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Old Aug 3rd, 2014, 11:49 PM   #1
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Thumbs down Julia in 3 set matches

Julia has a massive, massive problem with 3 set matches - indicating massive problems with her stamina and therefore massive problems with the quality of her training - or rather lack thereof.

Today she lost to Puig who had already played a match earlier in the day, yes, a short one, but it was still an hour spent competitively on court that Julia did not have - and yet Puig won. OK, one example doesn't prove anything, so I went and did the statistics for this year and the years before that.

Code:

Year   3 Setters  2 Set Won  3 Set Won  Total Won  Diff 3 Set/2 Set

2010    32%        55%        60%        56%        + 5%
2011    33%        59%        60%        59%        + 1%
2012    31%        51%        55%        52%        + 4%
2013    39%        44%        31%        39%        -13%
2014    51%        67%        29%        49%        -38%
First number is the how many of her matches went to 3 sets, then the percentage of 2 set matches won, then % of 3 set matches won, then the percentage of all her matches won - and finally, the big number, how does her performance in 3 set matches compare to that of 2 set matches.

As you can see, in the years from 2010 to 2012 her performance was very consistent, about a third of her matches went to 3 sets and she played them minimally better than 2 set matches, but given the amount of matches it's safe to say that 2 sets or 3 sets, it didn't make a difference.

Last year that changed, she started to play worse in 3 setters than she did in 2 setters - and more matches went to 3 sets.

And this year, it's simply catastrophic. Her results in matches that finish in 2 are actually good, but in 3 sets it's just a joke, not even winning 30% of them.

We saw glimpses of it early in the season (back when her matches were actually on TV):

- Against Ishizu in Auckland she started cramping in the third set - we assumed it was because of her long match against Knapp (yes, she actually won the very first match of the year in 3 sets).

- Against Wozniacki in Sydney her footwork deteriorated the longer the match went on - back then we assumed her injury started to make trouble again.

- Against Davis in Melbourne the same as against Woz, footwork non-existant in the third set - we thought back then it was the heat.

But given how the rest of the season turned out I think it is safe assume that she simply does not have the necessary energy for a full tennis match. If she wins the first set the chances are decent that she can drag herself over the finish line, but if doesn't the chances are very bleak.

We semi-joked about those pictures from Fed Cup where she looked like a fish out of water compared to Andrea Petkovic and Angie Kerber, but I believe that actually they are very much indicative that her training these days simply can't keep up with the demands of modern tennis.



I believe that this also means that just "going back to smaller tournaments" wouldn't solve the problem at all - the players there don't play shorter matches, if anything given the regular scheduling problems on the ITF tour they are more used to playing a lot in one day than WTA players are. The only solution is a radically new approach to her training.
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Old Aug 4th, 2014, 12:29 AM   #2
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Re: Julia in 3 set matches

mental issues is like Sam Stosur, just changing coach and people around her can help
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Old Aug 4th, 2014, 04:11 AM   #3
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Re: Julia in 3 set matches

Yes doubles and Nensel need to disappear ASAP.
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Old Aug 4th, 2014, 10:04 AM   #4
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Re: Julia in 3 set matches

Thanks for these numbers, Katja.
So you suppose that Julia is just too lazy or what is your point ?
Little joke, but from some point of view that might even be the case.

To me her situation as a whole looks like a combination of issues and things which all are interacting in quite a perfect way. Her physical shape and condition of course is one of them. But picking it out or exclusively one thing does not make much sense to me in order to find the reasons why Julia is developing the way she does and how it could get better.
Loosing a three setter the way she did yesterday also must have a mental component because Julia obviously still could find enough energy to match up again with her opponent in the third set. And a long row of similar losses can leave marks in the mind of a player and have an impact on his general state of confidence on the court. So it`s hard to weigh these things to each other in the above mentioned sense.

I think we all meanwhily agree on that something has to change. And a different approach and intensity in practice would be an inevitable result of this change.
One important thing to me is that there first of all has to be any kind of sign from Julia`s side that she has doubts about what she`s doing. Looking at her tweet after yesterdays match you still can`t notice the slightest sign of something like that.
In the very early stages of her "crisis" a few years ago some in here were making a little joke and compared her to Sisyphos, the guy in the Greek saga who busily is rolling up a large stone on the top of a hill every day while afterwards watching it evenmindedly rolling down again, as a part of a never ending story. This little story still seems not to be out of place, probably even less these days than ever before.
Btw. it probably would be useful to add the number of 2 and 3 set-matches and the total time that Julia was spending on court in these years. If you have these numbers available it would be nice to post them, Katja.
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Old Aug 4th, 2014, 03:50 PM   #5
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Re: Julia in 3 set matches

Quote:
Her results in matches that finish in 2 are actually good
Maybe now, I am beginning to understand. She tends to win (a few) matches in straight sets. She mostly loses (many) matches in three sets. Surely, that means she's on the right track!
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Old Aug 5th, 2014, 10:52 PM   #6
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Re: Julia in 3 set matches

I'll never forget that back in 2008 Julia played one of the all-time longest matches in Wimbledon history, 3hrs 40min, beating Srebotnik 4-6 7-6 16-14. Julia is besieged by so many issues at the moment, it's hard to know what's responsible for her condition: training--definitely, dysfunctional player-coach dynamic, lost confidence, etc., etc. I do think she's always struggled with endurance especially in hot and humid conditions--now it's just getting worse. If she knows her stamina gives out after a standard two sets, one might think that she'd up her aggressiveness to get the job done in two, but I think it's indicative of her mental state that she can't strategize her way around her deficits.

She has never really said much about her nutritional regimen, but I wouldn't be surprised if her diet played a significant part in her struggles. Last season she suffered from fatigue that was alarming enough for her to be tested for a viral illness. It could be she's just not fueling her body adequately.

That photo of her, out of sync with everyone else, is symbolic of her condition at this point in time. Not only does it call into question her coordination, but the fact that she is marching to the wrong drummer. If only she would look at the other players around her and the tough choices they have made to forward their careers instead of hunkering down with the same lame approach.
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Old Aug 7th, 2014, 04:57 PM   #7
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Re: Julia in 3 set matches

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonah Leon View Post
Yes doubles and Nensel need to disappear ASAP.
I think you're slightly missing Katja's point. Nensel is Julia's tennis coach, not her fitness trainer. I expect roles within her team overlap to some extent but, technically, Julia's fitness is in the hands of Damian Prasad who claims to be a "high performance strength & conditioning coach for tennis and motor racing athletes". To my mind tennis and motor racing are two very different sports that require two very different types of fitness. It is an odd combination for Prasad to teach and Julia's fitness levels this season are not indicative of a player who is at a "high performance" level.

Perhaps Prasad's methods have proven more beneficial to Formula 1 drivers than tennis pros? Whenever he mentions Julia on his Twitter account his posts are invariably vacuous and filled with endless and unintentionally funny "motivational" hashtags (#Strength #Endurance #Desire #Speedy Gonzales etc.). He gives no real insight into Jule's training regime.
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 09:29 PM   #8
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Re: Julia in 3 set matches

Maybe I should start a thread about Julia always losing in the final round of qualifying, too.
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 09:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KatjaS View Post
Maybe I should start a thread about Julia always losing in the final round of qualifying, too.
Now open a thread about she losing the second set after winning the opener
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Old Aug 9th, 2014, 09:59 PM   #10
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Re: Julia in 3 set matches

Since I already wrote it, I give it here, maybe someone can bring me the answer nearby... :

"""""""""""""""""
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatjaS View Post
It depends on whether it's actually just mental or indeed a (lack of) fitness issue. Though it's not like this match has been too long, so it's probably her best bet to break the streak.
Actually - she always can win only 1 set, so it's hard to think it is a lack of fitness... Doesn't she has fitness at least for 2 sets ???

Her mentality should be ok after winning first set 6:0 ... Why she got a fear ?

So - I have no idea what is still and still happening with her.... She plays "at top speed" only first set in a match.... Why ??
"""""""""""""""""""""
Of course we all agree that she should change her "whole environment" , but still I don't understand how you can play great first set , and then total shit in second and third.....

Last edited by silesia : Aug 9th, 2014 at 10:12 PM.
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 04:42 AM   #11
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Re: Julia in 3 set matches

Quote:
Originally Posted by silesia View Post
Since I already wrote it, I give it here, maybe someone can bring me the answer nearby... :

"""""""""""""""""


Actually - she always can win only 1 set, so it's hard to think it is a lack of fitness... Doesn't she has fitness at least for 2 sets ???

Her mentality should be ok after winning first set 6:0 ... Why she got a fear ?

So - I have no idea what is still and still happening with her.... She plays "at top speed" only first set in a match.... Why ??
"""""""""""""""""""""
Of course we all agree that she should change her "whole environment" , but still I don't understand how you can play great first set , and then total shit in second and third.....
I think when Julia takes those 2nd set "naps" after a great first set it's because she begins to play defensively and focuses on protecting her lead. At the same time of course, her opponent has the opposite strategy, to come out aggressively and take an early lead to wipe out the mental boost of a first set win. When she falls behind in the count, that's when the fear sets in and UEs rain down. With Julia this happens fairly often, so the real question is, why can't she overcome this obvious pattern?

I'm glad she finally won a 3-setter. Maybe we need to start a thread entitled "How come Julia never makes it past the third round at the US Open?" so that she can overcome that hurdle as well . When I'm pessimistic about her game, I always, always hope that she proves me wrong .
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Old Aug 10th, 2014, 07:17 AM   #12
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Re: Julia in 3 set matches

Quote:
Originally Posted by kadiHH View Post
I think when Julia takes those 2nd set "naps" after a great first set it's because she begins to play defensively and focuses on protecting her lead. At the same time of course, her opponent has the opposite strategy, to come out aggressively and take an early lead to wipe out the mental boost of a first set win. When she falls behind in the count, that's when the fear sets in and UEs rain down. With Julia this happens fairly often, so the real question is, why can't she overcome this obvious pattern?
I pretty much agree on your approach here.
If you pose the question like that there is not much left than to find the answer mainly in a mental context.
At this point it`s of course getting wildly speculative.
But I think that a kind of immobility which is finding it`s expression not just in the physical department on the pic that Katja posted might play a big role in the whole thing. We were talking about "phlegma meets obstinacy" once in that context.
There can be noticed some strange but interesting equivalents in the regular and seemingly close to mechanical way Julia has lost her matches and the eager way she took these losses - adding the back ground of a long-time daily routine and surrounding that she seems to take like a God given thing all this makes at least some sense to me.
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Old Aug 11th, 2014, 10:52 PM   #13
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Re: Julia in 3 set matches

Quote:
Originally Posted by KatjaS View Post
Maybe I should start a thread about Julia always losing in the final round of qualifying, too.
You should have followed your instinct and started that thread, Katja. It might have made the difference...

If we can take some crumbs of comfort from Julia's qualifying performances this weekend, it was noticeable from Jonah Leon's report that Julia played her best tennis of the match and hit the majority of her winners in the closing stages of the 3rd set against "Aussie Ajla". It is a long time since we could say that about a Julia match: we're so used to seeing her disintegrate in sets 2 & 3 of every tour match.

Against Wickmayer, too, the match was tight and competitive throughout and I didn't have the feeling from watching the scoreboard that Jule was drifting out of the match at any stage. The key moment was her failure to break Wickmayer at the start of the 3rd set when she had the chance to carry over the momentum from set 2. But she still broke back and clung on till 5-5. The desire was undeniably there but it's always a disadvantage serving 2nd in those circumstances: the server is always under pressure to come from behind and even the score.

As others have commented, it's hard to tell whether Julia is physically tired or mentally tired in these encounters or a combination of the two. Since Nensel is Julia's head coach and is allegedly a Svengali-like figure to her, he has the authority to fire Prasad if he thinks her fitness trainer is doing a lousy job. But, so far, no adjustments have been made to what Julia regards as her "dream team" and there is little likelihood of change in the near future.
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