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OK, I don't know ANY person in the world who predicted Jennifer to win this year, so predictions can be quite useless.

But I think that predictions for next year's tournament are tough again. I can't name a player who I would call 'the favourite'.

Here are the reasons:

- Lindsay: Played very well recently, was the best active player. But then another knee injury. Maybe there are still doubts whether she will play at all.<br />She has come back from injury strongly before, for example this year at Eastbourne/Wimbledon, but I have doubts that she will be fit enough to win the whole thing.

- Jennifer: In my opinion very unlikely to win. She builds on confidence. This year she was the underdog, had some tough wins and got better and better. But her last performances weren't that good. It seems that she puts herself under much pressure and I think it will be the same as the defending champion. Mentally she isn't fresh enough, I think.

- Venus: This year she played quite horrible due to injury and missing preparation. Next year she obviously wants to play a warm-up-event which should be helpful. And she has shown before that she doesn't need much match-practice to win a slam. But it will be 4 months since her last match. That's a long time, and considering the previous years, I have doubts that she will be prepared enough to win 7 matches.

- Martina: Who knows ? Maybe she will come back with a stunning 2nd serve and her old aggressive and smart play. But I am quite sure that, again, there will be at least one player who is able to beat her.

- Serena: Of course a candidate for winning. Still 2 big question marks: her nerves in crucial situations ? her sister ?

- Kim: Could be ready for the big one. But in my opinion she still lacks some wins against top-players.

- Justine: Seemed to be tired recently. Maybe she starts as fresh as this year, then she has a chance.

- Monica: Has the abilities, no doubt. And she has always played great down under But to call her a favourite would be too much.

- Jelena: Showed much consistency recently but still lost in straight sets to Lindsay. She's still not as good as the top-players.

The players I haven't mentioned, like Elena, Sandrine, Mary (???) etc., are able to beat top-players but no one would would dare to call them favourites.

Summary: I can't decide. And the tune-ups haven't been very helpful as well, so it will be exciting until the last second. <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
 

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Hi, nice to see a long analysis, and here is mine.

Venus: You have to agreed she is the best player in the world at the moment, very few player can give her a game, a lot of people forgot that she did not come close to drop a set to win the US Open ( the closest is when she was 4-1 down to Jenny in first set). If she show up in Gold cozst and start shaking off her rust before Aussie Open, I am sure she will win it.

Lindsay: A very good bet to win as well, playing absolutely phenomenally of late, however, a big question mark on her injury, that discount her chance a big deal, however, if healthy definitely give Venus a run for her money.

Serena: Another dark horse, she is very hungry for sure, got all the goods, however, at this stage of competition she really have to beat her sister too win a grand slam. So she is in good position to win ONLY if she is in opposite side of draw as her sister.

Kim: If some non grand slam winner will win her first, she is a sure bet. Her game is absolutely ready and very complete. She become very confident as of late one of the few girls who can really hit with their american girls. Having said that, she never beat Williams sisters I think (someone correct me if Kim beat Serena before). Again to win a grand slam, you really cannot get away with not facing a Williams eventually. So she this will work against her enormously.

Monica: A good bet for long shots, it all depends what she has been working on during her break. So she is a mystery, but there are good signs when she beat a lot of top players which she did not manage in 2000.

Jenny: Many write her off, but I put her on 6 place simply because teh no. of quality players here so, it will be hard for her to defend (think about there will be someone in the top 8 need to face to Monica, that is scary for a field like that)

Martina: I wish all the best to her, I really hope she start off the year with a massive surprise

Other long shots: Justine, Amelie (depends on type of form she is in)

[ November 22, 2001: Message edited by: wongqks ]</p>
 

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Monica Seles will win the Australian Open. She is in the best shape she has been in years and has gained the confidence with wins after her return against the top players. Her experience and her never give up spirit will make her the winner.
 

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Finally some good analyzes; better than those meaningless predictions.<br />Good work, guys.

Lets see...

Lindsay: If I have to name a favourite, it would be her. But the knee...<br />She's one of those players who doesn't get all the the media-attention, that's the way she likes it btw, and quietly get to the quarters of the majors. Once she gets there, she's dangerous to anyone, even to Venus-in-form, I think. <br />She was the best player in the post US-Open season. That knee-injury is a pitty. <br />I think she is the one to watch if she recovers.

Venus: well, what is there to say...Venus is always a favourite. We all know she can beat anyone, but will she be ready so soon in the year? If she wants to have a shot at the OZ, she needs a better season-beginning than last year. It seems she will; she intends to play Gold<br />Coast. But still, I don't think she is the major threat yet at the OZ.

Kim: haha! Lets call her my surprise-favourite. If she can play like she did at the end of the year, with the same confidence, she really can win this thing. She's totally ready to do so.

Jennifer: hmmm...no, i don't think so. She puts way to much preasure on herself. She's in the spotlights now and she isn't on her ease there; it wasn't good for her tennis and for her attitude lately.

Serena: it might seem silly, but I think she has a bigger chance than her sis. She has won only one Slam and I think she really wants to change that this year. If she can already do it in Australia...<br />We'll see.

Martina: it will be difficult for the Swiss Miss. I have the feeling she just isn't good enough to beat the other top ten players. She was dominant when the sisters were still very young and unexperienced, Lindsay was still a bit too fat, Jennifer was still smoking pot and Kim and Justine were nowhere yet. She's a great tennisplayer, but she isn't the best.

Justine: I don't think she's ready to win a Slam. She's making it mentally tough for herself by wanting to achieve so many aims and say it out loud. After Wimbeldon she wasn't all that.

Monica: I really hope she wins a Slam next year. She just deserves it. Question is: can she still do it?<br />She still has her shots and she's more an outsider this year to win Slams. It might be in her advantage.

My meaningless semi-final-prediction:

Davenport v. Clijsters

Serena v. Venus

(Those four, but who versus who depends on draw)
 

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OK, here it goes:<br />*Lindsay: Played great at the end of last year. But injured her knee. Should be a tough one to beat, but her movement is still weak, especially when she plays a Williams or a Hingis.

*Jennifer: Don't think so, is past her best tennis for a while. Needs a rest.

*Venus: if she's on, she's gonna win it, but usually doesn't play her best in the beginning of the year.

*Serena: Needs to cut down on her errors! Is still very inconsistent, especially in big matches.

*Monica: Can go far, but not the whole way

*Hingis: Can go far, but hasn't played tournaments for a while because of the injury. It can go two ways: The rest helped her-she''ll fo far, or it didn't help her-second round defeat.

*Justine: Has a great chance, but hasn't played her best lately.

Kim: THIS IS THE ONE! SHE'S ALL READY TO WIN HER FIRST MAJOR! IF EVERYTHING FALLS INTO PLACE, THIS ONE IS HERS...AND SHE DESERVES IT. LOOK AT HOW SHE PLAYED THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS!

So...I set my money on Kim!

Bye Elisabeth
 

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She's making it mentally tough for herself by wanting to achieve so many aims and say it out loud.<hr></blockquote> ??? <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0"> <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0">
 

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Justine says she wants to become number one and at the GS she says she's there to win the whole thing before the first round started. The second thing is maybe a good thing, but becoming number one? Still a lot of work to do.
 

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Kim: THIS IS THE ONE! SHE'S ALL READY TO WIN HER FIRST MAJOR! IF EVERYTHING FALLS INTO PLACE, THIS ONE IS HERS...AND SHE DESERVES IT. LOOK AT HOW SHE PLAYED THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS!

So...I set my money on Kim!<br /> <hr></blockquote>

Are you serious? I would rather bet my money on Venus Williams than her. If she gonna win her first major I see it at Rolland Garros not at Oz.
 

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If Kim wins a major next year I think it will be the OZ or the USO, not Rolland Garros. Clay is her worst surface, I was surprised she got to the final last year, but Im afraid it won't happen again.
 

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tfannis, I see you're from Belguim so you may know more abou this than me.

But the way I see it, Justine is positive without being arrogant. She is very pragmatic in saying that 'whoever plays the best tennis will win'.

She wants to win Roland Garros because that has special memories for her (of her mother), but I've never heard her say that she is going to win it. Neither have I heard her say that she is going to be #1.

Of course she'd like to, but who playing the game wouldn't. And I've never heard her say that she is going to win any GS before it starts, just that if she plays at her best she has a chance of winning (which generally, she does).

Of course this could be me misinterpreting her words.... <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0">
 

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"Venus had an injury and lacked preparation last year" and still got to the Semi's!<br />For the first time she is having a warm up. Rememeber Serena at Munich. No preparation no indoor invent for a over year and still won.

That title will be taken by one of those two. I think it will be Serena.
 

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nice thread with nice analysis

Venus: it's tough not to pick her as favourite. She's playing a warm-up (and she doesn't need *much* warming up to get to full strength), she's taking it seriously. I'd put my money on her to win. Past record isn't that helpful - if you'd seen her play on grass in 1997, you'd assume she'd never make the top 50, let alone win Wimbledon. It's entirely possible that she'll do a Roland Garros and not show up mentally, but I think she's the favourite.<br />Lindsay: is the second favourite. It all depends on her injury - if it's still affecting her play, I'll be surprised if she makes it to the 2nd week; if not, she'll beat everyone until she meets Venus. And even then she's the only player I foresee giving Venus a hard time, and maybe even beating her. Remember, she was the one who brought Venus' 2000 winning streak to an abrupt end; she's proved she can hang with Venus at her best.<br />Serena - if Venus doesn't show mentally/bodily, and Serena doesn't have to play her, then she has a fair crack at the title. Again, signs that she's taking Oz seriously, signs that she's getting over her mental hang-ups. Put it this way: if she DOESN'T make the semis at least, her status as a member of the elite will be in question. And she knows it.<br />Kim - I don't think she's ready to win a Slam, not if Venus, Lindsay and Serena are all healthy and on top form. She's quite capable of taking one or all out if they're not on top form though, and she's definitely moved up a notch from 'outsider' to 'favourite', albeit favourite behind three others.<br />Justine - Not ready to win a hard courts Slam. I wouldn't be surprised if she won RG, and I expect her to acquit herself well here, but not to win it.<br />Martina - unless she pulls off something miraculous over the break (maybe acquiring a 2nd serve), she'll be out before the QFs. Having said that, look at Capriati last year; also she has no pressure as absolutely no-one expects her to win.<br />Jennifer - too much pressure, too much competition. I wouldn't even be that surprised if she was taken out before the 4th round. I certainly can't see her beating any of the players listed above except Martina. And even then I wouldn't put money on her.<br />Amelie - dark horse. Because she faded so completely last year, everyone seems to have forgotten that, prior to RG, she was arguably *the* player to beat, the favourite. And she's always done well in Australia. It all depends on whether she's recovered from RG yet... and I suspect she will have.<br />Monica - not unless she does a Capriati and gets into shape. Her summer renaissance was great, but overrated - seriously, the only victory to shout about was the one over Serena. Capriati was fading, everyone and their sister can beat Martina nowadays, and Monica singularly failed to make any impact on either Venus or Lindsay. She's not going to win a Slam again. Unless she pulls a Capriati.

So, that's the analysis of the favourites. Players to look out for who won't win? Su-Wei Hsieh and Angelique Widjaja should be playing in their first GS, and they're both richly talented. Elena D should be breaking out of her sophomore slump. Lina Krasnoroutskaya will, I believe, have her age restrictions lifted. Iroda Tulyaganova needs to prove herself at a GS.
 

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thefreedisigner: I'm not saying she's arrogant, but in interviews with the Belgium TV she wants to look very confident and she says such things. I read an interview in a French magazine where she SAYS she will win the French and wherein she says her aim is to become number one. Another exemple: before her semi-final in RG she said she was the favourite and Kim the underdog.<br />That's what I meen by putting to much preasure on herself.
 

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well, tfannis despite the ranking I would have made Justine a pretty clear favourite for that match.

<br />.... as for the other stuff, if she said those things, then I agree with you, she is putting (too much) pressure on herself. She's an absolute perfectionist though, which can sometimes be her undoing.
 

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In my opinion, this will be Kim's first Grand Slam!
 

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My predictions:

Venus Williams:<br />We can consider her one of the biggest favourites, if not the biggest. When Venus is on, she is unbeatable. She will be starving to win Down Under, since she had that shaming loss to Martina on semis this year. She will be 100% of her injury, for sure. If she gets good match practice (winning Gold Coast with ease), she will be the winner. If not, she will stop in the quarters/semis.<br />But, Venus is Venus, and she is unpredictable <img src="wink.gif" border="0">

Lindsay Davenport:<br />A runner-up. That's what I can predict for Lindsay. Her knee injury is very serious. She will have enough time to recover, yes, but she won't be playing her best. Unless she wins the warm-up events she plays, or at least play very well. OK, Lindsay won most of the carpet events, but she rarely faced Top 5 players (only Capriati in Switzerland I think). Plus, she struggles to beat the Williams (whether she beats, of course). Serena and Venus will face her before the finals, and kick her off.

Jennifer Capriati:<br />Won't repeat at all. But last year she wasn't considered favourite, and she made it. Why not this year? Because of Venus, Serena and maybe Lindsay. She will lose in the quarterfinals or semis to the biggest surprise of the tournament, which I can't tell <img src="wink.gif" border="0">

Martina Hingis:<br />Will have her 3rd runner-up plate in Australia. That's a record! 6 straight finals! Or am I predicting too much for Martina, whose confidence is suspect? Well, we will see if she had recovered from her ankle and from her mind on January. Trust me, she will, but not enough for winning the Oz.

Serena Williams:<br />She has two big obstacles, as everybody said, her mental toughness and Venus. What if she has matured and is maybe is one of the players who are taking the Oz most seriously. She, like Martina, doesn't win a GS title since 99. We will be in 2002! She will be very hungry for this triumph.

Kim Clijsters:<br />Suspect, suspect.. can pull an upset. But two would be too much for her.

Amelie Mauresmo:<br />Let's see her if her back (or whatever) has stopped bothering her. She can do big damage when playing 100%. But not a threat to the title at all.

Jelena Dokic:<br />Messy, messy game. Still "green". She lost three times to Lindsay, both on straight sets this year, which is her best. Imagine what will happen if she faces one of the Williams at 100%... OMG!

<br /> <img src="graemlins/wavey.gif" border="0" alt="[Wavey]" />

[ November 23, 2001: Message edited by: Caio Braz ]</p>
 

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I think everyone is underrating Martina Hingis here. She has a very good record at Oz, and she usually prepares well over the break. Take last year, she came back looking really good, playing aggressively, beat both Venus & Serena before losing to Jen. I'm not saying she's my favourite to win this, but I think she could do it. I think she'll pull off one really big really good win over a power player in the QF/SF stage and then get knocked out next round. She'll shock everyone by beating Venus/Serena/Lindsay comprehensively and then lose her next match.

I also think Jen is being underrated. I wouldn't be suprised if she spends this break as she did the last and gets herself into peak physical condition. And if she's in the kind of shape she was in this time last year, she is definitely a contender. There's less pressure on her now than there was after Roland Garros. Again, not a favourite, but not to be discounted either.

Overall, this slam is always the hardest to predict because you never know how players will have spent their break. ON past precedent, Martina, Jen, LIndsay, MOnica seem to do best after a break and Venus, Serena, Justine, Amelie fare worst. But that said, it does seem as though Venus & Serena are taking their preparation more seriously this year so I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

But I wouldn't be suprised if we saw the same two finalists as last year.
 

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Sharp observations there GoDominique <img src="smile.gif" border="0">

Before I lay down predictions at the I want a look at the "horses" running the race. This is especially true in women's tennis.

I'm not interested in if Venus wins the Gold Coast.<br />She could lose early like Jen did in Sydney and still win OZ. No, I'm curious to see if she plays. That indicates a lot right there. Ditto for Davenport in Sydney. If LD pulls out of Sydney to "rest" her knee, then I don't like her chances.

With Seles, Capriati, Serena, and Hingis, just one glance is enough to tell how much they have(or haven't) been working out.

Clijsters is very fit, a big plus Down Under. Kim is a good outside pick.

One of those 7 will probably win.

P. S. Conchita Martinez won't win, but you can ALWAYS judge the rest of her by her January.
 

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Well to me Venus, Serena, and Lindsay are the favorites to win the whole thing. After them I would think Monica, Martina, and Kim could be possible runner-ups.

Venus of course hasn't played since Sept. It will be just short of 4 months by the time she plays her first tournament of the year. I'm thinking she didn't play for 6 months in 2000 and it only took her 3 tournaments before she won Wimbledon, and she managed to get to the QF of the French the toughest physical GS of the four after a very long break. So I think getting to Australia early and playing a warm-up tournament will be more than enough to lose the jet lag and shake off the rust. Also I wish people would stop saying that she doesn't play warm-ups. Besides 2001 when hasn't she played a warm-up. (Her only block is herself).

Serena I believe is done with the mental blocks. It all started at the AO against Martina, and I'm sure her first GS of the year and her belief that she is the best will get her to the final this year. Winning it is a different story. If she doesn't have to face Venus she's a sure shot. When she's focused her game is so precise and beautiful to watch. When she's nervous like against Venus it can be horrible sometimes. But I think if they meet Serena will play differently and it will be up for grabs. I think they've played more than enough in big events, the USO taking the cake of course, for Serena to just let loose. That would be a sight to see. (Her only block is Venus).

Lindsay to me is the 3rd best player on the tour. I say that because she basically has everything Venus and Serena has except for the movement. That is the only thing that separates the three. If she is fully recovered from her injury she is as big a threat to win as anyone. We all know that she usually cruises through the first 4 rounds most of the time right to the semis. Her game is so solid that most players really can't give her a good work out. If she only faces one of the Williamses and wins than I think she's going to win. If she has to face both or competes against either of them at 100% than it gets a little shaky. (Her only block is her confidence against Venus & Serena).

Monica has been playing pretty well. The only thing is that she hasn't faced any real competition since the summer. I think repetition is the key for her. If she comes in with improved fitness she can get to the semis or finals, but I don't see her beating 3 elite players in a row. It can be done as we saw with Jennifer, but at this point it's unlikely.

Martina just had a bad year. I really don't think it's as bad as a lot of people say it is. I think the talk of her not winning a GS by commentators and reporters got to her, and of her against power hitters as well. I mean she did win 9 titles in 2000. That's more than what anyone has won this year. She just had a bad year this year. Even though she got to the finals of the AO her troubles really started there. When she loss to Jenn after beating Venus and Serena I think it set her back. I think she thought it was her best chance to win a GS with most of the top players being rusty and playing against a player that she had previously owned in Jennifer, and it got to her when she didn't win. I think we'll see the old Martina this year.

Kim is playing ok she doesn't have the game yet to win a GS, but she's getting there. If we have a first time GS winner at the Open I think it will be her. But she does still struggle in GS. At the Open she was getting into long 3 setters before the QF and that won't help when you have to play a player like Venus who hadn't lost a set and was getting better every round. When Kim can maintain her consistency through multiple rounds and not get caught up in matches that she should put away than I think she will be the next GS winner. Maybe will see at the Open if she comes out on fire. If she can get a pretty good draw she has a chance.

I just can't put Jenn as a fav. She only won 3 tournaments last year, and didn't win a tournament the whole time she was #1. I don't think she can beat Venus, Lindsay, or Monica on a regular basis and I think Serena has figured out that she can beat her if she just keeps her focus. I think she took most people by surprise at the AO, and at the French she played Serena who hadn't played on clay prior, and Martina who was just out of it. Venus is her biggest threat because she doesn't allow her to have burst of speed here and there throughout the match and then rest it off. She keeps her running the whole time and it takes away from her speed and power, because she can't keep it up the whole match.
 

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It's really hard to list in order how the players will fair at the Australian.

Davenport: She's done well here but is now nursing an injury which might be taking away from practice time and getting in shape time

Capriati: Just hasn't been the same player since Wimbledon

V. Williams: Hasn't played a match since September, also has a wrist injury which might be limiting practice and working out time.

K. Clijsters: Should have no problem with the off season if she isn't spending her days and nights with Lleyton. And hopefully she won't be attending all his matches at AO which will limit her practicing time...which didn't that lead to her 4r thumping last year?

S. Williams: Never know which Serena will show up...the error-filled Serena or the invincible Serena.

J. Henin: Has a lot of points to defend early on. Could add some more pressure to do well...now that things will be expected from her.

J. Dokic: Isn't playing in Australia

A. Mauresmo: Hasn't been the player she was before Roland Garros. Does well in Australia but will she be able to shake off her late season slump?

M. Seles: Hasn't played since October and is supposedly working on her fitness...but how many times have we heard that?
 
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