So, tough times for Venus Williams and Dinara Safina. Two weeks, two early round exits for both. For Venus, she's lost twice in a week to Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (and, yes, that, too, was cut-and-pasted), a mere qualifier. Meanwhile, world (ahem) No. (ahemahem) 1 Safina lost to Shuai Zhang, who is ranked TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX IN THE WORLD! Think Roger Federer could do that? And men's tennis is actually deep.
It is late in the year, and as they say, shiz-nit happens. But both these players have had very interesting seasons. Safina gets to the top of the mountain, but wimps out in major tournaments. Venus gets her ranking back up, only to suffer puzzling losses all year, and sometimes, she has looked utterly lost out there. What can these players do to change things around?
First up, Safina. Right now, she's under the tutelage of one Zeljko Krajan, who, some say is kind of hard on her. I will say I've never seen someone so irritated to see his student win a match. Maybe what Safina needs is some positive reinforcement, someone who can convince her she is a worthy No. 1, that she can beat anyone.
Someone like Richard Williams.
Now that man might not be able to fix a forehand, but he can sure light a fire under a sister. A Williams sister. But how about a Russian? How would that coaching session go?
Dinara: Oh, I hate my serve!
Pop Williams: What kind of crap is that? You need to go out there and beat those white turkeys! Ace 'em!
Dinara: I missed another one! (smashes racquet on court)
Pop: Listen, I'm from the ghetto. When you're from the ghetto, you don't get all nervous and stuff. Where are you from?
Dinara: Moscow ...
Pop: Got any ghettos in Moscow?
Dinara: I don't know ...
Pop: Ever hear gunshots on the tennis courts? Have to pay off gang members to protect you while you practice?
Pop: And you're worried about a serve? A forehand? Girl, you better shut up and hit that shot. And be glad you didn't get shot!
Hey, that logic has produced about, oh, 20 majors for the Williams clan. Couldn't hurt, right?
Now, on to Venus. Still, after all these years, she's being coached by her parents, who frankly, couldn't be less interested during her matches, it seems. Richard's fixing his ball cap, Oracene's sleeping and Serena's texting Common while Venus is trying to beat Kim Clijsters at the U.S. Open. What she needs is some passion, some anger, a fresh fire, someone to get mad at her.
Someone like Zeljko Krajan.
Maybe what Venus needs is someone to call down during one of those stupid mid-match coach conferences:
Krajan: What the hell is the matter with you?
Venus: I don't know. Too many errors. She's playing well.
Krajan: (mutters in Croatian) I told you move into the court. Be aggressive. What you doing back there?
Venus: It's just a tough day at the office right now..
Krajan: Oh, you look terrible. Six double faults. Pushing your serve? How you expect to win like that?
Venus: (drinking water and nodding)
Krajan: You gotta start every match 6-0, 5-0?