Justine heals my wounds


It’s been a bad week for my two players, with Daniela falling way short of her 2005 performance in Dubai, and Tim being replaced by Andy Murray as the British number one after seven years at the top.

Will he ever retain it?

He is still a better player than the 18 year old, who will have to wait a few years to hit the heights that Henman achieved, but this year has really shown to me that the great career of Britain’s best player for decades is nearly at an end.

The only consolation is that Tim’s career will be cut short to injury and not a loss of form, he’s still got it, and there is plenty of time left this year for Tim to crash the Andy Murray party.

However, as the title suggests, this post will be about another of my favourites after Tim and Daniela.

Justine Henin-Hardenne’s win over Maria Sharapova in the Dubai Duty Free Open final on Saturday (straight sets, 7-5, 6-2) signaled a rare break for my tennis following fortunes. The women’s game has in my opinion, been suffering from the onslaught of big hitting, graceless youngsters.
Ana Ivanovic, Vera Dusehvina, Maria Kirilenko, Nicole Vaidisova and, of course, Sharapova represent a bafflingly popular group of players who, as well as parading their bodies both on (Kirilenko) and off (Sharapova) the court, offer not one ounce of grace or finesse; the very element which makes the women’s’ game so attractive to watch.
Hingis, Henine-Hardenne and, despite her physique, Mauresmo all display a graceful, tactical game, slices drop shots and lobs replace flat baseline winners. The volley is used to great effect.

Sharapova plays ugly, boring tennis. Her Barbie doll looks must account for the sell out crowds, for it can’t be the tennis. A big serve, a big forehand or backhand winner. Nothing else. Don’t even get me started on the shouting……

Anyway, enough of my angry swipe at the robotic teenage hordes, Justine displayed on Saturday that this recent unwanted dynasty of Bolleteri princesses, may be stuttering to an early grave. What with Amelie’s long overdue world-beating form finally showing up, Kim and Justine playing back to their best and Martina proving a more than worthy adversary to the worlds elite, the women’s game can still be rescued.

Picture from Justine’s forum within WTAWorld.com

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