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View Full Version : Disappointing Maria? Not anymore, hehehehee.


Sharapower
Feb 6th, 2006, 06:12 AM
Okay, I duplicate this thread here, I'm just hopeless on GM's ability to handle mindful discussion about anything, especially Maria.

Disappointing Maria
So now, it’s not only in majors that she gets stuck in the semi-finals, it happens even in a Tier I where she is the defending champion. This is worrying, Maria, you REALLY need to think seriously about that!!

Losing to Martina Hingis is already embarrassing, but I owe you that Hingis played an amazing tennis against her. The big problem is that outrageous scoreline, 6-1 in the second set, and also Masha’s weird attitude, like there was some invisible demon who’s telling her “Don’t fight, just let go” and it was not only that match. Even after losing so badly she didn’t seem to care a lot but maybe it’s just the outside appearance, I don’t know.

I think there is something definitely wrong in Maria’s preparation for matches; the way she tackled the match against Hingis indicates it very accurately.

First of all, Maria should know that you NEVER give a hint on the tactics you plan to use before the match but she told the whole world what she was going to do in a press conference. Anyway, it’s just a detail.

More significant is the dramatic number of UE’s she did in the worst moments: at a certain point in the second set Martina didn’t really have to do something very special, Maria was giving a lot. UE’s is the sign of lack of preparation by excellence. It’s not that much about technique; it’s about concentration and mental conditioning. The contrast was amazing: When Martina went for winners she would succeed 90% of the time; when it was Masha, she missed more than she succeeded.

Tactically, Maria was also totally wrong to systematically refuse rallies and try to close the points in 2/3 shots. Martina herself pointed out that Maria was not patient enough. Maria came on the court with a misconception that she would get trashed if she had to play rallies against Hingis, while it was probably the best choice in order to make Martina use a lot of energy on the court.

More generally, it seems to me that Maria doesn’t spend enough time studying her opponents’ game in detail by herself by watching tapes or even attending matches. She only relies on Yuri but, although Yuri tries to do his best and likely is gaining experience as a coach, it is obviously insufficient. Watching by yourself always brings another perspective to learn how such player win points and how she loses ones, what about their body language and so on, which is quite precious knowledge for the time you have that person at the other side of the net.

For example, against many top players, Maria plays their best side way too much (i.e. the backhand, mostly). Maria should use quite more often a point construction based on crosscourt forehand with a moderate power. Players like Kim or Martina hate to be worked out on their forehands… but Maria too. Nevertheless, if she plays them on their backhand it lets them gain more and more confidence in the match, while forcing them to play forehand is maybe the only way to put some pressure on them.

Ideally, Maria and Yuri should also think about hiring an experienced champions’ coach, it’s not like they couldn’t afford it.

Also, Maria seems to lack inspiration lately, she goes for too much thinking during matches and doesn’t allow enough her instinct to let her get “into the zone”.

In conclusion, there are currently too many weaknesses in Maria’s tennis, technically as well as mentally so she must correct them very quickly, otherwise she will get kicked out of the top 8. She’s going to be 19 soon, high time to settle into a real champion’s status. Now she reminds me a little bit of 2001/2002 Dementieva or 2003/2004 Hantuchova, though those two didn't achieve as much as did Maria.

morningglory
Feb 6th, 2006, 06:48 AM
I don't think it is the time to be panicking yet...

lakan kildap
Feb 6th, 2006, 07:02 AM
Don't dismiss this just because it hurts. There's some truth in it.

For all we know, this could have come from a real fan who simply wants Maria to improve (Note: I did not check who posted this). Of course, Maria always tells us she's fine, but if she is, and she's not winning, then, what's wrong?

msharafan
Feb 6th, 2006, 07:02 AM
not time to be panicing at all!
one thing i will say though maria obviously didnt study how to play martina before the match or if she did it didnt go to plan, maria hit most of her shots into the middle of the court allowing hingis to make the angles, that was one flaw, but dont be so hard on maria she has never played a player like martina before, and she will surly learn from this mistake!

lakan kildap
Feb 6th, 2006, 07:09 AM
Now I feel like a total IDIOT! You (Sharapower) posted this in GM. I should have checked.

Well (sheepish grin)...

Maria Croft
Feb 6th, 2006, 07:15 AM
I really don't feel in reading all that because I know I don't agree, I have already said what I wanted to say about this match in the cheering thread and the Tokyo thread on Maria's forum

This loss isn't great and she should consider a new coach but it's pretty sad that two semi finals count as disappointing from an 18 year old

Sharapower
Feb 6th, 2006, 07:23 AM
Now I feel like a total IDIOT! You (Sharapower) posted this in GM. I should have checked.

Well (sheepish grin)...

lol

Dan23
Feb 6th, 2006, 08:03 AM
Some good points are made there but Maria still has other days where things are the opposite and she does well. The trend lately has just been the other way in crucial matches. Its a lot to expect of Maria at this stage to be able to have all aspects of her game working at once especially while dealing with the injury problems. Its seems its the general concensus that there may be an issue in the preparation and coaching side, but thats from the outside looking in.


( running out of time, will add more later :lol: )

Andy.
Feb 6th, 2006, 09:41 AM
I just think for someone of her age and her generation of players (1985-89) she is miles ahead of the rest. She has pretty much more hype and pressure than anyone and is the youngest by far on the top 10 so give her a few years then we can talk dissapointing or not.

Sharapower
Feb 6th, 2006, 10:39 AM
I just think for someone of her age and her generation of players (1985-89) she is miles ahead of the rest. She has pretty much more hype and pressure than anyone and is the youngest by far on the top 10 so give her a few years then we can talk dissapointing or not.

Well, of course I'm not saying she disappointed me forever. It's he current tennis-personality which is disappointing. I find she's totally out of enthusiasm these days. When she's facing a difficult situation in matches she just lets herself down. Even her sayings in interviews sound sooo stereotyped. To her defence she has had some bad luck in many situations, especially her injury.

She obviously is capable of bouncing back, but it's high time she reacts drastically to all these losses. For the moment she appears to be in an unsatisfactory statu quo.

Some people say that maybe it's because her realtionship with Yuri is clouded, but then they have to find a way to sort it out by any means, instead of letting things remain the same. During the match, I saw Yuri really pissed after a Maria's stupid UE (I was kinda pissed too). I think Maria is contempting herself in standards that are low relatively to what she can do.

I'm not deluding myself thinking that Maria would win every tournament she enters and beat permanently the other top-players, but the point is that she didn't win any title for ages and only beat Petrova & Davenport in a match for which the latter was not that concerned.

shadowsecret
Feb 6th, 2006, 11:21 AM
well..perhaps you should give her a little bit more time? after all it's only feb and she only played like 2 tournaments so far? she DID reach the semis after all.. she may seem "into" the whole "off the court" commitments but I've always admired that she never let it affect her tennis and I still have that faith it hasn't.. so..give her a little more time if you can't wait till the end of the year, give her at least till wimbledon or something.. :)

Maria Croft
Feb 6th, 2006, 11:25 AM
Well, of course I'm not saying she disappointed me forever. It's he current tennis-personality which is disappointing. I find she's totally out of enthusiasm these days. When she's facing a difficult situation in matches she just lets herself down. Even her sayings in interviews sound sooo stereotyped. To her defence she has had some bad luck in many situations, especially her injury.

She obviously is capable of bouncing back, but it's high time she reacts drastically to all these losses. For the moment she appears to be in an unsatisfactory statu quo.

Some people say that maybe it's because her realtionship with Yuri is clouded, but then they have to find a way to sort it out by any means, instead of letting things remain the same. During the match, I saw Yuri really pissed after a Maria's stupid UE (I was kinda pissed too). I think Maria is contempting herself in standards that are low relatively to what she can do.

I'm not deluding myself thinking that Maria would win every tournament she enters and beat permanently the other top-players, but the point is that she didn't win any title for ages and only beat Petrova & Davenport in a match for which the latter was not that concerned.


Sorry but this is bullshit, she said that she didn't have her usual fighting spirit in the second set against Hingis, that is one set in over 100 matches! give the girl a break, and about her interviews, that's called being media trained, no wonder her answers are boring, they always ask the same thing, I will agree with you on this if the year would be over and Maria didn't make a single final, but clearly we aren't at the end of the year just yet, about Yuri, I don't know anything about that, I hope everything is fine with them, but I don't think it's anything to worry about for the moment, neither is Maria!

Dan23
Feb 6th, 2006, 11:39 AM
More generally, it seems to me that Maria doesn’t spend enough time studying her opponents’ game in detail by herself by watching tapes or even attending matches. She only relies on Yuri but, although Yuri tries to do his best and likely is gaining experience as a coach, it is obviously insufficient. Watching by yourself always brings another perspective to learn how such player win points and how she loses ones, what about their body language and so on, which is quite precious knowledge for the time you have that person at the other side of the net.
This part is interesting...though none of us are close to see Maria's preparation for a match though I dont get the impression she is keen to research the games of other players without meeting them in a match.

We've gotta be careful we dont over-analyse this situation. Its not as gloomy as it may seem. Maria has played these 2 tournaments back-to-back and came through without a mention of that evil injury. Now that is something we would have wished for very strongly last year....so now Maria is getting that out of the way she can make up for lost time and build up her form again. We can just hope she has all bases covered regarding her preparation/coaching.

Maria Croft
Feb 6th, 2006, 11:47 AM
Exactly Dan, we should be happy that she played two tournaments injury free instead we focus only on the negative

Dan23
Feb 6th, 2006, 12:15 PM
At the same time there are concerns...Masha deserves some leeway....but I think in time the big questions will need to be answered. Im confident in Maria though..

Portobello
Feb 6th, 2006, 12:37 PM
i think the only prob's her serve and its quite a big prob :o

but overall i think she did just fine.Flankly i didnt expect her to be in semis in Aussie with those injury and rusty,so i feel happy with her performance

she cant win anything,no 1 cant.There's no Roger in WTA

so give her time,her time will come.....

xan
Feb 6th, 2006, 04:39 PM
Some interesting points, but saying Maria doesn't analyse her matches enough, and then that she thinks too much in matches is a bit of a contradiction.

The Hingis loss was disappointing, particularly since, like many of Maria's other Semi-Final opponents, she played a lot worse the next day. This just seems to be bad luck on maria's part, getting so many opponents on top-form days.

Even so, there are things in Maria's game she does need to address.

* She needs to improve her serve urgently. It is just not good enough at the moment. She is losing it too often and its weakening her whole game.

* She does need to scout out her opponents a bit more. She tend s to rely on doing this "in match", but womens matches are over so fast, she can sometimes get ambushed and be left with no strategy.

* She needs a high quality champions' coach who will improve the areas of her game where she is weaker than she should be. Please, Maria, don't follow Elena, venus, Serena, Marina etc. down the road of sticking with a parent instead of a proper coach. None of these players have changed what needed to be changed to keep them at the very top. To do this you need a proper coach, not the same old same old..

nelsondan
Feb 6th, 2006, 07:54 PM
Those who have opportunity for a closer, more accurate look---please contradict me if necessary.

I think Maria needs more physical training, because her body has changed. Looking at pictures of 2004 Wimbledon and recent pictures, it looks to me like her arms and legs are heavier---I would be surprised if she did not weigh close to 145, instead of the 130 which has long been listed.

She is an inch or two taller than July of 2004. To me, she looks better, the proportions look healthier. These changes should be a source of greater strength, but she might need help in figuring out how to use her gifts to best advantage. I am not sure if it hinders her movement or range.

waratahsrock
Feb 6th, 2006, 08:33 PM
Sorry but this is bullshit, she said that she didn't have her usual fighting spirit in the second set against Hingis, that is one set in over 100 matches! give the girl a break, and about her interviews, that's called being media trained, no wonder her answers are boring, they always ask the same thing, I will agree with you on this if the year would be over and Maria didn't make a single final, but clearly we aren't at the end of the year just yet, about Yuri, I don't know anything about that, I hope everything is fine with them, but I don't think it's anything to worry about for the moment, neither is Maria!

You raise some very valid points there. However in the AO SF against Henin, in the second set when she was down a break, her fighting spirit seemed to desert her there aswell. Thankfully she put up a decent fight in the third, but she just tended to give up the second set too easily.

In all honesty, i could'nt give a toss what cliche's she gives the sporting media, 95% of other sports people do the same thing anyway..

btw, was there any word on if Yuri was in tokyo?

Steve-o
Feb 6th, 2006, 08:38 PM
I think Maria is feeling more pressure now than ever, from outside and within. At every tournament Maria is rightly touted as a possible winner but if she falls at the SF stage, then it's viewed by many as a failure. That's too much pressure IMO. The fact that she didn't have the fight for the second set against Martina does worry me slightly.

This isn't a time to be too negative towards Maria, the injuries have been a huge factor in her play recently. After all she has made 2 SF's and has hopefully turned the corner on the injury front, it's a pretty positive situation from my viewpoint. :)

Natasc
Feb 6th, 2006, 10:17 PM
we are her fans!!
we shouldnt be here cheering for her and thinking always in the good side!!!

no panic guys, honestly I would really like that Elena has Maria consistency then win a title here and lost there in a first round....

of course that titles are good, but peoples forget that reach semis and in GS and other thin gs are a great achievment!

Agree that now the pressure is on her, but she will learn how to handle with that
she just need some help ;)

GO MARIA WE TRUST U :yeah:

Dan23
Feb 6th, 2006, 11:01 PM
btw, was there any word on if Yuri was in tokyo?Yep he was there as usual...didnt really utter a word out loud though from what I saw/heard

Sharapower
Feb 7th, 2006, 02:19 AM
Some interesting points, but saying Maria doesn't analyse her matches enough, and then that she thinks too much in matches is a bit of a contradiction.
It might seem so but, as I answered to Tennisrox in the GM thread, my point is that she doesn't analyze enough before the matches then when on-court, she finds herself in difficulty and starts to think but it's too late.

The Hingis loss was disappointing, particularly since, like many of Maria's other Semi-Final opponents, she played a lot worse the next day. This just seems to be bad luck on maria's part, getting so many opponents on top-form days.
Maria should aim at beating her opponents when they are at top form, precisely. Btw, in the AO, JHH was probably not in top form in the SF. That was Maria's match to win but she started to make too many UE's in the second set which brought JHH back in the match.

Even so, there are things in Maria's game she does need to address.

* She needs to improve her serve urgently. It is just not good enough at the moment. She is losing it too often and its weakening her whole game.
In the Hingis match, Masha served 71% of first services, and not weak ones.

* She does need to scout out her opponents a bit more. She tend s to rely on doing this "in match", but womens matches are over so fast, she can sometimes get ambushed and be left with no strategy.

* She needs a high quality champions' coach who will improve the areas of her game where she is weaker than she should be. Please, Maria, don't follow Elena, venus, Serena, Marina etc. down the road of sticking with a parent instead of a proper coach. None of these players have changed what needed to be changed to keep them at the very top. To do this you need a proper coach, not the same old same old..
Agree.

Andy.
Feb 7th, 2006, 03:37 AM
When you do have these type of losses at the big stages and lose everytime to the very top players IMO its only a matter of time before eventually the coin will turn in your favour Masha has time on her side and is a lot younger than all the other top players. Im not too concerned right now.

Sharapower
Feb 7th, 2006, 03:48 AM
When you do have these type of losses at the big stages and lose everytime to the very top players IMO its only a matter of time before eventually the coin will turn in your favour Masha has time on her side and is a lot younger than all the other top players. Im not too concerned right now.
The positive aspect of it is that the bad loss could act as a trigger to a big effort from Maria to change the trend.

Andy.
Feb 7th, 2006, 03:54 AM
The positive aspect of it is that the bad loss could act as a trigger to a big effort from Maria to change the trend.

Exactly :D

Maria Croft
Feb 7th, 2006, 07:00 AM
The positive aspect of it is that the bad loss could act as a trigger to a big effort from Maria to change the trend.


I hope so :) I would really like to see Maria win these big matches

Stroba
Feb 7th, 2006, 07:41 AM
As a Sharapova fan I hate to say it, but during the Hingis match I felt that Sharapova was simply outplayed and all her (quite glaring) weaknesses were exposed.
I think the saying "nothing is stonger than it´s weakest link" describes pretty well what happened in the match.

I think Maria played pretty well in the first set but was still under huge pressure during each own servicegame. Overall I think Maria was stunned by the level on play Martina showed and evetually she lost belief in herself.

I feel a bit sorry for Maria because of all the expectation that has been put on her. I know she can beat anyone with her best game. But so can most of the other top tenners. Personally I don´t feel Maria is a superior talent and I don´t expect her to dominate at any point. I´ll be glad if she can win another 2-3 slams during her career.

But going back to the Hingis match, I admit it was a bit unMaria-like not to fight in the second set. And it´s not the first time we see Maria give up a set easily. I guess she is more mental fragile than most people thought she would be. After winning Wimbledon and YEC 2004 people seemed the think she was extremely mentally tough. But at that point she was the underdog and the pressure were on her opponents.

I´d like to say a lot more but running out of time here...

Kunal
Feb 7th, 2006, 07:49 AM
think we're expecting too much of her....

he has reached a plateau in terms of success

Sharapower
Feb 7th, 2006, 07:54 AM
I see her winning quite more than 2 or 3 GS anyway, but what bothers me is that it would be by default when the current top apart from her retire or decline severely.

xan
Feb 7th, 2006, 04:33 PM
In the Hingis match, Masha served 71% of first services, and not weak ones.


Yes. But as I said on the thread about Maria's serve. It's not an effective first serve at the moment. There seems to be a technical failure in spin or positioning that makes it easy to return. Her opponents keep getting it back deeply into play and she wins very few cheap points on it. This makes her have to defend a lot more than she should during her serve games, and this is why she is often at risk of getting broken. I think her serve has been remodelled slightly over the past six months, and at this point it is less effective.

Maria should have a rock solid serve like Davenport, Pierce or Molik which makes it easy for her to hold and very difficult to break.

I feel a bit sorry for Maria because of all the expectation that has been put on her. I know she can beat anyone with her best game. But so can most of the other top tenners. Personally I don´t feel Maria is a superior talent and I don´t expect her to dominate at any point. I´ll be glad if she can win another 2-3 slams during her career.

I disagree. Maria is a great talent who can knock any player off court when she is on form - and that's with a game that still has very obvious weaknesses. If Maria can get rid of some of those weaknesses she will be a formiddable opponent.

Sweep
Feb 7th, 2006, 06:25 PM
It's evident that Maria needs a high-class coach - she needs to be ruthless in order to reach the top.

All that remains is for her to stay healthy, and for her to ignore the vast amount of pressure that has been placed on her. She's still relatively young compared to the other top players and in time, she will begin to collect GS titles. What she could do with now is winning her next tournament, in Dubai I believe. That would give her a massive confidence boost.

lakan kildap
Feb 8th, 2006, 05:11 AM
First off, I am a Maria fan. Why I became one, I already said in a much earlier (2004?) post. For me, being a fan does not mean being blind. For me being a fan means seeing, and then accepting.

Second, Maria cannot forever invoke the age rule. She's only 18, but in female tennis terms, that's like middle age. And she's been a pro for almost four years.

Yes, Pete Sampras won the USO at 19 (1990), then took 3 years to win another, but that's a different tour, with different bodies. Female tennis players, especially now in the power era, tend to peak - and flameout - earlier than men.

Of course, what does this talking matter if Maria is happy? She's made every milestone: won tournaments, even a Tier 1, even a Major, she's been World Number 1. If she says she's satisfied, then who are we to disagree?

But she could be better. Maybe that's what some of us, who are disappointed, want. Even though that was Hingis, whom I admire, I certainly didn't want Maria to be thrashed like that.

Sharapower
Feb 8th, 2006, 05:30 AM
First off, I am a Maria fan. Why I became one, I already said in a much earlier (2004?) post. For me, being a fan does not mean being blind. For me being a fan means seeing, and then accepting.

Second, Maria cannot forever invoke the age rule. She's only 18, but in female tennis terms, that's like middle age. And she's been a pro for almost four years.

Yes, Pete Sampras won the USO at 19 (1990), then took 3 years to win another, but that's a different tour, with different bodies. Female tennis players, especially now in the power era, tend to peak - and flameout - earlier than men.

Of course, what does this talking matter if Maria is happy? She's made every milestone: won tournaments, even a Tier 1, even a Major, she's been World Number 1. If she says she's satisfied, then who are we to disagree?

But she could be better. Maybe that's what some of us, who are disappointed, want. Even though that was Hingis, whom I admire, I certainly didn't want Maria to be thrashed like that.
Exactly!!!

Dan23
Feb 8th, 2006, 06:14 AM
Maria should watch videos of her classic matches (at Wimbledon 04 for example) for inspiration :cool: She has been less inclined to play that super attacking tennis that she pulled off perfectly back then....although players have come to expect it from her there is still little answer for consistant hitting near the lines. Back then commentators were amazed with Maria's 'all court' game because of the frequency she was moving up to the net to put away the many short balls she'd get with big drive volleys or even conventional ones, the confidence factor is a big thing for Maria. Her injury and having to battle through matches the tough way along with the constant pressure to add variety to her game has possibly whittled away her confidence in her own big hitting ability, i'd love to see take up the attack again and she may find it easier to work her new techniques into her game.

Sharapower
Feb 8th, 2006, 06:41 AM
Maria should watch videos of her classic matches (at Wimbledon 04 for example) for inspiration :cool: She has been less inclined to play that super attacking tennis that she pulled off perfectly back then....although players have come to expect it from her there is still little answer for consistant hitting near the lines. Back then commentators were amazed with Maria's 'all court' game because of the frequency she was moving up to the net to put away the many short balls she'd get with big drive volleys or even conventional ones, the confidence factor is a big thing for Maria. Her injury and having to battle through matches the tough way along with the constant pressure to add variety to her game has possibly whittled away her confidence in her own big hitting ability, i'd love to see take up the attack again and she may find it easier to work her new techniques into her game.

Very true!!!

Maria Croft
Feb 8th, 2006, 08:17 AM
Maria should watch videos of her classic matches (at Wimbledon 04 for example) for inspiration :cool: She has been less inclined to play that super attacking tennis that she pulled off perfectly back then....although players have come to expect it from her there is still little answer for consistant hitting near the lines. Back then commentators were amazed with Maria's 'all court' game because of the frequency she was moving up to the net to put away the many short balls she'd get with big drive volleys or even conventional ones, the confidence factor is a big thing for Maria. Her injury and having to battle through matches the tough way along with the constant pressure to add variety to her game has possibly whittled away her confidence in her own big hitting ability, i'd love to see take up the attack again and she may find it easier to work her new techniques into her game.

I agree with the last part of your post, just not the first

Maria was on fire at Wimbledon after she won that second set against Lindsay, players who had their moments at grand slams last year weren't playing that for the rest of the year either, especially Serena and Venus, Henin-Hardenne only had a good clay season, the exception is Kim, she played like that for the entire US open series, with the exception of her loss against Peng

I'm basically saying, let go of Wimbledon 2004, that was a one time thing, I'm not saying we won't ever see it again but it's rare for any player to play like that, Maria can sure improve a lot but as mentioned before, she's got time to get her game together perfectly, I would love it if she would win another slam this year but I don't think we should be disappointed if she didn't, for me at least tennis is more then winning slams

Il Primo!
Feb 8th, 2006, 10:46 AM
She must realise that Tennis is not hitting as hard as I can... I was very disapointed after her loss against Martina. She hast to react if she don't want to be considered as a looser,as someone who always losses in the semis...I keep on believing in her!GO MARIA

Dan23
Feb 8th, 2006, 11:01 AM
I agree with the last part of your post, just not the first

Maria was on fire at Wimbledon after she won that second set against Lindsay, players who had their moments at grand slams last year weren't playing that for the rest of the year either, especially Serena and Venus, Henin-Hardenne only had a good clay season, the exception is Kim, she played like that for the entire US open series, with the exception of her loss against Peng

I'm basically saying, let go of Wimbledon 2004, that was a one time thing, I'm not saying we won't ever see it again but it's rare for any player to play like that, Maria can sure improve a lot but as mentioned before, she's got time to get her game together perfectly, I would love it if she would win another slam this year but I don't think we should be disappointed if she didn't, for me at least tennis is more then winning slams
Maria was on fire at Wimbledon long before the SF against Lindsay. Maria often made her opponents in the early matches look 2nd rate....but you are right Wimbledon is in the past. Maria can still take inspiration from that though. Slams are often how players are measured though they only make a small part of the calendar...before last year Maria was known for how she really stood up on the big occasions and on the big points, she has some work to do to completely restore that reputation.

Dan23
Feb 8th, 2006, 11:04 AM
She must realise that Tennis is not hitting as hard as I can... I was very disapointed after her loss against Martina. She hast to react if she don't want to be considered as a looser,as someone who always losses in the semis...I keep on believing in her!GO MARIA
..believe it or not Maria is not all hard hitting. Watching her live you do notice variances she makes in pace and trajectory of her shots. During the AO she rarely hit at full power, she just turned that on when required and it was noticeable I can tell you.

xan
Feb 8th, 2006, 11:54 AM
I agree with the last part of your post, just not the first

Maria was on fire at Wimbledon after she won that second set against Lindsay, players who had their moments at grand slams last year weren't playing that for the rest of the year either, especially Serena and Venus, Henin-Hardenne only had a good clay season, the exception is Kim, she played like that for the entire US open series, with the exception of her loss against Peng

I'm basically saying, let go of Wimbledon 2004, that was a one time thing, I'm not saying we won't ever see it again but it's rare for any player to play like that, Maria can sure improve a lot but as mentioned before, she's got time to get her game together perfectly, I would love it if she would win another slam this year but I don't think we should be disappointed if she didn't, for me at least tennis is more then winning slams:rolleyes: at the negativity in this thread. I think some people have been spending too much time reading some of the GM "pundits".

I don't believe Wimbledon 2004 was a one-time thing at all!

Maria has hit the Semis in every slam since then except RG (where she went out to the Champion). With the exception of Schnyder on clay and Safina in Moscow, she hasn't lost to anyone in a year who isn't a former No 1, or GS champion. In Australia 05 she could have taken the Championship against an off-form Lindsay if she had taken one of her MPs against Serena.

And the thing is that Maria was doing this while under the pressure of injury, a late growth spurt and intense pressure from the media!

Just because she's been losing some key close matches to on-form players, doesn't mean she's always going to go on losing those matches. Especially since there's a number of things she can do quite simply to improve her game even more. So I AM hoping Maria will win another slam this year. If she doesn't she doesn't. But she certainly has it in her.

Dan23
Feb 8th, 2006, 12:14 PM
Of course she has it in her...she is capable of winning each of the 4 Slams :cool:

Maria Croft
Feb 8th, 2006, 01:01 PM
:rolleyes: at the negativity in this thread. I think some people have been spending too much time reading some of the GM "pundits".

I don't believe Wimbledon 2004 was a one-time thing at all!

Maria has hit the Semis in every slam since then except RG (where she went out to the Champion). With the exception of Schnyder on clay and Safina in Moscow, she hasn't lost to anyone in a year who isn't a former No 1, or GS champion. In Australia 05 she could have taken the Championship against an off-form Lindsay if she had taken one of her MPs against Serena.

And the thing is that Maria was doing this while under the pressure of injury, a late growth spurt and intense pressure from the media!

Just because she's been losing some key close matches to on-form players, doesn't mean she's always going to go on losing those matches. Especially since there's a number of things she can do quite simply to improve her game even more. So I AM hoping Maria will win another slam this year. If she doesn't she doesn't. But she certainly has it in her.

You missed my point Xan, I agree with you

I was saying that people shouldn't expect Maria to play like she did in Wimbledon 04, that's what they should let go, I'm also 100% sure Maria will win another slam

Dan23
Feb 8th, 2006, 01:24 PM
we need another tournament already :lol: to take our focus away from this topic which is getting flogged to death and give Maria a chance to move on :cool:

Il Primo!
Feb 8th, 2006, 03:52 PM
..believe it or not Maria is not all hard hitting. Watching her live you do notice variances she makes in pace and trajectory of her shots. During the AO she rarely hit at full power, she just turned that on when required and it was noticeable I can tell you.


She plays like that when she don't have the choice. I mean she does variances when she plays Henin or Momo cause she don't have the choice... But for instance,when she played Martina,she was persuaded that the only way was to hit hit and hit again. I don't know if you unterstand me

Sweep
Feb 8th, 2006, 06:49 PM
we need another tournament already :lol: to take our focus away from this topic which is getting flogged to death and give Maria a chance to move on :cool:

Dubai's next, isn't it?

Il Primo!
Feb 8th, 2006, 10:00 PM
Dubai's next, isn't it?


That's it:D

Dan23
Feb 8th, 2006, 11:08 PM
Dubai then some time off before Indian Wells :cool:

andrewbroad
Feb 10th, 2006, 10:22 PM
Maria cannot forever invoke the age rule. She's only 18, but in female tennis terms, that's like middle age. And she's been a pro for almost four years.

Maria has never ever lost a professional singles-match to a player who is younger than herself! :worship:

Yes, Pete Sampras won the USO at 19 (1990), then took 3 years to win another, but that's a different tour, with different bodies.

Serena Williams won the US Open 1999 at 17, then took 3 years to win another Slam - though you could say she has a different body to Maria too! ;)

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/)

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sizzlingsharapova/ (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sizzlingsharapova/)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/ (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/)

Doc
Feb 11th, 2006, 10:10 AM
You missed my point Xan, I agree with you

I was saying that people shouldn't expect Maria to play like she did in Wimbledon 04, that's what they should let go, I'm also 100% sure Maria will win another slam

At Wimbledon 04 Maria had the advantage that nobody knew her game, or how dangerous she was. :devil:

I'm sure Serena and lindsay both went on court thinking, "This will be a nice easy, restful match!"

Since then everybody is ready for a big fight with Maria, so things are tougher - but Maria still has the game to win slams. She just needs to get it all together for seven matches in a row!

lakan kildap
Feb 13th, 2006, 03:01 AM
[QUOTE=andrewbroad]Maria has never ever lost a professional singles-match to a player who is younger than herself! :worship:


Andrew, I never meant that to mean (OK, I just used mean twice) that she has lost to younger players. I'm not really worried about younger players. How about lesser players?

I also think the usual "I'm only 18, I'm still learning" is getting tired. Of course, she's learning, as we say here where I live when doing a Math problem, that stuff/whatever is a "given".

But for her sake (and to be honest, for ours, because we seem to be more concerned about her performance than she is), she has to show what she has learned, in tournament results. She's still winning matches, and to be fair, other players have far worse records, but she needs to be consistently able to beat the top players. She has handled Lindsay, Serena and Venus so far. But she has yet to score against Kim and Mauresmo, and has quickly fallen behind Justine.

Maria has to dominate. Damn the deeper playing field today. This is nothing new. It's not like there weren't tough players during Navratilova's time. She has to dominate.

OK, I'm off the soapbox now.

Maria Croft
Feb 13th, 2006, 08:39 AM
I strongly disagree, an 18 year old doesn't have to dominate, she doesn't have to beat players that have been around 10+ years, It would be nice if she would win some matches against these top players again, but that's easier said then done, and knowing Maria she will beat them eventually, when she's ready

Ballbasher
Feb 13th, 2006, 01:09 PM
Maria is very young and has many chances to win another slam and other T1's :D

lakan kildap
Feb 14th, 2006, 04:31 AM
I strongly disagree, an 18 year old doesn't have to dominate, she doesn't have to beat players that have been around 10+ years, It would be nice if she would win some matches against these top players again, but that's easier said then done, and knowing Maria she will beat them eventually, when she's ready

Steffi Graf
Monica Seles (Andrewbroad can tell you more about her)
Martina Hingis (at 17, too!)

need I say more?

Maria Croft
Feb 14th, 2006, 09:05 AM
Steffi Graf
Monica Seles (Andrewbroad can tell you more about her)
Martina Hingis (at 17, too!)

need I say more?


Steffi Graf is one of if not the best player EVER!

You compare Maria to her?!

yeah and Hingis is such a great story, out for a couple of years only to come back now, we will see how long she will last

I would appreciate if you wouldn't be so condescending, thanks :)

Teemu
Feb 14th, 2006, 09:53 AM
Steffi Graf
Monica Seles (Andrewbroad can tell you more about her)
Martina Hingis (at 17, too!)

need I say more?

Yeah I'd like a dozen more examples, coz I bet you couldn't come up with them. I think it's a bit premature to place Maria in the same category with all the all-time greats. Ofcourse it's inevitable to make comparisons, but each player is different and develops at a different rate. I'll jump in the soapbox right after you and state that she doesn't have to dominate. Not until she's good and ready. How could a player dominate if she doesn't have the best game on tour yet? Howcome she should have the best game if she just doesn't? We've all seen Maria develop, it's just that the other girls have developed too. It's all about who hits the wall first, and to see that, we need time. I bet Maria still has a lot of room to get better and better, and thank God she also has the patience to do it.

xan
Feb 14th, 2006, 03:19 PM
Yeah I'd like a dozen more examples, coz I bet you couldn't come up with them. I think it's a bit premature to place Maria in the same category with all the all-time greats. Ofcourse it's inevitable to make comparisons, but each player is different and develops at a different rate. I'll jump in the soapbox right after you and state that she doesn't have to dominate. Not until she's good and ready. How could a player dominate if she doesn't have the best game on tour yet? Howcome she should have the best game if she just doesn't? We've all seen Maria develop, it's just that the other girls have developed too. It's all about who hits the wall first, and to see that, we need time. I bet Maria still has a lot of room to get better and better, and thank God she also has the patience to do it. :yeah: Greast post.

andrewbroad
Feb 14th, 2006, 10:33 PM
Andrew, I never meant that to mean (OK, I just used mean twice) that she has lost to younger players.

My point being that Maria cannot be said to have reached middle age in tennis-terms until she starts losing regularly to players who are younger than herself (which she hasn't even done once in a professional singles-match so far!).

--
Dr. Andrew Broad
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/)
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/ (http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/shara/)

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sizzlingsharapova/ (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sizzlingsharapova/)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/ (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeldani/)

lakan kildap
Feb 15th, 2006, 12:20 AM
Yeah I'd like a dozen more examples, coz I bet you couldn't come up with them. I think it's a bit premature to place Maria in the same category with all the all-time greats. Ofcourse it's inevitable to make comparisons, but each player is different and develops at a different rate. I'll jump in the soapbox right after you and state that she doesn't have to dominate. Not until she's good and ready. How could a player dominate if she doesn't have the best game on tour yet? Howcome she should have the best game if she just doesn't? We've all seen Maria develop, it's just that the other girls have developed too. It's all about who hits the wall first, and to see that, we need time. I bet Maria still has a lot of room to get better and better, and thank God she also has the patience to do it.

I gave 3 examples to show Summon that yes, an 18 year old or thereabouts player can dominate older, more experienced players. When someone says an 18 year old doesn't have to dominate, then I think a few examples are in order so everyone knows an 18 year old can dominate.

I have not placed Maria in the same category as the all-time greats, not yet. You (not you particularly, but most of the forum members here) have. Here in the Maria forum we have all sorts of "World's Best Player", "She will steal those Grand Slams" tags going on. I have nothing against people who use those. They look cool. They're also probably just wishes. Because right now, she's not there yet.

lakan kildap
Feb 15th, 2006, 12:25 AM
yeah and Hingis is such a great story, out for a couple of years only to come back now, we will see how long she will last

once again you get me wrong. I was referring to the 1997 version of Hingis, which was why I added that she was 17 at the time.

Maria Croft
Feb 15th, 2006, 09:26 AM
once again you get me wrong. I was referring to the 1997 version of Hingis, which was why I added that she was 17 at the time.


No, you get me wrong, there is more to a career then dominating early, that's why I mentioned the Hingis that is playing today, I wish you would be able to see that, but I think you're to focused on winning alone, you don't see the big picture anymore

Teemu
Feb 15th, 2006, 09:45 PM
I gave 3 examples to show Summon that yes, an 18 year old or thereabouts player can dominate older, more experienced players. When someone says an 18 year old doesn't have to dominate, then I think a few examples are in order so everyone knows an 18 year old can dominate.

I have not placed Maria in the same category as the all-time greats, not yet. You (not you particularly, but most of the forum members here) have. Here in the Maria forum we have all sorts of "World's Best Player", "She will steal those Grand Slams" tags going on. I have nothing against people who use those. They look cool. They're also probably just wishes. Because right now, she's not there yet.


I think "can dominate" is different than "has to dominate". Anyway, I think my point came out pretty well. Nothing wrong with different opinions. Also, it is a Maria cheering forum this one, and I think a little exaggeration can be excused. It's not like she's not slammed to the mud in GM. Though I think it's getting a little better there, thank heavens. I agree she's not there yet, she agrees she's not there yet, and most of us agree with her that she can someday be there, so I don't see any further arguments about the subject that I could come up with. Happy posting. :)

lakan kildap
Feb 15th, 2006, 11:47 PM
No, you get me wrong, there is more to a career then dominating early, that's why I mentioned the Hingis that is playing today, I wish you would be able to see that, but I think you're to focused on winning alone, you don't see the big picture anymore

Enlighten me then. The big picture is...?

Maria Croft
Feb 16th, 2006, 10:19 AM
Enlighten me then. The big picture is...?


There is more to a career that winning everything at a young age, look at Pierce for example, she's still able to make finals at her age, I'm not saying Maria shouldn't dominate just because else there is a change she won't last that long, but a successful career can also be achieved at an older age, dominating can also be done when you're above 18, the big picture is that a career doesn't last two year, but like my Pierce example, maybe more then ten years, enough time for Maria to shine ;)

Andy.
Feb 16th, 2006, 10:31 AM
Every player is different and develops at different speeds. Masha is doing more than well for an 18 year old. especially when you compare her to all of the girls born in 87 or even 86, 85 or 84.

Sharapower
Sep 12th, 2006, 03:10 AM
Maria's recent performances is a big relief. Not only she won her 2nd GS title but she managed to beat her remaining Nemesis's : Justine, Amelie and Kim.
She was so impressive in the final rounds of the US Open. Her game is getting HUGE and she's much more composed, confident, patient and, last but not least, physically fit.
Despite all derogatory comments of haters, I find she dominated Amelie and Justine fair and square. She gave them no solution left, she made them so dejected by her outrageous domination that the two best players of the world resolved to give up fighting.
Now she's where she has to be: not a challenger anymore but one the very big names.
I hope she's there to stay. She can do it.

x Chu x
Sep 12th, 2006, 03:39 AM
she could never disappoint me...all that i ask of her is that mental fortitude she brings everyday to the court

lakan kildap
Sep 12th, 2006, 06:20 AM
Maria's recent performances is a big relief. Not only she won her 2nd GS title but she managed to beat her remaining Nemesis's : Justine, Amelie and Kim.
She was so impressive in the final rounds of the US Open. Her game is getting HUGE and she's much more composed, confident, patient and, last but not least, physically fit.
Despite all derogatory comments of haters, I find she dominated Amelie and Justine fair and square. She gave them no solution left, she made them so dejected by her outrageous domination that the two best players of the world resolved to give up fighting.
Now she's where she has to be: not a challenger anymore but one the very big names.
I hope she's there to stay. She can do it.

Wow, this thread is alive again.

I really don't go to GM. Too much hate there. What were/are they saying after the Mauresmo match? That Momo tanked? If that's true, not Maria's fault IMO. Although I must admit, given her recent ascendancy, I found Momo's scoreline bizarre. I thought she is beyond this now, that she's become a better player, after overcoming her nerves (most recently against Serena). So it's back to facing the doubters again for Momo.

Are the GM saying JHH and Momo were less than 100%? Not Maria's fault. I didn't sense anything wrong with Momo's physical state. JHH got to the final, she must have been healthy enough. As one great champion said: If you're injured (or sick), don't play. If you play, no excuses.

Justine, as you probably know, became my favorite after Graf's retirement, after she beat Jennifer Capriati and faced a dominant Venus in the Wimbledon finals of 2001. She was then, as now, a small (by today's standards), pale, slightly built unknown with the most picturesque backhand you will ever see, and the guts and killer instinct of a leopard.

So the recent final was a bit hard for me. My two favorites facing each other. I was backing Maria, though, but something in me wishes Justine was facing someone else, so I can root for her. I can also imagine the GM having a field day, with their two most hated players contesting the championship. It must have been hard for them to pick a "favorite."

This is what I meant by "dominate" earlier in the year, for which I got a lot of flak from our friends in the forum. Maria did not exactly rout Justine, but she never gave JHH a chance. Outplayed her. Kept her off balance just long enough. At 30-all in some games, she would pull out an ace or service winner or get a weak reply, and she did it all night without losing momentum. Same with Momo in the SF. she was able to force Momo to commit mistakes. Made Momo look like the Momo we knew before.

If Maria can continue doing this, I think she's got a good chance to win in Melbourne. French? Maybe in two-three years. But it would be nice to round up the career GS. And perhaps collect a couple more Wimbledons and USOs on the way.

Maria Croft
Sep 12th, 2006, 01:05 PM
It's nice to read an old thread again and see that I defended Maria and believed in her winning a slam again, and beating the top players :)

Dan23
Sep 12th, 2006, 02:31 PM
haha im likewise ;)

!!!--Duiz™--!!!
Sep 13th, 2006, 01:26 AM
:rolleyes:

She had been dissapointing indeed, but it was just for a while and now it is a thing of the past.

~lollipop_girl~
Sep 13th, 2006, 06:27 AM
:rolleyes:

She had been dissapointing indeed, but it was just for a while and now it is a thing of the past.
Is that why you have suddenly returned?

Maria Croft
Sep 13th, 2006, 01:06 PM
Is that why you have suddenly returned?

Yeah, I was wondering the same thing.

markspot
Sep 14th, 2006, 09:45 PM
I really don't want to look back at the period when Maria was injured and sick,
like US Open last year, QF with Petrova or SF with Kim,
or WTA championships with Amelie, or all the tournaments in between.
The Tokyo tournament this year was when Maria still had shoulder problem and was tired after Australian Open, so I am not concerned about it.

I am much more worried about the L.A. semifinal with Dementieva, just recently.
What was that?
I probably never saw Maria play so badly.
She was injury-free, and played only one San Diego tournament after Wimbledon, nothing else. And she played great with Kim.
Then she suddenly can't play. and she withdraws from Roger's Cup.
Actually, that perhaps was the right decision after that Dementieva match.
And really turned out to be the right decision, as we know now.
But still, this semifinal with Dementieva worries me.

Doc
Sep 15th, 2006, 04:29 PM
I really don't want to look back at the period when Maria was injured and sick,
like US Open last year, QF with Petrova or SF with Kim,
or WTA championships with Amelie, or all the tournaments in between.
The Tokyo tournament this year was when Maria still had shoulder problem and was tired after Australian Open, so I am not concerned about it.

I am much more worried about the L.A. semifinal with Dementieva, just recently.
What was that?
I probably never saw Maria play so badly.
She was injury-free, and played only one San Diego tournament after Wimbledon, nothing else. And she played great with Kim.
Then she suddenly can't play. and she withdraws from Roger's Cup.
Actually, that perhaps was the right decision after that Dementieva match.
And really turned out to be the right decision, as we know now.
But still, this semifinal with Dementieva worries me.

why should it worry you?

Maria is not a robot. No one can win every single match they ever play. Even Navratilova and Graf at their best never managed that. Hopefully Maria will keep up her great win-loss ratio over the summer.

Maria Croft
Sep 16th, 2006, 01:23 PM
I really don't want to look back at the period when Maria was injured and sick,
like US Open last year, QF with Petrova or SF with Kim,
or WTA championships with Amelie, or all the tournaments in between.
The Tokyo tournament this year was when Maria still had shoulder problem and was tired after Australian Open, so I am not concerned about it.

I am much more worried about the L.A. semifinal with Dementieva, just recently.
What was that?
I probably never saw Maria play so badly.
She was injury-free, and played only one San Diego tournament after Wimbledon, nothing else. And she played great with Kim.
Then she suddenly can't play. and she withdraws from Roger's Cup.
Actually, that perhaps was the right decision after that Dementieva match.
And really turned out to be the right decision, as we know now.
But still, this semifinal with Dementieva worries me.

How can that worry you when she just won her second slam beating Mauresmo and Henin-Hardenne?

Some people :lol:

~lollipop_girl~
Sep 17th, 2006, 01:00 PM
How can that worry you when she just won her second slam beating Mauresmo and Henin-Hardenne?

Some people :lol:
In his defence, you can't just forget the losses when she wins a title... TBH she shouldn't have lost to Elena, but if she has learnt properly from that match then there shouldn't be anything to worry about! ;)

Edward.
Sep 17th, 2006, 02:48 PM
Maria tanked against Elena. Elena needed the H2H to look a little more respectable after all. Maria is a nice, charitable woman.

Maria Croft
Sep 17th, 2006, 07:51 PM
Maria didn't lose playing her best, she lost because she was tired and needed a break, how can you worry about it? especially because she has beaten Dementieva so many times before. I just don't see the 'worry' lol