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Old May 25th, 2012, 03:53 PM   #1
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Where Is Makiri's Career Heading At Age 25? What Is Holding Her Back?

In 2012 Maria Kirilenko had the best start to a season in her 10 year WTA Tour career. I was hoping for her to make the top 10 in 2012 after Maria earned her career high ranking in singles of 16 a couple weeks ago. Then seeing how terribly she has played on the red clay courts this season I am sad and now doubt that Makiri will ever make the top 10. It's almost like she's playing like a journeywoman WTA player now. I hope she shakes out of it soon or she will be out of the top 20 and heading in the wrong ranking direction yet again. Makiri has fooled me a few times before when I thought she had turned the corner in her career and she's done it again.

There is no doubt that Makiri is having a very nice career and that making the top 20 in singles and the top 10 in doubles is something to be proud of. And she's made a very nice living for herself and her parents with her on court and off court earnings. Maria is a millionaire many times over. But to be honest as a fan of Makiri's since 2002 I have expected much more from Maria at this point in her career. I think most of her fans have.

These should be Maria's peak years now at age 25 since alot of WTA players play their best tennis in their mid to late 20's and this should be the case for Kirilenko as well unless she is burned out, content with her career, or her somewhat fragile tour wearly legs are just giving way on her. There really is no reason as well as Makiri moves and defends the court and volleys that she should have had such poor results on clay and grass courts in her career. I never would have believed this. I think never finding the right coach hurt her game as did her having boyfriends from age 18 on because happy in love girls sometimes lack hunger and desire to win.

Let's be real, there is no reason that Maria's career high ranking in singles should only be 16 when less talented players with less God given shot making ability than Maria's like Jelena Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki made it to #1 at young ages while Kirilenko struggled to make it to #16 at age 25. Something is not right about that. And Aga Radwanska has made the top 5 and while she's a better defensive player than Maria is Maria has more shotmaking ability, more power and just as good if not better hands than Radwanska does. So what's the difference between them? It could be desire. Makiri is one of the most beautiful athletes in the world and I am sure she knows it. I'm not sure she has ever had the burning desire that Radwanska has or that Jankovic had when she was younger. I wonder of Maria ever looks at Jankovic, Wozniacki and Radwanska and wonders how have they done so much better than I have in our careers when I have more God given talent than they do?

Even though Maria has a weak second serve (so do most WTA player) her first serve is respectable and while she lacks weapons and lacks big hitter type of power she has respectable power when she hits the ball hard. I truly believe Kirilenko is one of the 10 best movers in women's tennis. Maybe even one of the 5 best movers and defensive players. Sure she's not quite at the Jankovic, Radwanska or Williams sisters' defensive level when they are healthy but Maria is top 10 for sure on the WTA Tour when it comes to playing defense. When it comes to variety of shot I think Makiri is top 5 on the tour and maybe even #1. She has excellent variety and shotmaking ability even if she doesn't have alot of power. Maria can hit winners from everyhwere on the court. :thumbsup: And when Kirilenko gets into position to hit the ball hard she does and hits it harder than Jankovic and Radwanska do. But Maria does not hit a heavy ball there is no doubt about that. When it comes to vollying and who has the best hands on the WTA Tour Maria is top 5 without question and maybe even #1. I don't think anyone would dispute that. So how is it that a player like Kirilenko with the skill level she has who is top 10 in defense, top 5 in variety and top 5 in vollying on the WTA Tour has only made it to #16? Is it desire? Is it a lack of mental toughness? Is it fair to say Jankovic and Radwanska have more desire than Maria does? I would hope that's not the case but I wonder if it is. And now that Maria is dating Alex Ovechkin who makes about 15 million U.S. dollars a year she has a boyfriend who is wealthy beyond her wildest dreams who will take care of Maria like she's a Queen if that's what she wants. How will this new love of Maria's affect her hunger and desire to make the top 10 in singles? I think if you put Radwanska's motor and mental toughness into Maria that Maria would be a top 5 player as well. I want Makiri to be healthy and happy. She is a great person and my favorite tennis player. But I can't help thinking she should be where Radwanksa is ranking wise. Do you agree with me? Or am I over estimating Maria's abilities? All thoughts are welcome.

Good luck to Makiri at the French Open and Wimbledon. I hope she shakes out of her funk and plays some good tennis.
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