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Bijoux0021
Nov 2nd, 2009, 11:23 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4616675&name=bodo_peter

Serena right where she belongs

Monday, November 2, 2009

Someone reviewing the major stories of the WTA season could be forgiven for looking back on the brouhaha attending Dinara Safina's tenure as the No. 1 player, scratching his head and asking: What was that all about?

The smoke has cleared on the battlefield, and Serena Williams is the last woman standing. She's right where she said she belongs, and where most pundits feel she deserved to be -- on top. Serena pounded the bejesus out of all comers at the Australian Open in January and then finished as the year-end No. 1 again.

But the top story in the WTA in 2009 isn't so much that Serena reclaimed her No. 1 position by year's end; it's that nobody was able to topple her along the way. For there hasn't been a less dominant, dominant player in a long time. Every week in '09, it seemed, those who doubted Serena's commitment, fitness or game had a legitimate case to make. Many weeks, Serena proved them right. But she remained in the hunt all along, knowing that one thing -- and one thing only -- matters when it comes to rankings: who finishes No. 1 at the end of the year.

So let's take a quick look at how the contenders and pretenders managed to allow the top ranking to slip through their sweaty little fingers:

Dinara Safina: She consistently came up short when she had the opportunity to consolidate her hold on the top spot or to make an authoritative statement validating the ranking. You can criticize her for reaching the top position without having won a Grand Slam title, but that happens in tennis.

The critical and disappointing failure was the way she found creative ways to bail out when she was in a position to prove her mettle. In tennis, for all but the very top players, it's all about windows of opportunity. But when the window opened for Safina, she walked over and closed the shutters. I wouldn't want to be her, embarking on 2010 with Kim Clijsters back in the hunt and Justine Henin also poised to return to the tour.

Jelena Jankovic: Maybe she did overtrain at the end of last year, explaining her horrific start to 2009. But that rationalization, accurate though it may be, has a short shelf life. It certainly doesn't explain her patchy, ragged, up-and-down year.

Jankovic is coy, a bit of a game-player. You can shuffle and slip and slide and sneak your way to a big title or two -- or even to the No. 1 ranking. But you can't become a dominant force in the game that way. She needs maturity, and she needs to simplify things and focus on the task at hand, week in, week out.

Svetlana Kuznetsova: Want to be No. 1, Sveta? "No, but thanks for asking!"

Elena Dementieva: It's funny how someone who seems like a no-nonsense player with great athletic gifts can find so many ways to avoid bagging a Grand Slam title or piecing together a run that takes her to the No. 1 ranking and keeps her there for good. My guess: She sabotages herself at some obscure emotional level.

Venus Williams: The demand of greatness is tough enough to begin with; it's that much more crushing a burden when your heart isn't exactly or entirely into it. (Just ask Andre Agassi.) Venus has become an error-prone and somewhat sloppy player, which tells you that she's mentally played out. And her problems were further exacerbated by the fact that her kid sister, Serena, simply appeared to want the top ranking more.

Vera Zvonareva: She's got an A-game but a C-spirit.

Victoria Azarenka: She started strong but faded, consistently falling victim to her emotions. But unlike the self-pitying and easily broken down Zvonareva, Azarenka is a fighter who may learn to channel her anger and frustration in a positive manner. I'd watch out for her next year.

Maria Sharapova: She gets a pass due to injury.

Ana Ivanovic: Please call home.

Caroline Wozniacki: Her game may not blow you away, with its moon-balling, retrieving defensive cast. But she's got a great attitude and took enormous strides in accepting her success with an impressive degree of composure and maturity. She shows signs of becoming a crafty, reliable and solid player who has what most of her peers lack -- the ability to find a way to win.

Wozniacki will have her work cut out for her in 2010, what with Serena, Kim and Justine in the picture. But "solid and reliable" can go a long way, if not all the way to the top, these days in the WTA.

serenafan08
Nov 2nd, 2009, 11:28 PM
I pretty much agree with everything he wrote. This is one of his better pieces.

tennisbum79
Nov 2nd, 2009, 11:37 PM
I pretty much agree with everything he wrote. This is one of his better pieces.
I do to, especially about Venus

And what is next for Ana Ivanovic?
So much potential, and so much potential, and so much potential...

SAEKeithSerena
Nov 2nd, 2009, 11:50 PM
agreed.

pwayne
Nov 3rd, 2009, 12:11 AM
Well written by Bodo. This year has been one of satisfaction for Serena as she ended the year on top despite having ups and downs. Her winning the Sony Ericsson Championships is a signal to the tour that she is ready for all comers in 2010 especially if her serve is clicking like it did in the finals against Venus

serenafann
Nov 3rd, 2009, 12:34 AM
I don't think that Venus is finished,hopefully she will rebound,a lot of this in my opinion is mental,she needs to focus better and concentrate intensely on her technique on the forehand,backhand and serve.If she can do it at Wimbledon She should be able to do it other places.

ZODIAC
Nov 3rd, 2009, 12:52 AM
Venus showed me at the YEC that she is till capable of great shots,I think she has some niggling injuries but if she is determined like she was in beating Jankovic and Sveta she will make noise in 2010.She is exhausted thats all two months of rejuvinating her game will do wonders for the up coming season.I think its folly to write her off because she usually brings up the goods when there is no expectation.

spartanfan
Nov 3rd, 2009, 12:56 AM
Venus really hasn't been the same since Serena won the French Open. Since then she has been consistently in Serena shadow.

Volcana
Nov 3rd, 2009, 01:28 AM
I don't think that Venus is finishedYou gotta define 'finished'. I don;t think she'll see the #1 ranking ever again, unless she wins OZ next year. And she really hasn't had good results there, for the most part. Her appearance in final was almost seven years ago.

She could still another slam, especially if Serena and all the retrievers are on the other side of the draw. But Venus is going to be thirty next year.

gmokb
Nov 3rd, 2009, 01:47 AM
I will agree that Venus has lost her way but I dont think she is fiinished, at least I hope not.:sad:

brent-o
Nov 3rd, 2009, 01:48 AM
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?entryID=4616675&name=bodo_peter

Serena right where she belongs

Monday, November 2, 2009

Someone reviewing the major stories of the WTA season could be forgiven for looking back on the brouhaha attending Dinara Safina's tenure as the No. 1 player, scratching his head and asking: What was that all about?

The smoke has cleared on the battlefield, and Serena Williams is the last woman standing. She's right where she said she belongs, and where most pundits feel she deserved to be -- on top. Serena pounded the bejesus out of all comers at the Australian Open in January and then finished as the year-end No. 1 again.

But the top story in the WTA in 2009 isn't so much that Serena reclaimed her No. 1 position by year's end; it's that nobody was able to topple her along the way. For there hasn't been a less dominant, dominant player in a long time. Every week in '09, it seemed, those who doubted Serena's commitment, fitness or game had a legitimate case to make. Many weeks, Serena proved them right. But she remained in the hunt all along, knowing that one thing -- and one thing only -- matters when it comes to rankings: who finishes No. 1 at the end of the year.

So let's take a quick look at how the contenders and pretenders managed to allow the top ranking to slip through their sweaty little fingers:

Dinara Safina: She consistently came up short when she had the opportunity to consolidate her hold on the top spot or to make an authoritative statement validating the ranking. You can criticize her for reaching the top position without having won a Grand Slam title, but that happens in tennis.

The critical and disappointing failure was the way she found creative ways to bail out when she was in a position to prove her mettle. In tennis, for all but the very top players, it's all about windows of opportunity. But when the window opened for Safina, she walked over and closed the shutters. I wouldn't want to be her, embarking on 2010 with Kim Clijsters back in the hunt and Justine Henin also poised to return to the tour.

Jelena Jankovic: Maybe she did overtrain at the end of last year, explaining her horrific start to 2009. But that rationalization, accurate though it may be, has a short shelf life. It certainly doesn't explain her patchy, ragged, up-and-down year.

Jankovic is coy, a bit of a game-player. You can shuffle and slip and slide and sneak your way to a big title or two -- or even to the No. 1 ranking. But you can't become a dominant force in the game that way. She needs maturity, and she needs to simplify things and focus on the task at hand, week in, week out.

Svetlana Kuznetsova: Want to be No. 1, Sveta? "No, but thanks for asking!"

Elena Dementieva: It's funny how someone who seems like a no-nonsense player with great athletic gifts can find so many ways to avoid bagging a Grand Slam title or piecing together a run that takes her to the No. 1 ranking and keeps her there for good. My guess: She sabotages herself at some obscure emotional level.

Venus Williams: The demand of greatness is tough enough to begin with; it's that much more crushing a burden when your heart isn't exactly or entirely into it. (Just ask Andre Agassi.) Venus has become an error-prone and somewhat sloppy player, which tells you that she's mentally played out. And her problems were further exacerbated by the fact that her kid sister, Serena, simply appeared to want the top ranking more.

Vera Zvonareva: She's got an A-game but a C-spirit.

Victoria Azarenka: She started strong but faded, consistently falling victim to her emotions. But unlike the self-pitying and easily broken down Zvonareva, Azarenka is a fighter who may learn to channel her anger and frustration in a positive manner. I'd watch out for her next year.

Maria Sharapova: She gets a pass due to injury.

Ana Ivanovic: Please call home.

Caroline Wozniacki: Her game may not blow you away, with its moon-balling, retrieving defensive cast. But she's got a great attitude and took enormous strides in accepting her success with an impressive degree of composure and maturity. She shows signs of becoming a crafty, reliable and solid player who has what most of her peers lack -- the ability to find a way to win.

Wozniacki will have her work cut out for her in 2010, what with Serena, Kim and Justine in the picture. But "solid and reliable" can go a long way, if not all the way to the top, these days in the WTA.

Pretty fair and well-put analysis, which is shocking coming from this man. One thing though, what makes Bodo like Woz's attitude and not think it's an elaborate sham orchestrated for the media, like he seems to think about Clijsters?

PLP
Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:25 AM
Spot on by Bodo...

fufuqifuqishahah
Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:32 AM
Wow... great well written stuff to say about each of those players.

I really like what he said about Dementieva though.

Caralenko
Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:36 AM
Svetlana Kuznetsova: Want to be No. 1, Sveta? "No, but thanks for asking!"

:sobbing:

Bayo
Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:43 AM
Venus has become an error-prone player? Where has he been since 2004? She's had the same woes ever since returning from her ab injury.

And I think it's way too premature to say that she's mentally finished. Her match against Jelena at the YEC, won purely on guts IMO, tells me different.

She may be getting older, but are we really disregarding that she was just in the final of the tour's Championship like 2 days ago?

VeeReeDavJCap81
Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:46 AM
He's right for once

ElusiveChanteuse
Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:49 AM
I don't think Venus' problem is her mental.:shrug:

The Kaz
Nov 3rd, 2009, 07:06 AM
I pretty much agree with everything he wrote. This is one of his better pieces.

Of course its one of his better pieces because Serena is written favourably.

pav
Nov 3rd, 2009, 08:30 AM
Hell,got to hand it to the Rena fans,usually Bodo is called a clueless idiot,and now he is greasing up Rena, he is a messiah:)

StephenUK
Nov 3rd, 2009, 09:11 AM
Hell,got to hand it to the Rena fans,usually Bodo is called a clueless idiot,and now he is greasing up Rena, he is a messiah:)

But is he though? I thought he was damning her with faint praise. He has more or less said that she is not a very good, minimum effort, maximum result no 1 who has kept the top spot because the rest of the top 10 are hopeless, which is a perfect summary for 2009.

I am pleased Serena won the YEC because the WTA regained a bit of credibility with her finally winning another event whilst reclaiming the top ranking, but three tournaments for a world no 1 all year, I think it's the lowest total ever.

Serena is no 1 because she managed to pull out three great tournaments when it mattered, but the rest of the year was pretty dismal for her. You can't compare Serena 2009 with Serena 2002 or Justine 2007. Even Rubbish Justine 2008 managed to win 2 of 6 events and not lose to anyone outside the top 25.

Hopefully Justine and Kim can provide more competition in 2010 and some of the others can pull their socks up so that Serena won't be able to retain that ranking with 80% of her results being phoned in performances.

Olórin
Nov 3rd, 2009, 11:56 AM
Venus has become an error-prone player? Where has he been since 2004? She's had the same woes ever since returning from her ab injury.

And I think it's way too premature to say that she's mentally finished. Her match against Jelena at the YEC, won purely on guts IMO, tells me different.

She may be getting older, but are we really disregarding that she was just in the final of the tour's Championship like 2 days ago?

Fully agree with this. Venus hasn't lost her champion's heart yet.

BuTtErFrEnA
Nov 3rd, 2009, 12:27 PM
But is he though? I thought he was damning her with faint praise. He has more or less said that she is not a very good, minimum effort, maximum result no 1 who has kept the top spot because the rest of the top 10 are hopeless, which is a perfect summary for 2009.

I am pleased Serena won the YEC because the WTA regained a bit of credibility with her finally winning another event whilst reclaiming the top ranking, but three tournaments for a world no 1 all year, I think it's the lowest total ever.

Serena is no 1 because she managed to pull out three great tournaments when it mattered, but the rest of the year was pretty dismal for her. You can't compare Serena 2009 with Serena 2002 or Justine 2007. Even Rubbish Justine 2008 managed to win 2 of 6 events and not lose to anyone outside the top 25.

Hopefully Justine and Kim can provide more competition in 2010 and some of the others can pull their socks up so that Serena won't be able to retain that ranking with 80% of her results being phoned in performances.

serena said herself she concentrates on 4 slams and a few tier I tournaments...like it or lump it :shrug: some of her fans have gotten used to it so it's not like she was putting her all in and losing so I don't get what this whole thing about "Kim and JH returning will give her more competition"...I don't think bodo meant that, that's just how you and some others see it..I wonder what happened the years serena wasn't competing and the others won but yet they are proclaimed ever so great

anyways...a well written article for once that properly analyses the players in it...but sveta :sobbing: and I think the problem with the other williams is mental...not that she can't fight, but that the lack of technique she has and the errors that come from it, weigh on her mind at critical stages...

Kworb
Nov 3rd, 2009, 12:30 PM
Vera missed the most important part of the season due to injury. :rolleyes: It's amazing she is still top 10.

youizahoe
Nov 3rd, 2009, 12:41 PM
agreed.

kiwifan
Nov 3rd, 2009, 12:53 PM
Pretty fair and well-put analysis, which is shocking coming from this man. One thing though, what makes Bodo like Woz's attitude and not think it's an elaborate sham orchestrated for the media, like he seems to think about Clijsters? So far you don't have every damn talking head, week in and week out blowing the horn for her "niceness"...

...it did seem weird if not annoying sometimes that it seemed you weren't allowed to say a sentence with Clijsters in it without saying the word "nice" as well.

Fine we get it, she's "nice"...

...such a "nice" girl...

...and also, very "nice". :explode:

And when she loses, "perhaps she's just too nice, to win." :lol:

Kunal
Nov 3rd, 2009, 01:55 PM
pretty much on the point

really sadens me to see where venus is at now

hingis-seles
Nov 3rd, 2009, 03:32 PM
I am pleased Serena won the YEC because the WTA regained a bit of credibility with her finally winning another event whilst reclaiming the top ranking, but three tournaments for a world no 1 all year, I think it's the lowest total ever.

Jennifer Capriati hardly won WTA titles when she was #1. In 2001, she only won three events, two of them being Slams ofcourse. In 2002, she only won the Aussie Open.

BuTtErFrEnA
Nov 3rd, 2009, 04:02 PM
^ :) yes I was trying to remember j-cap exactly but was too lazy to go searching :p so thnx

Vlover
Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:10 PM
Jennifer Capriati hardly won WTA titles when she was #1. In 2001, she only won three events, two of them being Slams ofcourse. In 2002, she only won the Aussie Open.
Thanks for posting the FACTS especially for those who conveniently forget when it comes to Williams. It is expected that there will always be those who will try very hard to minimize Serena's achievements but in the end who cares if she had won Marbella or any other tier. I'm sure some of those same people would be praising Safina if she had ended the year #1 with Rome, Madrid and a MM tournament but for Serena it is not good enough.:help: Most of these people also thought Jelena's #1 was quite in order so we already know their agenda.:tape: Anyway thank God Serena spared the WTA and reasonabl tennis fans from that embarrassment and added credibility to the #1 ranking again:bigclap:

Pureracket
Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:16 PM
Hell,got to hand it to the Rena fans,usually Bodo is called a clueless idiot,and now he is greasing up Rena, he is a messiah:)I think the only thing the Serena fans pretty much agree on is your lack of worth, pav. I know that's why I joined the Serena camp. Serena didn't have much to do with it.:)

Pureracket
Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:17 PM
kaz, are you demska?

Monica_Rules
Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:21 PM
I think it sums up the tour quite well.

I have a feeling 2010 is going to be a brilliant year. The return of both Kim and Justine shoudl give Serena the drive to fight just that little bit harder. Maria is getting there slowly and should be there or there abouts aswell. Theres going to be a big change in the top 10 between now and this time next year so get ready its going to be a bumpy ride.

SAEKeithSerena
Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:42 PM
Jennifer Capriati hardly won WTA titles when she was #1. In 2001, she only won three events, two of them being Slams ofcourse. In 2002, she only won the Aussie Open.


good point!

youizahoe
Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:43 PM
kaz, are you demska?

He's 5 times as wide as Demska :spit: