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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Without a Williams, No. 1 Clijsters has best shot at first major

By HOWARD FENDRICH
.c The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - The sounds bounced loudly off the thousands of empty blue seats as workers armed with drills and hammers put the finishing touches on Arthur Ashe Stadium, 24 hours before the start of the U.S. Open.

On the court below, Kim Clijsters wasn't fazed a bit.

The No. 1-ranked player in women's tennis swapped sizzling practice strokes with Jelena Dokic, smacking one on-the-mark shot after another. Clijsters found time to smile, too, breaking the monotony by kicking a ball at the end of an exchange or spinning around to try to hit a shot with her back to the net.

Clijsters never does seem to get rattled - until the latter stages of a major tournament, that is. Now, with nary a Williams around, the Belgian has a perfect opportunity to add a Grand Slam title to her otherwise sterling resume.

``Especially now with Venus and Serena pulling out, I think a lot of players are definitely believing more in their chances, are even extra motivated,'' Clijsters said.

Replacing Serena Williams at No. 1, Clijsters added Sunday, ``has definitely drawn more attention to me. But personally, those things are not going to change the way I prepare, the way I feel, the way I look toward my tennis matches.''

Serena and Venus Williams, who split the past four Open championships, are out with injuries. So is 1991-92 winner Monica Seles. And several other potential contenders are here but hurting, including 1998 Open champion Lindsay Davenport and Amelie Mauresmo, a semifinalist last year.

Along with Clijsters, the two strongest candidates for a first U.S. Open victory are probably No. 2-seeded Justine Henin-Hardenne and No. 6 Jennifer Capriati.

Capriati won a hard-court tuneup tournament Saturday in New Haven, Conn., for her first title since January 2002. But Capriati's opponents in the semifinal (Mauresmo) and final (Davenport) quit with ailments.

``It's very tough. The season is very long,'' French Open champion Henin-Hardenne said. ``Everybody's getting tired a little bit right now. Injuries can come.''

Clijsters was dogged by right shoulder problems last season, but she's remained remarkably healthy in 2003, playing more than twice as many events as either Williams sister and reaching the semifinals at 14 of 15 tournaments.

``If you have good preparation, I don't think you should be getting injured,'' said Svetlana Kuznetsova, who's seeded 27th in singles and plays doubles with Martina Navratilova. ``For example, Kim surprises me. She plays so many matches, and she's OK.''

She's never won a major, but Clijsters does take a 68-10 record and six titles (tied with Henin-Hardenne for the tour lead) into her opening match Monday night against Amber Liu, who won the 2003 NCAA singles championship for Stanford.

Clijsters' boyfriend, former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, will follow her into Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday and face Victor Hanescu. Hewitt (the 2001 champion) and Andre Agassi (1994, 1999) are the only men entered who have won the U.S. Open.

No. 1 Agassi and No. 4 Andy Roddick have Monday off, while those scheduled to play include Davenport, Mauresmo and French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero.

A lot of attention, though, will be focused on someone without a racket: Pete Sampras. He hasn't played a match since beating Agassi in last year's final at the National Tennis Center and is formally announcing his retirement Monday evening.

``It's not a big shock for all of us, because he hasn't been playing,'' said No. 2 Roger Federer, trying to become the first man to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in the same year since Sampras in 1995. ``Still, it's a pity that he's leaving.''

No one dominates men's tennis now the way Sampras did when he was finishing No. 1 in the rankings a record six straight years in the 1990s.

Each of the past seven majors has been won by a different man, the second-longest streak in the Open era. More strikingly, this could be the third straight year that the eight finalist spots at Grand Slams were filled by eight men.

Now the women will see what it's like at a wide open tournament after five all-Williams finals at the past six Grand Slams.

``Women's tennis is not only about Venus and Serena,'' said Henin-Hardenne, never past the fourth round at Flushing Meadows. ``You have other players behind them. It's very important to accept that.''

Still, as 52nd-ranked Ashley Harkleroad said about Team Williams: ``I don't know if anybody will be able to create a buzz like they create. I'm sure it's going to be missed a lot.''

08/24/03 17:36 EDT

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press.


It is obvious to anyone with average intelligence that tennis is more than Venus and Serena. But I find it interesting that Justine considers herself (and the other players) behind Venus and Serena, especially Venus since she is ranked lower than Justine at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
janie said:
Thanks for the article, lizchris. :)

Justine is a realist. She knows her accomplishments so far do not approach either Venus' or Serena's, no matter what the current rankings show.
You're welcome Janie and you are right. I know I am going to catch hell from Justine fans, but you would think that she would be able to keep her mouth shut about the sisters when they are injured and can't play, but she just can't seem to do that (even Jennifer hasn't said anything that can be considered negative about the sisters since Venus withdrew on Friday).
 

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Either the media is trying to portray Justine has arrogant, or she really is getting over-confident after a grand slam win.

Didn't Jen Capriati start talking smack after she won a grandslam?

Good luck Kim
 

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gweeny said:
Either the media is trying to portray Justine has arrogant, or she really is getting over-confident after a grand slam win.

Didn't Jen Capriati start talking smack after she won a grandslam?

Good luck Kim
what?!?!?!
how is saying that there is more to tennis than just Venus and Serena arrogant?!?! I mean look at the response to Venus's pulling out of the US Open. Someone people said that they won't watch or that they'll boycott or that there is no reason to watch because they aren't going to be playing in the Open.

And Justine even says that her level of tennis is behind Serena and Venus. She knows where her place is and she knows what she needs to do, I don't understand how people can interpret that as arrogance
 

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I really don't get how Justine's comment can be construed as negative toward Venus or Serena. All she said is that there are others in the game as well; probably in response to a question about whether the US Open will be interesting without the Williams sisters. But I guess people see what they are looking for, whether it's there or not.

I like Justine! And I like Serena. I like Venus. So I have trouble understanding why every statement issued by any one of them is regarded on this board as fraught with hostility toward the other "side".
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
gweeny said:
Either the media is trying to portray Justine has arrogant, or she really is getting over-confident after a grand slam win.

Didn't Jen Capriati start talking smack after she won a grandslam?

Good luck Kim
After Jennifer won her first Grand Slam, this is what she said about facing Venus in the final of the Ericsson (now Nasdaq-100) Open:

Venus isn't the queen of tennis; she's beatable, you know
She lost to Venus in the championship and has yet to beat her.

She also has made nasty comments about Serena, Monica and Lindsay and has losing records against all of them since she won her first major.

Justine may find herself in the same boat if she doesn't learn how to use finess when talking to the press.
 

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lizchris said:
After Jennifer won her first Grand Slam, this is what she said about facing Venus in the final of the Ericsson (now Nasdaq-100) Open:

Venus isn't the queen of tennis; she's beatable, you know
She lost to Venus in the championship and has yet to beat her.

She also has made nasty comments about Serena, Monica and Lindsay and has losing records against all of them since she won her first major.

Justine may find herself in the same boat if she doesn't learn how to use finess when talking to the press.
Oh big deal :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I liked Justine until this year semifnal at the French Open. It didn't bother me that she beat Serena becasue Serena was up 4-2, 30-0 and all she had to do was to get two additonal points and she would have been up 5-2, but when she made that hand gesture and didn't inform the umpire and then her coach said that if she were playing anybody else other than Serena, she would have alerted the umpire that she raised her hand, it confirmed what I believed and that she resorted to cheating to win the title. After Wimbeldon, I really have no use for her.
 
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lizchris said:
After Jennifer won her first Grand Slam, this is what she said about facing Venus in the final of the Ericsson (now Nasdaq-100) Open:

Venus isn't the queen of tennis; she's beatable, you know
She lost to Venus in the championship and has yet to beat her.

She also has made nasty comments about Serena, Monica and Lindsay and has losing records against all of them since she won her first major.

Justine may find herself in the same boat if she doesn't learn how to use finess when talking to the press.

It seems like once these girls win a grand slam or a couple of grandslams, they feel more confident to compare there status to Venus and Serena. (And say anything, even if it might be construed as arrogant) I would be surprised if Venus or Serena said something to denigrate the likes of Monica, Steffi, Martina N. (Since, I don't believe they have accomplished as much as them)

I hope Kim still retains her respectful ways if she wins the US open, or another slam
 

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Still, as 52nd-ranked Ashley Harkleroad said about Team Williams: ``I don't know if anybody will be able to create a buzz like they create. I'm sure it's going to be missed a lot.''

lol @ Ashley :D

I thought she was going to say "they" were going to be missed, but apparently it's just their "buzz."
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
gweeny said:
It seems like once these girls win a grand slam or a couple of grandslams, they feel more confident to compare there status to Venus and Serena. (And say anything, even if it might be construed as arrogant) I would be surprised if Venus or Serena said something to denigrate the likes of Monica, Steffi, Martina N. (Since, I don't believe they have accomplished as much as them)

I hope Kim still retains her respectful ways if she wins the US open, or another slam
When Oprah had them on her show the day before Thanksgiving last year, she noted that regardless of what people said about them, they have neber uttered a negative word about any other tennis player, which is almost true. The closest thing I can remember either one of them saying something negative about a player is when Martina said something about the Williams family having big mouths and Serena said something to the effect that if Martina had a formal education, she would know how to deal with people.
 

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lizchris said:
I liked Justine until this year semifnal at the French Open. It didn't bother me that she beat Serena becasue Serena was up 4-2, 30-0 and all she had to do was to get two additonal points and she would have been up 5-2, but when she made that hand gesture and didn't inform the umpire and then her coach said that if she were playing anybody else other than Serena, she would have alerted the umpire that she raised her hand, it confirmed what I believed and that she resorted to cheating to win the title. After Wimbeldon, I really have no use for her.
That comment from her coach disturbed me too. Your post is why I dislike Justine now. That's why Serena's ass kicking to Justine at Wimby was swaeet. :)
 

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Oh, the thing she said was the truth. Americans who say that they are not interested any more about the US Open are arrogant. Justine isn't ...

In a TV interview for the VRT news (Flemish national station) Justine said: "It's bad for the tournament & the players that Venus and Serena will not play, because they are the best players in the world & the level of play will be lower. But the winner of this Open will not be less strong because the Williams sister are not here, she will deserve it."

She says the truth and if you don't like it ... :tape: She's certainly not a hypocrite.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Nemesis said:
Oh, the thing she said was the truth. Americans who say that they are not interested any more about the US Open are arrogant. Justine isn't ...

In a TV interview for the VRT news (Flemish national station) Justine said: "It's bad for the tournament & the players that Venus and Serena will not play, because they are the best players in the world & the level of play will be lower. But the winner of this Open will not be less strong because the Williams sister are not here, she will deserve it."

She says the truth and if you don't like it ... :tape: She's certainly not a hypocrite.
Again, anyone with average intelligence knows that whoever wins the USO on the women's side will deserve it, but she kind of contradicted herself by saying that Venus and Serena are the best players in the world and the level of play will be lower. If Kim is the nubmer one player and she is the number three player, isn't the level of the remaining players already high?
 
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