note: Thread title & article are from MSNBC tennis site.
shown no incentive to improve her play, which was dreadful in a first-round loss at the U.S. Open, according to Ted Robinson of NBCSports.com.
Hingis, Kournikova: A pair of duds
Each proves ill prepared
to play at the U.S. Open
August 28 — Week One at the U.S. Open offered something out of the theater of the absurd. I watched the spectacle that was Anna Kournikova losing in lopsided fashion in the first round. And I was left scratching my head wondering why her doubles partner, Martina Hingis, even bothered to show up when she clearly lacks strength and power following an ankle injury.
MAKE WAY FOR THE MAIN ATTRACTION
The Kournikova craze reached a full crescendo at 10,000-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium Monday. Yevgeny Kafelnikov was playing Davide Sanguinetti and the place was jammed but not to watch these two men play. The fans were there in droves because next up on the court was-ANNA!!
Every time there was a changeover in the Kafelnikov-Sanguinetti match more and more people were trying to elbow their way in. And of course once it got to a third set with Kafelnikov up 2-0, the Russian was the instant subject of the fans’ wild cheering and support. After all if he could sweep Sanguinetti in straight sets then the sooner the crowd would get to see “their” Anna. The crowd was let down as it took the Russian four sets to win, 6-2, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4. But it was not to be their only disappointment of the day.
Kournikova promptly took the court and proceeded to play the worst match people perhaps have ever seen at the U.S. Open. It was simply brutal how poorly she played. It must have been discouraging to Kournikova losing to her Indonesian opponent Angelique Widjaja, 6-3, 6-0, because Anna had some decent results in the hard court tournament lead-ups to the U.S. Open. There was no way you could watch that match Monday and not be completely stunned. Kournikova did not do anything. It was absolutely ridiculous. Some of the match statistics bear this out. Kournikova made 40 unforced errors and even more amazing, Widjaja had only one winner — in the entire match.
KOURNIKOVA WAS ABYSMAL
Some of the horrific play cannot even be fairly documented by statistics. Kournikova bounced a second serve into the net. It was overall the worst performance I have seen in my 16 years covering the Open. But it will not impact Anna’s popularity one bit. She took the court for doubles with Hingis and once again she was the belle of the ball in their 7-5, 5-7, 6-3 win over the twin Tatianas, Perebiynis and Poutchek.
Much was made of the fans booing Kournikova’s performance in that singles match Monday but let’s make one thing clear, the boos were not for poor play, but instead for Anna’s half-hearted effort. I continue to hold to my theory that Kournikova has absolutely no incentive to improve. She never even has to win another match. She will remain popular as long as her good looks last.
Unless Anna finds some inner source of pride that will push her beyond anything she has experienced before, I think we have seen the best we have ever seen from her. It was clear Monday that her latest coach, the well-respected Harold Solomon, had no idea what he had gotten himself involved in. He was shaking his head watching this player, who has so much talent, play so poorly and appear to give such a half-hearted effort which prompted the boos.
HINGIS’ LACK OF STRENGTH APPALLING
As stunning as the whole Kournikova circus was, even more amazing to me was the utter lack of strength and power I observed from Martina Hingis during her first-round match against American Marissa Irvin. Hingis struggled to win the match in three sets, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 against her 53rd-ranked opponent. It appeared to me that Irvin was unable to take a match that Hingis was trying to gift wrap for her. Had Martina gone up against a more accomplished player in that match she would have assuredly lost.
Martina Hingis showed an appalling lack of strength in her first-round win over Marissa Irvin, according to Ted Robinson of NBCSports.com.
In my opinion Hingis has absolutely no chance to advance more than another round or two of this championship. In her three sets, Hingis’ fastest serve was only 98 miles per hour and her first serve percentage was only 65 percent so it wasn’t like she was recklessly trying to bomb away.
What really puzzles me is that Hingis was off the tour to rehabilitate a severe ankle injury, which at one time appeared to be career-threatening. She said in the post-match press conference that she felt something was missing strength-wise, but the one thing she could have done in rehab was to build upper-body strength. As I was watching this desultory effort I was thinking why did Martina come back? If this is the type of game she was bringing to bear then she would absolutely have no chance to regain the top rung on the tour.
This was a pretty harsh article from Robinson, who never seemed to strike me as a very knowledgable tennis commentator/analysis.
Did anyone really expect Hingis to win this year's Open?
And only a fool would bet his dough on the Russian Rocket to win this tournament, or any for the rest of the year, in fact.
And then again, if Marti and Anna see this inflamatory writing, it just might motivate them in the right direction.
Who knows, it might even help Anna get a title before the the year is up.