Tuesday, October 14, 2008

She drives me crazy (The TTA? top five most-frustrating players: women's edition)

My, what a difference six months can make!

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?

(Photo: Getty Images)


TopSpin said...

All agreed! Except I'd put Kuznetsova at the top of the list!


brian said...

serena best female player ever but dose not have the stats to back it up

van said...

• Hey Topspin! I was referring to you when I said she has the fans on a rollercoaster. One day she'll come through for you. She has to, right?

• Hey Brian. I was going to put Serena on there, she should dominate, after all. But man, she has a career Slam! What more do we want of her? I guess the Grand Slam would be good...

brian said...

serena is it 8 majors?
i was hoping for a chance at graf's 22 maybe courts 24 dude best serve and best return rooled into one player her stats just dont show how good she is

yogahz said...

I'd add Nadia Petrova.

Two years ago when she had that run during the clay court season I thought she would be doing what Dinara Safina did this year.

Aaress said...

Excellent list, Van!

I borrowed your idea and wrote a similar post at On the Baseline! :)


Keep up the great work!

van said...

• All right, Brian, I'll give you Serena, but James Blake stays on the men's list! : )

• Hey Yogahz, how are you? I thought about Petrova, but I felt like her slump was due to her coming back from her injury too soon. It looks like she's having some decent results again, though.

• Hey Aaress, thanks!

Jason said...

Ana Ivanovic? She has been ridiculous since the French, and not at all in a good way. Maybe no one really roots for her, so she doesn't make the list.

van said...

Hey Jason. Part of the criteria I was using was looking at someone who has a consistent pattern of being inconsistent: at least a couple of years. I think she'll get out of her slump, but you're right: Her results since the French are enough to drive someone crazy!

Shelia said...

I love this post Van, because for those of us who loooove tennis, these women (among a few lessers) do indeed make you CRAZY!! Mauresmo is at the top of my list for craziness. Entirely too much promise to just barely be in the game at this point.

The only one on your list that doesn't make me too crazy is Venus Williams. Whatever it is that Venus could do more of, or do better, she, like her sister have left the rest of the ladies in the dust stat wise. So, each time she almost drives me crazy, I go to record and hold it up against the others...no contest.

Most of these other ladies have been flashes in the pan over a short period; and extremely rare is the one that even holds a grand slam title.

van said...

Hey Sheila, thanks! That argument for Venus is the one I was making for Serena, so I hear you on that. I just think that Venus still has more dominance in her, but she really hasn't been there for years. I keep hoping though!