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View Full Version : Next Week Marks the Anniversary of the End


DefyingGravity
Jun 17th, 2010, 02:46 AM
This is a startlingly bad thread to start, but I just want to see the opinion of the people on TF about this. Next week marks two years since Ana's precipitous fall from #1 to just inside the top 50 or lower after this Wimbledon. It began with that struggle against Nathalie Dechy

What I found striking is that I've got matches from every year from 2006-2010 to compare, and what a major difference youth can make...in 2006, she looked to be fearless and didn't really care about missing as much (reference Sharapova v. Ivanovic Linz 2006), same with 2007 (reference Ivanovic v. Vaidisova Wimbledon 2007).

2008....at first it looked alright, but there were telltale signs that her nerves were beginning to be shot, starting with that loss to Pironkova in Rome...that should never have occurred, and 2007 Ivanovic probably wouldn't have let that happen. It seems that she just lost her nerve and she realized where she was in the world rankings rather than just playing tennis to play tennis. That match against Dechy, in my opinion, shot her nerves beyond repair. She used every trick she had and just barely scraped through (thanks to a net cord). The rest of 2008 was extremely rough, some of it due to a thumb/hand injury that was reported, and while she looked as if she was getting a semblance of form back in Zurich (SF) and Linz (won), it only inflated confidence that was shattered when she arrived sick in Doha.

Then the hot mess of 2009 happened. Watching that Kleybanova match, it looked as if she was trying to hard to generate spin rather than pace. The ball looked much slower coming off her racket, and I sincerely think that she was trying to minimize errors, and use her "new found defensive skills" to scrape through matches when she couldn't really hit her way out of it, but bottom line is that she is a player who thrives on grip and rip tactics. It was painful to see her just half swinging really on a lot of easier shots in that match. And it continued through the year. She only had moments of brilliance in her Wimbledon 3R and shining moments of that Bondarenko USO loss.

2010 rolls around and she's lost the fitness that she had, and if anything she's hitting with more topspin off the forehand, which again is something that she can't get away with because she's not speedy enough. I don't know if it's that Yonex racket she got after the USO 2008, but she just lost ALL her pace. Psychologist, as we all document, is needed.

This Wimbledon also marks the end of Maria Sharapova. The loss to Kudryavtseva, which was shocking, just began what had to be a nightmare for Sharapova as well. That Domachowska match in Canada really took its toll on her and then of course the shoulder surgery and recovery mentally from it. She hasn't been the same since. RG 2009 and Tokyo 2009 gave us glimpses of old Maria, but she (like Ivanovic) has just been on a results slide since, hitting rock bottom at this year's Aussie Open. However, unlike Ivanovic, she's been more willing to fight her way back to the top it seems and is at least getting mildly decent results with smart scheduling of MM tournaments.

The question for you: in the Ivanovic and Sharapova comebacks, what has made the biggest difference in the relative success Sharapova has had compared to the massive setbacks Ivanovic has been getting?

Pops Maellard
Jun 17th, 2010, 02:48 AM
Maria is better than Ana really. :shrug:

Plus Maria still loves tennis, while Ana seems to have lost all her joy for it.

Polikarpov
Jun 17th, 2010, 03:00 AM
What a depressing read. Maria will no doubt be major contender again in the near future. Things look really bleak for Ana at the moment, but I have faith on her.

I don't think the Yonex racquet has got anything to do with Ana's lack of pace in her shots nowadays because the racquet she used when she reached the final of AO, and won RG was more underpowered than the one she uses now. She just doesn't have the fearlessness to go for it. The reckless abandon she seemed to have when hitting that forehand is gone.

Maria's been getting better results lately because as you've said, she has a profound love for the game and is a natural fighter. Ana meanwhile strikes me as a gentle soul and is mentally very fragile. She seems to be too conscious about everything that she does on court.

Reptilia
Jun 17th, 2010, 03:34 AM
Lets hope that one of them rises from the ashes at this years championships

Sp!ffy
Jun 17th, 2010, 04:08 AM
It's just really the way you were born :shrug: Some people are born as fighters, never wanting to give up, not afrain to win (or lose). I think Maria just has too much passion for the sport to give up even if it does mean swallowing her pride and playing MM tourneys.

Ivanovic has to put in the time and commitment if she wants to produce results again. I was thrilled when I saw Ana in Rome 2010 (or Madrid?), it was like a flash from the past. She still has what it takes skill-wise, but time will tell if she still has what it takes mentally. :shrug::help:

n1_and_uh_noone
Jun 17th, 2010, 04:35 AM
I do hope Ana finds her way back to the top. It was great to see her hit that inside=out forehand with gusto when she was playing well. These days, it doesn't seem to be that big a shot, but it is mostly a lack of confidence.

I've always wondered why she struggles on grass (except for the Semi at Wimby in 2007?). Hits a nice flat ball and can slice and volley. Maybe it is the phenomenon of a flatball hitter not liking the same style of play from an opponent. She felt Zheng, whose balls practically graze the net every single time, actually overpowered her in '08!

kickserve
Jun 17th, 2010, 04:49 AM
I've always wondered why she struggles on grass (except for the Semi at Wimby in 2007?). Hits a nice flat ball and can slice and volley. Maybe it is the phenomenon of a flatball hitter not liking the same style of play from an opponent. She felt Zheng, whose balls practically graze the net every single time, actually overpowered her in '08!

It seems Ivanovic plays her best against a higher ball and isn't as comfortable against a low ball.

Something that surprises me is how much Venus Williams LOVES a low ball. Given her height it's amazing how hard she can pound those low balls on grass.

As for Ivanovic, honestly words cannot express my disappointment in how she is playing. I can't understand it.

Mightymirza
Jun 17th, 2010, 06:19 AM
yeah the downfall has almost been a freefall really perplexing to see she never really came up.. Its also a lot to do with the serve.. It was bad enough at RG 08.. I remember when she was this kid on block with an awesome serve :sad: It does remind me on G. Coria.. Never really got back on top of the game :sad: I hope it doesnt happen to ana..

spiritedenergy
Jun 17th, 2010, 06:42 AM
The fall cometh:tears:

May she who was a great player Rest In Peace:sobbing:

kiwialicat
Jun 17th, 2010, 07:19 AM
Well, as I think some other people have already said, it's the attitudes of the players. Having said that I think both players will make their way up and be in at least the top 10. At least, I hope they will, Maria for obvious reason. Even Ana who is one of my least favourite players, I hope comes back strong and re-establishes herself because her downwards spiral is sad for women's tennis in general.

Josh.
Jun 17th, 2010, 07:23 AM
What a downer of a thread.

kiwialicat
Jun 17th, 2010, 07:51 AM
What a downer of a thread.

sure it is, but only because it is true.

Josh.
Jun 17th, 2010, 07:52 AM
sure it is, but only because it is true.

Pretty much. :lol:

skanky~skanketta
Jun 17th, 2010, 09:02 AM
It's actually quite shocking to see the downfall of some of the potential greats/contenders. Ivanovic, Sharapova, Vaidisova and Chakvetadze. While I never figured Chaky for a slam winner, I thought she'd have a decent career ala Dementieva. She is capable on ALL surfaces.

Kworb
Jun 17th, 2010, 09:03 AM
Beautiful thread, thank you.

doujyr
Jun 17th, 2010, 09:22 AM
You can't compare the Ivanovic downfall with Pova's ffs! All of Pova's results from IW 08 onwards can be binned as any sort of yardstick as she had the then allegedly undiagnosed rc tear, and the same for 2009 as she recovered. Pova will be back, but not sure about Ivanovic.

ZODIAC
Jun 17th, 2010, 10:33 AM
the onus is on Ana to push herself..
she has to stop assigning blame on court...like arguing with the umpire
stop fist pumping and improve her movement,since Scott quit Ana is pudgier and slower.

Melange
Jun 17th, 2010, 10:55 AM
RIP. Ana :hug:



Ajde

InsideOut.
Jun 17th, 2010, 10:55 AM
the onus is on Ana to push herself..
she has to stop assigning blame on court...like arguing with the umpire
stop fist pumping and improve her movement,since Scott quit Ana is pudgier and slower.

Oh god stop it. She has already. :rolleyes: She stopped doing it from Rome onwards. And before anyone says this, it was NOT 'stopped by Jaja' :o

ZODIAC
Jun 17th, 2010, 11:26 AM
Oh god stop it. She has already. :rolleyes: She stopped doing it from Rome onwards. And before anyone says this, it was NOT 'stopped by Jaja' :o
:lol::tape:THAT MOCK FIST PUMP was funny:lol::tape:

InsideOut.
Jun 17th, 2010, 12:47 PM
:lol::tape:THAT MOCK FIST PUMP was funny:lol::tape:

And what is so :tape: about what I just said? She has stopped, now what is the matter with that? :o Not fistpumping, perhaps?

chuvack
Jun 17th, 2010, 02:04 PM
You are right, it all started with that Wimby match against Dechy in '08.

I remember watching and thinking, what the fug is this?? And that is how AI has been playing ever since.

ZODIAC
Jun 17th, 2010, 04:15 PM
And what is so :tape: about what I just said? She has stopped, now what is the matter with that? :o Not fistpumping, perhaps?
you should visit this exciting website called www.getalife.com:tape:

Mynarco
Jun 17th, 2010, 04:28 PM
Time just flies.

matty
Jun 17th, 2010, 04:32 PM
As you say in your post, it's totally about confidence. And confidence is something you are born with. Just compare a little timid toddler with an outgoing, brave one. Have you noticed how outgoing and chatty Maria can be in interviews with little jokes thrown in. Notice how you never see Maria get down on herself when she is doing poorly. You might see Maria tell the crowd to F-off but you won't see her slump her shoulders and pull her visor over her face. Ana is a shy, more introverted girl and all the attention, expectations and noteriety that came from being number 1 was just too much pressure for her to bear. When she was younger, she had nothing to prove to anybody--she was playing for herself. When she became famous(and the wta #1) she knew great results were expected of her. Sometimes enourmous talent can override insecurity (Justine Henin) for a time anyway. The second you doubt yourself in your head, your body follows. Even Serena :hearts: has said that when she is nervous, her legs feel like lead weights and her footwork goes out the door.

And I always like to throw in my fave, Hantuchova--I really think she could have been more successful if she could detatch herself from her emotional brain.

Anyway, that's why it is well known that in any sport, an athlete's mental strength is hugely important.

I still have some hope for Ana--with less pressure she should crawl back up the rankings. Hantuchova had a bit of a breakdown in 2003 and fell from #5 to like the 70's or something and she's pretty much remained in the top 30 since (in the 40's for a time). One of these slams, when Ana is flying way under the radar (maybe if she could get ugly real quick (hee hee) or if all the attention is on some new, really gorgeous, young starlets in the top ten) she just may sneak in a really great result. I believe there is hope. She may need to take a break, be turned into a non-emotional robot by a hypnotist, and then comeback. Anyway, I wish squeaky shoes the best (unless she's playing one of my faves) ;)

DefyingGravity
Jun 17th, 2010, 05:57 PM
I know this is a fairly depressing thread, but I just realized this last night.

DefyingGravity
Jun 17th, 2010, 08:16 PM
We can officially throw in Nicole Vaidisova AND Anna Chakvetadze in this thread.

Nicole and Anna got to their last GS quarterfinals of their careers at Wimbledon two years ago, and you could tell that there was something wrong with both of them. While Anna would hover a bit, get to the New Haven final, Nicole would begin a free fall...she gained 0 points from the Wimbledon quarterfinal and would go on to declare a break after clearly being disinterested in the sport.

Chakvetadze has tried her hardest, and kudos to her for sticking with tennis all this time, while some people would have clearly given up. For Chaky, it looked during Wimbledon 2008 that she was getting away from the smart tennis that she had played. She was starting to try and go for more than what I feel she is comfortable with. Could that be a confidence issue or was she trying to change her game too much, because pre-Wimbledon she at least was doing OK, you know? (3R at the Aussie Open, QF or SF in Rome) WE ALL know about Nicole and her reasons for playing poorly, but Chaky isn't nearly as documented. What has happened between this stretch of Wimbledon 2008 to Wimbledon 2010?

Direwolf
Jun 17th, 2010, 08:20 PM
As you say in your post, it's totally about confidence. And confidence is something you are born with. Just compare a little timid toddler with an outgoing, brave one. Have you noticed how outgoing and chatty Maria can be in interviews with little jokes thrown in. Notice how you never see Maria get down on herself when she is doing poorly. You might see Maria tell the crowd to F-off but you won't see her slump her shoulders and pull her visor over her face. Ana is a shy, more introverted girl and all the attention, expectations and noteriety that came from being number 1 was just too much pressure for her to bear. When she was younger, she had nothing to prove to anybody--she was playing for herself. When she became famous(and the wta #1) she knew great results were expected of her. Sometimes enourmous talent can override insecurity (Justine Henin) for a time anyway. The second you doubt yourself in your head, your body follows. Even Serena :hearts: has said that when she is nervous, her legs feel like lead weights and her footwork goes out the door.

And I always like to throw in my fave, Hantuchova--I really think she could have been more successful if she could detatch herself from her emotional brain.


you havent seen many maria matches have you?

Melange
Jun 17th, 2010, 08:42 PM
We can officially throw in Nicole Vaidisova AND Anna Chakvetadze in this thread.

Nicole and Anna got to their last GS quarterfinals of their careers at Wimbledon two years ago, and you could tell that there was something wrong with both of them. While Anna would hover a bit, get to the New Haven final, Nicole would begin a free fall...she gained 0 points from the Wimbledon quarterfinal and would go on to declare a break after clearly being disinterested in the sport.

Chakvetadze has tried her hardest, and kudos to her for sticking with tennis all this time, while some people would have clearly given up. For Chaky, it looked during Wimbledon 2008 that she was getting away from the smart tennis that she had played. She was starting to try and go for more than what I feel she is comfortable with. Could that be a confidence issue or was she trying to change her game too much, because pre-Wimbledon she at least was doing OK, you know? (3R at the Aussie Open, QF or SF in Rome) WE ALL know about Nicole and her reasons for playing poorly, but Chaky isn't nearly as documented. What has happened between this stretch of Wimbledon 2008 to Wimbledon 2010?

Was that the time she got mixed up with Henin's coach? She might have made some ill-advised changes to her game. Im happy that she has gone back to her previous serve at least.

DefyingGravity
Jun 17th, 2010, 09:53 PM
I haven't seen anything new from Chakvetadze, so that could be a possibility.