Monday, January 26, 2009

Some random thoughts

I keep hearing that the tour needs Justine Henin. I disagree. Does the tour miss her? Yes! Do fans miss her? Yes! But--again, in my opinion--all this talk about how terrible things are without a dominant player means nothing to me. If anything, I think it's all more fun without a dominant player. And should one of my favorites become dominant, would I change my mind? Maybe, but since I have more than one favorite--maybe not.

Victoria Azarenka's win in Brisbane took her out of the Hantuchova zone and turned her into a different player. Given her skills, and with this new mentality, I now consider her to be the elite player among her contemporaries. 2009 could be a very big year for Azarenka.

Bethanie Mattek says that she wants a regular doubles partner and has found a couple of potential candidates. I have been turning this over in my mind, but I don't really have any good guesses about who these candidates are. Mattek is a fine doubles player, and whomever she taps will be lucky.

Marion Bartoli has already taken two days off from blogging from Melbourne. This turn of events makes me think of her 2007 Wimbledon run. During her matches, when she was usually behind, she would take naps during the many rain breaks. Someone would then have to wake her up to tell her to go back onto the court, at which point she would dismantle her opponent. Bartoli trains hard, and she should indeed be careful she gets enough rest.

Abigail Lorge believes that Jelena Dokic is so satisfied to have achieved so much in the Australian Open that she will offer Dinara Safina little resistance in their quarterfinal match. I think that Dokic may not have a lot left to give, but I can't imagine her being complacent.


Todd Spiker said...

I agree with what you said about the sudden yearning for Henin. While I always enjoyed it when Henin won, what's more fun than having a real scramble for a title by a crop of very good players? I think it all depends on the personalities and games of the contending players, and personally I think all the individual stories (and an occasional one like Dokic's) make for great entertainment.

I know I've been saying for a few months now that people are trying to re-write history. When Henin was #1, what I remember is all the complaining about accusations about her "lack of sportsmanship" (Shriver said her AO final retirement against Mauresmo "would tarnish her career forever") and a general ignoring of her dominance by the sports media (at least here in the U.S.), but now that she's gone so many whine about how much they miss her. Oh, really? I don't believe it for a second. I think they just want to have something to complain about.

Example: on ESPN's "PTI" the other day, after hardly a mention all week of the action in Melbourne -- from Venus' loss to Ivanovic's upset to Dokic's comeback -- they finally led off the show with a tennis story. What was it about? The chair-throwing and streaker incidents. Figures.

Also, for years, many people have unfavorably compared the women's game with the men's, pumping up the ATP tour by talking about (at least pre-Federer's run) how exciting it was that more than one or two players could win a slam while bemoaning a women's tour that was at times dominated by Graf, Seles or the Williams sisters prior to Henin. But when the tables are turned, what was once bad is suddenly good and what was formerly good is now deamed bad largely because it fits the pre-conceived storyline that someone wants to tell.

Very Orwellian, I think.

Diane said...

Well said, Mr. Spiker.

Vicki said...

Jelena said something to the effect that she was running on empty for the last hour of her 4th round match and I can't see her beating Safina if this is the case.

Even if she loses tonight she's still had a great tournament and I look forward to following her for the rest of the year and may Damir get a life of his own and leave her alone.

Anonymous said...

I do agree that it's more fun to not have a dominant player, and to never know who's going to be in the final.

But I do miss Henin, for the way she was playing and I don't find any player right now with a beautiful tennis, like she has.
Even if I didn't like always her behaviour, I liked that she was there to play tennis and not to show her new earings, etc.

Diane said...

I think Amelie's game is beautiful, too, but she just doesn't have it together right now. I really liked it when the two of them played each other (and especially when Amelie won).