Re: Mirjana's 2012 grass-court swing
Well, she is slated to play Eastbourne qualifying, but one really has to question her direction after being whupped by South. Even worse is that South gave her a breadstick ... Just horrific.
Mirjana is right at 125 in the world, having already lost last year's QF points.
I mean, she totally screwed the pooch in her first grass match last year, losing to the Great Foretz-Gacon, then she got it together, only to lose the match that would have redefined her, had she won it, at Wimbledon. Scholars refer to it as The Cibulkova Apocalypse.
Now, old lady Foretz Gacon is in the Top 100 and Mirjana can't seem to crack even that mark. She had all season, again this year, to make inroads to at least get back in the Top 100, but she basically flopped.
I think, as fans, we may finally have to face facts.
She's not making it to the next level because she is not exactly a good tennis player.
We can't speak of "lost opportunities" either, because, when you are a tennis pro, every time you walk out on court is an opportunity. Big event, small event, top seed or wild card in front of you.
My concern is that Mirjana has indeed trained so hard, so diligently, in the past few years. She is in great shape, physically, and that kind of intense, hard work should have paid dividends by now i.e. at least a solid Top 100 ranking, if not Top 50.
But it was not the best dynamic for her ... She tried to make her last stab at glory after her career had already been terribly interrupted. She got fit, but she never got that sort of coaching, that extra inspiration, to nail-down the mental side of her game. That's why she loses so terrifically.
Loads of talent, and the will is there, but no world class coach was able to help her overcome those mental deficiencies in her game, to take her to the next level.
Sucks, but it is also a common story in pro sports. Tons of talent mismanaged.
It's not her fault; she has been doing the best with what she could afford. I think it's glorious she even came back to win matches at Slams again. That she was even good enough to be in a major draw again.
But, in pro tennis, you need a lot of support to make a breakthrough, and Mirjana was not able to assemble the sort of "entourage" that could have boosted a huge but clearly very uncertain talent like hers to successive levels.
She just stalled. Since she was determined to launch this comeback, I sort of wish she would have availed herself of the resources of her home country. Maybe she tried, but her relationship with her own country was so obviously complicated.
I mean, when she was reduced to NOTHING and battling IMG in 2003-2006, why did no one get a real grip on this girl's career, even from a business perspective?
She was a big enough commodity that she could have sourced all kinds of help from Croatia.
Instead, it was an alienation game, a lack of trust all the way around. Parts of it quite understandable, of course.
As it is, Mirjana managed the comeback she managed on a shoestring budget, basically flying by the seat of her pants.
That's the good part of the story, but she doesn't want to hang around much after shit like this, a dreary loss to Melanie South, when she ought to have seized this main draw opportunity and done something on a surface where she doesn't really have to think, with her edgy game.
Of course, she could absolutely still go out there and do something special, but I think we all are realizing that it is not going to happen.
Her clock was already ticking ... It's so clearly over.