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View Full Version : Shouldn't we now expect good comebacks?


¤CharlDa¤
Jan 30th, 2010, 04:35 AM
Ok, I have been holding off for a long time about this subject, but I need to vent.

Ever since Kim and Justine came back, we have been hearing, mostly from the media but also from the fans, how unbelievable it is that they are coming back to such a level, winning matches, etc. I understand it's a great story for them, but it's misleading.

I agree what both have done coming back is exceptionnal, but it is because they are naturally two exceptionnal, talented, champions. We have seen Hingis and Davenport (even Serena, at a lower extent) have very good comebacks too. So why do we keep up expecting bad results for comeback players?

Kim was pretty honest about it. Before coming back, she was training 6 days a week, very intensely. She was inviting players over for practice matches. She had all the time she needed to work on her game, get her rhythm and athlecism back, and comeback whenever she felt ready. Justine probably did the same, I think starting to play in June. You can clearly see she worked hard on her game, modifying her strokes and her attitude.

The thing is, NO ONE has the chance to do that on the tour. During the Christmas break, you have around a month to train, but that also includes taking a break from the tour, giving a break to your body, get rid of injuries, etc. No one who plays consistently on the tour can tweak the technique of a shot, as they are usually playing week-in and week-out, and thus can't lose their bad habits. When you have a player who naturally was talented, probably more than the average player, why don't we realize it's an advantage to have all that time before playing your first tournament?

Same can be said about motivation. For us, it all seems easy, fun, glamourous, but playing a year on the tour is tiring, a lot of trips, a lot of up and downs. Players are motivated to do well, but we have all experienced it before: you realize what you love when you don't have it around you anymore. Justine and Kim came back hungry, with a different view of the game, they now realize how important it is to them, but also how they can train, work, do great things, without being one dimensional. You can gain a lot of maturity, which is key in a tennis match which is so mental.

Best example I know up close is Canadian Valérie Tétreault. As her career was going nowhere, she decided to stop, for almost a year. When she came back, she realized what she was missing, realized what she was doing wrong, now knows tennis is what she wants to do, but also that she should stop thinking about every single detail, but just try to be the best she can. And her rise has been quite spectacular, hundreds of spots in the same year, now barely top 100.

We are always hearing the 'rust' issue, but I don't think it is that important in that case. For example, an injured player, who misses a few months of the tour, wants to come back as soon as possible, to protect a ranking, get new points, etc. They often come back not 'ready', haven't been training for a long time, etc. Kim and Justine had no pressure at all to come back for any given time: I am ready for the Us Open? Ok, I'll play. I'm not? Meh, I'll just come back for the Australian Open. They both are champions, who wanted to win Grand Slams, so I'm sure that they thought about coming back when they were ready to challenge the top players.

So please, just please, can we stop having that: ,''Wow, coming back and being in a final already, so AMAZING'' talk? It's getting old and annoying. I personnally knew Justine would come back to finals, and as I think her second round against Elena was a toss-up, I'm still not that surprised to see her in the finals today.

Tennisstar86
Jan 30th, 2010, 04:38 AM
yeah... I dont understand the big hoopla..... Honestly the only impressive one was Serenas....and thats cause, lets face it, she was fat........

SharapovaFTW
Jan 30th, 2010, 04:42 AM
No not at all! To come back like these players have and do what they have done in these 2 Grand Slams is nothing short of amazing. I don't care how much they trained prior to the fact. No practice, training, or prep is going to prepare you for live match play and the flow of a tennis match. Kim and Justine exceeded expectations in their comebacks in their first Grand Slam, and for any other sort of retirement/comeback of a top tier player in the near future it would be unfair to expect such results.

¤CharlDa¤
Jan 30th, 2010, 04:48 AM
You said it: 'They exceeded expectations'. Is it because the results were that amazing (and they were), or because our expectations were too low?

Those girls know what match play is all about, they have played thousands and thousands of matches before. And they played practice matches and exhibitions before coming back. Do you really forget what a tennis match is all about in a year?

Golovinjured.
Jan 30th, 2010, 04:56 AM
I don't think so. The only reason Clijsters/Henin/Davenport did so well is because the tour hadn't progressed at all since they'd left.

And not all comebacks are successful. Dokic (for years), Bovina, Lucic, Stevenson.. Vaidisova. For every good comeback, there's a few bad ones.

Direwolf
Jan 30th, 2010, 04:58 AM
I agree...
but i think that there are big differences between coming back from injury
and coming back
because youre a quitter
...

¤CharlDa¤
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:06 AM
I don't think so. The only reason Clijsters/Henin/Davenport did so well is because the tour hadn't progressed at all since they'd left.

And not all comebacks are successful. Dokic (for years), Bovina, Lucic, Stevenson.. Vaidisova. For every good comeback, there's a few bad ones.

You are comparing Lindsay, Henin and Clijsters, some multiple Grand Slam champions, with long careers at the top and very solid consistent results, with players who had maybe one year, or even one Grand Slam, before leaving. Out of those, Dokic was probably the one with the best career before leaving, and also the one who had the best 'comeback' in AO last year.

Champions are champions. Sadly, not of the one you mentionned earlier, even though very talented, had a champions mindset.

Btw, this thread isn't made to 'bash' both players coming back, and not at all.

Tennisstar86
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:09 AM
I don't think so. The only reason Clijsters/Henin/Davenport did so well is because the tour hadn't progressed at all since they'd left.

And not all comebacks are successful. Dokic (for years), Bovina, Lucic, Stevenson.. Vaidisova. For every good comeback, there's a few bad ones.

but these arent champions we're talking about..... and these other girls practically left the game not playing well. and came back not playing well....

Donny
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:13 AM
From Wertheim's mailbag:

Were you surprised at the Elena Dementieva-Justine Henin result? Henin has dominated Dementieva in past meetings (nine wins in 11 matches), but they last played in 2007 and Dementieva has been performing pretty well of late. What does this say about Henin's chances moving forward?
--Stephen Males, Devonshire, Bermuda

• The short is answer is: not at all. I don't want to take away from this whole comeback trope. It's a nifty storyline: players decide to quit, reassess the decision, get back into training and return to their winning ways. I get that. But to hear some of the discussion, you'd think that Henin had been spending the last 30 years playing shuffleboard in Boca ("Allez!"). She suddenly puts down her cane, get an artificial hip, LASIK and botox, starts ordering the cottage cheese and not the Reuben sandwich at the early bird special and works her way back. Let's be realistic: We're talking about an elite athlete (always in peak condition) and peerless competitor who took an 18-month hiatus and now, at age 27, has returned. I would almost go so far as to submit that if Henin weren't in top 20 form, it would be surprising.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/jon_wertheim/01/20/wednesday.mailbag/index.html#ixzz0e4N3IwKz

SharapovaFTW
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:13 AM
You said it: 'They exceeded expectations'. Is it because the results were that amazing (and they were), or because our expectations were too low?

Those girls know what match play is all about, they have played thousands and thousands of matches before. And they played practice matches and exhibitions before coming back. Do you really forget what a tennis match is all about in a year?

They exceeded expectations because common sense shouldn't allow you to set the bar that high. Sure they had practice matches and such, but you can't really simulate Grand Slam play because it is a whole different beast. A whole different mental struggle. Par for the course on their comeback was probably 4R and anything better than that should be considered a big success. Like someone said though coming back after retiring and coming back after being injured are two different animals to conquer. I would like to think if you were once a top 5 player, coming out of retirement and having success quicker is much easier than coming back from injury and having success quicker. So Kim and Justine did have that going for them.

¤CharlDa¤
Jan 30th, 2010, 06:13 AM
I never thought I'd agree with Wertheim, but I'm with him on this one.

¤CharlDa¤
Jan 30th, 2010, 06:26 AM
They exceeded expectations because common sense shouldn't allow you to set the bar that high.

I'm not saying we should expect them to directly go in the finals and win events. All I'm saying is that there is a strong possibility that they can, and that we shouldn't be surprised if they do. Kim and Justine both said the same thing, that they weren't expecting it, but I don't believe a word of it. They came back wanting to win Grand Slams, and they don't want to put pressure on their shoulders. But deep down inside, I'm sure Justine knew she had a shot at winning this AO, and Kim definitely thought she was a favorite for the open.

Vincey!
Jan 30th, 2010, 06:35 AM
They exceeded expectations because common sense shouldn't allow you to set the bar that high. Sure they had practice matches and such, but you can't really simulate Grand Slam play because it is a whole different beast. A whole different mental struggle. Par for the course on their comeback was probably 4R and anything better than that should be considered a big success. Like someone said though coming back after retiring and coming back after being injured are two different animals to conquer. I would like to think if you were once a top 5 player, coming out of retirement and having success quicker is much easier than coming back from injury and having success quicker. So Kim and Justine did have that going for them.

I agree with Charlda, it's a really good achievement to be in a GS final that quickly, but considering we are talking about Justine and Kim who retire during a long period with no real serious injuries. It is easy to get back at your top form level.even moret if they could win GS before, they still can since they only could have improved their game.

As you said,Coming back from an injury is harder than a retirement, but yet I haven't heard nearly as much excitement about Sharapova's come back run at RG last year as there was about Henin winning her 2nd match against Dementieva at the AO.

Tennisstar86
Jan 30th, 2010, 08:21 AM
I agree with Charlda, it's a really good achievement to be in a GS final that quickly, but considering we are talking about Justine and Kim who retire during a long period with no real serious injuries. It is easy to get back at your top form level.even moret if they could win GS before, they still can since they only could have improved their game.

As you said,Coming back from an injury is harder than a retirement, but yet I haven't heard nearly as much excitement about Sharapova's come back run at RG last year as there was about Henin winning her 2nd match against Dementieva at the AO.

There was though....Wasnt she like 3rd favorite at Wimbledon behind Venus and Serena? and all the she should be bumped up in the seedings..... but then she lost and then she lost early at the US Open. so the hype faded.... Look at Kim she lost.. if she loses early at the French (I have a hunch she will) her hype will fade as well....

HippityHop
Jan 30th, 2010, 09:26 AM
Wertheim is correct. And let's be honest, the WTA is not seething with championship athletes where anybody can win a major at any time.
Now that Justine and Kim are back there are really only 4 women who you can realistically expect to be favored to win a major.

Mary Cherry.
Jan 30th, 2010, 09:33 AM
Capriati for Roland Garros.

Vyacheslavovna
Jan 30th, 2010, 12:50 PM
In men's tennis, if you're Sampras and thinking about a comeback, I don't think you can practice in private against people who can play like Federer, Nadal or Djokovic. Whereas if you're Clijsters or Henin, presumably they can find any semi-pro dude to give them a reasonable estimation of Serena, Dinara or Svetlana.

The only way Sampras would be sure if he could still hack it would be by playing.

Clijsters and Henin should have had a fairly good idea of their level before they stepped on court. The only question would have been can they still produce it on the big stage under the big lights.

Cp6uja
Jan 30th, 2010, 01:03 PM
Wertheim is correct. And let's be honest, the WTA is not seething with championship athletes where anybody can win a major at any time.
Now that Justine and Kim are back there are really only 4 women who you can realistically expect to be favored to win a major.To be more honest only Serena and Justine is contenders at every slam. Clijsters is limited only at hardcourts (USO and AO) and Venus at fastest surfaces (Wim and USO), so their slam-contender status is not any better now than for example Sharapova or even Kuznetsova.

Also talking about great comebacks of "old girls" people forget Mary Pierce 2005 case (and nobody here never complain about 2005 state of WTA) when she reach 4 out of 7 most important WTA finals (RG, USO, YEC and FED CUP).

Midnight_Robber
Jan 30th, 2010, 01:18 PM
Agree with the OP and in this *very* particular instance, with Wertheim. They're not recovering from injury or surgery - they've had a timely break which has protected them from the wear and tear of the road-map, and as Wertheim points out, they're elite athletes. They're fresh, they're neither at the dawn or the twilight of their career and they're returning to an inconsistent field.

Yes, they've done well thus far, but once you put it in context it's not quite the jaw-dropping miracle that the media is insisting it is.

FrOzon
Jan 30th, 2010, 01:22 PM
I'm not saying we should expect them to directly go in the finals and win events. All I'm saying is that there is a strong possibility that they can, and that we shouldn't be surprised if they do. Kim and Justine both said the same thing, that they weren't expecting it, but I don't believe a word of it. They came back wanting to win Grand Slams, and they don't want to put pressure on their shoulders. But deep down inside, I'm sure Justine knew she had a shot at winning this AO, and Kim definitely thought she was a favorite for the open.

You're way too critical.

a) They came back wanting to win Grand Slams: Yes, of course. But not the first one.
b) Absolutely don't agree with your last sentence.

FrOzon
Jan 30th, 2010, 01:25 PM
As you said,Coming back from an injury is harder than a retirement, but yet I haven't heard nearly as much excitement about Sharapova's come back run at RG last year as there was about Henin winning her 2nd match against Dementieva at the AO.

Sharapova didn't have to play a "Dementieva" last year... :shrug: