Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: always on the move
What we need to understand though, is what the !@#$ is going on with our Y2K heroes - Safin and Dementieva. They were the mentally toughest players on Tour in 2000. They are probably the weakest now.
Safin loses second match in a row with a lame excuse of "it wasn't my day". And that playing on his favourite clay against Roger playing on his least favourite surface. It seems to me that he is just unable to make an effort. He seems convinced that for a player of his stature and talent making an effort to win is humiliating, that he should be winning everything efortlessly, and if he can't, he is too proud to sweat. I start to link it to Mats Wilander. Marat never had that kind of attitude before. Marat, call Gilbert or Chesnokov, please..
Time of never-say-die Soviet players seem to go. Time of legendary Chesnokov's fights, who'd rather die on court than lose. Yevgeny is still capable of pulling it off sometimes. But Marat is not prepared to die on court for his country. He is rich, young, has a great life, packs of blondes, and it can always be not his day.
It is more difficult with Dementieva. It seems to me that her last injury made the same effect on her as that infamous thumb injury of Anna. Before that both looked fearless fighters, feared by most of other players, very ambitious, considering themselves contenders for very Top, and considered by everyone else as such, fighting to the end and extremely strong in tough matches.
After injuries it is no longer seems to be there. They look satisfied with what they are, their Champion's spirit seems to be broken. They still can take a set of practically any player, but they don't seem to be capable of winning any more. I can just feel the change in Elena's attitude. I don't believe it can't be fixed. I think, both are in dire need of professional motivator - not a sport psychologist, not a conventional coach but a combination of two.
One who would have a right to say "Do it like I used to do. Figth like I used to fight". Steffi. Or Martina. Or Olga.