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Doha Preview 10/23/2009 - 9:00 AM


91590942by Bobby Chintapalli, TW Special Correspondent

Before this year’s tennis season ends, before Venus Williams takes guitar lessons, before Dinara Safina eats a second piece of chocolate cake, before Jelena Jankovic hits the beach in some cute bikini, there’s Doha. With the year’s eight top women tennis players heading to the desert for the season-ending championships (SEC), which will be held from October 27 to November 1, it’s time to look back and do the numbers - as well as look ahead and make some guesses.

 
LOOKING BACK
 
It’s all about the Ws. Not the kind with swanky lobby bars in midtown Manhattan and downtown Chicago but the kind in Paris and London – or, heck, Portoroz and Tashkent – that move tennis players one round, one batch of ranking points, one event closer to their goals. Wins – that’s what it’s about for a tennis player.
 
The match-win percentages may surprise some of you, while for others it will only confirm what you believe: When it came to winning tennis matches this year, nobody did it better, nobody did it quite as good as Serena; clearly she’s the best. The real No. 2 - and a really close one at that - is Dinara Safina. Conspicuously at the bottom are Venus Williams and Jelena Jankovic.
 
Serena Williams – 78.9%
Dinara Safina – 78.6%
Victoria Azarenka – 77.2%
Elena Dementieva – 77.1%
Caroline Wozniacki – 75.6%
Svetlana Kuznetsova – 75.0%
Venus Williams – 73.5%
Jelena Jankovic – 72.4%
 
You have to figure that the only thing better than match wins is how players are rewarded for them – prize money. How else can a girl splurge on, say, Pilates equipment (but how much more “core work” do you really need, Elena?) or Christian Louboutin stilettos (and you wonder why you need injury timeouts, Jelena?). And here too, Serena comes out on top - this time by a much larger margin. Let’s have some fun with this and calculate how much prize money each woman averaged in each match she played. On average, Miss S. Williams earned more than $70,000 per match. That’s more than triple the amount earned by the two players at the bottom of this list. Will this redefine the concept of "equal prize money"? Here are the details:
 
Serena Williams – $70,780
Svetlana Kuznetsova – $55,015
Dinara Safina – $50,019
Venus Williams – $33,893
Victoria Azarenka – $28,557
Elena Dementieva – $24,002
Caroline Wozniacki – $23,523
Jelena Jankovic – $20,127
 
91236515 The most interesting figure that may surprise some is "number of singles titles won." Five players won three titles each, and a sixth, Jankovic, may be on her way in Moscow this week. The other two (hint: they’re related) won only two. In Serena’s case (yes, Serena, we are looking at your titles, as that provocative t-shirt asked), they both happen to be – surprise, surprise – Grand Slam triumphs. Regardless, when it comes to the Sisters W, do numbers matter? You don’t have to read the fine print to realize that any logical link between past and future performance for these two can't really be established. So much for the fine art of handicapping.
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
The SECs are fun because players don’t start by playing Mynameis Somethingpova of Uzbekistan, and progress through series of more difficult and higher-ranked players. They start with the best and play them all week. That calls for a different mental approach and it churns up some interesting and unexpected results - especially in a round-robin format. Plus, it’s the end of the year – some players are in form, while others are, well, infirm. That skews the form chart even more dramatically.
 
Recent form suggests that the woman in best trim is Svetlana Kuznetsova, who won the Premier tournament in Beijing earlier this month. But the hottest hands at the last Grand Slam of the year belonged to Caroline Wozniacki, a finalist, and Serena, a semifinalist (and an especially YouTube-worthy one at that). And Serena’s already the bookmaker's favorite to win the next major, the 2010 Australian Open.
 
The infirm category includes just about everyone, from Caroline Wozniacki (thigh?) to Jelena Jankovic (wrist?) to Victoria Azarenka (shoulder?) and Venus Williams (knee?).
 
LOOKING ELSEWHERE
 
Of course, few of these limping woman warriors have a need for walkers or rocking chairs. One of the players, Baby Caroline, is still a teenager. This may be why, in terms of total matches played this year, Caroline Wozniacki is the new Jelena Jankovic; she played at least 25 percent more matches than all the others.
 
Speaking of the others, they’re twentysomethings, but several are close to thirtysomething, which is geriatric by tennis standards. Maybe that’s why the WTA website calls this year’s group “relatively mature.” (That’s a phrase to save for later use, isn’t it?) You have to love these women…if only for making the rest of us feel a bit younger.
 
If you were so inclined, you could group the players into three age categories:
 
The golden girls (28-29) – Venus, Serena, Elena
The green kangaroos (23-24) – Jelena, Svetlana, Dinara
The young ‘uns (19-20) – Victoria, Caroline
 
Will the golden girls use their experience and “relatively mature” tennis skills to show who’s boss? Will the green kangaroos step out of the long shadows cast by the Williams sisters, and   step up in the manner of the hard-charging, grunting, Stella McCartney-modeling young ‘uns? We'll find out soon enough and hopefully see some good tennis in the process.

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Posted by Master Ace 10/23/2009 at 09:05 AM

Ace WTA rankings as of 10/18/09

Titles (Finalist appearance if best result)
(1) Serena Williams (45-12): Australian Open and Wimbledon
(2) Dinara Safina(55-15): Madrid, Rome, and Portoroz
(3) Svetlana Kuznetsova(42-14): French Open, Beijing and Stuttgart
(4)Caroline Wozniacki (65-21): Eastbourne, New Haven and Ponte Vedra Beach
(5) Elena Dementieva(54-16): Toronto, Sydney and Auckland
(6) Venus Williams (36-13): Dubai and Acapulco
(7) Victoria Azarenka(44-13): Key Biscayne, Brisbane and Memphis
(8) Jelena Jankovic (42-16): Cincinnati and Marbella
(9) Vera Zvonareva(32-12): Indian Wells and Pattaya City
(10) Kim Clijsters (12-2): United States Open

Posted by rg.nadal (Rafa for Nobel 2010) 10/23/2009 at 09:11 AM

Hope Caroline recovers from her hamstring injury.

Posted by Master Ace 10/23/2009 at 09:12 AM

Read somewhere that the 8 Doha participants do not have a win over a Top 10 player since the United States Open. Could this be due to them losing early in tournaments because of nagging injuries, fatigue, frame of mind, and etc....? This has been an unusual year ranging from the number 1 debate, Belgian comebacks, controversial issues at and after the USO concering behaviour patterns personally and/or financially, whether to abolish on court court coaching, sparse attendace at events even at Mandatories event that are combined with the ATP(ie - Indian Wells and Key Biscayne where the WTA was on the main court but crowd was sparse while the ATP playing on outer courts had standing room only)

Posted by SUI_Hotmale 10/23/2009 at 09:21 AM

FOURTH........... better late than never!

Posted by Mayes 10/23/2009 at 09:29 AM

Caroline Wozniacki is the new Jelena Jankovic - but Jelena had won quite a few Tier I titles by the end of last year in addition to US Open Final, while (correct me if I am wrong) Caroline has zero so far.

Posted by Master Ace 10/23/2009 at 09:41 AM

Mayes,
If you consider Premier Mandatory and Premier 5 as Tier I, you are correct on Caroline.

Posted by Master Ace 10/23/2009 at 09:48 AM

Doha Television Coverage(All times are USA Eastern Standard Time)

All matches will be shown on Tennis Channel EXCEPT the final which will be covered on ESPN2

Tuesday through Friday at 10 AM LIVE

Saturday - all matches LIVE
Black/Huber vs opponent to be determined by draw at 7 AM
Singles semifinals at 9:30 AM
S Williams/V Williams vs opponent to be determined by draw at 1:30 PM

Other doubles teams are Llagostera Vives/Martinez Sanchez and Stosur/Stubbs(who will not be teaming up in 2010 per article posted by Coby)

For USA, daylight savings time ends(one week after Europe who has it coming this weekend)

Sunday
Singles final at 10 AM
Per TV schedule, ESPN2 will have tape delayed coverage at Noon and Tennis Channel will also have tape delayed coverage at 2 PM
Doubles final at Noon LIVE

Posted by Ruth 10/23/2009 at 10:54 AM

Thanks, Bobby, for this breakdown (no pun intended) of the status of the ladies. I was actually surprised to see Serena at the top of the winning % list because I'd thought that her performances in the non-Slams (esp. the 2 or 3 first-round exits) would have lowered her winning % more.

And I love the earnings per match breakdown. That's a very interesting stat and one that, probably, the players might consider among the 2 or 3 most important stats (whether they'd admit it or not).

Well, let's hope that the "infirm" are feeling better or will be much better off physically than when we saw them last so that we can enjoy some good tennis from the top women in just 4 days -- even if it's not in Madison Square Garden! :)

Posted by daryl 10/23/2009 at 10:59 AM

"Hi, my name is Bobby, and I’m a Serena Williams fan. The match-win percentages- clearly she’s the best" .789 to .786.
Just another article on how Serena is oh so great. BTW, Serena’s already the bookmaker's favorite to win the next major, the 2010 Australian Open. Nothing here to look at, just move along.

Posted by Syd 10/23/2009 at 11:08 AM

What a great post. Thanks Bobby.

Actually, I'm surprised that there really is not much to speak of between Serena and Safina in match winning percentages. So looking forward to the championships. Davai Dinara!

Posted by karin1492 10/23/2009 at 11:15 AM

Daryl: If you look at the next three in line on who are the oddsmaker's favorites behind Serena, you'll notice something else. None of those women played in the Aussie Open last year, and two of them have only played only one slam between them in the past 7. Of course Serena's going to be the favorite, she's the defending champion, provided that the ITF lets her play in the Open.

Posted by Master Ace 10/23/2009 at 11:17 AM

Karin1492,
Could those 3 women be Justine(7 time Slam winner and won 2004 AO), Kim(2 time USO Slam winner), and Maria(3 time Slam winner and won 2008 AO)?

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 10/23/2009 at 11:18 AM

Fun post, Bobby, enjoyed it very much. :)

The $ per match was interesting. :)

Posted by izidane 10/23/2009 at 12:08 PM

Nice round-up Bobby.
Looking forward to the YEC to see who wins the battle of attrition...and to a well deserved off-season for the ladies.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 10/23/2009 at 12:14 PM

Hey, I'd be loving life making $24K per match!!!!

Posted by Bhai Mirzai 10/23/2009 at 12:14 PM

Serena has a very poor record of defending her GS titles. I think it one-in-ten tries. Plus she only wins AO in odd-numbered years. So ...

I am sure odd makers had Serena as the favorite at the USO also.

Posted by Cayman Karen 10/23/2009 at 12:57 PM

Hey guys, if there is anyone here from Europe or Canada, can you let me know whether Eurosport or TSN will be airing the YECs for both men and women. I need to know as soon as possible as I am relocating to Jamaica next week Tuesday and would like to put in my application for upgrade of the cable package that my sister now has and I understand it takes 24-36 hours to complete the upgrade. I leave Cayman on Tuesday morning, arriving in Jamaica very early in the morning so hope to catch some of the tennis. Help

Posted by VC 10/23/2009 at 01:04 PM

"Caroline Wozniacki is the new Jelena Jankovic; she played at least 25 percent more matches than all the others."

A certain Scandinavian might disapprove of that comparison... ;-)

Posted by sblily (Wheeeeeeeeee!) 10/23/2009 at 01:12 PM

Bobby - Great post. Really enjoyed reading it.

Caro as the new JJ is interesting. I find them quite similar in playing style *ducks* but had never really thought about how that similarity extends to (over)scheduling and approach to the rankings.

Also liked the list of earnings/match. Poor JJ will play for peanuts, while it appears that Serena, like Linda Evangelista, won't even get out of bed for less than $10,000 a day. :)

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 10/23/2009 at 01:30 PM

Thanks Bobby.

Well it will be interesting this year again.Maybe like last year when Venus came through and won it we may see a surprise winner.

Posted by TennisRone 1000 10/23/2009 at 02:03 PM

Anybody think the Hot Wozz "scandal" is anything worth worrying about?

It seems to be more of a case of much ado about nothing...

except that it's insane that oddsmakers accept bets like that. And more insane that people actually would bet that....I wouldn't want to be the guy clearing those transactions....

Posted by greenhopper 10/23/2009 at 02:17 PM

Nice piece, Bobby. I'll be very interested in seeing what Vika can do in Doha. She started the year off so well, but has been throwing Vera-like tantrums lately.

Masha on the imposter.

"I thought Azarenka is probably one of the best out of the pack," said Sharapova, who won both those matches. "I think she has a really great fighting spirit. She has a great all around game. I felt like from the time I played her in L.A., to the time I played her in Beijing, you could see she lost the match against me, and there's that game plan going into the next match. She definitely improved how she played. I thought as a player, that's always pretty impressive because you always try to learn from your losses. I think she's probably up there."
http://bit.ly/2q8bMG

Posted by Ruth 10/23/2009 at 02:37 PM

I agree with your evaluation of the Caro "scandal," TR1000.

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 10/23/2009 at 03:01 PM

Why is everybody so afraid of Saman... damn, what the hell was that?!! LOL

Posted by TennisRone 1000 10/23/2009 at 03:03 PM

Strange Publicity stunt Ruth??? Perhaps? Seems like the WTA would be confident that there is no issue here...but isn't in a hurry to hush it as it attracts some additional interest in the Y/E championships.

Woz seems to be taking it in stride too....

It's too bad these championships are so injury marred. I guess that's part of the story in tennis...as usual. Hopefully the showcase goes well for both the men and women....

Posted by lira vega 10/23/2009 at 03:15 PM

Karen, Eurosport will be airing SEC (all matches), but no WTF there. They generally tend to focus more on WTA and while it's mostly not the kind of coverage that many broadcasters have for guys' Masters events showing only tennis whole day, I don't think any channel shows more WTA tennis than Eurosport. Keep in mind that same WTA-centric principle applies during Slams as well, meaning they're much more likely to be showing girls' match from court 15 between your average top 30-40 players than a marqee ATP match-up from one of the main courts (personally I like that, but I know it drives many bonkers). Oh, and also, no Wimbly there...Can't help you with TSN

Posted by thomas 10/23/2009 at 03:20 PM

From the money per match ranking, I can see that Wozniacki and Jankovic must be low because they play a lot of tournaments and matches (seriously, Wozniacki 25% more than even Jankovic?)

But I am a bit surprised to see that Dementieva's number is also as low as those two - it definitely feels like Elena has not overscheduled and she has had some decent tournament and match wins, but I guess the reason is with the poor Slam record this year (as Slams offer way more money)?

Posted by sokol 10/23/2009 at 03:50 PM

"Caroline Wozniacki is the new Jelena Jankovic"

:-)

Posted by CL 10/23/2009 at 04:30 PM

Apologies if this has already been linked. From reading this article, what happened is yet another reason to dump on court coaching.

http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/blog/busted_racquet/post/Caroline-Wozniacki-s-good-deed-leads-to-WTA-inve?urn=ten,197641

Posted by Jenn 10/23/2009 at 04:36 PM

Thanks, Bobby. Very interesting stats here. I agree with Ruth in that I was surprised to see Serena on top of the "match winning percentage" given the rap she has for losing early at less important tourneys. Apparently that has happened to everyone but Serena may be getting the rap for it more than others because she is expected to win those tournaments, whereas if JJ, Elena, Dinara or really any of the other ladies goes out early, it is more of a *shrug* than a shock.

I want to pick a winner here but can't figure out this field. So unpredictable with the injury factor. I don't see Venus or JJ being a real factor, but I think any of the other women could take it. Someone please remind me what happened to Vika at the US Open - did she even play??

Posted by Mr. X 10/23/2009 at 04:37 PM

Thanks for the preview, Bobby.
It seems obvious that Serena has been the best of the year, but as always outside of a major, you can question her interest towards this tournament. I agree with you in having Kuzzy as the favourtie, but she's also kinda unpredictable, specially with so many players injured somehow.
"But the hottest hands at the last Grand Slam of the year belonged to Caroline Wozniacki"
Er, i would say, not only the hands:)
"Caroline Wozniacki is the new Jelena Jankovic"
The number of matches they play, as well as their games, is a clear similarity, i agree. However, that statement could get you in trouble coming from Scandinavia:)

Posted by adam davenport 10/23/2009 at 04:54 PM

This column was a bunch of fluff. In addition to a couple of stats, Bobby says he is going to "look ahead and make some guesses". Did I miss something?

Posted by Codge 10/23/2009 at 05:19 PM

Good read and review Bobby.

I'm not up to date on WTA but I agree the year-end is usually exciting for sheer quality of opponent from R1.

I'll be watching.

Posted by That One Anon 10/23/2009 at 05:58 PM

It's pretty disappointing that the top ranked player can't break .80 win-loss record. I mean Graf went 11 straight years with no less than a .89 win-loss record, and in only two of those years did she play less than 60 matches.

"Serena may be getting the rap for it more than others because she is expected to win those tournaments."

I think it's more than that. The Serena that shows up at the majors shouldn't, *couldn't* lose to Stosur at Stanford, Petrova at Beijing, Dementieva at Sydney. That Serena is just that much better. That Serena would easily have .90 win-loss record.

And yet we get Tier 1 Serena. The difference isn't that she doesn't care about winning, it's that she doesn't care *that* much about losing. To lose 3 first rounds during the clay season, and then still imo playing atrociously she fought her way to the QF at Roland Garros. It's as if at the Tier 1 she says, "You know, if this person keels over at my onslaught, super. If she doesn't, dammit, I'm badly, but I'm still Serena, so screw it." Major Serena can be summed up as, "Mine, not yours! MINE!"

And as a card-carrying Serena fan, that is the most disappointing part.

Posted by Arun 10/23/2009 at 06:18 PM

Brilliant analysis. Thanks for this piece, Bobby.

Posted by Cayman Karen 10/23/2009 at 06:27 PM

Thank you lira vega. Much appreciated on the Eurosport thing.

Posted by M-life 10/23/2009 at 06:31 PM

"When it came to winning tennis matches this year, nobody did it better, nobody did it quite as good as Serena; clearly she’s the best."

Really? All of 2 tournaments victories this year. Hmmmm??? Well- as I see it- its maybe not so much that she was so much better than everyone else, more that everyone else was less consistently good at the most critical moments. Serena did NOT have a dominant year by any stretch. She was not Justine Henin of 2006, not even close. Shout out to you Samantha.

If this year told a story of the women's games, it is the year of the "Wide Open." 2009- a year of pretty good mediocrity. Nobody had it in them to claim the mantel including Serena. This year was most curious because on one hand, the fact that its current mediocre status is a pity. On the other hand, having 12- 14 players pretty darn good but nobody great may not be such a bad thing, frustrating at times yes, but really not so terrible, as it gave players like Wozniaki and Azarenka, as well as Stoser, Pennetta, Bartolli, a voice and names to think about. In most years, most normal years, we wouldn't be thinking or talking about them.

Posted by david 10/23/2009 at 07:00 PM

I fully expect the WS to crash and burn at YEC. Serena imo hasn't looked like she's either cared or been able to play the YEC since 2004, and she withdrew the last 2 years. Venus can barely beat the top 50 players since August and yet they are both on playing doubles as well. I find it extremely hard to believe their bodies will hold up.

Posted by david 10/23/2009 at 07:17 PM

I like the money per match stat. They should just do that for the rankings. lol although it's kinda crass. But really these girls are playing for the cash not cuz they love the game so much. They should include endorsements as well...lol Kournikova would've been #1 and Sharapova might be #1 right now and in perpetuity. Seriously I would love if the rankings would be based on total income or average income per match combined w/ average income per endorsement, I think it would shine a nice big spotlight on what "we" truly value.

Posted by Master Ace 10/23/2009 at 08:08 PM

M Life,
Contrary to popular belief, Serena has had a solid start to 2009 besides winning Australian Open and Wimbledon except that she could not win them. She lost in the finals at Key Biscayne(Victoria), semifinals at United States Open(Kim), Dubai(Venus), Toronto (Elena),Paris(gave Elena walkover), and Sydney(Elena). In most people eyes, that is a good year for most players but not Serena especially after her comments during the clay season that she is the real number 1. Now, other than maybe Dinara, name a player that has made the semifinals or better in Slams and Premier events than Serena.

Posted by Master Ace 10/23/2009 at 08:13 PM

Additional note to 8:08 PM, Serena is the only player to make the quarterfinals or better at all Slams

Posted by M-life 10/23/2009 at 08:53 PM

Master Ace-

There isn't any. That's my whole point. Serena was the best only by default. She had a pretty good year made better by two slam victories. She placed well in a few others, but two wins in a season is not a career year for most unless they're Slams. Or put another way, she got beat in every tournament except those two. That not dominant Pa.... Master Ace. But there was/is nobody else. I'm talking in circles, I think you understand where I'm coming from, even if you don't entirely agree.

Posted by M-life 10/23/2009 at 08:59 PM

IIra Vega-

Sony Ericsson has a contract with Eurosport. Thats why we get so much WTA televised here in Europe. I love it, been watching 2 matches a day this week from Moscow.

Posted by Bobby 10/23/2009 at 10:33 PM

sblily, your Linda Evangelista comment is right on the money (pun intended). It almost made me miss the excess of that time. :)

david, that's a pretty interesting suggestion about using the average match $ to calculate rankings. :)

thomas, I too was surprised to see that Demmy had one of the lower average match $ figure. It looks like she actually played more matches than I thought. I didn't think she played too many tournaments, but maybe she got farther at the ones she did play than some? And, yes, Woz played quite a bit more than JJ; I think she played 43 percent more if you can believe it.

Posted by kiki 10/24/2009 at 02:22 AM

Pete, you're a bad guy! Why not love Jelena?
Perhaps to write H2H these eight girls!

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Back onboard the Crazy Elf Train) 10/24/2009 at 02:35 AM

For me I would like to see Dinara win the YEC just so she gets some confidence going into 2010. Then Kuzzy and finally Demmy.

Posted by Master Ace 10/24/2009 at 09:29 AM

M-Life,
After further reading your original post, I agree Serena was not dominant by any means.

SF or better in Premier events
Serena - Australian Open, Wimbledon, Key Biscayne, United States Open, Dubai, Toronto, Paris, Sydney(French Open QF)
Dinara - Madrid, Rome, Australian Open, French Open, Cincinnati, Stuttgart, Sydney, Wimbledon
Elena - Toronto, Sydney, Paris, Australian Open, Wimbledon, Cincinnati, Stanford, Charleston, Stuttgart

Others upon request....

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/24/2009 at 10:09 AM

The comparison of JJ to Caro really don't make sense. Caro made it to the final of a GS as a teenager, something which took JJ a lot longer to do. Yes, Caro has played a lot, but she has also had a lot of quality. Making it to the final of a Grandslam and a big tourney like Madrid as well as winning three titles and beating top player like Kuzzy and Demmy are evident of the great quality vs quantity that Caro has produced. So the comparison to JJ don't really work, she had more success than JJ at the same age. Caro is the reigning USO finalist which is high quality.

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/24/2009 at 10:35 AM

Just read Tennis life article on the Williamses over at the WTA site. If they really believe that Oudin is the replacement of the Williamses, well I have some swam land they might be intersted in buying. The Williamses have alway had a difficult time being accepted in America and I think this is more wishful thinking. If America is depending on Oudin to be the next best thing, I would suggest they look at her game, break it down and ask, does she really have the serve or a major weapon that can take her to the top of the game??? I don't see it. Belief and determination aren't enough, you need a serve and a weapon. If you look at the way Chris Evert was viewed in America vs the Williamses, there has always been a difference. I find it confusing that some in the American media are so eagered for someone like Oudin with the obvious flaws in her game are so eagered to believe she can replace either Venus or Serena.

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/24/2009 at 10:41 AM

change obvious flaws to obvious weaknesses. Also, wanted to say, I wasn't surprise that the American crowd was cheering for Kim over Venus when they played. I have seen this before when Venus played Amelie at the open. I have never bought into cheering for the underdog theory because I have seen Roddick play many underdogs and still get support.

Posted by Bobby 10/24/2009 at 10:53 AM

So it seems like several folks have comments on my statement that "Caroline Wozniacki is the new Jelena Jankovic". First thanks for the comments – they often make me rethink what I wrote; sometimes I feel even more strongly about a statement, sometimes not.

Second I want to elaborate. That statement was only speaking to the number of matches Jankovic played last year and Wozniacki played this year. I don’t have last year’s data in front of me, but I think both played more than any other Top 10 player. In fact they’re even pretty close in terms of the actual number of matches played. (Jankovic played 84 last year, and Wozniacki played 87 this year.) In their "defense" (not that this is really something that needs defending), I suspect they both entered a lot of tournaments not realizing how far they’d get and how often. (In fact, I think Jankovic said something to that effect last year.) So anyway I’m just saying that my statement had to do with one metric – and that metric speaks to quantity, not quality.

I can’t begin to compare quality specifically right now – I’d want to look at more data (yes, I’m a data junkie) and more matches before doing that. Knowing their games generally though, I do feel that even in terms of quality, the comparison isn’t an insult to either. They’re both AMAZING players – otherwise, for one thing, they wouldn’t be in the Top 10. And personally speaking I’m a big fan of both of their games. Thanks again for all the comments, and have a good day!

Posted by WozniackiFan 10/24/2009 at 10:56 AM

Mayes Wozniacki is only 19 the last time i checked when Jankovic started to play the Teir 1s and winnig them when she was 23

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/24/2009 at 11:01 AM

Forgot to add, I shouldn't analyse Oudin game, but I just got "to believe" like the hype says.

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/24/2009 at 11:04 AM

Thank you Caro fan, people forget that Caro is starting to do at age 19 was it took JJ to age 23, no comparison there. When JJ was Caro's age, she admitted that she had played so badly and lost so many matches that she was thinking about going to college full time. Does anybody remember that long losing match early in her career? I do. Du er den bedste, Caro.

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/24/2009 at 11:12 AM

should read what is took JJ to age 23. Compare JJ and Caro at the same age and you'll clearly see the difference. Did JJ make it to a GS final when she just turned 19. I don't think so.

Posted by Ruth 10/24/2009 at 11:18 AM

I thought that Bobby was basing the JJ-Caro comparison on the number of tournaments played by Caro this year, not by style or talent or anything else. It's hard to believe that, if Caro plays Doha, she will probably pass the (incredible for this "era" of tennis) 90-match mark. I hope that she cuts down next year.

But we have to look at the number of tourneys she entered and then decide if it's her going deeper into tourneys than she expected rather than entering too many tourneys that resulted in her huge number of matches played this year.

Samantha: You remember that Venus-Amelie USO match? I remember it and the crowd reaction vividly. I was posting on the NYTimes tennis forum then, and one European poster said that she couldn't believe the way the locals were cheering for Amelie over Venus. And an American poster suggested -- I'll never forget this -- that maybe the loud pro-Amelie cheers were coming from all of the French- speaking Canadians who had come down for the Open!!!!

Posted by sblily (Wheeeeeeeeee!) 10/24/2009 at 12:00 PM

Ruth - LOL. French-speaking Canadians? Are they like the working mommies who came out in force to cheer Kim on at this year's USO in her matches against Vee and Serena? ;)

Bobby - Yes, those were the days! I actually went back and looked at some old Linda E photos and dang, they just don't make supermodels like they used to. :) BTW - I'm reading Serena's book now and am pleasantly surprised that, as comprehensive as your review was, a lot of the info in the book is still new to me. I just finished the chapter on IW and … Wow. I understand even more clearly why Vee and Serena have taken the stance they have.

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/24/2009 at 12:01 PM

Yeah, I remember it Ruth, Martina N was announcing it and she was shocked and said you would never see the same thing in Europe or Russia.

Posted by Ruth 10/24/2009 at 12:20 PM

sblilly and Samantha: We could publish a slim volume of all the excuses -- pardon me, reasons -- that we've heard for the lack of support that V&S have received from their countrymen, no? It would be #1 among the comedy bestsellers!

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/24/2009 at 12:27 PM

Agree Ruth, the excuses are a lot easier to take I guess. I'm just hoping Caro can do well given her injury. No matter what she does I'm very proud of the year she had, just making it to the YEC is a great achievement, she has come so far.

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/24/2009 at 12:36 PM

Ruth, get ready for the cheering for the underdog mommy excuse to come in. Anyway, good luck to all the players at the YEC.

Posted by Ruth 10/24/2009 at 12:40 PM

Leif Shiras and Corina Morariu, who are doing the commentary on the Kremlin semis on TC, are taking the position that the writers of the Yahoo tennis news article took re: Wozniacki's retirement in Luxembourg.

It's the same attitude that I'd always heard was the norm when I was younger and started following tennis: If you don't think that you'll be able to play the next round, you don't risk hurting yourself seriously by trying to win while depriving your opponent of the chance to continue in the tourney. The male players whom I followed back then did this routinely.

I suppose that in this era of moral rectitude in tennis, anything short of trying to kill yourself on the court is suspect. :)

Posted by Stewart Mawdsley 10/24/2009 at 04:55 PM

Samantha Elin, it's quite frankly annoying when you can't be at least a little objective about your own player. The comparison between Jelena Jankovic 2008 and Caroline Wozniacki 2009 is an excellent one. Not only did they play more matches than anyone else in those years but they both made the US Open final and both looked to be on the verge of an upset (Jankovic in fact had 4 set points to take Serena to a 3rd set and played at a higher level in matching Serena than did Caroline, who was beaten rather convincingly by Clijsters after being up a break in the 1st). Their playing styles are also very similar - very consistent, very fit, and very defensive counterpunching. Jankovic does more with angles and Caroline does more with changing the pace and height over the net.

You had better hope that age is not such a relevant factor. Ana Ivanovic was 3 years younger than Jankovic, won the French Open, and now her game and career are in a downward spiral.

I don't like the chances of either to win a Grand Slam - Jankovic seems prone to losing to players she should beat easily and has already had two of her best chances (the aforementioned 4 set points at the USO, the lead she had at the 2006 USO semi, and being up 4-3 in the 3rd against Ivanovic at last year's French). Caroline may outlast more erratic players (and be smart enough to have a gameplan, she executed perfectly against Oudin) but she will always run into someone who can blow her off the court.

It is a compliment that Andy Murray is being called the male Wozniacki (rather than Woz being called the female Murray). They're at best tactical counterpunchers and at worst weaponless pushers. How Murray has a winning record over Federer I'll never know.

Posted by first 10/24/2009 at 05:54 PM

We should never forget that there is no one like Caroline Wozniacki. She is so unique, one starts to wonder if she is from Mars!

I am so happy for Samanatha who beat Caro to pulp.

I have been hearing things about Caro being pregnant. If she is one, then that will certainly set her apart from JJ. Otherwise, nothing will set her apart from JJ :-)

Posted by first 10/24/2009 at 06:06 PM

"Posted by Samantha Elin 10/24/2009 @ 12:36 PM
Ruth, get ready for the cheering for the underdog mommy excuse to come in. Anyway, good luck to all the players at the YEC."

Also, get ready endless mindless cheering for the Monaco based Pole Dane, moonballer No. 1

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/24/2009 at 06:19 PM

Stewart, I think what is great about this blog is the different opinions people have. Obviously you see a similarity between JJ and Caro and I don't. I respect your opinion but agree to disagree. I think if you compare their achievements at the same age there is a dfference. First, your post made me laugh, particularly the pregnancy nonsense. So thank for the LOL!

Posted by Pat from Philippines 10/24/2009 at 10:21 PM

hi sam...

busy defending caroline.... and i love your defense for vee and serena...thanks sam...

i was sad when i saw the match against kim and vee, when the locals are supporting kim more than vee... and vee literally had to gaze the stadium before she serve on the ninth game, it's like she wants to hear the crowd goign for her, not against her...

it's like sad witnessing your country people doing that to vee...

and for the caro, and jj comparison? well, they're both defensive players... and both move so fast and efficiently, but i guess caro is the better player for what she accomplished at such a younger age...

and one more note... caro is the only player to win three titles in three different surfaces, clay at amelia is., grass in birmingham?, and hard on new haven... such an achievement only rivaled by radwanska last year, henin on 2007 and 2006, serena on 2002, and venus in 2001...

and if caro's body is going to hold up in doha, she had a strike for the title... hope she doesn't bump onto serena and vee... i love them all!!!

Posted by Master Ace 10/24/2009 at 11:33 PM

Pat,
Grass was at Eastbourne and clay was at Ponte Vedra Beach(moved from Amelie Island) but indeed Caroline is the only player to win on all 3 surfaces. Also, she and Dinara are the only players to win 20 or more matches on clay and hard courts.

Posted by Pat from Philippines 10/25/2009 at 12:21 AM

oh thanks master ace...

Posted by lira vega 10/25/2009 at 06:38 AM

"such an achievement only rivaled by radwanska last year, henin on 2007 and 2006, serena on 2002, and venus in 2001..."

And, incidentally, Jelena in 2007 ;)
Though, JJ's run was more impressive of course-Auckland on HC (def. Vera in the final), Birmingham on grass (def. Masha), Rome on red clay (Kuzzy and Demmy) and Charleston on green clay (Venus and Dina)
So, it's kinda like with their games-anything Caro can do, JJ can do better :P

Posted by ken 10/25/2009 at 06:59 AM

SERENA is the best player in the world, regardless of what many might think. The problem with Serena is that she doesnt care about other tournaments and only shows up to defend and collect points, that is her only down fall. I know no other player that can switch it on when it comes to the SLAMS like she does, I guess that is where history is made in the SLAMS and not how many tournaments you've own outside SLAMS.
Lets face it for someone who clearly doesnt give a shit about other tournanments and yet remains in the top 2 in the world with 11 MAJORS to her name, it clearly is working for her. For every female player knows when it is time for the SLAMS NO ONE DOES IT better than Serena she is the one to beat

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/25/2009 at 07:26 AM

"Anything Caro can do, JJ can do better." Lira Vega, as I said before, when JJ was Caro age, she had lost many matches and was thinking about going to college full time. Caro made it to her first slam final when she had just turned 19 which took JJ into her mid twenties to do. Pat, it really was sad to see Venus looking for support from her home country and finding none. As I said, I wasn't surprise because I have seen it many time with them. Even Martina N express surprised when she called the match against Amelie. And I have also listened to the excuses of cheering for the underdog and don't really buy that. American fans have no problem cheering for Roddick and Agassi when they were clearly not the underdog so why the Williamses? What is the difference for some Americans? If you look at the kind of support Oudin got, and how they cheered for her. Can anyone in good conscious really say that the American crowd would have cheered for Belgium Kim over the American great hope Oudin? Not with the way she was hyped at the open. Her matches were sold out and it was Oudin mania. I remember turning on a doubles match on to get rid of the hype and there she was again. It was like the second coming of Evert. I have no problems with the American crowd supporting Oudin, I support the player from my home, my question again is the problem they seem to have with Venus and Serena and the reasons for the lack of support. What is the difference that some Americans see between Oudin vs the Williamses? People will say the problem is with Venus and Serena, I really don't buy that when I have seen Roddick abuse of umpires and fellow players on the court many times and still get support. The lack of support many American have for the Williamses occurred long before the Serena incident, so that isn't an excuse I accept. The IW and the Miami incident to me is very telling. I think the lack of support says more about America than it does Venus and Serena. And Pat, you're right, it was sad to witness that. Still, the question is why???

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/25/2009 at 07:39 AM

Also, why the lack of outrage when an angry Agassi hit a ball in the direction of a linesperson when he was outrage over a call he got? Yes, the ball missed, but that isn't the point. The point is that he attempted to do it. (Of course he deny it, wouldn't you) The ball just when by itself and nearly hit the linesperson.

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/25/2009 at 07:44 AM

BTW, the announcers on the Agassi match stated they believed he was frustrated and tried to hit the ball at the linesperson. Question is threatening to hit a linesperson(Serena) worse than actually trying to it(Agassi)? Agassi actually did it which is worse.

Posted by A.C. Slater 10/25/2009 at 09:15 AM

"The IW and the Miami incident is very telling. I think the lack of support says more about America than it does Venus and Serena."

Then why is James Blake always cheered for in the States?

Posted by Bobby 10/25/2009 at 09:57 AM

sblily, they sure don't make supermodels like they used to! I'm going off-topic here, but I have to add that the word 'supermodel' has been diluted. Back in the day you weren't a supermodel unless you were Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington or Claudia Schiffer. (BTW I remember being excited when I read somewhere that the person Schiffer most wanted to meet back then was Steffi Graf. Go, tennis!)

Now back on topic slightly, 'On the Line' is better than you expected, isn't it? I figured I knew a lot about Serena. After reading it, I realized that there's a lot I didn't know. Plus it's interesting to read about some topics -- like Indian Wells -- from her perspective. That chapter's powerful. Serena especially couldn't believe the treatment she got though she was so young, and you can't help but feel for her when you read it: "I was just a kid, and they were ripping me. I feel so badly for the little girl I was back then. I mean, I was still a teenager! How can you justify treating a child so badly!"

And back on topic even more, I'm excited to see how both Venus and Serena do in singles in Doha. This year they both have very different things to prove, no? Serena's going in with the second-highest number of points, and Venus is going in with the second-lowest number of points. Of course I'm also curious to see if they'll dominate in doubles. They've only lost one doubles match this year. I wonder if they'll lose another here?

Posted by Paty from Philippines 10/25/2009 at 10:30 AM

good point sam!!!

and i have to commend you again sam!!!...

well, their support for agassi and blake spans borders of american cheering for their players...

well agassi is both white and male, we all know they get favorable attention in america, im not waging the race issue but, that is the case... whatever vee and rere do on every other court in the world be it in wimbledon or in melbourne, they still get the same treatment...

even when rere won the career grand slam at the tneder age on 22, it was not widely celebrated, agassi who won another aussie open title at age 33, his third in the past four years... so it comes no surprise with agassi winning it, but serena who only won a career grans slam in the past 15 years had been relegated as 'expected' and receive less renown...

@AC slater
and james blake getting support in america? i don't know why? but maybe he's a man, and men always regarded higher status in america... that's part of america preponderance to sexism, the preferenc of men over women, well, america had no american woman president despite its long history, no female vice president... and it may also be defined by james being a new yorker... so that may result in him garnering much needed support... but still the case can't overshadow the williams sister getting unfavorbale treatment form americ aand its media especially mary carillo... i think the only ones who recognized serena and venus's acheivements are fellow great champions themselves, martina n and j.mac... well it takes 'real' players to understand players too...

@lira vega

thanks lira for including jj... i never jj won such feat... well jj deserves a good remark that year... and jj was expected to best serena in aussie open that year, and i believe she was touted to be a darkhorse at the aussie that year..

well for more jj and caro comparison...

serve: jj, jj hits serve now reaching 120mph... i think it was in tokyo this year she hit a 120+mph serve, and i thought jj showed a great tourney before unexpectedly losing to maria in the finals

forehand: caro, though caro's best shot is her backhand, and that's jj's territory too, caro uses her forehand to dictate points and to make winners at the same time, in her defeat of elena d at miami and charleston, she used her forehand very well, landing at the lines and dragging elena side to side...

backhand: undoutbedly jj, but i had to say jj's backhand lost its usual sting this year after she opted more to imporve her power and serve... but still some hints of her lethal backhand is at show when she defeated dinara at cinci and in tokyo... well, she used her backhand so well in defeating elena at the third set in cinci

volley: i think both are capable at the net, but not so amazing... so equal points here...

mobility: hmph... equal here... but jj at her best can track down the field so well.. and ive seen caro too tracked down so well at the court..

head: well id say ill give this one to caro... she thinks so well, and to think her moonballs are done because she can't do anything with that shot, well think again... caro used moonballs to set up points and to get up to the best position to hit the next shot...

accomplishments: well jj became world no.1 at age 23..and caro had yet to reach the top spot... but the age-accomplishment comparisons clearly weighs in for caro.... caro at her four years on tour had reached from rank 237 and now to no.6 (*per oct 16)..and jj from her first four years on tour rose form no.361 to no. 28... and at 19 caro reached the finals at the us open... considering grand slam appearances... jj outranked caro by reaching the last four at 3 slams... but caro holds more promise, she reached the finals at 19 and had 2 4th round appearances at age 18..

conclusion: caro leads by 5 points to four....

i still love caro!!!

Posted by Paty from Philippines 10/25/2009 at 10:35 AM

hi bobby... nice article....

im also looking forward to doha... i think the serious team that can challenge them is the nuria vives and maria shancez team... both shown so much in doubles this year... maria actually had a good serve and ahd quick hands at the net...

Posted by M-life 10/25/2009 at 11:13 AM

Thanks Master Ace- And I will agree to a point that Serena Williams is still the best women tennis player alive today. With Elena number two. The rest of them you can throw in a hat and pull there names out in random oder. However, either one of them, (#1 & 2) could lose to as many as 20-25 other players on any giving day. In reference to Steve's article a few days ago. Players like Licksicki, Kleybanova, Stoser, Pennetta, A bondarenko, Peng Shuai, Li Na, Makarova, Petrova, Wickmayer, Schnyder, on and on and on, could come out on top against them. That never would have happened in Steffi Grafs era, or Justine in 2006, or even Amelie in 2005. Even today the point is further reinforced with Francesca winning the Kremlin Cup. I love Schiavone, and she deserves the title, but she is a top 25 player, not a top 6. 2009 has been a very strange year in women's tennis. Lastly and again, I'm not saying that its a bad thing, just an anomaly.

As far as

Posted by M-life 10/25/2009 at 11:17 AM

I was about to say before typepad posted on its own accord, as far as Doha, you pick the final 4, never mind the winner, for I have no idea. Though I will not put betting chips down on Jelena or Caroline.

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/25/2009 at 11:30 AM

AC, simple, Blake isn't a threat to win a slam or any tourney. Venus and Serena at the top of the sport doesn't sit well with some in America. Never has.

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/25/2009 at 12:04 PM

M-Life, I would agree, I don't expect Caro to win, but the fact that she's there is something I look forward to.

Posted by Pat from Philippines 10/25/2009 at 12:15 PM

i now understand why media is attacking women's tennis, syaing it's mediocre and such...

tennis is a hierarchichal sport, and elite sport... showing that someone should stand atop others, showing that he/she is the best practitioner of the sport..

clearly the top of today's women's tennis shows the disparity of a leader... though seren awon 2 slams, which is a great achievement, she fared less better at non-major tourneys.. had she won one (miami? maybe) or two (miami or toronto?, she lead a set point against elena at the semis) maybe the tennis critics would've been silenced and declare this year as another serena year... or had dinara who had spent 25 +one week (this week) at no.1 had won one slam (paris) this could be her ultimate year....]

but those things happen... this could be partly attributed to henin unexpectedly retiring in 2008 (well, if im henin in 2008, when she was struggling in dubai, in aussie, and in berlin== maybe henin thought many women had figured out how to baat her) losing a dominant leader atop rankings... or this could also be as a result of the young guns lacking that special ability to dominate day in and day out and become the personification of the sport...

still, im looking forward to 2010... with henin, kimmy, vee, serena, sveta, elena, maria, dinara and ana... and caro!!, gutting it out to win championships..

here are my early bets to win 2010:

aussie - henin (well, her better serve will get her to the finals)
paris - dinara (im not going with henin here)
wimby - vee (she should rest atopt he greatest grass court champs with martina and steffi)
new york - ana (ana develops mental strength, develops a better serve, edges all the competition)

for the first time since 2007, serena won't win any major... though she is in the finals of the four slams, losing all to justine, dinara, vee and ana.... as a consolation, rere would win the championships, winning all against the slam champions, beating them with atleast a set 6-0 in each match

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/25/2009 at 12:20 PM

Venus on the IW incident when her father accused the crowd of using the N word, "I heard what he heard." Serena on the Miami incident, the guy said, "Hit the net like a N would." Sorry, I don't believe for one second Serena and Venus made this up. Nor do I believe an American crowd would ever treat Oudin, Roddick or Agassi with such disrespect.

Posted by M-life 10/25/2009 at 01:51 PM

Caroline, her family and her fans should be very proud Samantha. There is no doubt that she had a very good year. Where does she go from here is the question. What can she still do to improve.

Posted by Ruth 10/25/2009 at 03:18 PM

Samantha: Just read your 11:30 am. How did you get to be so smart so young? :) I read the AC Slater comment/question before I left for church this morning, and I decided that I'd wait to respond until I returned home. Now, I don't have to. Thanks.

Not fair, Bobby. You're making me want to read, at least, the IW chapter of OtL now when I'd pretty much decided that I would save the book to take with me as part of my January vacation reading. Don't worry...I probably couldn't have waited that long to read it, anyway. :)

Posted by sblily (Wheeeeeeeeee!) 10/25/2009 at 03:31 PM

Bobby - Yes, I'm surprised at how much I've enjoyed the book. It's really interesting to read Serena's thoughts on how she felt growing up as Vee's younger sis -- looking at their careers now, it's easy to forget that when they were younger, Vee was the next big thing while Serena was just an afterthought. Reading the bits about IW, the Capriati match, and her approach to matches have also made me more appreciative of how Serena generally handles herself on court (USO meltdown being the obvious exception), considering all the bs she's had to swallow over the course of her career.

Re: the supermodel thing. Yeah, the bar has been lowered so much - wonder what Linda/Naomi/Cindy/etc. think when they go to the newstands and see folks like Jennifer Aniston on the covers of all the fashion mags.

Posted by A.C. Slater 10/25/2009 at 03:51 PM

"AC, simple, Blake isn't a threat to win a slam or any tourney. Venus and Serena at the top of the sport doesn't sit well with some in America. Never has."

Blake has always been cheered in the U.S. He was cheered when he was a threat to win slams from 2005-2007. He was cheered when he was in the Top 5. He was cheered when he won 10 titles. How can this black man be so well-liked when (according to you) America is so racist?

Posted by lira vega 10/25/2009 at 04:20 PM

Pat,
my comment was mostly tongue in cheek, but even if we're doing this comparison thing seriously I don't think my "anything Caro can do, JJ can do better" was far off. I'll give you that Caro seems to be mentally stronger, but other than that, I wouldn't give her any other point in your game. I'd rate them roughly the same in serving/volleying department and give Jelena the edge when it comes to FH, BH and movement. And I most definitely think she's more accomplished of the two, though that's kinda pointless comparison considering difference in age between the two. What stuck out for me in your post was this:
"caro uses her forehand to dictate points and to make winners at the same time". I watched more Caro's matches than I care to remember and Caro using her forehand to make winners is something I've never seen (on a consistent basis, of course she's capable of hitting some FH winners occasionally). I saw her match against Lena in Miami and I don't remember her dictating play at all, especially not with her FH. She can move the ball around with it, but she hits loopy, slow/mid-paced FHs 90% of the time. It's by far biggest weakness in her game and while I'd never refer to JJ's FH as winners-making machine, she can hit pretty flat and pacey FHs DTL and use it effectively to open up the court for her BHDTL. JJ's FH CC looks exactly like Caro's, unfortunately :(

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/25/2009 at 04:48 PM

Blake was a contender for the slams???If you say so A.C. Now back to what Caro needs to do. M-Life, I would love to see her develop more of a net game and her serve has to be stronger. I have seen Caro in person, she's about 5'l0, a little shorter than me and built with more muscle, so I think she has the body for a stronger serve and more power on her strokes. I would like to see her move off the baseline and finish points at the net. She is still young enough to change her game.

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/25/2009 at 04:51 PM

Forgot to add, sorry to hear about Robin's injury. Get well soon to my countryman. Kom igen, Robin, Sweden's#1. He has had a great year, but was unlucky to run into Roger too many times.

Posted by Master Ace 10/25/2009 at 05:21 PM

Doha Draw:

http://tinyurl.com/yjkpneu

White - Dinara, Caroline, Victoria, and Jelena

Maroon - Serena, Svetlana, Elena, and Venus

Posted by Master Ace 10/25/2009 at 05:22 PM

Samantha Elin,
Robin got a right elbow injury at the wrong time and if the doctors say he must rest 2 to 3 weeks, he will not make London.

Posted by Charles 10/25/2009 at 05:32 PM

Great article!
but it looks from the stats that Clijsters is #1 - best winning percentage 13-3 = 0.8125
$/match = $101,844
(includes Lux results)

I know it's not over yet, but here's my top 10 list for the year so far...
1 SWilliams
2 Clijsters
3 Kuznetsova
4 Safina
5 Wozniacki
6 VWilliams
7 Dementieva
8 Azarenka
9 Zvonareva
10 Jankovic

Posted by M-life 10/25/2009 at 05:38 PM

IIra Vega-

Your observations and analysis of Wozniacki's deficiencies are pretty much exactly as I see it. You articulated better than I can.

Samantha- I would agree with you as well on what she needs to do to improve. Though my opinion mirrors I.V's observations that if Caro does not develop a kill forehand, she will continue to struggle against power baseliners al la Azarenka and Sharapova even lisicki and all court movers like Stoser, Pennetta, and Schiavone and even Wickmayer. She'll get some wins over these and other players like them, but more often than not she will lose. In many ways her game is as much like A Rad's than J.J's. That is there will be a cutoff line where she just won't be able to cope with power and versatility.
You are also correct that she is young enough to continue development, and I expect to her to do just that. But until she can finish points with her forehand, I'm much less optimistic than you.

Posted by Angelica 10/25/2009 at 05:40 PM

ADJE JJ!

Posted by Ruth 10/25/2009 at 05:44 PM

ACS: I present for your reading pleasure the following comments on this TW thread:

http://tennisworld.typepad.com/tennisworld/2009/10/blake-and-the-shark.html

Even if you're a fan of JB, as I am, you'd be hard pressed not to admit that the prevailing attitude of the commenters is the one that, sadly, follows Blake. Read them, and then tell us all about this player who, according to you, was perceived as a great threat to the top players in 2004-2007.

Charles: The usual practice, when presenting comparative tennis statistics, is to include players who have played similar numbers of tourneys or matches; that would exclude Clijsters. The winning percentage of a player who played 16 matches cannot fairly be compared with the percentages of players who played 40 to 80 matches. In any case, I think that Bobby was focussing on the top 8 players in her Doha preview post.

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/25/2009 at 06:01 PM

Ruth, thanks for that link and I totally agree with where Pete place Blake as far as winning a slam. This view is similar to what I have read at many sites. He's completely non threatening. I love what side Caro landed on.

Posted by Samantha Elin 10/25/2009 at 06:05 PM

Also, Ruth, I would agree that this is the prevailing view I have heard from many commentators in regards to Blake game.

Posted by Master Ace 10/25/2009 at 06:21 PM

"I think that Bobby was focussing on the top 8 players in her Doha preview post."

Ruth,
You took the comments from me on responding to Charles


By the way, Ace rankings for the WTA did not change so I will not publish another one until Doha is over.

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