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.


Carlos said...

Divapova reminds me of an old car of mine it ran well for a couple of months and it spend the next six broken down.

Not sold on Laura Robson, maybe is because I've hearing her name for a while. At this stage I thought she would be ranked around 75. IMO if she doesn't make a big impact this year I'm calling her a bust.

I keep seeing the same thing from Dinara and Kutnetsova. This two are chokers and will continue to be because they haven't sought help for their mental problems.

The Americans: Coco and McHale, for every victory from them there will be a lot of hype coming specially from the U.S. media. I have to analyze every victory and not get caught in the hype and MY American bias.

Fist Pumping Imbecile: She can take those fist pumps and... :P I think this woman gives a step forward and one back. Too many changes on her staff are signs of instability, if she is without a coach more of downward spiral. BTW I didn't know she split from her coach thanks for the info Captain.

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

Carlos, that is a perfect explanation of the player Divapova is now!

I think we hear a lot about Robson, because of the Wimbledon Junior title when she was 14, It was hard for her to make a huge impact on the tour I believe because of the stupid restrictions on the amount of tournaments that young players can play, I believe in 2010 she could only play 6 tournaments because she was 15/16 years old! I am one that believe Robson is the next big thing and she does have the game and talent to be a great champion. This year will be a big one for her!

At least for Kuznetsova she has one 2 slams already, so can retire and still be remember as a good player, Safina hasn't got that and will probably be remember as "Marat's little sister" I do believe that this is the most important years of their careers.

The young Americans have masses of pressure to be the next Serena and Venus, unfortunately I don't think Melanie can be, I hope Coco and McHale will be able to have Impacts on the tour.

She takes one step forward, the two back! She wont do anything huge this year, I don't think. Carlos, thats what Im here for! :P

Carlos said...

Captain you are right about Svetlana and Dinara the next three years are going to be important to them. However they must do something to strengthen their mental toughness. Yes Svetlana has two slams but when I hear her name I think how many times she ended up being the runner up.

Melanie as much as I her she is a light weight capable of producing upsets but she doesn't have the firepower to overcome big hitters like Mrs. K.C. the Williams sisters.

I like the rule of limiting young players it doesn't burn them out. I hope I'm wrong about Robson, I had to look up her age, I thought she was 18 when she is actually 16. I retract my previous statement (calling her a bust if she doesn't have a big year she is still young), but like the Americans there is a lot of hype around Robson. How she handles the pressure will be part of her success.

Has the Fist Pumping Imbecile hired another coach or will she rely on the Addidas guy(Sven)?

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

Thats true about Kuznetsova, Although she maybe 2-2 in the slams, In tier 1 she has a 2-6 final record! and an overall total of 13-18.

Melaine has no attacking game, she was able to upset Dementieva, Sharapova and Franny because they have similar games, and the russians choke!

I don't like the extent of the rule, qualification tournaments, shouldn't be counted I believe! And it means we will never have any more players like Seles, winning slams at 16! Robson does have huge pressure placed upon her, probably more than the Americans, because the English are so desperate I can't even remember the last time an English woman won a slam! At least the Americans have great champions to follow in. I think from the few matches I have seen robson play, She handles the pressure well, Ill wait till I see her in heavy end of a slam, to see how mentaly tough she is.

The Fist Pumping Imbecile's new coach is Antonio van Grichen, he's on "trial period" until the end of the Australian Open! I don't like players changing their entourage, I mean look at Justine, Serena and Venus, the greatest of current players, have never changed coaches!

Carlos said...

You are right Captain, great players seldom do coach changes, but the Williams changed when their father step aside. A smooth transition because their mother took over.

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

That's a very different situation, I believe, because I think both their parents coach them, and always have, just first Richard was the main coach but now Oreceane is! And its different, when its your parents coaching.

Carlos said...

I still disagree with limiting young players. Sorry to go back to soccer but Pele was a professional playing with the national team at at of 16. It ca be compared with Seles. However you have British Michael Owen playing professionally at age 16 an for the national team as a teenager but he ended up with two major knee surgeries. He wasn't playing for the national team this past world cup. I believe the WTA is protecting future players from injury and avoiding the risk to burn them out like Tracy Austin.

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

I think the young players should be able to play the same amount of tournaments that every one else does! I mean they should be aware of the risk and should be able to take that risk them selves, if they want too! Making them able to play more tournaments doesn't mean everyone junior will play 12, 15, 16, 18 or 20 tournaments! I know this is a completely out of the blue, non sport related analogy! but Gay Marriage, I don't know why people are so against it, just because if it is legalized doesn't mean everyone has to get one, and it doesn't mean everyone will marry other men or women! Just because juniors will be able to, maybe, play more tournaments, doesn't mean everyone will!

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