Why is world number one Dinara Safina playing this week's tournament in Slovenia? And is it a good or bad thing?
I saw that she won through to the semis today, which is good. That prompted me to look at the draw, and after examining it, the event looked like it should be played on the ITF circuit! Top 10 players nowadays don't go to events like this. And I almost feel bad about bringing up this old nugget because I'm sure Safina hears it enough: number-one players WITHOUT a Slam under their belt definitely don't play these type of tournaments!
The summer hard-court season really gets under way in California in a matter of days. Shouldn't she have waited until then? That way, she'd be fresher to face the stiffer competition that will be out there the next few weeks. Also, say she wins this tournament. Granted, it's not the toughest of opponents Safina will face, but it's still going up against women that will be fighting tooth and nail for this small title, so the intensity will be higher than in a practice match. There's no need to deal with that now. No one else in the top 10 is bothering with that, so why is the number one?
If Safina happens to lose, by some miracle, then what does that do the confidence? And heaven forbid, if a hamstring is tweaked here.
But on the other hand, it can be perceived as a good thing that she's playing. Maybe Safina wants to go all out this week and practice was getting dull. It's also great for the fans that attend the tournament, to have the opportunity to see one of the world's best take center stage.
I know I'm probably being naive, but I hope it's not just an appearance fee situation. Because there's plenty of money to be made at the big events, which could also be a better warm-up for winning that first big one.
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.