The Williamsssseesss aren’t playing this year. Either is Justine Henin. Or Jennifer Capriati or Monica Seles or Steffi Graf. Or Andrea Temesvari. It makes me wonder, if a player holds the trophy and no champions are playing, does it even count?
Are the women too blasé about being number one? Do they put too much pressure on winning slams? Has this attitude created a world in which only a couple of players are even factors anymore at the slams?
Personally, if I were to become a coach I would train my daughter/pupil to believe winning Oklahoma City or Copenhagen were the pinnacle of any professional tennis career. Winning a grand slam? Who cares?! Chris Evert won Roland Garros 7 times! Martina Navratilova took home 9 Wimbledon titles! Graf won about a hundred slams. How hard could it be to win those tournaments, anyhow? “The only thing that matters is s’Hertogenbosch!” I’d scream at my daughter/prodigy/future champion.
The point is, she would feel no pressure at the slams and would probably end up winning a bunch of them! I’d be the best father/coach out there.
Let’s take a look at the 124 players who mean nothing and the four (Petra Kvitova, Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova and maybe Kim Clijsters) who actually count this year.
OMG!! Caro drew the old lady in the first round!! Who cares? It’s not going to be close. And, if KDK ends up winning that spells bad news for everyone. Because there is no way she’s ever going deep in a slam. Sorry, she’s 64. KDK making it to the semis is kind of like my grandmother getting hired to surrogate my kids. Impossible. And really gross if it somehow happened.
We’re all waiting to see what happens in the second round/crazy town match between Aravane Rezai and Svetlana Kuznetsova. Can you imagine if they actually both made it to the second round and then actually played up to their potential? Dream on.
I wonder how many Sam Stosur fans were FREAKING out when they saw Julia Goerges hovering close to Stosur’s name? Goerges has been playing good ball and I love hearing her name pronounced but I have this gut feeling she will underperform this year. And Stosur seems to be gaining momentum. My guess is Stosur will make it out of this quarter but not without a little bit of drama from the other players in this quarter – even if it’s the kind of drama that really doesn’t have any substance to it.
Let’s just say Melanie Oudin won’t be able to pull the plug against Fran Schiavo. And you know what? I resent Oudin because everytime I say her name out loud I hear Cher singing “Believe.” I think Shuai Peng is going to be the party crasher and most hated person in Italy after she plays Schiavone in the third round. Vera Zvonareva must be THRILLED with her draw. I don’t see her having too much trouble even if Sabine Lisicki and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova end up playing well. And although I really do like Bethanie Mattek-Sands, I’m not keeping my fingers crossed for a rematch against Flavia Pennetta. Partly because there will be loads of errors and partly because I think Jelena Jankovic will wipe the court with the winner of that match, anyhow. If Jankovic shows up, she should take this quarter.
Things are looking up for Na Li! And what the f*&# is Patty Schnyder still doing in the draw? Patty! It’s time to start giving Sound of Music tours or whatever you do in Switzerland when you’re retired. I’m really hoping Petra Kvitova plays well and ends up meeting Dominika Cibulkova in the third round. That match could be the best thing going during the first week. And then the winner of that should end up playing Victoria Azarenka which could end up being even better than the best thing going. Although I’m hesitant to call Azarenka a winner here this could be her best chance to win a slam before Kvitova, who seems ready to take home a big title very soon. Would it be ok if I completely ignore Pauline Parmentier?
Ohhhh, scary first round encounter for Maria Sharapova! She gets Mirjana Lucic. I’m Kidding! This one should be as close as the Caro vs. KDK match. I was very excited to see Eleni Danillidou qualify. And even more excited she drew Jill Craybas in the first round! Unfortunately, she will probably play Klara Zakopalova in the second round. Four months ago I would have thought bad luck for Andrea Petkovic drawing Bojana Jovanovski in the first round, but the young Serb has pretty much disappeared since starting the year on a good note. Oh well, it happens. Kim Clijsters has a pretty easy few rounds but I think Sharapova is the one to watch in this quarter. Doesn’t everyone?
In summary, it’s all about Stosur, Kvitova, Azarenka, Sharapova and maybe Clijsters. One of them will win this thing.