But unfortunately Caroline took them seriously. And it's easy enough to understand why she must have started having some doubts about her game. Not because of what some fruitcakes were saying on tennis forums like this one or the social media. But when all time greats such as Navratilova, Evert, Hingis, Davenport and so on all join in saying basically the same things it's only normal that she must have thought, "maybe they have a point." But you've got to work with what you've got. She will never have Serena's serve, Graf's forehand or Navratilova's volleying skills. But if she had stayed true to herself and continued to do what she does well chances are that that slam title would have come eventually. She's won premier mandatorys and premier 5's. If you can win those you can also win a major because despite what anyone might say a slam is just a premier mandatory that is played before a bigger audience - same opponents, same best of three sets format. Naysayers will say that the pressure at slams is bigger. Ok, well, that's to Caroline's advantage because 2009-2011 Caro was mentally one of the toughest cookies out there. Naysayers will say that players try harder at slams. BS - which player would think "I better tank here because it's "only" Indian Wells"?
It's not so much tanking. It's about being in prime condition. A lot of top players will go into the big tour events under prepared, not put in full effort, there are countless examples of this. There is a lot of aiming to peak at grand slams. They might go into a Tier I with only a week or two's practice (the calendar lends itself to this), they'd never do that at a grand slam unless they had been injured. A lot of tier I's are back to back too, which leads itself to even more not applying full effort tactics. The top players are also a lot more likely to withdraw from a tour event as a precaution etc., so you get a lot more depleted, open draws than you would get at a major.
The pressure is a different kind of pressure. You don't really have much inbuilt pressure in a Tier I of this would change my career. Yet you see countless mental meltdowns at the latter end of majors where the pressure become too much. In fact you just saw one last major. Caro had this even worse too, because she couldn't avoid the question of "when are you going to win a major?" That's the question the entire world media continually asked her, so it's always going to be playing on your mind. We've seen this question get to many over recent years. This is the shortfall of being number 1, just because Radwanska is number 4, means she gets a whole lot less questions and spotlight. But even then she falls into the same boat of struggles a lot to bring her best tennis to a grand slam. It's tough for these players because the media are never satisfied, they always want to know how you can go one better.