I really thought that this time Sharapova had a chance. I really did. I reached out to a few of my tennis buddies and I said to them that I thought Sharapova had a chance. One told me that she had a chance last year. I thought she really did have a chance.
It was not to be.
Despite serving a career record 21 aces in her previous match and despite moving better, the outcome of Serena and Sharapova is now without a shadow of a doubt the worst non-rivalry, rivalry in all of tennis.
How does Sharapova fix this? How does she overcome what is without a doubt a mental challenge. I am sure that she has tried everything there is to try and possibly waiting to see if Serena will have an off day when they play is not going to happen. I don’t know what the answer is and frankly I don’t even think Sharapova or her coaching team knows what the answer is to the Serena question. While many will no doubt laugh and call Sharapova her pigeon, I think the answer lies far deeper than just who serves better, moves better etc. I think right now it is a mental game and this was no more evident than in the first 3 games of the match.
Sharapova as we all know got off to a fast start, capitalising on Serena errors and getting an early lead. She would consolidate the break and be on her way to going up a double break. She failed. On the resumption of play, serving at 2-1, Sharapova started off quite well but serving at 30-15 she failed to control a return that was hit hard and deep to her backhand. From them the writing seemed to be on the wall. She would get broken and while Serena did not run away with the match, the belief almost went out of Sharapova’s eyes.
Next up for Serena is Aga Radwanska who took care of a less than 100% Suarez-Navarro.
The bottom half of the field plays today with Victoria Azarenka going up against Angelique Kerber and Joanna Konta against Shaui Zhang.
While watching an NFL game recently, I noticed that the umpires (if that is what they are called) tell the fans the outcome of a call during play. I was wondering whether this is something that tennis umpires could do especially when there is a controversial call. For example, whenever there is a let, most fans in the stands (and some at home) don’t know the reason why a let was called, especially if it is an important point and someone serves what would be an ace and the umpire overrules and calls a let. Why not have the umpire explain the reason for the call, and then we can move on with the game.
Another reason for the umpire announcing the reason why a call was made is in the case of players arguing decisions. Why not have the umpire announce to the whole stadium the reason why the point has to be replayed so that there can be no argument as to why he or she has made such a decision. Too many times we see players get quite disgruntled when they feel as if they have a play on the ball and the umpire says that they have to replay the point. To add to this why not have video replay technology available instantly so that everyone can see (and hear) for themselves the reason why certain calls were made. This happens in cricket where the umpires will call for video replay in instances where certain calls are protested (leg before wicket is a common one).