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post #1 of 242 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2009, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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The official 'WTF is wrong with Ana?' thread-discussion.

Ok, I decided to create this subject to gather all my thoughts on Ana 'the current' and spurr some discussion. I'm not doing it in GM, because we all know into what it would turn.
So she has reached the 2nd round of AO in a shaky fashion, much like last year. The quality of opponent is somewhat the same. For me Goerges has enormous talent, I've been following for over a year, but she doesn't seem to be improving and is stuck around #100's in the ranks; Sorana wasn't a top100 player either when Ana played her in 2008 and is currently ranked in the #30s and seems on the way up. So it was actually a decent win... The point is that Ana played sh!te in that match. Actually the beginning of 2008 year was a really sloppy tennis from Ana. I mean she almost lost to Razzano, lost a set to Srebotnik against whom she's never dropped one before (and she was *3-1 up if I remember well!), then she took a set of Henin, but it was more due to craptastic serving by Justine than thanks to some brave tennis. Now how does the lead up to AO 2009 looks like. 1 straight sets win, 1 comeback win, one loss in straights. That gives us about the same amount of match-tennis she's played coming to Melbourne. There's 'only' one huge difference in quality... the serve. I don't know where her serve disappeared.
Last year in the 2nd round she faced an Italian Garbin and she played superb tennis, with hardly any errors up until late in the 2nd set, she had a healthy lead so in the end she somehow stummbled across the finishing line. But it was a really clean performance. Measured aggression, great netplay, great returning, very good serving. It was a performance that made me think she can go far in the draw. Sure, the quality of the opponent wasn't the greatest but I think for Ana what counts the most is HOW she plays and IF what she decides to play is working.
So far in 2009, nothing seems to be working about her game. I said it many times, but the most important thing in Ana's game is her serve. She's ALWAYS struggling when it's shit. It seems like she can't put her mind together when she has to think if she will have troubles holding or not. Now, it's not even worrying about serving alone, it's about throwing this yellow shit up STRAIGHT. She can't even do that on the regular basis. It looks like she has to start from the scratch with her gameplan, and without a constant coach in her corner it's gonna be tough.
I'm not holding much hope for a victory in Melbourne this year for Ana. But then again who knows, maybe she will find her best tennis out of nowhere as it was the case before with her. If other players can do it, so she can, I believe in her. How many times Venus & Serena played like shit in the early rounds and getting the W even in a terrible fashion spurred them on to get to the final stages. I'm well aware than Ana is no Serena nor Venus, but I believe than she IS able to dig deep and find her best tennis when she has to. But quite frankly if I had to bet my life on whether Ana is going to win AO this year or not, I would definitely say NO.
That being said I'm a superstitious person and I believe that history likes to repeat. Ana won RG after being the runner-up in the previous year, Maria won AO last year after losing to Serena in the final in 2007. Even exactly the same scoreline of Ana in the 1st round this year and in 2008 is somewhat of an omen to me. The other thing is the draw, which if Ana had been in form, I would have called a dream one. Safina, Wozniacki, Janković, Zwonariowa all are Ana's bitches. The other thing that might work into Ana's favour is that she's kind of written off by many people. Remember last year? At the beggining of the tournament nobody was saying that Maria is going to win. Many people were predicting a loss to Lindsay in the 2nd round and we all know how it ended up.
Also Ana seems to love Melbourne, has enormous support down there and it can be a major factor.
I'd like to flip my 5 cents about Ana's on-court behaviour too. Whilst I'm a fan of a player displaying a positive attitude, I start to lean towards people who dislike Ana's behaviour and say it's fake. I mean often you can see any fault in your fave, so you don't even pay attention. But I tried to look more objective on it in the last months. I came to conclusion that Ana was told to do that by Sven. Ana seems to play her best tennis when she's in this sort of frenzy, with all those CMONs, AJDEs and fistpumping. Well, when she's winning - so be it and we could not care less. I think however that Ana reached the point when she can't find a balance, there's really no point in doing this after each and every point she wins. I don't even think that she pays attention anymore on how she won the point. When the match reaches some stage when she thinks it's time to kick ass, she finally decides... time to switch it on: point won = you must fistpump. If that's her way to motivate herself so be it. But she could do a lot better [the sort of attitude she was presenting till Wimbledon 2007], more balanced, more natural. Pure Ana we fell in love with.
I think Ana really got involved into working with Sven as he gave her many ideas and developed many habits and tactics. But since then two don't work together anymore so much, some doubts must've crept into Ana's mind. Sadly she can't so far find any confidence in herself. She really must.
So tonight she plays Brianti... It's really irrevelant who she plays actually at this point. I want Ana to play well and not like a junior, and above all to serve like a top100 player (she's not even serving like one currently ). Already last year it was Ana bullshitting her way to the final... For now she's bullshitting her way through any match she plays to find her form.

Your thoughts, guys?

Ana Ivanović.
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post #2 of 242 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2009, 02:49 PM
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Re: The official 'WTF is wrong with Ana?' thread-discussion.

That was very interesting Dexter. I'm going to think about it a bit, and I'll post my thoughts.

I've read from someone who saw Ana practising today in Melbourne that when she was working on her serve she seemed very frustrated. That's a very bad sign.. when Ana is frustrated, things tend to get even worse.

By the way.. her serve is being compared with Dementieva's serve by every commentator around now. That's something I never thought was posible, and it's something that really puzzles me. I mean.. Ana used to have such a great serve, and all of a sudden it disappeared. I know that she changed the motion a bit, and that has an influence in the outcome of her present serving, but still.. it has gone from great to crap. I believe the mental factor is key here. She has no confidence and the first part of her game that gets affected is her serve. She should get a serving coach ASAP.

Mental Strength is an underrated ability, it sets champions apart

Making mistakes is human, repeating them is dumb.

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post #3 of 242 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2009, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The official 'WTF is wrong with Ana?' thread-discussion.

I remember when Ana played LenaD in Indian Wells 2006, the commentator actually said that if Lena could serve like Ana does she would be the player to beat.

Ana Ivanović.
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post #4 of 242 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2009, 03:02 PM
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Re: The official 'WTF is wrong with Ana?' thread-discussion.

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I remember when Ana played LenaD in Indian Wells 2006, the commentator actually said that if Lena could serve like Ana does she would be the player to beat.
I think that could be a very fair comment. Elena's ground strokes are usually super solid, and she can run down most balls... her serve has always been a liability. And she learned how to compensate it.

I feel like that's another problem with Ana. Since she has always had such a great serve, she learned to lean on it to get confidence and to be able to put pressure on the opponent's serve. She has always sad that it's important for her when she holds easily, because she can focus on breaking her opponent. I think that when her serve goes missing, she worries about it too much, and all the other areas of her game faulters. She doesn't know how to compensate her serving issues qith other parts of her game, like Dementieva.

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Making mistakes is human, repeating them is dumb.

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post #5 of 242 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2009, 03:04 PM
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Re: The official 'WTF is wrong with Ana?' thread-discussion.

About the AO draw.. If Ana was playing well, I would be really confident about it. She has only players that she holds good h2hs against... and all the players that own her are on the other side. Not only Dementieva, Venus and Serena... also Jie Zheng and Julie Coin!

Mental Strength is an underrated ability, it sets champions apart

Making mistakes is human, repeating them is dumb.

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post #6 of 242 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2009, 03:10 PM
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Re: The official 'WTF is wrong with Ana?' thread-discussion.

By the way.. doesn anyone know how Brianti plays? I have never seen her play..

Mental Strength is an underrated ability, it sets champions apart

Making mistakes is human, repeating them is dumb.

What I write is my opinion, and my opinion only.
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post #7 of 242 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2009, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Re: The official 'WTF is wrong with Ana?' thread-discussion.

I have seen her play a bit against Caro in Auckland. There's nothing outstanding about her, she is quite fast as most of the Italians, one-handed BH, can construct the points well, but she likes the finishing shot. Not really the greatest server.

Ana Ivanović.
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post #8 of 242 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2009, 03:20 PM
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Re: The official 'WTF is wrong with Ana?' thread-discussion.

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I have seen her play a bit against Caro in Auckland. There's nothing outstanding about her, she is quite fast as most of the Italians, one-handed BH, can construct the points well, but she likes the finishing shot. Not really the greatest server.
Thanks Dexter!

At the end of the day, it all goes down to Ana anyway, so.. If she can keep the ball inside the lines and manage to serve decently..

As I said in the other thread.. during Serena's match yesterday, she was having trouble with the ball toss from one end of the court, because of the sun. At one point she would just make sure she would place the serve well by having a low ball toss and slicing it. I thought that was very smart. Ana needs to learn how to manage her serving woes, so it doesn't affect the rest of her game.

Mental Strength is an underrated ability, it sets champions apart

Making mistakes is human, repeating them is dumb.

What I write is my opinion, and my opinion only.
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post #9 of 242 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2009, 03:23 PM
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Re: The official 'WTF is wrong with Ana?' thread-discussion.

Yes like I said it`s an easy draw,too bad she won`t use it
Serve is a very important part of her game and having to repest same ball toss many times can affect her rhythm
I think she just starts to think about a ball toss and her serve and not about how to play the next point
Although i think her serve is still very efficient if you forget about that horrible ball toss
What is worrying to me is the fact that she was standing behind the baseline all the time in her last match
That match basically she didn`t win it more like Goerges lost it
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post #10 of 242 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2009, 03:41 PM
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Re: The official 'WTF is wrong with Ana?' thread-discussion.

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What is worrying to me is the fact that she was standing behind the baseline all the time in her last match
That match basically she didn`t win it more like Goerges lost it
Ana actually aknowledged that during her post match presser. She said she would try to step in more in her next match.
But now I'm worried she will come out against Brianti trying to be more agressive and ballbash every second ball. Ana has to learn that being agressive isn't just about hitting hard.

Mental Strength is an underrated ability, it sets champions apart

Making mistakes is human, repeating them is dumb.

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post #11 of 242 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2009, 04:23 PM
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Re: The official 'WTF is wrong with Ana?' thread-discussion.

Ok.. some random thoughts about this issue..

I think Ana hasn't found a mental balance since winning RG. She had that really unfortunate injury, that apart from affecting her head, also made her change grips and service motion. The injury made her get fed up with tennis, which led to poor performances, and especially an inability to close out close matches. She lost 7 matches of her last 9 losses following the exact same pattern: 1 good dominant set, 2 really bad, wasting inumerous chances to win in the third. She seemed to find some fire again in Zurich and Linz, and improved her game slightly. She actually served pretty well in matches like against Venus or Penetta. And her groundstrokes at least had depht in those 2 tournaments. Things got back to sucking at the YEC, but Ana was sick, and we have to cut her some slack. What I mean with all that is that I think she was fighting, but not enjoying tennis as she would normally do.. she didn't have that mental balance.

I thought that things couldn't really get any worse.. but they did. Maybe all the hard work Ana put in the off season was misused.. I mean.. she was without a coach.. she could be doing things to improve her shots that ended up having the opposite effect. Maybe she is just unable to concentrate, because of all her serving woes. I'm clueless of how her serve got from great to crap in such a short ammount of time, so I just don't know what to say about that. But sometimes I just feel Ana is a bit lost. She had no mental balance in the second part of last year, and maybe she is searching for it now, but hasn't founf it yet, being on a bit of a limbo. She does seem to be a bit stronger mentally in relation to the second half of the year. She saved multiple break points against Kvitova in Brisbane and managed to play well in key points.. I think she would have lost that match to Vinci a couple of months ago. Even the AO match, she won on sheer determination alone. I'm not saying that she is totally mentally though, but in this departament at least it's a bit better than last year. So she wants it, at least I think she does. But she hasn't found that calm and confidence to go with it, that could bring her game together. She had a lot going on in her personal life, and all these changes could also mess a bit with her emotions, even if she doesn't think so. I think for this to end, Ana will have to have a lucky week or 2, where everything falls into place somehow, so she can find her confidence and mental balance, and be just enjoying tennis again. At that moment I think her game will click again. How long will it take? I have just no idea.. it may take days, weeks, months.. I hope it doesn't take more than it should.. and it should be ending by now.

As for AO.. I just have no expectations whatsoever.. I'm just going to see it match by match.. I hope Ana can win today.. but as usual just about anything can happen. Last year, both in AO and in RG, Ana clicked in the second match. She played great against Garbin and against Safarova. I believe those matches were key for her to get confident and really feel like she could go all the way. Let's see how she does in this second round. She needs to get to a good start, which should get her more confortable and relaxed. I'm worried about what I read from her practice though, that she was very frustrated with her serve and ball toss. It's not really surprising, but Frustrated Ana tends to be brainless and ballbash. Ana needs to learn how to manage it and compensate it with other areas of her game. If the serve is not working, than just focus on the forehand.. maybe if she worries less about her serve it might just get better.

More than anything though, I feel like Ana needs to learn how to construct points and change strategies over the course of the match. To just stop and think: "Ok.. my groundtrokes are not going in, so I'll just try to move my opponent around using angles with some margin until I get a short ball". Or something like it.. Here again I feel clueless, because sometimes I just think that these last few matchs is the worst and most brainless Ana has ever played. Even in 2005-6 when she wasn't yet a top player, she wouldn't be so vulnerable like now.

Mental Strength is an underrated ability, it sets champions apart

Making mistakes is human, repeating them is dumb.

What I write is my opinion, and my opinion only.
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post #12 of 242 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2009, 07:30 PM
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Re: The official 'WTF is wrong with Ana?' thread-discussion.

good lord! when does this thread come out in paperback? Seriously, i enjoyed reading this thread.

Its no wonder we are left speculating so much, because her website, and now reporters arent saying much. We have no choice but to speculate. Her advice on the ball toss was to just let the bad ones drop??! Thats not advice, and fixes nothing.
When she throws up a serve, she should have already decided where the location of the serve will be and anticipated how the return will look. Her thoughts should be on visualizing this happening, not worrying about the toss. Now she is clearly thinking about it. This has to be fixed immediately. I doubt it will be fixed by the next match. Ana has a good return game. But she can not make her living by the return game. She must have the serve working, asap. I think many things will improve once she gets this problem over with.
The oncourt 'ajdes' i have mixed feelings on. She used to be much more shy about letting out the emotion, now she wears it all on her sleeve. I dont think its fake at all. If her confidence is really gone now its no wonder she celebrates an unforced error with a fistpump. She is struggling to win a point by herself, so she is only celebrating that she won the point. At the same time i can see how others can be annoyed by it, but it doesnt bother me.
Thats it for now, just bought a new 1 TB external hardrive, and im dying to tear into this box
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post #13 of 242 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2009, 08:12 PM
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Re: The official 'WTF is wrong with Ana?' thread-discussion.

Well, thoughts are still the same. I can mostly say the things I've already said.
We can just guess what Ana is thinking. What does she do to get out of this? And if she really aware of what the problem might be?

About Ana's behaviour. She's a girl who could be influenced easily. During a match she does exactly what Sven says. In her first years she was just herself, but later you saw her copying things from other players. Turning around just like Hantuchova to take more time. Barely saw her grunt in 2005/2006, but just had to follow the cows after that. Showing a fist is not a bad thing, but doing it after an error to get to 0-15 is totally unnecessary. I don't know what to think of it.
I saw her for the first time in real life, Antwerp 2007. So silent in everything she does. Not the same as what I saw in the last tournaments.
But as long as she wins in a fair way it's ok. In the final of RG 2007, she gave a point to Henin cause she said Henin's ball was in.
If I compare this to the AO SF against Hantuchova. Hantuchova's ball was in after watching the challenge. Ana wanted a replay the point. "I could easily play the ball, I was right there'. Everyone could see that was totally not the case.
Then also the Dechy 'hat' at Wimbledon issue. And now also the sound of a linesman in her match against Goerges. Sound or no sound, she never could bring the ball back.
You could say Ana is right about that rule, but the Ana in her early days wouldn't do that. A true champion doesn't need it.
So to be honest, her behaviour annoys me sometimes.


Then back to her GAME. The serve is indeed a big factor. She can have a good serve and it plays so much easier when it works. You get some free points and you can count on it at difficult times. Now she struggles when the point isn't even started.
That balltoss is still unexplainable. Now it's even worse than ever.
Her FH is also not what it used to be. It's just all what happens around it.
When your tactics aren't good, serve won't work at all and the confidence isn't high enough, then it looks like the FH has no room to the skills.
Movement is also a weird thing. It can change be every match. And training has nothing to do with it.
Only thing that remains at decent quality is the volley's and her will to fight.
Even with a bad form, she still knows how to save MP's and to turn a match. The fighting is what brings her matches now. But everything has it's limits of course.
And with 10 volley's a match, it won't make a difference on the final score as well.
To make a conclusion. A change most happen quickly. The how and when is still hard to say. I don't see her turning it during this AO. But if she does, she can win here.

Now she watch her match tonight and hope for the best. A win is still the most important but I REALLY want to see some improvement in her game.


1. Ana Ivanovic

2. Maria Kirilenko
3. Anastasija Sevastova
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post #14 of 242 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2009, 08:16 PM
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Re: The official 'WTF is wrong with Ana?' thread-discussion.

Hmmm, some thoughts.

First thing, her serve is no way as bad as Dementieva's circa '04-'06, Ana is not a double fault machine, not yet thank God She served well in Zurich and Linz, the ball toss is a mess and is hurting her concentration, but again even in the Goerges match she was getting a hold of some awful tosses drifting away from her and turning them into decent serves I just can't see how a professional can 'lose' the ability to toss a ball in a straight line though Having said that, in all the women's matches I've seen, there's been some toss troubles, not as bad as Ana, but still.

Next, I'm thinking about her poor run, but Ana has never been a consistent player, her best ever period was Berlin '07 - Luxembourg '07, just two bad results in that time and that was to Yan in Canada and Dani in Rosmalen, that was the only time Ana has played like a Sharapova/Davenport/Williams and was just beating all the players she should, outside of that she's had bad spells like the current one before, I mean Bondarenko/Golovin in Stuttgart/Zurich? Pironkova in Rome? The end of 2006? She always manages to play one good event every so often and luckily she had 3 brilliant ones in '08 (AO/IW/RG), but I don't know if she'll ever become consistent guys, she's just a very streaky player, I know people were talking about her play at the end of last season, but her Berlin match against Dementieva was just as bad as those matches or even worse and that was before RG, maybe it's just how Ana is.

Next, the coaching issue, Sam Smith said in commentary in Doha that Ana must be an incredibly tough player to coach, her game is so flashy which leads to errors, but if you try to reel her in a bit, you take away her strengths and she's no longer effective, and that point hit me, Sven Groenefeld is an amazing coach, one of the best and so experienced, if he can't sort out problems in her game, which seem basic to us, I don't know who can, it's just Ana's nature to play like that I guess.

Finally, as you can see from my sig she is most definitely bullshitting her way in this tournament, but she's still in it! The negativity in the 'cheering' thread has been But she's still alive And I actually am confident she would beat Wozniacki, I keep thinking back to the first set of the match they played here last year, and Ana was just all over her and in control, Kleybanova however

Let's be happy she won a GS and became #1 cos with the way she's playing now neither of those things will happen again I'm thankful she got those things done before the big slump

Ivanovic * Kvitova * Serena
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post #15 of 242 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2009, 08:45 PM
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Re: The official 'WTF is wrong with Ana?' thread-discussion.

I'll try to be short...

1) the only tournaments Ana played well last year were Indian Wells and Roland Garros. I think she really played bad during the australian and was very lucky to be in finals.

2) before Rg, her "bad results" could be explained by the will of trying new things on the court. everything was fixed at RG.but after RG her game plan s just

3) ana is too emotional, and i think she wasn't ready to be n1. it happened too fast.

4) ana seems to want to go more at the net. she thinks the power of the serve is the more important to go to the net. but she worked so much on it that it is a joke now. well, i think she has a lot of pressure, she is aware of the criticisms, and that resulted in that awful first round.

5) i know ana is a clever player, maybe she needs to have distance from the tour, try yoga or something else to have less pressure. she must be aware that she's still young, no need to hurry. go step by step. she needs consistency. i'd rather see her losing with a controlled match than winning so ugly. BREATHE, Ana.

6) i'm sure she'll win another slam.

This place is too small to put all the players i like here.
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