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Blondes Away! 10/30/2010 - 11:09 PM

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by Pete Bodo

As Caroline Wozniacki prepares to play for the WTA Championships title (a win there would be Wozniacki's most significant title to date), we're entitled to wonder: Is she the next dominant WTA champion, plucking titles off the Grand Slam tree as if they were low-hanging fruit (see "G" for Graf, or "S" for Serena), or the next...Elena Dementieva?

Dementieva stole some of Wozniacki's thunder this week, choosing to retire from tennis at the same time that Wozniacki sewed up the year-end No. 1 ranking. So one blonde is out, one blonde is in, maintaining a tradition while also paring it down. Wozniacki, of course, has already surpassed Dementieva's career-high ranking of No. 3. But can she build a comparable resume, which includes two Olympic medals (including a gold in singles at the 2008 Beijing Games), nine semifinal—or better—finishes at Grand Slam events, and a 22-5 singles record in Fed Cup?

Two of those Fed Cup wins came in the 2005 final against a strong French squad. Dementieva put on a master class. She beat Mary Pierce and Amelie Mauresmo in singles, and partnered with Dinara Safina to win the critical fifth doubles (defeating the same two women Dementieva subdued in singles) in one of her career-best moments. And it was a championship tie played away from Dementieva's Moscow home, at the home of the French Open, Stade Roland Garros. In a way, that performance is emblematic of the realities that govern the WTA (as well as ATP): If you're not winning majors, you're chopped liver, at least as far as broad acclaim goes. But really, there's a lot more to having as long and rich a career as was Dementieva's.

A player like Dementieva—ask the next cab driver you hail if he recognizes the name—wins an awful lot of tennis matches. Many of those wins are resonant and certainly deeply satisfying. Kind of like writing a novel that's highly praised by your peers, and the most discerning of critics, but fails to crack the all-important best seller list, or attract a big, fat option deal from some movie producer. Why not me?, you may find yourself wondering. To which the only real answer is, Who knows? The prize-money check may balm what wounds a Slamless pro sustains, as does the respect of her peers and the cognescenti. But there's a bigger prize out there, and everyone knows it.

But it's easy to place so much emphasis on the majors, especially when it comes to players not our own. As important as the majors are, they're also to some degree a least-common denominator, universally used to judge players in who we don't necessarily have some vested interest. When you judge a player by her success at the majors—and it's not as if Dementieva has been a total Grand Slam flop—it's a little bit like adopting money earned as a baseline measure of success in business. (Or in the arts, although we're not supposed to say that. But would you really love, say, a Julian Schnabel—or even know who the hail he is—if his work wasn't going for $5 million a pop?) Or put it this way: If that cabbie to whom you put that question about Dementieva picked you up in Moscow, I'd bet dollars to donuts that he or she certainly would recognize her name and her accomplishments. But would he know the name Francesca Schiavone, or Gaston Gaudio?

Wozniacki in some ways has a tougher row to hoe than did Dementieva, despite having jumped out to a significantly better start. Dementieva, who's 29, didn't hit her career-high ranking until last season; Wozniacki, ranked No. 1, is all of 20. With 12 singles titles to her credit, Wozniacki is already just four short of Dementieva's career haul (16). And despite their age difference (even top players are generally thought to need a significant period of apprenticeship before ascending to No. 1, even if they win majors long before), Wozniacki has a winning head-to-head record against Dementieva (4-3).

Those statistics are prohibitively positive for Wozniacki. Yet somehow if I ask myself, Will Wozniacki have a better career than Dementieva?, I find myself balking at making what would be the obvious reply, and why that's so is a question that's more easily answered than the original one.

Dementieva had the misfortune to be a contemporary of Venus and Serena Williams. She played Serena surprisingly close, finishing 5-7 (and who can forget that epic Wimbledon win by Serena, 8-6 in the third, in last year's semis?), but had more trouble with Venus (3-9). Dementieva played Martina Hingis well seven times (3-4), but she was generally crushed by Lindsay Davenport (5-11). Against other Grand Slam champs or No. 1 players, Dementieva was 3-7 against Jelena Jankovic, 4-2 versus Ana Ivanovic, and 6-5 against Dinara Safina. Dementieva was hammered 11-3 by Kim Clijsters and even more savaged by Justine Henin, 11-2. She struggled against Svetlana Kuzentsova (4-7) but fared slightly better against Mauresmo, going 6-10.

By my unreliable math, Dementieva was 44-74 against the best players of two generations. Just for kicks, I checked to see if she'd ever played Steffi Graf, and came up blank. I don't have the patience to add up all the Grand Slam titles accounted for by the women represented in this head-to-head, but suffice it to say that it's mildy surprising that a woman who has a better than .500 record against the cream of the crop didn't hit paydirt on at least one occasion at a major.

Wozniacki is 0-2 against Serena Williams, and 0-4 against Serena's sister Venus. She won the only match she played against Mauresmo, lost her only match with Kim Clijsters (whom she'll face today) as well as her one encounter with Henin. She's 1-2 vs. Ivanovic and 0-4 vs. Jankovic. Davenport won the only time she played Wozniacki, and Hingis crushed her twice. Safina won her only match against Wozniacki. Wozniacki is 3-2 against Kuznetsova. All told, by my count, she's 5-19 against the best players she's faced, and two of those players (Jankovic and Safina) have, like Wozniacki, failed thus far to win a major.

106307504 Five of 24 is a far cry from 44-74, but it's also true that Wozniacki is at the very beginning of her career; I doubt that Dementieva's winning percentage was much higher against the best players at a comparable age. But the critical detail is that Dementieva was nowhere near the No. 1 ranking when she was 20 (she finished 2001 ranked 15th, and actually fell back four places the following year). So what we have in Wozniacki is the apprentice in charge of the workshop, and we'll just have to wait to see how that all works out. It's absurd to challenge or attempt to discredit that No. 1 ranking. It's a fact, although we can while away hours discussing how it came to pass. But the burdens that are passed along to the player who's no. 1 are not to be dismissed.

The great advantage Wozniacki enjoys, which Dementieva never had, is that she's free to write her personal history on what looks more and more like the proverbial tabula rasa. Her path isn't exactly strewn with roadblocks. Three of her main rivals—Jankovic, Ivanovic and Safina—have one major between them. Maria Sharapova hasn't been the same since her shoulder injury of over a year ago, and the Williams sisters are banged up, their future uncertain. Clijsters returned, but has put up exactly the kind of results you can expect from a part-time employee who's secure—she appears to be working only because she needs to fill her days and the money, which after all, is pretty darned good. Henin has retreated to lick the wounds inflicted during her brief return to the fray. Hail, even Kuznetsova's future is clouded, although I imagine Wozniacki wouldn't mind battling her, given how Sveta has provided Caro with more than 50 percent of her wins over top players.

Dementieva is a superior athlete to Wozniacki, but then tennis isn't a game ruled by athleticism, even if it's the value-added element that tends to lift great champions above merely good ones. That raises an interesting point: Was Dementieva a better "athlete" than "tennis player?" And if so, does it mean that Wozniacki, who's clearly more tennis player than athlete, ought to fare better in the long term?

Wozniacki hasn't exactly lit it up at the majors (the U.S. Open excepted), but she's demonstrated a great deal of consistency—more than was ever shown by Dementieva. In tennis, winning begets winning; it's a simple as that. And Dementieva's failure to win a major is less of a comment on her athletic abilities than on some flawed component of her make-up as a tennis player—a shortcoming she was able to overcome on only a few occasions, like the Beijing Olympics, or in that Fed Cup final against France. Call it choking, call it falling prey to a bad day on an important day, or call it the quality of competition—it amounts to the same thing: An inability to raise her game and tighten down the mental screws when it most counted. The failure of a habitual consistency.

So there is Wozniacki's position in a nutshell. The WTA is there for the taking, and Wozniacki has shown signs of being the kind of player who can put the hammer down on her rivals, week-in, week-out. But she has yet to prove herself by the most reliable measure of all, winning the biggest of titles. The opportunity for her is enormous, partly because at the moment there is a surprising lack of potential resistance. And until we see a player whose combination of desire, dedication, fitness and talent exceeds that of Wozniacki's present rivals, it's her game to lose.


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Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/31/2010 at 02:54 PM

I remember my first sleepover party.

It was so much fun.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 02:55 PM

Samantha Elin Tell me what costume did you end up wearing

Congrats to Caroline she had a great year and ending it as the no 1 player is a great accomplishment to her you have every right to be proud.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 02:58 PM

manuel I didnt know they had sleep over's when you were young?

Runs for cover

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 10/31/2010 at 03:01 PM

I sincerely hope that on court coaching is not the future of tennis. The day that happens I will find another sport to follow and give tennis the order of the boot.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/31/2010 at 03:02 PM

aussiemarg:

Who said I was young when I first experienced the delight of a sleepover?

By the way, Lorenzo won another GP and Marquez took another step to making it a Spanish season championship sweep in the MotoGP, Moto2, and 125cc series.

Had been raining much of the weekend in Portugal, so I'm glad the racers were able to avoid any major injuries this weekend (AFAIK).

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 03:03 PM

sorry had to be away for a minute. Making a ratatouille (sp?) and as it is my first time I had to keep coming back to check the recipe that I am using seeing as my stupid printer refuses to work so that I could print it out and put it on the kitchen cupboard ...but I digress.

Yes, Rezai was an awakening for most of us during clay season and while I did not think she would win the FO, I thought her performance leading up to and even the match where she was ultimately eliminated made for good theatre, if not spectacular tennis announced her arrival in a big way and made for good tv. It helped also that she was one part tough as nails and the other part erratic as they come.

I think going into 2011 the WTA Tour is in a very good place. Are we seeing a transition from the veterans to the younger players? I do not think so. The mean age of those in the top 10 is 26 years and so it would seem as if what we will have is players going for longer periods in this sport, rather than retiring as soon as they hit the 25 year mark and start hearing the ticking of that biological clock

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 10/31/2010 at 03:07 PM

AM, I went out dress as a cat, my fourth Halloween party since Friday, so I'm burned out. Will talk with everyone later. Congrats to Kim.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 03:08 PM

manuel LOL! Well that was a big assumption on my part then

Yes Congrats to Lorenzo I am sure he will win the championship this year

Another Spainish sports man winning a major championship

I must say Spainsh sports men have had a wonderful year

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 03:09 PM

@Jamaica Ratatouille is the correct spelling. Recipe? Heck, my mother and my aunts, French Canadians, all had different recipes. I make mine out of whatever veggie leftovers I have, best with very ripe ones. Good olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme and basil and Bob's your uncle!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 03:10 PM

Samantha Elin A cat? well I am a huge cat lover.I would love to see a picture of you lol! Bye for now.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 03:12 PM

manixdk Stop it you are making me hungry that sounds great by the way

Posted by carnap Not-For-Prophet 10/31/2010 at 03:12 PM

Congratulations to the Queen Mum, Champagne Kimmy! Take this success into next year, too.

Congratulations to Golden Girl, Caroline, too! You've had a great year and own the number 1 ranking. I wish you every success for next year, also.

These ladies never fail to entertain me, and their consistency is awe-inspiring.

Posted by Joe 10/31/2010 at 03:24 PM

I've finished to read some comments and I agree with Caro will get soon a GS, she deserved it and she will

Talking about *hypocrisy" haaaaaa haaaaaa, Tim, don't make me laugh, look who is talking about it!!!!!!

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 10/31/2010 at 03:26 PM

well Moonball Woz has established she is a star, and a contender, to be sure... but clearly, she's lacking the firepower of Kim and Serena (and Venus?), everyone else she can handle, so a huge year for year and one of my fave women's matches this year was Woz and Shriekie at the Open, it was good stuff...

well marg you won, i made some coffee at home, and am taking it to the gym... no more money to starbucks today!

lets hope for Henin to return to full speed next year, she adds SO much to the WTA

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 03:26 PM

@manixdk, that particular food item is not really a part of West Indian cuisine. I am actually adopting it to suit a West Indian palate (mine :)). I like it very much as it uses a vegetable of which I am not particularly fond (aubergine). I have put a bit of a West Indian twist to it and added some chickpeas to it to create some texture. It is looking pretty good so far.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 10/31/2010 at 03:29 PM

ah JOe, welcome back! that logic to you is painful, I know, no matter what you think, my point about Carol is beyond argument, so maybe take a page from yesterday and decide that civility is the way to go and maybe some humor for good measure? ill try to do the same if you will...

that would be excellent progress...

im happy for Kim i just watched the end, she's ecstatic and its nice to see genuine happiness and joy in life ... i dont find her niceness phony at all

Posted by Fern 10/31/2010 at 03:29 PM

@Lynne - totally agree with your post at 3.01. A lot of tennis' appeal is in the individual nature of the game - how a player reacts mentally and executes physically when under extreme pressure, say in a Grand Slam final. On-court coaching (for me) undermines a player's ability to think for him/herself ... and at the top level I find it ridiculous, frankly!

Off this thread a bit but ... congrats to Jurgen Melzer at his home tourney - I love it when older players enjoy an 'Indian Summer' in their careers. Congrats to Haider-Mauer aswell for a great week and making a competitive final ... perhaps Thomas Muster doesn't feel so bad now :)

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 03:32 PM

OK time to exit stage left. Been great guys. Really looking forward to 2011 on the women's tour. Have a great Sunday.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/31/2010 at 03:33 PM

Tim:

Piece of advice:

Don't rile up Spanish women.

If you haven't seen some of the closing scenes from del Toro's El Laberinto del Fauno (Pan's Labyrinth), I suggest that you watch that film--if only to learn of one type of fire with which you shouldn't play.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 03:34 PM

Fern I agree with you and Lynne in regards to "on court coaching" 100%

Maybe we need to do a huge "walk a thon" with plackards saying

"No More On Court Coaching In The WTA"

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 03:35 PM

Bye Jamaica. By the way, I make a very good curried goat.:)

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 03:37 PM

Sorry that should be curry goat

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 10/31/2010 at 03:38 PM

lol thanks msf, but cant take that advice, my job here is to restore truth and logic lol ... the 'do as i say, not as i do' stuff drives me crazy ...

by the way of course I saw Pan's Labyrinth, great movie!

Posted by Sherlock 10/31/2010 at 03:39 PM

"So now that the "Greatest Mother and nicest person in the in the world" or "the Spawn of Satan who pretends to be nice and only won three grand slams and sucks in every way compared to Serena and Venus" (depending on your alliegiences) has wrapped that up... "


Lol, MikeDC. Spawn of Satan, indeed. Some folks like their grapes quite bitter around here. :)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 03:40 PM

Sherlock Do they have grapes where you live as well?

I adore grapes not bitter of course

Posted by Joe 10/31/2010 at 03:41 PM

Tim, go to a Halloween party and enjoy the life!

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 10/31/2010 at 03:42 PM

Joe, I am many thanks... boo!

LOL

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 03:44 PM

Well the kddies didnt knock on my door last night.Apparently I dont do lollies well.LOL!

Such is life

Posted by Sherlock 10/31/2010 at 03:46 PM

AM, you bet we have grapes. Oregon is becoming big wine country. :)

Though the grapes aren't as good as the cherries. As you know. :)

Posted by carnap Not-For-Prophet 10/31/2010 at 03:48 PM

Don't sour grapes make gall? The Debbie Downer attitude in here since the start (maybe even before the start) of the tournament is one reason I avoided signing on. It appears that I made a wise choice to avoid all the bitterness.

I've thoroughly enjoyed all of the matches and wish all the participants much future success.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 03:50 PM

Sherlock Well seeing I have to buy my own cherries from Washington as you are well aware

I didnt know they also do grapes there as well

I learn something new here every day

Posted by highpockets 10/31/2010 at 03:51 PM

Just taking a break from World Series (SF Giants) madness to wish everyone a Happy Halloween. I've been stuffing my face with candy since I woke up. Enough! Bring on the little kiddies!

Haven't been following tennis too much since the US Open craziness and life's interruptions, but I've missed you guys.

I see I have a lot of catching up to do.

Posted by carnap Not-For-Prophet 10/31/2010 at 03:52 PM

AM: You didn't have Chanel lollies to hand out? Pfftttt...no wonder the kiddies went elsewhere. BTW, I'm handing out haggis cupcakes to the little ones.


P.S. You make some good wines down under.

Posted by highpockets 10/31/2010 at 03:57 PM

"Greatest Mother and nicest person in the in the world" or "the Spawn of Satan who pretends to be nice and only won three grand slams ..."

It's good to be back.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/31/2010 at 03:58 PM

Speaking of grapes, because UCLA football has been so weak for years, the only ones I can enjoy regarding Pac10 football are sour grapes when USC loses.

So those grapes from last night, when an Oregon team once again beat USC, were the sweet and sour kind.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 04:00 PM

carnap Hmmmm Chanel should do lollies

I will put that on my list of important things to discuss with them.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 04:01 PM

Welcome Miss Highpockets

You have been missed.

Posted by Sherlock 10/31/2010 at 04:01 PM

Highpockets, lol. We are nothing if not consistent. :)

MSF, glad my Ducks could help out. :)

Posted by Aube,Intimidation has never worked with me,even if I had to be the looser!!!categorically refuse to be weak!!! 10/31/2010 at 04:02 PM

I quote from Jamaica's post:

" I listened to Mary-Jo Fernandez in the booth during this year's AO, breaking down for all the world to hear, just how awful Venus' game was."

This is exactly why I'm so happy neither Serena nor Venus have been part of her leadership in the Fed cup business,if you don't like them why always sound like you want them to play under your belt???The ones you have respect for are the ones that you should rely on...

by the way good luck to the American fed team,as much as I dislike mary Joe's Fernandez comments on Venus' game I don't take offence because I haven't seen a better resume of her upon Venus' tennis career...it seems like some people don't get ashamed of themselves requiring on others what they've never accomplished,and when I say that I mean both her and Mary Carillo...when you lisen to them speaking about tennis players in general you'd thing they won 50 majors each,never been broken or beateb by anyone!!!
What a joke they are as commentators...yet I guarantee you they will never throw any of their kids in the tennis world!!!pfffffffffffff!!!

Posted by carnap Not-For-Prophet 10/31/2010 at 04:05 PM

Talking about sour grapes...

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/31/2010 at 04:07 PM

Among the wonderful aspects of California politics:

1. Having the California Democratic party encourage me to vote for a dead candidate, so that a followup special election (probably costing state taxpayers around $2 million) can be held;

2. Seeing which crazed candidates and which asinine initiatives the California Republican party is promoting during an election cycle;

3. Having Martin Sheen and Leonardo diCaprio (or at least entities using their recorded voices) leave phone messages for me.

Posted by carnap Not-For-Prophet 10/31/2010 at 04:21 PM

MSF: In New York, we have a madam running for governor, and I'm hoping she wins. I'd love to hear her addressed as, "Madam Governor." At least, she's shared a related career with politicians, and she's been honest about what she does.


Since she did four months in Rikers Island prison for being Spitzer's madam, a delicious irony would be if he were her runningg mate. Alas, he is devoid of humor.

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 04:45 PM

Caro got some stick from her dad after the match:" She just won a 2d set where she served well, she's up 1-0 after breaking Clijsters, it's 30-40, 2nd serve, she looks at her racquet, starts trying to clean it, then runs out to clean the strings. She broke her rhythm and concentration. She should have just served out and fixed things after. It was unprofessional." Tough love. But he was very happy with Caro's year, but there were still many things to improve on.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 04:59 PM

manixdk I would like to see Caroline with a new coach quite frankly.I think her dad is too over powering and I dont like the way he talks to her at times.He should just stay as her dad full time.

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 10/31/2010 at 05:09 PM

Caro, he's Polish, that's just the way they talk. He's often offered to step aside, but she wants him. Her decision. He coaches her more on the mental part, strategy and tactics, the technical part is Groneveld and Michael Mortensen in Denmark. My wife often thinks he's really mean, but Polish people don't whisper to each other when they talk LOL. When we're at our house in Greece, she often thinks everyone is always arguing, when all they're saying is "when are coming tomorrow?5? That's too early."

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 05:16 PM

Oh well if Caroline is happy thats the main thing I suppose.

Posted by pogiako 10/31/2010 at 05:38 PM

For all those negative comments on Caroline being # 1 and no GSs and WTF troupy, did you say that to Kim years back when she was # 1 and no GS. Time will come for Caroline to have a GS. People hammered on Dinara before and look where it got her. I hope Caroline will not have the same fate. Congratulations to Caroline and Kim!!!!!

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 05:54 PM

OMG, has anyone seen this article on the main page of tennis.com

http://tinyurl.com/2azkrz6

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 06:00 PM

JK LOL! I think he is on drugs with a statement like that

Honestly this is not for real

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 06:01 PM

AM, do you really think that we do not have a drug problem in tennis? I think we do actually. It maybe not as pervasive as in other sports, but I do believe it exists. Does it affect the upper echleon of the sport? I don't think so, but I have to say that after watching some matches I have to think to myself that these men/women are either very fit or they are on something.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 06:11 PM

JK Well we have seen in that past with some players they do have a problem with drugs off the court.Vitas Geurlitas springs to mind.

I have often wondered if this is a part of some players mixing with the wrong crowd.I suppose its a temptation.

Though for me being a sports person playing at a elite level I just cant understand it.

Though these players are human too.I guess a question mark can be put on players with their physical apperence.Though these type of drugs in the long term have devastating effects on their bodies in a long term or even a short term use.

I am out until there is enough evidence in any player being accused of taking any type of drug quite frankly.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 06:18 PM

AM, it was the same stance that Track and Field took until Marion Jones and others were brought down. I used to be a big fan of track and field and even though our Jamaican athletes have been doing exceptionally well, I am hoping all the time that they are doing it in a clean way.

With the way how most Jamaicans are, if Bolt or any of the other big name athletes that have been performing so well were ever caught doing drugs, they would perhaps lose their Jamaican status in a heartbeat. We do not tolerate cheats in sport as we have always felt that our own Merlene Ottey was hard done by with drugs when she kept coming up short in the 80s and 90s against athletes who were not as good as her but who kept beating her.

In terms of Justine and the way she retired, I am sure that a lot of people even if they never said it thought her sudden retirement in 2008 so near to her beloved French Open was cause for concern. The thing is that with tennis there are hardly any journalists who are willing to do some digging and try and get to the bottom of events.

It would seem that if the news is dropped in the laps of tennis writers we never hear about what goes on in the locker rooms.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 06:25 PM

JK I was like the rest of the world devasted with Marion.I held her up soo high.I too now question any track and field athlete? though I try not to just because of Marion and her drug cheating.May I add I was pleased that the other women in the relay got to keep their medals it was not their fault.

I think tennis writers will only go on a story eg drug taking in the tennis world if say there is enough proof.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 06:34 PM

yes but AM why go with the story when there is proof, why not go out there and do some investigating and figure out whether there is any truth to the various rumours. In the entertainment world, they do not wait for stories to break, they break them. Same thing in the world of politics.

I think however that there is not much separation between the coverage of tennis, i.e. writers, media etc and the players. Unless someone wishes to take down a player, you will not find anyone breaching the status quo to find out whether there is steroid use in the sport and if so how prevalent is it.

I am yet to see an interview being done with any of the players who have been tagged for steroid use. Not even an interview with Odesnik after he was found guilty and then banned. I do not think this sport is clean as there have been some really weird occurences over the last few years that really make me go huh, but what do I know. I am just the fan on the sideline who is supposed to believe everything that she sees in front of her.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 06:36 PM

A case in point look at what is happening in cycling. If but for a German newspaper, we would not have known about the positive dope tests of this year's Tour de France winner. If but for the fact that Landis had not been caught he would not have made any mention of Armstrong doping.

There is too much of this in sport and I really wish that tennis writers would at least try their best to look into the issue and at least ask for more transparency in publishing results from WADA and the ITF about those players who have been tested whether in or out of competition etc.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 06:40 PM

JK I take your point on board.Maybe there should be some more say intense investigating.I suppose as fans we do accept at times everything is rosy in our sport.

In regards to say cycling and the Tour De France which I love.Sad to say the drug taking in this sport has ruined it.

Posted by Texastennis 10/31/2010 at 06:52 PM

JK - agree on the reluctance of tennis journalists and the lack of transparency about the ITF results. (In fact the ITF posted and then took down last year's testing results from its website...) The lack of curiosity after the Odesnik matter was stunning. This same pattern occurred in others (baseball, cycling, athletics) where the press just ignored what was going on, many signposts to the contrary.
Jon El just said a couple of weeks ago that there has to be proof first, but those other sports ran haywire while the "proof" was absent. This thing with Contador this time around in the T De F is amazing - even when cycling is testing so hard and so many people have been caught.
Tennis journalists seem only interested in pursuing stories about players doing rec drugs (Gasquet, Agassi, McEnroe, Borg, Wilander, Gerulaitis etc)
which I couldn't care less about and certainly don't affect performance anyway but negatively. PEDs on the other hand, no journalist will touch with a bargepole. Perhaps tennis is the only elite sport in which players are not doing peds but why would that be?

Posted by Tigress 10/31/2010 at 06:53 PM

Happy Halloween everyone. May Orange and Black beneficent Spells be cast upon all Giants, witches and wizards out there, including of course the Wizard of Basel.

Fun times starting soon. First Fed's 4th home Basel title next week. Then his 1st Paris Masters and record-tying 18th Masters title (tied with You-Know-Who).

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 06:59 PM

As having first hand knowledge of steriods and the first tell tale signs of people that have used them and I have also seen the effects to a persons body.I dont think a player could stay on this type of drug for too long whithout being found out quite frankly.

Posted by Texastennis 10/31/2010 at 07:29 PM

AM, my perception is that in other sports (athletics, swimming, baseball, cycling etc) athletes did peds of various sorts (not only steroids and increasingly perhaps other things besides steroids as the Odensik case shows) with little regard to the long term potential damage? And they apparently did it long before being found out.

The most interesting piece I read when the Contado tests came out a few weeks ago was a piece by a former cyclist in the NYT who said he had been tested 200 times, 100 within his doping cycles as it were - and he only tested positive once ... These athletes and their teams are good at managing the system.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 07:33 PM

We have seen in the past and present that these steriod ussers have now found a better wat to disguise in the taking of steriods.Though to me it will play a part in their health in the long term.Steriod use can lead to damage to kidneys to say the least and we all know what that spells out.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/31/2010 at 07:35 PM

This being Halloween and also the eve of the post-qualifier portion of the Valencia tournament, time for a shoutout for one of most vicious monsters of the Animal Kingdom, which has been the source of a nickname (courtesy of Snoo Foo, I'm told) for one of the "co-owners" of the Valencia tournament:

The Honey Badger (affiliated with Ferru).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c81bcjyfn6U

and

(don't go the following if over-the-top "blue language" offends you)

http://www.badassoftheweek.com/honeybadger.html

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 07:36 PM

sorry Texastennis I mean to address you with my last post I have my 2 cats on my knees and trying to take a phone call at the same time lol!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 07:40 PM

Manuel Dosent the Honey Badger and JCF half own this tournament in Valencia?

By the way I saw photos of JCF resort in Valencia it looks amazing I would not mind a week there myself

Posted by manuelsantanafan 10/31/2010 at 07:47 PM

aussiemarg:

I'm sure Juanqui would be honored if you were to visit his hotel.

Perhaps when you next travel to Europe (in 2011, is it?), you can swing down and spend a night or two in the hotel.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 07:51 PM

Manuel As long as it is a freebie I will be broke by then lol!

I would love to spend time in Spain.I love the history and the amazing buildings and the art of Spain

I might even go to Malloraca for some fishing and golf.

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 08:44 PM

TT, as far as I am concerned there is too much of an incestuous relationship between the governing bodies of tennis, the players themselves and tennis writers. They each depend on the other and some tennis writers and commentators for me are too close to the action. There is no sense of separation in the sport and this is why there can never be any widespread investigation of drugs in our sport.

When you have journalists speaking to a player's team to tell said team to have said player put out a blog to quell rumours of retirement, then you know that there is absolutely no separation.

While I understand that Pete is a writer, I am not sure that even he would be able to distance himself from players and use his role as a journalist to dig deep and find out whether there are any truth to these allegations as made by Christopher Rochus.

When a player comes and calls out one of the most celebrated players of our time and alleges that she was suspended rather than retired, I am hopeful that someone somewhere will not think it is a bad thing if they call up Justine's agent or indeed Justine herself and ask some tough questions.

Posted by karin1492 10/31/2010 at 09:26 PM

It's ludicrous to say that Henin ever doped. She has never had the body type that would result from using steroids. You can ask Pat Etcheberry, who helped her work hard on getting in shape, on whether she ever used steroids. He has said in the past that Henin was the hardest worker he's ever been around and that she was the first up and the last to leave. It's also rich hearing these comments from a guy who has complained about the coverage that the Belgian women have had in comparison to the coverage of the Belgian men in local media. He once said that Henin had more coverage going on a ski trip than he had reaching the finals of a tournament. It's nothing but sour grapes from a guy who has been accused of fixing matches in the past and shouldn't be taken seriously.

Posted by Master Ace 10/31/2010 at 09:35 PM

Monday ATP Order of Play

Valencia at 8 AM - Wawrinka vs Seppi followed by Verdasco vs Russell then to Stakhovsky vs Simon ending with Gabashvili vs Clement
Basel at 9:30 AM - Bohli vs Haase
Basel at 1:30 PM - Federer vs Dolgopolov followed by Isner vs Llodra

Posted by John 10/31/2010 at 09:35 PM

Hummmm.... gambling. drugs, steroid, many things is going on, but someone knows who says the truth? Rochus? jornalists? Forstmann?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 09:44 PM

karin1492 I agree with your thoughts on Henin.I remember when she got that virus and fatique.After that she worked hard to gain some muscle on her body.She has a tiny frame and low body fat to start with.Shades of me lol!.I too turned to weight training many years ago for all round strength in my game.I had too.

Similar things have been said about Sam Stosur who got that deadful Lyme disease.She got back into training in the gym.Sam has always had that type of frame especially in the upper body that reacts well to weight training.

Posted by LBS 10/31/2010 at 09:52 PM

Woz needs to lose some weight.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 09:58 PM

I need to game some weight lol!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 10/31/2010 at 10:00 PM

oops should read "gain some weight"

Posted by Bing 10/31/2010 at 10:07 PM

I agree that today's woman tennis is in a sorry state. It is still dominated by the 3 grand dames i.e. KC and the Williams sisters. The second rung are the likes of Caro, Vera, Sam, Fran. The rest are 3rd tier or lesser. And let's not get started with who's #1 statistically. Seriously, where tennis talent goes, KC is the one to beat today.

Posted by karin1492 10/31/2010 at 10:28 PM

I have a problem with reporting something this potentially explosive about Henin and just letting Rochus get away with saying that "I have heard the rumors too." It's all just hearsay and gossip and it's very likely that he thinks "hearing the rumors" is code for saying what he thinks with no proof whatsoever. Rumors of steroid use are damning for a person's career, and this is just nasty stuff from a guy who has a nasty reputation himself and has zero credibility. Shame on whoever reported this gossip and reported it as "news."

Posted by John 10/31/2010 at 10:38 PM

Karin1492, yeah, proof and then talk

+10

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 10:40 PM

@karin it is on the front page of tennis.com

Posted by Aube,Intimidation has never worked with me,even if I had to be the looser!!!categorically refuse to be weak!!! 10/31/2010 at 10:42 PM

I think this Rochus should be hold for spreading wrong rumors and in this case dirtying someone's name.I'm no Henin's fan but I do not believe one bit that she would do such a thing,as much as I would dislike anybody saying things without foundation to the players I root for, I would not like it to hear false accusations for the ones I don't...
Henin worked very hard to achieve her accomplishments,acknowledging it would not hurt anybody....

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 10/31/2010 at 10:42 PM

Moderator, if my post was deleted for content (and I cannot imagine why it would be), I would appreciate if you would let me know. If I have said something in my post that could be deemed to be libellous I will understand. If you wish to respond to me privately, please email me at [email protected] Thanks very much

Posted by karin1492 10/31/2010 at 10:50 PM

It makes no difference if it's on the front page of Tennis.com or any other website. With no proof, other than Rochus's comments, it's criminal for a site that purpots itself as reporting news. It's nothing more than gossip and shame on Tennis.com for reporting it as anything else.

Posted by John 10/31/2010 at 11:14 PM

It's so easy to spread rumors about "she or he" and even he or she is clean, the damage is done

Posted by Roddick fan from Virginia 10/31/2010 at 11:29 PM

I wonder if the reason it(Rochus' comments) was printed was the proof or journalistic investigation was coming.

Posted by lilscot 10/31/2010 at 11:34 PM

Just heading off to dreamland, but finally got a chance to see the Kim and Caroline's match. What a terrific match by both women. I was really impressed with how much more aggressive Caroline is playing on a consistent level. I think the big-match experience was the only thing that made the difference in that one.

It was really one of, if not the best women's matches I've seen all year.

Congratulations Kim!

Posted by Ticking time bomb 10/31/2010 at 11:44 PM

Former players have repeatedly brought up the subject of PED and each time they get lectured by the ATP on PR issues.
One day this will explode and they won't be able to avoid it.

Posted by John 11/01/2010 at 12:03 AM

My question is, former players had so many drugs test like they have now?

Posted by Ticking time bomb 11/01/2010 at 12:11 AM

John, go to this page and read the post sixth from the bottom.
Testing is a joke.

Posted by Ticking time bomb 11/01/2010 at 12:12 AM

Sorry forgot the link:

http://www.menstennisforums.com/showthread.php?t=168510&page=3

Posted by John 11/01/2010 at 12:45 AM

Well, I think testing "was" a joke. Now I understand why the unannounced tests are, it could be anytime, anyday, before and after the match but I understand too that it's a little annoying for the players because it's a lack of privacy. Everything has the good and bad part

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 11/01/2010 at 02:25 AM

Master Ace I have been doing some calculations and please correct me if I am wrong if Kim wins the AO 2011 could she then be the no 1? thanks.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 11/01/2010 at 02:27 AM

Jusr looking at hightlights of the Youz game my goodness that young Michael K. did some great shots and good luck to him for winning his 1st ATP career title.I know AA wont be too happy with the result.

Posted by just a test 11/01/2010 at 03:07 AM

now that i can post from a mobile device i am truly dangeous. to myself mostly

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 11/01/2010 at 03:10 AM

Just a test

Are you new here at TW?

If not welcome I love your sense of humour by the way

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/01/2010 at 03:20 AM

Hi everyone

Congrats to Kim for winning the YEC and commies to Caro. But major congrats to my favourite girls in Flavia and Gisela in winning the doubles.

Well done to Melzer in coming back from being a set down to win in Vienna and commies to Mischa in St Petersberg.

AM I am running the office sweep and it is hard work I have also gone and placed my bets so hopefully I will some money.

Posted by just a test 11/01/2010 at 03:20 AM

aussiemarg

im a regular

i create enuf mischief with my desktops and laptops

ill probably limit myself to those devices

good nite

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 11/01/2010 at 03:28 AM

AA Good luck with the office sweep.Rain is predicated tommorrow

Pete rang me and said it was freezing in Melbourne today with light drizzle though it cleared up.Rain is predicated tonight

Sydney is raining and turned cold

I will post you my selections ok here are my 1st 4 I will box them so it dosent matter where they come.

1. So You Think

2. Americain

3. Malucky Day

4.Holdberg

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 11/01/2010 at 03:29 AM

Just a test LOL! good nite

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/01/2010 at 03:38 AM

AM thanks for your tips I have got three of them. I have also gone with Descardo owned by Gai Waterhouse and Once We Were.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 11/01/2010 at 03:51 AM

AA I liked Descardo too it was a tough choice I had to leave it out

I also liked Harris Tweed and Shocking and Zipping

I will have a singular bet on Americain it has taken my fancy and it had a rest this week and it can run the distance and being a o/seas horse can run in the wet.

I see Aussies lost the 20/20 match again in Perth?

Hell I dont like our chances in the upcoming Ashes against England at at all.Regardless of the one dayers which we cant win.We have slipped down to 5th overall.Hmmm.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/01/2010 at 04:03 AM

AM thank goodness I don't work with a lot of Poms but if we were playing South Africa I would be in trouble as the office is full of them.

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