Which Russian player is the strongest mentally? - TennisForum.com

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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old Mar 25th, 2003, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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Question Which Russian player is the strongest mentally?

The stunning loss today of the Anna - Elena D. doubles team made me think of this question. I think we can rule out those two players immediately in this discussion (feel free to disagree, but please provide evidence to the contrary if you do!)

I have not seen the youngest players play yet, so it will be hard for me to judge their mental strength at this time. But Vera Douchevina seems to me to be the strongest mentally so far of the 15 & 16 year old group. It will be interesting to see how she does as she continues to ease into the WTA.

Among the older players, the fact that they have won singles titles immediately places Elena L., Elena B., Svetlana, and Anastasia into a higher category than ED or AK -- it generally takes some mental strength to close out a tournament. But look what happened to these players this week! Only Elena L. did not perform well below expectations.

So right now my pick would be the unlikely TATIANA PANOVA . This is a player who makes the most of what she's got. Maybe she can't beat the top players very often, but she doesn't lose to them because of crumbling mentally, and occasionally she does beat some of them. She never seems to consider herself out of the match before even stepping on the court; in other words, she does not beat herself.

I don't know why Tatiana does not have a singles title yet; it puzzles me! But even so, I think she is currently the #1 Russian player in mental strength.

SO! WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK? I want to know!

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old Mar 25th, 2003, 01:24 AM
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i wasn't surprised at this loss. Anna plays superb tennis with a much stronger partner who can give her the confidence (Bjorkman, Hingis). Elena isn't strong enuf to carry Anna. two mental midgets do not a team make...

i vote for Bovina. she seems utterly fearless. also Myskina is up there but i still give Bovina the mental edge.

i hear ya about Tatiana and i do admire her a whole lot but i have had problems seeing her as mentally strong ever since that loss to Granny in Eastbourne...

"For now, Roddick seems to play with the intelligence of a fence post."
Greg Couch, Chicago Sun Times
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old Mar 25th, 2003, 01:35 AM
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Thumbs up

My vote (despite her tough year so far, she's only 15!) goes to Maria Sharapova. I think the hype surrounding her both as a tennis prodigy AND a "blossoming sex symbol" may sort of "immunize" this girl as she develops. In a way, all the hype may "battle harden" her the way non-acceptance in "proper tennis circles" did for Venus and Serena back in the 90's.
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old Mar 25th, 2003, 01:36 AM
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Depends what you mean by mentality... because Elena Bovina is on the extreme ends of both sides.

As far as believing in herself, Elena is the best at it, hands down. She used to get down on herself and swear up a storm... but she doesn't do that anymore. She's always fighting, even when she's going through one of her bad streaks of play... just look how intense she is every point. Listen to her after every interview, she knows when playing well that she has the game to play with anyone... which leads to...

The bad side of her mentality... her inability to adapt her game. Lena only feels comfortable banging from the backcourt. When she's playing well, she'll come to net occasionally, more variety on serve... but if she starts losing bunches of points, she just tries to bang her way out of it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Lena has to stop that... she is so talented at net and has the mobility and shot selection to play more high percentage points... but I get the feeling that Lena's like "I'm big, I'm bad, Bang Bang Bang." Being overconfident can be a bad thing.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old Mar 25th, 2003, 01:39 AM
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Sorry, I can't even pick one. None of them. But if I have to: Tat Panova

Vassilissa is my girl............
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old Mar 25th, 2003, 01:59 AM Thread Starter
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I forgot about Lina Krasnoroutskaya! -- I would place her in the middle group pending further tennis, even though she has no title as of yet, she has had some good results and no recent meltdowns ... .

Nadia Petrova, she definitely belongs in the AK & ED group!
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old Mar 25th, 2003, 02:03 AM
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Nadia is worse then them...
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old Mar 25th, 2003, 02:22 AM
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Zvonareva by far!
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old Mar 25th, 2003, 02:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janie
I forgot about Lina Krasnoroutskaya!
actually, I would put Lina very high up. she became so much stronger after coming from an injury break.

Vassilissa is my girl............
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old Mar 25th, 2003, 02:25 AM
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I think Myskina is mentally tough and Zvonareva looks to be a feisty one to me, I think she will improve in the next year.
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post #11 of 21 (permalink) Old Mar 25th, 2003, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenn_ace
actually, I would put Lina very high up. she became so much stronger after coming from an injury break.
Very true... it took a few tournaments for her to get back into her tennis, but I'm pleasantly surprised at how much more reliable Lina's become since the injury - in a weird sort of way, it may actually have benefitted her in the long run. There haven't really been any disasters this year for her (apart from AO qualies ), and she's stepping up to the big matches well. And she seems to have a really good sense of priorities, too - of course I'm disappointed that she skipped IW and Miami, but it's really encouraging to see that she's not playing flat out, desperate to get back into the top 50. Didn't she skip IW to attend college, or something?

As for the rest... my vote would go to Sveta K. Very solid, very reliable... doesn't go insane on court the way Vera Z does, has handled the pressure of tournament finals very well, not as streaky as Nastya. Maria Kirilenko hasn't really disappointed, either. I'm hoping for great things from Masha S, but... she lost a fair few finals last year, and is on a four-match losing streak right now, all of which she should have won
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post #12 of 21 (permalink) Old Mar 25th, 2003, 10:45 AM
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Other than her Junior tour success, I don't know anything about Vera Douchevina. How does she "rate" in this area?
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post #13 of 21 (permalink) Old Mar 25th, 2003, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DownTheTee
Other than her Junior tour success, I don't know anything about Vera Douchevina. How does she "rate" in this area?

tough to say... she has played just3 or 4 matches in the main draw of the pro tournament, so it's too early to talk about it. but one of the posters who saw her match against Justine said that Vera never lost her composure, stayed calm and tried to do what she's been doing at the beginning of the match (when she was up 3-1)

Vassilissa is my girl............
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post #14 of 21 (permalink) Old Mar 25th, 2003, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sartrista7
Very true... it took a few tournaments for her to get back into her tennis, but I'm pleasantly surprised at how much more reliable Lina's become since the injury - in a weird sort of way, it may actually have benefitted her in the long run. There haven't really been any disasters this year for her (apart from AO qualies ), and she's stepping up to the big matches well. And she seems to have a really good sense of priorities, too - of course I'm disappointed that she skipped IW and Miami, but it's really encouraging to see that she's not playing flat out, desperate to get back into the top 50. Didn't she skip IW to attend college, or something?

As for the rest... my vote would go to Sveta K. Very solid, very reliable... doesn't go insane on court the way Vera Z does, has handled the pressure of tournament finals very well, not as streaky as Nastya. Maria Kirilenko hasn't really disappointed, either. I'm hoping for great things from Masha S, but... she lost a fair few finals last year, and is on a four-match losing streak right now, all of which she should have won
Yeah, Maria Sharapova's losses in all those finals is what made me put her behind Vera D. in the youngest age group. I agree about Sveta as well, she seems like a rock, so I was disappointed in her performance this week. But she is only 17 and is learning really fast.
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post #15 of 21 (permalink) Old Mar 25th, 2003, 02:48 PM
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Is this a trick question, Janie? Sadly, the answer is none.

Happiness is like a cat. If you try to coax it or call it, it will avoid you. It will never come. But if you pay no attention to it and go about your business, you'll find it rubbing up against your legs and jumping into your lap. - William Bennett

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