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View Full Version : TR: Mauresmo faces down Henin-Hardenne for Wimbledon title; No more talk about Amelie


Fabunny
Jul 9th, 2006, 01:40 AM
THE TR NEWSLETTER: SATURDAY, JULY 8, NO. 183
Mauresmo faces down Henin-Hardenne for Wimbledon title
No more talk about Amelie's nerves
By Chris Bowers, Special to TennisReporters. net


Cynthia Lum/WireImage. com
Amelie Mauresmo's serve-and-volley attack was dead on.

DAY 13 FROM WIMBLEDON – Many may have been thinking it, Amelie Mauresmo said it. Just minutes after becoming the first Frenchwoman since the great Suzanne Lenglen to win Wimbledon 81 years ago, Mauresmo looked at the BBC Television interviewer Sue Barker and said in the first answer of her on-court interview: "I don't want anyone to talk about my nerves any more!"

After the battle, finally the admission that there had been a battle. For several years Mauresmo has tried various ways of denying she has had a problem with her nerves. This past week she has been a little more open, admitting that she does get tight but that she has learned to deal with it better. And today after her second Grand Slam title – but an infinitely more satisfying one than the Australian Open she won in January – came the recognition that there was a problem, albeit one that has now been solved.

"I was realistic," she said an hour after beating Justine Henin-Hardenne 2-6, 6-3, 6-4. "I knew that the nerves got involved, but I worked at that. It's taken me longer than some players, but it's much sweeter for that."

For large stretches of this final it wasn't clear at all that the problem of the nerves had been solved. Mauresmo got off to a nervous start, dropping her serve in the opening game. Even when she led 3-0 and 4-1 in the second set there was a stiffness to her movement that suggested a state of nerves that she might never escape from. Perhaps she was lucky that she caught Henin-Hardenne on a day when all her matches at Roland Garros, Eastbourne and Wimbledon caught up with her. "I felt very tired today," the Belgian said. "I played five of the last six weeks, playing 18 matches. I don't regret it but I feel tired."

The shame is that it wasn't the glorious match many had hoped for. A gusty wind kept affecting the flight of the ball, and with Henin-Hardenne tired and Mauresmo tentative, the quality of tennis wasn't the best. But Mauresmo's triumph is indeed less having mastered her nerves, more having found a way of playing when afflicted by them. When she lost confidence in her aggressive backhand, she sliced to great effect. When she wasn't swinging freely on the forehand she found delicate angles pushed with more control than power. And to keep points short, she had her volleys, the one area of her game clearly is superior to Henin-Hardenne's. "What I was really proud about was that I kept serving and volleying even though it wasn't working well in the first set," Mauresmo said afterwards.

How much the legacy of the abortive end to January's Australian Open final played a part is hard to tell. In her public pronouncements, Mauresmo has said Henin-Hardenne's retirement at 0-2, 0-30 in the second set robbed her of nothing more than the first few moments of triumph, but privately she is said to be still fuming. Henin-Hardenne has changed her story a little since January, but in no way accepts she was at fault for retiring. There is clearly little affection between the two.

Whether that led to the cold sores that reappeared on Henin-Hardenne's lips is impossible to say, but throughout her professional career they have recurred at intervals when all is not well in the Belgian's world. :rolleyes: Had she played remotely like the player who reached the final and won her previous two tournaments, she would surely have completed her set of Grand Slam titles. But her failure to hold serve at 3-4 in the second set was the moment the match really got away.

"She is known as a fighter, but she did not fight at certain moments," her coach Carlos Rodriguez said. "She did not really want it. Amelie wanted this title more than Justine. Amelie deserves the title. She wanted to win the tournament more than Justine." :confused:

After her nervous start, Mauresmo had broken in the second game of the second set. At 4-1, John McEnroe said on British television: "It's only one break so Mauresmo can't afford to relax. Well actually, that's exactly what she should do."

The still nervous Frenchwoman dropped serve at 4-2, and it seemed entirely legitimate to talk about her nerves. But then Henin-Hardenne played a poor eighth game, Mauresmo found an ace on set point, and the match was all square.

THIRD SET WAS FIRMLY IN AMELIE'S HANDS
Mauresmo broke in the third game of the deciding set, but was it too early? When she missed a break point in the fifth, Henin-Hardenne must have fancied her chances. But Mauresmo held to 15, and then held to 30 for 5-3. Henin-Hardenne held serve to force Mauresmo to serve it out, and that became the real test of her nerve.

At the moment she needed it most, her serve performed superbly. An ace saw her to 15-0. A second ace to 30-15. Then on championship point a rally ensued. Henin-Hardenne looked the more solid, but when she netted an inside out forehand, Mauresmo sank to her knees in triumph.

"[I'm happiest] with the way I turned things around," Mauresmo said. "You're 6-2 down against Justine in the final of a Grand Slam. You not in such great position at the time. You feel like, 'Okay, what do I need to do? How am I going to change things around? How am I gonna just make it go my way?' I really felt I pumped myself up. I let it out a little bit. I yelled a little bit. I was much more aggressive right from the beginning of that second set."

It was a surprisingly mundane performance from Henin-Hardenne in the third set, who didn't challenge Mauresmo enough on her serves and completely lost control of her forehand. She was many analysts favorite to win her sixth Slam, but it's become increasingly clear that since 2004, when she struck by a mysterious virus, that she may never be able to sustain a very high level over a period of six weeks without a substantial break.

"It's very difficult to make the transition from Roland Garros to Wimbledon," Rodriguez said. "There is a lot of pressure at Roland Garros, a lot of rallies. Then Justine comes here and she does not have a lot of lucidity in the brain to see what is going on."

It seems part of Mauresmo's character to be afflicted by nerves, and it seems unlikely the subject will go away. But with two Grand Slam titles now to her name, the likeable 27-year-old can choke in a dozen more major semis or finals and still enjoy her place in the pantheon of tennis's champions. That was her triumph at Wimbledon today, and for that, the nerves can indeed go away.

She's the first Frenchwoman since the legendary Lenglen in 1925 to hold the Wimbledon title and she was a more than deserving champion.

"It is very sweet," she said. "Maybe if it came the first time I was in a Grand Slam final seven years ago, maybe it would have not had the same taste. Things come when they have to come. For a few months now, it seems to be working pretty well for me and I finally found how maybe to handle the nerves a bit better, how my game is. I really know much more now how to play tennis than few years ago. Everything is really coming together."


Bryans Complete Doubles Slam
In the doubles, Bob and Mike Bryan completed a career Grand Slam at Wimbledon with 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Fabrice Santoro/Nenad Zimonjic in the final. It was their third Slam crown in their last four majors and now they can clearly be called the top doubles team in the world.

"We've been thinking about this career Slam since we won the US Open and the Australian back to back" said Mike. "This was the last one to get. This is the one we've dreamed about our whole lives, the one that we have probably the best shot to win from serving and being pretty athletic around the net. And from the disappointment last year, losing to the qualifiers, Huss and Moody, it's good to come back and take it home. It feels great."

Bob wasn't as fortunate in the mixed final. Andy Ram/Vera Zvonareva bested him and Venus Williams 6-3, 6-2.

Additional reporting by Bill Simons and Matthew Cronin

© TennisReporters. net 2006

Fabunny
Jul 9th, 2006, 01:42 AM
I can't believe Carlos' statement said Justine didn't really want it: She had a chance to complete a career grand slam.

tennisvulture
Jul 9th, 2006, 01:51 AM
it is not that she did not want it or Amelie wanting it more than her, but it has a lot more to do with the way Amelie raised her game in the last two sets. She clearly outplayed Justine. A real grass-court game perfectly applied when she mostly needed it. And no choking this time because she was made to serve it out. Justine is a great player, always determined and feisty. Today, she applied all that, but came up short against someone who played better tennis.

Fabunny
Jul 9th, 2006, 01:52 AM
"It's very difficult to make the transition from Roland Garros to Wimbledon," Rodriguez said. "There is a lot of pressure at Roland Garros, a lot of rallies. Then Justine comes here and she does not have a lot of lucidity in the brain to see what is going on."

I agree that it is difficult to transition from clay to grass. However, the "not having lucidity in the brain" comment is off the mark.

MinnyGophers
Jul 9th, 2006, 01:56 AM
Mauresmo is like French wine.... elegant, and only gets better with age. You have to wait years before you can finally enjoy it, but when you do, it is much sweeter than it would have been had she won earlier.

hablo
Jul 9th, 2006, 02:00 AM
This has got to be the worst article that I've read today.

Greenout
Jul 9th, 2006, 02:02 AM
Look, Carlos has known Justine since she was 14 years old. Coached her for 10 years, if anybody knows how her EVIL mind works it would be him. If he thinks she didn't want it or need it as much as Amelie during the match. There's something to what he says.

Fabunny
Jul 9th, 2006, 02:13 AM
Look, Carlos has known Justine since she was 14 years old. Coached her for 10 years, if anybody knows how her EVIL mind works it would be him. If he thinks she didn't want it or need it as much as Amelie during the match. There's something to what he says.


I wonder whether Justine cares that Carlos is telling the media that she didn't really want it and she lacked lucidity in the brain. He makes her sound like a head case. :fiery: Just 2 days ago, Justine told the BBC how much she relishes the pressure of tight matches. NO BONUS FOR CARLOS.

Greenout
Jul 9th, 2006, 02:23 AM
I wonder whether Justine cares that Carlos is telling the media that she didn't really want it and she lacked lucidity in the brain. He makes her sound like a head case. :fiery: Just 2 days ago, Justine told the BBC how much she relishes the pressure of tight matches. NO BONUS FOR CARLOS.


Here's a secret. This is why he's such a good coach. He doesn't coddle her, and if he think's she was lame he'll say so to whoever he wants too. Carlos isn't going to suck up to her. He probably thinks he's doing her a favour.

Rocketta
Jul 9th, 2006, 02:29 AM
There's no words to describe Carlos. :rolleyes:

Rocketta
Jul 9th, 2006, 02:31 AM
Here's a secret. This is why he's such a good coach. He doesn't coddle her, and if he think's she was lame he'll say so to whoever he wants too. Carlos isn't going to suck up to her. He probably thinks he's doing her a favour.

if that was his purpose he would've told Justine that in private not through the media. Those statements aren't for Justine they are for her competitors.

Ceze
Jul 9th, 2006, 02:40 AM
This has got to be the worst article that I've read today.ditto, and I read a lot of articles :o

Shenanigans
Jul 9th, 2006, 02:44 AM
Oh I don't care who said what! I have already downloaded the match and could watch the match point over again and again, she won that is all that matters to me. :angel:
Whatever!! those people who swing towards Justine like John Mc :sad: thank god Miss Austin gave him a lesson in Womens tennis.

Reuchlin
Jul 9th, 2006, 02:53 AM
Carlos :bow:

Shenanigans
Jul 9th, 2006, 02:54 AM
From where ? I want it too :drool:

From the BBC live thing, you have to pay for it and can download the match but they had 3 commentators Tracey, John and the old brit guy who was impartial.
It seemed John was praising Justine while Austin was praising Amélie; maybe they set it up that way. :confused:

hablo
Jul 9th, 2006, 02:56 AM
From the BBC live thing, you have to pay for it and can download the match but they had 3 commentators Tracey, John and the old brit guy who was impartial.
It seemed John was praising Justine while Austin was praising Amélie; maybe they set it up that way. :confused:
Ok, thanks :kiss:
I was wondering how come we didn't get John M... so that's where he went, to the BBC :lol:
I found he was pretty complimentary towards Momo during the Semis though ;)

darrinbaker00
Jul 9th, 2006, 02:58 AM
Someone has to say it, so it may as well be me: CHOKOMOMO IS NO MO'! ;)

Shenanigans
Jul 9th, 2006, 03:10 AM
Ok, thanks :kiss:
I was wondering how come we didn't get John M... so that's where he went, to the BBC :lol:
I found he was pretty complimentary towards Momo during the Semis though ;)

I hope you get to see the match with his commentary but he said when Amélie was 1-1 in the 3rd set and had break points which she won, Justine was beating herself. :rolleyes: We have all heard that before. :lol:

vejh
Jul 9th, 2006, 03:25 AM
Carlos is tough on Juju. He also has some distinct opinions. This is not the first time I've noticed this. This is why whenever someone comes up with "carlos said this after Serena etc.." I tell them Carlos and JHH really are 2 different people with their own opinions and viewpoints. He sees things one way, Juju sees it another way. Besides, sometimes the mind is willing, but the body is weak. I'm sure he and Juju will have a nice convo about this in private.lol.

Reuchlin
Jul 9th, 2006, 03:30 AM
I hope you get to see the match with his commentary but he said when Amélie was 1-1 in the 3rd set and had break points which she won, Justine was beating herself. :rolleyes: We have all heard that before. :lol:

Well, to be fair she did make 4 unforced errors in the game she was broken in.

Shenanigans
Jul 9th, 2006, 03:45 AM
Well, to be fair she did make 4 unforced errors in the game she was broken in.

I know but as I said all his commentary was based on what Justine was doing wrong rather than what Amélie was doing right.
He had it in his mind that Justine would win from the start even when Amélie won the 2nd set, he was still waiting for Justine to comeback but thankfully he was dissapointed. :D

tennnisfannn
Jul 9th, 2006, 03:55 AM
personally looking at the road to the final, i felt mauresmo would have the the upper hand. Through no fault of her own, justine did not really get tested on the grass, all her previous opponents had no clue with how to deal with her, kim should have provided the match justine needed but then kim was at her devil-may-care-mood. When amelie pulled off the maria challenge, i knew she had a real shot at it.

Barbarela
Jul 9th, 2006, 08:48 PM
Oh I don't care who said what! I have already downloaded the match and could watch the match point over again and again, she won that is all that matters to me. :angel:
Whatever!! those people who swing towards Justine like John Mc :sad: thank god Miss Austin gave him a lesson in Womens tennis.

Shenanigans, did you pay to download the match???

Give me the link, please!!!!

anlavalle
Jul 18th, 2006, 04:30 AM
the worst and most mean article about the wimby final, i really don`t care about it :o

améliemomo
Jul 18th, 2006, 07:58 AM
what's this??? :o

surely not a good article. :tape:

tennisrox
Jul 18th, 2006, 08:04 AM
Load of Bullshit.
Amelie was just too good. End of story.
Say what you want, the 2006 wimbly champ is amelie mauresmo, and no amount of whining and nitpicking is going to change that. This time theres no 'retired' next to Justine's name. Amelie won on her own merit.

fifiricci
Jul 18th, 2006, 08:18 AM
I can't believe Carlos' statement said Justine didn't really want it: She had a chance to complete a career grand slam.

And you're totally right not to believe it, unless you want to believe a load of bollocks motivated by sour grapes :devil:

fifiricci
Jul 18th, 2006, 08:21 AM
Ok, thanks :kiss:
I was wondering how come we didn't get John M... so that's where he went, to the BBC :lol:
I found he was pretty complimentary towards Momo during the Semis though ;)

Johnny M is a Care Bear through and through, let there be no doubt about that. But even so, I can't bring myself to dislike the guy ;)

Yasmine
Jul 18th, 2006, 08:34 AM
Carlos strikes again :rolleyes: no comment Amélie won the title so he can shove his comments you know where...