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!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Mar 20th, 2005, 04:44 AM
Tennis: Hero to zero
BARRY FLATMAN IN INDIAN WELLS
The Wimbledon triumph is now a distant memory for Maria Sharapova, and her coach fears a crash if she doesn’t get some rest
The man who tutored Maria Sharapova to the Wimbledon title just eight months ago has warned his multi-millionaire student she is seriously endangering her chances of becoming the best female tennis player in the world by maintaining a schedule that is too demanding.

Coach Robert Lansdorp usually prefers to watch the 17-year-old’s matches on television. However, he was tempted to make the two-hour drive from his Los Angeles home to the middle of the Californian desert and was horrified by what he saw as Sharapova was humiliated 6-0 6-0 by the world No 1 Lindsay Davenport in the Pacific Life Open. Any immediate aspirations Sharapova had of unseating Davenport at the top of the WTA Tour world rankings were rendered laughable as the youngster suffered the most crushing result of her professional career.

“Maria has got to be far more sensible than she is being right now,” Lansdorp said. “I want her to play this game at a very high level for many years and if she’s sensible there’s no question she will become the world’s No 1 player. But right now she’s not physically strong enough to maintain the schedule that’s been set for her.

“It was painful to watch her against Lindsay. I was shocked by what I saw because she seems exhausted. She was playing on empty and had no physical reserves to call upon.”

Lansdorp well remembers the rigours subjected on another of his former adolescent charges, Tracy Austin, more than two decades ago. The Californian was younger than Sharapova when she won the 1979 US Open title three months before her 17th birthday. Six months later she became the youngest world No 1 (Monica Seles and Martina Hingis have since attained the ranking at a younger age). She won the US Open again in

1981, her only other major, and was sidelined from the game before she turned 21.

“Maria is still a month short of her 18th birthday but she’s been putting far too many demands on her body,” said Lansdorp, who has coached Sharapova for six years. “She’s been flying all over the world but struggles badly to overcome jet lag and she’s been playing far too many tournaments. We are only halfway through March but already this year she’s been to Hong Kong, Australia, Japan, back to the United States, off to Doha in the Middle East and now here in California.

“She’s been sick on a couple of occasions, flew all the way to Paris and then was forced to pull out of the tournament because she was suffering from flu. Now it’s all taken its toll and she’s got to invest more time away from the tour to ensure she makes herself physically stronger.”

The signs were there in the way she could not offer any fight against the experienced Davenport. Soon after the Russian trooped disconsolately off court after offering the most token resistance for just 49 minutes, Lansdorp insisted on a meeting with Sharapova, her father Yuri and agent Max Eisenbud. “I said the time has come to be sensible and it would be best if she did not play next week’s Nasdaq 100 Open in Miami,” said the 66-year-old Lansdorp. “I appreciate it’s probably the biggest tournament in the world outside of the four Grand Slams and the sponsors are desperate for her to play. But she’s got to start thinking in the long term.

“Right now Maria is not sure what she’s going to do. She’ll fly back home to Florida in a day or so and says she wants to get her body fixed up a little bit. But then she’s only got a couple of days before she’s expected to fulfil tournament obligations in Miami. That is nowhere near long enough to recover from what she has just suffered.

“There’s no real let-up. Yet what she really needs to do is take time away. The big tournaments will still be there to win in the future and by then she will be much stronger.”

With a designer pink handbag slung over her shoulder and hands stuck deep into the pockets of her grey tracksuit, Sharapova was not about to make excuses for her lacklustre performance. Before she walked on court to face Davenport she had triumphed in all but one of her 22 preceding matches, the lone defeat coming in the semi-final of the Australian Open in January after she failed to capitalise on three match points against Serena Williams, the eventual champion. After concluding 2004 by winning the WTA Tour Championships in Los Angeles in November, she has added lucrative titles at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo and Qatar’s Total Open in Doha this year.

The Tokyo victory was highlighted with a 6-1 3-6 7-6 final win over Davenport, and Sharapova also beat the American so impressively in the Wimbledon semi-final last summer before she overcame Serena Williams.

Yet from the outset of the Pacific Life Open semi-final her displeasure was apparent. Cold and windy conditions forced Sharapova to play in a sweat top but while Davenport was forceful, she was hardly stretched by a jaded opponent. “I was playing the No 1 player and can’t expect to win every single match I play but just wasn’t feeling anything was out there,” said the third-ranked Russian, who hit one return of serve that bounced twice before it trickled into the net and misdirected another so erroneously that it finished in the photographers’ pit. “I guess next time I go out there against her, I definitely have to do something different. From her first return she was just banging the ball in. I never felt like I could dictate the play. There are days when you go out on court and feel like you can’ t miss. This was one where I was playing terribly and she was hitting every single ball as hard as she could off the line.”

If Sharapova does withdraw from the Miami event without citing a specific physical injury, she may be fined heavily by the WTA Tour. However, the amount would be negligible compared to the $568,477 she has accumulated in prize-money this year. Her fortune is predicted to surpass $100m if she maintains her career over the next 10 years and her agents, IMG, have secured long-term endorsements with Motorola, Tag Heuer and Canon as well as Nike and racket maker Prince.

The matter of money for players to appear at smaller tournaments — supposedly forbidden on the women’s tour but widely accepted as being paid to marquee names — has also become a topic of discussion. Such payments have long been accepted on the men’s ATP tour, though not for Grand Slams and the nine Masters Series events. In fact, such guarantees are often 10 times the figure on the cheque awarded to the tournament winner.

Larry Scott, chief executive of the WTA Tour, remains insistent the women will not follow the lead of their male counterparts despite requests from Player Council representative Nathalie Dechy to no longer make the payments clandestine. However, Scott did admit: “I know Sharapova has contracts with companies that pay her to play in Japan. But as long as there is a bona fide commercial opportunity that is outside her normal tournament obligations, I’m okay with the situation.”

In last night’s final against Belgium’s Kim Clijsters, Davenport suffered an extraordinary reverse of her own. She led the first set 4-0, only to lose the next six games. To her credit, the American gritted her teeth to win the second set 6-4, but Clijsters was not to be denied, taking the final set 6-2.

It was an emotional victory for Clijsters. Once ranked No 1 in the world, she has been out of the game for almost a year with a wrist injury and has seen her ranking slump to 133, but she is clearly back to something approaching her best form.

@m@nd@
Mar 20th, 2005, 05:53 AM
i hate the headline : hero to zero

waratahsrock
Mar 20th, 2005, 07:51 AM
Thanks for the article.
I really do hope for Maria's sake that she pulls out of Miami, Robert speaks a lot of sense, lets hope he can talk it into Maria quickly.

Teemu
Mar 20th, 2005, 08:58 AM
I always feared they'd overload her schedule, but since she's been doing so well it kinda slipped out of mind. There's no sense in pushing yourself to the limits all the time at such a young age, and if rest is what she needs the most right now, then that's what she should do. The sponsors and fans should understand the decision, and if some of them don't, well basically "screw them". No tournament is worth risking your health and future for. Let's see what decision they come up with though. If she's fit, ready to play and comes out winning Miami, obviously I'd be more than happy, but if she decides to pull out and recover, I'll take it as a good and sensible decision from her part. Whatever the decision is, it should be made with her best interest at heart.
All the best Maria, I hope it all works out.

Andy.
Mar 20th, 2005, 11:59 AM
I hope Maria does best for her and her body and doesnt boe to what IMG and her sponsors want. Dont burn out Masha your too smart for that. After Miami though she is having a pretty big break so she should be fine.

Edward.
Mar 20th, 2005, 12:23 PM
Maria (and her fans) have had the best of it this year, with two titles and an incredible W/L record being forged. It was inevitable that she would eventually have a letdown like this.

The experience should make her stronger. Make her realise that she is not invincible. Make her realise that she cannot afford to lose concentration.

As for the schedule, Maria has played an awful lot this year already. As for Lansdorp's claim that she should pull out of the Nasdaq-100, I agree. Serena already seems a shoe-in for that title, and if Lindsay can push a 6-0 6-0 drubbing on a fatigued Maria, imagine what Serena could do?

Szymanowski
Mar 20th, 2005, 01:00 PM
i hate the headline : hero to zero
Me agreed. I just read the article, + I feel furious that they're already saying she's another teenage burnout case....

She hasn't even had time to play another match since the defeat, come on you stupid media guys, give the gal a break.......

Szymanowski
Mar 20th, 2005, 01:04 PM
Maria (and her fans) have had the best of it this year, with two titles and an incredible W/L record being forged. It was inevitable that she would eventually have a letdown like this.
But not as big as a 6-0 6-0 loss :sad:

The experience should make her stronger. Make her realise that she is not invincible. Make her realise that she cannot afford to lose concentration. :worship:


As for the schedule, Maria has played an awful lot this year already. As for Lansdorp's claim that she should pull out of the Nasdaq-100, I agree. Serena already seems a shoe-in for that title, and if Lindsay can push a 6-0 6-0 drubbing on a fatigued Maria, imagine what Serena could do? :worship:

Maria Croft
Mar 20th, 2005, 05:58 PM
I think she just has to play Miami, after that she can change some tournaments, but Miami is too big and she only starts to play again on Friday or saturday, it would be stupid to stop just because she lost 6-0 6-0, it's importent to play again !! Miami is a good way to bounce back !

Andy Mac
Mar 20th, 2005, 06:20 PM
well said edy:worship: im with you 100% on this one..dont play miami maria!

Andy Mac
Mar 20th, 2005, 06:21 PM
eddy*

PaulHopkins
Mar 20th, 2005, 06:38 PM
I would definitely play Miami if I was her - it is way too big a tournament not to really.

jacobruiz
Mar 20th, 2005, 07:48 PM
I, too am torn between wanting Maria to get back into competion in Miami and THEN rest for 4 weeks and withdrawing for a longer rest. So much has been expected from her since Wimbledon '04! Her agents, the companies she now represents for millions of $, her coaches, her family, the Tour, tournaments who desperately want her, the public, etc..... Such a sudden burden for one so young!

Maria definately needs to work on getting more variety into her game and more strategy, i.e. a plan B and C, for example. She and her coached must realize this so I have to believe she is already doing this.

But watching her play against Lindsay I must say that I think if the match had started at the time it was originally scheduled it would have made a difference. I'm not saying Masha would have won but I don't think she would have been bageled. You could just see from the very beginning that she was not at all comfortable out there. She wore a long-sleeved shirt over her dress because she was cold while Lindsay played in a sleeveless outfit. She had a look of irritation on her face from the ver start, which is not like her, and she was mostly silent throughout the match. The crowd was very much for Lindsay, the "hometown girl", and never seemed at all sympathetic to Maria. This is something Maria needs to get used to but she is not used to it yet.

Maybe by Friday or Saturday she will be fine. I hope Maria chooses what is best for her because it would be terrible if she plays Miami and has another disastrous match.

Szymanowski
Mar 20th, 2005, 09:29 PM
I think she just has to play Miami, after that she can change some tournaments, but Miami is too big and she only starts to play again on Friday or saturday, it would be stupid to stop just because she lost 6-0 6-0, it's importent to play again !! Miami is a good way to bounce back !
I dissagree; You say Miami is too big, but it's just another big stage on which to humiliate herself WHICH SHE WILL DO IF what Landsdorp says is right.

Only Team Masha can decide this, but Yuri needs to put his foot down and say no to the contracters who want Maria at Miami. (If she humiliated herself, her marketability would only decrease)


By the way, Sarah, I love the quote on your sig.

I guess she's among the stars at the moment then;)

Maria Croft
Mar 20th, 2005, 09:57 PM
she only lost ONE match !! I don't believe Landsdorp, I only believe what Maria has to say, and in her interview she said nothing about being tired at all !! so if she wants to play Miami she should !! But if she feels like resting I can understand that too, but I feel that it's importent to play a match now to get that 6-0 6-0 match behind her !!

Edward.
Mar 20th, 2005, 10:12 PM
Start playing again. Then get pulped by Serena.

Lansdorp knows Maria better than any of us do.

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Mar 20th, 2005, 10:55 PM
There is the danger of injuries also... and that is not nice at all...

But if she withdraws, she will be heavily fined...

Dan23
Mar 20th, 2005, 11:02 PM
I, too am torn between wanting Maria to get back into competion in Miami and THEN rest for 4 weeks and withdrawing for a longer rest. So much has been expected from her since Wimbledon '04! Her agents, the companies she now represents for millions of $, her coaches, her family, the Tour, tournaments who desperately want her, the public, etc..... Such a sudden burden for one so young!

Maria definately needs to work on getting more variety into her game and more strategy, i.e. a plan B and C, for example. She and her coached must realize this so I have to believe she is already doing this.

But watching her play against Lindsay I must say that I think if the match had started at the time it was originally scheduled it would have made a difference. I'm not saying Masha would have won but I don't think she would have been bageled. You could just see from the very beginning that she was not at all comfortable out there. She wore a long-sleeved shirt over her dress because she was cold while Lindsay played in a sleeveless outfit. She had a look of irritation on her face from the ver start, which is not like her, and she was mostly silent throughout the match. The crowd was very much for Lindsay, the "hometown girl", and never seemed at all sympathetic to Maria. This is something Maria needs to get used to but she is not used to it yet.

Maybe by Friday or Saturday she will be fine. I hope Maria chooses what is best for her because it would be terrible if she plays Miami and has another disastrous match.
You make good points about the sponsors and fans etc..
I think Maria's health and fitness is most important right now, its not going to do her any good playing a 2 week tournament at less than full fitness because we know how fiercely Maria wants to compete :)

xan
Mar 21st, 2005, 12:34 AM
A couple of points:

1. Maria was ambushed by Lindsay, who obviously was EXTREMELY motivated to get a win, and played like a demon.

2. Maria does get tired. Probably more mentally than physically. This is why she doesnt play doubles now.

3. I'm not so sure she should withdraw from Miami unless she feels really bad. It's her home tournament, one of the Almost-majors. And Lansdorp is NOT a sports psychologist. Withdrawing might do her more harm than good if it means a long period without matches, with her last memory being her defeat.

4. What Maria needs to do is to find the right scheduling pattern for her game. Too long a break and she loses match sharpness, on the other side, continuous flying from tournament to tournament is draining in the extreme.

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Mar 21st, 2005, 01:07 AM
The similar thread in the GM to this one was invaded by trolls.... fwho bashed MAria do death and accussed her of horreondous false statements... Repulsive comments where expressed by them.. and their rubbish had turn everyone to hate them... except themselves... so by popular demand this thread was created...

http://www.wtaworld.com/showthread.php?p=5103020#post5103020

Andy.
Mar 21st, 2005, 02:59 AM
A couple of points:

1. Maria was ambushed by Lindsay, who obviously was EXTREMELY motivated to get a win, and played like a demon.

2. Maria does get tired. Probably more mentally than physically. This is why she doesnt play doubles now.

3. I'm not so sure she should withdraw from Miami unless she feels really bad. It's her home tournament, one of the Almost-majors. And Lansdorp is NOT a sports psychologist. Withdrawing might do her more harm than good if it means a long period without matches, with her last memory being her defeat.

4. What Maria needs to do is to find the right scheduling pattern for her game. Too long a break and she loses match sharpness, on the other side, continuous flying from tournament to tournament is draining in the extreme.

Very well said o think Masha will eventually find out whats best for her. She is ma smart girl.

Dan23
Mar 21st, 2005, 05:10 AM
RG Quarter final 2004.....
http://home.iprimus.com.au/walkerdjb/frenchopen0464.jpg




1 month later....
http://home.iprimus.com.au/walkerdjb/wimbledon04252.jpg



Masha will be back :clap2: :cool:

tennisjunky
Mar 21st, 2005, 05:35 AM
not only will she be back, she will come back stronger than ever. maria is a fighter and she will take an embarrassing moment and turn it around into something spectacular and you can quote me on that. even though i think she will be fine in miami, i would not mind if she took some time off to recharge. she doe not have to prove anything to anybody. maria is bigger than any one tournament and the tournament will miss her more than she will miss the tournament. my vote is for her to rest and come back and thrash everyone. i already feel bad for lindsay when they meet again.

Maria Croft
Mar 21st, 2005, 08:20 AM
What are some of you doing ?? sorry but I have to say it !! she lost one fucking match and you are running around trying to explain it, hoping rather it was a burnout then just a bad match, she is playing great tennis but played like crap against Lindsay who played an amazing match, I do believe that Maria may have been a bit tired at that moment but I don't believe that she has a burnout or anything like that, and those pictures are BS !! she made her first QF in a grand slam there !! and this year she has made 4 !! SF's, there is no need to be back, she is already there !!

MaitaBaby
Mar 21st, 2005, 08:20 AM
I hate the headline too. :smash:

I hope they decide what's best for Maria. But I also hope she plays in Miami though. Then maybe take the time off after that. Just like what some of you have said. :)

Maria Croft
Mar 21st, 2005, 08:23 AM
I hate the headline too. :smash:

I hope they decide what's best for Maria. But I also hope she plays in Miami though. Then maybe take the time off after that. Just like what some of you have said. :)


yeah, change her season a bit, a bit of rest is never a bad thing, but to miss Miami is not a good idea, If I were Maria I wouldn't be afraid to go out there and have my ass kicked again if that's what it takes, and I'm sure maria feels the same !!

Dan23
Mar 21st, 2005, 10:59 AM
Who said Maria was afraid :shrug:
..and its not like Masha was beaten in the 1st Round either...it was the SF of a big Tier I and was certainly no disgrace...
..but some of the goons in the GM would have you believe its the end of her career or something which is :bs: :D
Its one match, Maria will bounce back...

If Lansdorp felt there was enough reason to make a deal out of it then there may be weight to the arguement that Maria is tired and has been playing too much :)

Alecia Moore
Mar 21st, 2005, 06:35 PM
Thanks for the article.
I really do hope for Maria's sake that she pulls out of Miami, Robert speaks a lot of sense, lets hope he can talk it into Maria quickly.

I agree. Masha has to play her tune-ups but she does need her share of breaks because the season is so long.

Andy Mac
Mar 21st, 2005, 11:13 PM
dan has a point with the RG and the wimby comparasion!

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Apr 6th, 2005, 05:23 PM
But this year she will win both... ;)

Edward.
Apr 6th, 2005, 05:26 PM
Luis, why the hell do you feel the need to constantly bump old threads? Especially threads that you yourself have created?

Maria Croft
Apr 6th, 2005, 10:33 PM
Luis, why the hell do you feel the need to constantly bump old threads? Especially threads that you yourself have created?


Do you really need to ask yourself that ?? you already know the answer !!