Next Week Marks the Anniversary of the End - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 30 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 03:46 AM Thread Starter
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Next Week Marks the Anniversary of the End

This is a startlingly bad thread to start, but I just want to see the opinion of the people on TF about this. Next week marks two years since Ana's precipitous fall from #1 to just inside the top 50 or lower after this Wimbledon. It began with that struggle against Nathalie Dechy

What I found striking is that I've got matches from every year from 2006-2010 to compare, and what a major difference youth can make...in 2006, she looked to be fearless and didn't really care about missing as much (reference Sharapova v. Ivanovic Linz 2006), same with 2007 (reference Ivanovic v. Vaidisova Wimbledon 2007).

2008....at first it looked alright, but there were telltale signs that her nerves were beginning to be shot, starting with that loss to Pironkova in Rome...that should never have occurred, and 2007 Ivanovic probably wouldn't have let that happen. It seems that she just lost her nerve and she realized where she was in the world rankings rather than just playing tennis to play tennis. That match against Dechy, in my opinion, shot her nerves beyond repair. She used every trick she had and just barely scraped through (thanks to a net cord). The rest of 2008 was extremely rough, some of it due to a thumb/hand injury that was reported, and while she looked as if she was getting a semblance of form back in Zurich (SF) and Linz (won), it only inflated confidence that was shattered when she arrived sick in Doha.

Then the hot mess of 2009 happened. Watching that Kleybanova match, it looked as if she was trying to hard to generate spin rather than pace. The ball looked much slower coming off her racket, and I sincerely think that she was trying to minimize errors, and use her "new found defensive skills" to scrape through matches when she couldn't really hit her way out of it, but bottom line is that she is a player who thrives on grip and rip tactics. It was painful to see her just half swinging really on a lot of easier shots in that match. And it continued through the year. She only had moments of brilliance in her Wimbledon 3R and shining moments of that Bondarenko USO loss.

2010 rolls around and she's lost the fitness that she had, and if anything she's hitting with more topspin off the forehand, which again is something that she can't get away with because she's not speedy enough. I don't know if it's that Yonex racket she got after the USO 2008, but she just lost ALL her pace. Psychologist, as we all document, is needed.

This Wimbledon also marks the end of Maria Sharapova. The loss to Kudryavtseva, which was shocking, just began what had to be a nightmare for Sharapova as well. That Domachowska match in Canada really took its toll on her and then of course the shoulder surgery and recovery mentally from it. She hasn't been the same since. RG 2009 and Tokyo 2009 gave us glimpses of old Maria, but she (like Ivanovic) has just been on a results slide since, hitting rock bottom at this year's Aussie Open. However, unlike Ivanovic, she's been more willing to fight her way back to the top it seems and is at least getting mildly decent results with smart scheduling of MM tournaments.

The question for you: in the Ivanovic and Sharapova comebacks, what has made the biggest difference in the relative success Sharapova has had compared to the massive setbacks Ivanovic has been getting?

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post #2 of 30 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 03:48 AM
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Re: Next Week Marks the Anniversary of the End

Maria is better than Ana really.

Plus Maria still loves tennis, while Ana seems to have lost all her joy for it.
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post #3 of 30 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 04:00 AM
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Re: Next Week Marks the Anniversary of the End

What a depressing read. Maria will no doubt be major contender again in the near future. Things look really bleak for Ana at the moment, but I have faith on her.

I don't think the Yonex racquet has got anything to do with Ana's lack of pace in her shots nowadays because the racquet she used when she reached the final of AO, and won RG was more underpowered than the one she uses now. She just doesn't have the fearlessness to go for it. The reckless abandon she seemed to have when hitting that forehand is gone.

Maria's been getting better results lately because as you've said, she has a profound love for the game and is a natural fighter. Ana meanwhile strikes me as a gentle soul and is mentally very fragile. She seems to be too conscious about everything that she does on court.

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post #4 of 30 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 04:34 AM
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Re: Next Week Marks the Anniversary of the End

Lets hope that one of them rises from the ashes at this years championships
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post #5 of 30 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 05:08 AM
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Re: Next Week Marks the Anniversary of the End

It's just really the way you were born Some people are born as fighters, never wanting to give up, not afrain to win (or lose). I think Maria just has too much passion for the sport to give up even if it does mean swallowing her pride and playing MM tourneys.

Ivanovic has to put in the time and commitment if she wants to produce results again. I was thrilled when I saw Ana in Rome 2010 (or Madrid?), it was like a flash from the past. She still has what it takes skill-wise, but time will tell if she still has what it takes mentally.
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post #6 of 30 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 05:35 AM
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Re: Next Week Marks the Anniversary of the End

I do hope Ana finds her way back to the top. It was great to see her hit that inside=out forehand with gusto when she was playing well. These days, it doesn't seem to be that big a shot, but it is mostly a lack of confidence.

I've always wondered why she struggles on grass (except for the Semi at Wimby in 2007?). Hits a nice flat ball and can slice and volley. Maybe it is the phenomenon of a flatball hitter not liking the same style of play from an opponent. She felt Zheng, whose balls practically graze the net every single time, actually overpowered her in '08!
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post #7 of 30 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 05:49 AM
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Re: Next Week Marks the Anniversary of the End

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Originally Posted by n1_and_uh_noone View Post
I've always wondered why she struggles on grass (except for the Semi at Wimby in 2007?). Hits a nice flat ball and can slice and volley. Maybe it is the phenomenon of a flatball hitter not liking the same style of play from an opponent. She felt Zheng, whose balls practically graze the net every single time, actually overpowered her in '08!
It seems Ivanovic plays her best against a higher ball and isn't as comfortable against a low ball.

Something that surprises me is how much Venus Williams LOVES a low ball. Given her height it's amazing how hard she can pound those low balls on grass.

As for Ivanovic, honestly words cannot express my disappointment in how she is playing. I can't understand it.
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post #8 of 30 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 07:19 AM
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Re: Next Week Marks the Anniversary of the End

yeah the downfall has almost been a freefall really perplexing to see she never really came up.. Its also a lot to do with the serve.. It was bad enough at RG 08.. I remember when she was this kid on block with an awesome serve It does remind me on G. Coria.. Never really got back on top of the game I hope it doesnt happen to ana..

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post #9 of 30 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 07:42 AM
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Re: Next Week Marks the Anniversary of the End

The fall cometh

May she who was a great player Rest In Peace

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post #10 of 30 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 08:19 AM
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Re: Next Week Marks the Anniversary of the End

Well, as I think some other people have already said, it's the attitudes of the players. Having said that I think both players will make their way up and be in at least the top 10. At least, I hope they will, Maria for obvious reason. Even Ana who is one of my least favourite players, I hope comes back strong and re-establishes herself because her downwards spiral is sad for women's tennis in general.

Daniela Hantuchova & Juan Martín del Potro

Simon & Groth & Čilić & Goerges & Gasquet & Kirilenko & Djokovic & Sharapova

Justine Henin & Marat Safin
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post #11 of 30 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 08:23 AM
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Re: Next Week Marks the Anniversary of the End

What a downer of a thread.
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post #12 of 30 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 08:51 AM
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Re: Next Week Marks the Anniversary of the End

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What a downer of a thread.
sure it is, but only because it is true.

Daniela Hantuchova & Juan Martín del Potro

Simon & Groth & Čilić & Goerges & Gasquet & Kirilenko & Djokovic & Sharapova

Justine Henin & Marat Safin
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post #13 of 30 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 08:52 AM
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Re: Next Week Marks the Anniversary of the End

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Originally Posted by kiwialicat View Post
sure it is, but only because it is true.
Pretty much.
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post #14 of 30 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 10:02 AM
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Re: Next Week Marks the Anniversary of the End

It's actually quite shocking to see the downfall of some of the potential greats/contenders. Ivanovic, Sharapova, Vaidisova and Chakvetadze. While I never figured Chaky for a slam winner, I thought she'd have a decent career ala Dementieva. She is capable on ALL surfaces.

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post #15 of 30 (permalink) Old Jun 17th, 2010, 10:03 AM
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Re: Next Week Marks the Anniversary of the End

Beautiful thread, thank you.

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