While Justine Henin amped up her game in the third set to edge out Sam Stosur in the finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart today, many of the top players in the WTA prepared for opening round action at the Italian Open. With Henin not playing in Rome and Stosur a last minute withdrawal from the event, it gives the rest of the field a chance to find their games and perhaps a little confidence as the French Open looms. And yes, we will finally see Serena Williams appear on a tennis court after last watching her late January in Melbourne. But how she plays this week could have an impact far into the rest of the year. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Dinara Safina
A word of warning to WTA pros. When the tournament you play at asks you to do promo work before the event starts, think twice before saying yes. I mention this as Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka and defending champion Svetlana Kuznetsova who all took time out to pose on the Porsche race track prior to the start of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix all fell in early round matches. Meanwhile, Dinara Safina made a triumphant return while Justine Henin didn’t let a broke pinky derail her chances to win her first event after returning to the tour. Continue reading
The whereabouts and health of former world No. 1 Dinara Safina have finally been answered by the Russian star herself in a new blog post on her recently updated official website. According to Safina, she is recovering and rehabing in Croatia and slowly on her way back to the practice courts. Someone who has received a degree from one of the sports medicine schools should be able to help her get back to the practice courts even sooner.
Safina goes into specific detail about her injury which has prevented her from playing since her retirement in her fourth round match to Maria Kirilenko at this year’s Australian Open. She writes, “My injury from Australia was pretty bad and takes so long to heal. The problem is that I had it since Cincinnati last year, Continue reading
Each Grand Slam has its own style and flavor and although this year’s AO lacked the drama of the ’09 U.S. Open, its best moments could be summed up in the well-worn phrase “mind over body.” I say that because a lot of the matches came down to how well players dealt with personal injuries through mental focus. And even if a player wasn’t ailing, some will wish they had had a checkup with a local shrink before stepping onto the Melbourne grounds.
With the holidays in full swing, it’s time to send out my wish list for what I like to see changed or improved for both the WTA and ATP tours in 2010.
Don’t Believe the Hype.
At the beginning of the year, way, way too much hype and expectation was heaped upon the shoulders of both Andy Murray, because of his U.S. Open Finalist run, and Dinara Safina because she somehow found herself at No. 1 by just being consistent in 2008. Murray responded to the buzz by having a decent year, but nothing to suggest he could challenge for No. 1. Safina meanwhile started her “misery tour” losing badly to Serena in Australia, choking her way through the French Open final and then collapsing in the third round in New York.
I’m not blaming either player for being unable to live up to the hype, but my wish for next year is that both tours and the media learn that overhyping new players in the hopes it will translate into actual results doesn’t work.
Speed Up The Challenge System.
The challenge system has helped the game a great deal. But what hurts the game is how players abuse the system. The following scenario occurs at least once a match. A call is made, a player, instead of immediately challenging the call, will ask the umpire, “What do you think?” The umpire might stand by the call or say it’s worth a look. Then the player will think some more and then finally challenge.
Players should have five seconds to challenge or cede the point. That’s it. Allowing players to get into conversations with the umpire or going up to have a look at the “mark” (especially on a hard court) is a waste of everybody’s time.
“Private Life, Drama Baby Keep Me Out” – The Pretenders
Usually the end of the season is normally a quiet time. That wasn’t the case this year which started with the Serena Williams meltdown, Andre Agassi’s meth use admission, the Stockholm Open sex scandal, and the doping ban (now lifted) of Belgian players Yanina Wickmayer and Xavier Malisse. Add in that we’re still waiting to hear if Richard Gasquet will suffer anymore fines or bans due to his “cocaine kiss” and we can all agree that we hope 2010 keeps the focus on-court and not off-court.
Player Wish List.
And now a few wishes for individual players:
Dinara Safina: Wishing you a speedy recovery and hope that you focus more on winning a Slam this year than trying to be No.1 again.
Jelena Jankovic/Elena Dementieva: Figure out a way to finally win a Slam soon or else you both run the risk of being the biggest “bridemaids” of your generation.
Venus Williams: My wish is that you stay healthy. You are one of the best ambassadors for the game and we’d love to see you make another Grand Slam run.
Sam Querrey/John Isner/James Blake: My wish is that one of you make some kind of breatkthrough this year at a Grand Slam. And no, not make it to the quarters. I mean taking out Federer or Nadal en route to the semifinals or better. It’s the only way you will make it to the elite and, more important for U.S. Tennis fans, onto their radar screens.
Andy Roddick. My wish is probably the same one Andy has – another Grand Slam trophy under his Xmas tree.