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View Full Version : Wimbledon final to be a test of nerves


Bette_Midler
Jul 7th, 2006, 09:01 PM
By STEVEN WINE, AP Sports Writer
July 7, 2006

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) -- Thunderclap serves, swing-for-the-backstop forehands and fist-pumping shrieks will be absent from the women's final Saturday at Wimbledon.

With the Williams family missing for the first time in seven years, raw power is out, replaced by feathery volleys, elegant backhands and bountiful butterflies.

Justine Henin-Hardenne and Amelie Mauresmo bring to the final all-court finesse and a history of edgy nerves. Both expect a fetching final -- as long as they can keep their composure.

"That's the key at this stage of a tournament," Henin-Hardenne said Friday. "It's no question really about tennis, it's a question of how you deal with the situation. The nerves are very important.

"Women are more emotional. It's not easy all the time."

Rattled by big occasions early in her career, Henin-Hardenne has coped well enough in recent years to win five major championships, including her third French Open title last month. The Belgian has reached the final in all three Grand Slam events this year, and with a win Saturday, she would become the 10th woman to win all four major titles.

For the top-ranked Mauresmo, pressure remains a problem. To her credit, she admits it.

She wavered in her semifinal victory over Maria Sharapova, blowing a 3-1, 40-love lead in the second set and enduring another lapse leading 4-0 in the third set. She dug in and ended a streak of three consecutive losses in Wimbledon semifinals.

"It's always a learning experience every time you go out on the court," the Frenchwoman said. "I'm trying to learn from the bad moments I had, learn also from the moments where I was able to overcome these moments of tension.

"We're all very different. Justine had very different experiences. She was able much younger than me to control her emotions better."

Mauresmo has been a perennial flop before home-court crowds at the French Open. She won her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, but without having to close out the final -- Henin-Hardenne retired in the second set, citing an upset stomach from pain medicine she took for a shoulder injury.

Henin-Hardenne's decision to quit annoyed Mauresmo, who considered it unsporting that she was denied a chance to win match point. Their relationship has been strained since.

"I don't pay much attention to that," Henin-Hardenne said. "I play my tennis for myself."

"It doesn't matter for me what happened there," Mauresmo said. "This final is going to be about tennis. That's what I want."

It will be a different kind of tennis from recent years. Venus Williams, eliminated in the third round, is a three-time champion who reached the final five of the past six years. Serena Williams, hoping to return soon from a knee injury, is a two-time champion and was also a runner-up .

Neither was ever accused of relying on finesse -- or succumbing to nerves.

Henin-Hardenne and Mauresmo play with a vast repertoire and deft touch. Both hit picturesque one-handed backhands, and neither is shy about coming to the net. Mauresmo even plays serve and volley, a strategy now rarer than grass courts.

"It's going to be tactically very exciting, very interesting," Henin-Hardenne said. "I hope we can both be in our best shape and show good tennis to the crowd."

"I think it's a great `affiche,"' said Mauresmo, using the French word for "showcase." "Talking about the style of play we both play on this surface, it's going to make it pretty exciting."

Both expect to be nervous Saturday morning. Henin-Hardenne said she'll rise early, eat a couple of hours before the match and try to visualize how she wants to play. The routine will be similar for Mauresmo, and both players expect butterflies.

The question is how quickly they subside.

"Nerves might be a big part in the match, maybe at the beginning, maybe after," Mauresmo said. "I don't know."

With a victory, Mauresmo will become the first Frenchwoman to win Wimbledon since Suzanne Lenglen in 1925. That would provide her nation with a memorable prelude to Sunday's World Cup final between France and Italy.

"I hope it's a big weekend for France," she said.

The pressure's on.

Updated on Friday, Jul 7, 2006 12:15 pm ED

Bette_Midler
Jul 7th, 2006, 09:46 PM
She won her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, but without having to close out the final -- Henin-Hardenne retired in the second set, citing an upset stomach from pain medicine she took for a shoulder injury.

Henin-Hardenne's decision to quit annoyed Mauresmo, who considered it unsporting that she was denied a chance to win match point. Their relationship has been strained since.

"I don't pay much attention to that," Henin-Hardenne said. "I play my tennis for myself."

"It doesn't matter for me what happened there," Mauresmo said. "This final is going to be about tennis. That's what I want."


The pressure's on.

Updated on Friday, Jul 7, 2006 12:15 pm ED

:devil: :angel:

barmaid
Jul 7th, 2006, 09:47 PM
I'd say the pressure is more on Justine than Momo...afterall she has to prove that she can win when healthy...mentally I do give Juju the edge as you never know when Amelie's will collapse however she did get through beating Maria with just one "hiccup" the 2nd set but am looking forward to a good close competitive match...Good Luck to both gals!:worship: :hearts: :D


barmaid:wavey:

Reuchlin
Jul 7th, 2006, 09:51 PM
"Women are more emotional."

Spoken like a true feminist Justine! :tape: :tape:

Mark Spruce
Jul 7th, 2006, 10:02 PM
Hoping for a great final

best of luck Justine !!!

tennislover
Jul 7th, 2006, 10:12 PM
very true
that's why juju has got more chances to win

Talula
Jul 7th, 2006, 10:15 PM
Hoping for a great final

best of luck Justine !!!
Mary will be gunning for Amelie I guess.

faste5683
Jul 7th, 2006, 10:19 PM
I've already lost the battle for my nerves. Could one of you call me when it's all over? TIA!

:wavey:

Shenanigans
Jul 7th, 2006, 10:36 PM
I am going to be a nervous wreck watching this match, especially if it is close can't bear to think about it.

Elisse
Jul 7th, 2006, 11:58 PM
Thanks for the article, Gabbs!! :smooch:

awwwwwww...I'm so excited about the final - I really hope it will be a great match, with both of them playing their finest tennis!!! :D


:kiss: :bounce: Good Luck Amelie!! :bounce: :kiss:

Veenut
Jul 8th, 2006, 12:15 AM
Doesn't sound like a match I want to get up to watch. From what is being described here it's far more comfortable to :zzz: in bed and get the results later.

SAEKeithSerena
Jul 8th, 2006, 12:17 AM
gonna be so nervous tomorrow...go Amelie!!!!!!!!

Justine Fan
Jul 8th, 2006, 12:17 AM
Doesn't sound like a match I want to get up to watch. From what is being described here it's far more comfortable to :zzz: in bed and get the results later.

I know what you mean :lol: I've done that whenever the sistah's have played!

Either match-fix or snoozefest!

Mightymirza
Jul 8th, 2006, 12:25 AM
i dont even wanna think abt it but i know i will...justine come on..hope u come firing ur guns...

Veenut
Jul 8th, 2006, 12:36 AM
I know what you mean :lol: I've done that whenever the sistah's have played!

Either match-fix or snoozefest!

All good and you are entitled to make your own choices even when you are in the minority. Justine can never generate the tv ratings that both sisters have. If they should show the mixed doubles on tv I'm sure that would command a larger audience than the singles. Just reading about the mixed is exciting not to mention watching it.

Mother_Marjorie
Jul 8th, 2006, 01:08 AM
All good and you are entitled to make your own choices even when you are in the minority. Justine can never generate the tv ratings that both sisters have. If they should show the mixed doubles on tv I'm sure that would command a larger audience than the singles. Just reading about the mixed is exciting not to mention watching it.

Interesting you say that. Lemme know when they televise the entire mixed doubles final. I mean, since Venus is so popular, surely they'd televise it all :devil:

faste5683
Jul 8th, 2006, 02:25 AM
Somebody please hand me that bottle of Voda...no, thanks, I don't need a glass...:eek:

:wavey:

Justine Fan
Jul 8th, 2006, 02:28 AM
All good and you are entitled to make your own choices even when you are in the minority. Justine can never generate the tv ratings that both sisters have. If they should show the mixed doubles on tv I'm sure that would command a larger audience than the singles. Just reading about the mixed is exciting not to mention watching it.

In USA maybe ... but there are other coutries apart from the USA!

Enjoy your match though and good luck to Venus and Bob.

Veenut
Jul 8th, 2006, 05:01 AM
Interesting you say that. Lemme know when they televise the entire mixed doubles final. I mean, since Venus is so popular, surely they'd televise it all :devil:

I didn't gaurantee that it would be televised, please note I said if. Calm down. You can prove me wrong by simple presenting the ratings for the Justine finals and compare with the sisters' finals to substantiate your point. It is already on record that the sister's last Wimbledon doubles final was rated better than even the men's singles.

Yes Venus is very popular in the US as polling have shown she is the most popular female athlete. If you have valid data to dispute my arguements then present it.

samn
Jul 8th, 2006, 11:02 AM
Sorry if someone has mentioned this already, but I just remembered yesterday that the last time two women with one-handed backhands contested the Wimbledon final was in 1998. That was the year the Frenchwoman lost the singles final but her countrymen went on to win the World Cup final in Paris.

Eight years later, we have Amelie Mauresmo playing the Wimbledon final the same weekend that Les Bleues attempt to recapture the World Cup. An omen, perhaps?

Bette_Midler
Jul 8th, 2006, 02:03 PM
¡ qué nervios! :awww:

allez amé !! :bounce: