Thursday, 23 July 2009

Masha, Kimmie, and WTT...

Still wondering whether I should care about World Team Tennis. Way I see it is it's escaped my attention for 20 years, so what's there to grab it now?

Elton John? Not in a million years. Multicoloured courts? (
Unlined multicoloured courts? No really)

What's piqued my interest this week though, and that I imagine of any semi-avid tennis fan, is the involvement of Sharapova and Clisjters.

Shaza first.

As you've no doubt already heard by know she's pronounced her shoulder as "one hundred percent recovered", which is of course very good news for the tour, considering the renewed round of assaults on the integrity of Dinara's #1 ranking this week.

(Photo: AP)

More tellingly she discussed at some length her time spent away from the tour.

"By no means was it easy. Definitely I had ups and downs," she said. "I had days where I had to push myself more than I've ever had to mentally than physically.

"It all pays off.
Obviously just getting to be able to play tennis again is an achievement in itself. Now it's about preparing myself, forgetting about what I went through, getting back into the form where I was -- and even better."


"At 22, you consider you've been playing on the Pro Tour that many years, [a comeback's] definitely not a surprise," she said. "
It is a little surprising to see so many girls kind of coming out of the woodwork, and they're so many years younger than you. You're like, 'Where did the time go?'

But I enjoy every single year of it. As I get older, I become a much wiser person on the court. I learn a lot in life. A learn a lot from my profession, from what I do. I'm definitely not sad that the years are going by."


"It's not something you just stop when it feels good," she said. "You have to keep working on it. You have to keep getting it stronger.

For the rest of my career I'll be doing shoulder exercises. It won't be as fun as I want it to be. It's all a routine. But everyone has to do it. Everyone has injuries. It's part of the game."


Needless to say, I'm loving this maturation. That it's been acquired through a process of rehabilitation somewhat unwittingly grafted on to her, only adds to it's appeal. I think I might have mentioned before that she once more or less 'tossed her head' at the idea of playing into her late twenties. Not my favourite moment of her career.

But we sometimes expect too much of our younger athletes (she was no more 18 or 19 at the time), whom let's face it are more or less forced to grow up under the glare of the public eye. It was the same with Murray, who was roundly castigated for those churlish displays, mostly directed towards Brad Gilbert.

But she speaks now like a woman beyond her years, using language you might expect more to hear from the 30 year old Nathalie Dechy, who announced her retirement this week.

The whole episode speaks volumes about her mental strength: unequivocally her greatest asset. It's rescued her many times on court. That it should come to her aid and see her through her greatest
off court battle should perhaps not surprise us.

Maybe this renewed commitment will push her to greater heights than might have been possible without the injury.

The other great comeback is of course that of Kim Clisjters. Not quite at the level of Shaza in the mental stakes it must be said.

But a
much better athlete and with more of an all round game (she'd banana-split her way back into court long before Jelena of Sveta did). It certainly wasn't just me glad to see her lift her only Slam trophy back at the US Open in 2005.

Let's also not forget her record at those she
didn't win: four Slam finals and a staggering seven semis. More substantial IMO as they were all acquired within that competitive WTA hothouse that featured Henin, Sharapova, and the Williamses, all arguably at the top of their respective games (Venus, I'll grant you, did have a rather horrible time of it up until that Wimbledon title of 2005).

In some ways her decision to return isn't that surprising. The iron, as they say, is as hot as it'll ever be. The tour seems deflated, and pales in comparison with anything going on during the time of her last outing. I'm sure she isn't expecting to reach
those heights , at least not with such regularity. But don't be surprised to see her bag some prominent scalps over the next few months and maybe more.

Both their additions should breath life back into the tour. Which is near asphyxiation.

I think I'm destined to remain sceptical of WTT though. I just read Elton John wrote the theme song for the Philadelphia team.

I just don't want to risk having to witness anything like this ever again.

I think I preferred just the rain delays. Both thankfully banished, by that gleaming roof.
blog comments powered by Disqus


All images on this site have been found in the public domain.
Credit has been given wherever possible.
If you feel your copyright is being infringed upon by any particular image, please contact me and I'll have it taken it down.

You Said...

Powered by Disqus

Receive Updates by Email...

Enter your email address:

  © Free Blogger Templates Spain by 2008

Back to TOP