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Volcana
Jan 7th, 2008, 04:53 AM
Just for shits and giggles
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16810620/
Serena's improbable run to end

Unseeded American will fall to top-seeded Sharapova in Aussie final

COMMENTARY
By Tracy Austin
MSNBC contributor
updated 2:55 p.m. ET, Thurs., Jan. 25, 2007

http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/Components/ColorBoxes/Styles/img/byline_msnbcDotCom.gif
http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/j/msnbc/Components/Bylines/mugs/NBC%20Sports/nbcsports_tracy_austin.thumb.jpgTracy Austin
MELBOURNE, Australia - Serena Williams has given tennis fans an Australian Open to remember.

Entering the first major of 2007 ranked as world No. 81 due to having played in only four events in 2006, the 25-year-old American has defied the odds to reach her 10th Grand Slam final.

She has taken out five seeded players, and she says she hasn't even played well yet Down Under.

There's no question Serena has exceeded expectations, but she is going to have her work cut out for her when she takes on top-seeded Maria Sharapova in the women's singles final.

Sharapova is going to be a huge step up in class for Williams -- too big a step in my opinion as I see the Russian taking the title.

Sharapova in storming form
There’s no doubt that Sharapova has elevated her game in the last few months. She is also a more confident player than she was before she won her second major at last year's U.S. Open.

The 19-year-old was already a great player on the attack, but her defense has gotten better and she has been serving well on big points.

Overall there are more facets to her game than there used to be, and you can see all the little pieces falling into place as Sharapova improves.

Williams’ semifinal opponent Nicole Vaidisova is a stablemate of Sharapova’s at Nick Bollettieri’s tennis academy in Florida, and she has a similar game to Sharapova's but with one big difference -- Sharapova is much better at that game than is Vaidisova.

Sharapova is a tough cookie and she won’t be intimidated the way Vaidisova was against Williams. She was not intimidated by Williams when she was 17 and playing in the Wimbledon final, and she certainly is not going to be intimidated now as a seasoned player who has won two majors.

Sharapova hits the ball so early, so deep and so well on a consistent basis. I think she is going to rush Williams and therefore test her conditioning a lot more than it has been tested so far.

At her peak, Williams moved so well it was impossible to rush her, but Sharapova is going to put her on her back foot over and over again.
Let's break down their games.

SERVE
It’s tough to choose between them. Williams has a big serve and she has used it well this tournament, but Sharapova’s serve is much improved. I don't see a decided edge for either of them on the serve.
EDGE: EVEN

RETURN OF SERVE
Williams used to have one of the best returns in the game, but it is not quite "on" yet.
Sharapova is returning a lot better than she used to, and she is being smarter about choosing when to go for her returns too.
EDGE: SHARAPOVA


VOLLEYS
Sharapova really does not volley unless she is fairly sure of hitting a winner, so she makes a higher percentage of a the volleys she hits. Williams, though, is a more natural volleyer.
EDGE: WILLIAMS

FOREHAND
Both Williams and Sharapova have incredibly powerful forehands, but both are also prone to mistakes on that wing.
I think Williams’ lack of matches puts her at a slight disadvantage here so, on current form, she loses out to Sharapova.
EDGE: SHARAPOVA

BACKHAND
Right here, right now, Sharapova’s backhand is a safer shot than Williams’ is, so I back the Russian here too.
So many shots are about confidence, and in three months’ time, when Williams has a few more matches under her belt, then she is going to be stronger in so many areas, including this one.
EDGE: SHARAPOVA

FITNESS AND ATHLETICISM
I would split these categories into two. I think Williams is the more agile mover and is the better athlete naturally, but there is no question that Sharapova is in much better shape.
EDGE ATHLETICISM: WILLIAMS
EDGE FITNESS: SHARAPOVA

STRATEGY
This is not going to be a strategic contest, it is going to be a battle of serves and power hitting. It is going to be about who executes their shots better on the day.
EDGE: EVEN

MENTAL TOUGHNESS
These are two of the strongest players mentally in the women’s game. Neither of them ever gives up and they have that champion’s ability to compete well even if they aren’t necessarily playing well.
EDGE: EVEN

MY PICK
SHARAPOVA IN STRAIGHT SETS

RenaSlam.
Jan 7th, 2008, 04:55 AM
Well considering just about everyone was on Sharapova's non-existent dick after she escaped in the 1R, I am not surprised that Tracy picked Sharapova, as she was on Sharapova's non-existent dick as well.

:worship: Serena :worship:

Step to this! Step to this!

G1Player2
Jan 7th, 2008, 05:03 AM
Well considering just about everyone was on Sharapova's non-existent dick after she escaped in the 1R, I am not surprised that Tracy picked Sharapova, as she was on Sharapova's non-existent dick as well.

:worship: Serena :worship:

Step to this! Step to this!

RenaSlam :lol: I admire your enthusiasm but calm down dude. :lol: :p

doni1212
Jan 7th, 2008, 05:05 AM
Volcana, you are getting a good rep for this, :lol:

BuTtErFrEnA
Jan 7th, 2008, 05:05 AM
i remember that article...someone ate some serious crow

Dan23
Jan 7th, 2008, 05:09 AM
living in the past as always :lol:


Step to this! Step to this!:o :tape:

doni1212
Jan 7th, 2008, 05:28 AM
living in the past as always :lol:


:o :tape:

The past and future as you shall soon see, :drool:
Maybe you already got a glimpse in Hong Kong, :lol:

Uranium
Jan 7th, 2008, 05:29 AM
The past and future as you shall soon see, :drool:
Maybe you already got a glimpse in Hong Kong, :lol:

:worship::lol:

Brooks.
Jan 7th, 2008, 05:38 AM
:tape:

mankind
Jan 7th, 2008, 05:38 AM
Fucking idiot Austin is and always will be, particularly when it comes to Sharapova. This isn't even only tragic with the benefit of hindsight, it was a stupid stupid pick even before a ball had been struck. Anyone who had been watching the tournament instead of burying their head in Sharapova's lap would know this was never going to be straight sets for Maria. As for the demolition that ensued, well, even I couldn't have picked that.

Volcana
Jan 7th, 2008, 05:40 AM
I was trying to find her predictions for this year, and ran into that article.

Brooks.
Jan 7th, 2008, 05:52 AM
but if Sharapova was fitter, had just as good of a serve, better forehand, better backhand

however did she lose?? lmao!

venus_rulez
Jan 7th, 2008, 06:17 AM
You would think that people would know by now that The Williams Sisters defy all the rules. That was a fantastic beatdown by Serena :worship:

SAEKeithSerena
Jan 7th, 2008, 06:18 AM
lol.......Tracy and her opinion just don't matter

RenaSlam.
Jan 7th, 2008, 07:41 PM
:)

ce
Jan 7th, 2008, 07:42 PM
nice try Austin :tape:

serenus_2k8
Jan 7th, 2008, 07:49 PM
:lol: What a great analysis :tape:

I really dont know what she was thinking... :rolleyes:

Mikey B
Jan 7th, 2008, 07:49 PM
wow what was tracy smoking??! im a sharapova fan and wished that she won the open last year, but she played terribly all the tourney! her best play came from the first set agaisnt clijsters!! other than that, her game was pretty average..

but in hindsight it's so easy to say that, when in reality serena didnt show anything near the form she showed during the final any other time in the event...

Dave B
Jan 7th, 2008, 07:52 PM
Thanks for the article Volcana. I took a really intense job and have not posted in a long time, but hi! I miss you guys (well those of you who were around), and especially Volcana!

I am not always the biggest fan of Tracy, but she is paid to make predictions and have an opinion. I am sure all of us have eaten our words in the past, and Serena really did look to be in much poorer form. Austin's expert opinion (like her or not, she knows a lot about tennis) goes to show the fighting spirit and natural ability that Serena has. To me, this article is not so much about Austin being wrong, but it is about Serena's ability to continually surprise.

Denise4925
Jan 7th, 2008, 11:12 PM
The past and future as you shall soon see, :drool:
Maybe you already got a glimpse in Hong Kong, :lol:

:lol: :worship:

Denise4925
Jan 7th, 2008, 11:13 PM
but if Sharapova was fitter, had just as good of a serve, better forehand, better backhand

however did she lose?? lmao!

But even though Serena won, Mary Carillo & Co. probably still feel Maria was the better player that day. :p :lol:

Marshmallow
Jan 8th, 2008, 01:59 AM
Nothing would make me happier than to point out tracy austin's wickedness, but you can't blame her for her choice. Bare the match against Jankovic i think, she was struggling in all the others, and did not look Fit.

BUUUUUUUUUUUUTTT... i'm sure the old hag was 'Hope'in and a pray'in' that Serena lost in 2 easy sets, she is without a doubt a WS hater. She'll be the first to tear them apart, like a bitch thrown some pork ribs. You only have to watch clips of the Wimbledon 2005 final, how skillfully she made Venus' tournament performance look like sheer luck. It was thus Hilarious, to hear her go absolutely silent as Venus started to play better. When there's nothing negative to say, she goes silent.

Denise4925
Jan 8th, 2008, 02:02 AM
Nothing would make me happier than to point out tracy austin's wickedness, but you can't blame her for her choice. Bare the match against Jankovic i think, she was struggling in all the others, and did not look Fit.

BUUUUUUUUUUUUTTT... i'm sure the old hag was 'Hope'in and a pray'in' that Serena lost in 2 easy sets, she is without a doubt a WS hater. She'll be the first to tear them apart, like a bitch thrown some pork ribs. You only have to watch clips of the Wimbledon 2005 final, how skillfully she made Venus' tournament performance look like sheer luck. It was thus Hilarious, to hear her go absolutely silent as Venus started to play better. When there's nothing negative to say, she goes silent.

Yes Marsh, but as someone else has pointed out in here, Maria wasn't looking all that sharp herself. Her serve was off and her groundstrokes were less than solid. Her best match was against Kim, but she struggled there as well.

Marshmallow
Jan 8th, 2008, 02:22 AM
Yes Marsh, but as someone else has pointed out in here, Maria wasn't looking all that sharp herself. Her serve was off and her groundstrokes were less than solid. Her best match was against Kim, but she struggled there as well.

Good to still see you posting Denise :D

That's a good point, further proof of Tracy's bias, as if we need anymore.

stevos
Jan 8th, 2008, 03:22 AM
Oh my goodness, some of you are honestly terrible at going back and putting yourselves in the position womens tennis was in at that time.

First of all, let me say I am a huge Serena fan and not a major Tracy Austin supporter, so don't take this as hatorade at ALL, but come on. First of all, Serena hadn't shown anything that spectacular all tournament, hell she had lost to Bam Bam in Hobart, and results even from the year before were few and unimpressive. Her semi-final win wasn't bad, she played pretty un-Serena-ability-esque in the quarters, and yes she defeated Jankovic in a marvelous display, but that seemed for out of the blue than the aura for her whole tournament.

Then, we had Sharapova, who had an amazing fall '06, and no she didn't have a dazzling start to her AO, but most regarded it as either a result of the heat or just simply fluky poor play. She had been impressive (except on serve) in her semi-final, and had won a couple of opening-rounders with ease as well.

There was no reason to believe Sharapova was going to get trashed by Serena like she did. No one can say they saw that utter domination and sheer brilliant shotmaking coming the day before, because Serena is Serena. She's unpredictable.

Some people here act as if we had gone through 07 already when Tracy wrote this, where Serena had once again trounced Maria, and Maria had other strange losses...but really Maria was in the best position, and had just secured the number one ranking. I also seem to recall there being much debate on this board as to who would win the final.

So yes, Tracy may not have made the wisest decision, seeing as Serena will normally wake-up for a Slam final (erm, excluding, well I don't need to say it), but she wasn't a total idiot. I'd say it was a pretty safe and calculated choice.

Dan23
Jan 8th, 2008, 03:31 AM
Oh my goodness, some of you are honestly terrible at going back and putting yourselves in the position womens tennis was in at that time.

First of all, let me say I am a huge Serena fan and not a major Tracy Austin supporter, so don't take this as hatorade at ALL, but come on. First of all, Serena hadn't shown anything that spectacular all tournament, hell she had lost to Bam Bam in Hobart, and results even from the year before were few and unimpressive. Her semi-final win wasn't bad, she played pretty un-Serena-ability-esque in the quarters, and yes she defeated Jankovic in a marvelous display, but that seemed for out of the blue than the aura for her whole tournament.

Then, we had Sharapova, who had an amazing fall '06, and no she didn't have a dazzling start to her AO, but most regarded it as either a result of the heat or just simply fluky poor play. She had been impressive (except on serve) in her semi-final, and had won a couple of opening-rounders with ease as well.

There was no reason to believe Sharapova was going to get trashed by Serena like she did. No one can say they saw that utter domination and sheer brilliant shotmaking coming the day before, because Serena is Serena. She's unpredictable.

Some people here act as if we had gone through 07 already when Tracy wrote this, where Serena had once again trounced Maria, and Maria had other strange losses...but really Maria was in the best position, and had just secured the number one ranking. I also seem to recall there being much debate on this board as to who would win the final.

So yes, Tracy may not have made the wisest decision, seeing as Serena will normally wake-up for a Slam final (erm, excluding, well I don't need to say it), but she wasn't a total idiot. I'd say it was a pretty safe and calculated choice.
True....and since were on nostalgia it would be interesting if anyone could dig up similar articles from before the 04 Wimbledon final? See who the bright sparks were back then :lol:

Stamp Paid
Jan 8th, 2008, 03:41 AM
I want a new Maria avatar. :drool:

Denise4925
Jan 8th, 2008, 06:39 AM
Good to still see you posting Denise :D

That's a good point, further proof of Tracy's bias, as if we need anymore.

Thanks Marsh and happy new year :hug:

Denise4925
Jan 8th, 2008, 06:55 AM
Oh my goodness, some of you are honestly terrible at going back and putting yourselves in the position womens tennis was in at that time.

First of all, let me say I am a huge Serena fan and not a major Tracy Austin supporter, so don't take this as hatorade at ALL, but come on. First of all, Serena hadn't shown anything that spectacular all tournament, hell she had lost to Bam Bam in Hobart, and results even from the year before were few and unimpressive. Her semi-final win wasn't bad, she played pretty un-Serena-ability-esque in the quarters, and yes she defeated Jankovic in a marvelous display, but that seemed for out of the blue than the aura for her whole tournament.

Then, we had Sharapova, who had an amazing fall '06, and no she didn't have a dazzling start to her AO, but most regarded it as either a result of the heat or just simply fluky poor play. She had been impressive (except on serve) in her semi-final, and had won a couple of opening-rounders with ease as well.

There was no reason to believe Sharapova was going to get trashed by Serena like she did. No one can say they saw that utter domination and sheer brilliant shotmaking coming the day before, because Serena is Serena. She's unpredictable.

Some people here act as if we had gone through 07 already when Tracy wrote this, where Serena had once again trounced Maria, and Maria had other strange losses...but really Maria was in the best position, and had just secured the number one ranking. I also seem to recall there being much debate on this board as to who would win the final.

So yes, Tracy may not have made the wisest decision, seeing as Serena will normally wake-up for a Slam final (erm, excluding, well I don't need to say it), but she wasn't a total idiot. I'd say it was a pretty safe and calculated choice.

I completely understand what you're saying, but to completely rule out Serena in a slam final is just fool-hardy. Especially in light of the fact that it was evident that she got better and better with each round, and the fight and determination in her was unparalelled in that tournament.

Yes Maria had some easy early rounds but look at her seeding. To me, the most glaring subjectivity from Austin was giving Maria the edge in this tournament on serves, when Maria's serving was less than steller, but average at the very least, and when Serena's serve was getting her out of trouble left and right in the tournament.

Also, I can somewhat agree on giving Maria the edge on fitness in the beginning of the tournament, but to give her the edge on fitness in the final was another ridiculous call. Maria could barely make it past two sets with the heat, whereas Serena had three-set matches for most of the two weeks and outlasted younger, fitter, more match tough players who were top seeded.

I can understand calling Maria the winner in a closely fought battle, because as you say, she was supposed to be more match tough, fitter and had just come off some GS wins from the previous year. But, the comparison was less than objective. It was a matter of her not really examining how the women got to the final or how they performed to get there, but going on what it looked like on paper.

Denise4925
Jan 8th, 2008, 06:57 AM
True....and since were on nostalgia it would be interesting if anyone could dig up similar articles from before the 04 Wimbledon final? See who the bright sparks were back then :lol:

But, you can't compare the two. Serena was already an established multiple GS winner and former No. 1 going into the AO '07 final, whereas Maria was barely out of tennis camp going into the Wimby '04 final.

Whitehead's Boy
Jan 8th, 2008, 07:26 AM
Even if it's for shits and giggles, what's the point to post this, really? It's 1 year old. She wrote her opinion and mentions it is her opinion; there isn't anything outrageous in the article. Her prediction is wrong, just like 50% of predictions are wrong.

I've noticed people always say the commentators dislike the Williams sisters. But in my opinion, it's often a matter of only remembering the negative and not noticing when they say something positive. I remember watching a match where Evert would compliment the Williams during all match, to then go online and see people complaining she's a "hater" and focus on a particular remark. :confused:

Just for example, in the Austin article:

At her peak, Williams moved so well it was impossible to rush her

If she dislikes Serena, why would she bother complimenting Serena movement at her peak?

(BTW I don't deny most commentators are biased, Austin included, however it's hard to be neutral when you know the players personally. The bias, I suspect, is not intentional.)

Denise4925
Jan 8th, 2008, 07:29 AM
(BTW I don't deny most commentators are biased, Austin included, however it's hard to be neutral when you know the players personally. The bias, I suspect, is not intentional.)

How can bias not be intentional? :confused:

esquímaux
Jan 8th, 2008, 01:08 PM
Some vicious (but funny) posts in this thread. I get the image of a pack of wild dogs circling a wounded prey.

BuTtErFrEnA
Jan 8th, 2008, 01:26 PM
I completely understand what you're saying, but to completely rule out Serena in a slam final is just fool-hardy. Especially in light of the fact that it was evident that she got better and better with each round, and the fight and determination in her was unparalelled in that tournament.

Yes Maria had some easy early rounds but look at her seeding. To me, the most glaring subjectivity from Austin was giving Maria the edge in this tournament on serves, when Maria's serving was less than steller, but average at the very least, and when Serena's serve was getting her out of trouble left and right in the tournament.

Also, I can somewhat agree on giving Maria the edge on fitness in the beginning of the tournament, but to give her the edge on fitness in the final was another ridiculous call. Maria could barely make it past two sets with the heat, whereas Serena had three-set matches for most of the two weeks and outlasted younger, fitter, more match tough players who were top seeded.

I can understand calling Maria the winner in a closely fought battle, because as you say, she was supposed to be more match tough, fitter and had just come off some GS wins from the previous year. But, the comparison was less than objective. It was a matter of her not really examining how the women got to the final or how they performed to get there, but going on what it looked like on paper.

oh my denise :worship: you're on a roll

BuTtErFrEnA
Jan 8th, 2008, 01:27 PM
But, you can't compare the two. Serena was already an established multiple GS winner and former No. 1 going into the AO '07 final, whereas Maria was barely out of tennis camp going into the Wimby '04 final.

o0o0 again....

BuTtErFrEnA
Jan 8th, 2008, 01:27 PM
Some vicious (but funny) posts in this thread. I get the image of a pack of wild dogs circling a wounded prey.

bark bark :devil:

BuTtErFrEnA
Jan 8th, 2008, 01:29 PM
Even if it's for shits and giggles, what's the point to post this, really? It's 1 year old. She wrote her opinion and mentions it is her opinion; there isn't anything outrageous in the article. Her prediction is wrong, just like 50% of predictions are wrong.

I've noticed people always say the commentators dislike the Williams sisters. But in my opinion, it's often a matter of only remembering the negative and not noticing when they say something positive. I remember watching a match where Evert would compliment the Williams during all match, to then go online and see people complaining she's a "hater" and focus on a particular remark. :confused:

Just for example, in the Austin article:

At her peak, Williams moved so well it was impossible to rush her

If she dislikes Serena, why would she bother complimenting Serena movement at her peak?

(BTW I don't deny most commentators are biased, Austin included, however it's hard to be neutral when you know the players personally. The bias, I suspect, is not intentional.)

that was a fact...not an opinion...it wasn't a compliment either...it was a fact that could not be disputed by anything.... ;)

esquímaux
Jan 8th, 2008, 06:40 PM
Well considering just about everyone was on Sharapova's non-existent dick after she escaped in the 1R, I am not surprised that Tracy picked Sharapova, as she was on Sharapova's non-existent dick as well.:eek::tape::lol:

What exactly is a non-existent dick? Maybe it exists in parallel dimensions and Masha harnesses the power of dark matter to "pop" it into this dimension when she needs to "use" (:tape:) it. If this is true, we finally have solid evidence to back string theory :rolls:

bark bark :devil::haha::haha::haha:

frenchie
Jan 8th, 2008, 06:44 PM
Her comparison of strokes is a total JOKE!!!

At least she ate her words

gmak
Jan 8th, 2008, 06:51 PM
and it was all Nadia's fault to begin :smash: :lol: :p

BuTtErFrEnA
Jan 8th, 2008, 06:56 PM
^how is she btw :)

bandabou
Jan 8th, 2008, 08:38 PM
should've given Serena the edge in serving..