OutSports 2003 Predictions
My brother turned me on to this site. They have some kooky tournament reviews whenever they get around to posting them the lazy bastards.
Outsports Top 24 for 2003
By The B. Man
The Australian Open was baaaaaad news for the women of professional tennis. Playing to poorest tennis we’ve seen from her in a while, Serena Williams made history by winning her forth consecutive Grand Slam title. The fact that she was able to take the title while not playing clean tennis is a bad omen. We’re hoping two newcomers and two old-timers can breathe new life into tennis in 2003. Our top 12 players to watch:
Serena Williams. She’s likely to repeat as French Open or US Open champion, especially if she starts playing good tennis. She has a lot of points to defend, so staying at the top won’t be easy, but very few of the other women on tour seem ready, or willing, to challenge her. So until Amelie, Chanda, Jennifer, or Venus really step it up, Serena will be the “The Man” in 2003.
Amelie Mauresmo. Everyone remembers that the Frenchwoman played surprisingly well last summer, reaching the semi’s of both Wimbledon and the US Open. What many don’t realize, though, is that Amelie has a bit of a sense of humor. That tells us she’s got some perspective, so we’re willing to bet she’s more likely than any other candidate we’ve seen recently to really take it to Serena. Amelie’s best chance to do so will be at the French, although we like her chances for Grand Slam success even more at the US Open...
Venus Williams. It’s highly unlikely Venus will be able to defend all of the Grand Slam points she earned last summer. The French Open will be a particular challenge for Venus. Her demeanor is earning her legions of more fans, however, and she is likely to make them proud at Wimbledon, where her big serve and ever improving net play may help end her Grand Slam dry spell.
Kim Clijsters. After the Australian Open debacle, Kim will need some time to clear her head and focus on playing the clean, brilliant tennis of which she is capable. It’s honestly now or never for Kim, who should’ve won that semi in Oz. The extra burden of being Australia’s best female player, without actually playing for Australia yet, is an extra burden she doesn’t need. Our advice: stay in love with Lleyton if it helps, but cool those marriage plans for now. Oh, and win the French.
Jennifer Capriati. With relatively few points to defend, Jenny can hop back up toward the top of the WTA rankings if she actually wins a title here or there. Instead of holding out for just the “big” events, Capriati would do well to enter lower tiered events like the Kroger St. Jude tournament in Memphis: she could use the points AND the match play.
Justine Henin-Hardenne. After losing in the first round at last year’s French, Justine can easily improve this year in Roland Garros. If she does, she can receive a very comfortable seeding for Wimbledon, where she has played extremely well the past several years. A Grand Slam breakthrough would be nice, but we don’t expect much more than three tournament titles and the quarters or better at the remaining Slams. And you know what? That’d actually be a great year for Justine.
Lindsay Davenport. The events in Scottsdale, Indian Wells, and Miami will really test what Lindsay’s made of…is she really back??? Her comeback in the late summer and into the fall weren’t bad. It wasn’t great, either, though. Lindsay, the time is now. We expect that she will earn two or maybe even three or four events before 2003 ends. It’s just too soon to tell how well she’ll do at the Slams. She’s always at threat at Wimbledon, even when playing uninspired ball. We’re hoping someone or something boosts her spirits by the time summer rolls around.
Sveltlana Kuznetsova. The former French Open girl’s singles semifinalist is slated to make her French and Wimbledon debuts this year. She won two titles in 2002 and reached the third round of the US Open. After playing a lot of dubs with Arantxa last year, Kuznetsova has an impressive new doubles partner: Martina Navratilova.
Chanda Rubin. If she can continue to remain injury free in 2003, there’s no telling what Chanda can accomplish. She’s constantly evolving her court smarts, improving her all-court and net play, and continuing to hit with tremendous pace. Look for two titles and a quarterfinal finish or better in either Paris or New York.
Vera Zvonareva. Three is Vera’s lucky number: she took Serena to three sets at the 2002 French Open and reached three WTA tour semifinals last year, as well. If you’re looking for a new teen phenom, check out Vera Zvonareva.
Martina Navratilova & Steffi Graf. How sweet would this be?!?!: Martina Navratilova and Leander Paes vs. Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi in mixed dubs at the French Open. If Steffi does, indeed, hold up her end of the bargain (her bet with Andre in preparation for the Australian Open) it may be two “old-timers” who finally steal the spotlight from Serena Williams in 2003.