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View Full Version : Slumping players, what is your advice?


sammy01
Feb 9th, 2010, 05:28 PM
Ok this is about no player in particular, but when reading the forum i often see 'X player needs to take a break'. for me when a player is in a slump the right thing to do is tournament whore. there comes a point when a player hits rock and they only way to get out of it is just go play tennis.

for me someone like nicole or ivanovic, who are obviously struggling, they need to play lots of tournaments, because right now each tournament that they do play becomes huge and 'the one' in which they have to turn it around, adding extra preasure.

yes it may mean that the player has a few bad loses but somewhere it will click, and if it doesn't there is the attitude of there is always next week, taking the preasure off when it doesn't click.

im more convinced of a chakvetadze or cornet getting out of a slump playing lots, than ana or nicole who seem to have reduced their schedule with the loss of form. peer is a great example of putting her nose to the grindstone, going and playing small tournaments and building herself back up. it is tough but waiting for something to happen rather than getting out there and almost forcing it happen for me just wont work.

It would be intresting if there are many examples of players taking 3 or 4 months off and it sorting out their loss of form?

babsi
Feb 9th, 2010, 05:31 PM
But what about if the technique is a big problem? If they are playing a lot there will be no proper time to work on fixing it.
Also what about the attitude? If the attitude isn't right then they won't win much at all, just going tournament to tournament losing and the confidence completely going.

tennismaster8820
Feb 9th, 2010, 05:33 PM
Yeah I agree, they just have to play many matches, that's the only way!

babsi
Feb 9th, 2010, 05:33 PM
I think some players have done this in the past and said they were 'injured', probably to get around any fines that they could acrue.

Edinboro
Feb 9th, 2010, 05:33 PM
I agree. I never supported the theory of "taking a break." Although I do think the correct way to go about it is start off in smaller tournaments against weaker players. And as you said Peer was a good example of that. Hovering around the top 60 last year, did good in smaller tier IV tournaments and is now inching closer to the top 20. The good news for Ana, Anna, Nicole, and Alize is that they are all very young and still could have a long career ahead of them. Apart from Alize the others already have several WTA tournaments to their name.

Shvedbarilescu
Feb 9th, 2010, 05:37 PM
I totally 100% agree with you Sammy. That is absolutely the only way to get out of a slump. And Shahar Peer is a fine example of a player who has done just that.

sammy01
Feb 9th, 2010, 05:37 PM
But what about if the technique is a big problem? If they are playing a lot there will be no proper time to work on fixing it.
Also what about the attitude? If the attitude isn't right then they won't win much at all, just going tournament to tournament losing and the confidence completely going.

but im of the mind that practice is ok, but the real test is putting it into match play. lets face it if a player is losing 1st or 2nd round they have 4 days to practice for the next tournament.

lets take ana's ball toss, she may be throwing it up fine in practice but what she really needs is to add it into her match play game. if she is only playing a tournament every 3 weeks that just isn't enough to make it count, and the preasure is on that tournament to get it right because there wont be another for 3 weeks.

Vaidisova Ruled
Feb 9th, 2010, 05:38 PM
Stay away from Radek

Zamboni
Feb 9th, 2010, 05:40 PM
I agree playing a lot of matches is a better solution than taking a break. I remember something Flavia wrote when she blogged from Barcelona in 2007, like "Singles, doubles, mixed, I'll play anything at the moment, anywhere!" :lol: She also mentioned how every match she won, whether in singles or doubles, in bigger or smaller tournaments would help her confidence at that moment.

There's one big exception though: when a player has mental issues, or offcourt problems in her life, she should definitely fix them before playing again IMO. And this seems to be the case at least with Nicole.
There's no good in playing while your head is not right, that way things will only get worse and worse.

goldenlox
Feb 9th, 2010, 05:43 PM
This happens in all sports.
It takes physical ability and mental toughness to be a successful pro, then takes even more mental toughness to keep moving forward once you have some success.

sammy01
Feb 9th, 2010, 05:45 PM
I agree playing a lot of matches is a better solution than taking a break. I remember something Flavia wrote when she blogged from Barcelona in 2007, like "Singles, doubles, mixed, I'll play anything at the moment, anywhere!" :lol: She also mentioned how every match she won, whether in singles or doubles, in bigger or smaller tournaments would help her confidence at that moment.

There's one big exception though: when a player has mental issues, or offcourt problems in her life, she should definitely fix them before playing again IMO. And this seems to be the case at least with Nicole.

that is so true from flavia. :worship:

obviously if there is family problems a break can help, but i think there are very few players on tour i would advise to do that.

what i would say to any player in a slump is be honest with yourself. don't do the ivanovic thing and pretend everything is ok and don't let your ego get in the way of grinding your way back up. ask yourself what you want from your tennis and how you aim to get it and is the effort involved something you are willing to go through.

flavia is a great example of a player forgetting who they were and playing matches and look at her now.

Ferg
Feb 9th, 2010, 05:46 PM
They need to all stop having affairs with Sexy.

Zamboni
Feb 9th, 2010, 05:49 PM
that is so true from flavia. :worship:

obviously if there is family problems a break can help, but i think there are very few players on tour i would advise to do that.

what i would say to any player in a slump is be honest with yourself. don't do the ivanovic thing and pretend everything is ok and don't let your ego get in the way of grinding your way back up. ask yourself what you want from your tennis and how you aim to get it and is the effort involved something you are willing to go through.

flavia is a great example of a player forgetting who they were and playing matches and look at her now.
This is true. I think Ana is hindered by her management/image. She's still one of the stars of tennis, especially for people who don't follow the sport that closely. And stars are not supposed to play small tournaments....
But as long as she's not ready to make that step, and to change major things in her team, game and everything, I doubt things will change for her anytime soon :(

dsanders06
Feb 9th, 2010, 05:50 PM
I agree with most people in this thread. I agree with taking a break to an extent; maybe I could see the logic in Ana ending her season a couple of weeks early last year. It had been a stressful season and maybe she did need it. But there's a limit. If 3 months off wasn't enough, then yet more time off isn't going to work. There comes a time in life where you just have to bite the bullet and try and work through your problems on the fly, even if you're not feeling your best. And in tennis, it's been proven there's no substitute for match play.

Loungy
Feb 9th, 2010, 05:57 PM
This is true. I think Ana is hindered by her management/image. She's still one of the stars of tennis, especially for people who don't follow the sport that closely. And stars are not supposed to play small tournaments...
I doubt people taking care of her management/image aren't aware that soon enough her ranking will be so low she will be playing on the outside courts of the big tournaments, where nobody sees her, so she'll get no exposure of her image. :shrug:

I think Ana doesn't play more because she doesn't want to, and that's that.

Aravanecaravan
Feb 9th, 2010, 06:04 PM
Unless a player is hurt or mentally fried, taking time off is the last thing they ought to be doing. About the only thing a layoff will fix is burnout. Problems with technique, or problems with confidence--those things you fix by playing, getting your butt whipped, and then figuring out how to overcome it. If they need to step down to a lower level of competition to gain some match practice and confidence, then so be it.

If Ivanovic needs to fix her toss, let her figure out during matches what will work for her. She may lose several matches in the process, but at least she'll be developing something that will work under match conditions, and eventually she'll turn the corner. Same for Maria. Sitting out and hoping you'll play better isn't the answer. And everyone knows that practice isn't the same as a match. Doing something perfectly in practice counts for nada if you can't do it in a match situation.

ED fan forever
Feb 9th, 2010, 06:05 PM
Maybe when Ana falls out of the top 50 she'll consider playing some International tournaments to get her ranking up. I think she still feels she's a top player (recent results don't back this up) and her schedule reflects this. She only plays the big events. I like Ana and hate seeing her play like crap. Its not just her serve and ball toss. Hell, even now she still has a better serve than a lot of the top players. Her whole game is a mess.
Chakvedatze is such a talented player that I refuse to believe she can't come back.

spiritedenergy
Feb 9th, 2010, 06:09 PM
I agree playing a lot of matches is a better solution than taking a break. I remember something Flavia wrote when she blogged from Barcelona in 2007, like "Singles, doubles, mixed, I'll play anything at the moment, anywhere!" :lol: She also mentioned how every match she won, whether in singles or doubles, in bigger or smaller tournaments would help her confidence at that moment.

There's one big exception though: when a player has mental issues, or offcourt problems in her life, she should definitely fix them before playing again IMO. And this seems to be the case at least with Nicole.
There's no good in playing while your head is not right, that way things will only get worse and worse.

I agree... take Peer and Vaidisova, the 2 opposite examples... peer played smaller tournaments and improved, Vaidisova did the same just to lose in the 1st round as well... If there is somthing deeper than simply confidence, then playing smaller tournaments won't help. I guess what they need is to take some time off but not going watching their boyfriends play like Ana and Nicole and doing stupid things, but rather find out what the problem is and change. For Ana for example, i would leave the Adidas management team and her manager, and join IMG or some big company, hiring someone who could help her make a proper schedule and find out the things that need to be changed in her life. She should also lose her relationship with her family a bit, they are treating her like a baby, she should take control of her own life and not handing it over to others.

sammy01
Feb 9th, 2010, 06:12 PM
I agree... take Peer and Vaidisova, the 2 opposite examples... peer played smaller tournaments and improved, Vaidisova did the same just to lose in the 1st round as well... If there is somthing deeper than simply confidence, then playing smaller tournaments won't help. I guess what they need is to take some time off but not going watching their boyfriends play like Ana and Nicole and doing stupid things, but rather find out what the problem is and change. For Ana for example, i would leave the Adidas management team and her manager, and join IMG or some big company, hiring someone who could help her make a proper schedule and find out the things that need to be changed in her life. She should also lose her relationship with her family a bit, they are treating her like a baby, she should take control of her own life and not handing it over to others.

nicole hasn't played small tournaments though, she has played the odd one now and again, thats no use, she has gone months not playing the last couple of years, then her name shows up on an entry list and the expectation is ky rocketed, like she must be back with a bag if shes actually playing, thus expectations way too high.

spiritedenergy
Feb 9th, 2010, 06:14 PM
nicole hasn't played small tournaments though, she has played the odd one now and again, thats no use, she has gone months not playing the last couple of years, then her name shows up on an entry list and the expectation is ky rocketed, like she must be back with a bag if shes actually playing, thus expectations way too high.

oh ok i didn't know... i think Vaidisova is not interested in tennis though, she just doesn't want to play... I think (hope) Ana still cares but can't figure it out a way out

SIN DIOS NI LEY
Feb 9th, 2010, 06:23 PM
a bikini photoshoot

sammy01
Feb 9th, 2010, 06:29 PM
a bikini photoshoot

chak and ana have tried that, but i have no problems in them trying again :devil:

Cp6uja
Feb 9th, 2010, 07:07 PM
Simple, there is no rules what is better... even for same player in one situation is better to play more and in other to take pause :shrug:

Also in womans tennis, especially for established (or former) elite players it's not big problem to find some male sparing partner able to simulate for example WTA TOP30/TOP50 opponent any day when they want that. That's why we have so often spectacular comebacks "from nowhere" like Kim did it at USO last season, or if we still talking about AO don't forget Henin/10, Sharapova/08, Serena/07... cases. Comeback from nowhere in ATP is always harder and needs much more time and competitive matches.

So real question is what is some players goal - if they want to back to TOP50, playing Mickey Mouse events (and playing often) is more than welcome, but if they want back into TOP10, or at least to save GS seeds status (TOP32) I don't see some big benefits.

Also, I don't see why people trying so hard here to make already "equal" Ivanovic and Vaidisova cases :confused:
No doubt that Ana currently is just shadow of former #1 and GS champion - but also difference between current #20 and #200 player of course is huge. If we not count "unranked" Henin, since that famous USO/2008 upset vs Julie Coin Ana Ivanovic still not lose vs any non-TOP60 opponent, unlike Nicole which have 1-10 vs TOP150 since last april and once even lose 6-2 6-1 vs player out of TOP500! Even in this mess and nightmare Ana is still able for example to reach Brisbane SF or to make *4-2 40-30 lead in one set vs WTA#4. Not much impressive of course, but not even close with Vaidisova fall for sure.

goldenlox
Feb 9th, 2010, 07:34 PM
I see a comparison of Ana and Nicole because it's mental.
They can't serve anymore. Those 2 need their serve.
Same with Sharapova. Losing those free points makes every aspect tougher.

DefyingGravity
Feb 9th, 2010, 07:36 PM
Ana Ivanovic:

I would literally have her hold a cup in her left hand with tennis ball in it, and her goal is to catch the ball back in the cup when she tosses the ball to serve. I want her to go through her motion all the way up to "trophy" position, hold it, and watch where the ball bounces. It has to bounce at least within 6 inches of her cup before it counts as 1. I will make her do it up to 50. Do this every day.

I would recommend that she spend more time training in the stamina sort of training that she did at the end of 2007-beginning of 2008. She needs to be very quick to play her game, and she's not quick anymore. I would especially have her do American football drills and much more soccer. Her footwork has become appalling.

I would hire a sports psychologist to help her work out how intense her perfectionist ways can be and how to deal with them (use them in a healthy way, not detrimental to her game). I'd also ask for someone to help her keep emotions in check.

Finally, I would tell her that while relationships are wonderful, they should not be making you travel halfway around the world for no reason. Oh, and that sometimes saying no to P.R. can be a good thing for your tennis game.

goldenlox
Feb 9th, 2010, 07:44 PM
It's not easy to change the toss.
Sharapova came back last spring with a shortened service motion but was still tossing the ball too high.
Never could fix her toss, so she went back to her old motion

Ciarán
Feb 9th, 2010, 07:49 PM
Grow a pair.

Aaric
Feb 9th, 2010, 07:51 PM
I agree. They have to play more, and combine it with technique train

Nikkiri
Feb 9th, 2010, 07:53 PM
Play better.

sammy01
Feb 9th, 2010, 07:57 PM
Play better.

forward this advice to ana, anna, nicole ect lol

dsanders06
Feb 9th, 2010, 08:06 PM
Simple, there is no rules what is better... even for same player in one situation is better to play more and in other to take pause :shrug:

Oh, I absolutely agree, there's no universal rule for what is the best for players to get out of a slump. But we saw last year that just focussing on a few events simply doesn't work for Ana, and it's madness to keep going with a strategy that has categorically failed. Right now, she needs to forget about winning any Slams for the time, and start thinking like the typical world #22.

BuTtErFrEnA
Feb 9th, 2010, 08:14 PM
i think every player is different :shrug:

some players are struggling with confidence and for them all it will take is that one win to get them back where they should be

some players have technique problems, and coupled with a loss of confidence they just plummet until they either get back the confidence or fix the technique

sometimes playing a whole lot of matches and losing only further exacerbates the issue so that won't work for every player :shrug:

venus isn't in a slump per se, but she's someone who you can see this with....her technique isn't the best and you can see how it affects her confidence and her ability to go for it in big matches (and sometimes even lesser matches), but sometimes all she needs is one good tournie or win and she takes off...

i guess it depends on game style :shrug: shahar and others who win due to their counterpunching may need all those matches to get their consistency to a level where they stop making errors (since it's their job to make you hit the error while they hardly hit any)

sammy01
Feb 9th, 2010, 08:15 PM
sam smith said today 'the rankings don't lie' and she is right (except for caro lol). if ivanovic is ranked 23 it is because she is the number 23 player in the world and should schedule accordingly, same with nicole, anna ect.

for these players that seem in a forever lasting slumps theres no point in kidding themselves that they are still this or still that, they are where they are and the only way forward is to acknowledge that.

because right now ana, or nicole or anna could make steps in the right direction, but if they still think of themselves as top 10 they wont see the small steps forward they make, just still dwell that they aren't where they were.

i truely feel ana needs a reality check right now.

spiritedenergy
Feb 9th, 2010, 08:25 PM
Oh, I absolutely agree, there's no universal rule for what is the best for players to get out of a slump. But we saw last year that just focussing on a few events simply doesn't work for Ana, and it's madness to keep going with a strategy that has categorically failed. Right now, she needs to forget about winning any Slams for the time, and start thinking like the typical world #22.

Ana is not thinking about winning slams, believe me, at least since US Open 2008. She doesn't have any confidence left in herself or in her game...

BuTtErFrEnA
Feb 9th, 2010, 08:35 PM
sam smith said today 'the rankings don't lie' and she is right (except for caro lol). if ivanovic is ranked 23 it is because she is the number 23 player in the world and should schedule accordingly, same with nicole, anna ect.

for these players that seem in a forever lasting slumps theres no point in kidding themselves that they are still this or still that, they are where they are and the only way forward is to acknowledge that.

because right now ana, or nicole or anna could make steps in the right direction, but if they still think of themselves as top 10 they wont see the small steps forward they make, just still dwell that they aren't where they were.

i truely feel ana needs a reality check right now.

i think ana was a bit delusional at a point :lol: but i think she's gotten out of it now and realises she's in a serious funk and the "everything is perfect in practice it just needs to come on court"....

dsanders06
Feb 9th, 2010, 08:38 PM
i think ana was a bit delusional at a point :lol: but i think she's gotten out of it now and realises she's in a serious funk and the "everything is perfect in practice it just needs to come on court"....

Then why is she seemingly not playing again until Indian Wells?

watchdogfish
Feb 9th, 2010, 08:42 PM
Playing doubles might be a good idea. That way they can work on technique, try out some new things and get important match play whilst in a less pressurised setting.

IMPOSSIBLE
Feb 9th, 2010, 08:46 PM
Start very low and build up very gradually!

Sounds silly but, a slumping player should play some small events in their own country not even ITF's but small national tournaments.

Then depending on the player go back to ITF Circut, either at $10.000, $25.000 or $50.000 level.

Continue training, hopefully on the back of sucsess of ITF. Then play ITF's at $75.000 or $100.000 level.

Move to smaller WTA's before moving back to big tournaments.