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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 Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 11/01/2010 at 04:08 AM

AA LOL!

I see selector Merv Hughes has been axed.Well after the Ashes in England I think its a good idea.By the look of him he seemed to spend most of his time at Macca's

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 11/01/2010 at 04:18 AM

Mr Cellphone aka Shane Warne attended a Poker tourament in Melbourne at the Casino with his freinds James and Ericka Packer.Hmmm I thought they had more class than that.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.Yes Indeed I am A One Woman Show 11/01/2010 at 04:19 AM

Just watching the replay of the Doha final

I loved it when the commes said "I guess we will see a on court apperence by Dad" lol!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 04:32 AM

I also see in the stands Flavia and Miss Dulko watching the final of the womens.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 04:43 AM

I also think Simon Reed a commmentator with Jo was a bit harsh after the 1st set saying Caroline was a "pretender to the throne? I see that was in reference to Caroline cause she hasnt won a GS title as yet.May I remind Simon that under the current WTA system is rewards players with the amount of tournaments they play in and also the tournaments outside GS.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/01/2010 at 04:58 AM

AM I watched the first set replay before going to work today and I had Tracy Austin and another American commentator which I thought was a bit odd as I had been listening to Jo Durie all week. I find her a bit annoying but she is ok.

I really think Caro needs to win a GS next year if she is still No. 1 and can she please stop gettig her coach to come on court (I refer to her dad as coach because that is what he is).

I saw some great photos of Flavia and Gisela with their trophies on Flavia's site. I might post them here if I am around tonight.

AM are you in Melbourne. If I don't remember have a fantastic birthday tomorrow and go wild and silly.

Ok it is pack up time for me and I have to meet a friend who wants to cry on my shoulder.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 05:02 AM

AA No I am not in Melbourne Alas? I will be going next Friday

Fingers crossed for the Melbourne Cup tomorrow and like I have to get a winner its my birthday and I dont want to cry if I have to lol!

Hey Silly is one of my middle names

I have to ask Arun my actual age as I keep turning it back.He has all the details

Good night AA good luck with your friend.Remember we sometimes need a freinds shoulder to cry on.

Bye!

Posted by Jankofan 11/01/2010 at 05:06 AM

LOL - I must stop drinking and some other stuf - did Caro really win?

http://www.wtatour.com/headtohead/caroline-wozniacki_2255881_12631/0,,12781~12631~7941,00.html

Posted by John 11/01/2010 at 05:49 AM

I wish you'd write "hell" instead of "hail", or find a different expression. There's something holier-than-thou about it that is really distracting in a tennis article.

Posted by wow 11/01/2010 at 06:32 AM

no offence, but it's hard to read this anymore after that math. I don't want to take it too far exactly, but really? .500? Almost to the point of questioning intelligence...

Posted by wow 11/01/2010 at 06:37 AM

nevermind, actually.... I was seeing if 5/24 was really that much worse than 44/74... he must have just divided 44 by 74 which would be .519 or something like that instead of 44 out of 118 (the total number of matches). So an understandable mistake, although I would think I would have looked twice before saying 44-74 was better than 500

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 11/01/2010 at 07:23 AM

Finally got the stats for Wozniacki-Clijsters:

Player Kim Clijsters Caroline Wozniacki
Country BEL DEN
Statistics On Service Clijsters Wozniacki
1st Serve % 63% (60 of 96) 70% (78 of 112)
Aces 1 4
Double Faults 4 2
1st Serve Points Won 67% (40 of 60) 64% (50 of 78)
2nd Serve Points Won 50% (18 of 36) 41% (14 of 34)
Statistics On Return
BreakPoints Conversion 43% (6 of 14) 33% (4 of 12)
Return Points Won 43% (48 of 112) 40% (38 of 96)
Statistics On Points
Total Points Won 106 102

Why the hell can't the WTA have them on their site?

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 11/01/2010 at 07:34 AM

The statistics were about even with Clijsters 39/38 on winners/unforced errors and Wozniacki 35/36. That has to be the most winners Caro has hit in her pro career.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 07:49 AM

manixdk Thanks for posting those stats.I finished watching the game.

I found at times Caroline didnt know what shot she should have gone for? especially in the 1st and 3rd sets.

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 11/01/2010 at 07:55 AM

Seeing Caro develop from a 14-year old with retainers on her teeth and a baseball cap on backwards, getting to everything 18 and 19-year olds could throw at her, to a 20-year old hitting 35 winners against Kim Clijsters has been amazing to watch.

I really hope that a book written by Anders Haahr Rasmussen is translated into English. It's called "Én bold ad gangen:Wozniacki, US Open 2009" "One ball at a time: Wozniacki, US Open 2009". It's a book about Caro's road to the USO final in 2009, but it's so much more.

A former top junior Danish tennis player turned journalist, he not only describes what it took for Caro to get where she is, but also how bloody difficult it is to even get a top 400 ranking, what it takes to stay there, how getting $10 grand from a sponsor can make the difference between continuing on the tour and packing it in, however talented you are. How most players group together to get the cheapest fares, cheapest motel rates, best prices on equipment, share trainers.

After reading the book, you get so much respect for every player who plays on the tour.

A must read.

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 07:57 AM

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 manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 11/01/2010 at 07:58 AM

AM, agreed. It was like "My my I can do this or that? What should I do?". She was given some gifts and hesitated. I chalk that up to inexperience. She really had her chances, and the match was closer than it seemed to some. I'm really looking forward to 2011.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 07:59 AM

manixdk Well said.I think people think all players fly 1st class and stay in 5 star hotels.The lower rank player has to survive really nothing.Some of them cant afford a full time coach.Let alone a trainer etc.I remember one of our Aussie players played in Target gear until a sponsor came on board and that wasnt until she did well in the AO one year.

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 11/01/2010 at 08:01 AM

"how getting $10 grand from a sponsor can make the difference between continuing on the tour and packing it in, however talented you are. How most players group together to get the cheapest fares, cheapest motel rates, best prices on equipment, share trainers."

This is why I despise when top ranked players use the phrase, "She's got nothing to lose" when speaking about a low ranked opponent. I'm sure many times the $$ gained from that match may make a huge difference in the path their career takes....a trip overseas for a tournamnet, an opportunity to have a coach accompany them, etc.

....and good morning all!:)

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 08:05 AM

Mr and Mrs D Good Morning to you!

Yes its a tough road to the top thats for sure.It comes down to how much passion you have and are willing to give it all 24/7.

I congratulate Michael K I cant spell his last name who defeated Youz in the final it was his 1st Atp Title win.Good for him what a win too.

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 08:09 AM

Morning everybody!

For those curious or unclear about how the awardees for the ATP Awards are chosen, here's the list of nominees and criteria for this year's competition.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Fans/Fan-Favorite/ATP-World-Tour-Award-Nominees-2010.aspx

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 08:12 AM

wilson75 I hope my name is there somewhere its about time the ATP awarded me something????

Thanks for the link

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 11/01/2010 at 08:12 AM

A workmate of mine was in Portoroz on holidays last summer, and told me she say a bunch of 18-22 year old girls schlepping their luggage and tennis gear into their hotel rooms. No help from anyone. A few of them were cheating and paying for a double room, but staying 4 to a room.

She didn't believe me when I told her they were pro tennis players.

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 08:13 AM

AM: LOL! Sorry not this year.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 08:15 AM

Hmmmm I think I deserve the Human Award quite frankly

Hell Mr Weight Loss and Life Style Change the Fish will no doubt be awared the Come Back Player

Shoot Me Now!!!!!!!

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 08:21 AM

AM: I'm not sure, I think it's a toss up between Fish and Hasse for Comeback Player of the Year.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 08:25 AM

wilson75 I will have a bet with you now ok

The Sock will get it? I need spending money for my Euro Trip next year

I hope you are rich?

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 08:25 AM

"I hope my name is there somewhere its about time the ATP awarded me something????"

Aussiemarg,
LOL! Good way to start my day at the day job.

Wilson75,
Do not forget that Fish lost 30 lbs. when you make your vote for comeback player of the year. Too bad that Fish will not play again until 2011 due to an ankle injury.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 08:28 AM

Yes its not just about the tennis

Its all about the weight loss

I win and gett $200.00 plus a free get out of jail card

Yay!!!!!!!!

Posted by Ruth 11/01/2010 at 08:31 AM

manixdk: As soon as I complete posting this,I'm going to stop and write down the title of that book that you mentioned. It sounds like so much morE than the "ego books" (as I call them) that we see from or about young celeb athletes and entertainers after they've had a few minutes of glory in their chosen field.

OT I have to say that seeing your comments here at TW brings back memories of my favorite poster, a Dane like you, at my former online tennis "home," the long gone New York Times tennis forum. His name was Birk Keller and, as the "senior" poster on the site and an avid sports fan, he would often regale us with stories of the "old time" players whom he remembered well. (He and I also talked track and field when we went OT at the NYT, as we often did.) His grandson Halfdan, who often posted under Birk's moniker, was also a lot of fun.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 08:35 AM

Master Ace Thanks for that news regarding Fish I didnt know his ankle injury was that bad.I wonder if he will play Medibank next year.He usually plays that tournament.Though you know my rule I refuse to take a photo of him until he wears Full Socks.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 08:38 AM

Just went to Medibank site and they have only confirmed Baggy and Del Potro soo far.I think Del Potro will pull the fans in for sure.

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 08:40 AM

AM: I wish I was that rich! But I'll bet you.

I think Hasse will win because he has made a bigger jump in the rankings than Fish. Plus, Fish is the process of trying to make another comeback due to his ankle injury.

MA: I doubt the players are that impressed with Fish's loss as the media is. I hope we don't have to hear about that next year. With the ankle injury he's in jeopardy of putting back on some of that weight loss. I'm looking for to the media going on and on about Taylor Dent's need to lose weight. Curious how we haven't heard any comments on that yet.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 08:41 AM

I see Roger will play one of my fav name players on the tour Dolly.AA will get cross with me for calling him that.I always think of the Black and White Minstrals when he plays.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 08:43 AM

wilson75 Ok your on.I will accept anything ok lol!

Hey within reason of course.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 08:46 AM

wilson75 Well Taylor Dent played Medibank this year maybe he needs to talk to Mardy if he plays Medibank too to get his weight loss secrets lol!

Though I must say Dent wasnt carrying those extra pounds then as he is now.

Posted by lilscot 11/01/2010 at 08:50 AM

Good mornin' folks!

AM:

Hey marg, wasn't that a great match last night? Well, last night for me because it was taped. :) How ya goin'?

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 08:52 AM

AM: No, Dent wasn't carrying all that weight in Australia. BTW, Nalbandian hasn't confirmed for Sydney yet? I know he usually plays that tournament and it was the last one he won before he had the hip surgery.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 08:55 AM

lilscot My stupid alarm clock didnt go off I missed the match live but watched it on replay later.It was a interesting match.Though I found Caroline at times was unsure what shot she should have played especially in the 1st and 3rd sets.

Though she has had a great year and becoming the no 1 player.All credit to her.

I am fine thanks.We have the Melbourne Cup the horse race that stops the nation tomorrow so I am excited.I love horse racing and always have a bet.I have done well in the Cup over the years.Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 08:57 AM

wilson75 David didnt play Medibank this year.He went and played the Auckland tournament instead I think.

No only 2 males players soo far have confimred Baggy the defending champion and Del Potro.Baggy is also playing the Brisbane Interantional before Sydney.

Posted by lilscot 11/01/2010 at 09:06 AM

AM:

Yes, the match was an interesting one psychologically with many brilliant tennis exchanges. Then there were those weird flip-flops in momentum, but that's pretty normal in a high-intensity high-quality match. You see that a lot with the men when they're in a major scrap. Your heart's in your throat and just when it looks like one guy as it, things change.

It was really nice to see a women's match comprable to a great men's match. Does that make sense? I mean, the groundies had way more force and conviction from both ladies than the rest of the field. Their spirit of fight 'til the end. Their movement around court. The angles they both created. It reminded me a bit of watching an old Jennifer Capriati/Martina Hingis match. Kim being Jen and Caro being Martina.

But, as you said, the one big difference is that Caro seemed to question herself at the wrongs times just enough for Kim to take advantage. Other than that it was a very tight close match. That stats show that.

You bet on the horses eh? I can't even win $2 on a scratch-and-win!:)

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 09:09 AM

lilscot LOL! well I will just have to have you as a poor friend

Drats I also thought you were young,rich and fancy free

You soo remind me of Neil from Toronto we have this trip going with each other and buy scatchies soo far Neil is way behind its not funny.

Posted by Colette 11/01/2010 at 09:10 AM

Happy Birthday, AM!

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 11/01/2010 at 09:11 AM

@Ruth, thanks. Actually I'm Canadian born in Montréal, English father born in Malaysia and French Canadian mother, but I've lived in Denmark for almost 30 years, so I guess I'm Danish, though I've lived in Canada, the States, England and Russia, went to school in 3 of those 4 countries. Which is why I'm a tennis, badmintom, ice hockey, basketball, cricket, rugby, NFL and AFL fan.

The book is so good, and yes, much more than the usual "inside" books. I really hope it gets translated into English.

The author has a tennis background, unlike so many of the so-called tennis journalists. I read one report of the Caro-Vera match at Doha that said something like "Vera covered her head with a towel, trying to hide from what was happening". For heaven's sake, Vera does that all the time, whether she's winning or losing. It's very frustrating.

He knows how just getting your footwork right in a shot approach isn't a question of talent, but hard work. He really makes you appreciate how hard the players work to get where they are, and stay there.

Like I said, I hope the book gets translated.

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 09:12 AM

AM: With Baghdatis playing both Brisbane and Sydney, I guess that means he's going out early @ AO. Sometimes, I think he over-plays, then again he might one of those players who prefers to play tournaments rather than practice.

Posted by Ruth 11/01/2010 at 09:16 AM

Well, let's hope that Mardy doesn't resume his former bad eating habits while taking care of that ankle. Recovering from injury or illness is #13 in my long personal list of excuses for eating too much and gaining weight. LOL But since Mardy discovered the joys of healthy eating while rehabbing another injury, I expect him to resist the temptation to eat too much.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 09:18 AM

Colette Oh I didnt see the time

Thank you I am only 18 minutes into my birthday and thank goodness I havent turned into a pumpkin as yet.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 09:20 AM

wilson75 I too think Baggy is overplaying.This year he wanted to get his ranking up.Though he has been soo injury prone.I think just playing Medibank before the AO is sufficient

Posted by Ruth 11/01/2010 at 09:23 AM

Watching Monte Carlo 2006 (?) between Fed and Nadal on TC. Oh, their outfits these days are so much better! I've never seen Roger in a more ill-fitting pair of shorts and Nadal's "pedal pushers"...! LOL

But I do miss Rafa's exposed upper arms, and I wish Fed would go back to having his headband hold back ALL of his hair as he did in 2006 -- not a fan of the current fringes-of-hair-over-the-headband style.:)

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 09:31 AM

wilson75 I see Robin your pick for come back players is about to tak ethe court in the Swiss indoors tournament

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 09:32 AM

AM: Baghdatis has pulled out of Basel so I guess he's coming to his senses. He's been playing for about 5 weeks in a row now.

Posted by Ruth 11/01/2010 at 09:32 AM

manixdk: I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open about the book, but I hope that I can count on your alerting us at TW if you hear of an upcoming translation to English before I do. (I might even be able to handle a French translation. :))

Posted by Colette 11/01/2010 at 09:32 AM

Late to comment, but have to say Caro/Kim turned out to be an exciting match. Great win for Kim. And I'm so impressed with Caro's continuing and rapid improvements. I think Piotr, despite the "daddy dynamic" and others on the "team" must be doing something right. (altho' I, too, wish they would keep it behind the scenes)

Glad to see you're still your lovely self, AM, and I'm even better for plus-one.

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 09:33 AM

Manixdk,
What would the media say if Caroline gets her first Slam at AO defeating Venus in the QF, Serena or Kim in the SF and Kim or Serena in the F?

Top 10
Caroline
Vera
Kim
Serena
Venus
Samantha
Francesca
Jelena
Elena
Na

Posted by Colette 11/01/2010 at 09:35 AM

should say ... I'm sure YOU'RE even better ...

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 09:35 AM

AM: Thanks for the heads up re. Haase

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 09:36 AM

colette LOL! I kind of guessed what you meant

Thank you again.

Posted by Samantha Elin 11/01/2010 at 09:38 AM

Two words to describe Rochus unfounded accusations against Justine: Libel and Loser.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 09:43 AM

Master Ace I did post you before you must of missed it.I have done some caculations and if Kim was to win the AO 2011 would she then become the no 1 player please?

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 09:44 AM

Samantha Elin Welcome and I agree with your thoughs with Justine.

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 11/01/2010 at 09:45 AM

Mornin' SamE....a bit surprised re Rochus....his speculation re Justine seemed a bit farfetched to me as well. (made the rest of his views of drug use appear less credible after he voiced his thoughts on Justine IMO)

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 09:45 AM

Aussiemarg,
Thanks for reminding me as I did see that post on Kim and number 1.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 09:45 AM

Samantha Elin I did post my thoughts regarding this and Karin did too on the previous page I believe if you care to take a look

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 09:46 AM

SamE: I'm always suspicious of people who wait until they're retired to speak out on doping or cheating in sports. I would take it more seriously if he had said this 6 months ago.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 09:46 AM

Master Ace No worries

Posted by Mr. and Mrs. D. 11/01/2010 at 09:53 AM

Pushing all 'mommy business' aside, I must say I've enjoyed watching Kim play this year. I'm always pleased when she and Serena make an (occasional) appearance and take it to the younger generation...I hope Justine and Venus will do more of the same next season.

Just felt like putting that out there....I don't take well to change...hard to let go of the old guard!:(

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 09:55 AM

It looks like the top 2 are not going to have much of an off season. Besides the two exos Dec 21-22, Rafa and Roger are going back to Abu Dhabi, Dec. 30-Jan 1.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 09:57 AM

Mr and Mrs D I tend to agree with you.I have to start preparing myself for say Serena and Venus to retire.I cant wait for the AO 2011.I thought the womens final this year with Serena v Justine was a great final and really enjoyed watching it.I must say this with Serena she has a "presence" like no other WTA player though.When she walks out on court you know she has arrived.

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 09:58 AM

As you know, Nadal and Federer headline the Abu Dhabi exo which means Doha will be their first 2011 regular season tournament.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 09:59 AM

wilson75 I am not a fan of expos's.Though the one in December I suppose is more one for charity going towards Rafa's foundation.

I find it kind of funny though when Rafa has come out and say the season is too long and the ATP need to look at it and he is still playing lol!

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 10:01 AM

Wilson75,
Yes, these top players are making $$$ for playing exos but at the same time, they complain about the season is too long. To them, I say pffftttt.... Helfant is being nice to look at the calendar to see if the season could be reduced by 2 to 3 weeks without eliminating tournaments.

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 11/01/2010 at 10:02 AM

@MasterAce Dunno. She had an easy draw? LOL. Seriously, I take the "tennis media" with a grain of salt. Most of them don't watch tennis outside of the slams, and really don't have a clue. Present company on this site excluded, of course :) I read so much crap about tennis from so-called "tennis experts" that I hope I've developed a pretty thick skin, but sometimes ...

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 10:04 AM

AM: Yeah, 21-22 exos are for charity so I don't mind but the Abu Dhabi one I could do without. But they don't really have a choice because it's IMG that is putting it on. I agree with re. Rafa, it does diminish his position but the players are getting what they wanted as Adam Helfant has already said that they will shorten the season after 2012.

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 10:05 AM

21-22 Dec, I mean.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:10 AM

wilson75 I think it is the last year that both Rafa and Roger have a contract there.I think its 3 years from memeory.The tournament director from the Brisbane Internationl has both Roger and Rafa in his sights for 2012.He is eager to get one of them to play in Brisbane as a lead up tournament to the AO.We shall see.Robin Soderling next year has confirmed he will play along with Andy Roddick and Baggy of course.Richard Gasquet too I think.Novak also has played there a couple of years ago.

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 10:10 AM

MA: My position on the calendar is that it is too long but it's doesn't really affect the top players because they are free to take long breaks as Roger does if they want to they just choose not to. However, the low ranked players are the ones who really benefit from the long season and that is what the top players, media and ATP should bear in mind when taking the decision to shorten the season. I think that is what Helfant is trying to do.

Posted by Game Lover 11/01/2010 at 10:12 AM

Nice article by Peter, but I do think that's too early to think that Caro may be the next "best never"....

And nice final last night between Kim and Caro, for once I wished I could play like those ladies :)

Posted by Ruth 11/01/2010 at 10:14 AM

"...hard to let go of the old guard!:("

Know just what you mean, Mrs. D. Took me a while to give up my useless dreams of having Capriati come back and join the group of "old girls" putting the younguns through their paces -- and giving Serena the kind of competition that always brought out the best in both of them. :)

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 10:15 AM

AM: You're talking about Doha which is the first week of the new season. Abu Dhabi is the big money exo that is played the weekend before Doha starts. As for Brisbane, I could see Rafa playing there in 2012 after the 3 year contract with Doha is up or he might go back to Chennai since he does a lot of work in India. But Roger will probably not go to Brisbane because it would mean spending a month in Australia and I'm not sure he will want to do that.

Posted by lilscot 11/01/2010 at 10:20 AM

AM:

I've always had lots of luck, just most of it bad! Actually though I was on the t.v. show The Price Is Right back in 1997. And I won the showcase showdown and everything. I still plunk in the dvd once in a while to remind myself it actually happened.

And the kicker was that I didn't even watch the show or want to be on it. I was travelling to California for a vacation with some friends and one of them was a fanatic for the show. So, we sat in line from 4 a.m. until 5 p.m. that afternoon. I still smoked at that time and hadn't had a smoke or anything to eat for over 12 hours. And of course they picked me! After it was all over and I was being led off the stage by the girls my knees buckled and I almost passed out.

And the real kicker to the whole story is, I was with someone at the time who was very very greedy. She made me forfeit all the crappy furniture I won and take a cheque for cash for the truck I won. Then she went and paid all her debts she had before we met, and then, yup, you guess it, she dumped me!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:20 AM

wilson75 Thats correct.Well Colin Stubbs the tournament director of the Kooyong Classic would like both Roger and Rafa to play.They are still 2 spots left for next year.Roger has usually played this tournament as well.

Well I will wait to see where Rafa goes after the contract is over.Though going back to India is a good possilbilty

I agree with you I cant see Roger playing at Brisbane

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:22 AM

Lilscot Wow the Price is Right and you won all those goodies too

Hmmm sorry what happened to you.Though a hard lesson leanrt I am afraid.

Keep scractching though you luck is due to change ok

Posted by lilscot 11/01/2010 at 10:23 AM

AM:

Well HAPPY FRIKKIN' B-DAY AM! So happy I just caught that. :)

And what's going on with Rochus saying something about Justine and drugs? Did I miss a story somewhere? Is there a link back further in the blog? Is he saying she did steroids?

Enquiring minds want to know!

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 10:25 AM

AM: I'd be surprised if they play Kooyong because of the fact that they are playing Abu Dhabi and then Doha right after that.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:26 AM

lilscot Thank you lol!

Better late than never.

Though I am only 1 hour and 25 mins into my new birthday number.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:27 AM

wilson75 I agree with you there.I think Colin Stubbs is just dreaming thats all lol!

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 10:28 AM

lilscot: Look under the headlines on the right-hand side of this page for Rochus thoughts on doping.

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 10:29 AM

AM: Is Djokovic playing Kooyong next year?

Posted by manixdk - Caro: is she starting to find her game? 11/01/2010 at 10:30 AM

AM, my birthday was last Sunday. I know so many who have Bdays in October-November. I guess our parents were bored in January LOL

Posted by Bond 11/01/2010 at 10:30 AM

Venus, how many tournaments you gunna play nex year?

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:33 AM

wilson75 He is playing Hopman Cup win Ana

I will have to check with Kooyong to see though I dont think so

manixdk LOL! Well being a fellow Scorpio you must be a wonderful person

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:36 AM

wilson75 I just checked the site no his name isnt there.Though as I said there are 2 spots left.He might go there.

Posted by wilson75 11/01/2010 at 10:43 AM

AM: Thanks. I think Djokovic will most likely play Kooyong next year.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:47 AM

Hmmm I see Haase has won his 1st match.pfft.lol!

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 10:48 AM

Wilson75,
I say Nadal plays in Chennai in 2012. I bet that Moya will remind him next year to make sure he play there.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:50 AM

I see the bettting bug has taken over TW lol!

I have to agree with Master Ace and I think Rafa will go back to Chennai

Though I have bad memories last time he was there lol!

Posted by Jamaica Karen (dem a go tired fi see mi face - Bob Marley) 11/01/2010 at 10:50 AM

Good morning All.

Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday dear Marge
Happy birthday to you

(*sung to the tune of Happy Birthday in D Minor*)

Marge, have a very happy, glorious, blessed and wonderful day.

Posted by Master Ace 11/01/2010 at 10:51 AM

Aussiemarg,
Enjoy your new year so far? Happy Birthday!

Lilscot,
How was Bob Barker and his reaction to your winning the goods?

Posted by Ross (FOE, even Gael) 11/01/2010 at 10:52 AM

Now what will Olly Rochus have to say? I'm guessing (hoping), "no comment."

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President,Dear Wayne Has Only Five More Days In Jail.Vamos Wayne 11/01/2010 at 10:54 AM

JK LOL!!!

I love the D minor tune by the way

Master Ace So far so good.Thank you

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