View Full Version : Why can't the Russian girls win? Is it psychological or mental?

the cat
Oct 8th, 2001, 07:48 PM
As most of you know, I adore the Russian girls, and I gladly cheer for them. But at this time, none of the Russian girls can win a quality WTA tournament. Why? Is it psychological or mental? Or both? Whether it's Elena Dementieva, Anna Kournikova, Lina Krasnoroutskaya or Elena Bovina, they have the same problems. They have trouble closing out matches, they lack a killer instinct, they get nervous and they crumble under pressure. These problems seem to plague all the Russian girls. And that's sad. Thay are charming, attractive and talented. But they don't know how to win. And they don't have anyone who can teach them how to win. Are thse girls happy with being pretty good players? I hope not. But it concerns me that Jelena Dokic, Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin have easily blown by Elena Dementieva this year. I was a little surprised how easily Jelena Dokic tore apart Elena Dementieva's game in the Kremlin Cup final. Dokic has a killer instinct. Dementieva doesn't. Can Elena D. and the other Russian girls make up for lacking a killer instinct? Can the Russians become a real force in women's tennis? Maybe. But to do that, they are going to have to overcome this loser mentality they are developing. Am I being too harsh? Or are these talented Russian players just not as good as I think they are? Udachi RF(Russian Federation)!

[ October 08, 2001: Message edited by: the cat in the hat ]

Oct 8th, 2001, 08:10 PM
I know one thing is for sure Elena Dementieva has some mentall problams. She said at Indian Wells that if she and Venus were 100% fit and ready to go, she Elena Dementieva will win. <IMG SRC="smilies/rolleyes.gif" border="0"> <IMG SRC="smilies/rolleyes.gif" border="0"> <IMG SRC="smilies/rolleyes.gif" border="0">

Oct 8th, 2001, 08:51 PM
You always have something negative to say about the Russian players (although you never forget to emphasize how much you like them). Some of your points are correct, but your passion for these negative threads is annoying. <IMG SRC="smilies/yawn.gif" border="0">
Elena D. had 2 very good weeks after many disappointing results and although she was injured. If you like her, be happy about it. But there is no reason to critisize her right now.
<IMG SRC="smilies/frown.gif" border="0">

[ October 08, 2001: Message edited by: GoDominique ]

Oct 8th, 2001, 09:07 PM
Well, I think there are a few factors.

It's been a good week for Russian players but I think that the simple reason is that they're not mentally tough enough. I don't think Dementieva did anything necessarily wrong against Dokic, just Dokic was a lot more determined to make this tournament count. Elena, however, has improved I think from last year. The problem is, players like Dokic, Clijsters and Henin have improved even further which makes Dementieva look bad, which she isn't.

Before the match, a lot of russian fans said that Elena wouldn't be burnt out and that the crowd would spur her on, after she loses however, there's always an excuse that needs to be found. If you think that Elena was tired, how about Jelena? She's played an enormous amount of tennis and even sprained her ankle during the match but was still able to win.

Dokic, Clijsters and Henin, they all do what Dementieva does except on a larger and more refined scale. They're tough and are determined to win matches. Last year, Elena was beating Jelena and Kim, and this year, it's a role reversal. Jelena should have really won 6-2 6-1 out there as when she served out the sets at 5-2 and 5-2 she had 30-0 leads before she stopped concentrating.

Also, the 3 girls have all had major breakthroughs this year. Clijsters with her titles in Stanford and Leipzig along with her RG final. Henin with her titles in the Gold Coast, Canberra and s-Hertogenbosch, not to mention her Wimby F. Dokic also, with her titles in Rome, Tokyo and Moscow. They're all in the top 10 and work extremely hard.

The problem with the Russian girls is that their fans build them up, to an extent where you expect incredible things from them and they simply aren't good enough to deliver. When they don't deliver, they're called failures etc. I think Elena would probably be happy with where she is at the moment.

Another factor is age, Dementieva is 2 years older than Dokic and Clijsters and they're already better, Dementieva has some catching up to do.

auntie janie
Oct 8th, 2001, 09:51 PM
I think the answer is different for each player.

Anna: Top-10 Talented, but well-known to be mentally frail; gets extremely tight at the end of big matches, even at the end of sets

Elena B.: Needs to work on her game a lot; inexperienced in big matches; when her game improves and she gets a bit more experience, her ability to finsih matches off will also improve

Elena D.: has improved various elements of her game tremendously this year. I think she is quite mentally tough usually, and more experience will help her bring that toughness to the biggest matches

Lina K: Not bringing her best stuff to her matches lately, but is inexperienced also, and I think her head will improve along with her game. Time will tell.

Anastasia Myskina: I think she is mentally strong; but inexperienced in Big matches as well; see Elena D.!

What the Future Holds

I think it is too early to label most of these players or to say they "can't win". If Elena D. hasn't won a title by this time next year, THEN I will question her mental strength; same for the others in TWO years.

As for Anna, who has had plenty of time and experience, I have no idea if she will improve in this regard or not. Her mental problem is pretty ingrained by now, the repeated injuries don't help, and she knows every young player is gunning for her with extra ammo. It's going to be tough.

Togk 182
Oct 8th, 2001, 09:55 PM
ia gree with iluvjelena, though i think that the next generation of russians like dinara will have better luck

Oct 8th, 2001, 10:19 PM
Well I have never said anything very negative about the Russian girls. I think Elena sometimes gets to overconfident. But I dont think that most of the Russian girls are not winning due to being a phycological or mental reasons. It just needs times. Anastasia and Rina Kras... <IMG SRC="smilies/rolleyes.gif" border="0"> <IMG SRC="smilies/rolleyes.gif" border="0"> are very promising but they are up and comers and they need more time to develope. Just wait til next year they will do some damage and hey maybe Anna k too!!! <IMG SRC="smilies/bounce.gif" border="0"> <IMG SRC="smilies/bounce.gif" border="0"> <IMG SRC="smilies/bounce.gif" border="0">

Oct 8th, 2001, 10:34 PM
Basically, they all are still very young and good years will be changed with bad years.
There will be peaks and slumps.
Last year the order was Dementieva, Clijsters, Dokic, Henin.

This year it is Clijsters, Henin, Dokic, Dementieva.

With Elena's year very much hampered by injury and change of racket. It is actually pretty interesting how much is it similar for Elena and Marat. Both had a great last year. Both say that a clay is their favourite surface. And for both their best results come on hardcourts. Both started the year on the wave of last year success in some sort of slump. Both switched to the different racket model and that affected their results seriously. Both lost clay court season - their favourite surface - because of freaking injuries, both of which happened when it looked like they are about to recover their best form. Games of both started finally come together closer to US Open. Both are now struggling to qualify for yearend championships. I expect both of them to rebound next year.

Elena is learning. Surely, the Kremlin Cup loss was a very valuable experience for her, and of course next time she will be better prepared, less nervous. I still think that it is too early to say which of the four young players will achieve most. After last year, the answer could probably be Elena. This year, it is probably Kim. While Jelena makes a strong case winning two Tier Is, matched only by Serena in that. But even this year is far from being over. Even with all preceding results, if one of them wins Munich, it will pretty much change everything. And also Fed Cup is looming. I actually am very thankful to ESPN for showing the final yesterday. After watching the final twice I am convinced, that was the occasion rather than Jelena that Elena failed to handle. And that makes me quite optimistic.

Oct 9th, 2001, 06:30 AM
Look, for Elena Dementieva to have upset Martina Hingis and get out of a couple of tough three-set matches is pretty impressive to me even if she lost in the final.

Not only was Elena injured, she had to play in front of her hometown crowd and up against a powerful Jelena Dokic, who is playing much better than Elena is at this time.

Like janie said, experience will be the key in how the Russians compete from here on out.

I guarantee you will see more Russians winning tournaments in 2002 and 2003.

And for the record folks, the tour is getting tougher every year. Winning them isn't going to get any easier.

Oct 9th, 2001, 06:34 AM
Dementieva's 20 for god's sakes!

If she is unable to handle big situations better than 18 year olds, then I'd be concerned not optimistic.

Let's not forget that Dokic was injured herself and completely dominated Elena.

If at 20, she still can't handle these type of matches, then I'd be pretty concerned.

Oct 9th, 2001, 09:46 AM
Jelena had a mild ankle sprain ..... you can always tell with these things ... either they become 100% ok after just a gentle jog or they are very serious.

Back to the point ..... Elena didn't perform simple as that . Elena's playing at a diff level to where she was even last year.
Being 20 has nothing to do with it , both Jelena and Elena have been pro for the same time, and everyone was talking about Jelena this and Jelena that long before Elena did anything to prove the point.
Lina should have taken out Jelena in 1st rd when she was 2 pts away but became nagative.

As for other Russian girls ..... Nadia is in a pretty bad slump right now , just as she needs points to climb ranks as its her free period regarding pts .

Anastasia has climbed from 120 to 48 in 5-6 weeks just as soon as the pain in her left wrsist as gone. Look to her doing more damage to the indoor field next week.

I for one can and will not give up on "my girls"

the cat
Oct 9th, 2001, 02:24 PM
GoDominique, I'm sorry I'm annoying you so much. Without question, the Russian girls in general are lovely and nice. And easy to root for. But don't you think the Russian girls should be doing better than they are. I know injuries have played a factor. But aren't Elena Dementieva, Lina Krasnoroutskaya, Elena Bovina, Nadejda Petrova, etc. better than their rankings? I think so. Maybe I'm over rating the Russian girls. But I think they are better players than they've shown. The Russian girls haven't won a WTA tour title in over 2 years. Any way you slice it or topspin it, that's under achieving. I wasn't surprised that Jelena Dokic beat Elena Dementieva in the finals of the 2001 Kremlin Cup. Elena is bigger, stronger and faster than Jelena. But Jelena is the better tennis player. Why? Because Dokic has the killer instinct and cunning qualities that Dementieva and the Russian girls seem to lack. Jelena yelling "come on" and pumping her fist only raised her intensity level, and made Elena more timid. I was surprised how easily Jelena jumped to 4-1 and 5-1 leads in each set. Jelena played like a Tigress, and carved up Elena with ease. She made Elena look slow and off balance. Maybe Elena was tired. But Jelena has been playing alot of tennis, too. Another factor is, I think Jelena relished the idea of playing and beating Elena on her homecourt in the Kremlin Cup final. She did the same thing to Anna Kournikova in Moscow last year, when she beat Anna in the Fed Cup. I don't think the question is, are the Russian girls good enough? They are. Alot of the Russian girls have good size, good power and good speed. The question is, are the Russian girls tough enough? Maybe the answer is, that remains to be seen. But so far, not so good.

[ October 09, 2001: Message edited by: the cat in the hat ]

Oct 9th, 2001, 02:53 PM
cat in the hat
What about iroda didn't she win two tournaments this year. is she not russion

Oct 9th, 2001, 02:55 PM
technically she isn't

Russian blood yes but she plays for Uzbekistan.

Oct 9th, 2001, 05:13 PM
cat in the hat: your posts itselves are not annoying, but well-written and having valid points. It just seems to me that they are usually negative towards the Russian players and also a bit generalizing.
I just thought that, right now, one shouldn't be disappointed with them. Anastasia Myskina and Elena D. had good weeks in Moscow and in Leipzig with good wins., Myskina with QF and SF, Elena with SF and F. After many disappointing results, that's a nice achievement. I think both had trouble with injury, so they have to learn (again) how to win the big matches. With more experience from now on, they will do it, I'm sure. Especially Elena has a strong will to win, she has shown that before.
Lina K. and Elena Bovina have been disappointing, I agree. But they are still so young.
Generally, I think there's nothing wrong with Russian tennis. Germany would be happy with so many talented players.
And I don't think you should say 'the Russians' or 'they'. They are individuals just like the Williams',Jennifer or Lindsay in the USA.

Oct 9th, 2001, 07:02 PM

Yes, Dementieva is older than Dokic, but age doesn't mean much. Jelena had better chance to develop earlier , because she was supported by richer Australian Teenis Federation. Elena had nothing of that. She, I guess, still had tough financial problems travelling up to her Indian Wells 2000 breakthru, while Jelena was Wimbledon QFst and international star as early as 1999. She could play anything she wanted. Dementieva got a chance to really start develop as a pro only an year and a half ago and what she managed to achieve in these 18 monthes, given that she had two serious injuries during that period, is really remarkable. So tennis-wise, Jelena is older and more experienced than Dementieva and it comes as no surprise that Elena can lose to her.

Oct 9th, 2001, 09:13 PM
Outstanding points ys although I don't quite buy the financial standpoint of the Russian players' training.

Sports are very important in Russia and if money was the problem we would not see such a powerhouse Russia is in sports.

Oct 9th, 2001, 09:43 PM

in most of sports training is all that needed, and for that there are experts and facilities for that in Russia ( and if training REQUIRES money, Russia is not a powerhouse in those sports, like in downhill skiing, it is quite popular in Russia, but there is no money to prepare sportsmen on World class facilities ). In tennis, however,
training is only part of the process. You can't just come out of the blue with your skills and blow everyone away. You have to got used to Tour life, you have to go thru all levels of competition, travel all those Challengers with little prizemoney and it will take years on those circle to get to the level when you'll start functioning with positive financial balance. Russian Tennis Federation has very limited financial resources. Just an example, Russia rarely sends juniors to play Juniors or qualifying of Australian Open, not because it is far away, but rather because it is expensive. I remember an interview with Mikhail Youzhnyi's coach last year. He said, Federation can send him for just several Challengers an year abroad. When he suddenly gets a WC for S'Hertogensbosh, he is happy to take it even at expense of Wimbledon qualifying, because it earns guaranteed money. Nadia Petrova lived and trained in Poland for several years because she found someone willing to sponsor her and that sponsor was from Poland, or that's what I've heard. Financial problems is the biggest obstacle for young Russian tennis players. At least it was so several years ago. Now, with all those players coming, it might become easier, but I think that players like Dementieva walked the most difficult path in most diffcult time ( 1998-1999 was the rock bottom of Russian economy ).

[ October 09, 2001: Message edited by: ys ]

Oct 10th, 2001, 12:17 AM
Russia has a great pool of talented players in the womens game. In numbers of up-and-coming players, I think they beat even the USA. Countries like Germany and Britain pray for that sort of pool of raw talent.

The talent hasn't broken through to the very top table yet. That's true. But I don't think that's just a Russian problem. European girls historically don't seem to have had the self-confidence and will to win the Americans have. Nerves afflict most of the European players. The fatal desire to "play safe" on key points is seen far too often.

In the final against jelena, Elena D didn't attack Dokic's weak 2nd serves as Venus, Serena, jen or lindsay would have done. I think Kin Clijsters and justine have the "go for it" attitude and the confidence that wins matches. Dokic has always had that attitude. But these are the exceptions in Europe.

I really don't think its just a problem of the Russian girls at all.

the cat
Oct 13th, 2001, 01:32 PM
Hey, nobody picked up on my play on words. Psychological or mental. I was being cute! I kind of consider psychological and mental meaning the same thing.

Oct 13th, 2001, 03:27 PM
Xan, have you watched the Dementieva-Dokic final? Dementieva didn't attack Dokic's second serve? Dementieva did, and she actually slaughtered Dokic's second serve in even more extent than Dokic - her serve. Rewatch the match or just trust the stats that are available. Dementieva lost due to one only reason - she was too pushy on her FIRST serve, going for too risky shots, normally on the third shot of the point, that's why her first serve stats are way worse than her second serve stats. Somehow she didn't even realise till the very end that she is doing that -
that she just should be more patient on her first serve and that would be it. She was playing well on her second serve, on Dokic's serve. She just couldn't play safe on her own first serve - definitely the sign of nervous burnout before the match..

Jun 6th, 2004, 07:29 PM
Bump ;).

Frances Shoal
Jun 6th, 2004, 07:32 PM
Saucer of milk for table three.;)

jimbo mack
Jun 6th, 2004, 07:41 PM
very interesting thread, this was such a long time ago!! and people are still saying similar stuff now to what was being said 2 and a half years ago!!!! :eek:

Jun 6th, 2004, 07:48 PM
very interesting thread, this was such a long time ago!! and people are still saying similar stuff now to what was being said 2 and a half years ago!!!! :eek:
:eek: :eek: :eek: yes!

Jun 6th, 2004, 08:14 PM
Yes, but Dokic was killer then, so nothing abnormal in losing to her then

Jun 6th, 2004, 08:37 PM
how is it possible that a post by "the cat" is edited by "the cat in the hat" ?

and to make the confusion perfect, we now have a third poster with a cat-affection, "thecatinthehat", this time from Mexico instead from USA

now what's that ? it's abit difficult to keep on track with all these IDs

Jun 6th, 2004, 08:46 PM
how is it possible that a post by "the cat" is edited by "the cat in the hat" ?

and to make the confusion perfect, we now have a third poster with a cat-affection, "thecatinthehat", this time from Mexico instead from USA

now what's that ? it's abit difficult to keep on track with all these IDs

:tape: :tape: I did not even notice that!

jimbo mack
Jun 6th, 2004, 09:01 PM
when u read this, it makes you realise how good dokic is........so unfortunate to see her slumping like this.

~ The Leopard ~
Jun 6th, 2004, 11:49 PM
It's like a goddamn pet shop around here.

Jun 7th, 2004, 05:02 AM
:) You know it had to happen some day or later.

*scratches head about the cat in the hat editing the cat's post*

Jun 7th, 2004, 09:47 AM
Why can't they just stick to the usual usernames ...

... as ALPHA ... then BRAVO, CHARLIE, DELTA etc etc ...

... and when we run out of these, we start over with ALPHA 1, BRAVO 1, CHARLIE 1 ...

how about that ?