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Langers
Jun 13th, 2010, 11:15 AM
Can someone tell me how Maria was so good at 17, good enough to win the title? Watching highlights, she hit the ball deep, she got everything back, she hit so cleanly and painted the lines. She played a faultless final, and seemingly without nerves. Come 2010 she's still a good player, but you'd have to say she was a better, more dangerous player at 17/18/19.

How come? Injuries haven't helped, but you would've thought she had about 10 Slams in her and yet she'll probably struggle to win 5. I'm not writing her off, and I think she'll be a contender for this years Wimbledon, but she looked amazing back in 2004 and things just haven't kicked on the way she would've planned.

gc-spurs
Jun 13th, 2010, 11:20 AM
Yuri stopped threatening to slit the other players throats.

Rafito.
Jun 13th, 2010, 11:28 AM
I miss Yuri :awww:

ptitnavet
Jun 13th, 2010, 11:30 AM
Maria hadn't tactic, she was "ballbashing" and everything was in.
On grass I think she should played the way she used to. yes that was more effective

madmax
Jun 13th, 2010, 11:31 AM
she was faster and smaller back then - that's the only reason...she hits harder now though

Caralenko
Jun 13th, 2010, 11:33 AM
I think the biggest mystery behind 2004 Wimbly was what the fuck happened to Serena? :sobbing: It was surprising she even got to the final.

Pops Maellard
Jun 13th, 2010, 11:35 AM
I wish she'd get her flawless teenager mentality back. :awww:

hdfb
Jun 13th, 2010, 11:47 AM
I think the biggest mystery behind 2004 Wimbly was what the fuck happened to Serena? :sobbing: It was surprising she even got to the final.

I know... I just...have no words.

Joe.
Jun 13th, 2010, 11:51 AM
At the age of 17, Masha was moving better than ever. Shes grown quite a lot since then, and her height really hinders her movement. However, the most important thing was that Masha was not injured. She had no injuries whatsoever. If she hadn't have picked up all these injuries, she would without doubt, won more then 3 GS titles.

VishaalMaria
Jun 13th, 2010, 12:05 PM
At the age of 17, Masha was moving better than ever. Shes grown quite a lot since then, and her height really hinders her movement. However, the most important thing was that Masha was not injured. She had no injuries whatsoever. If she hadn't have picked up all these injuries, she would without doubt, won more then 3 GS titles.

Maybe.

Maria was on a high after winning Wimbledon and then the YEC in the same year. She came into the A0 05 super confident but I feel from then on her confidence slowly started dwindling because most of the time she'd come up against opponents that were simply better than her [Serena at A0; Justine at FO; Venus at WI; Kim at USO]. So it's not all about injuries as evidenced by the fact she won another two slams since then.

Unfortunately she injured her shoulder and the fact she came back after taking 9 months off pushed her back mentally and physically which in turn had a detrimental affect on her game. She's basically "working her way up the ladder" now.

Nothings ever the same. Maria just has to adapt now.

tennnisfannn
Jun 13th, 2010, 12:45 PM
I think the biggest mystery behind 2004 Wimbly was what the fuck happened to Serena? :sobbing: It was surprising she even got to the final.
This was seren'a fourth or so tourny since coming back from that major surgery. That SF against amelie was sensational, (and maybe amelie should have won that too) she probably never recovered physically from that.

Direwolf
Jun 13th, 2010, 02:24 PM
Rain Delay in the Semis totally helped!!

She was playing good enought to win the title in 2005 & 2007

its just that Venus was too good...

2004,
Serena was just shocked at the pace of the ball
and she didn't know what hit her arsenal...

narutos
Jun 13th, 2010, 02:29 PM
Serena was just shocked at the pace of the ball
and she didn't know what hit her arsenal...

:lol::lol::lol:

debby
Jun 13th, 2010, 02:32 PM
You know, when we say injuries can determin the rest of one's career, that's not a joke. Really.
After her knee injury, EVEN Serena struggled to find her old form again, she was even out of the top 100 at one moment, me thinks. Venus struggled too. Henin too (and atm), Kim struggled in 2004....
And a shoulder injury is very bad, so she still needs time, because she lost confidence on her serve (I really think her serve was her main weapon before her injury) , since that, she is not the same anymore unfortunately. When she faces top players, she is more nervous, and her serve falls away.
The old Masha could still relies on her serve to get her out of bad situation where her gameplay was off, à la Serena.

Craig.
Jun 13th, 2010, 02:34 PM
She could just deal with low flat balls a lot better. Her movement was better, she could redirect the ball with much more ease (without being afraid to miss) and she was also so much more consistent.

The Dawntreader
Jun 13th, 2010, 02:42 PM
She could just deal with low flat balls a lot etter. Her movement was better, she could redirect the ball with much more ease (without being afraid to miss) and she was also so much more consistent.

This.

Mina Vagante
Jun 13th, 2010, 02:47 PM
Maria in 2004/2005 was absolutely :worship:

She hit the ball so hard, so flat and so close to the lines it was unreal. I never thought as if she was going to miss then either - which can't be said these days.

Her serve, both first and second, were weapons. Now, they're more of a liability.

AnywhereButHome
Jun 13th, 2010, 06:48 PM
Maria in 2004/2005 was absolutely :worship:

She hit the ball so hard, so flat and so close to the lines it was unreal. I never thought as if she was going to miss then either - which can't be said these days.

Her serve, both first and second, were weapons. Now, they're more of a liability.

:yeah:

DefyingGravity
Jun 13th, 2010, 08:12 PM
You know, when you're a kid...you have a reckless abandon to your game, so when you're hitting hard and flat and miss, you just figure I'll keep plugging at it and eventually I'll find it, so she hit harder and deeper when she was starting to hit bad patches in matches, and that's what would do it for her.

As an adult, you see she adds more topspin to her shots now...she hits a heavier ball, and sometimes it comes across as slower, but she's really hitting much harder. If she had continued to hit flat, she would be killing everyone but also would have maybe ruined her shoulder faster. 2005 was pivotal, in my opinion. She was doing well, but she realized that she couldn't just rely on hitting hard, and she started to slowly change her game. Now, she's got a lot more tricks, but she's a) still recovering mentally from an injury that will have any tennis player scared for their future, b) adjusting to the competition as they have gotten better as she was out, and c) finding how to play her best tennis.

Nicolás89
Jun 13th, 2010, 08:33 PM
Actually, her shoulder injury started back in 2005, got really bad in 2007 and by 2008 needed surgery with urgence.

mckyle.
Jun 13th, 2010, 08:35 PM
She was a stick back then. She's not fat now, but she's quite bigger than she was :lol:

ivanban
Jun 13th, 2010, 08:38 PM
I liked Maria back then :sad:

LightWarrior
Jun 13th, 2010, 08:45 PM
Amazingly as it sounds Serena choked throughout this GS final. That helps.

The Dawntreader
Jun 13th, 2010, 09:02 PM
Serena's forehand- AWOL.

Snatching recklessly at 80% of forehands. Body-weight, racquet-prep all over the place. Without a doubt the worst she's ever played in a Slam final.

Nice that it's compensated with Sharapova playing such an inspired, fearless match. Really reminiscent of other teen break out performances such as:

Hingis demolishing Pierce in the '97 AO final.
Seles beating Graf in the '90 RG final.
Sanchez Vicario beating Graf in the '89 RG final.

etc, etc.

it-girl
Jun 13th, 2010, 09:03 PM
I have always felt that Maria was fourtunate to win Wimbledon 04. She played Serena who at that time was a player who had recently returned from surgery and also the loss of her sister. Serena was only a few months into her comeback. Maria is now the one who is still trying to reach her previous level after surgery. Maria never would have beat a 100% healthy Serena in 04. Just as now Maria is losing to a lot of players who would never beat her when she is 100%. Injuries & returning from injuries have affected a lot of results for many tennis players. For those of you who say Maria beat Serena in the SEC, if you don't recall Serena was once again injured as most of you know the injury happened during the match & Serena could barely serve (it was horrible to watch).

I also feel that Sharapova fans should be thankful that Maria is even playing, because I have always felt that her injury is a haunting reminder of Capriati. The difference is that Maria obviously has a love for the game and is enjoying playing even though she is not winning like she use to. Or could it be that she simply has sponsor obligations & has to tough it out even when she may not want to because of her contracts. Either was she is doing that best that she can at the moment and now many people may have to consider the fact that her career could end up more like Mauresmo's did after her surgery. She may very well be playing the best that she will ever play again now.

You cannot down a player when they really are playing their best nor is it fair to compare her to a player she will never be again because her shoulder is now different. At least you get to see her still play, unlike Capriati fans.

Polikarpov
Jun 13th, 2010, 09:37 PM
Watching the highlights of this match, it seems that Maria hits a lot flatter back then. And her backhand was a lot more vicious, especially when she hits it crosscourt.

Cakeisgood
Jun 13th, 2010, 11:37 PM
I won't admit this fact very often, but Serena was just gawd-awful in that match. Maria played well, but ReeRee's FH was NOWHERE to be found.

OsloErik
Jun 14th, 2010, 12:38 AM
Can someone tell me how Maria was so good at 17, good enough to win the title? Watching highlights, she hit the ball deep, she got everything back, she hit so cleanly and painted the lines. She played a faultless final, and seemingly without nerves. Come 2010 she's still a good player, but you'd have to say she was a better, more dangerous player at 17/18/19.

How come? Injuries haven't helped, but you would've thought she had about 10 Slams in her and yet she'll probably struggle to win 5. I'm not writing her off, and I think she'll be a contender for this years Wimbledon, but she looked amazing back in 2004 and things just haven't kicked on the way she would've planned.

For one thing, that forehand always looked like it would tear her shoulder apart. That buggy-whip motion at 80+ mph is just terrible for your body. Her backhand is clean, but that forehand makes MY shoulder hurt.

For another thing, what I bolded has to do with it: young players are frequently stupid. They have zero concept of "the moment" and are less likely to choke or have nerves play a factor. The litany of players with head problems today frequently had their slam breakthroughs (SF, F, 1st title) at 19, 20, 21: Kuznetsova, Ivanovic, Mauresmo, Safina, etc. Then there are the players who take a while to develop and don't have back-to-back world beater games until they are in their mid-20s. Conchita was like that, so is Stosur. It's like a valley of nervousness: if you don't crack the ceiling young enough, you're almost better off cracking the ceiling at 23 than at 20.

One last thing: imagine if Sharapova had been whipped in that final. Do you think she would be the same player, mentally, that she has been in the past 6 years? I don't. That first final can have a LOOOOOONG impact. Clijsters lost a marathon at 17, and she became a notorious choker. Mauresmo got thumped at 19, and she became a notorious choker. Safina might NEVER get over losing those finals.

OsloErik
Jun 14th, 2010, 12:41 AM
Amazingly as it sounds Serena choked throughout this GS final. That helps.

I'm not sure that's 100% accurate. Remember that bizarre pre-match interview with Serena when she said "we'll see who the lion is and who is the hunter and who is the prey" or something equally bat-shit crazy? I think she expected Sharapova to roll over and play dead. But Sharapova went for every single ball, focused in a way NONE of Serena's opponents (except Capriati on occassion) could, and (unlike her obvious comparison point, Davenport) didn't get discouraged by being the slower player.

Serena underestimated an opponent. She hasn't done that in an important match since. In plenty of Tier II matches she has, but never again at a slam.

OsloErik
Jun 14th, 2010, 12:43 AM
She was a stick back then. She's not fat now, but she's quite bigger than she was :lol:

She's gotten muscle-bound in her hips, so her actual strides are less quick than they used to be. She can't cover the court the same way, and without her serve, it doesn't even matter.

edificio
Jun 14th, 2010, 12:44 AM
It's all in her head (well, and who is across the net). Maria was faster and freer--the weight of expectation was lower. Also, Serena underestimated her--overconfidence on her part.

TSequoia01
Jun 14th, 2010, 12:54 AM
Maria played well and Serena was coming back from knee surgery. A surgery she never really recovered from.

supergrunt
Jun 14th, 2010, 12:58 AM
It's all in her head (well, and who is across the net). Maria was faster and freer--the weight of expectation was lower. Also, Serena underestimated her--overconfidence on her part.

I don't think she underestimated her at all :confused: ...

Roookie
Jun 14th, 2010, 12:59 AM
the better grasscourt player won that day :shrug:

LeRoy.
Jun 14th, 2010, 01:00 AM
I am not sure how its all connected (yet) but I am sure it has something to do with her being a lesbian and you being a closeted homosexual. :sad:

hurricanejeanne
Jun 14th, 2010, 01:14 AM
Maria had a combination of still having her adolescent body (thin as a stick before she developed a woman's body)which helped her move better, absolutely no fear or expectation that was put on her (as there is nowadays that she's an established player), and really she caught lightning in a bottle. I think Maria at her best should always be a consistent top ten player who will always be dangerous but she'll hit those hot streaks, a la 2004 Wimbledon and 2008 Aussie, where she'll be very, very hard to beat. Right now it's all about staying healthy and finding her consistent game again.

Leo_DFP
Jun 14th, 2010, 02:17 AM
She had those classic Lansdorp groundstrokes back then. Flat and clean.

Perhaps, in retrospect, that was the worst decision of her career, splitting with Lansdorp. But he and Yuri were two egos that could simply not coexist. Her groundstrokes are a confused and erratic mess in comparison now.

I enjoyed watching highlights of this match on youtube again. I was struck by how much better she hit the ball back in '04, with less topspin but much more conviction and belief. I was also struck by how much smaller she was. She was a gangly young girl at age 17! It's amazing how much female athletes are affected by the growth and development of their bodies, and usually for the worst - seen best in tennis and figure skating.

Sir Stefwhit
Jun 14th, 2010, 02:43 AM
Consistency~ the reason she can hang w/the likes of speedy big hitters was because she was able to go for and make winner after winner w/out a ton of errors. Now of days she's so much more error prone. And it's funny because I actually felt her game was more high risk than now. She went for the sidelines a lot more and she consistently hit her shots.

Confidence~ she's one of those players that feeds off the momentum of her growing confidence. It's always easier for younger players to have that ultimate level of blind confidence, with age sometime comes doubt. Her injuries surely haven't helped any, but I doubt she'll ever be as truly confident as she once was.

Control (of her serve)~ the obvious answer, her serve. It was a major weapon once upon a time, now in big matches it's a liability.

But don't go sleepin' on Masha, she's the real deal and if she can maintain health she will take more slams, no doubt about it.

Gdsimmons
Jun 14th, 2010, 03:03 AM
I think Maria just came out there with all the confidence. She felt she had nothing to lose and she didnt. While it was totally different for Serena. And the result shows.

That is a match I tried to erase from my memory but the shrink says its not possible

espntennis
Jun 14th, 2010, 04:16 AM
Serena was nervous.

OsloErik
Jun 14th, 2010, 10:08 PM
I don't think she underestimated her at all :confused: ...

She TOTALLY did. Does anyone else remember that "We'll see who is the lion and who is the hunter and who is the prey" press conference? It was the weirdest thing. It wsa like she was saying "she's a flash in the pan, I'm the 2-time defending champion" and didn't do any strategizing.

That, coupled with Sharapova's game back then, meant a straight-sets win for Sharapova. Serena's NEVER underestimated a player at a slam since that I can remember. And she now treats Sharapova (or at least did when they played) with Capriati-Henin levels of intensity. Fool her once...

hotandspicey
Jun 14th, 2010, 10:23 PM
Btw, the Tennis Channel is airing this match tomorrow Tuesday at 8 and 11 pm, and Wednesday -3 time slots. For those who did not see it...enjoy.