Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The lady killers (The TTA? top 10: women's edition)

If you aren't among this group of elite players, then there's a nine out of 10 chance you'll be packing your bags before you know it if you have to go against one of them.

Or at least that's how it should be!

I'm taking the criteria I put together for the previous post and bringing it over to the WTA Tour to create the Tennis Talk, Anyone? Women's Top 10 list. And remember the rules: I'm throwing out the vast amount of injuries many of these players have suffered, as well as the mental maladies that may have hindered them. Determination goes a long way here, and of course, talent does, too.

So here you go: The TTA? Women's Top 10:

1. Serena Williams: Clay, grass, hard courts, Rebound Ace, carpet, nails: It doesn't matter what surface she's on. Remember that little thing called "the Serena Slam?" Plus, while it may seem like she's all offense, all the time, how many times have you seen her get one more ball back in play until she's back in control of the point?

2. Venus Williams: A powerhouse who can out-and-out dictate with her strokes and athleticism. I know that forehand of hers can break down at times, but I think that's more of a mental issue than a technical one—and mental issues don't count here!

3. Amelie Mauresmo: Mauresmo's probably the most versatile player out there—she can slug it out from the back and has good hands around the net. A physically healthy, mentally fit Mauresmo would have about seven to nine Majors in her pocket—and that would include at least one at each of the Big 4.

4. Maria Sharapova: The strategy's simple here: Serve big, crank the reply, hit sledgehammer returns. She's so high on this list, though, because with all the outside stuff going on in her life, you know her biggest thrill is getting out there and competing. She hates to lose.

5. Dinara Safina: I would've had her on this list before her recent run, since it's primarily talent-driven. This new "you'll-have-to-shoot-me-to-win" determination of hers makes her even more dangerous.

6. Ana Ivanovic: A big game and a stated desire to want to win Slams brings her up. She's still pretty young, too, and has plenty of potential to only get better.

7. Jelena Jankovic: Just imagine: an unbandaged, no choking in big matches Jankovic! That would be a sight to see, and many Majors would be hers for the taking.

8. Agnieszka Radwanska: In three years, she'll be number one in the world. Right now, though, she'll have to settle for being number seven on this list. She's already winning titles and making deep runs at tournaments on every surface.

9. Patty Schnyder: If you were to put a quarter in the corner of the Ad service box, I think she would hit it nine out of 10 times. She has tons of options on what to do with the ball—loop it, slice it, drive it—all in the middle of a rally!

10. Elena Dementieva: She's made over 20 career finals in singles, among them two Slam runner-up finishes—all with that serve! Talk about determination! There's players with more talent, but few with her fighting spirit.

There they are. Anyone that shouldn't be here?

(Photos: Getty Images)


Naf said...

I dunno, Van. Tennis is 99.987431 percent mental. I don't think you can eliminate that as a determining factor. Schnyder and Mauresmo are talented, but they're head cases. It's the only reason they haven't been more successful.
I totally agree about Radwanska. I even think she'd have done better against Serena at Wimby if she hadn't tried to be way too clever. I guess in that case, the mental thing works against you!

van said...

Hey Naf, I'm imagining them without the hangups! If you look at it from an ability standpoint, wouldn't you have them up there?

IHeartRafa said...

I will include Petrova (head case) and Kuznetsova (head case) on the list. I will put Davenport (injury plus mommy duties) on that list too. I don't think Radwanska deserved to be on the top 10 list.

Shelia said...

Nah, they should all be there, but just as you said, there's so much more going on than their talent.

Take "Petty Patty" for instance. This woman is tremendously talented, but the party going on in her head thwarts a lot of her efforts. Nonetheless, she's one of my favs! I love all that bad attitude and curly ponytail, they seem to work nicely in tennis. (Where's Capriati's bad attitude when you need it.)

This new crowd though, Ana, Jelena, Agnieszka, I don't have a lot of faith in any of them or their games. Even though you can include Dinara with them, I think that she has more heart than they do.

I don't know what to think about Maria. I'm not so convinced about this shoulder thing.

freakyfrites said...

Hi Van!

Love the list. I do think Davenport is a good addition - her laser-like flat ball hitting is amazing when she's on and healthy. But she's 90 percent retired, so I can see why you didn't include her.

I'm a big Amelie fan - wouldn't it be fantastic if she could get her act together? God, I miss Justine's game right now.

I do think Kuznetsova would be on my list - after all, Roger loves watching her play!

hcfoo said...

Hey I love Kuznetsova too! Consistency wise, I think I would want Venus, Jankovic and Ivanovic in my top 3 list. Oh, did I totally forgotten about Safina? I think Safina is the world no. 1 in the making.

van said...

Looks like there's a lot of calls for Kuznetsova! She was someone I thought pretty long and hard about, but I pretty much left her out in favor of Jankovic and Ivanovic—it would've been hard to leave out two number ones. I have Sheila's "Petty Patty" (I hadn't heard that nickname before; it's pretty funny) because with her game, she should have done so much damage on tour—if even for the sake of offering players a different look when they go against her.

And I really, truly think Radwanska will be a future number one.

Anonymous said...

I kinda think Davenport deserves one of those ten spots--if we're just talking pure pure talent...