2009 Year End Review: No.’s 21-30 and Other Notables by Matthew Cronin
2009 Year End Review
The Women, No.’s 21-30 and Other Notables
By Matthew Cronin
Thus begins a review of the women’s and men’s top 30s, plus other notables. The women are being reviewed first as their season is over, while the men have yet to play their year-end championships.
21 Amelie Mauresmo: The veteran Frenchwoman put in a substantial effort much of the year and had very little to show for it given her own expectations. That third Slam title is now even more elusive and a 2010 retirement is probable.
22 Ana Ivanovic: The sweet Serbian had the most precipitous fall for a former No. 1 and Slam champ that we’ve seen in the Open Era. AI has the weapons to climb back again, but she’s very confused about how to do it.
23 Sabine Lisicki: If she can stay healthy, the German is a top 10 player to be. She needs to refine her game a bit, but her power is ultra impressive.
24 Elena Vesnina: Outside of Svetlana Kuznetsova’s amazing Roland Garros run, this was a down year for the Russians, except in the case of Vesnina, who showed that she’s more than just another pretty blonde with a sizeable backhand.
25 Daniela Hantuchova: The Slovak veteran seems happy off court, but she took a big step backward on court this year and may never re-enter the top 20 again.
26 Aravane Rezai: Perhaps the best thing about the B-level Championships in Bali was it showed just how much this fiery Frenchwoman has improved. Once an afterthought to Marion Bartoli and Alize Cornet, she just may end 2010 as her nation’s top player.
27 Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez: The lefty serve and volleyer took a huge step up in singles this season and if she can improve her movement and consistency off the ground, she’ll be Spain’s greatest threat next year.
28 Anabel Media Garrigues: The veteran Spaniard won’t go down quietly, but she has a limited attack and is better suited for doubles heroics.
29 Alisa Kleybanova: It’s hard to get a read on this tall and strong Russian. She can club the ball, but she needs to improve her conditioning and court awareness.
30 Dominica Cibulkova: The Slovakian sparkplug had an excellent year until she was injured in the late summer and then slid downward. But she’s ambitious and gutsy and that counts for a lot.
Outside of the top 30, we saw notable improvement from Shahar Peer, the Bondarenko sisters (especially Kateryna), Gisela Dulko, Magdalena Rybarikova Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Sorana Cirstea, Melanie Oudin, Britain’s Katie O’Brien and Elena Baltacha, but saw slippage from Carla Suarez Navarro, Aleksandra Wozniak, Jie Zheng, Agnes Szavay, Lucie Safarova, Patty Schnyder (may retire soon), Alize Cornet (arguably took a worse fall than Ivanovic), Sybille Bammer, Maria Kirilenko and Anna Chakvetadze. It’s anyone’s guess as to how Jelena Dokic, Sania Mirza and Anne Keothavong will respond physically next year.
Michelle Larcher de Brito, Karolina Sprem, Sesil Karantancheva and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, please pick up the white courtesy phone, we are unable to locate the direction of your careers.
But I, being poor, have only my dreams
I have spread my dreams under your feet
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams