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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was going to analyse loads of players, but I don't really have the time. Here's two of those who have been great interest to me. Maybe other people could look at some others and I might write more later.

Remember, we all have our achilles' heels.


Steffi Graf

Graf's strength was her over all resilience; her ability to loosen up when facing defeat to time and time and again emerge victorious. To be motivated to come through a list of injuries longer than even Serena has contended with, Graf had an incredible ability to block out distractions in her life. Within lay a steely determination, born of a deeply embedded love of the sport. I would summarise Steffi's key strength on a professional level as her ability to view her career and her personal life as part of the same objective: playing championship-winning tennis. Thus, I always had the impression that Steffi never had problems with distractions because tennis was at the forefront of her mind in everything she did. There was no question of separate spheres. She probably had the uncanny ability to relax and enjoy her off-court life in spite of always having her mind's eye on her tennis. It must have been that way, else she'd have burnt out.

Graf's only minor weakness was, I believe, her tendency to perfectionism. She had to be the best. When Seles began to challege Graf in 1990, I don't believe it was any coincidence that she then started losing to Sabatini, Navratilova, or love and two to Sanchez-Vicario. It's comparable with how Federer has started losing to Djokovic and Murray regularly as Nadal's challenge has grown. He's lost his match compass and kinks have appeared in his game as his confidence has dropped.

When Seles first defeated Graf, in Berlin 1990, Graf was coming off a 66-match winning streak, the 2nd highest in history. She had not lost a match in almost a year. So the argument that her slump coincided with Seles' ascendancy is not true. Her slump was, I believe, largely if not solely because of Seles. Of course, as soon as Seles was forced out of the game, we saw how Steffi's hegemony resumed immediately.

Monica Seles

When Monica Seles was in her prime, I think a lot of people would agree that on the court she was probably the most indestructible competitor there has been in open era tennis. She had a fearlessness, twinned with ruthlessness, which was a level above all others. When the going got tough, most players tighten, or shrink, or think about percentages. Monica Seles seemed to just stiffen her jaw, fix her eyes, and refuse to lose. It was her boldness which captured fans' hearts. I've never seen a player aim - yes, aim - for the lines, or hit return winners from deep first serves, in tough situations since. These qualities were combined with a strategic brain which other great fighters (like Sharapova, for example) have never honed. She was a paradox of passivity and indefatigable determination. Never dismayed when opponents hit great shots, Monica simply thought harder about her own game.

Seles' weakness was her distractibility. Unlike Graf, Seles, particularly post-stabbing, seemed to see her time off as a separate part of her life, and when her lack of off-court discipline was causing her performance to decline, she was unable to make the link. Even 30lbs overweight, Seles still gave it her all on the court (and when you think about it, who else could be that much over their optimum weight and still compete to 75% of their ability?) but because she could not arrange her life around her tennis, her career never really looked up once it began to drop.
 

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So the argument that her slump coincided with Seles' ascendancy is not true. Her slump was, I believe, largely if not solely because of Seles. Of course, as soon as Seles was forced out of the game, we saw how Steffi's hegemony resumed immediately.
That's exactly how I see it. Perfectly phrased.

Another excellent thread, btw.
 

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Not as eloquent or detailed as SG's analysis, but here's my take on Hingis and Henin.


Hingis

A mixed bag when it comes to resilience. She demonstrated incredible resilience by bouncing back from the public shaming at RG and the capitulation at Wimbledon to have a great summer in 99. But she also demonstrated an inclination to quit when the going got tough. Her greatest strength is of course, her ability to treat tennis as a game and take defeat in its stride. This was how she was able to bounce back from embarrassing losses time and again. Of course, some might argue that this was what caused her to leave the game prematurely.

Her greatest weakness was probably in her stubbornness in persisting in her textbook approach to the game. Hingis hated hitting low percentage shots, even when sometimes that meant a better percentage in winning the point.


Henin

Fighting spirit aside, her greatest strength was perhaps her insecurities. For a player as talented as she is, Henin demonstrated many doubts about her own abilities. Much of her hard work stemmed from a desire to remove these doubts and it paid off for the most part. But the doubts never went away.

Her weakness was also her strength. How many times did she have to play Eastbourne to prove to herself her ability on grass, at the detriment of her second week performances at Wimbledon? (Answer: Two times too many.) Also, an occasional stubborness to change strategy mid-game. She preferred to hit her forehand into form when it went off, and sometimes ended up hitting herself out of the match.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I agree that Henin definitely came across as deeply insecure, but tough as old boots. It's a rather bizarre analogy, but I see the same in Madonna. The link? Both lost their mothers at an early age and tended to work themselves to death.
 

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I was going to analyse loads of players, but I don't really have the time. Here's two of those who have been great interest to me. Maybe other people could look at some others and I might write more later.

Remember, we all have our achilles' heels.


Steffi Graf

Graf's strength was her over all resilience; her ability to loosen up when facing defeat to time and time and again emerge victorious. To be motivated to come through a list of injuries longer than even Serena has contended with, Graf had an incredible ability to block out distractions in her life. Within lay a steely determination, born of a deeply embedded love of the sport. I would summarise Steffi's key strength on a professional level as her ability to view her career and her personal life as part of the same objective: playing championship-winning tennis. Thus, I always had the impression that Steffi never had problems with distractions because tennis was at the forefront of her mind in everything she did. There was no question of separate spheres. She probably had the uncanny ability to relax and enjoy her off-court life in spite of always having her mind's eye on her tennis. It must have been that way, else she'd have burnt out.

Graf's only minor weakness was, I believe, her tendency to perfectionism. She had to be the best. When Seles began to challege Graf in 1990, I don't believe it was any coincidence that she then started losing to Sabatini, Navratilova, or love and two to Sanchez-Vicario. It's comparable with how Federer has started losing to Djokovic and Murray regularly as Nadal's challenge has grown. He's lost his match compass and kinks have appeared in his game as his confidence has dropped.

When Seles first defeated Graf, in Berlin 1990, Graf was coming off a 66-match winning streak, the 2nd highest in history. She had not lost a match in almost a year. So the argument that her slump coincided with Seles' ascendancy is not true. Her slump was, I believe, largely if not solely because of Seles. Of course, as soon as Seles was forced out of the game, we saw how Steffi's hegemony resumed immediately.

Monica Seles

When Monica Seles was in her prime, I think a lot of people would agree that on the court she was probably the most indestructible competitor there has been in open era tennis. She had a fearlessness, twinned with ruthlessness, which was a level above all others. When the going got tough, most players tighten, or shrink, or think about percentages. Monica Seles seemed to just stiffen her jaw, fix her eyes, and refuse to lose. It was her boldness which captured fans' hearts. I've never seen a player aim - yes, aim - for the lines, or hit return winners from deep first serves, in tough situations since. These qualities were combined with a strategic brain which other great fighters (like Sharapova, for example) have never honed. She was a paradox of passivity and indefatigable determination. Never dismayed when opponents hit great shots, Monica simply thought harder about her own game.

Seles' weakness was her distractibility. Unlike Graf, Seles, particularly post-stabbing, seemed to see her time off as a separate part of her life, and when her lack of off-court discipline was causing her performance to decline, she was unable to make the link. Even 30lbs overweight, Seles still gave it her all on the court (and when you think about it, who else could be that much over their optimum weight and still compete to 75% of their ability?) but because she could not arrange her life around her tennis, her career never really looked up once it began to drop.
Talking about Myths see Sabatini taking out Graf from Usopen 1990, YEC 1990, Tokio PP 1991, VS FLorida 1991, Miami 1991, Amelia Island 1991. See Graf taking both matches against Seles in 1991. Ops i think we know who made Steffi suffer. And her name does not starts with M. :tape:
:p
 

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Agnieszka Radwanska

Mental Strength: Isia's most apparent mental strength to me, is using her mind on court. It's apparent in both her demeanor and play that her mind in constantly in action on court. She has allowed this to become such a part of her game that it is not a mental burden as it may be for other players. Going along with this, her determination on defense is quite astounding. Her tenacity when defending is a combination of physically not giving up and mentally staying focused and calm.

On a different note, Isia has come from behind many times throughout her career. One of the most notable matches that comes to my mind is her match against Kuznetsova in Wimbledon 2008. She was nearly finished in that last set, but played an incredible 5 games in a row to win the match and reach her first Wimbledon QF.

Mental Weakness: As has been discussed much in her forum, Isia has a tendency to loosen up in second sets after easily winning a first set. This unfortunately happens all too often. Although she may "snap out of it" and later reclaim the set or match, she puts herself in unnecessary trouble by failing to mobilize.
 

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Her tendency to fall apart in exhibitions against blondes from Russia is well-documented and will forever tarnish her otherwise outstanding record.
 

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For Sharapova, I think she is incredibly mentally strong overall. She fights hard every point and can easily fight off breakpoints, setpoints and matchpoints. She also handles pressure and rowdy crowds well.

However, she is easily distracted and can let leads slip. She plays better fighting off matchpoints than converting her own matchpoints. She can lose confidence in her serve easily as well.
 

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For Sharapova, I think she is incredibly mentally strong overall. She fights hard every point and can easily fight off breakpoints, setpoints and matchpoints. She also handles pressure and rowdy crowds well.

However, she is easily distracted and can let leads slip. She plays better fighting off matchpoints than converting her own matchpoints. She can lose confidence in her serve easily as well.
She is a better fighter than closer, but she's not too shabby at closing either. She might make it closer than it should be, but she usually ends up winning if she builds a lead. I would like for her to do that against Serena, but that's about the only player she has major trouble closing out, in my opinion.

To me, Sharapova's real weakness is either stubbornness or stupidity, but whatever the cause, the effect is that she sticks to her A game come hell or high water and loses matches she might have won had she been willing to try something else. It isn't that she doesn't have the shots either. When she is up 6-2; 5-1, she can hit drop shots, angles and lops quite effectively. You just don't see them at 6-7; 7-5; 2-4.
 

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She is a better fighter than closer, but she's not too shabby at closing either. She might make it closer than it should be, but she usually ends up winning if she builds a lead. I would like for her to do that against Serena, but that's about the only player she has major trouble closing out, in my opinion.

To me, Sharapova's real weakness is either stubbornness or stupidity, but whatever the cause, the effect is that she sticks to her A game come hell or high water and loses matches she might have won had she been willing to try something else. It isn't that she doesn't have the shots either. When she is up 6-2; 5-1, she can hit drop shots, angles and lops quite effectively. You just don't see them at 6-7; 7-5; 2-4.
She has saved quite a few matchpoints with dropshots actually. USO semi versus Kim and the RG R16 versus Dinara last year for example.
 

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She is a better fighter than closer, but she's not too shabby at closing either. She might make it closer than it should be, but she usually ends up winning if she builds a lead. I would like for her to do that against Serena, but that's about the only player she has major trouble closing out, in my opinion.
What player CAN consistently close out Serena? That is a tough task and one of the reasons Serena is poised in the legacy that she is in. I don't think you can fault anyone for not being able to close out Serena Williams consistently. Besides, the only match she really has had a chance in during her plight against Serena is the '05 SF. '07 F, '07 Miami, '08 Charleston have never been in doubt. Yeah, Sharapova could have took that first set since she was up first all throughout. Going with that tangent Serena was up primarily in the second and Sharapova won that one. Pretty much broke even and in the third Serena just ran away with it. She hasn't really been ever the likely winner on court in four years.
 
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