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Discussion Starter #1
Don't know why. No emotional resonance for me. But I've learned to appreciate her. She has what Magic Johnson had. She understands the game and it's possibilities on such a deep level that she can manipulate it. She can get the opponent to give her a shot she can return at an impossible angle. She kinda sees it all ahead time. She's not just the best at that. I'm not sure any of the other players CAN do.

She's not the fastest player.
She's not the strongest player.
She hasn't the greatest endurance.

She's not deficient in any of these by tour standards. But if you can hammer the ball from corner to corner, getting within a foot of the lines consistently, Martina can't really hurt you.

Of course, not many players can do that. But they all try, these days.

Supposedly, Hingis 2002 is faster and stronger. Those are the things one would hope she worked on. I understand she took a lot of long walks on mountains. Good stuff.

Martina's next two opponents are the two players immediately behind her in the rankings. Both of whom beat her the last time they played. THe fact that I'm talking about two matches tells you what I think the outcome of the first one will be. The second, I'm not so sure.
 

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I understand what you are saying here about Martina. I have always enjoyed her game because she is the most naturally talented player I have ever seen. Martina has an innate sense of the court and how to use her game to play off of her opponents weaknesses. That is why her lack of slam titles since 99 is so disappointing for a player of her caliber. Hingis has the game to consistently beat the power players and she has yet to use it efficiently in the last two years.

Her next two matches will truly be a test for Martina for two reasons. First, her ankle injury is the first major injury of her career and she has yet to face a player that can truly put her endurance to the test. Her next two matches against Clijsters, then possibly Serena will truly be a measure of how well she will play @ the Oz Open.
 

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Though Martina is never going to be a favorite (though I love the way she plays), I find myself rooting for her recently. I want her to win Sydney, get her confidence up, and produce a classic match against Venus at the AO.... I think by far their match ups are the best.
 

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What i enjoy is that she presents such a contrast to the power hitters. so the matches between her and the top players are so interesting to watch. I would rather watch Hingis play any top player than to watch the big hitters slug it out against each other, even though I am a bigger fan of the Williams sisters and of Davenport and even of Capriati than of Hingis. Of course, I'll always watch the williamses etc, but my interest is always heightened when hingis plays. I was so disappointed when she got hurt because all of a sudden tennis seemed less interesting without her in the mix. I'm also just amazed at how consistent she is.
Ruth in Philly PA USA
 

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I totally agree that a match that includes Martina vs. a power hitter (Jen, Venus, Lindsay, Serena, Monica, Mary etc) is much more interesting than any between 2 power hitters. I always root against Hingis. That air of superiority and the fact that she never closes her mouth and all the announcers refer to this quirk as a "smile" bugs me. But I love watching her play the big girls, especially the past 2 years. The matches against Jennifer last year were great. As were the matches against Venus. I had the pleasure of seeing the semi in Miami last year and even tho it was straight sets for venus, it was a thriller. I hope Martina comesback. I just want all my girls to beat her!!!
 

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I think she has pretty good endurance. I remember her match against Venus at the 1999 US Open. It was a great match, except for the outcome. Both players were tired from the long rallies, but she certainly had the better endurance at that point in time. Considering that I think right now Venus has the greatest endurance of anybody on tour that match showed just how much endurance she does have. Then last year against Serena at the AO, was a pretty long match that she endured. Also against Iva at the US Open. She isn't my fav. but she certainly brings that excitement to the tour when you think about the match ups between her and the power hitters. Particularly against Venus, Serena, and Jennifer.
 

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Oh yes, Martina-Venus matches are so exciting (except that 6-1 6-1 debacle at AO last year which was a major disappointment). Venus has the physical talent (strenth, speed etc) to match Martina's talent for clever shots and the logistics of the game.

But it annoys me when people suggest Marti is "just" clever or Venus is "just" athletic. They are both very clever, talented players.
 

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Goolagong said:
I totally agree that a match that includes Martina vs. a power hitter (Jen, Venus, Lindsay, Serena, Monica, Mary etc) is much more interesting than any between 2 power hitters. I always root against Hingis.
Her loss to Serena at the US Open last summer was painful to watch...she didn't look at all like the #1 player in the world! Martina didn't bring anything interesting to that match ...this was one of the best match ever but not because of Martina (she got what she deserved!) but because Serena was wonderful and was the one with the cleverness and the tactics!!! My only question in a match that include Hingis and a power hitter is how long this one will last, how long it's gonna take for her to be spanked....:wavey:
 

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Yes, Martina has a bad serve, weak groundstrokes, and the movement of a slug. Yet I think, when on, she's the best on tour (as her 6-1 6-1 victory over Venus and her double bagel win over Seles show). Her return is the best in the game, and her accuracy, variety, and consitency are unparalleled. I forget who, but a lower ranked player made the comment that she dictates the points and controls the tempo, even if she appears to be on the defensive.

Oh, and I'm dead serious about her return. She certainly doesn't win matches by holding her serve, now does she? Daja Bedanova at the UO would be a good example...her serve wasn't broken the whole tourny until she played Hingis (the first game, no less).
 

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Number1Kim said:
it annoys me when people suggest Marti is "just" clever or Venus is "just" athletic. They are both very clever, talented players.
Me too. I don't know why people label them like that.:confused:
They're far from one-dimensional players.
 

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definately

you guys said what i have not been able to say for so long!!! there is this air with martina that's different. all the other players are talented, without a doubt, but martina's game style is totally different. and last year, all ppl could do was bash her bout her lack of slams or tourni wins. but the thing is, she doesn't clutch on to bein in the top ten by playin poorly.
i totally agree with rocksteady, parts of her game may be bad but her return is by far one of the best. her performance at the oz last year was amazing.
i think last year, her love for the game was wavering but i hope her games back on. coz it's great to watch her play with any of the other players in the top ten.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The best analogy I can think of for Martina Hings vs Venus Williams is Magic Johnson vs Michael Jordan. I alluded to Johnson's basketball sense beforee. On the court, he couldn't just see the future, he could manipulate it. Sounds like a smirking Swiss Miss we know.

Venus Williams is Michael Jordan is this piece. Not the same type of genius at all. Michael Jordan came into the NBA in 1984 with transcendant physical skills. And no idea how to translate them into winning. He could score a many points as he wnated any night he wanted. But his team was mediocre. Scoring isn't the same as winning. MIchael Jordan had to learn what to DO with all his talent. He had to learn how to harness it. Jordan could fall back on scoring 50 points a game the way Venus can rely on parking on the baseline and hitting as hard as she can.

It beat most people, most of the time. Just not the best. Just not in the big matches.

Just like Michael learned, Venus learned.

But we have it better in the WTA than they had it in the NBA. We have Venus and Martina THE SAME AGE. When Michael finally figured out what he was doing, Magic was a little onthe downside of his career. We never really got to compare them in their primes. Even better, Venus and Martina are young. Sure the NBA had Larry Bird vs Magic Johnson, but Larry and Magic had almost identical abilities. Magic was a little faster, Larry was a little stronger. They were Venus vs Lindsay, really.

Mentally, they are attempting two completely different things.

Venus is about focus and concentration. She knows what she wants to do, and her goal is to be unaffected by opponent, time of the match, weather, her period or anything else. "I'll do what I'm supposed to, and I'll win.

Martina is reading, seeing, manipulating, anticipating, trying to put her opponent in bad situations. "I can make you do really stupid things, and I'll win.

Now of course, Venus and Martina don't occupy the height in the tennis hierarchy that Magic and Michael do in basketball. However, they are both young enough that they could. One day.

In a lot of sports, coaches tell you that the game is '90% mental'. Or 80%. Or 95%. It's always some outrageous number. But why is the winner of Venus vs 'Generic Power Player' usually Venus? She's mentally stronger than they are. And for two and half years, Martina vs Anybody usually went to Martina. She was mentally stronger than her opposition. (What else COULD it be?)

If Martina has gotten her legs in shape, 2002 will be a resurgent year. She only needs an extra split second to be able to manipulate the opponent instead of just returning the ball.

Venus is the master at executing her game. Martina manipulates the game itself. With each at their best, this is the matchup.
 

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:bounce: Great post, volcana!

Hingis' game is all about trying to affect her opponent, while Venus tries to ignore her opponent and stay focused.

The best match-up in tennis, definitely.
 

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I like your analogy Volcano, but you know compared to other players at the time that Michael came into the NBA, he was average.

Another Venus/Michael similarity is that he didn't really have a jumpshot when he first came into the NBA. Like Venus he was a rookie with potential. He came into the NBA with his natural born talent. He could jump high, had great defense, and speed. That was enough to carry him through college as the next big thing, but when he got to the NBA he soon realized he had to add things to his game so he wasn't as vulnerable. That's what intelligent players like him do. Opponents knew that most of his shots were dunks or drives to the basket so they forced him to shoot. Through hard work he developed his own moves and a potent jumpshot added to his speed, jump, and defense. Making it almost impossible to stop him from scoring at will.

Venus came into the WTA, like Michael, as the next big thing. With her natural born talent and physique she carried in a 62-0 record, I think. Speed, power, defense, and height adv. were her weapons, but she realized that just that wasn't enough to reach the goals she had set. Players would just keep the ball in play for as long as it took for her to make an ue. Through hard work she developed a net game, added more variety to her serve, learned how to play a match in any situation, and through her losses she learned how to keep her emotions in check.

All great champions suffer losses throughout the year that are a bit shocking, but in the end they always know how to grit their teeth and do what it takes to win.
 

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I pretty much agree with what's been said here. Especially when it comes to Martina being labelled a "clever" player and Venus a "power" player. I was watching a repeat of last year's Aussie final, and I was suprised to see just how hard Martina can hit the ball. There were points during that match when she was comfortably holding her own from the baseline against Jen, and yet when I read this board I get the impression that she's a weakling!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
sk - back in the eighties, in baseball, they used to say if you lined up the nine fastest guys in baseball and Ricky Hendersen, and had a footrace. Hendersen would come in tenth. But every year he led the league steals

Martina is by no means weak. But if you put a radar gun on the top ten, Martina would have the grounstrokes that traveled at the slowest speed. That doesn't mean they are slow. There's no such thing as a slow Formula I car. With the POSSIBLE exception of triathlon and maybe basketball players, tennis players are the best female athletes in the world. The entire top ten is fast and strong. The combinations just differ.
 
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