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Much discussion has taken place about Jon Wertheim's comments about Serena. But in fairness, Serena doesn't say much that many other players haven't said over the years, and that goes all the way from Martina Navartilova to Steffi Graf to Martina Hingis.

There is always a big debate when a top player loses to a lower ranked player. Did the top player just play horribly? Did the lower ranked player just play out of her mind? Was there a lot of luck involved in the victory?

The truth is usually a combination of all three things. When Serena recently lost to Justine, to me it was clear that Justine was playing some of the best tennis we have seen from her and that Serena was NOT playing her best tennis.

The thing is, these players are asked, sometimes immediately in an on court interview, or else in the press conference, which almost always takes place within an hour, to evaluate their performance. They are asked to explain why they lost. That's often not easy for them to do, especially since their emotions may be high, they may be in physical pain or at least, discomfort, and they are often dog tired.

We all have victories and defeats in her own lives, but none of us are expected to hold a news conference when we fail at sometime and explain to the world why we failed.

We also have to understand that sometimes, the very questions from reporters are meant to be provocative. Many reporters in my opinion hope to spark controvsies and the socalled cat fights that supposedly exist in tennis. The reality is that most of these women on the tour don't dislike one another and generally, get along just fine in private life.

Some are friendlier than others. Graf was a loner and Venus appears to be one, too. Others, like Hingis, Anke Huber and some others, have reputations of being very friendly and outgoing. Usually, the higher up they go in the rankings, though, the less time they spend "hanging" with the girls, because they have more endorsements, more obligations and thus don't go out with the girls at night. Plus, many players at the top of the tour travel with their own entourages, so they spend their off court hours with them.

Finally comes the question of the player who always says "I didn't play my game today" as a reason why she lost. You know, that's the flip side of what you hear players say over and over again BEFORE matches. "I'm just going to go out there and try to play my game."

Well, my guess is, most of them do think that if they play their game, they'll win. If they thought that they'd lose, why go out? Certainly, this attitude is hard to maintain when facing a player you never beat and tennis is littered with stats on players who rarely beat some other players.

Right now, there are a lot of people who rarely beat a Williams sisters. There were many players who never, or almost never, beat Hingis. Tustud lost to Martina all 16 times they played. Monica lost to her 16 out of 21 times or something like that. ASV lost to her 17 out of 19 times. You have to wonder what they tell themselves in their own minds about "just playing my game?"

I can remember a couple of years ago, I think it was 2000, Amy Frasier beat Hingis at the San Diego tournament. She faced her again a week later at Manhattan Beach. The reporters were trying to get Amy to say she had a good chance against Martina because of that previous victory. Amy, who is actually a very honest person, pretty much admitted she'd been very lucky. She actually told a press conference she wasn't really on the same level as Hingis. Sure enough, Martina beat her fairly easily at Manhattan Beach.

But you just don't see either that kind of honesty, or else that lack of self deception, in most athletes.

Most of them probably do think that if they "just play my game" they will win.

So in the end, how much "credit" should they give a lower ranking opponent who upsets them?

Well, there's no real formula. What I think, though, is that unless one player really trashes her opponent in the press conference, accusing her of being a slut, a drunk, a child molester and a terrorist, we should not put too much stock in the comments or take them as some guage of that player's character.

If you disagree, next time you have failed miserably at something you think you should have succeeded at, think about holding a press conference and having to explain why you failed.

You may not come off so nice, either.
 

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wow excellent post! :worship:
 

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Great post. It reminded me of Hingis losing to jennifer 2002. She practically had the title won and then lost it. At the end she was even making the heineken joke and i was still crying for her! She was so brave considering how long she had been fighting to to get to matchpoint in a slam again. I don't remember what she said in her immediate interview but i think she must have given Jen her props!
 

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TonyP said:
Much discussion has taken place about Jon Wertheim's comments about Serena. But in fairness, Serena doesn't say much that many other players haven't said over the years, and that goes all the way from Martina Navartilova to Steffi Graf to Martina Hingis.

There is always a big debate when a top player loses to a lower ranked player. Did the top player just play horribly? Did the lower ranked player just play out of her mind? Was there a lot of luck involved in the victory?

The truth is usually a combination of all three things. When Serena recently lost to Justine, to me it was clear that Justine was playing some of the best tennis we have seen from her and that Serena was NOT playing her best tennis.

The thing is, these players are asked, sometimes immediately in an on court interview, or else in the press conference, which almost always takes place within an hour, to evaluate their performance. They are asked to explain why they lost. That's often not easy for them to do, especially since their emotions may be high, they may be in physical pain or at least, discomfort, and they are often dog tired.

We all have victories and defeats in her own lives, but none of us are expected to hold a news conference when we fail at sometime and explain to the world why we failed.

We also have to understand that sometimes, the very questions from reporters are meant to be provocative. Many reporters in my opinion hope to spark controvsies and the socalled cat fights that supposedly exist in tennis. The reality is that most of these women on the tour don't dislike one another and generally, get along just fine in private life.

Some are friendlier than others. Graf was a loner and Venus appears to be one, too. Others, like Hingis, Anke Huber and some others, have reputations of being very friendly and outgoing. Usually, the higher up they go in the rankings, though, the less time they spend "hanging" with the girls, because they have more endorsements, more obligations and thus don't go out with the girls at night. Plus, many players at the top of the tour travel with their own entourages, so they spend their off court hours with them.

Finally comes the question of the player who always says "I didn't play my game today" as a reason why she lost. You know, that's the flip side of what you hear players say over and over again BEFORE matches. "I'm just going to go out there and try to play my game."

Well, my guess is, most of them do think that if they play their game, they'll win. If they thought that they'd lose, why go out? Certainly, this attitude is hard to maintain when facing a player you never beat and tennis is littered with stats on players who rarely beat some other players.

Right now, there are a lot of people who rarely beat a Williams sisters. There were many players who never, or almost never, beat Hingis. Tustud lost to Martina all 16 times they played. Monica lost to her 16 out of 21 times or something like that. ASV lost to her 17 out of 19 times. You have to wonder what they tell themselves in their own minds about "just playing my game?"



But you just don't see either that kind of honesty, or else that lack of I can remember a couple of years ago, I think it was 2000, Amy Frasier beat Hingis at the San Diego tournament. She faced her again a week later at Manhattan Beach. The reporters were trying to get Amy to say she had a good chance against Martina because of that previous victory. Amy, who is actually a very honest person, pretty much admitted she'd been very lucky. She actually told a press conference she wasn't really on the same level as Hingis. Sure enough, Martina beat her fairly easily at Manhattan Beach.self deception, in most athletes.

Most of them probably do think that if they "just play my game" they will win.

So in the end, how much "credit" should they give a lower ranking opponent who upsets them?

Well, there's no real formula. What I think, though, is that unless one player really trashes her opponent in the press conference, accusing her of being a slut, a drunk, a child molester and a terrorist, we should not put too much stock in the comments or take them as some guage of that player's character.

If you disagree, next time you have failed miserably at something you think you should have succeeded at, think about holding a press conference and having to explain why you failed.

You may not come off so nice, either.
I think that this is a very intelligently composed post; however, since this is an analysis in response to Serena Williams and the recent "debacle" with the Justine Henin-Hardenne victory I just have a couple of things to point out.

TonyP said:
I can remember a couple of years ago, I think it was 2000, Amy Frasier beat Hingis at the San Diego tournament. She faced her again a week later at Manhattan Beach. The reporters were trying to get Amy to say she had a good chance against Martina because of that previous victory. Amy, who is actually a very honest person, pretty much admitted she'd been very lucky. She actually told a press conference she wasn't really on the same level as Hingis. Sure enough, Martina beat her fairly easily at Manhattan Beach.
With Serena and Justine, Justine wasn't just lucky she defeated Serena. Justine seriously has the game to defeat her as she's done a year ago. Furthermore, on clay Justine and Serena have had fairly close matches that do involve great tennis. Far better than the tennis that was played in FCC. Mary Frasier having defeated Hingis in 2000 is not even a close comparison to the clay matches between Serena and Justine. I just don't think it's fair for Serena to make it seem as if, if she had played her best Justine would not have won when that isn't the case at all.

TonyP said:
So in the end, how much "credit" should they give a lower ranking opponent who upsets them?
Justine is only 2 people behind Serena. When Serena says her game is about 9,000 notches below normal and that is the main reason why she lost, then how much credit is she giving Justine's game? She's basically given her none. In the press conference, Serena says Justine played and she played 9,000 notches below her game, when she says this she makes it seem as if Justine's well playing wouldn't even compare to her normal level. That doesn't even give Justine any sort of credit except that Justine took advantage of an off day in Serena's game.

TonyP said:
The truth is usually a combination of all three things. When Serena recently lost to Justine, to me it was clear that Justine was playing some of the best tennis we have seen from her and that Serena was NOT playing her best tennis.
Yes Serena was not playing her best tennis but Justine wasn't either. Take the 2003 Australian against Lindsay. Justine played a great match there. The level of tennis was incredible. And if Justine had played the way she played in the FCC final against Davenport in Australia, Justine would not have won. I feel that Justine have produced better tennis in previous matches, especially on clay.
 

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coming right out of a competition or match with all its tention and emmotion and with the adrenalin flowing. To say something toughtfull is much more difficult than to hit an ace. Good post TonyP :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the kind comments.

One last point. I most certainly wasn't trying to slam Justine who I like a lot. Nor was I implying she is not capable of playing even better tennis. I was only saying Serena was certainly capable of playing better tennis than she played that day and the stats prove it. No service aces, and she was able to fight off just 2 of 7 of the break points she faced.

I'm just saying don't expect any top player to come into a press conference and say "Well, I've finally met my match. So-and-so is defintely a better tennis player than I am. I think I'll retire now."

Plenty of players have said, "So-and-so was just better today." But you notice, the sentence includes the word "today." It does not mean, better tomorrow or better forever. Nor should it.

That doesn't mean that some players aren't, in fact, much better than others and in some ways the stats I cited about Martina above prove it. But don't expect many players to say what Amy Frazier said. It's not really in their nature as competitors to say such things.
 

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Great post, TonyP.

Too bad we aren't half as demanding of our own statements as we are of other players (or, players we don't like ;))
 

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Great post, TonyP. You've brought a nice perspective to this debate.

Thanks for the enlightenment. :wavey:
 
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