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Rosslyn
Nov 16th, 2007, 02:40 PM
http://www.sportingo.com/tennis/justine_henin_maria_sharapova_two/1001,5767

Justine Henin and Maria Sharapova: Two reasons why women's tennis is in great hands

'The nagging shoulder injury that hampered Sharapova's play all season seems to have healed and with that, the notorious fighting spirit of the Russian starlet has returned'

The queens of the WTA Tour were superb in Madrid, whilst other highlights of 2007 included the emergence of Serbia's Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic plus little Israel joining the Fed Cup world elite.

If there was ever a question as to which players currently possess the most mental toughness on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, Justine Henin and Maria Sharapova erased all doubt last weekend in Madrid.

Sharapova, who began the 2007 season as the world No.1, and Henin, who ended the year as the world’s top player, engaged in a battle for the ages to see which of the two superstars would claim supremacy at the prestigious season-ending championships.

In the end, it was Henin who came out on top in arguably the match of the year on the women’s side, an affair that lasted more than three hours. With the victory, the 25-year old Belgian caps one of the most impressive seasons in the history of the sport. Despite her petite 5ft 5in stature, Henin proved to be a giant of the game, capturing a Tour-leading 10 titles including two Grand Slam crowns, losing a mere four matches along the way and breaking the record for the most prize money in a single season with an astounding $5million won.

After a disappointing year that saw her off-court ventures prove more fruitful than her on-court triumphs, Sharapova silenced her critics in Madrid, proving that she still has what it takes to be at the upper echelon of the game. The nagging shoulder injury that hampered her play all season seems to have healed and with that, the notorious fighting spirit of the Russian starlet has returned.

Sharapova is probably the only player on Tour who could compete in a battle of wills with the seemingly flawless Henin. And that she did, coming within a few games of flexing the final fist pump and dethroning the queen of women’s tennis. If she can stay healthy and return to the form that won her two Grand Slams, 2008 could prove to be the much-anticipated breakthrough season for Sharapova.

Although she comes with a lot of baggage, what with her constant shrieking, robotic between points routine and diva-like attitude, there is something endearing about the competitive desire of the blonde bombshell. She plays to win and if she is committed to doing so come January, her fans are in for quite a treat and her opponents might be well-advised to master the art of ball retrieval.

In a year that has been marred by drug-use allegations and the ever-present tournament withdrawal syndrome, the Henin-Sharapova showdown is sure to breathe new life into a sport searching for an identity.

While it has become the norm to criticise the Tour for implementing such questionable innovations as on-court coaching and the players for their apparent lack of commitment to their craft, more than a few feelgood stories have arisen from the 2007 season. The emergence of Serbian stars Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic is more than just a pleasant coincidence. Both are supremely talented, charismatic, attractive, personable and more than ready for the attention their success induced.

The return of Lindsay Davenport to professional tennis couldn’t have come at a better time and after winning two of the first three tournaments in her comeback, who knows what’s in store for tennis’s newest mom in 2008.

While it was no surprise that perennial powerhouses Russia took home top honours in Fed Cup by BNP Paribas play this year, perhaps the most inspiring story was Israel cracking the prestigious World Group. Led by upstart Shahar Peer, the Israelis defeated Canada and Austria en route to becoming part of the elite eight.

It is remarkable that a country still affected by political and religious controversy has been able to produce world-class tennis players who have been embraced by fans, showing that sport may have the capacity to affect social change.

It may be that some fans are becoming increasingly discouraged by the state of women’s tennis. But with the arrival of a new generation of stars combined with the revival of some of the game’s best, there is reason to be optimistic and anxious for the start of the new year on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

mashamaniac
Nov 16th, 2007, 03:33 PM
agreed.they both are the most attractive match-ups on women's tennis!

Aaron.
Nov 16th, 2007, 03:35 PM
Hell no.

Serena,Venus and Justine are why womens tennis is in great hands

jujufreak
Nov 16th, 2007, 03:38 PM
Hell no.

Serena,Venus and Justine are why womens tennis is in great hands

then you must be very satisfied with the past tennis season :D

Aaron.
Nov 16th, 2007, 03:44 PM
then you must be very satisfied with the past tennis season :D This article is bs.

Sharapova has been injured most of the season didnt win a GS and only won one title.

Serena won 2 titles Runner up of Tier 1 + AO and Miami
Venus won 3 titles + Wimbledon
Justine won 14? FO,USO and many more

Williams sisters have always been hated so this is not a suprise..

plantman
Nov 16th, 2007, 03:52 PM
It's an conspiracy I tell ya!:haha:

Volcana
Nov 16th, 2007, 04:26 PM
If I had written that article, the title would have been 'If i don't mention the Williams Sisters, maybe they don't exist'.

Mind you, the title itself is fine, if the article is about the YEC. But if it's an article about the general state of the game .... well, let's just say the players mentioned aren't carrying the market for women's tennis in the USA.

stevos
Nov 16th, 2007, 05:16 PM
I love optimistic tennis articles! I'm sick of the doomsdayers.

However, it was BS saying Maria is the only one who can match up to Henin in a battle of wills. Every tennis fan knows, fan or not, Serena and Venus are right there. Miami final, anyone?

@Sweet Cleopatra
Nov 16th, 2007, 05:30 PM
as long as Masha doesn't play JuJu on clay , the matches'll be very good whoever wins ,,,

Doc
Nov 16th, 2007, 06:33 PM
The tour needs charismatic players who are consistently good. Maria and justine in top form can only be good for the tour.

schorsch
Nov 16th, 2007, 07:34 PM
I wouldnt uhm... call Henin charismatic, but well.

fufuqifuqishahah
Nov 16th, 2007, 07:41 PM
this article is way too optimistic.

Justine, Venus, Serena, Sharapova are obviously the main ticket sellers, not just Justine and Sharapova.

Tennisstar86
Nov 16th, 2007, 07:46 PM
:haha: :haha:

If Women's Tennis is in the hands of Sharapova... I'm afraid for the future of the game......

Radix2
Nov 16th, 2007, 07:55 PM
Maria plays one solid tournament and all of a sudden is the the saviour of the WTA. I was great to see Maria back in form for that week but I think people should wait to see what happens at the Aussie Open. Tennis is a sport and anything thing could happen.

ptkten
Nov 16th, 2007, 08:09 PM
What is this sportingo website? Isn't it the same site that just posted a stupid article on a quote from Justine a few years ago about how she's not scared of the Williams sisters because they play the same way as 5 years ago?

ptkten
Nov 16th, 2007, 08:16 PM
Ok, the website is the place for sports news and analysis by fans. Most of the "articles" are bashing the Williams sisters. The last two titles of articles on that site: "Have Venus and Serena Williams been sidetracked by fame?" and "Maria Sharapova's maturity at 20 puts Serena Williams to shame."

The next time I see an article with a link to that website, I'll know not to read it.

Pasta-Na
Nov 16th, 2007, 08:26 PM
juju was very super 2 or 3 years ago and stopped to keep training very hard to maintain her powerful golden arm after that long injury :help: now what she defeats the top players (big girls) by her game varities and fighting spirit :p :worship:

LoveFifteen
Nov 16th, 2007, 08:46 PM
The YEC final was NOT the match of the year! :rolleyes:

Steff_forever
Nov 16th, 2007, 08:47 PM
The tour needs charismatic players who are consistently good. Maria and justine in top form can only be good for the tour.
nice hint for the sisters as well as for Masha :kiss:

OsloErik
Nov 16th, 2007, 09:13 PM
Look, I'm no fan of Sharapova (not really a fan of Henin either but at least she plays pretty tennis), just as I'm not really a fan of the Williams sisters. But there is no denying that it helps tennis to have three marketable stars playing well. If Ivanovic starts doing equally well, that'll be four. I'm happy to have young players looking like they may be able to take the place of Venus and Serena (who are, I'll remind you all, not getting younger), just as I was happy to have the Williams sisters show up in time to take the place of Steffi Graf (marketability wise). It's good for tennis to have them. As long as they don't beat my faves in the process ;)

Forehand_Volley
Nov 16th, 2007, 09:41 PM
well, let's just say the players mentioned aren't carrying the market for women's tennis in the USA.
Well, that's part of the problem of the mindset of US tennis and their fans.

There are many more WTA events played in Asia, Europe and the Middle East than two decades ago. It no longer matters if the best players aren't from the US in terms of marketing tennis to a worldwide audience.

Given the poor prospects for up and coming Americans in the WTA, its not surprising that European players like Maria and Henin are receiving the bulk of attention these days.

Pureracket
Nov 16th, 2007, 09:42 PM
Ok, the website is the place for sports news and analysis by fans. Most of the "articles" are bashing the Williams sisters. The last two titles of articles on that site: "Have Venus and Serena Williams been sidetracked by fame?" and "Maria Sharapova's maturity at 20 puts Serena Williams to shame."

The next time I see an article with a link to that website, I'll know not to read it....and here I was thinking I was the only one who noticed that.

I wouldn't be surprised if the threadstarter actually wrote this article.

Rtael
Nov 16th, 2007, 09:43 PM
If I had written that article, the title would have been 'If i don't mention the Williams Sisters, maybe they don't exist'.

Mind you, the title itself is fine, if the article is about the YEC. But if it's an article about the general state of the game .... well, let's just say the players mentioned aren't carrying the market for women's tennis in the USA.


I have to say I don't agree. The author here is looking at the resurgence of Sharapova to the top of the game heading into next year, and while it may have been only "about the YEC," this one tournament does show that Sharapova is mostly, if not completely, over her injury. And when Sharapova isn't injured she is most definitely consistent, hence the nickname Semipova. So now that she's not injured anymore, she can be back at the top of the game, and challenging in most of the tournaments she's entering, and that just isn't something you can say about the Williams Sisters. Yes they are great players, but they just aren't reliable as far as showing up to all of their tournaments and performing as expected. Yes, Serena and Venus have been injured but so has Maria. When Maria is injured, she takes time off and comes back ready to play. Often times when the Williams Sisters are injured they come back not at all ready, or before they've healed completely. The article is just pointing out that there are now two people who can be counted to consistently play well in all their tournaments, and hopefully carry a rivalry into next year.

Pureracket
Nov 16th, 2007, 09:55 PM
Well, that's part of the problem of the mindset of US tennis and their fans.

There are many more WTA events played in Asia, Europe and the Middle East than two decades ago. It no longer matters if the best players aren't from the US in terms of marketing tennis to a worldwide audience.

Given the poor prospects for up and coming Americans in the WTA, its not surprising that European players like Maria and Henin are receiving bulk of attention these days the.You really believe these two are getting the bulk of the attention? Using this site or any other tennis site as an example, I think you'd be wrong.

Donny
Nov 16th, 2007, 11:20 PM
You really believe these two are getting the bulk of the attention? Using this site or any other tennis site as an example, I think you'd be wrong.

This is fro mthe poster who created the notion of "Henin's era". He obviously has a different take on reality than us.

Dave.
Nov 16th, 2007, 11:27 PM
Not sure if Henin and Sharapova are the two main ones. Henin certainly is the best right now but Svetlana, Ana, Jelena and the Williams are all in just as good if not better a position as Maria is.

Rtael
Nov 17th, 2007, 02:06 AM
This is fro mthe poster who created the notion of "Henin's era". He obviously has a different take on reality than us.


I'm pretty sure Henin created that notion by winning so damn much... :worship:

esquímaux
Nov 17th, 2007, 02:13 AM
I dunno about the thread title :unsure: but their combined bustage could fit in 2 hands :shrug:

plantman
Nov 17th, 2007, 02:22 AM
I dunno about the thread title :unsure: but their combined bustage could fit in 2 hands :shrug:

Yea, and I remember hearing more than a mouthful was to much!:)

Tennisstar86
Nov 17th, 2007, 02:22 AM
I have to say I don't agree. The author here is looking at the resurgence of Sharapova to the top of the game heading into next year, and while it may have been only "about the YEC," this one tournament does show that Sharapova is mostly, if not completely, over her injury. And when Sharapova isn't injured she is most definitely consistent, hence the nickname Semipova. So now that she's not injured anymore, she can be back at the top of the game, and challenging in most of the tournaments she's entering, and that just isn't something you can say about the Williams Sisters. Yes they are great players, but they just aren't reliable as far as showing up to all of their tournaments and performing as expected. Yes, Serena and Venus have been injured but so has Maria. When Maria is injured, she takes time off and comes back ready to play. Often times when the Williams Sisters are injured they come back not at all ready, or before they've healed completely. The article is just pointing out that there are now two people who can be counted to consistently play well in all their tournaments, and hopefully carry a rivalry into next year.

:lol: Maria takes time off and comes back better than ever? you couldnt be any more wrong. We've yet to see how shes coming off this injury.... At wimbledon she played amazing 3 rounds then Bam destroyed by Venus. Her fans pour out oh shes injury. Us Open she plays amazing for 2 rounds. then Bam. Choke city... her fans pour out oh shes injured.... Theres a difference between "taking" time off and what she did in the fall. (losing first round in Tournies) This thing about other players who play events injured (Venus, Serena, Henin) they are threat even when only 50% so they make it deep into tournies and end up more injured.They have learned from experience its better to pull out when injured than risk a Long injury....(Venus and Serena after Wimbledon 03' and whenever Henin had her issues 04'?!?!?).... The same just simply cant be said about Maria.....