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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 2009, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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Peter Bodo: Serena right where she belongs

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/...ame=bodo_peter

Serena right where she belongs

Monday, November 2, 2009

Someone reviewing the major stories of the WTA season could be forgiven for looking back on the brouhaha attending Dinara Safina's tenure as the No. 1 player, scratching his head and asking: What was that all about?

The smoke has cleared on the battlefield, and Serena Williams is the last woman standing. She's right where she said she belongs, and where most pundits feel she deserved to be -- on top. Serena pounded the bejesus out of all comers at the Australian Open in January and then finished as the year-end No. 1 again.

But the top story in the WTA in 2009 isn't so much that Serena reclaimed her No. 1 position by year's end; it's that nobody was able to topple her along the way. For there hasn't been a less dominant, dominant player in a long time. Every week in '09, it seemed, those who doubted Serena's commitment, fitness or game had a legitimate case to make. Many weeks, Serena proved them right. But she remained in the hunt all along, knowing that one thing -- and one thing only -- matters when it comes to rankings: who finishes No. 1 at the end of the year.

So let's take a quick look at how the contenders and pretenders managed to allow the top ranking to slip through their sweaty little fingers:

Dinara Safina: She consistently came up short when she had the opportunity to consolidate her hold on the top spot or to make an authoritative statement validating the ranking. You can criticize her for reaching the top position without having won a Grand Slam title, but that happens in tennis.

The critical and disappointing failure was the way she found creative ways to bail out when she was in a position to prove her mettle. In tennis, for all but the very top players, it's all about windows of opportunity. But when the window opened for Safina, she walked over and closed the shutters. I wouldn't want to be her, embarking on 2010 with Kim Clijsters back in the hunt and Justine Henin also poised to return to the tour.

Jelena Jankovic: Maybe she did overtrain at the end of last year, explaining her horrific start to 2009. But that rationalization, accurate though it may be, has a short shelf life. It certainly doesn't explain her patchy, ragged, up-and-down year.

Jankovic is coy, a bit of a game-player. You can shuffle and slip and slide and sneak your way to a big title or two -- or even to the No. 1 ranking. But you can't become a dominant force in the game that way. She needs maturity, and she needs to simplify things and focus on the task at hand, week in, week out.

Svetlana Kuznetsova: Want to be No. 1, Sveta? "No, but thanks for asking!"

Elena Dementieva: It's funny how someone who seems like a no-nonsense player with great athletic gifts can find so many ways to avoid bagging a Grand Slam title or piecing together a run that takes her to the No. 1 ranking and keeps her there for good. My guess: She sabotages herself at some obscure emotional level.

Venus Williams: The demand of greatness is tough enough to begin with; it's that much more crushing a burden when your heart isn't exactly or entirely into it. (Just ask Andre Agassi.) Venus has become an error-prone and somewhat sloppy player, which tells you that she's mentally played out. And her problems were further exacerbated by the fact that her kid sister, Serena, simply appeared to want the top ranking more.

Vera Zvonareva: She's got an A-game but a C-spirit.

Victoria Azarenka: She started strong but faded, consistently falling victim to her emotions. But unlike the self-pitying and easily broken down Zvonareva, Azarenka is a fighter who may learn to channel her anger and frustration in a positive manner. I'd watch out for her next year.

Maria Sharapova: She gets a pass due to injury.

Ana Ivanovic: Please call home.

Caroline Wozniacki: Her game may not blow you away, with its moon-balling, retrieving defensive cast. But she's got a great attitude and took enormous strides in accepting her success with an impressive degree of composure and maturity. She shows signs of becoming a crafty, reliable and solid player who has what most of her peers lack -- the ability to find a way to win.

Wozniacki will have her work cut out for her in 2010, what with Serena, Kim and Justine in the picture. But "solid and reliable" can go a long way, if not all the way to the top, these days in the WTA.

*Venus*Serena*Kuznetsova*Schiavone*Taylor*Bartoli* *A.Bondarenko*Zheng*Duval*Safarova*Kirilenko*

*Federer*Nadal*Djokovic*Tsonga*Murray*Monfils*Gulb is*Young*Wawrinka*Mirnyi*

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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 2009, 12:28 AM
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Re: Peter Bodo: Serena right where she belongs

I pretty much agree with everything he wrote. This is one of his better pieces.

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21-Time Grand Slam Champion

6 AO ('03, '05, '07, '09, '10, '15) 3 FO ('02, '13, '15)
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 2009, 12:37 AM
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Re: Peter Bodo: Serena right where she belongs

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Originally Posted by serenafan08 View Post
I pretty much agree with everything he wrote. This is one of his better pieces.
I do to, especially about Venus

And what is next for Ana Ivanovic?
So much potential, and so much potential, and so much potential...

__________________________________
Venus Williams Grand Slam VII
Serena Williams Grand Slam XXI

Nadia Petrova Grand Slam Hope Is Fading
Updated: Jan 31. 2015
Next Update Date: Post 2015 RG
Rest in peace, Elena Baltacha.

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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 2009, 12:50 AM
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Re: Peter Bodo: Serena right where she belongs

agreed.

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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 2009, 01:11 AM
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Re: Peter Bodo: Serena right where she belongs

Well written by Bodo. This year has been one of satisfaction for Serena as she ended the year on top despite having ups and downs. Her winning the Sony Ericsson Championships is a signal to the tour that she is ready for all comers in 2010 especially if her serve is clicking like it did in the finals against Venus
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 2009, 01:34 AM
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Re: Peter Bodo: Serena right where she belongs

I don't think that Venus is finished,hopefully she will rebound,a lot of this in my opinion is mental,she needs to focus better and concentrate intensely on her technique on the forehand,backhand and serve.If she can do it at Wimbledon She should be able to do it other places.

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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 2009, 01:52 AM
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Re: Peter Bodo: Serena right where she belongs

Venus showed me at the YEC that she is till capable of great shots,I think she has some niggling injuries but if she is determined like she was in beating Jankovic and Sveta she will make noise in 2010.She is exhausted thats all two months of rejuvinating her game will do wonders for the up coming season.I think its folly to write her off because she usually brings up the goods when there is no expectation.
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 2009, 01:56 AM
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Re: Peter Bodo: Serena right where she belongs

Venus really hasn't been the same since Serena won the French Open. Since then she has been consistently in Serena shadow.

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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 2009, 02:28 AM
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Re: Peter Bodo: Serena right where she belongs

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Originally Posted by serenafann View Post
I don't think that Venus is finished
You gotta define 'finished'. I don;t think she'll see the #1 ranking ever again, unless she wins OZ next year. And she really hasn't had good results there, for the most part. Her appearance in final was almost seven years ago.

She could still another slam, especially if Serena and all the retrievers are on the other side of the draw. But Venus is going to be thirty next year.

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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 2009, 02:47 AM
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Re: Peter Bodo: Serena right where she belongs

I will agree that Venus has lost her way but I dont think she is fiinished, at least I hope not.
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post #11 of 34 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 2009, 02:48 AM
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Re: Peter Bodo: Serena right where she belongs

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bijoux0021 View Post
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/...ame=bodo_peter

Serena right where she belongs

Monday, November 2, 2009

Someone reviewing the major stories of the WTA season could be forgiven for looking back on the brouhaha attending Dinara Safina's tenure as the No. 1 player, scratching his head and asking: What was that all about?

The smoke has cleared on the battlefield, and Serena Williams is the last woman standing. She's right where she said she belongs, and where most pundits feel she deserved to be -- on top. Serena pounded the bejesus out of all comers at the Australian Open in January and then finished as the year-end No. 1 again.

But the top story in the WTA in 2009 isn't so much that Serena reclaimed her No. 1 position by year's end; it's that nobody was able to topple her along the way. For there hasn't been a less dominant, dominant player in a long time. Every week in '09, it seemed, those who doubted Serena's commitment, fitness or game had a legitimate case to make. Many weeks, Serena proved them right. But she remained in the hunt all along, knowing that one thing -- and one thing only -- matters when it comes to rankings: who finishes No. 1 at the end of the year.

So let's take a quick look at how the contenders and pretenders managed to allow the top ranking to slip through their sweaty little fingers:

Dinara Safina: She consistently came up short when she had the opportunity to consolidate her hold on the top spot or to make an authoritative statement validating the ranking. You can criticize her for reaching the top position without having won a Grand Slam title, but that happens in tennis.

The critical and disappointing failure was the way she found creative ways to bail out when she was in a position to prove her mettle. In tennis, for all but the very top players, it's all about windows of opportunity. But when the window opened for Safina, she walked over and closed the shutters. I wouldn't want to be her, embarking on 2010 with Kim Clijsters back in the hunt and Justine Henin also poised to return to the tour.

Jelena Jankovic: Maybe she did overtrain at the end of last year, explaining her horrific start to 2009. But that rationalization, accurate though it may be, has a short shelf life. It certainly doesn't explain her patchy, ragged, up-and-down year.

Jankovic is coy, a bit of a game-player. You can shuffle and slip and slide and sneak your way to a big title or two -- or even to the No. 1 ranking. But you can't become a dominant force in the game that way. She needs maturity, and she needs to simplify things and focus on the task at hand, week in, week out.

Svetlana Kuznetsova: Want to be No. 1, Sveta? "No, but thanks for asking!"

Elena Dementieva: It's funny how someone who seems like a no-nonsense player with great athletic gifts can find so many ways to avoid bagging a Grand Slam title or piecing together a run that takes her to the No. 1 ranking and keeps her there for good. My guess: She sabotages herself at some obscure emotional level.

Venus Williams: The demand of greatness is tough enough to begin with; it's that much more crushing a burden when your heart isn't exactly or entirely into it. (Just ask Andre Agassi.) Venus has become an error-prone and somewhat sloppy player, which tells you that she's mentally played out. And her problems were further exacerbated by the fact that her kid sister, Serena, simply appeared to want the top ranking more.

Vera Zvonareva: She's got an A-game but a C-spirit.

Victoria Azarenka: She started strong but faded, consistently falling victim to her emotions. But unlike the self-pitying and easily broken down Zvonareva, Azarenka is a fighter who may learn to channel her anger and frustration in a positive manner. I'd watch out for her next year.

Maria Sharapova: She gets a pass due to injury.

Ana Ivanovic: Please call home.

Caroline Wozniacki: Her game may not blow you away, with its moon-balling, retrieving defensive cast. But she's got a great attitude and took enormous strides in accepting her success with an impressive degree of composure and maturity. She shows signs of becoming a crafty, reliable and solid player who has what most of her peers lack -- the ability to find a way to win.

Wozniacki will have her work cut out for her in 2010, what with Serena, Kim and Justine in the picture. But "solid and reliable" can go a long way, if not all the way to the top, these days in the WTA.
Pretty fair and well-put analysis, which is shocking coming from this man. One thing though, what makes Bodo like Woz's attitude and not think it's an elaborate sham orchestrated for the media, like he seems to think about Clijsters?
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post #12 of 34 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 2009, 06:25 AM
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Re: Peter Bodo: Serena right where she belongs

Spot on by Bodo...

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post #13 of 34 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 2009, 06:32 AM
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Re: Peter Bodo: Serena right where she belongs

Wow... great well written stuff to say about each of those players.

I really like what he said about Dementieva though.

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post #14 of 34 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 2009, 06:36 AM
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Re: Peter Bodo: Serena right where she belongs

Quote:
Svetlana Kuznetsova: Want to be No. 1, Sveta? "No, but thanks for asking!"
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post #15 of 34 (permalink) Old Nov 3rd, 2009, 06:43 AM
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Re: Peter Bodo: Serena right where she belongs

Venus has become an error-prone player? Where has he been since 2004? She's had the same woes ever since returning from her ab injury.

And I think it's way too premature to say that she's mentally finished. Her match against Jelena at the YEC, won purely on guts IMO, tells me different.

She may be getting older, but are we really disregarding that she was just in the final of the tour's Championship like 2 days ago?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vikapower
Serena's game is like the limitation of the spirit to it's very basic elements, sleep (or the process of going to sleep), eat, rerun [...] the two first, all and absolutely unnecessary to a person's life just like Serena's game is to tennis are often overpraised for whatever reasons in certain close-minded brain-broken societies.
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