PARTING SHOTS FROM WIMBLEDON

Everyone has been doing their Parting Shots from Wimbledon. I think I should clear out my notebook as well.

1. Congratulations to Petra Kvitova, Wimbledon Ladies singles champion for 2011. Awesome performance and well deserved.

2. Congratulations to Maria Sharapova for making it to the finals of another Grand Slam and showing the world what hard work and dedication can do for you.

3. Another Major and another loss to Caroline Wozniacki. However, she is still the World’s No. 1 but you have to think that there is some pressure on her to perform.

4. How dismal a performance from former Grand Slam champion Ana Ivanovic. Her many fans must be disappointed that after a wonderful fall season her results in 2011 have not kept pace. One can only hope that with the recent announcement of Nigel Sears, former head of women’s development at the LTA as her new coach,things will start looking up for her. However, I don’t think the problem lies in Ana’s coaching. It lies elsewhere in my honest opinion and the sooner she recognizes that, the better.

5. Screaming, grunting, shrieking etc seemed to have taken up a lot of time with media practitioners during the Wimbledon fortnight. It is unfortunate because the tennis being played by the women was wonderful.

6. Congratulations to Victoria Azarenka for finally getting over the quarter-final hump and making her first Grand Slam semifinal. Fans of Azarenka can only hope that she moves forward with this improvement. Her performance was one that will fill her fans with great hope for her future.

7. Seeing Serena Williams break down and cry after her first round win at Wimbledon was heartwarming and showed fans of women’s tennis just what this game means to Serena.

8. Another disappointing dismissal by the Queen of the Green, Venus Williams by what can only be called her nemesis Pironkova. As a big fan of Venus myself, I was very disappointed and I can only hope that she will at some point return to the winners circle at what is without a doubt her favourite tournament.

9. Marion Bartoli showed that her win in Eastbourne was not a fluke, neither was her reaching the semis of the French Open. Bartoli has put in the hard work and it has paid off handsomely. I hope that she does not overplay during the US hard court series and makes a run at the US Open.

10. It was good to see Sabine Lisicki not only enter the winner’s circle with her win at Birmingham but also seeing her make the semis of Wimbledon. Her performance was a tad disappointing. Her first serve which is one of the biggest weapons in her arsenal was nowhere in sight against Sharapova and her forehand which is one of the biggest on Tour was nowhere in sight. Hopefully she will improve as the rest of the season progresses and can continue to remain healthy.

11. Julia Georges showed once again that it is not always good to bet on a streaky horse. Her performance against Cibulkova was not only disappointing but was underwhelming to say the least.

12. Dominika Cibulkova is a giant killer. After taking out Julia Georges in the third round, she went toe to toe with the World’s No. 1 Wozniacki and took her out in 3 tough sets. She would later fold against Sharapova, but give her a bigger serve and a better backhand and she should be able to collect her first singles title sometime this season.

13. Last year’s beaten finalist, Vera Zvonreva struggled for much of Wimbledon. She was taken out in the third round by Pironkova in straight sets. Zvonreva seems to be regressing these days and that is quite unfortunate.

14. Kim Clijsters was a no-show at Wimbledon this year and one can only guess that her time on Tour is drawing to a close.

15. Sam Stosur disappointed as per usual.

16. Jelena Jankovic left Wimbledon with nary a whimper. I doubt if she even gave a press conference following her first round loss. One only has to wonder whether Jankovic is even interested in playing tennis any more. The Tour needs players like Jankovic to spice things up a little.

17. One of the many things that went wrong during this year’s coverage of the women’s portion of Wimbledon has to be the fact that none of Petra Kvitova’s matches were shown on tv. I know that I saw quite a few of her matches as I had access to live streams but from speaking to many of my tennis buddies that reside in the States and elsewhere we could not recall seeing any of Petra’s matches on tv. Perhaps it is time that the networks start doing a highlight show where they focus on players who have played on the outer courts so that in the event that they win at least they will have some footage of them to show.

18. I enjoyed watching the juniors at Wimbledon this year as live video streaming of the girls’ finals was broadcast. Ashleigh Barty is without a doubt a mental giant. Being 4-0 down in the first set she would go on to win the set and eventually the title. It was also good to see Justine Henin in the stands supporting the player from her Sixth Sense Academy, Irina Khromacheva. It was quite funny that the commentators on the live stream did not know who she was and kept confusing her with Nicole Pratt. How that could ever happen I will never know, which leads me to my next item…

19. I think it is time that commentators get lessons in how to pronounce players’ name. Julia Georges had to rebuke the umpire during one of her matches recently in no uncertain terms as to how to pronounce her name. Commentators are guilty of this as well and should be made to answer for their destruction of players’ names.

20. Some players really need to start focusing on the tennis and not on the outside interests. Not too long ago Chris Evert wrote a letter to Serena Williams informing her that she could always have a fashion and acting career, but that she would never have another tennis career. I think a letter should be sent to Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Andrea Petkovic. Less time tweeting, writing blogs, designing ugly outfits and making up new dances and more time on the tennis court trying to win tennis matches. Bethanie Mattek-Sands is now the No. 1 ranked American woman. She has never won a singles title and is best known for wearing knee-high socks and outrageous ugly outfits and eye black on court. Andrea Petkovic is not doing much better. She is best known for making up dances that she does when she wins matches against opponents. Rather than the media calling out players for grunting, how about calling out Petkovic for her unsportsmanlike conduct, plus she cannot dance.

21. The loss by the world’s No. 1 was compounded by the fact that her loss did not rate a mention on ESPN’s website. As a tennis buddy of mine tweeted at the time the font type used to describe her loss was smaller than that used to describe the loss by Venus and Serena Williams, who also lost on the same day. The world’s No.1 should not be an afterthought. Think I am wrong, people are still talking about the World’s No. 3 loss on the men’s side long after the tournament has ended. The WTA has a serious problem on its hands when the world’s media cares little about whether Wpzniacki has lost in a Major or not.

22. Kimiko Date Krumm proving more and more that age is nothing but a number.

23. Billie Jean King said “pressure is a privilege”. Na Li, winner of the French Open found that out when serving for the match not once, but twice against Sabine Lisicki. She was ousted in the second round.

24. The revival of Tamira Paszek. Once a child prodigy and former top ranked junior, Paszek turned up at Wimbledon fitter than I have seen her in years and made it all the way to the quarter-final before losing to Victoria Azarenka. She played one of the best matches I have ever seen her play in taking out Francesca Schiavone in the round of 16.

25. Svetlana Kuznetsova after playing fantastic tennis in the early rounds bowed out in the third round playing really sloppy tennis. One wonders if Sveta will ever return to the top 10, which leads to the following question …

FUTURE GRAND SLAM CHAMPIONS

Of the current members of the top 10 or even top 20 who have not won a major I tried to see who would have the potential to win a Major. Unfortunately, apart from Wozniacki and Azarenka there are no other players who have not won a Major who even have the potential to win one. It is dispiriting for women’s tennis that with the veterans winding down or reducing their schedules due to injury, the new guard in women’s tennis has not shown that it has been able to step up and challenge on the big stages. I am sure that the WTA must be scratching its head in frustration at the fact that there is hardly anyone coming up through the ranks who is able to dominate the Tour and for whom fans can identify in the coming years.

Petra Kvitova’s win is without a doubt the shot in the arm that the WTA needs and indeed its younger generation needs to give them the impetus to start doing much better at the majors.

TOP 10 MATCHES DURING WIMBLEDON

1. Kimiko Date-Krumm v. Venus Williams. A match about using every single angle of the court and relying on your strengths and finding your game when you left it in the locker room.

2. Petra Kvitova v. Yanina Wickmayer. A match about staying focused and just marking the Xs and Os.

3. Marion Bartoli v. Serena Williams. A match about believing in your game and executing it.

4. Francesca Schiavone v. Tamira Paszek. The fight of a veteran and the never say die attitude of a youngster.

5. Daniela Hantuchova v. Victoria Azarenka. What happens when there is a struggle.

6. Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez v. Venus Williams. Grass court tennis at its best

7. Sabine Lisicki v. Na Li. What happens when you believe.

8. Marion Bartoli v. Flavia Pennetta. Getting it done

9. Caroline Wozniacki v. Dominika Cibulkova. A giant sized forehand contained in a pint sized body.

10. Ashleigh Barty v. Irina Khromacheva. The new generation.