Thursday, 4 November 2010

WTA Championships: Emotional Whiplash




Was I the only one that thought Kim was spectacularly under par in Doha?


And I don’t just mean the double faults, entertaining though they were.


There was simply no continuity to this final however you choose to spin it.


The most frightening demonstration of this was in the way Woz was allowed to claw her way back into the match from a set and 4-1 down – credit to Woz for seeing it through, but it’s something that should never have been allowed to happen.


All the same, kinda difficult to complain when the best player in the world right now (please note the bold font before excommunicating me from your rss reader) caps off the year without playing her best tennis -  in a way which, to my mind, puts an end to the question of who the ‘player of the year’ is (see below).




Fact: Caz hit 35 winners in the final – only one less than Kim Clijsters.


Fact: The day before in the semis, she came out all guns blazing.


Fact: Caz hit forehand winners throughout the week.


(In other news, Yvgeny-Unicorn won a pot of gold in a Challenger event held at the other end of the rainbow. Delegates from Mars and Lilliput expressed an interest in hosting similar events in their home nations.)


It wasn’t always pretty, it didn’t always work – but it’s yet more evidence of the growth in her game. And of the awareness of the need for such growth.


Belly-Flop of of the Week.


Bepa’s second set bagel against Caz. I’m almost not in favour of the “keeping-the-emotions-in-check” approach anymore– which, to be fair, got her to where she is today, but has now, one feels, run its course.


Not that she should return to being ‘Crazy-Bepa’.


But I really can’t see there being that much wrong with breaking a racquet or two occasionally (and to then move on, rather than letting it fester in the way she used to before), if that’s what it takes to avert these horrendous beatdowns we still occasionally get.


Some people just aren’t built to “button it up” – and it’s as wrong to expect them to do that, as it is for them to fly off the handle once too often.




I really hope I’m wrong about this, but it seems to me that Vika joins a growing line of upcoming Slam contenders upended by breathing problems, heat and fatigue.


More Demmie.


Not over it. :((


There’s a small chance I may have shed non-virtual tears over this one. ACTUALLY THEY WERE GREAT BIG “MAN” TEARS.


It would probably have been the same for any player (even one I wasn’t as emotionally invested in) if they went so abruptly.


You have to be a very special, well-loved player to warrant and to then carry off a farewell tour – which is why I’m not, in general, a fan of them.


On the other hand, I’m pretty sure I’m not a fan of the emotional whiplash I’ve suffered over the past few days – a direct consequence of being forced to go ‘cold turkey’.


Can we agree on a more manageable, staged withdrawal strategy – a kind of halfway house – for when, say, Venus retires? The way Amelie cautiously signalled her intent a few months before making it official?

Player of the Year?


Has there ever been such intense speculation over this issue before? Probably not.


It’s easy to see why of course: never have such conflicting notions of consistency, quality, Slams and rankings points come to a head so acutely - nor grated against one another so viciously.


It’s as if Serena, Kim and Woz deliberately set out to demonstrate the three prevailing attitudes to the tour that may as well represent the Bolshy left, centre-right and far right of rankings system politics.


Woz is the young wannabe-opinion-maker eager to make a name for herself by being seen with all the right people at all the right parties – only one that hasn’t yet quite learnt the perils of overexposure.


Kim’s the former tree hugging liberal that has seen fit to drop her most provocative opinions as the demands (and comforts) of family life and the pragmatism of tennis-middle-age kick in.


Serena’s the eccentric aristocrat that expects the ‘National Trust’ to foot the bill for an extension to her country house; that is when she’s not shooting down ramblers exercising their right of way on her land.


Can you be player of the year having only made one Slam semi? I don’t think so.


Can you be player of the year having only played six events, all of which took place in it’s first half? Winning two Slams helps your cause as the best player in the world – but that’s not quite the same as ‘player of the year’.


Kim certainly wouldn’t be my centre-right WTA presidential candidate of choice in any other year – but she’s won a Slam, the WTA Championships, a premier mandatory (Miami), a premier 5 (Cincy) and an International event in Brisbane – that’s one event at every WTA tier.


If that doesn’t make you player of this (not especially representative) year, then I’m not sure what does.


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