What we need to understand though, is what the [email protected]#$ is going on with our Y2K heroes - Safin and Dementieva. They were the mentally toughest players on Tour in 2000. They are probably the weakest now.
Safin loses second match in a row with a lame excuse of "it wasn't my day". And that playing on his favourite clay against Roger playing on his least favourite surface. It seems to me that he is just unable to make an effort. He seems convinced that for a player of his stature and talent making an effort to win is humiliating, that he should be winning everything efortlessly, and if he can't, he is too proud to sweat. I start to link it to Mats Wilander. Marat never had that kind of attitude before. Marat, call Gilbert or Chesnokov, please..
Time of never-say-die Soviet players seem to go. Time of legendary Chesnokov's fights, who'd rather die on court than lose. Yevgeny is still capable of pulling it off sometimes. But Marat is not prepared to die on court for his country. He is rich, young, has a great life, packs of blondes, and it can always be not his day.
It is more difficult with Dementieva. It seems to me that her last injury made the same effect on her as that infamous thumb injury of Anna. Before that both looked fearless fighters, feared by most of other players, very ambitious, considering themselves contenders for very Top, and considered by everyone else as such, fighting to the end and extremely strong in tough matches.
After injuries it is no longer seems to be there. They look satisfied with what they are, their Champion's spirit seems to be broken. They still can take a set of practically any player, but they don't seem to be capable of winning any more. I can just feel the change in Elena's attitude. I don't believe it can't be fixed. I think, both are in dire need of professional motivator - not a sport psychologist, not a conventional coach but a combination of two.
One who would have a right to say "Do it like I used to do. Figth like I used to fight". Steffi. Or Martina. Or Olga.
I am very curious on what the Russian press would have to say about Marat's suicidal performance. This is not the 1st time that he let the team down. What is it with him always choking in Moscow, his hometown of all places?
Now it's again up to Yevgeny. I feel sorry for Yevgeny, always having to bear the burden since he started playing for Russia. Good thing he is strong enough to withstand the pressure at home. The doubles will be so crucial....
Bubble, because Moscow is his hometown, he struggles. So do Kournikova and Dementieva. Kafelnikov is from Sochi, far away from Moscow. So mabe the "Y" man doesn't feel the great pressure that the Muscovites do.
By the way, Safin/Kafelnikov won the doubles in 4 sets. So Russia leads 2 matches to 1. Udachi RF(Russian Federation)!
Who was that kissing Kafelnikov?
And good luck to Russia in the Winter Olympics. Especially Anton and Elena in Pairs figure skating. I hope the Russian dynasty continues in Pairs. Russia/Soviet Union has won an amazing 10 straight Olympic gold medals in pairs. They have had a dynasty in Ice Dance as well. And now they are building a dynasty in the Men's competition.
Yeah, Cat. I thought so too.
That's 2 sides of playing at home, it's either the pressure forcing the players to underperform or makes them perform 110%.
I hope Irina Slutskaya can stop playing the role of bridesmaid this time and win the gold medal.
I think this year may be Yevgeny's dark year. Disasterous AO and he just lost lamely to Federer at DC and his draw next week as defending champion at Open 13 is horrible.
Playing giantkiller Max in the 1st rd? Pfffffff!
Please prove me wrong, Zhenya!
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