Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - Kim Time?
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Kim Time? 01/05/2010 - 1:54 PM

95583687 by Pete Bodo

I've been thinking about Kim Clijsters a fair amount these past few days; I think she's going to have a big -- a very big -- 2010. So she's my choice as the most likely player of the year on the women's side; later this week, I'll also choose a potential male PoY for 2010.

My feelings about Clijsters didn't really crystallize until I read and thought about the return of Justine Henin. Yes, these two Belgians are joined at the metaphorical hip, and have been for a long time. And one reason I think Clijsters will do well is because 2010 represents a great opportunity for her finally to escape from Henin's shadow. I'm sure she wouldn't mind at all if she also puts Henin into her own. Payback. It's an itch.

The Clijsters saga, despite all those elements that could be stitched onto a sampler pillow, seems so artfully constructed that Kim or her advisers couldn't possibly have dreamed it up. In 2007, when she "retired" (it's a prettier word than "quit"), she had one Grand Slam title to her credit, and a long history as a talented but woefully choke-prone competitor. She was 1-5 in major finals, and 12-10 against her nemesis, the dynamo Henin. But keep in mind that from 2001 to 2003, Clijsters dominated Henin, including in some major events; from 2003 on, the tables were dramatically turned. The turning point came in Berlin, in 2003, where Henin squeaked out a win, 7-5 in the third. A few weeks later, the Sister of No Mercy surrendered just four games to Clijsters in a brutal Roland Garros final, winning 6-0, 6-4. That opened the floodgates: from that point on, Henin was 8-3 (4-0 in major finals) against Clijsters.

Clijsters also suffered at the hands of Venus Williams, although a few wins late in their rivalry helped Clijsters build the H2H to a respectable 5-6. Champagne Kimmy was less successful against Venus's sister, Serena, who was 7-1 (and 2-0 in majors) against Clijsters at the time the latter took her break from tennis. Clijsters did manage to wave good-bye with a positive H2H against Maria Sharapova, 4-3, although she was 1-1 against Maria in Grand Slam semis. Clijsters was a narrow 8-7 with Amelie Mauresmo, but hey - she owned that other Grand Slam champ, Svetlana Kuznetsova (7-1)! Didn't everyone?

Given all this, you might be inclined to think that Clijsters was totally bummed out when she heard that Justine Henin was following her out of seclusion, but the operative word there is "following." Henin is the one doing the following now, which is a 180-degree shift, and symbolic in a larger sense of where the two women stand in relation to each other. Given the way Clijsters stole the summer headlines in '09, the message seems clear: Clijsters has re-invented herself (that cute little kid of Clijsters is, among other things, a convenient distraction, although Clijsters certainly doesn't see it that way). The problem for Henin is that there was nothing to re-invent; she just faces the challenge of getting back to what she once was. She's burning a different form of emotional fuel.

The other day, in my post at ESPN, I went into the reasons that Henin might have a tougher row to hoe in her comeback than did Clijsters. I wrote that because her game is rooted in finesse and versatility, it may take her a long time to find her timing and turn her on-court decision-making into an instinctive reaction. But there's a little more to it than that. When I compared Clijsters to a four-wheel drive pick-up truck and Henin to a Ferrari, I was also thinking about where the game is, in general, and what it takes to win - on both tours.

Men's tennis has become, over recent years, a much more physical game. Pure power no longer reaps enormous benefits in the form of aces or winners the way it once did; it now pays off in long-haul stamina. Not just the ability to run for a long time, but the ability to maintain racket-head speed, quick-start muscle reactions, consistency of stroke. The relatively new polyester strings have played a part in this evolution; the harder you swing now, the more confident you can feel that the shot will go in. This has had a huge impact on the game (although we've seen that mostly in the men's game - so far).

A racket isn't a very heavy object, but when you have to swing it accurately, with something like full force, for two-and-a-half hours or longer, it can feel like an anvil. This will be an increasingly big factor in the women's game, too - just as serving power and efficiency is a new frontier that the women are finally beginning to explore.

Clijsters is well-positioned to take advantage of these developments, because she's an exceptionally physical athlete. A few weeks ago, Caroline Wozniacki told me (she was talking about her U.S. Open final against Clijsters): "That was the first time I’ve played her. She’s hitting a heavy ball. Every time you play short, she takes another step forward and wants to be the first to attack. She’s a good runner, too, and a fighter. I wouldn’t call it a different level from the other girls, but she was fresh and relaxed. She’s accomplished all she wanted already, so she’s just playing for herself and her family. I could feel she was relaxed and enjoying the game."

With all due respect to Caroline, I'm thinking it might be a different level.

We all love to watch tennis matches, and sometimes we get in too wrapped up in the details of the game - how someone hit the ball on a certain day against a certain opponent. We can learn a lot from that, but there's a forest-and-trees element at play, because so much of what happens in any specific match is determined by form of the day. We get a better understanding of the game if we look at how a player's fundamental profile fits into the gestalt. To me, the game is becoming more and more physical, and Wozniacki's experience puts into perspective the threat Clijsters represents to her peers and rivals.

If you want to read a counter-point, check out the piece Tom Tebbutt wrote for ESPN on this subject. Tom is a tennis aesthete who worships at the altar of Federer, irretrievably in love with "beautiful" tennis. And with Henin back and Roger Federer in command of the men's game until someone says otherwise, fans of pretty tennis are experiencing glory days. I'm not sure how much longer that will be sustainable, though. Last year's men's U.S. Open final was telling to me, in that it represented the first time that someone other than Rafael Nadal was able to play the game on his own terms on a big stage and get the best of Federer. Against Juan Martin del Potro in that final, Federer took his familiar position: Play any way you want; I'll still find a way to beat you. Del Potro responded with: Okay, its power tennis, with the emphasis on physicality.

In that match, Federer was banking on his formidable abilities to transition from defense to offense - to absorb del Potro's most punishing blows and use them roughly the way wise Yoda used The Force in Star Wars. Yoda, of course, was much older than Federer (Yoda was 900-plus years when he died; that's older than Jonas Bjorkman!) and his complexion was considerably greener than that of the olive-skinned Swiss. But in the end, Federer was unable to turn del Potro's power against him, and he spent most of the match futilely chasing rockets. Even when he did catch up with them, they were too hot to handle and fire back.

For different reasons, Clijsters took a similar, Federer-esque attitude into her U.S. Open semifinal with Serena Williams, but she came away with a different result (the match was close enough before the bizarre ending to draw that conclusion, no matter what might have happened at the end in a more conventional scenario). And she was one of the very few women who managed to resist Serena's shoving and pressing and athletic bullying.

95509212 The first time around, Clijsters suffered some injuries that hampered her effectiveness and probably contributed to her disappointing results in the late stages at some big events. But her game, specifically her physical attributes and abilities, were never in question. Like the lion in the Wizard of Oz, the thing she most needed was a heart. Other players, including Pete Sampras and Martina Navratilova, have faced and conquered a similar shortcoming. There's no reason Clijsters can't do it as well. If she's managed to banish her demons and her smoldering resentment of the way Henin once stole her thunder, she's positioned to flourish.

Now that the Williams sisters are nearing the finish line of their careers and appear to be in some stage of physical decline, Clijsters moves up is an ideal specimen for an increasingly physical game.

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Posted by JAG 01/05/2010 at 02:19 PM

Glad to have Justine back. I haven't watched very many WTA matches since her retirement...

Posted by skip1515 01/05/2010 at 02:31 PM

I see Clijsters' 2010 in much the same way, but with some differences from a few of your points.

1. "I went into the reasons that Henin might have a tougher row to hoe .....than did Clijsters.....her game is rooted in finesse and versatility, (and) it may take her a long time to find her timing and turn her on-court decision-making into an instinctive reaction"

Yes to all that. Plus we forget that she wasn't as indomitable in the last 10 months or so of her 1st career phase. She had trouble closing out sets and matches, and had acquired a bit of the "deer in the headlights" look about her. If that's the last thing she remembers when the going gets tough, it's going to be tough to get going. (Although by some accounts she did quite well against Petrova, who put up a fight.)

2. "Clijsters is well-positioned to take advantage of these developments, because she's an exceptionally physical athlete....Caroline Wozniacki told me (about her U.S. Open final against Clijsters): "..Every time you play short, she takes another step forward....

With all due respect to Caroline, I'm thinking it might be a different level.

.....To me, the game is becoming more and more physical, and Wozniacki's experience puts into perspective the threat Clijsters represents to her peers and rivals. "

It's not just physicality she brings to the battle. Clijsters represents another threat: unlike the women's game as described once by Tipsarevic – all they do is hit the ball as hard as [they think] possible to where the other player isn't – Clijsters is willing to hit one more heavy ball crosscourt than everyone else *and* rush opponents by stepping forwards for anything that's short. That's a heady mix of consistency and aggression in a WTA world filled with stand-back-and-bang players.

3. "Last year's men's U.S. Open final was telling to me, in that it represented the first time that someone other than Rafael Nadal was able to play the game on his own terms on a big stage and get the best of Federer."

Well, I'd cite Safin at the AO, or Nalbandian at the YEC and two Masters events. Del Potro has to do it again for it to be a trend. I'm not saying he won't, just that he hasn't yet. I'm just sayin'.....

A whole lot of points are garnered on the WTA through untimely aggression that results in unforced errors. Clijsters isn't going to give those kinds of points away, and she can hang with the big hitters and quick movers. Definitely a potent combo.

Posted by skip1515 01/05/2010 at 02:57 PM

As a P.S. to #3 above: Ginepri (100 in the world) d Soderling (recent hit-through-him vanquisher of Federer) 6/4 7/5

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Posted by Master Ace 01/05/2010 at 03:05 PM

Wednesday Order of Play

All times are USA EST
Action to start in less than 2 hours

WTA: Auckland starts at 5 PM - Pennetta, Cibulkova/Rezai, Schiavone/Mirza, Wickmayer, Peer and Kirilenko scheduled
WTA: Brisbane starts at 7:30 PM - Hantuchova and Safarova/Wozniak scheduled
ATP: Brisbane starts at 7:30 PM - Roddick, Gasquet, Blake, Monfils and Stepanek are scheduled
HOPMAN: Great Britain vs Germany at 9 PM in Perth - Robson vs Lisicki to start session followed by Murray vs Kohlschreiber
ATP: Brisbane starts at 4 AM - Henin and Berdych/Baghdatis are scheduled
HOPMAN: Russia vs Kazakhstan at 4:30 AM in Perth - Dementieva vs Shvedova to start session followed by Andreev vs Golubey
ATP: Chennai starts at 6:30 AM - Cilic and Tipsarevic are scheduled
ATP: Doha starts at 7:30 AM - Federer, Nadal, Davydenko, Karlovic and Gulbis are scheduled

Posted by Master Ace 01/05/2010 at 03:16 PM

I can see Kim having a typical Kim year(before retirement). What made Kim finally get over the hump since she return was a win over Venus in R16 at USO. After the first 2 sets in which each player collected a bagel, Kim got an early break in the final set and held on. When Kim was serving the match out, her nerves started to appear once again. At 0-15(IIRC), Kim came to net on a FH approach that she hit deep on the deuce side which Venus was able to retrieve with a FH. Kim volleyed the next shot and the ball barely landed inside the baseline. If that ball is out, Venus is up 0-30 with an excellent chance to even the match but at 15-all, Kim was able to hit a FH for a winner on the next point and eventually, she closed out the match.
So far this week, Kim lost a total of only 6 games and have a decent test but if she plays Justine, who has the easier road than Kim, in the final Saturday night(morning in USA), that will be her ultimate test to see if she can overcome her Belgian barrier.

Posted by robbyfan 01/05/2010 at 03:18 PM

I think Kim's adorable daughter (husband too) have grounded her and taken the pressure off. I hope she is totally successful as I love watching her play.

Posted by lionheart 01/05/2010 at 03:21 PM

hi everyone
pete im def with you ---saw kim yesterday and she at times was unstoppable and alicia didnt play bad but kim was runnin everything back and answering with pourpose and wiht big shots and her serve was great i dont remember it that good ...and yep she faced rena like you said ..i have this so better it.

ain other things double yay for roger and rafa congrats to all rafaelites and fedkads
it seems both were convicing wins i checked fed stats and 12 aces and 1 df seems his serve its workin fine

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/05/2010 at 03:22 PM

Yes, me too, robbyfan.

Posted by Blockhead 01/05/2010 at 03:28 PM

I like the post Pete, but I think both Kim and Justine are playing for different reasons now. There's really no pressure on either, in many ways - at least for this year. It's a bonus to have them back, and it's a bonus for them to be able to enjoy tennis again.

I think Kim will have a good year, but Justine playing relaxed, enjoying the game - look out for that. For all the strength that Kim has, Justine has tenfold more in terms of athleticism, quicks, and the best all court game in women's tennis. I wouldn't be suprised to see Justine take a few majors this year.

For the first time since Justine left (with the exception of last year's US Open), I'm looking forward to women's tennis again.

Posted by lionheart 01/05/2010 at 03:30 PM

MA thanks alot for the info above man
but just a doubt does the hong kong schedule been relased yet? its already january 5th in america and the tournamnet start january 6 so by difference of time i guess that it starts tonight

Posted by lionheart 01/05/2010 at 03:33 PM

hey hi lynne!!!!
hows all?
did you watch rafas game ? by the scores seems like a good victory against a good player

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/05/2010 at 03:37 PM

Well after seeing Kim play for the first time this year against Molik.She was strong on all fronts.Her movement and anticipation to me was such a "key factor" in her impressive win.

Well its a long season.So I will still sit back and watch her progression.Though she is really paying attention to her playing schedule.Perhaps bearing in mind she does have a young daughter.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/05/2010 at 03:37 PM

lionheart: Back to school today?

Yes, I was lucky enough to get streams for both Rafa's and Roger's matches. Both good matches, i must say.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/05/2010 at 03:39 PM

I'm just catching up with Sam and Melanie at the moment.

Posted by Master Ace 01/05/2010 at 03:43 PM

Even though I will not post it, Hong Kong does start tonight. Need to find some info.

Posted by Jamaica Karen 01/05/2010 at 03:48 PM

Well, I must be the world's biggest pessimist but I am not optimistic about Kim's impact on the Tour. I dont think she will be as successful as people think she will be. She started her comeback at the tail end of the season on her favourite surface. Kim has had recurring injuries and it will be interesting to see whether her new found love of the game will be there day in and day out, tournament after tournament. In relation to Justine, the only reason why she is back is not for the love of the game, but moreso for unfinished business. She wants a career slam (guess it galls her to have Serena being described as the only active player with a career slam), but regardless, she knows why she is coming back and it is not to be at the top of the women's game anymore. I dont think either of these women wants to be at the top of the women's game. They are purely here to fulfill different objectives. One to complete a career slam, the other because she has found a love for the game and wanted something else to do.

In relation to who will have the better version 2 career, my pick is going to be Justine. I think once she has her game in hand and like Pete said finely tuned, then she will start to do great things with the racquet. I am sorry but Kim beating Molik is not an upset. I saw Molik playing in the wildcard playoffs and she got taken out by a player who does not even have much of a serve. Just kept the ball in play until Molik made an error.

It will be interesting to see how the season develops with the addition of these 2 champions

Posted by Flyer 01/05/2010 at 03:48 PM

No idea why Federer has to be drawn into a discussion on Kim and Justine - nor why the "snear" heard behind the discription of Fed's "beautiful" playing style has to keep creeping into review of his game.

Enough already - Kim & Justine can stand on their own without reference to others, particularly the men, as a method to analyze their games or potentials for 2010.

It's great that Henin is back - hope to hell she can consistently bring the "goods" - only time will tell.

Clijsters has already shown she still has the "goods" and that has only made the women's game - finally - more interesting again.

Posted by Ruth 01/05/2010 at 03:51 PM

Even though Justine was not on a winning spree when she "retired" and even though Kim had some niggling injuries at the time of her own "retirement," the fact is that they both voluntarily withdrew from the field of battle at a time when, generally speaking, they were at the top of their games. They were not pushed out of the game by required major surgery, for example, or an embarrassing suspension or anything that could or would have caused major damage to them either physically or mentally.

So, upon hearing of their returns, I expected them both to return to the field refreshed, having taken full advantage of their absence from competiton to relax and to work on any problems that they or others may have identified in their respective games. Therefore, I expected Kim and I expect Justine to be quite successful upon their returns to competitive tennis.

I would have been very disappointed if my prediction that Kim's break, like the academic sabbatical about which I know a lttle more, would result in her coming back raring to go did not turn out to be true. I really expect no less from Henin. (I may not have predicted Kim's winning a Slam, but I didn't expect to see her wandering in the wilderness at all.)

While Pete makes an excellent point about the difference in their styles of play that might slow Justine's return to success, I cannot agree with it wholeheartedly because I feel sure that Henin, like Clijsters, has spent a good amount of her time away from the Tour working on her game with "competition" that is as good as anything that the 12-15 or so WTA tourneys she might have played could have provided for her in the past months while she was off the Tour.

Posted by Jacko 01/05/2010 at 03:52 PM

Lovely post Pete...
I'm kinda veering towards your opinion (I'm sure this is just cos "i'm a hater and a jj fan who is afraid of Henin coming back and beating her like she always does") on this one...I honestly don't think Henin will win the AO a la Kim...partly because it's not her best surface (Kim came back on HCs, her fave surface) and I would agree she'll probably need some more fine tuning of her game...but if comeback goes well....she should perform very well during the clay court season...maybe not a RG title because a lot of good clay courters have suddenly appeared...
I would also say that health is important for both of them...both have had very serious injuries in their careers...and there style of play could very easily injure them...I think the fact that Henin is quite small and thin...but plays a "big-bang" style (and possibly moreso the match against Petrova she was looking to hit a winner a lot earlier rather than rally like before)....which could seriously strain her body...if she were built with a body more like Serena's with the same height, it would probably be less straining for her...not to mention she runs a lot and has had issues with her knees before retirement...
I would also go back to their last "big comebacks" in 2005....Kim came backing swinging winning her first two tourneys and continued this form right to the end of the year on all surfaces (winning on 3 different types and making multiple QFS and an SF on clay)...of course, Henin (who had been out for a shorter period of time)...did win all her clay titles (fave surface) in only her second through fifth tourneys back....but produced lacklustre results everywhere else (she didn't win a title after RG) for the rest of the season.............just thought it suggested that she may take longer to get used to executing her game again on surfaces outside of clay....
I could probably say more on this....but i'll just end by saying that this is all IN MY OPINION....please do not take it for fact (except for...the blatant facts of course)...and i'll now give another OPINION (as in you are allowed to disagree without calling me a hater for debating an issue)...Henin won't win Wimbledon this year...she's claimed her comeback will be better because she's putting no pressure on herself...but every interview she gives, she talks about how she wants to win Wimbledon this year...and it's the reason she came back...and it's the goal she's training towards...this all sounds like pressure, doncha think???.....if justine were to win a GS this year (which I think she is capable of doing) it'll probably be in RG where she is most comfortable...and probably the crowd who like her most....

Posted by Master Ace 01/05/2010 at 03:52 PM

Hong Kong Schedule
WTA only despite ATP Seniors are there to play singles and play mixed doubles with the WTA

Wednesday at 3:30 AM : Vera Zvonareva vs Ayumi Morita and Maria Sharapova vs Jie Zheng
Thursday at 3:30 AM : Gisela Dulko vs Victoria Azarenka and Venus Williams vs Caroline Wozniacki
Friday at 3:30 AM : Loser # 2 singles, Loser # 1 singles, and Winner # 2 singles scheduled
Friday at 10:00 PM : Winner # 1 singles scheduled

Posted by Jacko 01/05/2010 at 03:57 PM

oh...and i know this is OT.....but i get its his final tourney and he's 39...but when did everyone become El Aynaoui fans?? Kimiko Date Krumm is the same age and winning titles and probably doesnt get as much love/attention....although that probably is "The WTA is a Lottery" veering its ugly head again...

Posted by robbyfan 01/05/2010 at 04:00 PM

May I make a suggestion? Can we revert to there being a message at the bottom of comments that stated "this is closed, no more comments" or whatever the wording was. It gets embarrassing not realizing everyone has moved on to a newer post...............

Posted by carnap 01/05/2010 at 04:02 PM

Jacko: I'm a huge Henin fan, and I don't take umbrage to your assessment of her chances for winning Wimbledon. I agree with you that it will be a difficult challenge, but I'm hoping she's able to complete her career slam. As far as RG goes, IMHO she's got as good as chance as anyone else given her record on clay. Slainte!

P.S. JJ is quite a fave of mine, also, and I wish her a grand season with at least one slam.

Posted by lionheart 01/05/2010 at 04:05 PM

gaaaa typed its not showin my commments wiil be back later
and if this work
MA thanks alot for the info man
and lynne sorry for no answering , i wasnt ignoring you girl:) typed its just messin up with me
see you later guys

Posted by FoT 01/05/2010 at 04:10 PM

Well I'm a die-hard William sister fan but it's still good that Justine and Kimmy are back. The women's game needed this 'spark' because - and I have nothing against them - but Safina, Jankavic, and Anna just didn't cut it being 'leaders' of the women's game. Venus and Serena can't carry the entire WTA (although during their hayday - they came really close), but those three that I mentioned above - they just don't have that "it" that Venus, Serena, Kimmy and Justine has. So this can do nothing but help the WTA.

A question that I have is... if Roger or Nadal would have taken the time off that Kimmy and Justine did - do you think they could come back to the ATP and 'take off where they left off"? Some how I don't think so. But the WTA - well, I can see both Kimmy and Justine doing really well.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/05/2010 at 04:11 PM

I think I lean slightly more towards Kim, absolutely nothing against Justine - she's great. I've aloways liked Kim a lot ... I suppose it's just that old chemistry thing again, lol.

Not only that, but for the sake of peace in our house, as my husband adores Kim.

Posted by sblily (Wheeeeeeeee!!!) 01/05/2010 at 04:12 PM

Hey Jacko! Agree w/ you re: Henin and the pressure she's put on herself. I don't see her winning Wimbledon either, but it won't be for lack of effort.

Re: the El Aynaoui (sp?) love, I think I (and a lot of other folks) have a soft spot for him b/c of that marathon match he played against Roddick in the '03(?) AO. One of the most enjoyable matches I've ever seen. I don't know of Date-Krumm playing in a comparably epic match (could be wrong).

Posted by carnap 01/05/2010 at 04:15 PM

Will Henin's return make Kuzzy and JJ depressed to the point of virtually quitting, or will it stimulate them into finally beating her? Also, does anyone think Ivanovic would have won a grand slam if Henin hadn't quit right before RG 2008? Nobody seems to have any comments on Masha. Is she yesterday's news?

Posted by Jacko 01/05/2010 at 04:16 PM

why thank you's only been one day and already in other places i've encountered Henggression *fears for life*!! :P
All i want is JJ to play decent tennis regularly.....and to not wear this at the AO
(down at the end)

Posted by Jacko 01/05/2010 at 04:18 PM

understood sblily......that match was pre-Jacko tennis viewage....

Posted by Jacko 01/05/2010 at 04:20 PM

the question carnap is would Henin have won RG 2008???....she was struggling with her knees...and had lost her first clay court match (without good reason) since 2006....

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/05/2010 at 04:23 PM

The thing I really dont like hearing with these "comebacks" is,like I have had unfinished business,hmmm Justine?

Hey if you wanted the Wimbledon crown soo much why didnt you stay in the tour.I havent a problem with players retiring and say missing the game so much.Sometimes the grass is greener on the Other Side.Its a whole new world out there for retired tennis players.

I await with interest at Wimbledon this year.To see if Justines Dream and also her career slam comes to fruition.

Posted by Matthew 01/05/2010 at 04:27 PM

But Pete, the Cowardly Lion wanted courage, not a heart. It was the Tin Woodsman who wanted a heart. Kim Clijsters might need a heart, but she doesn't seem like she's made of tin. Justine Henin reminds me more of the Tin Woodsman than the Cowardly Lion. She will need to have someone on hand to oil her gears all year long, and his name is Carlos Rodriguez.

Posted by Ben 01/05/2010 at 04:32 PM

Hello Pete,
Been reading your posts for about a year now. You're the best, no doubt. Love your style and cold-blooded 'philosophy'.
About this post, though.
First of all, let's be honest, I HOPE you are wrong. Who wants to see some pumped-up, super-gatorate fueled athletes take control over tennis ?
And to my point: I think you KNOW you are wrong... You say it yourself: Fed applied the wrong, stuborn strategy in the US Open final. The match was his. You re-play it and he plays smart (i.e. avoid that rocket forehand), he wins.
Del Po, Nadal, Serena, Clijsters, they never were in a position to fundamentaly threaten shot-making geniuses (with some fitness), pure tennis players like Fed or Justine. Sure they put up a strong challenge, but it's much more a mental one. Contrary to a golfer, a Ferrari tennis player has the massive pick-up right in front of them, ready for physical contact. The tiny Ferrari has to feel intimidated deep down. Until it realizes, hey, that heavy piece of steel can only hurt me if I let it get close to me. So if I step on it right (if my game 'clicks'), you can just watch me. The pressure (and what pressure that is, these days) is on the Ferrari, so it will get crushed from time to time. But then a Ferrari is MEANT to 'click', and say 'watch me'. It's in the DNA.
Fed and Justine will prove you wrong.
And you'll love it !
Benoît (from Belgium)

Posted by carnap 01/05/2010 at 04:32 PM

My wish list for 2010 Tennis Season:

1) Henin completes the career slam by winning Wimby.
2) Roddick avenges his ridiculous loss to Isnertia at USO 2008 and wins another slam.
3) Kuzzy takes over the #1 slot and wins a couple of slams. She's has the talent.
4) JJ buckles down and appreciates her talent enough to get that first slam already.
5) Safina becomes a tower of mental strength and takes her first, long-overdue slam.
6) A slam for Murray...yes Murray...just shoot me.
7) Venus decides that only she decides when it's over and wins RG.
8) Wozniacki continues her great form by reaching more slam finals, maybe winning one.
9) Mardy Fish retires.
10)Fed/Nadal keep on keeping on.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/05/2010 at 04:35 PM

Ahhhh Carnap Please dont "jinx" my Safina

She is a Jinx to herself already

Though I appreciate your thoughts.

Posted by mcakron 01/05/2010 at 04:36 PM

My question with Henin will be her fitness, resolve and mental toughness. All three were superlative when she last played, but like Nadal, she was a player who often maxed out her energy level (to the point of breaking down), with the difference being that Rafa could fall back on being one of the strongest players among the men whereas Justine was a trifle small compared to other girls/women. If you imagine a sodden bandana being wrung for every last drop in a 130 degree desert -- that was the impression of watching some of Henin's matches (and Rafa's too). Mixed metaphors aside, does she have that sort of fuel left in the tank? Will she go that hard again, or better yet, can she? One of the advantages that Clijsters had in coming back is one never felt she had maxed out her potential the first time around. Plus, she's nearly as big and strong as Serena. Not so with Henin. She'll need every ounce of energy she can muster.

Anyway, look forward to seeing her compete on the biggest stages, as well as what Kim can do coming off her USO triumph.

P.S. enjoyed the Pete B post and skip1515's @ 2:31.

Posted by Ruth 01/05/2010 at 04:38 PM

I think that it's pretty brave of Henin to come right out and say that she's back in order to win Wimbledon. And even if Jacko is right about her chances of winning it this year, I'm sure that she decided that putting that kind of pressure on herself was good for her. Maybe, it's the BJK "Pressure is a privilege" theory at work.

I don't know about other people, Jacko, but when I went to the USO in the "olden days" :), there were three players whose matches I never missed: El Aynaoui, Kuerten, and Srichapan (sp?). I have to admit that, in the case of Guga and Paradorn, I was drawn as much by wanting to see their loyal fans in action as I was in wanting to enjoy their games. With Younes, it was all because of his style of play and his enthusiasm on court.

Posted by carnap 01/05/2010 at 04:38 PM

AM: I adore Safina and root for her every chance I get. My heart broke when she entered the court at RG 2009 against Kuzzy (who I also adore). She was green about the gills and looked as though she would puke in fear. I wanted to throw a blanket around her and tell her it was ok if she didn't play.

Posted by sblily (Wheeeeeeeee!!!) 01/05/2010 at 04:42 PM

Jacko - RAndy/Younes highlights -

Some of the points (like the one at 7:06) still make me smile.

Posted by Jake 01/05/2010 at 04:42 PM

To say that the Williams Sisters are in decline is complete nonsense. Lets phase back to just a few months ago, Serena was DOMINATING at the Year end Championships. Completely Dominating. Serena is playing better then she ever has, while it is Venus who is the that is in someway starting to decline. I think Maria, Justine, and Kim will become massive forces in the game yet again, but Serena is still the best tennis player of this generation, hands down. She will win at least one Grand Slam this year, Wimbledon as a top choice most likely. This will be one heck of a year for womens tennis, I am VERy excited.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/05/2010 at 04:44 PM

carnap After trying to get over the "massacre" that happened at the AO 09

No the drugs didnt work there at all.I thought at one stage she was a extra ball girl

Coming into the final Again at RG the way she played to get to that final I was soo certain of success.I also love Kuzzy as well.

You could have offered me that blanket ok.

Posted by HootyHoo 01/05/2010 at 04:45 PM

"Now that the Williams sisters are nearing the finish line of their careers and appear to be in some stage of physical decline, Clijsters moves up is an ideal specimen for an increasingly physical game."

What I don't understand Pete is how you could arguably defend your comment about the Williams sisters nearing the finish line of their careers and are in some stage of physical decline. If you just said Venus Williams, I could see how you could validate that statement, however, you said "Williams sisters." How can the year-end No.1, 2009 Aussie Open and Wimbledon champions be in a stage of physical decline???

IMO, it appears like you have fallen victim to lumping the sisters together again.

Did enjoy the article however, and I too think Kim will have a solid year... not the best on tour though.

Posted by Ruth 01/05/2010 at 04:46 PM

AM: I have a problem with athletes saying that they are RETIRING when they know that there's a better than 50% chance that what they want is a (well deserved) break from the grind. :)

Perhaps, it's just my professional aversion to the cheapening or watering down or distorting of the meaning of yet another word in the English language! :)

Posted by carnap 01/05/2010 at 04:47 PM

mcakron: Justine being a trifle small compared to the other women was no deterrent to her domination of the game. Will she be able to do it again? Who knows? I doubt she'll languish at the bottom of the ladder, though. Even if she doesn't regain #1, I have no doubt she'll be in the top ten. Also, let's not compare women to men.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/05/2010 at 04:47 PM

Ah yes, but it is Venus who is the supreme grass court player. Had she not had the knee injury last year, I wonder if Serena would have taken the title.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/05/2010 at 04:50 PM

Ruth After Maria Sharapova squashed Justine at the AO,It didnt surprise me one bit that later she retired?

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/05/2010 at 04:52 PM

Lynne I wonder that too.Venus played lights out tennis to that final.Though to Serena's credit she just was so On from that start to the finish of that game.

Posted by HootyHoo 01/05/2010 at 04:52 PM

Yes, but Serena is the one who displayed more consistency as the dominate player. Although Venus had a good season, it was not up to the caliber that is expected of her, hence Pete's argument for physical decline. I can't for the life of me figure out how Serena got put into his equation though...

Posted by Jacko 01/05/2010 at 04:54 PM

now i undeerstand sblily!!! :P

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 01/05/2010 at 04:54 PM

Hey, everyone. :)

Interesting post, Pete, I enjoyed it. :) I have the same questions about both Kim and Justine, really - how are they going to get on when the grind of the tour really starts again? Although Kim looks to have sorted her schedule out nicely, so far. The other thing is, with Kim she really seems to have come back because she realised that she missed the game. I am not getting that sense from what I've read about Henin - she seems to have a more concrete goal. And I wonder what will happen and how she'll feel if she doesn't reach that goal quickly.

also: YAY for mcakron return! :)

Posted by carnap 01/05/2010 at 04:59 PM

I'm not Pete's biggest fan(ducking bullets), but I doubt he'd lump Venus and Serena together. Whereas it's obvious that Venus isn't playing up to snuff, very few have the same feeling about Serena (disclosure: not a fan of hers, either). Does he know something the rest of us don't?

Posted by london 01/05/2010 at 05:00 PM

hey everybody!!! i think its great that justine and clijsters are back. it will make the australian open very interesting. hopefully since all the attention will be on them, venus will finally win that australian open that has alluded her. serena is definately not going to win because she only wins on odd number of years. safina....hmmm....could this be her chance, no expectaions on her. Sharapova no attention on her either, and she did just defeat venus in thailand. possibility for a 4th slam?? she does win a slam every even numbered year. jankovic? ivanovic? wozniacki? azarenka? lots of potential for this years australian open. look for some great tennis. if only henin wasnt a dangerous floater....she is scaring the begeebeez out of me right now. what if venus or serena drew her first round...i dont even want to think about it.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/05/2010 at 05:00 PM

Hmm yes, AM. But Serena knew, better than anyone, the full extent of the knee issue with Venus. Just saying.

Posted by mcakron 01/05/2010 at 05:01 PM

Thanks, Jewell. ;)

Posted by Slice-n-Dice 01/05/2010 at 05:02 PM

Carnap, your list of hopeful Slam winners is nice, but your math may need some fine-tuning. And, whassup with the Fish-hate? LOL

Posted by imjimmy 01/05/2010 at 05:06 PM

""I assume he (nadal) played well? ""

PSpace: Enough to get the job done. But not as well as he did against Soderling at Abu Dhabi. Today, a little too defensive for my liking especially while picking the 2nd serve. For which he stands way behind the baseline, sometimes, even farther than he does while picking up the 1st. serve. (Why the heck is that?).

Also Rafa's lost some explosiveness in his movement. He's a little slow to start to move to his forehand/backhand side for wide balls. Sluggish even (by his standards). Once he's on the move he's fine. Is the lost explosiveness due to muscle loss in the lower body/legs? BTW he's looked to have bulked up after the WTF, yet I didn't see as much muscle definition (as I expected) when he removed his shirt.

Nadal should start hitting more inside out forehands. He's really good with that shot and sets it up so well when he's confident and it totally transforms the dynamics of a neutral rally. Today he let go several opportunities to hit forehand winners.

All that said, Rafa is playing better than he did at the same time last year. The challenge is to try and peak at the AO.

Fed was awesome today, and so was Davy. Their match should be a cracker. I'm counting on Fed to avenge the WTF loss and crush the Russian in straights.

Posted by carnap 01/05/2010 at 05:07 PM

Slice: I'm too lazy to go back and check my math. What was my obvious blunder? : )
Fish-hate...oh well,where do I begin? It would go on ad infinitum, ad nauseam until you wanted to hunt me down, drag me into the street, and beat me like a cur. Suffice it to say that it isn't entirely unbiased.

Posted by london 01/05/2010 at 05:12 PM

i think pete may have meant that venus and serena are entering their last few years in tennis, particularly venus. even though she has plans to play until 2012 (olympics will be at wimbledon, there is no way she would miss that). i <<<<<33333 venus and serena hoping they do well this year, even though i think serena has no chance because fate isnt on her side (its an even year).

Posted by Jamaica Karen 01/05/2010 at 05:14 PM

@London, if Serena draws Justine first round, Serena wins. Serena has a record that is envied by all tennis players. She has never lost in the first round of a major from the day she started playing professional tennis. She has stated in the past that that is a record that she will maintain until she retires

Posted by wilson75 01/05/2010 at 05:15 PM

skip1515 forgot to add Djokovic as another player who took it to Federer on a big stage and I too would like to know why the ATP is brought in when the topic has to do with the WTA players?

As for Justine and Kim, first it's too early to tell how Justine will do but from the higlights I saw she looked pretty good. Kim has been able to be so successful on her return because with the exception of Serena and Venus (when she's 100%), the WTA isn't very good. So my message is let's wait and see.

Posted by Corrie 01/05/2010 at 05:17 PM

I thoroughly enjoy watching both Justine and Kim play, so now I may start taking an interest in women's tennis again. I have no idea what they may or may not do - in fact, I can never see the point of any predictions - but I did sit up and take note of what Nadia Petrova said about Justine and Kim, because she's in the unique position of already losing twice to Justine in her comeback - poor girl.

Nadia said she thinks Justine's game is better than it ever was because she's more attacking now, she's not playing clay court-like extended points, her serve is more aggressive and she thinks she's a good chance to win a Slam soon. And that she'll win more than Kim because her game is superior to Kim's.

Only time will tell if she's right, or Pete's right, just as time will tell whether Roger learnt from the USo final how not to play Delpot and whether Rafael is back to his best.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/05/2010 at 05:17 PM

Karen, I think Slice is around ... what was that question about tossing the ball and catching it on the racquest?

Posted by carnap 01/05/2010 at 05:17 PM

So all 11 slams won by Serena were simply due to fate? lol Even as a non fan, I can appreciate that her talent is what carried the day.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/05/2010 at 05:18 PM

Slice We need to ask you a technical question if you are still around.This is going o/t

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/05/2010 at 05:19 PM

imjimmy I did leave you a post regarding Rafa,its on the other post.

Posted by CL 01/05/2010 at 05:22 PM

Gee Flyer - I didn't hear a 'snear' behind the "Federer's beautiful game" comment. Didn't even hear a sneer. ;-))

I am first on the ramparts when it comes to defending Fed from any dissin' - even if it is Pete doing the perceived 'dissin' and my dissin' meter is set to 'hyper-sensitive,' but I honestly didn't anything 'untoward' in what Pete wrote. And I think the reason Pete wrote what he did and added to a piece that was basically about Kim and Justine and the women's game, was to segue into brief musings on where the men might be headed, power-wise.

Off to check the rest of the posts from here high atop the ramparts.

Posted by Kwaku 01/05/2010 at 05:25 PM

Ben, nice post. But DelPo beating Fed at USO final JUST ONCE for Fed stubbornly choosing the wrong strategy (out of pride or whatever, it doesn't matter) is different from Nadal CONSISTENTLY beating Fed 2/3 of the times they meet (and more to come).
And besides, putting it as beauty against brute force, genius shotmaking against sheer phisicality, is not simply not fair... more significantly than unfair, it is just wrong, i.e. mistaken. The degree of intelligence and beauty in Nadal's game seems to escape too many people. Not the kind of beauty of a princess dancing on a tennis court, but still beauty no doubt.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/05/2010 at 05:27 PM

Carnap I dont think Slice fully understands my own personal vent towards Mr Fish

Real Men Wear Full Socks.

Posted by Jamaica Karen 01/05/2010 at 05:28 PM

Ruth, just saw your post over at the Vera post regarding posters taking things out of context. I saw it and just scrolled on by. It is 2010 after all and my focus this year is on the positive things in tennis.

Posted by CL 01/05/2010 at 05:29 PM

Jacko - I dunno... I think there was a decent amount of tennis flove over Date recently. I mean it never spread much beyond the tennis media, but I doubt Younes' story right now will either.

And for me too, that AO match against Roddick is just burned into my brain as one of the most totally enjoyable tennis watching experiences EVAH.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/05/2010 at 05:31 PM

kwaku Hey you dont have to convince me about Rafa's game one bit.I think its lost on TV.To actually see him play Live is truly amazing.He is one of most amazing athletes I have seen.The top spin he can create just leaves me breathless.Also his movement is sublime.

Posted by london 01/05/2010 at 05:36 PM

a little off topic here but, will there still be crisis centers to conversate in this year or will we have to go to the message boards. i hate the message boards btw. there is just too many posts and messages and all that. i never go there.

Posted by Jamaica Karen 01/05/2010 at 05:38 PM

Fo anyone interested Andrew Burton has a post about the Elite 4 which makes for very interesting reading and Flavia and Carla are now playing
4-2 Flavia with a break

Posted by Jamaica Karen 01/05/2010 at 05:39 PM

Link to Flavia match here
you will have to register but it is free

Posted by Kwaku 01/05/2010 at 05:42 PM

BTW, Pete, very nice post. From your last posts pre Kim 'retirement' I had the idea you kind of disliked her (even if you insist you have few emotional investments on players, which I believe, why not). But your post today has made me look forward to paying attention to Kim.

As for Henin targetting Wimby, isn't grass supposed to be the most athleticism-demanding surface? Difficult goal for Justine, if that is the case.

Posted by ladyjulia 01/05/2010 at 05:42 PM

Where can i find the match calls? I missed the matches today...

Also...I have no idea which are the current posts...kind of confusing...I've spent 10 min and still can't find the match calls...though i did find Andrew's post and dialog about Kim-Justin.

Posted by Kwaku 01/05/2010 at 05:46 PM

AM, I was responding to Ben above. I know you appreciate Rafa's game.

Posted by CL 01/05/2010 at 05:49 PM

ladyjulia- wasn't that much in the way of match calls today... a bit more for Rafa than Fed..such as they are, they are back in the last few pages of the 'Vera Makes a Move' thread.

And I agree....this new layout is pretty unclear which is the most current thread and even that there IS a new thread.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/05/2010 at 05:54 PM

Kwaku I knew that lol! just adding my two cents worth in.

Posted by ladyjulia 01/05/2010 at 05:56 PM

CL..thanks..its early days of the tourney i guess. I only saw the score..looks fine but scorelines can be deceiving.

I do miss the "your call" threads..they were easy to find and search for discussions about matches and schedules. Also, Pete used to put in on the last line of the post whether it was an on-topic post or YC post...apparently, now he dosen't.

Maybe they can have it color-coded? The current YC post can be a red-title or its easy to make out.

I mean its small tourneys right now...but i think people do rely on match calls during GS season if we miss matches during work. Its a unique experience and the scoreline never says all.

Posted by Arun 01/05/2010 at 05:57 PM

CL: The said (playful) sneer was not on the Fed; but on his fans to some extent, I suppose.

Good to see you back, McAkrom.

Posted by Arun 01/05/2010 at 05:57 PM

*McAkron, of course.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/05/2010 at 06:02 PM

Well I am a fan of Federer

Noone "sneers" on my parade let me tell you

Posted by Diane(Atlanta) 01/05/2010 at 06:04 PM

Aussiemarg, I agree...seeing a player in person is so much better than watching on TV. I am not a Rafa fan but he is impressive close up; makes too much noise for me. On the other hand, Roger close up seems to just glide, hardly even breathing heavy and he produces the most amazing shots. Last year at IW I was 5 feet away from on the practice court and he seemed other worldly!!!!

Posted by Arun 01/05/2010 at 06:06 PM

I mean, not Fed. but the 'pretty tennis' and the fans in general, as usual. Though I admit it looks like playful.

Posted by Kwaku 01/05/2010 at 06:06 PM

What's funny is that the (re)introduction of the Watercooler concept was meant to make it clear what is on-topic and what is not, also give the 'right' image of the site to newcomers... but the fact is that we 'regulars' still find it often difficult to locate where the 'action' is...

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/05/2010 at 06:12 PM

Dianne Well Rafa's shots are also amazing.The sheer power he can generate from his f.ahnd and that amount of top is sublime.Also the amount of Different spin he can put on one Ball? is alien to me and others.His foot work is sublime.He brings soo much Passion the court.Thats one thing that got me in with him.He makes you play every point with him.He reminded me of Agassi a lot.After Borg I didnt think another player could do it for me,then along came this young man who in my mind is a truly amazing man both on and off the court.

Posted by Kwaku 01/05/2010 at 06:19 PM

I just looked up 'sneer' in the English-Spanish dictionary.

I apologize if my comment sounded like sneering on Federer, but I couldn't do that even if I tried, because Federer is just such a great champion. My comparison of the princess dancing on a tennis court just wanted to explain that Nadal's tennis beauty is different, but it also exists (in heaps).

Posted by UWYSH 01/05/2010 at 06:24 PM

All I have to say is, you are silly, silly, silly if you are counting the Williams sisters out. Have you not learned from the past to never do that? I didn't quite understand Peter's statement about them, given they were both playing in the final of the YEC. They may have been injured, but on the decline? Let's get real. Their critics and haters said they were on the decline back in 2005, and look what they managed to do then. Now wouldn't it be something if they just obliterated the field this year like they've done before?

Anyway, about theis Kim and Justine business. From the sport's standpoint, it's good to have them back. Venus and Serena have been carrying the sport (almost all by themselves) for a while now, with Maria not 100% b/c of her shoulder. I'm not going to get into who will have the better season, b/c it's something we'll just have to wait and see for. I would rather Kim collect another slam, considering she has a lot more catching up to do to Serena, Venus, and Justine. However, Justine will not win Wimbledon this year, and I'm confident in that. Unless BOTH Serena and Venus are injured and not playing in the tournament, she has no chance at all; and that's not hate, that's just reality. The Williams' have an iron grip on that tournament, and they will not let the Venus Rosewater dish slip out of the family just yet. Now come 2011, who knows. Here are my predictions for this season (even though they are pointless, as ANY predictions are):

-Australian Open: Serena; if not her, I'm looking at Venus or Kim.
-French Open: I'd like for it to be Serena, b/c it's the one slam she hasn't won more than once, but given Justine's record, I'll have to go w/ Henin. Safina (if she gets her act together) and DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA (she made noise there last year, and it's the one surface where her diminutive size won't give her a disadvantage) could be major threats as well.
-Wimbledon: c'mon, this one stays in the family another year. Venus will be more motivated to win this one, but never count Serena out. The only, and I mean ONLY, other players who may have somewhat of a chance are Sharapova (only if her serving woes are long gone) and SABINE LISICKI (newcomer looking for her 1st big moment).
-US Open: this one is WIDE open. I have no one prediction for this one; it could be ANYONE. Wozniacki could have a weapon by this point, and Sharapova could be back at 100%. Henin could be fully confident and capable, as could Kim. Williams sisters....yeah, I can't pick one.

Posted by Jackie 01/05/2010 at 06:26 PM

Diane, are you still there? Might I be able to send you an e-mail?

Posted by Jackie 01/05/2010 at 06:26 PM

Oof, sorry for the OT ...

Posted by lionheart 01/05/2010 at 06:33 PM

hi all again !!!
hope this post appears typepad has been givinn me a bad time all day gahh
awesome flavs its about to win her match agaisnt CSN....wait ..she wins now 62 62
forza flavs :)))
and wicky its about to start hers

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 01/05/2010 at 06:33 PM

I can't understand why this word "hate" or "haters" is used in this sport of tennis. Please look up the meaning of the word before using it.

There is no place for this word in tennis or any other sport.

Posted by Kwaku 01/05/2010 at 06:34 PM

AM, it is interesting that the player that could make it again for you after Borg has such a contrasting personality with him (latin passion vs. scandinavian coldness --with the exception of Samantha Ellin, lol!), and even more interesting that it was precisely his passion what initially brought you to him.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 01/05/2010 at 06:35 PM

This is the way I see the WTA, you have the elite players, the Williamses, Sharapova, Caro, Justine, Kim. Then you have the second string, JJ, Demmy, Safina. I still believe that Kim's toughest opponent will be Justine and Serena who I believe are overall better players. No matter what it will be an exciting year with everyone back. UWYSH, take comfort in the fact that Venus and Serena are at their best when people doubt them. Serena in her book takes it has a challenge.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 01/05/2010 at 06:35 PM

This is the way I see the WTA, you have the elite players, the Williamses, Sharapova, Caro, Justine, Kim. Then you have the second string, JJ, Demmy, Safina. I still believe that Kim's toughest opponent will be Justine and Serena who I believe are overall better players. No matter what it will be an exciting year with everyone back. UWYSH, take comfort in the fact that Venus and Serena are at their best when people doubt them. Serena in her book takes it has a challenge.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 01/05/2010 at 06:38 PM

Kwaku Borg invented Coolness.He was a tennis visionary.The fittest athlete I have ever seen play the game.In a way he brought out a smouldering Passion in me.Maybe thats the best way to explain it.With Rafa he wears All the Passion on his sleeve and then some.Maybe as ones gets maturer I needed a jolt to my system lol!.

Posted by Kwaku 01/05/2010 at 06:38 PM

Jackie, when are you giving the awards?
And remember the one for "lurker of the year", lol!

Posted by Mr. X 01/05/2010 at 06:38 PM

Hi everyone.
Well, i wouldnt dare to predict a player of the year at this stage, but Pete's choice is good, obviously. I havent watched any tennis since the exho on Saturday (which i LOVED), but Kim is destroying her opponents so far. Of course, it's only early stages, and Justine beat a harder opponent than any of Kim's, IN HER FIRST MATCH BACK. Interested in who Pete is gonna pick for male player of the year. I feel it's gonna be a crazy Serbian or a big Argie.
About the differences between Kim and Justine's comebacks, i feel that Kim faced it better, as in putting less pressure on herself, than Justine, who is already facing a clear goal (winning Wimbledon).
The game has looked pretty physical to me for a number of years, but since i am not really a lover of the "pretty tennis", i dont have much of a problem with it.
Oh, and i liked the analogy between Fed and Yoda:)

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