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laurie
Apr 4th, 2011, 09:45 PM
Very interesting article by Patrick - really reflecting what a lot of us have said for some time. Read on......

http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/tennis/patrick-mouratoglou/article/1522/

It was great to see Maria Sharapova reach the final in Miami, before losing to Victoria Azarenka in quite comfortable straight sets.

I went to watch Sharapova play recently in Indian Wells, when she thrashed Aravane Rezai 6-2 6-2, and was struck by two things: how electrifyingly she was beating people in the early rounds, but also the relative weakness of her game.

She's still young but after suffering from lots of injuries, including undergoing right shoulder surgery, she doesn't give me the impression that she still makes tennis a top priority.

It may sound weird to talk about the weakness of a player who is reaching finals in a top event like Miami but I am certain Maria Sharapova is far from having her A-game back.

She built her strength around several main weapons: a big serve, being efficient on her first shot after the serve and putting a lot of intensity into her returns, which kept her opponent under pressure.

Even if the last shot is still efficient, despite her coach reminding her throughout matches to be aggressive on the second serve, her serve is barely a shadow of what it used to be.

Her first serve has lot a lot of its crushing ability, the stats confirm it, and her second serve is not amazingly reliable. It's not a safe shot for her.

All this results in a huge number of double faults; leading, of course, to a large number of breaks of serve.

She does still display an aggressive game but she has lost a bit of power and explosiveness in her movement. Now she is making just as many unforced errors as she used to but at the same time managing far fewer winners.

Most important of all though is that she has becomes a beatable player as long as you know the strategy to play against her.

She remains dangerous if you give her angles and she likes to be moved around the court in order to use those angles to fire some great shots.

In women's tennis numerous girls are playing from right to left with reasonable pace and the Russian enjoys playing against that.

But if an opponent sends deep balls back down the middle of the court, Sharapova doesn't know what how to strike back. Then the mistakes follow and the opponent is able to counter-punch.

After all this criticism it is possible to wonder how she is still winning matches.

Firstly her efficiency is tied in with the fact that most of her opponents play a game that completely suits her. When that's the case, she remains one of the best in the world on the return of serve, so she's putting a lot of pressure on her opponents. Also when she is not deep in a double-fault crisis she can focus on her opponent's serve.

She's also a huge competitor still; she is a really tough on the key points, a player who rarely chokes when it is time to end a match and a player who is going to take her chance no matter what from the first to the last point.

She still fights like her lift is at stake and because of that she is able to get back in the world's top 10 and reach a final like Miami.

It is also thrilling to watch Maria just being in the spotlight again. Her charisma, the feeling she gives people watching her play, is just unique.

She's displays great inner strength, she makes people dream and love the sport. Like Venus or Serena, she is simply in another dimension. They all make people love them, admire them or hate them. They give a soul to the game because people always have an opinion out them one way or another.

And this is the major issue in the women's game today: the stars with charisma and the players who make people dream are no longer at the top of the game.

Sharapova, Venus and Serena are extraordinary players, true tennis ambassadors, and when they were reigning women's tennis was at its best.

Now they've turned their back on the sport slightly in order to pick up a more glamorous life. Venus isn't shining in Grand Slams anymore, her sister hasn't played in nine months and even before that she wasn't really playing or winning anything outside the Grand Slams.

What would the men's game be if Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic were ranked between 15th and 30th? What if they never played each other in the last four of the major events? What if they only played 15 tournaments a year? The sport was turn slightly dull and would lose its audience.

The ATP tour has had ten amazing years because the Pete Sampras-Andre Agassi duet has been replaced by the Nadal-Federer one.

What allows Nadal and Federer to achieve so much is their love of the game and their dedication to it. They still have the flame so they can go on training and searching to be better in order to win. The still want to win and the deeply respect the sport, its history and culture.

Celebrity, glamour and sponsorship contracts now take too much of a place in the women's game and it takes away the stars of a sport that brought them to the top.

They are losing their focus and the level of their game is becoming unpredictable so they are prevented from shining in the big events.

The absence of giant rivalries is what is slowly killing the women's game.

pov
Apr 4th, 2011, 09:54 PM
IMO Mouratoglou is a wanker whose analysis of tennis is mediocre at best. Oh, and that there are some posters here who have similar opinions to his is . . just . . . shocking. Totally shocking. :lol:

Ferg
Apr 4th, 2011, 09:55 PM
This is just an article about Sharapova, not the tour. People need to get used to her new level. I say new level... the way shes been playing since her comeback.

pov
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:01 PM
This is just an article about Sharapova, not the tour.
I didn't read it (GIGO) but it's another shock that Mouratoglou would be confused like that. Totally shocking. :haha:

Patrick345
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:02 PM
Seriously of all the players he could pick on the Women´s Tour that lack in effort and focus he picks Sharapova. If that is Sharapova not playing hard or focused, she must have a hidden serial killer gear somewhere.

laurie
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:03 PM
This is just an article about Sharapova, not the tour. People need to get used to her new level. I say new level... the way shes been playing since her comeback.

It's an article about Sharapova AND the tour. That's why the article is called "Women's Game Lacks Focuus" and not "What can Sharapova improve to win big titles"

Ferg
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:04 PM
He has like 4 lines on the tour.

laurie
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:09 PM
I didn't read it (GIGO) but it's another shock that Mouratoglou would be confused like that. Totally shocking. :haha:

There's a few people confused around here :lol:

You need to read an article first before making assessments and passing judgements :D

laurie
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:09 PM
He has like 4 lines on the tour.

Are you serious?

Ferg
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:20 PM
yeah.

goldenlox
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:20 PM
Are you serious?Its a stupid article. Maria and the sisters have had injuries. They're not winning majors because of injuries, not because they have sponsors and like glamour.
And no one has more focus and tries harder than the current world #1.
And she is a role model and a great ambassador for the game.
And if he doesnt think Kim has charisma, then fuck him.

laurie
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:21 PM
yeah.

Ok.....

laurie
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:23 PM
Its a stupid article. Maria and the sisters have had injuries. They're not winning majors because of injuries, not because they have sponsors and like glamour.
And no one has more focus and tries harder than the current world #1.
And she is a role model and a great ambassador for the game.

I don't think anyone would dispute that Wozniacki is a role model and great ambassador. But no player becomes a real household name unless / until they win major titles.

Corswandt
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:26 PM
Fair assessment of the problems being faced by both Martha and the Tour as a whole. Not very original, since it's pretty much what everybody else is saying as well, but at least it's clearly laid out.

Flat out wrong about the causes of the Tour's problems.

No solutions suggested.

Thanks for posting this anyway; posting articles used to be done more often in here, but nowadays people only link to blogs/articles/interviews when they want to start yet another tard war.

DownInAHole
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:28 PM
I don't think anyone would dispute that Wozniacki is a role model and great ambassador. But no player becomes a real household name unless / until they win major titles.

Anna Kournikova? (those doubles majors don't really count.)

Olórin
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:31 PM
What would the men's game be if Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic were ranked between 15th and 30th? What if they never played each other in the last four of the major events? What if they only played 15 tournaments a year? The sport was turn slightly dull and would lose its audience.

The ATP tour has had ten amazing years because the Pete Sampras-Andre Agassi duet has been replaced by the Nadal-Federer one.

What allows Nadal and Federer to achieve so much is their love of the game and their dedication to it. They still have the flame so they can go on training and searching to be better in order to win. The still want to win and the deeply respect the sport, its history and culture.

Celebrity, glamour and sponsorship contracts now take too much of a place in the women's game and it takes away the stars of a sport that brought them to the top.

They are losing their focus and the level of their game is becoming unpredictable so they are prevented from shining in the big events.

The absence of giant rivalries is what is slowly killing the women's game.

Its a stupid article.

No it's not. I've not read anything by this author before but his analytical abilities in this article at least outshine what most posters in this thread are capable of on this board.

I like the way he uses the men's game to tease out problems in the WTA elite by way of counter-factual rationalisation; i.e. "what ifs".

Of course it's not perfect: the men's game hasn't had ten glorious years, more like 7/8 and the women's game isn't being "killed" - that's a bit dramatic.

But in many points he is dead on. Federer and Nadal are more dedicated to the game than Kim or Serena. Obviously Serena has been injured and had many issues over her career, but I think it's pretty obvious that Federer has supported the ATP tennis with far more vigour than his WTA equivalents. That is why the Federer-Nadal rivalry eclipses every WTA rivalry in recent memory. Over the past 10 years Fedal have dedicated themselves to the game and to playing their best more than any two elite WTA players.

Many, many of the younger players - and some of the older ones have terrible focus on the game and their own game. To call most of the top 30 unpredictable is being kind. And the bolded - the absence of great rivalries is what made women's tennis in the 70's/80's, what gave its shine in the early 2000s - where are they now? The tour is fragmented and it's hurting the game. Even Kim recently made a comment that she hopes to play Serena again before she retires - because let's face it, once in two years isn't a lot for the winners of 5 of the last 6 slams to meet.

goldenlox
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:39 PM
Serena is off the tour because of terrible health issues, not because she doesnt care about the sport.
This article is an insult to women athletes. "Celebrity, glamour and sponsorship contracts now take too much of a place in the women's game and it takes away the stars of a sport that brought them to the top."



Bartoli said she cried from exhaustion after the IW final.
She couldnt try any harder.
Nobody tries harder than Caro, every match. Sharapova is trying as hard as she can. So is Azarenka

Sergius
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:41 PM
He's mostly right when talking about Sharapova's problems. But that bullshit about glamorous life and tennis not being a high priority... I don't think it's true. Both Martha and WS fight hard when on court and want to win, I can see that quite distinctly

laurie
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:44 PM
Olorin,

Thanks for posting such an interesting response to Patrick's article. That's the sort of thing I'm looking for to get a discussion going. Unfortunately it's so common on message boards (and will continue to be after I write this), that people often write a knee jerk emotional response to something they read without really getting into it first. Patrick is just calling it as he sees it, it may not be right in every context, but he's not having personal attacks on players; as fans of players so often misconstrue what people are trying to get across.

Olórin
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:44 PM
Serena is off the tour because of terrible health issues, not because she doesnt care about the sport.
Bartoli said she cried from exhaustion after the IW final.
She couldnt try any harder.
Nobody tries harder than Caro, every match. Sharapova is trying as hard as she can. So is Azarenka

The bolded could try a lot harder by looking like elite athletes for a start. In tennis you need to be able to play a big match, in heat, for several hours before you start to flag.

This article is an insult to women athletes.

You can't make that statement because the article only really deals with elite players. And the WTA elite is not in a great shape. It's shapeless, ever changing.

It's not often I read a tennis-article and think "that's actually very true". But I couldn't help but find myself do so with this one.

goldenlox
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:47 PM
The womens game isnt "getting killed".
Nadal & Djokovic are a lot younger than the Williams sisters.
And what the fuck has Federer won recently? He isnt holding a major. Just looked shit in another loss at Miami. How is he different.

laurie
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:49 PM
Serena is off the tour because of terrible health issues, not because she doesnt care about the sport.
This article is an insult to women athletes. "Celebrity, glamour and sponsorship contracts now take too much of a place in the women's game and it takes away the stars of a sport that brought them to the top."



Bartoli said she cried from exhaustion after the IW final.
She couldnt try any harder.
Nobody tries harder than Caro, every match. Sharapova is trying as hard as she can. So is Azarenka

Goldenlox,

You just need to calm down a bit here. I think Azarenka has the potential to be a great player if she keeps developing. I like the fact she tries to take the initiative often on hard courts.

I like Bartoli a lot but to be fair, she's not in the best shape for a professional athlete, I would be very surprised if you tried to refute that fact.

Sharapova is trying as hard as she can it's true, but unfortunately her serve is gone for the time being, and its very tough for her to win big titles serving like that. I hope she can rediscover her serve as I am a big fan of her serve.

TennisFan66
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:51 PM
IMO Mouratoglou is a wanker whose analysis of tennis is mediocre at best. Oh, and that there are some posters here who have similar opinions to his is . . just . . . shocking. Totally shocking. :lol:

Agree. A poor mans (or is that girls?) Bolletteri; proponent for brainless ball bashing.

Sund7101
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:52 PM
I think the last line of the article is relevant. There truly are no real rivalries in women's tennis right now. I miss the days of Capriati/Seles, Hingis/Davenport. Clijsters/Henin, Sharapova/Serena, and Venus/Hingis just to name a few. I think that a great rivalry could really revive the women's game.

goldenlox
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:54 PM
I am very calm. I've been reading this since Kournikova.
As if doing a photo shoot hurts your tennis game.
It comes with success, for both WTA & ATP.

Its true that Caro & Kim havent been playing each other a lot. But when Martina & Chris met in every final, there was no depth.
I dont think it hurts the sport to have Sharapova back in a final.

Sergius
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:55 PM
You just need to calm down a bit here. I think Azarenka has the potential to be a great player if she keeps developing. I like the fact she tries to take the initiative often on hard courts.

I like Bartoli a lot but to be fair, she's not in the best shape for a professional athlete, I would be very surprised if you tried to refute that fact.

Sharapova is trying as hard as she can it's true, but unfortunately her serve is gone for the time being, and its very tough for her to win big titles serving like that. I hope she can rediscover her serve as I am a big fan of her serve.

All the girls' problems have nothing to do with the 'lack of focus' Mouratoglou's been talking of. That's the point, I guess.

Olórin
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:56 PM
And what the fuck has Federer won recently? He isnt holding a major. Just looked shit in another loss at Miami. How is he different.

So Federer is useless now, can't win majors yet he's still playing more and having no worse outside the slams than the world's best Kimothy Clijsters? How splendid for the WTA.

That article is using the ATP as a reflector for the WTA's underlying issues, not directly comparing the quality - so far as its elite players go, anyway.

I am very calm. I've been reading this since Kournikova.
As if doing a photo shoot hurts your tennis game.
It comes with success, for both WTA & ATP.
Well that is only one point from the article, and it's neither here nor there.

DownInAHole
Apr 4th, 2011, 10:58 PM
The womens game isnt "getting killed".
Nadal & Djokovic are a lot younger than the Williams sisters.
And what the fuck has Federer won recently? He isnt holding a major. Just looked shit in another loss at Miami. How is he different.

I think you are being too harsh on Federer. No doubt about it, he is slipping and is clearly below Nadal and Djokovic but he is still beating everyone else fairly regularly. Roger did beat both Djokovic and Nadal at the World Tour Finals in November. He may be able to sneak another slam or two onto his resume.

goldenlox
Apr 4th, 2011, 11:04 PM
Federer is an alltime great. But so is Serena, & she's holding a major.
Its a nonsense article to me.

I've sald many times, its strange that after Wimbledon until Miami, Caro & Kim win everything over Tier 2, and only met once.
But having Berdych & Murray losing quickly in slam finals isnt so great either.

sammy01
Apr 4th, 2011, 11:06 PM
He's mostly right when talking about Sharapova's problems. But that bullshit about glamorous life and tennis not being a high priority... I don't think it's true. Both Martha and WS fight hard when on court and want to win, I can see that quite distinctly

that is the point of the article. they don't always turn up and the don't always turn upto win outside of big events.

federer/nadal have incredible records against others because they do play a lot and do turn upto win.

the commitment of the top men is soooo much higher than the top women. the only really committed players are caro and vera and sadly they just aren't as good as 2 or 3 other players who aren't so committed.

sammy01
Apr 4th, 2011, 11:08 PM
No it's not. I've not read anything by this author before but his analytical abilities in this article at least outshine what most posters in this thread are capable of on this board.

I like the way he uses the men's game to tease out problems in the WTA elite by way of counter-factual rationalisation; i.e. "what ifs".

Of course it's not perfect: the men's game hasn't had ten glorious years, more like 7/8 and the women's game isn't being "killed" - that's a bit dramatic.

But in many points he is dead on. Federer and Nadal are more dedicated to the game than Kim or Serena. Obviously Serena has been injured and had many issues over her career, but I think it's pretty obvious that Federer has supported the ATP tennis with far more vigour than his WTA equivalents. That is why the Federer-Nadal rivalry eclipses every WTA rivalry in recent memory. Over the past 10 years Fedal have dedicated themselves to the game and to playing their best more than any two elite WTA players.

Many, many of the younger players - and some of the older ones have terrible focus on the game and their own game. To call most of the top 30 unpredictable is being kind. And the bolded - the absence of great rivalries is what made women's tennis in the 70's/80's, what gave its shine in the early 2000s - where are they now? The tour is fragmented and it's hurting the game. Even Kim recently made a comment that she hopes to play Serena again before she retires - because let's face it, once in two years isn't a lot for the winners of 5 of the last 6 slams to meet.

this almost deserves a good rep :worship:

homogenius
Apr 4th, 2011, 11:19 PM
Mouratoglou sucks.Next.