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Discussion Starter #1
Just some thoughts on Miss Anna K.

Now that the first round of the Aussie Open is done, by far the most entertaining POINTS i've seen came from the Kournikova-Henin match. Anna has major weaknesses, but the net isn't one of them, and the Juju-Anna encounter had the variety that a lot of "old timers" miss.

With her current game IMO Anna would have been a threat to win majors in the era of wood raquets. In those days she would have had more success getting to net without being beaten into the ground by the big babes. I just hope she sticks with the game long enough to make a run at Wimbledon, where th egrass may reward her style.

Did anyone see Shriver's commentary on the match?
Pammy broke down Anna's game perfectly. Until Anna learns to control that flat forehand she'll have troubles. I've a tape of the 1998 Lipton final vs. Venus, and she did the same thing as against Henin-going for low margin shots on the run. Like my old fav Mary Pierce, Anna seems determined to keep playing low percentage tennis off the ground.

It's a shame really that she wasn't born in another era. So young. So stubborn. So talented. She's still got time, and I wish her well even if she frustrates me like hell. We need more Annas in tennis:)
 

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Yes, I'd agree. But I think Anna has another problem, that she doesn't construct points as well as she might. She's got all the shots, but doesn't seem to have a feel for which to play at which time. Although, I suspect that her injury timeouts have contributed to that problem.
 

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I disagree. With some of your points, and with Shriver partly too. Yes, Kournikova played a lot of low percentage shots. So what? Has she always played like that? Yes and no..
Lipton 98, that Rollo mentioned. I have not only final taped, but two her previous matches too, Davenport and ASV. And she played pretty similar stuff, but it was working.. Why? Because she was fresher than in final, she didn't have four Top 10 duels in as many days behind. Against Venus, she was outplaying her until she ran out of gas. Still, she was a break up in the second and it was just a couple of those shots not going in in that second set, otherwise she would have had a title by now. And if you rewatch those Davenport and ASV matches, you'll be surprised that same very Shriver calls her a good server, patient in rallies, good points constructor. Yes, the explanation for that could have been sitting next to Alla on the stadium back then, and was probably named Pavel Slozil. We can't get that back.

When Anna is confident, in good form, she plays a great combination of risky shots and high percentage points, which is pretty effective and spectacular to watch. Look back at her matches in fall 2000 if you need more recent examples. Kremlin Cup, Chase. She played very patient points against Martinez, and she took some risk and everything worked. She toyed with Capriati. She has that low high percentage game in her arsenal too, along with those wild swings. She needs more match practice to get that righ mix back. And she will get it back. It is completely up to her. And her being healthy.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Pavel is a great coach--too bad Alla is in the way.

Hmm..she's ALWAYS been able to beat the top guns, which is why I'm convinced she has lots of talent. But she's also ALWAYS come up short as far as winning an event. Is that getting tired or just letting the pressure get to her? At the 98 Lipton I agree ys, she got tired, but she also got tight and played low percentage balls. "Just a couple of shots" is the history of Anna's career. She performs well until the stress point, then just cracks. You mentioned the Kremlim Cup in 2000. I saw that final, where Hingis cleaned her clock, and Anna was making the same wild forehand errors. Her serve is fine by me-it's the lack of court sense and lack of common sense that drives me crazy.

Don't forget too that in 1998 Anna was still an unknown. Her playing patterns were new. There was no "book" on her strenths and weaknesses. By now the book is getting long, but Anna has yet to show she's willing to change her game, attitude, or 'lets play exhibitions from November through December rather than work on my game" routine. Sorry if thats harsh:( It's just that I hate to see such talent go to waste, and I know she works hard.
It takes more than that though. It takes a plan, and I don't see one.
There's still long term hope for Anna though, and I wish her luck:)
 

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Again, Rollo, it is not that she doesn't have that game. I also remember that final. Kremlin Cup. Kournikova was playing unbelievably. First 5 games. Then she got a bad call. Or someone from crowd annoyed her. And the other, "frustrated bad" Anna suddenly replaced "patient, focused, good" Anna. Just like with Goran... Chase semis. again against Hingis. Here she managed to last almost a set. Then in tiebreak at very important point she gets very bad call. She just no longer there after that. Her problem is not low percentage, not her tactics. Her biggest problem is controling her emotions, keeping focus, valueing every point played. Something that we call mental strength. And that's something where practicing more is unlikely to help.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
When you put it that way ys, I think you're right. If it's totally a mental thing, then that could explain her behavior. Between you and me though, I hope i'm right, because it's harder to rework the nerves than shots.

BTW, is she entered in Tokyo? The good news is she has nothing to defend after the next couple events.
 

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Andrei Chesnokov fixed the same problem in Marat Safin in one single week. So nothing is impossible. Most of Russian players have that problem. Anna doesn't need a conventional coach. She needs someone who can fix her head, someone she would trust, The best pro coach in the world might be helpless. She worked with Van Harpen, any other pro coach would put her into the same routine, it won't work. She needs unconventional coach whose methods would be quite unlike what others do. That might work.

yeah, she has nothin to defend after next couple of events. Bad news is that she will have almost nothing left. Should she lose early in Tokio, she'll be at the end of the second hundred. Yeah, I believe she entered PanPacific.
 

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I'll tell youone other problem anna has. She relies on the fact that she's an incredible athlete. She's puts herself in situations where only a great athlete can make ANY shot, and often a weak one.

She follows weak approach shots to the net.
She hangs out in 'No Man's land', depending on her reflexes to half-volley.
She'll try to paint the line when she has half the court to hit into.
 

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I agree with you Rollo, but I think she needs coaching in decision making!!


I love the way Anna tries to come to net, but she OFTEN has a poor choice of volley!!!

How many volleys did she telegraph by going for silly drop volleys when she should hit them into the open court!!

As Billie Jean said, Anna is a better player when she only has time to REACT, not think - if she has time to think she stuffs up.

But I agree, the 2nd set was very entertaining!!

Anna just does not have, IMO, the FIRE, the BELIEF etc to be a consistent Top 5 player, some people have it, others dont. I dont think Anna has it...

I think she needs to enlise a BJK or a Martina Nav (heck, Id say the same for about 6 of the top players!!), who can really impart their wisdom of the game on her... Sadly, I think Anna is too proud, and a bit of a 'know all' to do that...
 

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With Alla, it won't be Martina N. or BJK. I don't think Alla would entrust her daughter to either of them..
 

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I think it's easy to forget the fact that Anna has played relatively little tennis given that she's the same age as Hingis, Venus et al. Her injuries have meant that she's played maybe half the amount that they have. So she's still learning. And as Rollo said, serve & volleyers do take longer to mature.

One more thought: Martina Navratilova didn't win her first title till she was 21.
 

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Is that true, sk? Martina didn't win a tournament until she was 21? That's an amazing stat. But Martina didn't turn pro until she was 18, right? Anna has been a professional longer now than Martina was back then until her first pro title. But still, there's hope for Anna yet!
 

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Rollo,
I agree it takes longer for a serve-and-volleyer's game to develop, but since when is Anna a serve-and-volleyer? How many times per match does she actually s&v? Only a handful; sometimes, zero.

:confused:
 

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Navratilova turned pro at 16, but only won 3 titles before she was 25. Another suprising stat.

The fact is that we're so accustomed to seeing youngsters like Hingis, Williamsx2, Henin, Clijsters, Dokic in the top 10 that we forget that there's still plenty of time for Anna.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Of course you are correct janie. We need a new word for men and women who come to net often but don't volley. Today's conditions(big racquets and power returns) make serve and volley DEAD in women's tennis. Navratilova would still be a champ today, but by god she couldn't do it serving and volleying like she did in her era. Had Anna played in the past I think she would have serve and volleyed. Still, it does take longer for all court players to reacg their full potential.

Martina won lots of titles by 25 sk, did you mean 3 slams? The main point was she improved with age, like a good wine:)
 
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