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View Full Version : What separates Lena from HH and Clijsters?


Veritas
Aug 22nd, 2005, 01:32 PM
Lena had a spectacular debut season back in 2000 - or a spectacular 'second season', if you consider 1999 a real one, since she didn't play as many matches as her other pro years.

Just to recap:

She jumped from #62 in 1999 to #12 in 2000.

She reached the SF at the US Open, beating players like the RG champ that year, Mary Pierce, and Anke Huber.

She reached the SF in Moscow and stretched eventual champ, Martina Hingis, to 3 very tough sets.

She won the silver medal at the Sydney Olympics.

And she also reached the SF at the YEC, beating Davenport along the way.

Like Lena, Clijsters and HH also had spectacular debut/second seasons around the same time. Yet they've lived up to their early hype, especially HH. Lena, OTOH, had a promising first 2001 quarter, but went downhill from there and didn't really pickup until she won at Amelie Island back in 2003.

So what is it about Lena's game that made her not live up to that 2000 breakthrough? And don't say 'the serve' because it obviously wasn't that much of a problem then. There must be something else in Lena's game that held her back.

I wonder what it is :confused:

Dementinator
Aug 22nd, 2005, 01:53 PM
probably her mental concentration ,Kim etc mainly does not make many errors ,They also do hit some wonderful shots but rarely make the daring winners that Elena goes for ,but Elena does wander off and simply cannot focus enough ,so the errors kill her ,I think she mostly loses because of too many Errors rather than simply the serve ,it doesnt help having a bad serve of course because she cant get chep points of it..

realistically ,its more a mental thing ,she simply loses concentration and rushes ,then loses confidence and thats it ,its over ,whereas Kim etc plays safe mostly ,rarely losing focus and getting the winner if needed ,but mostly waiting for errors from the oppo..

The WS are a bit similar to Lena ,when they are on ,devistation ,but they too go for dangerous shots and whizz thru ,sometimes losing it.

I feel its a Russian thing as Myskina has the same problem and even Sharapova to a point ,they panic and start getting all tight.

Talent wise ,Elenas right up there with the best ,when working her winners are a beautiful sight ,her movement is superb and speed ,strength and size ,unrivalled at times but sadly inside that pretty head of hers is where most of the probs lie...hopefully she can sort it out ,but who knows for sure

Still ,she hardly had a disasterous career ,and achieved more than 98% of pro players will ever do ,but lets hope the best is to come

miffedmax
Aug 22nd, 2005, 02:23 PM
I will say the serve. It has always been a problem for Lena. If you go back and look at the transcripts from the 2000 U.S. Open there's an interview where she admits "I think my grandmother could server better than I do." While Lena did not have the DF problems early in her career (before her shoulder injury) her serve was always a way to put the ball in play, not a weapon. Such a serve was adequate before the women's game became so power-based, but by 2000 that change was already underway and today most top players can count on hitting at least a few aces and winners off their serve.

The head is another issue. Lena, like many children of domineering parents (and let's fact it, Mommy Vera is a stage mom par excellence) suffers from serious underconfidence. The poor serve makes the head worse. The head makes the poor serve worse. It's a viscious cycle.

That's my armchair shrink analysis, anyway.

Dementinator
Aug 22nd, 2005, 02:28 PM
sounds about right to me really...

hopefully as Elena gets a little older she will become a bit more confident..we can but hope..and at least it does appear she now realises she needs the boost the serve ,but I really do not think its the only reason ,beacuse Elena served probably the very worst she has ever done at USO last year and still made life difficult for all before her ,that was because she was being aggressive and hitting winners ,something she hasnt quite done this season thus far ,well at least since about march anyways..so even the shit serve can be overcome if she starts comming forward again ,her serve is better now than it was at this point last year.

selyoink
Aug 22nd, 2005, 02:35 PM
Well 4 grand slam titles separate her from Justine. Both Belgians have a boatload of titles while Lena has but a few and no Tier I titles. Also the bad serve.

Dementinator
Aug 22nd, 2005, 02:36 PM
very bluntly put

Veritas
Aug 22nd, 2005, 03:39 PM
Well 4 grand slam titles separate her from Justine. Both Belgians have a boatload of titles while Lena has but a few and no Tier I titles. Also the bad serve.

I meant what "separates" Lena from the Belgians in terms of on-court talent, not the stats.

Veritas
Aug 22nd, 2005, 03:58 PM
probably her mental concentration ,Kim etc mainly does not make many errors ,They also do hit some wonderful shots but rarely make the daring winners that Elena goes for ,but Elena does wander off and simply cannot focus enough ,so the errors kill her ,I think she mostly loses because of too many Errors rather than simply the serve ,it doesnt help having a bad serve of course because she cant get chep points of it..

The mental bit is where Kim and Lena stand on the same ground. Both played terribly at the same stages - but Kim did do well against Capriati at the '01 RG final and against HH three years later at the AO.

Lena's game is just as powerful as Kim's, if not more. But there's something missing in Lena's game because Kim's able to compensate her choking with a game that (like you said) is more 'safe' and consistent.

I guess this means Lena needs to settle down: don't go for the risks and winners all the time. Kim's more of a retriever yet she's able to blast anyone else off the court when she wants to.

I think it's the unforced errors and Lena's risk-taking that makes her so inconsistent.

realistically ,its more a mental thing ,she simply loses concentration and rushes ,then loses confidence and thats it ,its over ,whereas Kim etc plays safe mostly ,rarely losing focus and getting the winner if needed ,but mostly waiting for errors from the oppo..

I agree more or less.

The WS are a bit similar to Lena ,when they are on ,devistation ,but they too go for dangerous shots and whizz thru ,sometimes losing it.

Difference is, the WS are far more consistent. I think it's the accuracy of their shots that puts them above a lot of players.

Coming to think of it, Lena usually loses not because she's overpowered - it's all about self-destruction. She loses the match. She lets her opponents win. Otherwise, how can you explain Maurasemo beating Lena in straight sets on 3 occasions back in 2003, especially the double-bagle in Paris, yet she lost twice at big stages a year later? Or what about Lena beating Lindsay 6-1, 6-3 at RG, but losing 6-1, 6-0 about 6 months later?

I feel its a Russian thing as Myskina has the same problem and even Sharapova to a point ,they panic and start getting all tight.

Again, there's a difference: both have something in their game which earned them a GS each.

I don't believe for a second that Myskina's RG win was because of her "brilliant" play. She just did what most pros would've done: don't overdo it; let the opponent make the mistakes and self-destruct. It was the same at Wimbledon: Lena self-destructed. Myskina was supposed to lose there, but Lena's risk-taking and choking let her off the hook. Again!

Talent wise ,Elenas right up there with the best ,when working her winners are a beautiful sight ,her movement is superb and speed ,strength and size ,unrivalled at times but sadly inside that pretty head of hers is where most of the probs lie...hopefully she can sort it out ,but who knows for sure

Unfortunately, the mental part is also a talent. So far, it's won players like HH and Myskinas a GS win.

Still ,she hardly had a disasterous career ,and achieved more than 98% of pro players will ever do ,but lets hope the best is to come

Yeah, but then again, that's almost lowering Lena's standards: she should be compared to the very best because that's where her potential is.

It's like comparing the wheat and the chaff. Both are similar yet one's natural (wheat) while the other's artificial (chaff). Lena's results are artificial: her natural position is at the top end, but she has to be content with "only" 4 titles and 2 Slam finals because they're artificially good.

Dementirilenko
Aug 22nd, 2005, 04:12 PM
I think its of course the service of Lena (by the way...it isn't a bad one but a special), but also the fact that Kim and Henin are a mentally a bit stronger.
They are all worldclass, but what separates them is - in my opinion - the mental side, and maybe the technic, especially Justine has a lot of great strokes.

iPatty
Aug 22nd, 2005, 07:30 PM
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JLDementieva
Aug 22nd, 2005, 07:42 PM
obviously as everyone's said, the serve. I remember at last year's USO final, Kuzzie was able to jump all over Elena's serve.
Elena's an excellent fighter, but I don't sense the same fighting spirit as Justine does. Justine is so mentally strong, and Elena lacks that, especially in the big matches like those GS finals. JHH used to choke too, but she's just about over that, so it's not impossible for Elena to be mentally strong.
I still think Elena is a bit inconsisent sometimes, she relies on her groundstrokes because of the weak serve. But if her groundstrokes aren't working, then she really is screwed because not only is she unable to hold serve, she can't break as well.
I also noticed that Elena let's her opponent jump all over her in the beginning of matches and sets. She can turn it around quickly against the average players, but the top players aren't going to give her that chance.
so I would say the mental side is all that separates Lena from JHH and Clijsters. The serve is mental too, I've seen her serve some damn good ones, so I know she can do it, she just needs to be confident enough so that she can blast those over 100mph serves on the court. When that will be, who knows...

miffedmax
Aug 22nd, 2005, 08:12 PM
The other difference is, of course, that Elena is much more adorable.

(Can't have a thread without any Lena praise in it, now can we?)

selyoink
Aug 22nd, 2005, 08:34 PM
I meant what "separates" Lena from the Belgians in terms of on-court talent, not the stats.

Well in that case Justine has much more variety of shots. She can hit every shot.

As for Kim not much other than the serve. Obviously they both have a ton of talent but it hasn't gotten either of them the grand prize. Kim has obviously underachieved at Slams since she should have won a few by now. Lena you may say has overachieved at the slams since she hasn't won any big titles yet has two slam finals.

michelle11
Aug 27th, 2005, 02:05 PM
The other difference is, of course, that Elena is much more adorable.

that's it !!!

much better to be her boyfriend than her coach
(vice versa to henin) ;)

Dementinator
Aug 27th, 2005, 02:08 PM
the other thing that seperates JHH and Lena is as follows..

About 30 pounds
7 inches in height
long blonde hair
long legs
boobs :tape: (yes she has boobs)
Doesnt look like Jean Claude Van Damme :tape:
And of course ,sadly any GS........YET!!

Greenout
Aug 27th, 2005, 02:18 PM
:lol:

Here's my view.

I think Elena is actually very mentally strong- she's more like JHH in character, and focus IMHO.

In terms of style of play, unlike Kim who IMHO doesn't have as explosive of a forehand as Elena is that she is more conservative, and chooses less high risk shot making. This is what takes Kim far in Tier 1's, but never as the winner of grand slams. But, unlike Justine- Elena doesn't have too many other options- she does volley now, but it's serverly under used.

If Elena could get a good working serve, like Amelie's- low and accurate, rather than huge. Things can work out. If Elena could at one more dimension to give herself a plan B it would help.

Foot speed. Elena is pretty good for a tall girl, but she as with Venus, Maria and Lindsay and even Marat are prone to injuries.

Schedules- I think Elena should be more selective with her tour dates. Work to build up events for key grand slams, instead of just playing what comes her way. It's not good to peak too early (hello kim US OPEN finalist!)

Prizeidiot
Aug 28th, 2005, 06:04 AM
I think Henin-Hardenne and Clijsters have more winning mentalities, more confidence than Elena.

Also, at this point, I'd say they're games are more developed, Elena is still a "raw" player in the sense that she has the tools, but hasn't really put them all together. As mentioned in above posts, she doesn't volley near enough, and despite all attempts to fix it, the serve still causes problems in match situations, even though technically, it's not that bad.

@m@nd@
Aug 28th, 2005, 11:10 AM
I will say the serve. It has always been a problem for Lena. If you go back and look at the transcripts from the 2000 U.S. Open there's an interview where she admits "I think my grandmother could server better than I do." While Lena did not have the DF problems early in her career (before her shoulder injury) her serve was always a way to put the ball in play, not a weapon. Such a serve was adequate before the women's game became so power-based, but by 2000 that change was already underway and today most top players can count on hitting at least a few aces and winners off their serve.

The head is another issue. Lena, like many children of domineering parents (and let's fact it, Mommy Vera is a stage mom par excellence) suffers from serious underconfidence. The poor serve makes the head worse. The head makes the poor serve worse. It's a viscious cycle.

That's my armchair shrink analysis, anyway.

i agree, dont have much to add

exodus'05
Aug 31st, 2005, 01:05 PM
i think she needs a confidence boost and she needs to surprise her opponent by not just staying behind the baseline
i've noticed that her serve has improved but her groundstrokes don't seem as accurate as they used to

JC Federer
Sep 8th, 2005, 03:09 PM
I hate to say it, but... What separates them? For one thing, they have serves that aren't liabilities... Back in 2000 she wasn't using this crappy serve. She actually had a half decent serve.. not great, but not a slice either. And I don't think she used to rack up 62 DF's in 5 matches either.

If she can just get a good serve, she'd be in contention to win slams, and not just make the finals. Because the rest of her game is quite solid.

You know the old adage that a point her and a point there can decide the match? It just takes one key point to decide the result. And when you donate a dozen or more free points through double faults, what if one of those 12 points was a key point? Say... break point? That's a lot of matches you will lose because of free points you give. It's excuseable to hit a dozen double faults if you have a serve that does damage and scores some aces! When your serve is pathetic, she's better off serving underarm to at least get the ball in and not give away any DFs. She has to over-rely on her return games to make up for the sloppy serves, and that is a problem, because she needs to break a lot to win, and sometimes that won't happen.

Kim and Justine are consistent players. They hit the ball hard and don't miss much, and Kim moves very well especially.

Elena's worst problem is the serve. It's a joke. She knows it, her opponents know it. It's a real feat that she manages to achieve such results even with a serve like that... just imagine what she could do if she had a decent serve. :?

On the mental side of things, she can win matches that go down to the wire... but she can also lose them. In all 3 grand slam losses this year, they all went to a third set... 5-7 against Schnyder, 5-7 against Likohvsteva, and she had match point against Myskina! To win these kind of tight matches, requires mental toughness... whoever wants it more will win it. She showed she can do that by eking out Davenport and Chakvedtadze, but doesn't do it consistently. I am nonetheless proud she made it past a 4th round this year.

Interesting stat: Dementieva is 15-3 in three-set matches this year.

Guess what though.. All 3 of those losses came in a Grand slam 4th round, and they were as tight as they get. I suppose the record is good news if she can get to a 3rd set. She seems to play well there... just not on the big stage.

obviously as everyone's said, the serve. I remember at last year's USO final, Kuzzie was able to jump all over Elena's serve.

Oh yes, I remember that. The first six opponents had trouble handling that weird serve, but Kuzzy was prepared (maybe she was watching Lena's matches closely...). It fools some people, but it's a matter of time before you run into someone who isn't fazed by the weird delivery, as you get toward the business end of a tournament. She has posted a loss this year to Kim, so I hope for her sake that Shazza beats her (though Shazza too has had a loss to her this year).

As for Kim not much other than the serve. Obviously they both have a ton of talent but it hasn't gotten either of them the grand prize. Kim has obviously underachieved at Slams since she should have won a few by now. Lena you may say has overachieved at the slams since she hasn't won any big titles yet has two slam finals.

I don't agree. Kim has to be the best mover in the game. She gets so many balls back, but what separates her from other good movers is her ablilty to change direction. She can run from side to side easily, and she does the slide and splits to halt her movement so she can turn around. I think a baseline rally with Kim is going to be a losing strategy for Lena. She will get outrallied.

By the way, something other people failed to mention that separates them is that Justine has the best backhand in the game. Not even any men have a backhand that good.

I would also like to point out that when you win your first slam (or a boatload of WTA titles!), it gives you a huge confidence boost thereafter. Take a look at Roger Federer. He used to be an underachiever who would lose it at the big points of a match, but after he won Wimbledon he just went from strength to strength, and is widely considered to be the best player in the world, possibly all time. I think that if Lena can win this slam (and that is a big "if" with Shazza and Kim looming around), it will do a lot for her confidence and the game will flow freely afterwards. More slams await, but if not.. then being a one-slam-wonder is still infinitely better than a slamless-wonder. :angel:

Justineladivine
Sep 9th, 2005, 09:54 AM
I think the only thing that has prevented her (yet) from achieving all she wishes for is simply her spotty serve. I fully endorse a statement made by a Serena fan in another thread. If she had a steady serve there's no doubt in my mind she'd become n°1 in women's tennis.

To Dementinator
No doubt Lena is the most beautiful girl tennis has ever had, everything about her is perfect, every time I look at her I'm just stunned by her beauty and her grace,
but sorry JHH is not ugly to me. Sure enough, she can't in any way compare with girls like Elena or Dokic, but seeing so many posters on GM deride her for her looks has always been a subject of wonder to me.

cindy
Sep 9th, 2005, 11:11 AM
the other thing that seperates JHH and Lena is as follows..

About 30 pounds
7 inches in height
long blonde hair
long legs
boobs :tape: (yes she has boobs)
Doesnt look like Jean Claude Van Damme :tape:
And of course ,sadly any GS........YET!!

:haha: :haha: :haha: poor jean claude van damme... :lol:
I think the main difference is the serve of course and as said miffedmax she is sweeter that HH