Monday, July 09, 2007

It's a Wimbledon wrap!

I have what I think is a fair question: Why does women's tennis use rankings?
The top seed at Wimbledon, and the highest ranked player in the world, is Justine Henin. She won the French Open, but lost in the semifinals of Wimbledon to someone named Marion Bartoli.
#2: Maria Sharapova -- Out in the fourth round to a certain eventual champion who could barely keep a rally going in her previous round.
#3: Jelena Jankovic -- Fourth round loss to Bartoli. You know, when I first saw Bartoli play and noticed how, um, big-boned she is, it sort of reminds me of golf's John Daly, without the chain-smoking, but with the power and the build that doesn't quite yell "athlete."
#4: Svetlana Kuznetsova -- Williams victim #5. Sad.
Seriously, is women's tennis (gasp!) developing depth? Seems possible. Out goes Clijsters and Davenport, in come Vaidisova, Jankovic and Ivanovic. (Speaking of the -ics, whatever happened to Jelena Dokic?) They're good, young players with definite potential for Grand Slams. Bartoli? Maybe? If she'd cut back on the candy (her words, folks, her words) she might be able to run with the fitter players on tour.
As for the Williams sisters, obviously they've shown this year that they can strike at any time, even when the iron is cold. I still don't believe Venus went from playing so badly in the third round to playing her best match in recent memory against Sharapova the next day. If these two could play injury-free for a while, who knows what could happen. (This said after Venus gets her leg wrapped during her final.)
Unfortunately, the real equalizer on the tour has been the injuries. Sharapova's shoulder, Serena's knee, cramps, thumb, etc, Mauresmo's appendix. That's what the rankings are reflecting right now. It's not a true depiction of the best players, but of the ones left standing.
As for the fellas? Well, who needs the other two thousand players in the world (with the exception of Tommy 'Cheeky' Robredo) when you have Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal? Their Wimbledon final was more than I expected, and made up for the boring women's final. Hats off to Nadal, who managed to look increasingly sharp with every win during the tournament. It's too bad he had to have his knee wrapped while he was in firm grip of the momentum in the fourth set. It's a rarity to see Federer flustered, and it would have been really interesting to find out if he could have snapped out of it. This could shape up to be Nadal's best season yet, especially if he can finally have a breakthrough at the U.S. Open.

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