Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Australian Open - The WTA

by Savannah

This is the new spin from Jelena Jankovic. Guess she's now saying it wasn't the flu.

"
I struggled to get into the match, I felt very slow and I didn't get my rhythm but it is the first match of the season so I cannot expect myself to play the best tennis of my life, so I look forward to playing as many matches as possible and trying to get in form because I haven't played a match in two months," said Jankovic.

"I just came off training and it's so difficult to get back to the playing and finding the rhythm and consistency."

"I have also got a little bit bigger, I have more kilos than I used to have so it is a little bit different and I am not used to that at the moment, so it will take time for me to get used to my new body, the stronger Jelena.


This from "Volcana" on Tennis Forum

It seven weeks since the end of the YEC. She could have put on quite a bit of weight in that amount of time, but not that much muscle. Not without steroids anyway. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. I think, at OZ, we'll see a slower Jankovic, but not one that hits appreciably harder. It's not like she was overweight or something. Muscle is harder to build than fat is to lose.


As Wayne posted it's time to be over Jelena. This is the woman ranked Number One for the WTA, it's representative to the world of tennis from juniors to seniors and the non tennis world. Either no one believed the flu caused her beat down by Venus Williams in Hong Kong or she spins so many tales she has trouble keeping track of what she says. I saw pics of Jelena taken during a practice session when she was in Mexico. She is significantly bigger. Volcana makes a good point. I guess while she recovers from the flu she wants to prepare tennis fans for her new physique.

Now that Maria Sharapova is officially out of Australia some are daring to say what was said here months ago about rotator cuff injuries. Of course they're using variations of the same theme - it's worse than her people want to let on - but I don't understand why it's just now hitting them now that she's officially withdrawn.

It's just that I've been following tennis a long time. I remember when
Venus Williams suffered her abdominal tear and tennis "experts" were hinting that it couldn't be that bad and that maybe, just maybe, Venus was faking it. When Maria first said that she had a "small" rotator cuff tear I called bullshit and said that they were either lying about the tear or that something else was going on. Now Sharapova is saying that after all the non surgical attempts to heal her shoulder she had surgery in October. Not back in March when this problem was first announced, but October.
Recovery from rotator cuff surgery doesn't happen in a few weeks. I read somewhere it can be up to eighteen months. I find it amazing that no one questioned the time line on this, that no one is saying that since this type of injury is a known factor in sports medicine and that very few if any athletes go the non surgical route towards repair of the injury that something is rotten in Denmark.
Maybe she really thought she could defy the odds. Maybe she had the surgery back in March after all and is now realizing she won't be able to speed up her recovery time. I don't know. I do know that Maria got what I call a fair seeding here last year. Just sayin'.

In another controversy involving the WTA Alize Cornet has everyone's panties in a bunch over a revealing outfit she wore during a doubles match at the Hopman Cup.
This pretty much sums up what is going to be done to avoid "titty-gate" in Melbourne.

AUSTRALIAN Open referees will double as fashion police to stamp out skimpy outfits at the Melbourne event.

Open officials have threatened fines of up to $2000 for any player caught flouting its strict dress code after French player Alize Cornet caused a stir at the Hopman Cup last week.

The teenager wore a short skirt and revealing, see-through top during a doubles match at the tournament in Perth.

One of game's great players, Margaret Court, condemned her attire last night, saying it pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable.

And Open officials said they would review the rising star's outfits ahead of the tournament from January 19 to February 1.
(...)
Court, Australia's greatest female player, said the revealing outfits of today's female players made them "look like they should be on the beach".

"I just don't think the tennis court is the place to be everything clingy and showing everything," she said.

Court, a three-time Wimbledon champion and winner of 62 Grand Slam events, said fashion had gone overboard.

"Women don't need to expose themselves so much," she said.

"You're good at something, you do it well, you can look so nice without needing to reveal everything.

"If they think everybody's looking at their body and they've got see-through and no bra (outfits), it would have to affect your game."


The rest of the article is HERE
This is the only picture I could find.


Okay. Now that all the drama is out of the way let's talk about who's hot and who's not going into Oz now that Maria won't be there to defend her title.

The WTA Top 30

(1)
JANKOVIC, JELENA SRB
(2)
WILLIAMS, SERENA USA
(3)
SAFINA, DINARA RUS
(4)
DEMENTIEVA, ELENA RUS
(5)
IVANOVIC, ANA SRB
(6)
WILLIAMS, VENUS USA
(7)
ZVONAREVA, VERA RUS
(8)
KUZNETSOVA, SVETLANA RUS
(9)
MARIA SHARAPOVA
(10)
RADWANSKA, AGNIESZKA POL
(11)
PETROVA, NADIA RUS
(12)
WOZNIACKI, CAROLINE DEN
(13)
PENNETTA, FLAVIA ITA
(16)
AZARENKA, VICTORIA BLR
(14)
SCHNYDER, PATTY SUI
(15)
CORNET, ALIZE FRA
17)
BARTOLI, MARION FRA
(18)
CHAKVETADZE, ANNA RUS
(19)
CIBULKOVA, DOMINIKA SVK
(20)
SREBOTNIK, KATARINA SLO
(21)
HANTUCHOVA, DANIELA SVK
(22)
MAURESMO, AMELIE FRA
(23)
MEDINA GARRIGUES, ANABEL ESP
(24)
ZHENG, JIE CHN
(25)
SZAVAY, AGNES HUN
(26)
BAMMER, SYBILLE AUT
(27)
KANEPI, KAIA EST
(28)
LI, NA CHN
(29)
SUGIYAMA, AI JPN
(30)
KIRILENKO, MARIA RUS

Why list the top thirty as opposed to the top ten or twenty? Is the field that deep or is it that weak? That's going to be the argument about the WTA for the rest of the year.

Who is hot coming in?
Elena Dementieva
Victoria Azarenka
Dominika Cibulkova

The above three women have impressed during the warm up tournaments they've participated in. The most surprising is Dominika Cibulkova who beat Dinara Safina at the Hopman Cup like she stole something.
Victoria Azarenka fought tooth and nail to win her first WTA title. If she gets a favorable draw she could end up in the second week and give the Big Girls fits.
The most impressive of the bunch was Elena Dementieva. She had a great 2008 and is not resting on her laurels. She has continued to work on her serve and since the rest of her game was always good she's going to be a force to deal with in Melbourne.

Who is not?
Dinara Safina
Daniela Hantuchova
Ana Ivanovic

Dinara Safina was not impressive at all during Hopman Cup. Maybe it was the pressure of playing with her big brother who as usual brought the drama, I don't know. She can play better than she did there. I wouldn't count her out but she's going to have to play much better

Daniela Hantuchova seems to be sinking slowing through the rankings. She needs to control the court in order to play well and that doesn't seem to be happening. She's just not competitive in matches she should be.

Ana Ivanovic has started 2009 where she left off in 2008. It all came together for her at Roland Garros but after that it was "meh" the rest of the year. Maybe I'm judging her too harshly because of how she lost to Amelie Mauresmo who does own her but I don't think so. She'll need a very nice draw to make it to the second week. If she makes it we'll see which Ana came to Melbourne.

The Perennials
Who could I be talking about? Oh yes, those sisters. Venus Williams and Serena Williams of course. Will they meet in the Final? Can anyone stop them? Venus never plays well in Melbourne. Serena won it all a couple of years ago. They've been written off, ignored, chastised by former greats and ridiculed for their life style choices away from tennis yet no one can count them out at any Grand Slam.
I'm not predicting them to have to face each other in the Final. I think Venus will play better than she has in the past here. Serena will be focused. Will the draw have them potentially face each other in the quarters as has been standard of late? Maybe not. I don't see anyone having a true "cupcake" draw here. I think one of them will be in the Final. I'll leave it at that.

Who will win?
I think the road to the final will be through Elena Dementieva. Vera Zvonareva is hungry but will she hold it together for six matches? Will Dinara shake off the cobwebs and make a run here? Can Cibulkova overcome the physical challenge she faces? What about Zheng Jie? Will she get hot like she did at Wimbledon? And the World Number One? Assuming she gets used to her new physique and gets a favorable draw she could be a factor up to the quarter finals. Marion Bartoli has not played poorly. It's just a crap shoot with her. Victoria Azarenka wants a Slam badly. One may be in her future. Australia is a flukey Slam. One never knows. But no one will be overlooking her here. Where she falls in the draw will be very interesting.

I still think that If it's not a Williams hoisting the trophy it'll be Elena Dementieva.

2 comments:

cate said...

I read on a forum re: Cornet -- "There's nothing to see anyway".

XD

TopSpin said...

With Sharapova pulling out and Jelena making all the wrong types of sounds, the task of waging a credible Grand Slam campaign looks like its going to fall on the shoulder of 'those sisters' again.

I'm quite excited about Venus who in a break with her more usual reserve has said how she thinks the #1 ranking is a realistic goal and how keen she is to try and gain this Slam that has eluded her.

I'll also be following Safina and Dementieva who I think have a good chance at making an impression in what most has to be considered a seriously depleted field.

Also, I'd like to meet these people who think that the current state of the women's game (and the top 30) points towards evidence of more depth there...