Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bartoli sends Jankovic out of Melbourne

I wrote earlier that Jelena Jankovic needed to raise her level of play if she were to defeat Marion Bartoli in the round of 16. She did not, and she is now out of the Australian Open, defeated 6-4, 6-1.

What I am about to say is not intended to reflect in any way on Bartoli's wonderful performance (in fact, anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I admire Bartoli): Something is wrong with Jankovic.

I have already heard some people say that Jankovic played fairly well in the match, and that she was just outplayed by Bartoli. Those people must have seen a different match from the one I saw. In the match I saw, Jankovic's signature skill--her movement--was sluggish, her swing was off, and her recently improved serve was nowhere to be seen. She has been this way since she arrived in Melbourne.

What are we to make of this? I, of course, do not have the answer, but I have a clue. When the season began, Jankovic complained that she did not feel comfortable in her new, bulked-up body. I can't help but wonder whether that is the problem--that the usually speedy, resourceful and intuitive Jankovic just doesn't know what to do with this new distribution of weight.

There is also the matter of preparation. Jankovic did not compete in any of the warm-up tournaments, and she had to withdraw from the Hong Kong exhibition when she became ill. The answer could be as simple as: She just wasn't ready.

Whatever is going on, I hope we see a solution soon. In the meantime, Marion Bartoli is back in form, and when she is in form, she is hard to beat. She is also healthy, and I certainly hope she remains that way; injury has impeded Bartoli's career for too long.


leia said...

It was so disheartening to watch JJ play so badly. It literally destroyed my day. Bartoli was just playing awesome, and normally, JJ would know how to turn it around but today she looked really lost. I hope she figures this out - I'm really hoping to see her win the French Open. *crosses fingers*

Sasha said...

Oh dear, that performance wasn't very good. Will she still be number one after the tournament?

Diane said...

No, Sasha, she won't be. Number one is now up for grabs.

Anonymous said...

Serbian curse? Both Jankovic and Ivanovic faltered when they were seeded first at their next Grand Slam. By the way, what a match between Dokic and Kleybanova!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, Diane. I love watching Jankovic play but she wasn't herself from the beginning. Among other things, I guess the pressure got to her, she wasn't even smiling and enjoying herself. Let's hope she recovers and soon.