Elena Dementieva Must Cut The Parental Cord
By Franklin L. Johnson
(March 27, 2010) The highly-anticipated rematch between Justine Henin and Elena Dementieva failed to live up to the pre-match hype in Miami last night.
Henin displayed too much game and too much guile to be troubled by Dementieva and dispatched the fifth seed 6-3, 6-2 at the Sony Ericsson Open.
Dementieva has made solid strides in improving her serve and her game, but if she is to take the next step and break through to win her first major she must show some emotional growth on the court.
If you watched the match last night then you saw Dementieva making eye contact with her mother and coach, Vera, after nearly every point.
I think this constant eye contact and emotional give-and-take hurts her overall concentration.
Dementieva tends to be too dependent on her mother's approval and empathy. The love shared between them is extraordinary, but her mom has to do what all parents need to do. She has to let her daughter go and grow up.
Elena is a fighter of the highest degree: if you saw her Wimbledon match against Serena Williams
last summer or her win over Serena in Sydney in January then you understand what I mean when I praise her fighting spirit.
The reality is Dementieva won't be able to improve her capacity to play and win close matches until she cuts the mama-daughter umbilical cord. I'm sorry to say it, but it's the truth.
Mr. Williams slowly but deliberately moved out of the lime light to allow Venus
to stand on their own two feet. It was a transition which was almost imperceptible, unless you followed the Williams family exploits on a daily basis. If you notice now, Oracene Price, Venus and Serena's mother, nearly always wears sunglasses during her daughter's (day) matches as if sending a subtle signal that they need to look inside themselves for solutions rather than staring at her.
The sisters are problem solvers on court.
A parent has to gauge when it's the right time to recede and permit a child to blossom properly.
Personally, I thought Yuri Sharapov held onto the parental reigns with Maria Sharapova
a tad too long which, I believe, may have contributed to her over-playing which in turn contributed to her shoulder problems.
This is a very sensitive issue and hard to deal with. The best players are the ones who learn at the earliest possible stage to fight their battles for themselves.
It's time Dementieva
learned this too.
Franklin L. Johnson is a Tennis Now contributing writer and avid tennis player based in New York. He has covered professional tennis for three decades.
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