, and hasn't even beaten some at all! Her game isn't effective enough yet to win a Grand Slam but she could always upset a few players if she is playing her best.
#7 Serena Williams:
- Weapons: serve, fight, groundstrokes, athleticism, strength
- Defending champion, Serena Williams, can never ever be counted out of a Grand Slam. She burst out of nowhere last year, beating many top players, showing that she is always a force to be reckoned with. She has shown good form in Perth during the Hopman Cup (winning the title) and looks in great shape. Presuming she avoids another QF with Henin, we should see her in the semis at least.
#8 Venus Williams:
- Weapons: serve, movement, power, backhand
- After winning in Hong Kong, Venus has shown that she is playing some great tennis. Venus has never done particularly well in Australia and is far more erractic than little sis, Serena, but this year could be the year to change all of that. Both William sisters have publicised their desire to be #1 this year, and nothing will stop them if they can help it. Expect Venus to go deep into the draw, but not necessarily a winner.
unseeded Lindsay Davenport:
- Weapons: power, accuracy, clean-hitting groundstrokes, serve
- New mum, Lindsay Davenport, has made a remarkable comeback since having her baby boy. She has lost ONCE since returning to the tour (that was against world #3 Jankovic) and won 3 titles along the way. Although her movement is hardly great, her power, accuracy and clean-hitting can be devastating when she's in the zone. She will definitely be the unseeded player that all seeds are dreading to be drawn against. Although I don't see her winning the title she could definitely beat a few top 10 players and make her way to the second week.
Please feel free to add to the contenders list or modify the ones shown.
“I’m not the next anyone. I’m the first Maria Sharapova...” Australian Open Champion 2008 - French Open Champion 2012 & 2014
Wimbledon Champion 2004 - US Open Champion 2006
YEC Champion 2004 - London 2012 Olympics Silver Medalist
Last edited by s_j; Jan 5th, 2008 at 09:01 PM.