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?