It's all in the mind -
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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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It's all in the mind

Another commentary article about Shahar, this time in Haaretz

It's all in the mind
By Dorit Keren Zvi

On the one hand, it's quite fun to enjoy the sweet smell of Shahar Peer's success. On the other hand, what a shame that no one can ride the wave of her success. Not an established body, that is. Because Shahar Peer is a product of just herself. Herself and her family.

True, there are always Oded Yaakov and Yuval Higer, two people who deserve credit for the long path Peer has taken from the potential she brought from home to her recent achievements. On the way, there were other trainers and professionals who apparently did some good, but her entry into the top 10 - - and she will get there -- Peer booked herself.

She did it with the genes of her father and mother, as well as their investment and care, but mainly due to her own mental capabilities, which are incomprehensible. You're either born with them, or stuck without them. Ask Dudi Sela.

When she lost to Diana Safina at the Gold Coast tournament two weeks ago, in a game she had in her grasp, Peer could have easily slid into a typical Israeli habit. She could have talked, let's say, about the achievement of nearly getting to the finals, or how her coordination failed her, or just how good Safina was. Israelis are good at describing how great their opponents are. Peer didn't even think about this. She admitted that she lost her concentration, and promised to draw conclusions.

Tatiana Golovin was the first to experience those conclusions, when she saw the Israeli win with her mind. Not with her legs or skillful hands. But with her mind. And for this, Shahar Peer needs only one directive: Don't lose. Based on this rule, she doesn't give up on any game, gets to balls that appear to be unreachable, and stares at her opponent. Those on the circuit say that players even better than her are afraid to face her. That's the case when you have to make an effort for each and every point.

And that's Peer's greatest advantage. She simply allows her opponents to dig their own grave. Svetlana Kuznetsova knew that in her encounter against the Israeli, she was bound to step on a mine, but in fact what she discovered was a wall. With proper instincts, rather than banging her head against the wall, the Russian tried to sidestep it, but that's exactly where she lost the match. Kuznetsova was forced to forgo her game plan, and her mistakes were unavoidable. Because when you try to do new things, it's better to try them out first in practice, and certainly not on Shahar Peer.

Despite her improvement at the net and with her serve, Peer's tennis is not brilliant and powerful enough, but it's still precise, stubborn and patient enough to power her game. Serena Williams, her opponent in the quarterfinals, is the exact opposite. Aggressive, enthralling, experienced. She will advance to the semifinals if she plays just plain tennis. But Peer, we've already said, is programmed with one directive. Now we're left to see how her mind will do against Williams' body.
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