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Gallofa
Dec 20th, 2002, 08:08 PM
I find it fascinating that some players seem to find the best form of their careers seemingly late. Specially because most of the players hit their peaks fairly young.

I think we all know that, in recent times, one of the most successful late bloomers was Nathalie Tauziat, who reached a career high at No.3 in 2000 when she was 32 and enjoyed some of her best years since 1997 and in to her thirties, after quite a change in her game style.

But there are many others. For instance, Nicole Pratt, reached a career high in 2002 at No.35 aged 29, or Jill Craybas, that reached a career high also in 2002 at No.58 and won her first career title, aged 28.

Why do you think some players are such late bloomers? And who else can you think of?

The Crow
Dec 20th, 2002, 08:08 PM
Dominique Van Roost :bounce: :bounce:

irma
Dec 20th, 2002, 08:10 PM
novotna well kind off. she reached her first semi of a grand slam at 21 but didn't reached her highest ranking and wins before 97!

fhkung
Dec 20th, 2002, 08:26 PM
Martina Hingis
she'll be ranked #1 when she is 30,
she will win all the Slams and everything...
just wait and see.....:) :) :)

G-Ha
Dec 20th, 2002, 08:33 PM
Sandrine Testud is another example. She played her best tennis in 1997 and thereafter when she was in her mid- to-late twenties. She also had some of her best and biggest wins during her last several months on tour before retirement (defeating Jennifer twice and Venus) and was able to retire while ranked in the top ten.

I think it's different for each player as to why she developes relatively late. In Sandrine's case, I think it's because she got fitter and improved her forehand and the results soon followed.

tfannis
Dec 20th, 2002, 08:47 PM
Originally posted by The Crow
Dominique Van Roost :bounce: :bounce:

Yeah...too bad she stopped blooming late so early :sad:

you gotta love that sentence btw ;)

The Crow
Dec 20th, 2002, 08:52 PM
lmao, took me a minute to verify that sentence ;)

The Crow
Dec 20th, 2002, 08:55 PM
But you're right :sad:

carot
Dec 20th, 2002, 09:05 PM
didn't dominique bloomed late cos of injuries mostly? hamstrings i thought

nuriboy
Dec 20th, 2002, 09:15 PM
Another late bloomer: Martina Navratilova. Didn´t start winning until she was like 22 or 23??!! And still won 18 GS`s! Now that´s what we call a long BLOOMING!!!

irma
Dec 20th, 2002, 09:33 PM
but nav reached already a grand slam final in 75 I think. she can't have been that old then! 17 maybe?

jrm
Dec 20th, 2002, 09:36 PM
depends ... nowadays you can call someone a late bloomer at 23

Sandrine Testud
Silvia Farina (last two season were her best)
Jill Craybas
Anna Smashnova
Mauren Drake

Hagar
Dec 20th, 2002, 09:51 PM
Els Callens has had a few successes the last years as well (semi US Open with Domi, Bronze Medal in Sydney with Domi, and a fantastic match against Serena in Wimbledon this year). Good old Els is 32...

Halardfan
Dec 20th, 2002, 10:26 PM
How could you forget JHD, Gallofa?! ;)

She is a classic example...before her 18 months out injured she had a career generally hovvering between 16-25 in the rankings...

In the last two years of her career, she established a career high singles rank of 7...and suddenly became a world beating doubles player too, ending her career as world number one., picking up a first GS title in the process (In her last GS appearance)

It was a case of finally realising her potential...when Julie was really in that zone, she was a player of the highest class

tyk101
Dec 20th, 2002, 11:43 PM
Monica seles will bloom late (her second part of her career).. she's had a long stagant period.. maybe 2003 will be when she blooms for the last time

Meesh
Dec 20th, 2002, 11:56 PM
Definitely Silvia Farina..

She won her first title in 2001 been on the tour since 1998.

Messenger
Dec 21st, 2002, 11:06 AM
Originally posted by Gallofa
I find it fascinating that some players seem to find the best form of their careers seemingly late. Specially because most of the players hit their peaks fairly young.

I think we all know that, in recent times, one of the most successful late bloomers was Nathalie Tauziat, who reached a career high at No.3 in 2000 when she was 32 and enjoyed some of her best years since 1997 and in to her thirties, after quite a change in her game style.

But there are many others. For instance, Nicole Pratt, reached a career high in 2002 at No.35 aged 29, or Jill Craybas, that reached a career high also in 2002 at No.58 and won her first career title, aged 28.

Why do you think some players are such late bloomers? And who else can you think of?

Notable players in recent times are Smashnova and Farina-Elia.

At what period did Tauziat change her game? I don't think it was anytime recent, considering her style I can't believe she would have struggled with a baseline game for too long.

On her Sanex bio it says that Tauziat started in 1984 and won her first small tournament 6 years later (Bayonne) and first big title another 5 years later in Eastborne. So that is 11 years before she won her first tier II title - and 14 years of playing on the tour.

Also she played the US Open every year - and didn't get past the fourth round until 2000. She beat Sanchez as well, whom she had never won against in so many tries. Persistence pays off - just think how different her career would have been had she retired at 26 like Sabatini and Date. She would have been just another mediocre player, but as it is I think a lot of people will remember her because of what she achieved after the age of 30.

Penguin
Dec 21st, 2002, 11:46 AM
Els Callens had a great 2002 at 32 :eek:

TatiAnnahølic
Dec 21st, 2002, 12:18 PM
Angeles Montolio winning in year 2001 Bol,Porto... and making this year her highest ranking #21

King Aaron
Dec 21st, 2002, 01:49 PM
Anna Pistolesi :)

But she did win French Juniors at 14. Wonder what happened between those years

marsha
Dec 21st, 2002, 02:14 PM
Originally posted by Gallofa
. . . Jill Craybas . . . [who] reached a career high also in 2002 at No. 58 and won her first career title, aged 28. Why do you think some players are such late bloomers?

I can add a little information about Jill. The first reason she is such a "late bloomer" is that she actually finished high school *AND* went to college!! She attended the University of Florida for two years (the same as Lisa Raymond and Nicki Arendt did!), winning an NCAA championship along the way! :) But when she began her professional career, she found it really hard going, so she quit for a while and sold real estate in Gainesville. She did not come back to professional tennis until 1999 and I would say only with *total* dedication until 2001. Last year she worked really, really hard on her game and that is why her results were so good. The talent has always been there, IMHO -- hopefully 2003 will hold even more titles for her! Gooooooo, Jill!

brunof
Dec 21st, 2002, 02:26 PM
Here is an old article I found on Jill. It's dated 1996.

Cam and Norb Craybas gave their daughter, Jill, a wooden tennis racquet as a Christmas present when she was 11 years old, so she began playing tennis.

Ten years later, Jill Craybas would win an NCAA singles national title, and now she hopes to net something bigger.

"My goal is to be No. 1 in the world, but I know that's kind of stretching it right now," Jill Craybas said. "I never even dreamed that I'd win nationals."

Craybas' college career resulted, among other things, in two team national titles at two different schools (UF in '96 and Texas in '93) and one singles national title (UF in '96). She recently received the Honda Award given annually to six college athletes for excellence in athletics and community service.

There is only one question left for Jill Craybas to answer: Can she have similar success as a professional?

Craybas, Tennis Magazine's Player of the Year for 1996, got an opportunity to show her skills as a professional for the first time in August.

She earned an automatic bid to play in the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament by winning the NCAA singles national title. But Craybas' stay was short-lived, as she lost in the first round of the Open to the world's No. 64 player, Alexandra Fusai, in a three-set thriller. Craybas battled back from being down 2-5 in the third set to tie Fuse at 5-5.

"I got to five-all in the third set and said, 'Gosh, I've got a shot to win my first round in the U.S. Open,' " Craybas said. "I don't think I won another point after that."

Even though she lost the match, Craybas said the tournament experience had a positive effect on her. She gained confidence in her ability to play with the world's best, and it helped inspire her to train harder.

Craybas still trains with UF coach Andy Brandi and conditioning coach Robin Schmidt.

Brandi said Craybas' hard work is beginning to show.

"She can be one of the top 100 players in the world," Brandi said. "She certainly can be a fixture at that level."

Before Craybas moves into the professional ranks, she does have one more goal to obtain in college. Craybas plans to earn her degree in telecommunications at the end of the Fall.

In January, Craybas will become a full-time professional tennis player.

She doesn't want to put a timetable on her tennis goals, but Craybas admits she would like to be ranked in the top 100 within two years. To do so, she said she needs to believe what people are telling her.

Brandi often reminds her, "You've got to believe you're as good as you are."

Craybas said she is working on accepting that she is an exceptional player.

"Sometimes when I say to myself, 'I could be No. 1 in the world at my sport,' I don't think I'm taking myself seriously," she said. "But I'm starting to see an improvement in my game over the last month. I'm starting to realize maybe I can do it."

marsha
Dec 21st, 2002, 02:51 PM
Yep, and then almost right after that article was written, she quit! I think another problem is that the very young girls usually have a family member travelling with them, but in your mid-twenties and after having been to college, you really don't wnat mommy and daddy along for the ride -- and yet, to do the tour totally alone is really a lonely and daunting experience! :(

Another thing that I think really helped Jill is hooking up with her now-coach Raj. Raj had been an assistant coach under Andy Brandi at UF, but left to coach Jill (and Nicki) full-time and travel with them. Raj is also noted for working some with Martina Navratilova and earning very high praise from her.

Colin B
Dec 22nd, 2002, 02:32 AM
Britain's Sam Smith turned Pro in 1990, left the tour to go to Uni in '92, returning in '95. In June '98, aged 27 and ranked No.128 she beat two top 50 players in consecutive tournaments, then beat world No.7 (and former Champion) Conchita Martinez to reach the last 16 at Wimbledon. In February '99, aged 28, she reached a career high ranking of 55. She retired in 2001.

Zummi
Dec 22nd, 2002, 07:26 AM
Among the top players, Martina Navratilova is a prime contender. She won 18 Slams after her 22nd birthday, the most anyone has won after that age in women's tennis history. Martina's best tennis years from 1982 to 1986 stretched between the ages of 25 to 30.

Jana Novotna is another good example. She seemed to get better every year right up till early 1999. Zina Garrison also played her best tennis in her late-20s.

Jakeev
Dec 22nd, 2002, 08:13 AM
When you look back there have always been players that played well beyond 25 years old.

But I think we are seeing more players over 25 doing better than they ever had because of some obvious reasons. Better fitness training, technology and equipment are allowing women like Jill and Silvia succeed now when they were not younger.

Of course, every story is different. But tennis is ever changing. 15 year old phenoms need more than just raw talent to dominate the way they used to. They need fitness and experience.