Friday, December 31, 2010

Some Players, young and old, too watch in 2011.

2011 looks set to be another cracking year on the WTA with a whole host of new stars set to create many an upset, as well as the more established stars inevitably taking the major honours once again. And here are some players to keep an eye through out the year!

Kim Clijsters

It's all there for Kim Clijsters, it just depends how committed she is. Can she be a little less up and down than she was in 2010? With Serena out of the picture, you have to say that she's got the game to dominate everybody. Even if she plays at 80 per cent, it should be enough for her to win major tournaments. That said, there are a number of players that I'll be interested to follow this year, all currently outside the top 10 - and they should each have an interesting year ahead of them.

Justine Henin

The first one is Justine Henin, who is due to make her latest comeback from injury next week. She's been out with an elbow injury and is saying that she won't be back to her best until July, but I think we can take that with a pinch of salt - she's deliberately, and rightly, taking the pressure off herself. I would expect her to be knocking on the door by the French Open: if she has no further injuries, I'd see her as one of the favourites to win Roland Garros. It will be too early for her to compete at the Australian Open: with her game she has to play frequently, getting matches under her belt.

But if she can stay injury-free, she'll become a major force again this year.

Maria Sharapova

It has been a staccato few months for Maria as she fights back from injury. However the old phrase about form being temporary and class permanent really does apply to her. I wouldn't be surprised to see her challenging in all four Grand Slams in 2011; but, once again, that will only happen if she can stay injury-free.

Ana Ivanovic

In the last few tournaments of 2010 Ana was an unrecognisable player from the one bereft of form, lacking confidence and looking as if she might be on her way out of tennis. However, her partnership with Heinz Gunthardt bore fruit by October, when she was as strong as any player in the world. Whatever her reasons for then splitting with the coach, I can't see it being good news for her. I was absolutely convinced that she was one of the favourites for the Australian Open, but it remains to be seen if the hard work she and Heinz put into her mental stamina is still there when she turns up in Melbourne. Sometimes she plays with all the confidence in the world, and sometimes she plays with absolutely no confidence at all - and that change sometimes happened in the space of 10 minutes.

If her upward trend continues, she's a real threat and can take on anyone. I hope it does.

Svetlana Kuznetsova/Dinara Safina

It's make or break for the Russian pair: if neither are in contention for a major tournament in 2011, I think that either or both of them will retire. They are both at a crossroads, Safina because she tries too hard and Kuznetsova because she seems to get easily distracted.

Christina McHale

The young American star has a lot of pressure on her shoulders as the new girl set to take over from the likes of Venus and Serena as the US number one, when the sisters eventually retire. Christina has halved her ranking in 2010 moving from 231 to near the worlds top 100 and now should make many more main draws on the tour without the need to waste energy qualifying. She is gaining confidence all the time and should be able to deal with a lot of the older players quite easily.
It will be interesting to see if she will be able to defeat the very best top 20 ranked girls but i am sure 2011 will be a great year of progression and she could well move to within the worlds top 50 if she stays injury free, causing a few upsets no doubt a long the way.

Laura Robson

2011 looks to be a defining year for the young Brit. its been a while since she won junior Wimbledon and put herself on the tennis radar. Yet with a limited schedule because of her age restrictions Robson has failed to move up the rankings as quick as some expected. Those in the know though understand that Robson can now play a much fuller schedule in 2011 and has already gained some extensive experiences on the tour such as playing Jelena Jankovic on a Wimbledon show court and taking on the mighty Kimiko Date in her home city of Tokyo. Robson is powerful and has a great serve which will allow her to gain cheap points against many opponents. First step is for Laura to try and break the top 100 with a solid start at the beginning of the year. Turning 17 in January Laura will look to qualify into the main draw of the Aussie Open and show the expectant British tennis fans that she is a contender for major honours.

Zarina Diyas

Kazakstan is emerging as a powerful tennis nation. On the ATP tour the likes of Evgeny Korolov, Andrey Golubev and Mikhail Kukushkin are all familiar names, but the ladies now can boast a new star, Zarina Diyas. The 17 year old is a powerful player and looks set to give her Russian neighbours something to think about. She had a steady 2010 but showed her true promise when reaching the quarter finals in Moscow back in October where as a qualifier she destroyed Jankovic before losing to Maria Kirilenko in the next round. The ranking points from Moscow means Zarina now has a top 200 ranking and will be looking to break into the top 100 quickly in 2011. A dangerous floater in any draw, once the youngster gains a little more strength she could challenge for a top 20 ranking very soon. These are just three potential stars of 2011. Other notable names that could also rapidly rise up the ranks are British girls Heather Watson and Tara Moore, the Pliskova sisters from the Czech Republic, American Coco Vandeweghe and Croatian junior star Alya Tomljanovic.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How to make the WTA rankings work.

The WTA rankings clearly DO NOT work!

What value should the winner have as compared to the defeated player? If winning makes all the difference in the world in a Grand Slam final then it should be reflected in the points’ allocation for each player’s rankings.

The highest number of ranking points a player can earn is by winning a Grand Slam singles title. The winner receives 2000 ranking points. The 2nd highest number of ranking points a player can earn is by being the runner-up in a Grand Slam tournament. The runner-up receives 1400 ranking points.

To make the rankings work, an absolute MINIMUM of a 2.5 to 1 ratio of points should be allocated to the winner of a Grand Slam event. Given 1400 is earned by the runner-up then 3500 should be given to the winner.

If this value correction was adopted by the WTA, Serena Williams would currently be the clear world No.1. The differential of 2100 points between the champion and the defeated player would represent a more realistic difference. It would dramatically reduce the possibility of being ranked No.1 without winning a Grand Slam title.

How many points do you think the runner-up would get? What value would you place on the difference between being the winner and the runner-up? Do you think that the runner-up holds 70% as much prestige and fame as the winner does? As unfortunate as it is, the phrase “nobody remembers the loser” often rings true.

The runner-up receives 70% of the amount of points that the winner does, therefore 1400 ranking points. 70% to the runner-up means a player earns 2800 points for twice making it to the final. So, this points allocation means the WTA is saying that 2 runner-up results in a Slam final is a greater result by a player than it is to actually win a Grand Slam title! That’s CLEARLY NOT the case.

Do you think a player who has made it to 2 finals and lost both times will hold a higher place in the history of the game than a player who does actually win a Grand Slam title? I really don’t think so. For instance, Michael Chang’s position in the game’s history would be greater in most people’s view than would dual runner-up Alex Corretja’s.

The performances at the most prestigious and biggest events in the world should make all the difference. Unless the WTA Tour makes a huge effort into promoting and educating the tennis world about the how important the other 10 major women’s tournaments each year, then this seems like the 2nd best solution.

If the ranking system did work like this the rankings would look very differently that what they do currently;
The current ranknigs:
1 Caroline Wozniack 8,035
2 Vera Zvonareva 6,785
3 Kim Clijsters 6,635
4 Serena Williams 5,355
5 Venus Williams 4,985
6 Samantha Stosur 4,982
7 Francesca Schiavone 4,935
8 Jelena Janković 4,445
9 Elena Dementieva 4,335
10 Victoria Azarenka 4,235

If the rankings worked my way!;
1 Serena Williams 8,355
2 Kim Clijsters 8,135
3 Caroline Wozniacki 8,035
4 Vera Zvonerava 6,785
5 Francesca Schiavone 6 435
6 Venus Williams 4,985
7 Samantha Stosur 4,982
8 Jelena Janković 4,445
9 Elena Dementieva 4,335
10 Victoria Azarenka 4,235

Probably a much fairer system!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Navratilova leaves Kilimanjaro early!

WTA legend Martina Navratilova is recovering in a Nairobi hospital after having to halt prematurely her attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Navratilova, who was leading a team of 27 climbers to raise funds for the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation charity, was taken ill on the fourth day of the climb up the 19,341 foot mountain in Tanzania. She was assisted down the mountain by porters and driven to the nearby Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre for assessment, then, as a precaution, she was flown to the Nairobi Hospital for further tests, which showed she was suffering from high altitude pulmonary oedema - an accumulation of fluid in the lungs.

Dr. David Silverstein of Nairobi Hospital said: "Basically this is fluid in the lungs related to high altitude. It is potentially dangerous when someone is at high altitude, but once brought down, recovery is quick. Martina is doing well and will continue to do well. Treatment is to remove the fluid through diuretics and to make the patient more comfortable with oxygen. She will spend two to three days in hospital. There will be no effects to long term health and patients get back to full fitness in due course. Martina's acute condition is not reflective of her health or fitness. It occurs in some people in conditions of low oxygen."

From her bed at the Nairobi Hospital, Martina said: "I'm disappointed not to be able to complete this amazing journey. It was something that I have wanted to do for so long, but it was not to be. I am so pleased that we got it going and I will be watching and waiting for news from the climb when they reach the summit tomorrow. I didn't make it, but I think it has been a great success as we have raised funds and awareness for the work that Laureus does."

Navratilova was in good spirits as she left the campsite at Horombo. She had reached 4500m during the day, the highest point of the climb so far.

Among Martina's team was badminton star Gail Emms and Paralympian Michael Teuber, who said: "The whole group of the climbers is very sad about Martina's situation, but at the same time we are glad to hear that she is doing fine. Now we are even more motivated and want to reach the summit also for her. I will carry the Laureus flag up to the top and stick it in the ground for her."

The climb began on Monday and is due to reach the summit Saturday. The Laureus team have had to face unseasonal weather of blizzards and mists which has made progress extremely difficult over the last few days.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Serena Williams will probably not be back until spring.

Serena Williams, who has not played competitively on tour since dominating the field and winning her 13th major at Wimbledon this year, hopes to make her comeback in the spring, according to the New York Post.

"I hope to be out of the cast and back on the court by spring," Williams told the New York Post at YSL and Vogue's fashion party in Miami on Saturday night. "I am trying to make the best out of a bad situation."

Williams, 29, reportedly had her foot in a cast decorated with Swarovski crystals on Saturday.

Williams initially suffered the injury when she was cut on glass at a restaurant in Munich, Germany, on July 7. She received stitches in both feet and then needed further surgery to repair a lacerated tendon on the top of her right foot in Los Angeles on July 15.

At the time of the accident, the American was ranked No. 1, but the injury forced her to pull out of the U.S. Open. A hopeful Williams committed to playing in a handful of tournaments this fall, but her foot did not heal properly as she began training.

She underwent further procedures on her foot in October and later pulled out of the Australian Open. Not only will Serena be unable to defend her title at Melbourne Park, but she may now reportedly miss a significant amount of time following the season's first major.

Serena ended the season ranked No. 4, behind Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva and Kim Clijsters.

Serena showed off her bedazzled cast at YSL and Vogue’s “Evenings in Vogue” party in Miami on Saturday night, according to New York Post gossip column Page Six.

“I decorated it myself with crystals. I am trying to make the best out of a bad situation. I hope to be out of the cast and back on the court by spring,” she said.

Serena also spoke of lover after she recently rekindled her romance with rapper Common.

Williams has previously revealed that she’s looking to settle down with the man of her dreams.

“I’m looking for a guy who is close to his parents — his mom mostly because you can learn a lot about a guy by the way he treats his mom,” she said last month.

“And someone who loves themselves because if they take care of themselves, they are able to take care of you.

“I don’t like smokers, and of course people who disrespect their parents and families. Family is very important to me.

“When people meet me, I’m different in person I’m very nice and easy going.”

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Deja Vu for Deja.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Deja Kitchiner, she is a young girl from the USA who is being touted by her father as the next Justine Henin and Steffi Graf. She has a youtube account and her father has attempted to create hype around Deja by spamming tennis forums with videos of her and making outlandish claims about her future in the game. The problem is that in reality, she just isn’t very good. In the youtube videos of her being fed balls, she appears to be hitting her serve, backhand and volleys all in the same western forehand grip, and any beginner could tell you just how wrong that is. Not only this but Deja's father has claimed she has the "best back hand the game of tennis has seen" and he has also stated that she can serve 115mph+

It really highlights just how easily fathers can exploit their daughters. She probably is a nice, normal young lady but she has become the butt of jokes across the tennis community as her father continues to shamelessly promote her under the moniker of JustWinDeja among other usernames and fake profiles. Shouldn’t it be JustPlayDeja? He claims that she is thirteen years old but not only does she look far older, but she has seemingly been thirteen for years now. It’s just a sad situation and if (and when) she doesn’t become that world famous pro that her father is adamant she will be, how will she be able to have a normal life considering she will have spent her whole childhood playing tennis?

With all that said, the sob story is brilliant; “We played in a hallway and when there was no hallway we, um, hit on the back of our SUV”. Completely believable of course.

The first video is the alleged 13 year old Deja Kitchiner, the second Serena Williams at 12 years old. I think its pretty obvious who is the better player.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Update: 2011 outfits.

Not too long ago I wrote about what some Adidas and Nike Players would be wareing at the start of 2011, here is a quick update! These images are a bit clearer of what Serena Williams would have worn and what Maria Sharapova will ware at the Australian Open. I'm sad we may not get see Serena's dress in action, because I think it would have suited her and the court perfectly! I think Maria's dress will turn into one of those ones that suite her, but no one else! It should look great on her, but the average person would not look to great in it!These outfits will be for the average Adidas player, with the pink/orange dress probably being Ivanavic's French Open dress. The polo's or round neck top will be for henin and the tank's for Kirilenko, Oudin, Lisicki etc.

To give you a rough idea of what the Adilibria line will look like for Roland Garros this is the tank and skort that players will ware