ESTORIL OPEN (Estoril, Portugal, WTA Tier IV)
- Jelena Dokic lt. Alyona Bondarenko, 6-2 3-6 6-2
Jelena finally admitted she is considering what some of we "powerless spectators" have been suggesting for some time now: dropping down to the ITF Women's Circuit in order to play much lower-ranked opponents.
"I would not like to go down to Challenger events, but matches-wise and confidence-wise, it could be a good thing. I went from four in the world to #444, so I have got to start from the beginning again. My tennis isn't there, so I have to build it up from the beginning like I did when I was 14."
+ Lower-ranked opponents = better chance of victory?
+ More victories = more confidence.
+ More confidence = better chance of victories on WTA Tour.
- Her opponents might drag Jelena down to their level.
- You still get tough opponents, even on the ITF circuit, as I've seen when Iva Majoli, Karina Habšudová and Iroda Tulyaganova dropped back down to the ITF circuit.
- Failure to win matches even on the ITF circuit could have a devastating effect on Jelena's confidence and desire to continue her career.
* Jelena is too close to rock-bottom to be dragged down much further, so I believe the ITF circuit is the way to go.
* If I were Jelena, I would start at the very bottom of the ladder: $10,000 ITF tournaments. Master those first, then move up to $25k, $50k, $75k, then back onto the WTA Tour.
* Jelena should still play the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open, even if she has to qualify. Grand Slams are what you play tennis for, after all!
Dr. Andrew Broad