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Old Jul 10th, 2013, 12:11 PM   #121
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Re: Julia in Wimbledon 2013

As I say, the principle of "just keep plugging away, even in a slump, your hard work will pay off in time" is (or should be) drilled into all players who succeed in reaching a high level. Those without this characteristic do not become high level players.

But in this case, they have definitely, as you say Katja, been allowing her to play on in situations which have little value. I really don't understand why you would play doubles if your wrist was bothering you.

The wrist injury needs to be healed a bit more for her to play. Right now if she was a weight lifter the weights she is lifting would be going down, not up, a definite sign of training overload. You have to learn to play with discomfort but you also need to know when the pain is a sign to stop. A difficult decision but after trying to play through the pain and getting little or no reward it is now probably time to stop for a bit and recover properly.

A player must not panic when they hit a mere patch of bad form, they have to persevere through it. But when they have an injury and cannot push their body properly, that is different than a mere slump and time to rest.

In general, you ignore some tiredness, slight muscle soreness. You pay attention to any sharp pain, to joint or tendon issues and rest for them. If you suddenly lose flexibility in an area you also need to rest. So a wrist issue is something you need to pay attention to.

So I agree that she must let the wrist heal. I don't think she can play herself into form without a healthy wrist.
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Old Jul 11th, 2013, 04:02 AM   #122
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Re: Julia in Wimbledon 2013

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Anyway, the "just keep grinding away even in a slump" mantra is a common theme among all successful players and coaches. Because it's so hardwired into a player to just keep plugging away sometimes it's difficult for them to assess when things need to change, but perhaps Julia and her team have forgotten that improvement requires the comfort zone to be pushed out a bit every time, like the concept of progressive overload in weighttraining. You edge out of the comfort zone a bit every time, until your comfort zone expands. You never stop doing a daily routine, but you adapt it over time. Also, you need enough time to recover between sessions in weightlifting, otherwise the weight you lift doesn't actually go up. Similarly, recovery is important for a tennis player, otherwise the standard you are playing at doesn't go up.
It's possible Julia and her team are keeping their noses to the grindstone and sticking with the game plan, but maybe the better (bad) metaphor is that they are just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I think her comfort zone has very rigid borders that have her boxed in at the moment.

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I don't disagree with you in principle that "sticking with it" can be important, but for that in my opinion there would have to be at least signs that you are on the right track. As you said, her game does not show any of those signs, I'd say that if anything, it has regressed over the last 2 years. And her results not just over the last weeks, but for the whole year have been shocking. Let's recap:

Julia played 17 tournaments this year and yet has not reached the quarterfinal in any of them.

She won more than one match in only two of these tournaments, the Australian Open, where she was down a break in the third set against Dushevina in R1 and and faced Jie Zheng serving for the match in R3, and in Charleston, where she got bageled by Olga Govortsova on her way to a 3-set victory.

In Wimbledon she lost in R1 against a South American claycourter.
In Nuremberg she lost to Petko while serving barely 30% first serves.
In Paris (FO) she lost in straight sets to an unranked player on her retirement tour, who had not won a MD match in the last 23 months (and promptly retired from the sport after losing in the next round to a French WC.
In Rome she lost 2 & 0 against Azarenka, and the scoreline flatters Julia.
In Estoril she lost in straight srts to Puig, ranked outside the Top 100 at the time.
In Katowice she lost to Jill Craybas, ranked #240. Craybas is now ranked #297, and the match against Julia is her only WTA MD win in the last 12 months.
In Miami she lost in straight sets to Tomljanovic, ranked #242.
In Indian Wells she lost 1 & 2 to Petrova while winning barely 30% of her first service points.
In Dubai she lost to Errani. Doesn't look bad on paper, but the match was a horrible mess, with Errani not hitting a winner in the first 2 sets.
In Paris she lost to Mladenovic after serving for the match and being 30-0 up.
In Auckland she lost to Johanna Larsson, a player with a backhand that makes Julia's look like the greatest shot in tennis.

Against players ranked outside the Top 100, she has won 6 sets and lost 12.
As a player who has (or used to have ) one of the best serves on tour, she got bageled or beadsticked 8 times.

Calling that a slump is an understatement in my opinion. She is now ranked in a position where she can't rely on making the MD in Premier events anymore, and she still has half of her ranking points to defend in this season.

Of course you have to play through some of the niggles, but it's a question of risk and reward. The wrist of the right hand is probably the most dangerous injury to have as a tennis player, and if the injury impedes you in a way that causes these kind of losses (we don't really know how much of the recent losses is attributable to injuries), the reward is not worth the risk. And, even though we of course have no idea what kind of discussions go on behind closed doors, in what is publicly available Nensel has shown a tendency to not seem to be particularly bothered by her injuries. I have to admit that I have it on the back of my mind that Kiefer, his previous athlete, missed a whole year due to a wrist injury and that worries me, particularly together with statements from him like "She has to learn to play with the pain".

All that said, I would absolutely love to be dead wrong about all of this and see her go far in Stanford due to whatever she is currently doing in Portugal or wherever she is. I just have very little hope that that will be the case.
Shocking indeed. Thanks for the great recap, Katja. I started worrying about her perception regarding her own performance when she made a few statements that she was satisfied with how things were going back in early Spring. Here's a statement that she made right after losing the first round in Miami: "Overall I feel I have been playing really well. I feel physically fitter than ever and foresee this tennis season going very positively as I know all the training and preparation I have put into it. I now have to give it everything on court." (Rado interview 25 March 2013).

I just hope she doesn't look back on this season and think that her problems can be attributed to the unfortunately timed illnesses and wrist, because the earlier part of her season (see above) was a foreshadow of the decline we see now.
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Old Jul 11th, 2013, 09:37 PM   #123
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Re: Julia in Wimbledon 2013

Bad Gastein has a massive entry list crisis on its hand, only 1 (or 2, if Annika Beck wins tomorrow/LDL loses soon) Top 50 player. We know that Reichel (tournament director) and Julia are close. Safe to assume that she will have at least tried to talk Julia into a detour to the alps. Please be reasonable with your schedule for once Julia.
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Old Jul 11th, 2013, 10:30 PM   #124
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Re: Wimbledon 2013 and Julia's summer break

Her tweets these days are few and far between, so hopefully this indicates she is working hard and ignoring any siren song wafting over the Alps. On the other hand, the caliber of players at Bad Gastein could present an opportunity to win some matches and gain some confidence if she answers Reichel's call.
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Old Jul 12th, 2013, 07:36 AM   #125
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Re: Wimbledon 2013 and Julia's summer break

The way she played in Wimbledon I'm not sure any field would be bad enough right now.


Lots of coach shuffling going on right now. Maybe Ivanovic or Sharapova will poach Nensel? Please?

On a only slightly more serious note, Högstedt would be a dream coach for Julia. In his 2 years with Kiefer, Kiefer made 6 finals. During the rest of his career with Nensel, he made 1. That's irrefutable evidence.

And his "she's gonna choke" coachings are kinda funny.
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Old Jul 12th, 2013, 08:19 AM   #126
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Re: Wimbledon 2013 and Julia's summer break

On a slightly more serious note, I can`t see that a top coach like Högstadt has an interest to coach a player like Julia. Sharapova is a little different material and above that Julia dosen`t have the necessary wherewithal to pay a guy like him.
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Old Jul 12th, 2013, 08:28 AM   #127
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Re: Wimbledon 2013 and Julia's summer break

I know, I was just dreaming for little while.
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Old Jul 12th, 2013, 10:17 AM   #128
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Re: Wimbledon 2013 and Julia's summer break

hi guys !! i am always reading you !! unfortunately my real life is keeping me so busy ( i am writing my thesis ) + julia is not playing a lot/loosing a lot of matches, but i am her fan more than ever we need to be strong and support her, she will come back to the level she deserves...
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Old Jul 12th, 2013, 02:29 PM   #129
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Re: Wimbledon 2013 and Julia's summer break

I'll be here no matter what.

She did not take a WC into Bad Gastein by the way.
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Old Jul 12th, 2013, 04:18 PM   #130
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Re: Wimbledon 2013 and Julia's summer break

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Originally Posted by KatjaS View Post
The way she played in Wimbledon I'm not sure any field would be bad enough right now.

So true.

Lots of coach shuffling going on right now. Maybe Ivanovic or Sharapova will poach Nensel? Please?

On a only slightly more serious note, Högstedt would be a dream coach for Julia. In his 2 years with Kiefer, Kiefer made 6 finals. During the rest of his career with Nensel, he made 1. That's irrefutable evidence.

And his "she's gonna choke" coachings are kinda funny.
Could you imagine any player wanting to poach Nensel after witnessing his current player's season so far? How does he put a positive spin on it? "I am good at remaining stoic in the face of near disaster?"

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Originally Posted by joy division View Post
On a slightly more serious note, I can`t see that a top coach like Högstadt has an interest to coach a player like Julia. Sharapova is a little different material and above that Julia dosen`t have the necessary wherewithal to pay a guy like him.
I guess he might be interested in Julia if he is the kind of coach who relishes a great challenge.
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Old Jul 12th, 2013, 04:24 PM   #131
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Re: Wimbledon 2013 and Julia's summer break

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Originally Posted by SuckMila View Post
hi guys !! i am always reading you !! unfortunately my real life is keeping me so busy ( i am writing my thesis ) + julia is not playing a lot/loosing a lot of matches, but i am her fan more than ever we need to be strong and support her, she will come back to the level she deserves...
Looks like you'll have plenty of time to focus on your thesis, SuckMila. Stanford doesn't start for another 10 days.
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Old Jul 14th, 2013, 02:47 PM   #132
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Re: Wimbledon 2013 and Julia's summer break

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Could you imagine any player wanting to poach Nensel after witnessing his current player's season so far? How does he put a positive spin on it? "I am good at remaining stoic in the face of near disaster?"
"Experienced in all ranking regions!"
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Old Jul 15th, 2013, 04:06 PM   #133
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Re: Wimbledon 2013 and Julia's summer break

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"Experienced in all ranking regions!"
: )I hope they get to revisit the more desirable regions at some point!
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Old Jul 15th, 2013, 04:43 PM   #134
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Re: Wimbledon 2013 and Julia's summer break

Now that her vacation/training/whatever she was doing in Portugal is over, I'd suggest we move over to the US Open series thread.

Given the time difference to the US west coast she'll probably travel there fairly soon (at least she should). Let's hope that with this thread we'll also bury the disaster this season has been so far and that something magical happened in Portugal.
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Old Jul 15th, 2013, 05:06 PM   #135
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Re: Wimbledon 2013 and Julia's summer break

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Originally Posted by KatjaS View Post
Now that her vacation/training/whatever she was doing in Portugal is over, I'd suggest we move over to the US Open series thread.

Given the time difference to the US west coast she'll probably travel there fairly soon (at least she should). Let's hope that with this thread we'll also bury the disaster this season has been so far and that something magical happened in Portugal.
Amen.
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