Saturday, March 11, 2006

Women's Tennis 2006

Ok, the tennis season is already getting under way. And we should all be VERY excited. And this post is already too late! How far can Martina Hingis go? Is this it for America's sweetheart Lindsay Davenport? What other on-court antics will Justine Henin-Hardenne pull? What is in store for Venus and Serena? And, for the love of God, where is J-Cap???

Anyway, here are my 6 players to watch and desperately root for, in no particularly order:

1. Lindsay Davenport. She inched so close last year to winning that elusive last slam, making it to the finals of Australia and Wimbledon. I have a hunch last year was her shot to win one. Not so many players are injured this year and she just can't seem to figure out how to beat Sharapova, JHH, and who knows who else. Still, she is the most composed and well-spoken female athlete ever. And I pretty much need her to do well at Wimbledon and the US, for both our sakes. This will most likely be it for her, sadly. The concept of graciousness in women's tennis is over once Davenport retires.

2. Maria Sharapova. I would love for her to become the next dominant player, a la Steffi Graf. And she is still just 18 years old, which is weird because she has already been around a while and it seems like she should be older. Meanwhile, all of her real competition is in its mid-twenties. So, it seems like in two years she will be the one still to beat, but I would love for her to get another Slam this year. I have a hunch there is going to be talk of a One Slam Wonder soon. And she is just so pretty. Hoping she will own the summer grass season, and learn how to play the net, if she is going to insist on coming in. As of now, it looks painful when she approaches. Note to incestuous father: Make Maria play doubles!

3. Amelie Mauresmo. This could totally be her year. She is in the prime of her career and has been beating most of the competition pretty soundly in the past 6 months. The Australian truly was hers, despite JHH quitting. It was a given she would have won it easily. The Aussie was also proof she literally could be the last woman standing in many tournaments. She will have another spectacular clay court season, leading up to the French. I think we will see a breakthrough there. Finally.

4. Martina Hingis. Granted, I vehemently hated her as a teenager. She was annoying, pompous, and not one bit fun. I don't know why I am so behind her these days, but I am wishing her well. If anything, she will bring a much needed layer of depth to the women's game. Plus, we have her hilariously blunt comments to look forward to again! For example: "I knew I could come back once I saw a mediocre player like Anastasia Myskina win a slam." Or, "I am not going to worry about my ranking so much. I just want to get a lot of matches. But it looks like my ranking is taking care of itself." Final thought: she has gotten much prettier. Final final thought, she is a great clay court player. The upcoming clay season could determine a lot of the rest of her year.

5. Nadia Petrova. She is a solid player who is finally figuring out how to beat the players ranked abover her. Basically I am including her because she won me over at the past US Open, despite a crazy annoying fan. Be aware, she is already a two-time French Open semi-finalist and she has only improved and gotten more confident since then.

6. Justine Henin-Hardenne. We are rooting against her all the time. I hope she gets booed at each of the remaining slams. Her display in the Australian finals was horrible and I honestly think she should be penalized. Words cannot describe the depth of my hate for her.

Other thoughts: I would welcome Serena back in a hearbeat, for no other reason than she can destroy JHH. I usually enjoy Venus as well.

J-Cap! Bring your potty mouth, beer-swilling, gutsy self back to us!

And this cute player with a fun website.

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