It was back then that Dinara Safina made a turnaround from following in the flaky footsteps of her big brother, Marat. Now look at her: a number-two ranking, titles galore and a place OFF the list of the players who drive me crazy!
Yesterday, I listed the guys. Now it's the women's turn, giving me a chance to examine the players who have given me the most migraines. Again, some of them were on the TTA? Top 10 List. If I missed anyone, please feel free to list them.
Anyway, here's the countdown:
5. Nicole Vaidisova: Tsk, tsk: 19 and almost done. Why she's not among the players battling for a turn at the top of the rankings is beyond me. Every time I think she's about to break out of this prolonged slump, Bam! Another loss. And I'm left wondering, "Oh, what could have been." Usually when you're as young as she was when she made a Slam semi, then that's a good thing. Maybe it's the Radek Stepanek effect: Martina Hingis seemed to put tennis on the back burner when she was rolling with him. (Check out Down the Line! for more on that.) I guess if I stop expecting her to do well, then I could save money on headache medicine.
4. Sania Mirza: I can't tell you how many times I've picked her to come through in matches going by what the pundits say about her game: "Her forehand's huge." "She's a fighter." I know she deals with a lot of off-the-court stuff that nobody on tour can imagine and right now, her wrist is pretty messed up, but she's lost a LOT of matches she shouldn't have. I hope she can come back and play on a consistent level: I don't know what I'd do if she didn't win a match that I picked her to again!
3. Amelie Mauresmo: The legend. And I'll leave it at that.
2. Svetlana Kuznetsova: This is getting ridiculous! There's a whole legion of fans that think her next final will be her next title. The winless streak has to end at some point, right? How does someone lose 10 of 11 finals, and the only one that was won was when the opponent retired? I wouldn't be too surprised if she broke out of this and won the season-ending championships. Then again, if she goes 0-3 there, it wouldn't faze me much either. Talk about putting the fans on a rollercoaster!
1. Venus Williams: I just wrote something about this last week, but I'll reiterate some of the points I made before: One of the greatest fast-court players of ALL TIME, athletic as all get-out and she can't beat players who were groomed on clay in indoor conditions? Come on! Venus, please, for my sanity: Win Zurich this week! Is that too much to ask?
An old friend of mine and I used to talk tennis for hours, whether it was our own games or what was happening in the pros. I've started Tennis Talk, Anyone? to, well, talk tennis with an even broader crowd! My name is Van Sias and I've been playing for 20 years now, and not only am I player, I'm a huge fan of the game as well: pro, amateur, you name it. I'll post links to news items related to the sport, and offer my own personal opinion, predictions and hopefully get some of yours as well.