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Greed is Good 10/07/2008 - 4:51 PM

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So the other day I received this email from former tennis magazine intern Montana Nick McCarvel, a recent graduate of Seattle University now working for Seena Hamilton. Nick spends his days in New York sipping decaf tea and dreaming about his childhood - and the clean air -  of Big Sky country (where I'll be going for the last week of October, to hunt and hike the rugged Milk River coulee country). Nick wrote:

Hey Pete,

How are you? I sure hope you enjoyed your summer weeks in Montana as much as I did! The state steered clear of fire season this year, so while you were out hunting I was smacking the tennis ball in the fresh Rocky Mountain air.

After all that summer tennis-playing, I've been thinking about someone who plays a lot of tennis herself: Jelena Jankovic. This girl is slowly but surely shedding the skin of "The Best Player Who Never..." and is becoming a bona fide champion. I'm not sure what to call Jelena Jankovic's win in Stuttgart over Venus Williams last Friday. An upset? A shocker? ... A relief? If anything, it was a bit of redemption for Jankovic, after that loss to Serena in the US Open final.

Those who, at the start of the year, tabbed her the I'm Top 5 because I play the most on this injury forsaken tour may have to revisit their thinking. She's been incredibly consistent this year, losing to just two players outside of the Top 50. She made the semis (or better) at three Slam events and won titles on three different surfaces (Rome, Beijing and Stuttgart).

Jelena's victory in Germany demonstrated that she's on an official campaign to end the year number 1, not just "on paper" but in the mind's of the game's elite as well. After wins over Venus and Nadia (Petrova) this week, JJ has chalked up 2008 victories over both Williams sisters, Petrova, Elena Dementieva, Vera Zvonareva, Agnieszke Radwanska and Svetlana Kuznetsova - most of the cast that will take part in the Season Ending Championships next month in Doha.

Martina So often in tennis - particularly women's tennis - players are expected to peak as fast as their down-the-line backhands fly over the net. But in Jankovic's case, some were calling her the "new Martina Hingis" - but not it a good way. It was because, in 2007, she logged i97 matches, in over 25 tournaments,  and launched herself to the year-end no. 3 ranking. Critics said it was her her quantity of play - not the quality of her game or results - that explained the high ranking.  And it didn't help her own cause when she lost all three of the matches she played at the year-end WTA Championships (including losses to lower-ranked players Anna Chakvetadze and Marion Bartoli), and then abruptly withdrew due to injury.

It was a disappointing finish for the Serb, and it suggested that she was destined to become a bogus champion -  the "funny girl" who always finished second (or worse). Worse yet, she embarked on 2008 with a dismal loss to Sharapova in Melbourne - a loss in which she looked ragged, flat and - more than anything else - tired. Injury lingered (as did the feeling that she had overplayed and shot her wad in 2007),  but she began to refute the charges with her first win of the year, in Rome. Incidentally, she beat Venus there, along with a few solid clay-court players, like Flavia Penetta.

Since that tournament, Jankovic is 28-7. After her win over Venus in Stuttgart, she fairly beamed: "Playing Venus is always very hard, as she makes you run around. But I was very fortunate to be playing at all. Before the match the doctor gave me two injections and I screamed. It was so painful. But I was able to play."

That Jankovic has been able to stay healthy for so long has contributed to her consistency. I think if she can stay fit, she'll end this year on a much brighter note than the last. She's played fewer events in '08, and looks pretty well positioned to end the season with an exclamation point instead of a question mark.

I guess the big question for '09 is: Is Jelena ready to win a Grand Slam event? She's showed for much of 2008 that she can be great, but can she be grand? Can she continue to shed the Cloak of the Nearly Great?  Only time will tell, and as a fan of hers I'm okay with that - after all, she's patient, passionate, and slowly but surely building to a peak - as long as her body holds up.

So what do you think Pete? Am I right about a Jelena breakthrough in 2009? Or is she going to be another one of those could-have, would-have girls - a la Kournikova, young Kim Clijsters, Dinara Safina (so far) and the like. I'm betting on her for two majors in '09. Can you imagine the acceptance speeches?


Cheers,
Montana Nick

So here's my reply:

Hey Nick: We had a great time in Montana, although it was a family vacation - hunting season is in the fall! Watching my boy Luke ride Studley the cow pony across the prairie under that big sky, hanging on to the pommel with both hands, little feet dangling and unable to reach the stirrups - it was a fine, fine thing. Sorry to miss you in Helena - we were there just one night.

Anyway, you hit all the issues with Jelena and managed to suppress your KAD gene nicely. Jelena made a convert of me this year; she's a girly-girl and a jockette, in a post-feminist kind of way (if that's not too hard to digest). Here's what I like most about her: this year, she proved that she's not just a points and prize-money hungry pro, toting her racket bag the way an ambitious and acquisitive Wall Street guy lugs his briefcase, eyes downcast and oblivious to all else.

You know, some Wall Street dude once said, "Greed is good" and while present events make that crack seem offensive, it's equally applicable - but with no down-side - to tennis. When Billie Jean transformed the pro game, her first goal was to create more and better playing opportunities for women. Those opportunities now exist, but Jelena is far, far ahead of her peers in recognizing and taking advantage of them. This girl loves to play tennis; her joie d'combat is remarkable; to me it was best exemplified in two matches she played with Serena - the US Open final, and that wacky, riveting match they produced in Miami.

We've had a few great examples of players who keep their eyes on the prize in recent years, starting with the top two men. Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer may complain and moan about the scheduling, and fatigue, but they've always put in the hard yards. Can anyone fault either of those guys for playing too little, or with insufficient drive, regardless of surface or location?

By contrast, the WTA pros have been less faithful to the game. Even the otherwise exemplary Justine Henin at times chose to play hide-and-seek in the commitment department. I don't want to second guess anyone's reasons for  taking a break, or start pointing a finger, but the bottom line is that Jelena has shown an enormous - and singular - amount of desire, drive, physical fitness, mental and emotional stamina, and heart. As a result, she's doing something that few WTA women in recent years have: pushing through a long, exhausting, difficult period with the simple intention of finishing no. 1 for the year.

I wrote recently that I didn't like a system that enabled a player who hasn't won a major in any given year to bag the YE no. 1 ranking (I did, however, stipulate that the system should not be designed  specifically to prevent that from happening, on the odd occasion). Nobody in his right mind would blame a player for "playing too much" and reaping what rewards he or she could in the process. The irony is that some of those very same people who trashed Jankovic for playing so frequently are the first to protest when someone appears not to play enough.

The way Jankovic reclaimed the no. 1 ranking, and made holding it her goal for the rest of this year, is refreshing - it takes courage to pursue the YE no. 1 ranking with abandon, because there's a lot on the line. On both tours, the drive to make the year-end championships is starting to spin off some surprising results (see the recent losses by Gilles Simon and Stan Wawrinka), which gives you a good idea of the kind of pressure this kind of year-end push entails. Hats off to Jelena for tucking in her chin, sticking her head down, and moving forward. And don't forget that there's no substitute for match play when you want to get in a groove - provided you're winning enough of them, as Jelena is.

But. . .

It's still a pity that Jankovic didn't find a way to grab that first major this year. And because she didn't, there will always be a caveat attached to her season. I have no problem with that, being in the camp that puts performance on big occasions on a higher plane than week-in, week-out consistency. But I also feel that whatever happens at the end of this year, Jankovic has removed all doubt about her potential as a Grand Slam winner. Her versatility and facility on all surfaces is conclusive.

I was surprised when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won Bangkok a few weeks ago, and it turned out to be his first ATP Tour level title. Did anybody seriously doubt that Tsonga had the game (and drive) to win one? That's how I feel about our split-happy, Jumbotron-watching, daffodil diva - It used to be a matter of "if" with her on the Grand Slam front; now it's a matter of "when." I predict that when she does it, she'll make that dazzling victory speech you long to hear - and then dramatically call for a gurney, on which they can wheel her out of the stadium as she waves to her fans (and checks out her make-up on the Jumbotron).

Jankovic brings so much to the game these days that I don't even mind the relentless focus on her injuries. Just keep playing, baby. That's what they pay you for, and that's become the main reason I've grown to respect you so much. That would be my message to her, Nick.

All the best, pard, and when I head out to the Rocky Mountain front in a few weeks, I'm making a point to stop in Fort Benton to check out the statue of Shep .

-- Pete


66
Comments
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Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Glitter Girl is The Queen 10/07/2008 at 04:52 PM

first!??

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Glitter Girl is The Queen 10/07/2008 at 04:53 PM

YESSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!! . ..second??

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Glitter Girl is The Queen 10/07/2008 at 04:53 PM

u can tell i'm a JJ fan!!LOL third??

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Glitter Girl is The Queen 10/07/2008 at 04:53 PM

and a fourth????

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Glitter Girl is The Queen 10/07/2008 at 04:55 PM

g-g-g-golden olden sla-aaaaammmm!!!!!!!!

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Glitter Girl is The Queen 10/07/2008 at 04:55 PM

tw champ!!!LOL true JJ KAD!!LOL

Posted by Jacko (Private Detective) Glitter Girl is The Queen 10/07/2008 at 04:59 PM

i don't get the comparison to martina. . . .i find JJ and martina 2 completely different players!!!!

Posted by ND (Your crazy FedExpress Driver) 10/07/2008 at 05:09 PM

Pete, you've softened your stance from "Marcelo and Jelena"? I agree entirely with your response. (including the part about stopping to see Shep's statue :))

Posted by tina 10/07/2008 at 05:10 PM

Bodo, you scared me with your Gordon Gecko post title, especially with one widget on CNBC. I love our "daffodil" srpskinja - and Jacko, don't worry, the comparison with Martina 2 was only in terms of quantity of matches.

Montana Nick has great taste. And thanks, Pete, for that photo!

Posted by Pete 10/07/2008 at 05:12 PM

I don't usually stage-manage these things, but I hope all of you click on the link to Shep. . . trust me, it's worth it.

Posted by greenhopper 10/07/2008 at 05:14 PM

Good one Nick and Pete.
I'm amazed though, by the number of posts JJ is getting these days in TW. :-)
The USO final and the match against Venus were two of her best matches I have seen in a long time. JJ's and Elena's groundstrokes are, imo, the best among the active players today... and I thinks its incredible that JJ is trying to be more aggressive lately. If Maria gets back on tour by AO '09, it'll really make for an interesting two weeks in WTA.

Posted by sonya 10/07/2008 at 05:14 PM

jacko you ARE CRAZY, now can I share the golden slam with you? i think both us together would take down Master Ace.
Pete, that is an amazing post, one of the best that I've read of you. I only discovered the site after indian wells, so obviously i haven

Posted by sonya 10/07/2008 at 05:16 PM

I only discovered the site after indian wells, so obviously i havent read that much, but still really lovely.

Posted by tina 10/07/2008 at 05:20 PM

Aw, Pete - I knew that Shep story, but never knew there was a statue or where it was. If gas ever falls under $3 and I feel the urge for my 8th cross-country road trip, Montana is one of the 7 states I've never been to - and that is not to be missed. Thanks for that.

Posted by Jackie 10/07/2008 at 05:21 PM

Aw, Pete, I DID click, and now I feel a tear coming on ...

Posted by Master Ace 10/07/2008 at 05:26 PM

Sonya,
You and Jacko has to wait until 2012 before taking me down for the Golden Slam as I somehow accomplished this twice in separate posts but let me talk about JJ.

Appreciate all the attention that has been given to JJ in the last few weeks starting with the final she played against Serena at the USO. It is amazing that she has made the QF or better in 12 Tier I and above events this year.

Posted by Sam 10/07/2008 at 05:33 PM

Jackie: Same here ...

Posted by SwissMaestro 10/07/2008 at 05:37 PM

"split-happy, Jumbotron-watching, daffodil diva -"

---------

good Lord...

Posted by Marian...wtg Rafa! 10/07/2008 at 05:48 PM

Me wants Rafa and Roger and Nalby and Joker and DP and Marat and Cilic & Co to play again all ready!!!

Posted by Tennis Fan 10/07/2008 at 05:53 PM

"she's a girly-girl and a jockette, in a post-feminist kind of way"

"her joie d'combat is remarkable"

"she'll make that dazzling victory speech you long to hear - and then dramatically call for a gurney, on which they can wheel her out of the stadium as she waves to her fans (and checks out her make-up on the Jumbotron)."

"Just keep playing, baby."

I have to acknowledge this fine sentences.

And loved Shep's story!


Posted by Tennis Fan 10/07/2008 at 05:53 PM

"she's a girly-girl and a jockette, in a post-feminist kind of way"

"her joie d'combat is remarkable"

"she'll make that dazzling victory speech you long to hear - and then dramatically call for a gurney, on which they can wheel her out of the stadium as she waves to her fans (and checks out her make-up on the Jumbotron)."

"Just keep playing, baby."

I have to acknowledge this fine sentences.

And loved Shep's story!


Posted by rafadoc 10/07/2008 at 06:00 PM

Pete: Love the JJ pic. Shep's story was great too...thanks for sharing.

Marian: The draw for MMMM is Saturday. Yippee!

Posted by sonya 10/07/2008 at 06:02 PM

Yeah keep on rubbing it in Master Ace. i already said that i loved you posts, but i have to thank you also for defending JJ. i greatly value your opinions especially when it comes to the WTA, and the fact that you recognised JJ's achievements made me really happy. And of course we also have Tennis fan on our side, lol. i read somewhere (i think it was your post) that she's made the quaterfinals in every tournament played except wimbledon. while i'm not blind, i am really proud of JJ. she gives it her all, and if she finishes #1 at the end of the year, i'm going to be very happy for her, she deserves it because she put in the work. tennis is a year-long sport, you need to be consistent. i'm confident that she'll win a slam next year. i would just love it if venus won wimbledon, ana won the us open, serena the french and JJ the australian next year.

Posted by naughty T... I beg to differ 10/07/2008 at 06:11 PM

Pete you have almost made me a believer too... well actually JJ (with help from the one man(boy) fan club of jacko has done her bit too. Got to admit the woman has stamina and grit to keep getting on court and getting the results.
Word on the street is that even Samantha has gained some respect for the girl of le grand écart

Posted by L. Rubin 10/07/2008 at 06:22 PM

A most interesting exchange, Nick and Mr. Bodo. I don't particularly admire JJ's game, but have always admired her grit, work ethic, and desire. As Nick mentioned the comparison with Hingis, I should add that, unlike the latter, there's nothing about Jelena that even hints at "entitlement." This girl was obviously "raised right," and I wonder how much a player like, say, Nole would benefit from the presence of a Mrs. Jankovic in his corner.

--Liron

Posted by vetmama (who's season is now on hold...) 10/07/2008 at 06:24 PM

Pete

Thanks for the link to the Shep site.
I just printed the story for my veterinary hospital staff, and most of them ended up in tears. (We animal people are a sensitive lot)

I'm putting it up on my reception desk, so I can evoke tears in my clients too.:)

Posted by Tamara 10/07/2008 at 06:30 PM

The match had a bizarre end when Safin broke Okun to take the match 6-4 in the third. However, Safin mistakenly thought it was 6-5, and a change over. So after securing the break, the Russian went to his chair and began to towel off. Eventually chair umpire Carlos Bernardes leaned over and informed Safin the match was over. The somewhat embarrassed Safin quickly went to the net and shared a laugh with Okun while they shook hands.
oh Marat where is your brain

Posted by Master Ace 10/07/2008 at 06:49 PM

Sonya,
Thanks. I would say that Jelena is the favorite to win the Australian Open but at the same time last year about a month later, David Nalbandian was the talk on TW(when he beat Roger and Rafa to win Madrid and Bercy) about how he will resurface(except Sam who did not believe the hype) in 2008 but he flamed out at the Australian Open against Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Posted by omar 10/07/2008 at 07:02 PM

Jelena swallows too hard in the big tournies. Always be suspicious of someone who can beat you anytime of the day or year except if its a Grand Slam.

Posted by Syd 10/07/2008 at 07:04 PM

Pete,

Nice epistolary column. Love that you're softening up to JJ. and I'm sure I do know the story of Shep (didn't they make a movie out of that one?) but in no mood for a cry tonight, so will skip.

Want to take exception with young Nick (name has a certain Fitzeraldian ring to it) though; and if he's gonna be a writer he may as well get used to the knocks. What do you mean young NIck when you include Safina in this sentence: "Or is she going to be another one of those could-have, would-have girls - a la Kournikova, young Kim Clijsters, Dinara Safina (so far) and the like. "

Safina is hardly a 'would-have' girl. She's a goddess that will most likely win a slam next year. And right now, I'd put her on the same level as J.J. in the 'most likely' categories. But you know something? Even if neither of them ever wins a slam, I'll still be a fan of both. They deserve our respect.


Posted by sonya 10/07/2008 at 07:04 PM

Master Ace i know, it's worrying me a bit but i want to concentrate on the positive side just like Mrs Jankovic:)

Posted by Syd 10/07/2008 at 07:09 PM

Vetmama:

That's a good idea. So when you charge em $5K when their cat/dog dies (like my vet did) they won't be thinking of their wallets—they'll be thinking of Shep (and their dearly departeds.)

Posted by Matt 10/07/2008 at 07:12 PM

"I predict that when she does it, she'll make that dazzling victory speech you long to hear - and then dramatically call for a gurney, on which they can wheel her out of the stadium as she waves to her fans (and checks out her make-up on the Jumbotron)."

Hillarious.
A la Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard.
Dying to see.

Posted by Vie 10/07/2008 at 07:32 PM

Pete, thanks for this and Shep's story. Read it to my 9-yearold. Funny that your article has some connections with this book he is reading - Little House on the Prairie.

I think Jankovic got a lot better and fitter with the help of his new coach, though she has not mentioned him much I think.

Posted by greenhopper 10/07/2008 at 07:52 PM

"A la Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard."
That was creepy.

Posted by Sam 10/07/2008 at 07:55 PM

"except Sam who did not believe the hype"

* injures arm patting self on the back *

Master Ace: I think JJ's case is different since she has played consistently throughout year, unlike Nalbandian who got hot for a few weeks after barely winning 50% of his matches earlier (19-17)in the season.

Posted by vetmama (still basking in the USO afterglow) 10/07/2008 at 08:54 PM

"So when you charge em $5K when their cat/dog dies (like my vet did) they won't be thinking of their wallets"

Syd, I've never charged anyone $5K in the 14 years I've been practicing. (I think the most was $1200, and that was for a week in intensive care). I'm lucky if I can pay my mortgage...

Posted by hingisfan 10/07/2008 at 09:42 PM

I also did not understand the Hingis comparison. Also, Dinara Safina is still quite young and has made an incredible move up this year.

Posted by Nick McCarvel 10/07/2008 at 10:16 PM

Thanks for the comments, everyone. It was fun reading Pete's response to my email.

The Hingis comparison was this: Hingis played in 11-straight grand slams as the number one seed and never won a single one (from mid-99 to 2001). No, I don't think Jankovic and Hingis have similar playing styles, but instead, Jankovic (for a while) seemed destined to become the next Martina: always playing the most tournaments - and staying #1 - but never winning the big ones.

Omar, I agreed with you on the statement that "Jelena swallows too hard at the majors" until the US Open this year, when she not only made it to the final - but gave Serena every bit of trouble to earn the title.
-Nick

Posted by Miguel Seabra 10/07/2008 at 10:22 PM

Well, I'm droping in to say that I think JJ has one of the very best backhand/forehand combos in the game (men and women).

I could take the risk of saying Andre Agassi had the best forehand/backhand combo in the history of the game, but comparatevily I would say that JJ hits better down the line shots than Andre used to. She's a master in redirecting the ball, destructing crosscourt patterns with paralel drives -- if Elena Dementieva is 'Miss Crosscourt', Jelena Jankovic surely is 'Miss Down the Line'.

It's obvious that Jelena's forehand could be better and more powerful (and sometimes when she hits it late her follow-through throws her racquet over the right shoulder, not always over the left shoulder as it should be), but her backhand is simply fabulous -- especially when she hits it down the line bending her body as if she were sitting on a chair doing it; she can hit it with an open stance, closed stance, on the rise after the rebound, at waist level, at head level, it's one of the best two-handed backhands I've ever seen and it's up there with David Nalbandian's and Marat Safin's.

And the girl has played these past two weeks as a true number one, she always seemed content being in the show (the final), now she wants to perform and win as well.

Besides that, she's witty and I always look forward to comment on her matches on Eurosport. This girl has got something special.

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 10/07/2008 at 10:29 PM

ok - i'm feeling so 'awe...' about shep - i'm not quite sure i'm able to post about JJ. (but of course i will, hee!)

I LIKE Jelena. I've never gotten the 'she plays too much', she hasn't won a major did on her. Girrrrl's got game, imo, and i do think its only a matter of time. And I flove the fact that she's made finishing yr end #1 her goal.

Posted by Syd 10/07/2008 at 11:11 PM

Vetmama:

Perhaps it's the area you live in. This was in NYC and was for three days—I have to say it was a stunning amount of money. Naturally, when it's a greatly beloved pet one has to come up with the $ at all costs...

sorry if I sounded bitter about all vets!!! profound apologies vetmama.

—Syd

Posted by Maya 10/08/2008 at 12:10 AM

Dinara is young and good. But dont know how long she can stay motivated. You never know with those safins. Hope she stays focus till she wins couple of slams.

Posted by Matt 10/08/2008 at 12:37 AM


Hey, greenhopper,
I love JJ, but Pete's paragraph really reminded me of the very last moments of the Sunset Boulevard movie when Mrs. Desmond says "I am ready for my close-up":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhlhE32SoXs

Posted by Jenn 10/08/2008 at 01:45 AM

Fun exchange. I just really like JJ. I know to some she seems shallow, silly and self-absorbed (SSS?), but I love the way she conveys a sense of enjoyment of the game and her place in it while she is out on the court, even while losing. And her BH down the line, one of my favorite shots in general, has got to be one of the most gorgeous shots in the game right now.
Whether or not JJ ever wins a Slam, as a fan I just like what she brings to the game. I thought the US Open final with Serena was one of the most entertaining women's matches of the year.

Posted by Ron 10/08/2008 at 03:33 AM

It's not the lack of slam per se that is so embarrassing for the year end no.1 It's her atrocious H2Hs. She is 9-10 v. top 10. And 0-5 against the top 5. How is it possible for someone who has a losing H2H against the top 10 and does not have a single win over a player ranked in the top 5 is going to end the year no.1. That is like the twilight zone.

and 2 slams??? umm... maybe but at the AO and RG and Wimbly she was down and out several times. The inability of young players to close the tour saved her in all 3 slams from even earlier round exits. The tour only gets tougher from here on out. That power vacuum at the top will eventually be filled and I have a gut feeling it won't be filled by Jelena Jankovic of all people.

Posted by tson 10/08/2008 at 04:02 AM

The future of Tennis after Federer

1. Tsonga

2. Sela

3. Gulbis

4. del Potro

5. Wawrinka

Posted by tson 10/08/2008 at 04:03 AM


Jankovic -- the weakest World Number 1 in all of history

in all sports

man-made computer programs are prone to error.

Posted by Jeff 10/08/2008 at 04:30 AM

I agree with those that say Jankovich is a weak number 1. While I agree that she does have the potential to win a slam, that is more a statement about the consistency of the WTA tour than her merits as a player.

Posted by aussiemarg{true lover of all things spanish also learing the lingo} 10/08/2008 at 06:37 AM

pete entertaining as usual,but hey we are talking about the miss glitter girl,jj,hair make up goddess to the stars,i think she will have great career after tennis in the theatre etc,but lets get to her tennis and keeping the no1 position,how long for? who knows,in the wta merry go round,i must say she has been consistant in playing tournament week after week,i also thought her match with serena was one of the best games she has played,somtimes you have to lose,a grand slam,in order to know how to win,she played the big points aginst serena poorly,i believe after winning again last week,again she was on fire in every department,if she can display this kind and level of play,she could win a grand slam,also it would be could if she can maintain the no 1 spot for a while,not few weeks,she is starting to impress me more,as i say we gonna see no?

Posted by elenas 10/08/2008 at 06:41 AM

Why is there so much talk about Jelena #1- Dont get it. The girl has earned it.I honestly cant see anyone snatching it away from her anytime soon.
She plays for weeks in a row injured still manages to win.Things seem to go wrong in slams for her maybe next year will be better

She stands a better chance of winning a slam final against Venus than Serena

Posted by Ade [early bus ticket holder] 10/08/2008 at 07:18 AM

Great post Pete. BTW, my Brother lives in Bozeman, MT 50 miles from the Big Sky. I was there for 2 months this summer. Wonderful.

I admire players who are consistant. And feel they can deserve the number 1 spot, slam or no slam.
In my humble opinion, of course.

Posted by Vanessa 10/08/2008 at 08:33 AM

Too many articles about Jelena (BORING!)
When she wins a Grand Slam then she may deserve all the attention, until then, (yawn)

Posted by Well Left 10/08/2008 at 09:27 AM

All due respect to Miguel, but I think that shot JJ hits, where her follow through is over the same shoulder, is intended.

The pros at Wintergreen Resort call that type of shot 'the Freak'. Properly executed, it allows you to put hella topspin on a loopy shot. Nice change of pace from her bazooka DTL shots. Similar takeback, footwork, etc. but a much different result.


Posted by Vie 10/08/2008 at 09:34 AM

Just taking the liberty of extending the greed is good topic:

I wonder how it will be, for example, for Rafa, next year. I wonder how strong his resolve for defending FO. Just watched the 2006 Monte-Carlo final for the first time, and it got me thinking how hard it must be for Rafa to stop Roger from getting that FO title both in terms of how good Roger really is and also something along the lines of frustrating someone's goals. Early on, it was important for Rafa to win. Now maybe not as much. I guess objectives and emotions could ebb and flow, but what about competitiveness for these people. I think they really hate to lose.

Posted by Vie 10/08/2008 at 09:38 AM

After watching that MC final, I do wish Roger wins the FO sometime. Cheers to Roger fans on this.

Posted by Ryan 10/08/2008 at 10:40 AM

This Hingis can can't keep his mouth shut.

Liron, maybe Hingis got what you call a sense of "entitlement" by basically having more talent in her left kneecap than 99% of the tour (both during and after her playing days). She was sweeping through junior Slam tournaments at 12 when players like JJ were watching Power Rangers. I'd say at that point, a certain level of success is expected.

And Hell--I say she WAS entitled to a French trophy!

Posted by Ryan 10/08/2008 at 10:53 AM

Hingis fan, rather...sheesh.

I miss Martina. And Justine. Sigh.

Posted by Tuulia 10/08/2008 at 11:08 AM

Vie, I found your 9.34 post confusing. What on earth do you mean? How did you get into thinking that winning isn't that important to Rafa anymore? You have seen him this year I presume... And what has the Monte Carlo 2006 final have to do with anything this or next year or Roger winning FO? Besides, Rafa is a much improved player from 2006. So all in all I missed you point entirely, I'm afraid. Maybe you could re-phrase so that I might understand? Thanks. :)

Posted by Vie 10/08/2008 at 12:13 PM

Tuulia, sorry. I am not really sure either what I mean. I guess I just meant that it is possible that in the background, Rafa as an admirer of Roger could feel a bit sorry that Roger hasn't won the FO.

Their clay matches in 2006, esp. MC and Rome,were "titanic" struggles, I think. Roger, if he had gotten out the FO win over Rafa back in 2006, would have deserved it too.

Regarding Rafa as a player in 2006 and now. He was phenomenal even then.

Posted by sonya 10/08/2008 at 12:30 PM

i was not a fan of martina hingis attitude but my goodness, she really deserves to be among the greatest players. can you imagine someone being #1 at sixteen today? i'm just baffled by that, she was really unlucky with the injuries, what talent! wow

Posted by Tuulia 10/08/2008 at 12:49 PM

Ok, thanks, Vie. :)

------
"I guess I just meant that it is possible that in the background, Rafa as an admirer of Roger could feel a bit sorry that Roger hasn't won the FO."
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Oh I'm sure he does. That does not mean there'll be any mercy on court as this year's FO showed. ;)


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"Their clay matches in 2006, esp. MC and Rome,were "titanic" struggles, I think."
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Yes, they were. *fondly remembers...*


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"Regarding Rafa as a player in 2006 and now. He was phenomenal even then."
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Absolutely. Just better now. :)

Posted by Tuulia 10/08/2008 at 12:52 PM

Forgot to comment on this above:

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"Roger, if he had gotten out the FO win over Rafa back in 2006, would have deserved it too."
-----

Well, yes, of course. In general I think the one who wins, deserves to. :D

Posted by linex 10/08/2008 at 03:05 PM

What a beautiful picture of Martina Hingis. The girl had class. It was unfortunate that she had to end her career the way she did.

Martina has won and earned her number 1 ranking during a record number of weeks mainly because of her talent. At 15 she was already playing Gabi Sabatini and Steff Graf very tough ... Come on! Yes she lacks power but even so she won a fair number of matches against the power hitters including the William Sisters and as late as during her comeback in 2006 (e.g Semi final in Rome against Venus or semi final in Tokyo against Sharapova).

Posted by Nichole 10/08/2008 at 07:29 PM

I was surprised when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga won Bangkok a few weeks ago, and it turned out to be his first ATP Tour level title. Did anybody seriously doubt that Tsonga had the game (and drive) to win one? That's how I feel about our split-happy, Jumbotron-watching, daffodil diva - It used to be a matter of "if" with her on the Grand Slam front; now it's a matter of "when." I predict that when she does it, she'll make that dazzling victory speech you long to hear - and then dramatically call for a gurney, on which they can wheel her out of the stadium as she waves to her fans (and checks out her make-up on the Jumbotron).

Jankovic brings so much to the game these days that I don't even mind the relentless focus on her injuries. Just keep playing, baby. That's what they pay you for, and that's become the main reason I've grown to respect you so much. That would be my message to her, Nick.

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I love it Pete. That's hilarious, and is probably exactly how I feel.

Posted by athanguy 10/09/2008 at 01:25 AM

Posted by linex 10/08/2008 @ 3:05 PM

What a beautiful picture of Martina Hingis. The girl had class. It was unfortunate that she had to end her career the way she did.

Don't worry linex, she will be back. The stars say such talent, beauty and character deserves to be in the mix of such exciting ladies as jankovic, maria, ana, venus, serena and dinara.

Wow, that is why women's tennis is very popular here in the Philippines.

I know once her ban is over, she will be back. Maybe specializing in doubles. She needs to add more of her GS doubles crowns.

I miss her a lot too.



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