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Venus' health key factor
By Pam Shriver
Special to ESPN.com


The big story of the summer is Serena Williams is out following surgery. No defending champ. It's the first time since 1994 that an American woman wasn't the top seed. It's a big void that can be filled if everyone stays healthy and plays well, but that's the big question.


Pam's Picks

Shriver
Former WTA Tour pro Pam Shriver is providing ESPN.com with in-depth analysis throughout Wimbledon. Shriver, a tennis analyst for ESPN, was ranked as high as No. 3 in singles play. She won 21 singles and 112 doubles crowns, including 22 Grand Slam titles.

Lindsay Davenport, Venus Williams, Amelie Mauresmo, Jennifer Capriati and Chanda Rubin have all been injured this summer. It opens it up the draw for players who are playing well but flying under the radar screen such as Ai Sugiyama, Maggie Maleeva or Patty Schnyder. It will depend on who gets their game in shape and gets on a roll heading into Labor Day weekend.

This is the first time that Kim Clijsters has ever been the No. 1 seed in a major. But the pressure of trying to win her first major is much bigger than the pressure of being the No. 1 seed.

Countrywoman Justine Henin-Hardenne is seeded second. If you had told me 10 to 15 years ago that two Belgians would be No. 1 and 2 at the U.S. Open, I would have said get out of here -- it's unheard of. I've probably only met four professional Belgian tennis players in my life.

You've got seven Russians who are seeded in the top 32: Anastasia Myskina, Elena Dementieva, Vera Zvonareva, Elena Bovina, Nadia Petrova, Lina Krasnoroutskaya, Svetlana Kuznetsova. That's impressive, and it's the same amount as the United States. So 14 of the 32 seeds are from the United States or Russia.

But really it's the questions about the players' health that takes the certainty out of having a blockbuster last major. If it stays hot and people aren't match tough, they'll struggle even more.

Venus is the wild card. She hasn't played since Wimbledon. If she comes in healthy and looking good the first week, then she's the favorite even though she hasn't won a major in two years.

Davenport's toe problems crop up unexpectedly. Davenport and Venus are the only two who have won here before. If her toe withstands the pressure of seven matches in 14 days, she's got a good chance to take this thing.

Even Capriati has a shot. It'd be just like Capriati to do the unexpected again. She is the Sampras going into the U.S. Open this year. It's been 19 months since she has won a championship.

Otherwise, either one of the Belgians could win it. Clijsters has not had outstanding success at the U.S. Open. It's the only major where she hasn't been to at least the semifinals. She's got a pretty good draw, although American Laura Granville could cause some problems. But it's Kuznetsova in the third round who will be her first test and let us see how she's handling the pressure.

Without Serena, Davenport, Capriati, Henin-Hardenne, Clijsters, Venus or Mauresmo all have a chance to win. All of them have their issues they've been dealing with psychologically. Henin-Hardenne has perhaps the most confidence to win. But if Venus is healthy, she could come out of her Slam slump.

But really it's going to come down to survival of the fittest.
 

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Gosh, no, really? That Pam is sooooo smart at this predicting business. LOL. (I do admit there's not a whole lot of scope for clever darkhorse predictions on the WTA at the moment, but Pam always comes across like she's dropping a pearl of wisdom when she comes out with stuff like this. I suppose it's a skill really!)
 

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Interesting how she says Kim hasn't had much succes at the US Open but fails to mention she has had more than Henin ;)

Not having a go at Henin here just pointing out a fact
 

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kim&lleytonrule said:
Interesting how she says Kim hasn't had much succes at the US Open but fails to mention she has had more than Henin ;)

Not having a go at Henin here just pointing out a fact
The issues she talked about Kim is the pressure of being the number 1 seed and also having not won a major. Henin has not only won a major, but she beat Kim a few weeks ago.
Oh well, you know that anyway...
 

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DunkMachine said:
I think Kim is too soft to win a major. I think she doesn't have the proper drive to become a slam winner.
Too early to say that, but after Venus I am behind Kim
 

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DunkMachine said:
I think Kim is too soft to win a major. I think she doesn't have the proper drive to become a slam winner.
Well that is your opinion

The issues she talked about Kim is the pressure of being the number 1 seed and also having not won a major. Henin has not only won a major, but she beat Kim a few weeks ago.
I know all that I was just saying she points out Kim hasn't made the semis there, yet doesn't mention Henin has never made the QF. Adn according to everyone on this board Henin is the favourite over Kim and Venus (which I am not arguing with) but if that is the case shouldn't she have the pressure there to???
 

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Well, the article is good.
About Venus I ask myself the same: How will she come to the Open? I am sure she is the #1 favorite to win it, if she is healthy.

Clijsters and Henin Hardenne, are the #2 and #3 to win it.

Capriati (after what I saw on her in Pilot Pen) She can win it too.

Davenport and Mauresmo are next on the list, but Linds is out of gas in the semis and finals, and Amelie doesn´t seems to be fully recovered on her back, She was serving pretty bad at Toronto and Pilot Pen.

Underdogs:

#1 Elena Bovina. this girl is playing very good right now. I watched her playing Capriati tonight and impressed me her game, her volley specially.

#2 Elena Dementieva

#3 Nadia Petrova

#4 Paola Suarez

#5 Nadia Petrova
 

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OMG wow! If Venus isnt healthy it willo effect her game. I woul never have though :rolleyes:
 
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Well what do you guys expect her to say, that Amanda Coetzer is going to take the title in 3 long sets from Ai Sugiyama.......we all know who the players are, unlike mens tennis it won't be anyone outside the top 4-5 players taking this home.
 

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"It's the first time since 1994 that an American woman wasn't the top seed."

Am I missing something? Who was the top seed at the US Open in '97, '98, '99, 2000 and 2001? I thought the top seed all those years was a Swiss woman.
 

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I know Pam is a little jingoistic and usually only wants to talk about the American players, and I know Pam doesn't much seem to like Hingis, but that was one of the most inaccurate statements I have ever seen in tennis journalism.
 

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Pam seeing the light? well we know how two-faced she is, and sadly she isn't doing any commentating for the usopen. we will just have to read her espn.com bull. but during wimbledon she contraditcted herself so many times :rolleyes:

but a healthy venus yes is the favorite. on anyother surface but clay, she has only i belive 1 loss this year to someone besides Serena. that is meghann who isn't even in the top 10. she has beaten both justine and kim on hardcourts already this year, both in straight easy sets. if she faces these two healthy, she is clearly the winner to be. she has beaten lindsay the last time they played on a hardcourt, amelie the last time they played, jennifer, daniela. the entire top 10 seeds for the usopen, venus has 2 or more straight wins against them on hardcourts.

venus is the favorite. its her health that will determine how much of the favorite she is. funnie thing is, people aren't talking about her. so we have to wait and watch her demolish opponents :)
 

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I think what she was trying to say that this is the frist time since 1994 that an American women wasn't seeded one or two. If that is what she was trying to say, she's right.
 
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