No, these WTA teenagers aren't yet ready.

Keizer

Hall of Fame
Is it really a controversial opinion that this WTA era is weak compared to the 2000s? The fact that Serena had so much success in the 10s even with her poorer mobility is evidence enough of that. 2000s had major champs like Mauresmo, Sharapova, Henin, Clijsters and very solid top 10 players like Dementieva, Safina, Petrova, Myskina. You even had some of the older champs towards the end of their careers like Davenport and Capriati. Just a great era for women's tennis.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Is it really a controversial opinion that this WTA era is weak compared to the 2000s? The fact that Serena had so much success in the 10s even with her poorer mobility is evidence enough of that. 2000s had major champs like Mauresmo, Sharapova, Henin, Clijsters and very solid top 10 players like Dementieva, Safina, Petrova, Myskina. You even had some of the older champs towards the end of their careers like Davenport and Capriati. Just a great era for women's tennis.
Not remotely controversial. But Martinka 97 being better than Serena 2002/2012 is super-controversial and that's an opinion that the OP holds or rather holds onto with all his might. The problem with the OP is he has lots of brilliant perspectives to give, which are all sadly clouded by his extreme partiality to Martinka and, as it turns out, Kournikova.

I would also add that the timing of the thread was bizarre given that the WTA 'weak era' started a long time ago. Since at least 2009-10 or so. It's not exactly news at this point. So...if Raducanu and Fernandez are profiting from this weak field, what's the big deal? They have still done better than many experienced players who still don't have what both of them have on their resume. Players like Sabalenka, Svitolina, Bencic have 0 slam finals to show as of date. So the two have already done really well for being teens in this era (as opposed to the one in which the WTA hadn't begun to put restrictions on participation of teenage players). As for Serena or Venus, not as if anybody, even one single person, compared either Raducanu or Fernandez to them.
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
She's dead.
She's unfortunately no longer with us. Let me repeat myself again. If those two teenagers had gone back to the good days, they'd have been begging Novotna and the like for advice on their overheads and volleys. That is, if they had any sense. If you don't understand what I mean, you're about to find out in minutes. Watch Fernandez handle her next match, very closely.

She's indeed. Also, I'm sure Fernandez is not looking for cocaine and dinky Martin"k"a serve either.
Now I see you clearly. You're a joker with no class. Like the other Talk Tennis pencil-pushers, you spent your time talking about how amazing Raducanu was and how wrong I was to criticize her game. To no real coach's surprise, the girl lost her very next match in terrible fashion, and the pencil-pusher tries to sweep his embarrassing assumptions and lack of tennis experience under the rug to try and sling some mud at another woman, like the child he is. Teaching you is quickly becoming a waste of my time.
 

tex123

Professional
She's unfortunately no longer with us. Let me repeat myself again. If those two teenagers had gone back to the good days, they'd have been begging Novotna and the like for advice on their overheads and volleys. That is, if they had any sense. If you don't understand what I mean, you're about to find out in minutes. Watch Fernandez handle her next match, very closely.


Now I see you clearly. You're a joker with no class. Like the other Talk Tennis pencil-pushers, you spent your time talking about how amazing Raducanu was and how wrong I was to criticize her game. To no real coach's surprise, the girl lost her very next match in terrible fashion, and the pencil-pusher tries to sweep his embarrassing assumptions and lack of tennis experience under the rug to try and sling some mud at another woman, like the child he is. Teaching you is quickly becoming a waste of my time.
Everything I said is true. Hingis had a great ground game but an awful serve and she took cocaine. You don't even know that Novotna is dead and advocating a dead woman to be her coach. The only child here is you who has such a thin skin.
Raducanu playing without a coach lost a match. Nobody died. She's only 18 and she has a slam.

If you are such a good coach then why don't you apply for the job.
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
She's unfortunately no longer with us. Let me repeat myself again. If those two teenagers had gone back to the good days, they'd have been begging Novotna and the like for advice on their overheads and volleys. That is, if they had any sense. If you don't understand what I mean, you're about to find out in minutes. Watch Fernandez handle her next match, very closely.
If you are such a good coach then why don't you apply for the job.
So, what did you learn? Lost on a volley, did she not?

Goodnight, youngin.
 

slipgrip93

Semi-Pro
On the whole, I'd agree it's generally apparent both Fernandez and Raducanu need stronger net games, overheads, volleys, etc. I've felt Rybakina as a young player has had better net game than those two, but she seems to have some mental hurdles or not enough drive on the court. Swiatek felt like the most talented with her breakout FO win, but I dunno if her change of racquet screwed things up so much for her or something else. Anyway, I have the most fun watching Badosa. :love:
 
Last edited:

STRONGSTYLE

Rookie
On the whole, I'd agree it's generally apparent both Fernandez and Raducanu need stronger net games, overheads, volleys, etc. I've felt Rybakina as a young player has had better net game than those two, but she seems to have some mental hurdles or not enough drive on the court. Swiatek felt like the most talented with her breakout FO win, but I dunno if her change of racquet screwed things up so much for her or something else. Anyway, I have the most fun watching Badosa. :love:
As long as courts as slow as molasses, they don't need a net game, I agree about overheads at least, I hate constant swinging volleys.
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
The smoke's cleared again, so I'll make a few comments here. And this'll be the last of it, because the people who understand this sport understand that I'm speaking from wisdom and don't need to keep arguing with the average salary-man pretending he's a tennis broadcaster.

First off, Fernandez performed very well today, so congratulations to her. I was very impressed by her in the first set. I'm saying this because, the way the world is today, there's a decent chance Fernandez or her camp ran into this thread or may run into it in the future. She played a much stronger net game today and made some points off her volleying. She kept that hustle going and ran down every corner, employing some exceptional forehand slices on the run: Kournikova-esque. Fernandez doesn't have that same power to turn defense into offense immediately, but her topspin consistency makes her annoying to hit off the court- to say the least. That's good on her for showing improvement in key areas. I can tell she sought to impress. Her other level against Sasnovich would not've won her a single set.

Now for the brutal honesty. For the last time: she's not ready. "Yet."

All the Kournikova mockery, I'm fine with. The quickest way to separate a distinguished coach/commentator from your average forum poster is to ask them about Kournikova's game. Little do these hard-heads know the injured Kournikova accomplished more than Rogers.

Not only the higher ranking and a doubles career. But Rogers herself has never won a title. So, for some young gun to sit there and tap the words: "0-tournaments-won, career-high-ranking-of-8 Kournikova"......now you know the type of uninformed pencil-pusher they are behind the screen. Both of them were dumping errors everywhere. Rogers' forehand slices into the net, each and every time. Fernandez wanted to join the fun. 40+ errors from both of them. "Even a healthy Kournikova was always ready and willing to self implode." Tennis ignorance. Kournikova's implosions are entirely different. Kournikova is trying to kill the ball and sometimes overkilling it by overhitting. She had an extreme eastern grip. Understandable: Graf with her forehand grip had the same issues. Fernandez was simply out of position for most of her mistakes, partly from straight-arming the forehand. With her semi-western grip, mishitting like Graf and Kournikova shouldn't be as common as it is.

Rogers is older, surgered, titleless: and she's beaten Fernandez. Who wants to tell me "Kournikova was just a babe and nothing more"? That she wouldn't handle these kids? You'll look mighty damned preposterous. Give these people some respect and learn their careers in full before laughing at them. Every one of you wants to say something, and only a fraction of you have anything bright to say. Fernandez still hasn't reached Raducanu's September display, and Fernandez/Rogers is all any sensible person needs to see. Does it matter? No. Raducanu would've been chipped away if she'd had Fernandez's draw. They're both precooking in the oven, and you people want to take them out before they're done.

Fernandez, good volleying. It still needs work. But that's a good thing: keep working on it with the doubles and technical coaching, and the wins'll come easier. No more 3-set grinds. Unlike Raducanu, Fernandez knows when to come in. She still hugs the net too closely, and her first overhead smacked straight into the ground before bouncing into the net. She nearly fell over with the second overhead, and Rogers thankfully couldn't hit the shot because she was surprised at how weak it was. That's what I mean. Any decent pro should be able to hit basic volleys. Don't ignore the overhead in favor of a swinging volley: that'll lack in power and could unnecessarily extend the rally, as seen in the match. Only the strongest athletes should be hitting this shot when the opponent's nearby. Any great pro would hit an overhead like Rogers, and you'll see great volleyers would rather hit every volley long than smack the net: that face has to tilt up. Take your volleys 60% down the service line and finish stepping low into the shot to punch the slice with your racket face open, over the net. Don't lean into the shot as it's falling: bad footwork. Keep your stance open. And it'll come.

There's more to comment on, but it's not necessary. Rogers fed Fernandez junk towards the end, and Fernandez made some errors off the variety. Something else to handle, and something else Kournikova loved, only Kournikova's strokes were much zippier than Rogers'. Fernandez could barely sprint down Rogers' medium flat strokes, so put the difference in perspective. The serve is still killing Fernandez, too many issue spots to point out, and her success rate is still around Kournikova's after Kournikova's injury. Kournikova was mostly relying on her first serve, because her second serve went in around 15-20% of the time. This girl really needs some work in that department. She needs to find someone to teach her Serena's service motion. Ask Serena herself if she has to.

The drop shots are excellent. A lot of cut on them. Evokes the old Hingis nostalgia- some'll say the last attempt cost the match, but that isn't the case. Keep that form up and iron out those volleys. The shortness keeps the center of mass lower: the pieces are in place for an excellent volleyer.

Work on the footwork. The clowns here might be impressed by the overstepping and sliding on hardcourt, but your body isn't going to last with all that awkward twisting for negligible power. Step a foot back if you need the extra time, and add some more loopy, high spin to your strokes like Rogers did when she sought to slow down those flat-paced exchanges. Step in with the racket prepped if the ball is short. I was genuinely worried that slip before the first match point was an injury. Hingis in '97 is a perfect display of what movement should look like. Particularly in January '97, she'll show all the right moves.

Lastly, keep up the strong attitude. Even without appealing to the crowd, this attempt at a comeback despite the errors was handled like a champion in the making. It's why Rogers had so much trouble shaking you off.

-- One last remark: I'm not "happy" that Fernandez lost. Fernandez's output today was enough to win the tournament, and that's the truth. Not better than the likes of Pegula, etc., but that's not relevant. Anyone can beat anyone in this WTA. If Fernandez wins every tournament after this at the same level, I've got nothing to change. The next level of tennis consistency is beyond what anyone on this tour has shown all year. There've been some peaks, and they've faded.
 
Last edited:

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
On the whole, I'd agree it's generally apparent both Fernandez and Raducanu need stronger net games, overheads, volleys, etc. I've felt Rybakina as a young player has had better net game than those two, but she seems to have some mental hurdles or not enough drive on the court. Swiatek felt like the most talented with her breakout FO win, but I dunno if her change of racquet screwed things up so much for her or something else. Anyway, I have the most fun watching Badosa. :love:
Swiatek, another case of the "told you so" story. There's still some years for all of them, including Rybakina, but the clock doesn't stop ticking. Most of these ladies aren't Agassi. Net games end points quicker, but they're also easier on the body than grinding on the baseline. If these ladies, especially Fernandez, plan to have long careers with less physical wear, there's their first step.
 

tex123

Professional
So, what did you learn? Lost on a volley, did she not?

Goodnight, youngin.
You didn't answer me. Why don't you apply for the job if you with an overinflated sense of ego are such a good coach? You seem to have an axe to grind with these two youngsters who are only 18 and not well rounded.
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
I wanted to come congratulate you on the foresight on the volleys. The flub on final match point was certainly exemplary. Top players of yesteryear would probably not have missed one like that.
She has the desire, and that's the first step to improving. She's not there yet, but she'll hopefully apply some serious practice and get there while she's still hot. One lost tournament at 19 doesn't mean anything, and she's now playing better than at any point in her career.
 

Graf1stClass

Professional
The smoke's cleared again, so I'll make a few comments here. And this'll be the last of it, because the people who understand this sport understand that I'm speaking from wisdom and don't need to keep arguing with the average salary-man pretending he's a tennis broadcaster.
Look I never said Gabby and Kournikova at their best are no match for the USO finalists.. I stated their placement on your list does not make sense. Justine had the superior career to Martina. Why is she below Martina? I don't even see Venus whom was in your video.. Even if you count Kournikova's doubles she has done less than Capriati. She's a billion spots above Jana and she always lost to Jana. Would I be in the wrong to claim some sort of favoritism? Ivanovic over Mauresmo? You dismissed the tests Sharapova had run, but she may have been taking a substance before the earliest records. I look at this the same manner I would regard Gunter granting Steffi so-called asterisks, if we can have one we can have the other.

You also talk about 'forehand slices' and other weirdness.. Those shots aren't to be lauded. A person should only hit that shot when they are on the run, and Leylah did a good job of that. I also think you're underrating her volleys. She dumped some, but she hit what, three or four in a row in the first set? She knew exactly when to come in. Match point = match point... it doesn't mean 'I couldn't make a volley the entire match'

She still hugs the net too closely, and her first overhead smacked straight into the ground before bouncing into the net. She nearly fell over with the second overhead,
OK but the sun was a problem for both players, and it's worse for Leylah because she's shorter... I agree that she can volley better, but no one is going to volley like Tauziat at 19 if they began as a clay court specialist. While you're critiquing Leylah (not all of them were false) Rogers made plenty of mistakes herself. Most of the time she came to the net she was frozen like she didn't know why she decided to come there.
 

Graf1stClass

Professional
These aren't my biggest bones to pick with you, someone who says Leylah would be 'begging' Novotna and a fifteen year old for volley advice exudes arrogance like she doesn't have her own team to support her and coach her 24/7. Nobody needs to beg anybody for anything, and it's comments like those that would be the difference from you having a bunch of supporters here, to however many you have in reality now.
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
Look I never said Gabby and Kournikova at their best are no match for the USO finalists.. I stated their placement on your list does not make sense. Justine had the superior career to Martina. Why is she below Martina? I don't even see Venus whom was in your video.. Even if you count Kournikova's doubles she has done less than Capriati. She's a billion spots above Jana and she always lost to Jana. Would I be in the wrong to claim some sort of favoritism? Ivanovic over Mauresmo? You dismissed the tests Sharapova had run, but she may have been taking a substance before the earliest records. I look at this the same manner I would regard Gunter granting Steffi so-called asterisks, if we can have one we can have the other.

You also talk about 'forehand slices' and other weirdness.. Those shots aren't to be lauded. A person should only hit that shot when they are on the run, and Leylah did a good job of that. I also think you're underrating her volleys. She dumped some, but she hit what, three or four in a row in the first set? She knew exactly when to come in. Match point = match point... it doesn't mean 'I couldn't make a volley the entire match'


OK but the sun was a problem for both players, and it's worse for Leylah because she's shorter... I agree that she can volley better, but no one is going to volley like Tauziat at 19 if they began as a clay court specialist. While you're critiquing Leylah (not all of them were false) Rogers made plenty of mistakes herself. Most of the time she came to the net she was frozen like she didn't know why she decided to come there.
It makes perfect sense. In fact, I already explained it to you.

I didn't rate those players by their worsts. I rated them by their best averages. Raducanu and Fernandez were rather measly players before two weeks ago. So there's no reason to talk about those parts of their careers if we're believing they've just taken their careers to the next level. I'm not going to include the doldrums of Sabatini or Kournikova's careers for that same reason. I don't expect Raducanu to ever be as big of a choker as the later Sabatini or as injured as the later Kournikova. I didn't rate by majors either, because these two kids, who'd barely won a single title between them, somehow cruised to a slam final among a pitiful field, and they didn't play Graf to win it.

That should answer just about every one of your first questions. A poster mentioned he was sick of the sterile numbers, and I'm sick of them too. I've got nothing else to tack on, except to say that Sharapova when her treatments stopped in '12 was still hitting cleaner than these ladies currently are. And I'm talking everyone in this tournament. She hit better than any of them, in the twilight of her career. That's not something to be proud of. But it can tell us something: the Nick-styled ball-basher training early in one's career will leave a mark on your form. I know you've seen Agassi's brilliance at 30, winning slams even then. You've seen that the likes of a run-down Clijsters can continually force these women into tight two-setters and three-setters off nothing but the merits of her striking. I'd wager a buck that Kournikova in her older age currently hits cleaner than Raducanu/Fernandez, and it comes down to muscle memory. If Fernandez can reach that point while she's still in her formative years, it'll serve her well for the rest of her career.

Forehand slices aren't weird. They're shots like any other, and both players yesterday used them to throw off the pace along with recover. It's situational as to what kind of stroke you'll want to hit when on the run. Pros default to what their coaches have them practice, and that's what filters down to you on TV. If you don't get the merits of a forehand slice as an offensive shot to apply pressure, you'll want to ease the commenting on Kournikova because that was the second-best groundstroke in her arsenal.

Leylah volleyed well in most of the first set, but most of those volleys were sitters. That's why she has to take the next step. The '90s volleyers dealt with pace all the time. It's what she struggled with- when Rogers beamed a shot at her and wasn't hitting from a disadvantageous position, Leylah's volleys were unsuccessful. They weren't always out, but they were never putaways. If she can up her volleying to at least Graf's level, that'd be decent. She doesn't need to be Tauziat, or Hingis, Navratilova, Kournikova, Novotna, or anyone from the pre-Open Era. But it's 100% possible for her to reach that goal.

If the sun's such a problem, shade your eyes with your hand or wear a visor. This is simple stuff we're talking. 30 minutes with her, and I'd have her banging overheads like a mini-Sampras. You shouldn't even need to watch the ball if your timing's fair, and Fernandez has natural timing. Her bio-racket mechanics are the issue.

These aren't my biggest bones to pick with you, someone who says Leylah would be 'begging' Novotna and a fifteen year old for volley advice exudes arrogance like she doesn't have her own team to support her and coach her 24/7. Nobody needs to beg anybody for anything, and it's comments like those that would be the difference from you having a bunch of supporters here, to however many you have in reality now.
1stClass, you must be a part of this new generation. Where I came from, we sucked it up and played the game. I don't mean the game of tennis: there's a much better-known game by the name of "getting ahead in life". If I'd toured with Hingis, I'd have no shame in humbling myself for some advice and being sincere about wanting to listen. The other women could do it. Bollettieri could do it. Federer could do it. So why can't you tolerate it? I didn't say Leylah'd "grovel". But the goal is to let them know you're really relying on them for your own game so that they're more compelled to feel it's worth their time to help you. I could not've reached the 5.0 level (long ago) without the help of dozens of better players. I couldn't've beaten opponents better than that if they didn't tell me their own weaknesses after we'd first played.

You're here, acting like a 15 year old and a lady on the verge of retirement don't deserve some major respect for what they'd shown on the center court of Wimbledon. Not every coach is a technical coach who has all the answers, and some of the best coaches will send you smack dab to another coach or refer you to another player to learn what they themselves can't teach you. Learn to play the game. In '97, Novotna and Kournikova, in all their arrogance, would've loved to have someone earnestly asking them for advice to make them feel valued for their skills. After all, both of these players felt second-fiddle to Hingis at the time- tennis-wise and socially. The truth was most women were intimidated and didn't approach them like this, and most definitely not Kournikova whom the tour outright messed with. That means Fernandez would've gotten some quality instruction on her biggest weakness. The better you understand what's going on around you off the court, the better you can take advantage of it as a player on the court. Don't take everything as an insult. I'll let you know when it's an insult, and the moderators will delete it.
 

R. Schweikart

Professional
Is it really a controversial opinion that this WTA era is weak compared to the 2000s? The fact that Serena had so much success in the 10s even with her poorer mobility is evidence enough of that. 2000s had major champs like Mauresmo, Sharapova, Henin, Clijsters and very solid top 10 players like Dementieva, Safina, Petrova, Myskina. You even had some of the older champs towards the end of their careers like Davenport and Capriati. Just a great era for women's tennis.
Not to forget Venus Williams who stopped to be a serious force post-2009.
 

R. Schweikart

Professional
Not remotely controversial. But Martinka 97 being better than Serena 2002/2012 is super-controversial and that's an opinion that the OP holds or rather holds onto with all his might. The problem with the OP is he has lots of brilliant perspectives to give, which are all sadly clouded by his extreme partiality to Martinka and, as it turns out, Kournikova.
...
Navratilova in 1982-86, Graf of 1987-89 and 1995/96 and Henin of 2007 were better than Hingis of 1997.

We must not forget that Graf, Seles, Sanchez virtually fell off the cliff in 1997.
Novotna was #2, Coetzer #4, Majoli #6, Spirlea #8.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Navratilova in 1982-86, Graf of 1987-89 and 1995/96 and Henin of 2007 were better than Hingis of 1997.

We must not forget that Graf, Seles, Sanchez virtually fell off the cliff in 1997.
Novotna was #2, Coetzer #4, Majoli #6, Spirlea #8.
Yes indeed, a fact that conveniently eludes dear OP when he raves on about Martinka and chooses to attack today's teens for benefiting from a weak era. Martinka ruled over literally the weakest phase of the 90s and he keeps telling us about how her mythical 'level' was higher than peak Serena/peak Graf.
 

Graf1stClass

Professional
Yes indeed, a fact that conveniently eludes dear OP when he raves on about Martinka and chooses to attack today's teens for benefiting from a weak era. Martinka ruled over literally the weakest phase of the 90s and he keeps telling us about how her mythical 'level' was higher than peak Serena/peak Graf.
Well, I think the weakest was when Graf was having a bad time and when Seles won everything.. At least Hingis fell off a horse. That slowed her down a little...
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Well, I think the weakest was when Graf was having a bad time and when Seles won everything.. At least Hingis fell off a horse. That slowed her down a little...
Come now, even the 91-92 Graf was a stronger one (because at least she got up to Seles in the finals a couple of times and beat her at Wimbledon) than 97 when she was barely there. And Seles was badly overweight, losing left, right and centre in general. And yet, Seles destroyed Hingis at RG in 98. Of course, according to our friend, this is only because Hingis was already no good in 98 compared to 97 and nothing to do with any inherent qualities in Seles' tennis.

Also, Hingis was already on the wane before she fell off a horse. She couldn't keep up with the Williams sisters. And the one time she did, she managed to lose to Capriati. Another time to Davenport. After RG 99, she lost the ability to win big finals.
 

Graf1stClass

Professional
Come now, even the 91-92 Graf was a stronger one (because at least she got up to Seles in the finals a couple of times and beat her at Wimbledon) than 97 when she was barely there. And Seles was badly overweight, losing left, right and centre in general. And yet, Seles destroyed Hingis at RG in 98. Of course, according to our friend, this is only because Hingis was already no good in 98 compared to 97 and nothing to do with any inherent qualities in Seles' tennis.

Also, Hingis was already on the wane before she fell off a horse. She couldn't keep up with the Williams sisters. And the one time she did, she managed to lose to Capriati. Another time to Davenport. After RG 99, she lost the ability to win big finals.
She was, but who else was there? Most of the 90's was weak for the most part except for 1999, but I think the golden age spoiled us too.

? The horse happened before any of those events..
 

R. Schweikart

Professional
She was, but who else was there? Most of the 90's was weak for the most part except for 1999, but I think the golden age spoiled us too.

? The horse happened before any of those events..
1999 was so bad that an over-the-hill Steffi with her reconstructed knee could make it to two slam finals (retiring before the fourth slam, the USO) and a still maturing 17-year-old Serena could win the USO.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
She was, but who else was there? Most of the 90's was weak for the most part except for 1999, but I think the golden age spoiled us too.

? The horse happened before any of those events..
You're right, she fell off the horse in 97. For some reason, I thought she suffered the fall in 2002 leading to her first retirement.

I agree too that the golden age spoiled us because if everything else looks weak, maybe that's the norm in tennis and the golden age was the aberration.
 

Graf1stClass

Professional
It makes perfect sense. In fact, I already explained it to you.

I didn't rate those players by their worsts. I rated them by their best averages. Raducanu and Fernandez were rather measly players before two weeks ago. So there's no reason to talk about those parts of their careers if we're believing they've just taken their careers to the next level. I'm not going to include the doldrums of Sabatini or Kournikova's careers for that same reason. I don't expect Raducanu to ever be as big of a choker as the later Sabatini or as injured as the later Kournikova. I didn't rate by majors either, because these two kids, who'd barely won a single title between them, somehow cruised to a slam final among a pitiful field, and they didn't play Graf to win it.

That should answer just about every one of your first questions.
Thank you for the explanation.. I'll continue to believe Bollettieri hurt more pros than it helped, because we can only see the best of results. Sharapova had terrible injuries, and Agassi had a horrible slumping, but I know you only want to look at the best of their bests; so I can agree on that.

People would have understood you easier if you had stated this from the beginning. Instead, you went on with weird things like 'Raducanu would lose to 13 years old Kournikova' and some other things I don't care to look up. I saw on the first page that you used Miho Saeki to prove your point, but that doesn't connect to me. She was a short woman ranked #80 according to Tennis Abstract... and Kournikova had a monster time with her..

Forehand slices aren't weird. They're shots like any other, and both players yesterday used them to throw off the pace along with recover. It's situational as to what kind of stroke you'll want to hit when on the run. Pros default to what their coaches have them practice, and that's what filters down to you on TV. If you don't get the merits of a forehand slice as an offensive shot to apply pressure, you'll want to ease the commenting on Kournikova because that was the second-best groundstroke in her arsenal.
And I believe you, but that's her.. Most people do not and would not dare to keep chopping a forehand, and we don't see this shot used for good reason. Out of curiosity if you can keep it short... what was her best groundstroke in your opinion?

Leylah volleyed well in most of the first set, but most of those volleys were sitters. That's why she has to take the next step. The '90s volleyers dealt with pace all the time. It's what she struggled with- when Rogers beamed a shot at her and wasn't hitting from a disadvantageous position, Leylah's volleys were unsuccessful. They weren't always out, but they were never putaways. If she can up her volleying to at least Graf's level, that'd be decent. She doesn't need to be Tauziat, or Hingis, Navratilova, Kournikova, Novotna, or anyone from the pre-Open Era. But it's 100% possible for her to reach that goal.

If the sun's such a problem, shade your eyes with your hand or wear a visor. This is simple stuff we're talking. 30 minutes with her, and I'd have her banging overheads like a mini-Sampras. You shouldn't even need to watch the ball if your timing's fair, and Fernandez has natural timing. Her bio-racket mechanics are the issue.
Fair points.. I still think you're critiquing her a touch too harshly because, remember, she did grow up on clay courts where you don't need to hit as many volleys and overhead shots.

1stClass, you must be a part of this new generation.
Hmm no, I see what you're saying, but I don't sympathize. Maybe you could change the word to something less demeaning? Begging is in fact annoying and I don't consider that any person would want to be begged to when they have a full schedule. Also, you haven't told me yet why Venus is not on the list.. She is better than Clijsters and Hingis... not to add Kournikova. Venus at her best is better than all of those players except maybe Henin, but it's close for Clijsters and for Hingis... that's how I cannot understand your high placement for Kournikova who lost every meeting with Venus -- even if she won some sets?

To be honest, I have to say that analyzing stroke placement without match results has little in the way of common sense. It sounds very subjective and slightly unfair. The match results come from the strokes that made them. If ASV hits 10 bad volleys and loses the match, would you place her above someone with better volleys who wins matches like Novotna? Frankly, it's ridiculous.

Btw, you were wrong about Pegula weren't you? You were saying she had such a good level above Leylah, but I saw her make too many errors in the match I watched. Leylah would've done way better than that IMO.
 

Graf1stClass

Professional
You're right, she fell off the horse in 97. For some reason, I thought she suffered the fall in 2002 leading to her first retirement.

I agree too that the golden age spoiled us because if everything else looks weak, maybe that's the norm in tennis and the golden age was the aberration.
I want to say that was the shoes she wore. Everything about Hingis's life is probably in that Hingis topic I made at the start of the year lol :laughing:

Yes, too bad it ended so quickly because everyone was being injured! Graf could take injuries all the time and still keep on playing... if Fernandez or Raducanu incurs one, we're done.
 

R. Schweikart

Professional
Thank you for the explanation.. I'll continue to believe Bollettieri hurt more pros than it helped, because we can only see the best of results. Sharapova had terrible injuries, and Agassi had a horrible slumping, but I know you only want to look at the best of their bests; so I can agree on that.

People would have understood you easier if you had stated this from the beginning. Instead, you went on with weird things like 'Raducanu would lose to 13 years old Kournikova' and some other things I don't care to look up. I saw on the first page that you used Miho Saeki to prove your point, but that doesn't connect to me. She was a short woman ranked #80 according to Tennis Abstract... and Kournikova had a monster time with her..


And I believe you, but that's her.. Most people do not and would not dare to keep chopping a forehand, and we don't see this shot used for good reason. Out of curiosity if you can keep it short... what was her best groundstroke in your opinion?


Fair points.. I still think you're critiquing her a touch too harshly because, remember, she did grow up on clay courts where you don't need to hit as many volleys and overhead shots.


Hmm no, I see what you're saying, but I don't sympathize. Maybe you could change the word to something less demeaning? Begging is in fact annoying and I don't consider that any person would want to be begged to when they have a full schedule. Also, you haven't told me yet why Venus is not on the list.. She is better than Clijsters and Hingis... not to add Kournikova. Venus at her best is better than all of those players except maybe Henin, but it's close for Clijsters and for Hingis... that's how I cannot understand your high placement for Kournikova who lost every meeting with Venus -- even if she won some sets?

To be honest, I have to say that analyzing stroke placement without match results has little in the way of common sense. It sounds very subjective and slightly unfair. The match results come from the strokes that made them. If ASV hits 10 bad volleys and loses the match, would you place her above someone with better volleys who wins matches like Novotna? Frankly, it's ridiculous.

Btw, you were wrong about Pegula weren't you? You were saying she had such a good level above Leylah, but I saw her make too many errors in the match I watched. Leylah would've done way better than that IMO.

Has anyone yet read some of those lengthy, blabbering Sverve posts to the end?
I can't imagine that. I mean who would do that?
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
1999 was so bad that an over-the-hill Steffi with her reconstructed knee could make it to two slam finals (retiring before the fourth slam, the USO) and a still maturing 17-year-old Serena could win the USO.
That's why we call it a "peak". You tend to fall immediately afterwards, especially if it's your first time. Graf meanwhile played out of her mind at the French and didn't seriously expect to keep competing until she realized she was still standing in the end.

Thank you for the explanation.. I'll continue to believe Bollettieri hurt more pros than it helped, because we can only see the best of results. Sharapova had terrible injuries, and Agassi had a horrible slumping, but I know you only want to look at the best of their bests; so I can agree on that.

People would have understood you easier if you had stated this from the beginning. Instead, you went on with weird things like 'Raducanu would lose to 13 years old Kournikova' and some other things I don't care to look up. I saw on the first page that you used Miho Saeki to prove your point, but that doesn't connect to me. She was a short woman ranked #80 according to Tennis Abstract... and Kournikova had a monster time with her..
This will help: Whenever you see someone's ranking in the '90s and want to compare it to today, subtract 20 from it. If Saeki was #80, she's #60 by today's standards. The site put Kournikova at #13. That makes her #-7. #60 should be solid tennis, but the average watcher won't pay attention after #30. Doesn't hurt that Saeki played up to Kournikova and that Kournikova always, always decided where that match was going to go. Every match is played on Kournikova's racket. That's an official tennis rule.

I'll admit Sabatini's a niggle, because she made the claim that she didn't try in most of her tournaments, to shy to give victory speeches in a foreign language. She had no reason to lie. For Nick, you'll get no argument here. That man ruined pros all the way down the ladder. There's a reason- or two- Agassi, Seles, Courier, Beck, Pierce, Alla Kournikova, Majoli, among others left his tutorage. One is he didn't even thoroughly coach most of them. Worse, the man runs a factory. His methods aren't adaptable to different players. His books are darned good, but here's a small tale for you.

I did say Kournikova at 12 in '93 would've whooped these teens, and this entire tour's backsides, and I meant it. Kournikova by then hadn't met Hingis, and both girls at these ages were beating up on adult male coaches and journeymen. Kournikova especially beat up on the Bollettieri-select "elite" coaches and partners she got to hit with. Kournikova herself grew up with and regularly beat up on Safin who was an aspiring professional, and she was almost singlehandedly responsible for inadvertently denying him lodging at the Bollettieri Academy. I don't think you realize just how far these talents fell from the past.

Before that, I told you Kournikova at 14 hit harder than either Raducanu or Fernandez. That's some more truth for you. Before that, she hit with better technique, and the power's less relevant. But it doesn't matter either way: Kournikova came in as a perfect prodigy, with all the shots and court sense in the world. She could take the average ranked woman to three sets on her worst day. Sad fact is, she got worse the more time she spent with Bollettieri, and her mother knew it. She knew Bollettieri was turning her into a baseline basher, and she started interfering more and more with his counsel after Hingis at the '94 Wimbledon trounced her daughter on the grass she loved so dearly, even back then. Kournikova's coach became more her mother than Nick (there were others, but you get my point), and Nick just gave his idle piece that she usually disagreed with. Hingis double-bagelled Kournikova in the '94 US Open, remarked how easy and quick it was as they shook hands, and gave a laughing, on-court interview in German about it all while Kournikova went to cry in the tunnel. After this prodding by Hingis, Kournikova herself tried to vary her game more, but her mother and definitely Nick weren't the proper coaches for this. She never learned the ideal situations to rush in until working with Slozil, after Alla found the sense to ditch Nick and onboard Slozil. Until then, Graf punished Kournikova in their first RG meeting for being too eager. Kournikova kept practicing variety for a year. Kournikova tried the approaches with Hingis later on at Wimbledon '97 and might've won if it were the old '96 Hingis. But the '97 Hingis was too brilliant. Can't be described in a paragraph. I'll tell you this: she'd incidentally also been working on her volleys since the previous year. At any rate, Kournikova'd injured herself before that match from overpracticing, not surprising in hindsight. By her standards, she actually played worse in that round than she did in her prior match with Majoli. It's just, the grass suited her variety best and Hingis '97 flattened her, so the average person wouldn't have ever noticed she'd lost her earlier spry. Here's the kicker: the stress injury flared during that match.

There's a moral to this: A player is like a delicate egg when they're younger. If you don't treat them well, they won't hatch (crack the Top 100). Kournikova somehow hatched, but she hatched wrong. Fernandez proved she hatched by climbing from a nothing rank to that final. If she's a strong chick, we'll have to see. Ranks are less and less definitive in this day and age. Kournikova was one of the most talented players ever and set to be a hyperstar on the court, but bad guidance ruined that potential. It's a tailwind of talent that Fernandez hasn't equalled, and I don't expect her to for a long time- because that's what talent is. But if she works her ass off, she'll be on Majoli's level one day, and that there opens a room chock full of doors.

And I believe you, but that's her.. Most people do not and would not dare to keep chopping a forehand, and we don't see this shot used for good reason. Out of curiosity if you can keep it short... what was her best groundstroke in your opinion?
Kournikova's forehand slice was the most effective forehand slice in the Open Era. The only competition is Niculescu, a slice that has less disguise because the forehand's nothing but a slice. Kournikova's slice had more variation as well- she hit the classiest dropshots you'd ever see. The reason is simple: there's no other competition. She practiced the hell out of that shot, and no one on the tour knew what to do with it. If she weren't a Bollettieri player, she would've used it much more often. It didn't have any technical deficiencies like the Graf topspin backhand pass that Sabatini used to enjoy teeing. Her absolute strongest groundstroke was her backhand...a better version of her forehand. More accurate, she was partial to it over her forehand (inside drives), and she could impart a strong sidespin on it with regularity on her slice. The forehand slice was sharper than the backhand slice, but the difference is miniscule. Pound for pound, prime for prime, her left wing was better than Hingis' left wing. If there was ever a problem with either wing, she usually wasn't coming over the ball with sufficient speed (not spin). At times, she even abbrieviated her follow-through. When you hit that hard, it can be difficult to tell.

Fair points.. I still think you're critiquing her a touch too harshly because, remember, she did grow up on clay courts where you don't need to hit as many volleys and overhead shots.
Now that's a riot. You remind me of a little-known prodigy by the name of Martina Hingis. The ravine between her volleys and overheads and Fernandez's comes from the several hundred more hours of hitting she had at 14, compared to Fernandez. I understand that teenagers need a life, but that's how you get that good. By not having one. You have to put in the practice. Were Kournikova's volleys perfect? No, they were not. She often hastily rushed in on the wrong shot and rarely half-volleyed, forcing her to slice up weak replies if she even got there.


By the time she'd calmed down as a player and her volley technique improved even further, she was too injured for it to matter.
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
Hmm no, I see what you're saying, but I don't sympathize. Maybe you could change the word to something less demeaning? Begging is in fact annoying and I don't consider that any person would want to be begged to when they have a full schedule. Also, you haven't told me yet why Venus is not on the list..
Apparently, you don't realize how badly Kournikova wanted some genuine friends on the tour. Most of her schedule revolved around hours of personal practice or prepping for a sparse number of tournaments where she usually lost early on. The only way you'd get a flat "no" was if the mother got involved. Anna had a few temporary 'groupies' like Seles, but the actual friends were few and far in between until much later. Same with Seles. Neither of these players were jerks. Off-puttingly confident at most. But when you can't win a tournament, things get a bit clearer. Novotna, I could give you some leeway. But Novotna wasn't the type to not mother a player who genuinely asked for help- if she liked you as a competitor, and that's the main deal. I expect both Raducanu and Fernandez with all their social media exposure would've been able to see right through both players. I don't know how they get on with the tour- I'd have to ask my more knowledgeable friends that question. I do know they could ignore social media and let their team handle that aspect of whatever mandatory deals they've made, but you know they're on it.

To your Venus gripe, there really isn't a linear way to discuss this. Venus played better in her match against Kournikova than she did against Graf. I'm not talking about the implosion either: Venus constructed her own service points better against Kournikova, probably because she was more confident in knowing Kournikova'd gift her the match, no matter how badly she was losing. And on that note, Kournikova, in usual fashion, picked Venus and her then-weak forehand apart over the first set, then she realized she only needed one more set like in Miami and flipped on the Error switch, allowing Venus to claw her way back. Believe it or not, the injury she caught at Eastbourne probably helped her to close out that match against Graf, because she was already winning and now wanted to get the hell off the court.

What that tells you: Venus in '98-'99 was far and beyond these teenagers today, all of them, and Kournikova was a better player than Venus whenever she didn't have nerves. Either youth would've wiped the floor with this Indian Wells competition. Kournikova/Venus can only choke so much and not find themselves losing.


Nothing unfair about it, and Venus as of '00 was decidedly better than the Kournikova of '98-99 (not '93) in every area but the volleying/overheads, and variety. She was better than everyone on that list, and that's why she's not there. The main thing lacking from younger Venus was her consistency, but that extra level of consistency isn't necessary when Fernandez and Raducanu were both routed by weaker ball strikers. Simple, brainless ball-bashing currently leaves the kids with no reply.

Novotna's overall game was worse than Vicario's, and that's the thing: I'm rating the overall package these teens need to have. Clijsters is no doubt worse than Henin if the best of each was to play, but Clijsters was better for the tour as a whole. Kournikova lost to Novotna for reasons I already gave, but her best game better suited the average tour conditions. People bring up a weak serve that never existed until after the splint on her thumb. On that note with Novotna, Novotna actually wasn't a volleyer in her early career. She was an aggressive baseliner who later learned to volley/chip-and-charge. That's why she could slug it out if she had to. Just like Pierce, Seles, Anna, and their kind were all-courters who were chewed up by the Bollettieri factory and spit out as ball-bashers who later tried to relearn their earlier variety. A coach can make a player something extra special, or they can destroy a player's natural talent. The basic problem with Bollettieri and Fernandez's camp is that they cultivated talent, and then they held on to it longer than they should've. If you leave the apples out in the sun for too long, they'll rot. That also means you've got time to take them inside. Novotna changed her game when she was older than Fernandez. Fernandez could become a serve-and-volleyer next year if she wanted to. She can mold herself into anything. The best part is that any losses shouldn't be too disappointing. It's not like the girl's an ATG- yet.

Btw, you were wrong about Pegula weren't you? You were saying she had such a good level above Leylah, but I saw her make too many errors in the match I watched. Leylah would've done way better than that IMO.
You're misreading me. I never said Pegula would win the thing. Pegula's a case of the same old. Her level until now really was higher than Fernandez's (Svitolina wasn't healthy), but doesn't matter. She ran into someone from the list. Azarenka, better known as "Ric Flair". The betting odds were against Azarenka, which shows you the insight of the average tennis fan. If Pegula brought her Svitolina A-game, she might've taken a set from Azarenka, but I guarantee you Azarenka would've worn her down in the end. Even though Azarenka's best years are behind her and she's on the very bottom of the list, she still remembers her fundamentals. There's no on/off instinct replacing those fundamentals. The serves have been going in strong like they're supposed to. Much easier than the time Fernandez had. No issues hitting your average volleys. At 2-2 in the 2nd, she knocked a brilliant forehand volley. Pegula followed by flubbing the 100% same overhead that Kournikova hit with ease, 23 years ago. Matter of fact, I'll post it on the site from my Season Pass, just for you. You won't find it in the highlights- you already know why. Pegula will hopefully learn before it's too late: someone who hits so flat needs to be constantly looking to crush the ball as soon as possible. Errors be damned. She would've swept Azarenka away if she did. She can't afford to rally with Azarenka or anyone who hits safer than she does. Azarenka let Pegula implode- Pegula didn't get the memo until three games from the end. Pegula's definitely improved and deserves credit herself, but it's a long way to go when you haven't been taking your career seriously for so long. Compared to Azarenka who took it seriously for so long. And that's why Fernandez needs to take advantage of the time she has. Unlike Pegula, she's not 27.

Before I forget, I think I saw Fernandez thanking one of the ballpersons two days ago. Credit to her for that, since hardly anyone else does it.
 

Graf1stClass

Professional
This will help: Whenever you see someone's ranking in the '90s and want to compare it to today, subtract 20 from it. If Saeki was #80, she's #60 by today's standards. The site put Kournikova at #13. That makes her #-7. #60 should be solid tennis, but the average watcher won't pay attention after #30. Doesn't hurt that Saeki played up to Kournikova and that Kournikova always, always decided where that match was going to go. Every match is played on Kournikova's racket. That's an official tennis rule.
Yeah this is a farce, I'm sorry. Before you comment, I did change my mind to an extent on Anna. You won me over with the highlights because it's been so long since I saw her play -- that's why I only talked about the list. It looks real sketchy when you say she's 'Rank -7' and all that, even if you're joking. It is extremely hard to tell when you're exaggerating or serious sometimes, for instance the last line. You sound completely serious about this.. Saeki is also not that impressive if you can lose to someone who doubles that much. Venus would have punished Anna for making all of those mistakes.

You're misreading me. I never said Pegula would win the thing. Pegula's a case of the same old. Her level until now really was higher than Fernandez's (Svitolina wasn't healthy), but doesn't matter. She ran into someone from the list. Azarenka, better known as "Ric Flair".
Lol.. I wonder how much Vika can sustain this level.. She may become the first person in history to win IW three times! (y)I have to come clean and confess I did want Leylah to win, but like you said there's always next year. She's just getting started.

Fernandez could become a serve-and-volleyer next year if she wanted to. She can mold herself into anything. The best part is that any losses shouldn't be too disappointing. It's not like the girl's an ATG- yet.
More importantly would she want to? There's no chance she can be an effective s/v player, she's too short. I agreed with you more when you stated she was Michael Chang.

Now that's a riot. You remind me of a little-known prodigy by the name of Martina Hingis.
Point taken, again.. I won't be 'that guy' but maybe 2 out of every 10000 pros can become like Martina. Molitor trained her since basically birth.. I like your expectations but they may be too high. You will face disappointment for at least another five years if you don't lower them.

Kournikova's forehand slice was the most effective forehand slice in the Open Era. The only competition is Niculescu,
I haven't heard that name in a LOOONG time..... Monica Niculescu's shots were always fun to watch lol. Those backhand passes out of nowhere! The opposite of Steffi. Thank you for the stories and for answering my question btw, if I didn't know better I would figure you knew these guy's camps. No, I still think a 12-year-old girl beating Fernandez or Aryna is a fantasy but you explained your stance, so we can agree to disagree on that. I also have to ask you (with no offensive) if you ever thought to coach the teenagers and why you decided not to, it's a lot of knowledge to let sit on a forum when I can imagine somebody on the tour would listen..
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
Yeah this is a farce, I'm sorry. Before you comment, I did change my mind to an extent on Anna. You won me over with the highlights because it's been so long since I saw her play -- that's why I only talked about the list. It looks real sketchy when you say she's 'Rank -7' and all that, even if you're joking. It is extremely hard to tell when you're exaggerating or serious sometimes, for instance the last line. You sound completely serious about this.. Saeki is also not that impressive if you can lose to someone who doubles that much. Venus would have punished Anna for making all of those mistakes.



Point taken, again.. I won't be 'that guy' but maybe 2 out of every 10000 pros can become like Martina. Molitor trained her since basically birth.. I like your expectations but they may be too high. You will face disappointment for at least another five years if you don't lower them.


I haven't heard that name in a LOOONG time..... Monica Niculescu's shots were always fun to watch lol. Those backhand passes out of nowhere! The opposite of Steffi. Thank you for the stories and for answering my question btw, if I didn't know better I would figure you knew these guy's camps. No, I still think a 12-year-old girl beating Fernandez or Aryna is a fantasy but you explained your stance, so we can agree to disagree on that. I also have to ask you (with no offensive) if you ever thought to coach the teenagers and why you decided not to, it's a lot of knowledge to let sit on a forum when I can imagine somebody on the tour would listen..
I'm serious. Saeki has a number of strong wins that Fernandez (let alone Raducanu) haven't achieved. You should look them up- you'd be surprised. Being a journeywoman in the '90s doesn't mean the same thing as being a journeywoman now. Subtracting 20 is being kind. That generation was more dedicated than you're telling yourself. Besides, there's like I said: she played up to her earlier, higher standards of the previous year when she played Kournikova. Probably because she was playing Kournikova. Every woman on the tour at the time wanted Kournikova's head as loot. They also didn't want the locker room embarrassment of losing to her, but that never made sense to me.

Second, don't be so sure about Venus. I'm inclined to side with you, though remember a couple things: choking to the extent Kournikova did comes from the prospect of closing out a match against a weaker opponent. It's subconscious. Venus was a stronger performer who'd be giving her a stronger performance. No time for Kournikova to think of the setting unless she's already winning by a fair margin. Afterwards, take into account that Venus was going on a tear in '00 and kept her own record of double faults. Her forehand was still a weakness in '00, so '99 wouldn't be any better.

More importantly would she want to? There's no chance she can be an effective s/v player, she's too short. I agreed with you more when you stated she was Michael Chang.
You don't serve-and-volley on every serve, that's madness. But Kournikova wasn't much taller, and she served a good 5-10 MPH faster in her prime. She ran in and successfully volleyed on many of her serves- but Fernandez has the better placement, and that's what wins you the points as a serve-and-volleyer. If nothing else, Fernandez has the workings to become a chip-charge player. That's why she needs to get her volleying up there.

I haven't heard that name in a LOOONG time..... Monica Niculescu's shots were always fun to watch lol. Those backhand passes out of nowhere! The opposite of Steffi. Thank you for the stories and for answering my question btw, if I didn't know better I would figure you knew these guy's camps. No, I still think a 12-year-old girl beating Fernandez or Aryna is a fantasy but you explained your stance, so we can agree to disagree on that. I also have to ask you (with no offensive) if you ever thought to coach the teenagers and why you decided not to, it's a lot of knowledge to let sit on a forum when I can imagine somebody on the tour would listen..
Her slice form isn't the best and hurt her stroke, but we saw how far a competent forehand slice can take a player. There's no fantasy with what I said- she was already beating pros and junior pros about to enter the tour, around Gauff and Fernandez's age. The only difference is what a player can do with modern frames and strings. Most important, the strings. Whatever Niculescu and Kournikova could do, Fernandez could do if she practiced it more. I saw my share of glimpses against Rogers.

You saw that Pegula display I showed you. The pros of today are lacking in the basic fundamentals, and even a 12 year old can whoop your ass if you don't have a solid foundation. And you'd be surprised at how much the court shrinks when a little kid is taking your short balls from the net. Pegula never knew the key to hitting that overhead, whether she was losing to Azarenka or beating Svitolina. Now, Raducanu herself hasn't shown to me that she can even handle the prospect of losing games to a 12 year old. That's where the unravel would start. A few years ago, Venus lost to a kid by the name of Gauff on her home turf. Venus'd lost her step, true, but Gauff back then had better fundamentals than Raducanu and Ferndandez. Capriati at Anna's age hit the ball better than not only Gauff but some of the lower-ranked males on the WTT. The reason those '90s hotshot kids lost matches is because they couldn't "play" the game, not because they didn't "have" the game.
 

R. Schweikart

Professional
Apparently, you don't realize how badly Kournikova wanted some genuine friends on the tour. Most of her schedule revolved around hours of personal practice or prepping for a sparse number of tournaments where she usually lost early on. The only way you'd get a flat "no" was if the mother got involved. Anna had a few temporary 'groupies' like Seles, but the actual friends were few and far in between until much later. Same with Seles. Neither of these players were jerks. Off-puttingly confident at most. But when you can't win a tournament, things get a bit clearer. Novotna, I could give you some leeway. But Novotna wasn't the type to not mother a player who genuinely asked for help- if she liked you as a competitor, and that's the main deal. I expect both Raducanu and Fernandez with all their social media exposure would've been able to see right through both players. I don't know how they get on with the tour- I'd have to ask my more knowledgeable friends that question. I do know they could ignore social media and let their team handle that aspect of whatever mandatory deals they've made, but you know they're on it.

To your Venus gripe, there really isn't a linear way to discuss this. Venus played better in her match against Kournikova than she did against Graf. I'm not talking about the implosion either: Venus constructed her own service points better against Kournikova, probably because she was more confident in knowing Kournikova'd gift her the match, no matter how badly she was losing. And on that note, Kournikova, in usual fashion, picked Venus and her then-weak forehand apart over the first set, then she realized she only needed one more set like in Miami and flipped on the Error switch, allowing Venus to claw her way back. Believe it or not, the injury she caught at Eastbourne probably helped her to close out that match against Graf, because she was already winning and now wanted to get the hell off the court.

What that tells you: Venus in '98-'99 was far and beyond these teenagers today, all of them, and Kournikova was a better player than Venus whenever she didn't have nerves. Either youth would've wiped the floor with this Indian Wells competition. Kournikova/Venus can only choke so much and not find themselves losing.


Nothing unfair about it, and Venus as of '00 was decidedly better than the Kournikova of '98-99 (not '93) in every area but the volleying/overheads, and variety. She was better than everyone on that list, and that's why she's not there. The main thing lacking from younger Venus was her consistency, but that extra level of consistency isn't necessary when Fernandez and Raducanu were both routed by weaker ball strikers. Simple, brainless ball-bashing currently leaves the kids with no reply.

Novotna's overall game was worse than Vicario's, and that's the thing: I'm rating the overall package these teens need to have. Clijsters is no doubt worse than Henin if the best of each was to play, but Clijsters was better for the tour as a whole. Kournikova lost to Novotna for reasons I already gave, but her best game better suited the average tour conditions. People bring up a weak serve that never existed until after the splint on her thumb. On that note with Novotna, Novotna actually wasn't a volleyer in her early career. She was an aggressive baseliner who later learned to volley/chip-and-charge. That's why she could slug it out if she had to. Just like Pierce, Seles, Anna, and their kind were all-courters who were chewed up by the Bollettieri factory and spit out as ball-bashers who later tried to relearn their earlier variety. A coach can make a player something extra special, or they can destroy a player's natural talent. The basic problem with Bollettieri and Fernandez's camp is that they cultivated talent, and then they held on to it longer than they should've. If you leave the apples out in the sun for too long, they'll rot. That also means you've got time to take them inside. Novotna changed her game when she was older than Fernandez. Fernandez could become a serve-and-volleyer next year if she wanted to. She can mold herself into anything. The best part is that any losses shouldn't be too disappointing. It's not like the girl's an ATG- yet.


You're misreading me. I never said Pegula would win the thing. Pegula's a case of the same old. Her level until now really was higher than Fernandez's (Svitolina wasn't healthy), but doesn't matter. She ran into someone from the list. Azarenka, better known as "Ric Flair". The betting odds were against Azarenka, which shows you the insight of the average tennis fan. If Pegula brought her Svitolina A-game, she might've taken a set from Azarenka, but I guarantee you Azarenka would've worn her down in the end. Even though Azarenka's best years are behind her and she's on the very bottom of the list, she still remembers her fundamentals. There's no on/off instinct replacing those fundamentals. The serves have been going in strong like they're supposed to. Much easier than the time Fernandez had. No issues hitting your average volleys. At 2-2 in the 2nd, she knocked a brilliant forehand volley. Pegula followed by flubbing the 100% same overhead that Kournikova hit with ease, 23 years ago. Matter of fact, I'll post it on the site from my Season Pass, just for you. You won't find it in the highlights- you already know why. Pegula will hopefully learn before it's too late: someone who hits so flat needs to be constantly looking to crush the ball as soon as possible. Errors be damned. She would've swept Azarenka away if she did. She can't afford to rally with Azarenka or anyone who hits safer than she does. Azarenka let Pegula implode- Pegula didn't get the memo until three games from the end. Pegula's definitely improved and deserves credit herself, but it's a long way to go when you haven't been taking your career seriously for so long. Compared to Azarenka who took it seriously for so long. And that's why Fernandez needs to take advantage of the time she has. Unlike Pegula, she's not 27.

Before I forget, I think I saw Fernandez thanking one of the ballpersons two days ago. Credit to her for that, since hardly anyone else does it.
Who is "Vicario"??
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
I've already butchered Martina's- why stop now?

Her latter half of the year was subpar because she'd played about 10 more consecutive tournaments than she should've. There was no "Martinka" since that February.
 

Graf1stClass

Professional
You saw that Pegula display I showed you. The pros of today are lacking in the basic fundamentals, and even a 12 year old can whoop your ass if you don't have a solid foundation. And you'd be surprised at how much the court shrinks when a little kid is taking your short balls from the net. Pegula never knew the key to hitting that overhead, whether she was losing to Azarenka or beating Svitolina. Now, Raducanu herself hasn't shown to me that she can even handle the prospect of losing games to a 12 year old. That's where the unravel would start. A few years ago, Venus lost to a kid by the name of Gauff on her home turf. Venus'd lost her step, true, but Gauff back then had better fundamentals than Raducanu and Ferndandez. Capriati at Anna's age hit the ball better than not only Gauff but some of the lower-ranked males on the WTT. The reason those '90s hotshot kids lost matches is because they couldn't "play" the game, not because they didn't "have" the game.
Well, I think Paula Badosa has the game and just joined your 'list' ;)
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
Well, I think Paula Badosa has the game and just joined your 'list' ;)
When she can beat the '12 version of Azarenka, and not require a 3-setter and two tiebreaks against the old-mother Azarenka who herself gave away a chance to serve for the championship, Badosa will find herself on the list. It's not only the teenagers who aren't ready: no one's ready. Azarenka was better than Badosa in almost every area, until the very end of the match. If you're not talking to a tennis follower, it'd be nigh impossible to explain how this rusty mother ended up losing despite her superior performance, and that's the issue with Badosa's performance. She's damned even with the rusty mother. But congratulations to her.

 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
When she can beat the '12 version of Azarenka, and not require a 3-setter and two tiebreaks against the old-mother Azarenka who herself gave away a chance to serve for the championship, Badosa will find herself on the list. It's not only the teenagers who aren't ready: no one's ready. Azarenka was better than Badosa in almost every area, until the very end of the match. If you're not talking to a tennis follower, it'd be nigh impossible to explain how this rusty mother ended up losing despite her superior performance, and that's the issue with Badosa's performance. She's damned even with the rusty mother. But congratulations to her.

Vika has had plenty of time to get over motherly rust. That's not the issue. She is just not the player she used to be. Of course Badosa wouldn't beat 2012 Vika at IW. But this year's IW was messed up beginning with the scheduling. The post USO part of the season does often become a ****show because players are too tired to give two ****s. You wouldn't remember the glorious Corretja-Moya YEC final of 1998, would you? They slowed down the Hannover surface a little and lo and behold, Pampras was gone! And actually the WTA Indian Wells event had bizarre winners and finalists in the 90s as players flocked to Key Biscayne rather than IW back then.
 

Graf1stClass

Professional
When she can beat the '12 version of Azarenka, and not require a 3-setter and two tiebreaks against the old-mother Azarenka who herself gave away a chance to serve for the championship, Badosa will find herself on the list. It's not only the teenagers who aren't ready: no one's ready. Azarenka was better than Badosa in almost every area, until the very end of the match. If you're not talking to a tennis follower, it'd be nigh impossible to explain how this rusty mother ended up losing despite her superior performance, and that's the issue with Badosa's performance. She's damned even with the rusty mother. But congratulations to her.

Ok a bunch are stating something to this effect, but what makes Azarenka so worse now? I have to say, that discredits her and Badosa to be making that excuse. Vika did badly in both of the tiebreaks, but that looked more to be nervousness over not being able to play at all. Both of them played exceptional in this final; I give them both full credit, and personally that intensity was loads more than Venus thrashing Kournikova at the Lipton. If that's that, Badosa needs to be somewhere don't you feel? No qualm to place her under Vika.

Vika has had plenty of time to get over motherly rust. That's not the issue. She is just not the player she used to be. Of course Badosa wouldn't beat 2012 Vika at IW. But this year's IW was messed up beginning with the scheduling. The post USO part of the season does often become a ****show because players are too tired to give two ****s. You wouldn't remember the glorious Corretja-Moya YEC final of 1998, would you? They slowed down the Hannover surface a little and lo and behold, Pampras was gone! And actually the WTA Indian Wells event had bizarre winners and finalists in the 90s as players flocked to Key Biscayne rather than IW back then.
Pampras? Lol, I do not believe Vika's as bad as you and Swerve make her out to be. She is neither rusty nor not who she was (same difference really). Making the IW final tells me that, and she had some great wins over big names so you know she could have won a title if she played at her form now all year. Vika in the past, was she the most mentally strong player? I argue it's Serena, but to each their own. There were other finals she could have won in and after 2012; I'm not sure what the point is. She lost another final like everybody on their best day. Badosa played harder -- one of the best finals in years if you want my opinion.
 

christo

Hall of Fame
Hingis was incredibly talented, perhaps someone like Badosa may find a way to create some consistency in the women's game?
Every time one of the ladies hits the million dollar jackpot they seem to disappear. Who can blame them?
Barty hasn't played in weeks, if I took that much time off, I wouldn't have a job. And tennis is a job, and a grind.
But so is working 9-5. Show up, put up and shut up and give 10% of everything you make to Billie Jean King and her charities because without her you wouldn't be making jack.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Ok a bunch are stating something to this effect, but what makes Azarenka so worse now? I have to say, that discredits her and Badosa to be making that excuse. Vika did badly in both of the tiebreaks, but that looked more to be nervousness over not being able to play at all. Both of them played exceptional in this final; I give them both full credit, and personally that intensity was loads more than Venus thrashing Kournikova at the Lipton. If that's that, Badosa needs to be somewhere don't you feel? No qualm to place her under Vika.


Pampras? Lol, I do not believe Vika's as bad as you and Swerve make her out to be. She is neither rusty nor not who she was (same difference really). Making the IW final tells me that, and she had some great wins over big names so you know she could have won a title if she played at her form now all year. Vika in the past, was she the most mentally strong player? I argue it's Serena, but to each their own. There were other finals she could have won in and after 2012; I'm not sure what the point is. She lost another final like everybody on their best day. Badosa played harder -- one of the best finals in years if you want my opinion.
Oh she was no match for Serena, never said she was anyway, but she was well able to beat much tougher opponents than Badosa and on a consistent basis in 2012. In fact I would say she played better at USO 2020 than here. IDK, the whole IW tournament this time was a lottery with it being too late in the season and with quarantines further draining out players.
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
Hingis was incredibly talented, perhaps someone like Badosa may find a way to create some consistency in the women's game?
Every time one of the ladies hits the million dollar jackpot they seem to disappear. Who can blame them?
Barty hasn't played in weeks, if I took that much time off, I wouldn't have a job. And tennis is a job, and a grind.
But so is working 9-5. Show up, put up and shut up and give 10% of everything you make to Billie Jean King and her charities because without her you wouldn't be making jack.
I'd like to see it. It's doubtful, but I won't root against her. The reason it's doubtful, it's not these players don't have the game to dominate their fields. Their fields require less game to dominate than ever before. The flipside is no one can maintain their bests levels beyond a maximum of two consecutive tournaments. Any tournament, slam or 250. The next hot prospect jumps in on the slumping cast, and the joke rolls on. If any of these ladies can stand out, they'll find out they don't need the most impressive level to dominate precisely because the rest of the field's dropping their games without exception.

Ok a bunch are stating something to this effect, but what makes Azarenka so worse now? I have to say, that discredits her and Badosa to be making that excuse. Vika did badly in both of the tiebreaks, but that looked more to be nervousness over not being able to play at all. Both of them played exceptional in this final; I give them both full credit, and personally that intensity was loads more than Venus thrashing Kournikova at the Lipton. If that's that, Badosa needs to be somewhere don't you feel? No qualm to place her under Vika.

Pampras? Lol, I do not believe Vika's as bad as you and Swerve make her out to be. She is neither rusty nor not who she was (same difference really). Making the IW final tells me that, and she had some great wins over big names so you know she could have won a title if she played at her form now all year. Vika in the past, was she the most mentally strong player? I argue it's Serena, but to each their own. There were other finals she could have won in and after 2012; I'm not sure what the point is. She lost another final like everybody on their best day. Badosa played harder -- one of the best finals in years if you want my opinion.
1st class, you're not looking at this correctly. I'm not making any excuses. It was bad on Badosa, having tiebreaks forced on her even following her easy-peasy game with that nervous Jabeur where she choked up at the end, measured against that brutal round Azarenka played against the challenging Ostapenko. For most of the match, she was dead-even with the old mother, with all due respect to both of them. I don't need to ask "who would win" or any such comparison. Azarenka served for the match and mentally imploded. That issue's on her, but it shows that the positive components of her as a player are better than the components making up Badosa, because Badosa had to knock at the door after the old Azarenka'd already gotten her foot in. That isn't calling Azarenka "a bad player" because she's gotten older: she's still a competitor for these kids, which- to be blunt- is a shame. Every one of her shots lacks the old punch, her mental's not all the way there, and her movement's taken a hit. I love her new motivation to keep pumping herself. She's got nothing left to lose. A player can still choke with all that confidence: that's why we call it "choking". It's sudden and painful and often hard to stop on your own before major damage is done.

You told me you've got the matter, so show me. Kournikova played a worse overall game than Venus. Same with Azarenka and Badosa. There was no "thrashing" involved. 100% inaccurate use of the term. No woman's 3-setter is a "thrashing". The good news is someone on the WTA channel uploaded the entire match for you to see on the Tube. Kournikova played more and tougher matches that tournament, including up to QF doubles where Venus burned out in her first play. She also overpracticed in her downtime as always, and that's her own fault, but understand what it means. This meant Kournikova was under greater physical stress. Kournikova had better fitness than Venus until probably late-'01, but she's not "Superwoman". No woman but Martinka or Serena/Venus in their later years could've handled the regiment Kournikova had- and won. Kournikova took it to Venus in one of the best first sets in history, gave Venus a game on purpose because she was tired and wanted to save energy, but Venus applied even more topspin just to rally with Kournikova and make it harder for Kournikova to tee off her shots, even if Venus herself wouldn't have the attacker's advantage. She didn't know Kournikova was tired, but Kournikova was, and her margins shrunk the more tired she became. She tried to adjust her game for Venus, but she was winded quickly into Set 2, hoping Venus would've folded after Set 1. The junk she gave Venus slowly worked to catch her up, but it worked out too slowly for her to beat Venus before losing all her stamina. Kournikova went back to semi-aggression, and now not wanting to make up for errors when she was already tired. But she was locked in enough to claw back multiple games and almost force a tiebreak: she narrowly missed the chance by one point. In the third set, Venus started to pull away, Kournikova was doing her damndest to catch up, and then a blatantly terrible lack of a call screwed her over and gave Venus a break point opportunity (15-40 and 0-1 for Kournikova). Of course, Kournikova complained that the crucial out ball was indeed out. Didn't matter. Didn't matter that everyone from me to Hingis saw it on our TVs either. She had to suck it up because she was born too early to profit from all the electronic crap these kids get to profit from now- but look at them still calling unnecessary challenges! Her next serve was an ace called as a let when the ball never touched the net. You can bet the blatant unfairness helped sap her of any energy she had left. Now rest assured, every player but Graf has had to deal with their share of karma: A few months later that Wimbledon, Venus cried on court, facing her own several bad calls (she lost). Until then, it was all Kournikova thought she could do, to hold on against Venus- what she later admitted was a bad strategic decision even if she was winded.

This is what I'm telling you. Kournikova had the game to beat anyone if she had the right game plan and health. Circumstances aligned to where she rarely had both, and the injuries take sections out of your game for good. For her, speed ('97), forehand ('98), serve ('98), speed ('99-'03), and finally the flat backhand from her lumbar situation ('00-'03) in that rough order. I'm trusting this tragedy won't happen to Raducanu and Fernandez. But most players don't develop to reach Kournikova's "potential" she showed on her best days. They'd eventually face counter-players because they don't have all those requisite weapons.

If Kournikova had even one extra day's rest, Venus wouldn't have stood a chance. I don't mean Venus would've "lost". I mean, she'd have had no chance. When players with this much game potential can use their game, the match is on their racket. The opponent doesn't get a prayer of a chance to find or force their game. Venus couldn't once begin to attack Kournikova until Kournikova had already started fading from her more difficult, prior rounds. It makes sense: Venus wasn't Kournikova's most powerful challenge in that tournament. She was her third-best opponent if you ask me. But that was usually how it went for Kournikova, either or she choked away her possible leads.

Azarenka, same deal. Azarenka's game is more complete than Badosa's, so she forced Badosa to the brink despite Badosa's younger, fitter age. It didn't matter what Badosa tried: Azarenka had the technique that Badosa couldn't match from playing this modern, bash-the-excitement-away game, and her only chance was for Azarenka to make consecutive mistakes. All that grinding she did for every point for hours, and Azarenka had somehow ended up the one serving for the match. Whether nervousness or eagerness or lapses in judgment and focus--not important. What links Azarenka and Kournikova is they played the style of tennis where, provided they were 100% present, the opponents weren't going to drag them down. Both women lost their matches. Their opponents didn't "thrash" anything, or even close. Until Badosa finds herself a better game, I have no business likening her to Azarenka when the machine was well-oiled. You can't win every match by playing your opponent chokes, unless your racket happens to be the size of the baseline itself.
 

christo

Hall of Fame
maybe if Azarenka saved all the energy she used on shrieking at the top of her lungs on every shot, she might have had energy to win:p
Love her but the noise has to stop. Beyond irritating.
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
maybe if Azarenka saved all the energy she used on shrieking at the top of her lungs on every shot, she might have had energy to win:p
Love her but the noise has to stop. Beyond irritating.
Ha, well you can tell she's dead-serious angry whenever she isn't doing it. She's taking this loss remarkably well, probably because the next Wells is back at the start of next year. You should've heard Venus and Kournikova as kids.
 
Hingis was incredibly talented, perhaps someone like Badosa may find a way to create some consistency in the women's game?
Every time one of the ladies hits the million dollar jackpot they seem to disappear. Who can blame them?
Barty hasn't played in weeks, if I took that much time off, I wouldn't have a job. And tennis is a job, and a grind.
But so is working 9-5. Show up, put up and shut up and give 10% of everything you make to Billie Jean King and her charities because without her you wouldn't be making jack.
The announcers are always talking about how hard they work. Do they work harder than a suburban high school varsity soccer player (male or female)? I'm serious. You can't be on the court more than 4 hours. Do some running and a lot can be accomplished in the gym in 30 minutes. Shut up about cross training. It's called playing another recreational sport. John Updike sat at his desk three hours a day and produced a novel a year. Writer Martin Amis said being an artist is a part time job. Maybe the woman overpractice trying to establish "timing" rather than modifying technique to withstand inevitable slumps. That is what makes matches less stressful.
 
Top