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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2002, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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Kournikova & Hingis: A Pair of Duds

note: Thread title & article are from MSNBC tennis site.

http://www.msnbc.com/news/800457.asp
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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

COMMENTARY




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.

Tee Rexx
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Tennis is a game ... Have fun with it!

Last edited by TeeRexx; Aug 29th, 2002 at 12:43 PM.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2002, 03:34 AM
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Although I'm not one of their fans, I feel a bit sorry for both of them. I don't know what's happening with Anna and Martina really needs a weight trainer. All this talk of her great finesse on the court is doing jack for now.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2002, 03:42 AM
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Wink

Harsh article indeed...but a lot of truth in it as well....it is baffling how poorly Anna played considering her recent improvements at a couple of tournaments...its like...it all went out the window!! But maybe if she stops looking in the mirror she might pick up the paper and like you say get motiviated to actually do something about it. And yes, Martina's play is just a shadow of her former brilliance...she has got to address that serve...but she like Anna..like the limelight and think she sacrificed good play to be out there again...but she's not going to get far with the calibre of play she exhibiting at the moment. They may however, do better in doubles..but its all a bit question mark at the moment

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2002, 03:50 AM
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Anna - well, the less said, the better.

Martina - I was surprised that it took her three sets, too. It's clear she's still not 100 percent.
I don't think Antonella Serra-Zanetti can beat Martina in the second round. But Martina's third round opponent will be either Smashnova or Coetzer, and both will be difficult.
And if it's Monica Seles in the fourth round, forget it. It'll be bye-bye Martina.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2002, 03:51 AM
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Ted Robinson is telling it like it is. He is really on point with the article. What part of this article is not true? I can't feel sorry for millionaire 22 year olds. Especially when everything that was mentioned above can be corrected by Anna and Hingis. Apparently they both refuse to change.

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2002, 03:59 AM
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Can be corrected? You're kidding, Dawn! How is Martina supposed to change after playing one style for 15 years?

And Martina has had two ankle surgeries in the last 10 months. Cut her some slack.

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2002, 04:17 AM
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Oh puhlease, Martina came back after that first surgery fitter and winning one tournament and getting to a grand slam final. Really, I questioned the seriousness of that injury. I think she was injured, but how badly??? This second injury seems for real but I have to agree with Ted, she really needs to get some upper body strenght and improve that serve.

I remember a few years ago, Martina fans were saying that her mother wanted her to get older and stronger before they worked on her serve because she(Martina's mom) did not want her to develop bad habits which might in turn cause injury. The question that comes to mind is " how long are ya planing to wait?" I think she it's time to work on that serve.

As for Anna, her head has just never "been right with ball" to quote a local Dallas sports disc jockey. I do not really think it ever will be. To bad, she has talent.

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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2002, 04:19 AM
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Look unfortunately I have to agree, they have become a pair of duds on the singles court. Their vanity is getting in the way of their tennis. They're too stubborn to change and especially change their styles of tennis. If this keeps up, they'll be nothing more than clothes-horses for Adidas.




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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2002, 04:31 AM
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Cat, Sure I don't care for Anna and Hingis, as they are not my favorites, but as a tennis fan, I think they both have the power to change, they just refuse too. Come on, Anna can get better and Hingis can work on that serve, which is a HUGE liability. Hingis being injured gave her time to change and reason enough to work on that serve. Hingis can change , and so can Anna.

Sorry, but really this article is so true.

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2002, 04:41 AM
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Martina is a brilliant tennis player but there is no reason why she has to serve at under 80mph average first serve! Justine is the same size and continually hits high 90s-low100s
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2002, 04:56 AM
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The thing is, he's not actually being unfair, though he is being needlessly harsh. He specifically reserves his criticism for Anna's effort and Martina's judgement.

Why DID Anna give such a half-hearted effort?

Why IS Martina playing in this event if she's not %100?

I have an idea about that one. Is she just trying to get enough points to stay in the top ten? She can't possibly beat any top ten player with her current level of play. But if someone takes out Monica for her, (which happened last year to Monica) Martina won't have to play a top ten player til the quarters. That would defend most of her points from last year. Viewed strictly in terms of ranking points, it's probably a good move. In fact, think about it. We knew a month ago who the #5-#8 seeds would be. Everyone of them eminently capable of losing early. Seles, Dokic, a still-injured Clijsters, Henin. Any of them can come up with a bad day. And recently have.

If her reasoning is, 'I can make the quarters, so why not take a shot?' then I can see why she'd do it. Martina clever. That and lucky will get her Venus.

But the guy went over the top. Martina did win the match.

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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2002, 05:22 AM
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Anna: Who knows what's going on in her head.

Martina: Ankle injury shouldn't be an excuse comiNg back in such poor shape. Look at Lindsay. She knew she would be out for a long time so she really commited herself to a strict diet and fitness regimen. She's in better physical shape than ever, and she was out for much longer than Martina.

Martina's serve is even worse than before. Her first serves averaged 79mph--horrible!

Justine is smaller and she averaged 81mph on her SECOND serve against Samantha Reeves.
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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2002, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Oh puhlease, Martina came back after that first surgery fitter and winning one tournament and getting to a grand slam final. Really, I questioned the seriousness of that injury. I think she was injured, but how badly???
Obviosuly badly enough to have surgery, that'd rule out your ideas of a fake injury, wouldn't it? People who where there said it was an audiable snap when she misstepped, and TV images showed that it looked very painful.

Quote:
Martina: Ankle injury shouldn't be an excuse comiNg back in such poor shape. Look at Lindsay. She knew she would be out for a long time so she really commited herself to a strict diet and fitness regimen. She's in better physical shape than ever, and she was out for much longer than Martina.
Eh... wouldn't it be a lot easier to train yourself into shape the longer you're out? I mean, if you return to play as soon as possible after an injury, there won't be that much time to get in better shape, will it?

And, she had a doctor to check out her back this week. Having back problems won't make serving easier than normal, that's something everyone can figure out.

So, in conclusion, I agree that she came back way too early. But accusing her of not training properly is way off, as there are plenty of valid reasons why she hasn't.
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2002, 11:05 AM
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So all that talk about needing to change was just pep talk?

After seeing her round 1 match, I was disappointed by Martina, I thought she was gonna change something like she said...

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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old Aug 29th, 2002, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
I questioned the seriousness of that injury.


Uh huh. Her surgery was just a cover-up.



The article is right though. Hingis HAS TO HAS TO HAS TO fix that serve! God, even I was thinknig about how bad it was. Irvin didn't do much with her returns though, which was good for Martina. I agree that after surgery, you think she'd build upper body strength to at least at 1mph to her serve. Maybe she's waiting til the off-season, I hope so, but I think Martina's going to win most of her matches they way she's been doing it for awhile. Mistakes, and willpower. I'm not even going ot bother with Anna. They were pretty good in doubles though.
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