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Volcana
May 4th, 2004, 02:16 PM
What are they? Why do they happen? Why these sudden seemingly inexplicable losses of form? When does it stop being a 'slump', and start being a player's new 'normal'?

Barbara Schett
Mary Pierce
Daniela Hantuchova
Patty Schnyder
Jelena Dokic

All these players were top ten players, and suffered extreme losses of form. Often, this is precipitiated by a failure to return to form after an injury. Me personally, I don't call under-performing after an injury layoff a 'slump'. That 'under-performing after an injury layoff'. Look at Venus this year. That's the norm. It often takes players awhile to regain form after a prolonged layoff. Kim Clijsters would have to win Berlin to be performing at the same level as she was before taking time off for injury. Not many people expect this. (Serena, OTOH, is NOT the norm.)

But sometimes, players can't get heathly again for a long time. See Rubin, Pierce. But notice that once Chanda GOT heathy, she returned to the top ten.

Mary Pierce didn't. But after years of repeated injury, it's easy to think that this is Mary Pierce's new level, and she'll never be an elite player again. She isn't 'in a slump'. She just isn't a top twenty player anymore. Like Conchi, who's been impressive this year, but simply not the force who was a perennial top ten player.

Barbara Schett was bitten by the dreaded 'sex symbol curse'. Once people start declaring you a 'sex symbol', your game goes to hell. The only recent player to survive this is Serena. Possibly the Jehovah's Witness thing acts as a kind of garlic and holy water.:angel: Schett was a solid top ten performer. Then her form disintegrated by no apparent reason, and she's never recovered. This is the classic case of looks like a slump, but never seems to end. If it doesn't end, it isn't a slump. It's been four years now.

Daniela Hantuchova was also struck by the 'sex synbol curse'. Iconcede to not understanding that, but she was clearing a girl who a lot of folks seemed to think was really sexy. She did the phot shotts and magazines and them bang! SMILOF Syndrome. (Sudden, Massive, Instantaneous Loss of Form.) A lot of people have said things about her weight, but she's never going to be heavy. And she isn't showing the extreme emaciation of chronic anorexia. But a top five player simply fell apart, and now is ranked between #45 and #50. Her form has been gone for over a year.

Jelena Dokic's ranking makes it look like she might be coming around. But she holds up her ranking by playing 25+ tournaments a year. She's not close to the player she was. Again, it's been over a year. Far too long to put down to a mere 'slump', IMHO.

Patty Schnyder, OTOH, may actually have BEEN in a slump, is now out of it, and what we're seeing IS her. Her top ten ranking was achieved in a year when she won five Tier II tournaments. But her performance slid while she was ...shall we say, 'experimenting with an alternate lifestyle'. To a great extent, she's returned to form, but the TOUR has improved. She's the same player. But the game that made her #8 in 1999 is only good enough for a ranking between #16 and #20. Betweenthe time she was #8 and now, Venus Williams improves in enough to win four GS titles, Justine won three, Jenn three, Kim's been ranked #1, Amelie's become a solid top five player, Chanda Rubin's made her comeback, Anastasia Myskina and Elena Demetieva have become perennial top tenners, Petrova, Kuznetsova, and Zvonareva have all arrived, and Paola Suarez is making a run as a singles players.

I now it's kind of tough for fans to figure these things out in their faves. Earlier this year, I was wondering if Venus was going to spend all 2004 losing to non-top 20 players. Thank God she came around. But if you're healthy, and not coming close to equalling past performance, and it's been over a year, odds are good this is you, and not a 'slump'.

jonny84
May 4th, 2004, 02:23 PM
Interesting read.......thanks mate

Seenus
May 4th, 2004, 02:24 PM
Slump: I don't know what the "lum" is, but the "S" is for sex and the "p" is for partying
Everybody needs a slump sometime.

switz
May 4th, 2004, 02:43 PM
i think you're wrong about patty. she is just a different player. she in fact is a better player now when she plays well, but in 98 she just always played well in most tournaments (btw people always say she just won tier V tournaments to get no.8 - not true!! she also won hannover beating novotna and a whole string of top 15 players, made 2 GS quarters beating graf and taking eventual champ ASV to 3 sets at RG + plus she beat many others highly ranked players). you can't really say someone who has made a GS semi and a another tier I semi this year just isn't good enough to be top 10. i'm not saying this as some obsessed fan who can't see reality through their bias, as i genuinely to do believe that patty has shown this year that she can make the top 10 once again, and i also believe that patty at anywhere near her best is just a better player than basically everyone besides serena, venus, kim, henin and davenport. of course patty at her best had been a rare thing to see regularly up until this year.

babsi lost a lot of close and very important matches in the times when she was a top player, her confidence got rocked and she just seemed to lose it. she done well to get some form back but i don't think she can get back to where she has been. i think she could surprise people this year and sneak back in the top 30 because she has so little points to defend and she is basically back in the top 50 now.

dokic is just something that can't really be explained. she is basically relying completely on zurich for her ranking.

hantuchova was all confidence after the whole weight thing but she seems like a different player now. her humiliating lose to patty today must have been a real blow.

mary really has suffered so much with injuries, and it's probably a lot harder for a top player to come back after missing so much time because people expect a lot. i think she needs to do something big on clay this and if she does i think we might see her push back for a top 10 ranking at some point.

chanda is the queen. there is nobody i respect more on tour. i just hope she keeps fighting

fammmmedspin
May 4th, 2004, 03:11 PM
Add Lucic, Kournikova and Majoli to the list.

Mary is an injury victim I would have thought. Patty is the nearest thing we have to genius out there and she only produces rarely. Some of the others had difficulty with the transition from upcoming to resident top ten player. Some damaged themselves so much getting there that their serves never recovered. Others saw the newcomers behind them and saw nothing but grind as their reward. Then there is Iva...

ico4498
May 4th, 2004, 04:55 PM
the reasons for a slump can be a varied as the players themselves. its difficult to divorce Patty's form from the slew of personal challenges she endures.

Dokic, on the other hand, may simply need a home ... and rest. generally, the longer a player is on the road the odds of success decreases. she's been playing the international refugee for so long ... does she even have a place to refresh and recharge her batteries? plus her marathon schedule ...

Volcana
May 4th, 2004, 05:24 PM
i think you're wrong about patty. she is just a different player. she in fact is a better player now when she plays well, but in 98 she just always played well in most tournaments (btw people always say she just won tier V tournaments to get no.8 - not true!! she also won hannover beating novotna and a whole string of top 15 players, made 2 GS quarters beating graf and taking eventual champ ASV to 3 sets at RG + plus she beat many others highly ranked players). you can't really say someone who has made a GS semi and a another tier I semi this year just isn't good enough to be top 10.
Sure you can. Ranking #10 isn't something mystical. It's just a number. Who's playing better? The current #11 or the current #10? The current #9 or the current #12? The current #8 or the current #14? Being a 'top ten player sn't all that big a deal, it just as easy way to label players. BTW, it was Tier II tournaments she won to get her ranking, not Tier V's. And Tier II's are not easy things to win.

When I say Patty's a #16 to #20 performer now, I'm taking into account she's never been a big time performer on hard courts. None of her eight titles were on courts except Hobart, which is A Tier IV. And none of her finals. And if you think about it, the power baseline game that's taken over the tour excels most on hardcourts. Patty doesn't play that way, and her hardcourt results have suffered. The alone would drop your ranking a couple spots. I'm not saying she can't play. She won a Tier I in 2002!

The thing is the difference between Patty's best ever ranking and her current one is eight ranking positions. That isn't very much. By comparison, the difference between Venus' best ever ranking and her current one is 11 positions.

So no, I don't see Patty making the top ten again. But on carpet, clay or Rebound Ace, she's still very capable of winning a Tier I title.