Tag Archives: Amelie Mauresmo

“The Best” in Tennis – 2009 Review.

Of course this being December, everyone is taking a look back at the year that was. Here’s my brief look back at the best in tennis for 2009.

Player of the Year – Kim Clijsters.
Yes I know Roger Federer had an amazing year, again, but Kim Clijsters’s title run at the U.S. Open was the story of the year not only for her exceptional play but also that it highlighted, unfairly perhaps, the lack of depth in the women’s game right now. If Clijsters had not won the Open, I doubt Justine Henin would have returned as she too senses an opportunity for more glory. Clijsters’s win in New York was a “tour-changer” and its impact will be felt in 2010 regardless how well Clijsters does next year.

Best Men’s Match of the Year. – Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick – Wimbledon Men’s Final.
Ok so this wasn’t quite the epic that Federer vs. Nadal was last year, but it certainly had it’s share of drama especially the fifth set “serve-off” that Federer barely won thus eclipsing Roddick’s dream of a Wimbledon title. One wonders if Roddick still thinks about that missed backhand volley that could have given him a two set to love lead in the match, but the respect Roddick earned worldwide will certainly be with him next year. (I know some would say Nadal vs. Verdasco in the Australian Open Semis was “the” match, but I have to give the edge here just because it was for the Wimbledon title.)

Best Women’s Match of the Year – Serena Williams vs. Elena Dementieva – Wimbledon Semifinals.
What impressed me the most was the ball striking in this one as the ladies hit the ball harder than any men’s match I’ve ever seen. Dementieva was oh so close to taking out the top seed but Serena’s perseverance not only paid off by winning this match, and then the finals against sister Venus, but did a lot to cement Serena as the female player of the decade.

Comeback Players of the Year – Svetlana Kuznetsova and Nikolay Davydenko.
I know people are expecting Kim Clijsters here but let’s face it, “Sveta’s” win at the French Open was a bit unexpected as many had already written her off as a one Slam wonder. Her consistent play throughout the year indicated that Sveta was hungry for more glory and I expect her to do well in 2010. As for Davydenko, many had forgotten him at the beginning of the year and his substandard play during the Slams. But his late season run including wins at Shanghai and the Barclays ATP Finals proved he was always in the mix.

Rising Star of the Year – Juan Martin Del Potro.
With his total beatdown of Rafael Nadal in the semis of the U.S. Open and then his amazing five set win over Roger Federer in the finals, Del Potro emerged from the pack of contenders to become “the” contender for Roger’s crown in 2010. How he handles his newfound fame, considering his rather shy nature, remains to be seen but do not count Delpo for any title next year.

And finally a special thanks to those players who retired this year including Marat Safin, Amelie Mauresmo, Fabrice Santoro and Ai Sugiyama. All of them brought their own unique gifts, spins and personalities to a game that desperately needs more players like them. I wish them all the best in their new lives.

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Mauresmo Says “Adieu” to Tennis.

Mauresmo Says Goodbye (Fife/AFP/Getty)

Two time Grand Slam winner Amelie Mauresmo announced her retirement today at the age of 30. Citing a lack of interest in training for 2010, Mauresmo held back tears during her press conference as she announced the news.

“I don’t want to train anymore,” Mauresmo said. “I had to make a decision, which became evident in the last few months and weeks. When you grew older, it’s more difficult to stay at the top.”

“It’s a bit sad, but this is the right decision. I was lucky enough to have an exceptional career and to experience very strong feelings on the court.”

Mauresmo became the first French player, man or woman, to earn the No. 1 ranking which she held for 39 weeks in 2006. She won both Wimbledon and the Australian Open in that year along with Fed Cup for France in 2003, the WTA Tour championship in 2005 and the Olympic silver medal in Athens in 2004.

Mauresmo was one of a handful of all-court players left on the women’s tour and many felt that Mauresmo’s natural athletic game was hampered at times by a lack of belief. Her breakthrough Slam wins in 2006 at the age of 26 was inspiring to many as she achieved them in the later stages of her career. Mauresmo also endured her share of detractors and fans by being one of the few openly gay player on the tour.

“Amelie will go down in history as one of the best players of her generation and a terrific ambassador for women’s tennis,” WTA Tour chairman Stacey Allaster said. “Amelie is an extraordinary player, one of the nicest and friendliest personalities on Tour, and a true champion both in tennis and in life.”

Kim Clijsters also commented on the news saying, “Amélie was one of the most gifted players we had to play the sport. She had all the shots and it was only fitting she realized her dream and talent by winning Wimbledon. Away from the courts she was a super nice girl, always honest with a great sense of fun and humor. She is an icon in her home country of France and fans around the world loved her varied style of play. I will miss that and wish her all the best in life after tennis.”

When asked if there might be a chance she would return or if this was just a break from the game, Mauresmo said her decision was final adding “Even if I’ve learned to never say never. The players you are thinking about stopped earlier than me before coming back.”

What are your thoughts on Amelie saying goodbye?

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Mauresmo Retirement Update.

In a previous post located here, I talked about if Amelie Mauresmo would retire from the game this year. Tomorrow she is expected to announce her 2010 plans.

Even if this is the end of her playing days, hopefully she will do some kind of farewell tour. Stay tuned.

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WTA Crystal Ball for 2010.

Now that the WTA season is over and the ladies are resting up for Australia, I thought it was time to look ahead and give my predictions for 2010. 2009 was a drama filled year and I expect even more next year. Players will be “ranked” according to what I think their year-end ranking will be for 2010.

1. Serena Williams – Even with the return of Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, I don’t expect anyone to take over the top spot from Serena and expect her to win at least two Slams for 2010.

2. Caroline Wozniacki – “Sunshine” as she’s known on the tour will have another consistent year and will find herself in another Slam final. If she can win a big one remains to be seen but it will be hard to bet against her next year. Conditioning and her excessive match play may hurt her down the road.

3. Dinara Safina – A lot depends on Safina’s current back injury and her mental toughness for 2010. I can see her in a Slam final but she will have to dismiss whatever demons she has in order to make it back to the top spot.

4. Svetlana Kuznetsova – Despite her mental flaws, “Sveta” will always be a factor in 2010 and will probably make it to another Slam final. If she wins a Slam next year is entirely up to her. Watch out for her at the Australian Open as she finished 2010 in good shape healthwise.

5. Venus Williams – 2010 will be the last chance at glory for Venus as she turns 30 this year. Aside from Wimbledon, she’s not been a factor for a while at the other Slams and her knee could be a big issue. Plus the fact that no one tour is afraid of playing her could may next year very tough.

6-9. These slots will change depending on the names, i.e. Jelena Jankovic, Victoria Azarenka, Elena Dementieva, etc. They could breakthrough and win a Slam, but let’s face it, shouldn’t they have done so already?

10. Kim Clijsters – Everybody keeps salivating over Henin’s return but Clijsters, who played lights out tennis at the U.S. Open, will still go into every tournament with nothing to lose and thus no pressure. I expect Kimmie to be a factor in Australia and a heavy favorite at the U.S. Open again.

Wildcards – Justine Henin will be the story at the Australian Open win or lose. It will all depend on her draws and I actually think the clay court season is where she will find the most success. She has more to lose than Kim Clijsters in her comeback so a Slam victory in 2010 is paramount.

Sam Stosur – Stosur finally won a WTA event in ’09 and will probably break into the top 10 next year. She’s got the game to win a big one, maybe even Wimbledon, but does she believe she can win is the question.

Maria Sharapova – Sharapova is finally getting back on track after a rocky 2009. If her serve starts clicking again, she could be a factor but probably not until Wimbledon.

Ana Ivanovic – 2010 will define Ivanovic’s entire career. If she can get over her mental and physical fatigue, she could work her way back into the top ten again. If she can’t, I could see her retiring early. Hope I’m wrong.

Melanie Oudin – Next year will be the real test for the feisty American to prove the U.S. Open run was no fluke. I definitely see her in the top 20 before too long. Perhaps the French Open will be her next surprise Slam as she says she likes the clay?

Amelie Mauresmo – There’s been no word yet on Mauresmo’s potential retirement but even if she decides to stick it out, 2010 will probably be her last year. Maybe she will finally go for broke and play with nothing to lose? If so, we could be in for a real treat.

Let me know what you think!

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Is Mauresmo Retiring? Maybe.

Amelie Mauresmo, has ended her season as of today and is mulling retirement according to her website.

Mauresmo, currently ranked 20th, has not played or practiced since her second round loss to Aleksandra Wozniack in the U.S. Open.

I remember watching that match and thinking how blase Mauresmo looked throughout it. She did play well in New Haven the week before but since the U.S. Open she pulled out of all the Asian tournaments which is never a good sign.

And if you go on the WTA’s site and try to look up Mauresmo on their “featured players” area, she doesn’t show up. You have to type in her name to pull up her profile. Does the WTA know something we don’t?

Of course the word “retirement” as we all know can mean many things. But Amelie has always been one of those mercurial players that never quite lived up to her potential despite winning Wimbledon and Australia and being number one. If she were to retire, I can’t see her coming back ala Henin.

However I do think she should try and stick it out for one more year and see how it goes. Mauresmo’s style of play is refreshing in a sea of grunting two-handed backhands and would be missed.

Bon Chance Amelie!

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Pilot Pen Preview – One Week to Figure It Out

With the Pilot Pen event in New Haven being the last tune-up event before the U.S. Open, it’s important to note who is playing there and what they hope to gain.

Less is not always more
Svetlana Kuznetsova is the number one seed on the women’s side after she was given a last minute wildcard entry into the field. “Sveta” has not played much this summer, losing early in Cincinnati and Toronto and also had to pull out of L.A. due to injury. She’s hoping for a strong showing this week to prove she’s still in the mix for the Open next week.

Second in line to the “crown”
Flavia Pennetta and Sam Querrey are in New Haven this week hoping they can win the top post on the U.S. Open Olympus Series. Pennetta currently trails Elena Dementieva by seventy points, but could take it if she wins the whole event. Querrey, on the men’s side, only trails current leader Andy Murray by fifteen points and probably could take the spot just by getting to the semis alone. I actually think Querrey deserves to win just because he has played in every tournament this summer starting in Newport. The series should reward players more for playing frequently as opposed to just showing up for the Master events only.
Check out the complete standings here.

Remember me?
Two ladies looking for some last minute redemption are #2 seed Caroline Wozniacki and #8 seed Amelie Mauresmo. Wozniacki, long touted as the next likely Grand Slam winner, has failed to live up to expectations. Mauresmo, despite a nice win in Paris earlier this year, seems on the last legs of her career. A good showing this week would boost her confidence.

And James Blake? He’s not even playing in his “hometown” tournament as he is preferring to rest before the Open. Blake has had a disappointing year results wise and has faded from view a bit in the wake of Roddick’s resurgence and Querrey’s great summer. In fact the only real news from Blake this week was the launch of his new clothing line from Fila that will bear his father’s name.

Do you think Blake can ever return to the top ranks? Let me know in the comments.


For more about the event, click here.

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