thought it was interesting, not just that Kim came back and beat everyone at
the US Open, but also that Kimiko Date Krumm, who is 39-years-old, won the
title in Seoul last week having previously not won a match all year.
I think that tells you all you need
to know about where women's tennis is at the moment, and anyone who has retired
in the last 10 years should have a long look at things and ask themselves are
they happy with their lives - if not there is always the option that they could
get back involved in the game.
Women's tennis has been very poor
recently and the top players have just not performed. David Felgate (former
coach of Tim Henman and Nicole Vaidisova) was telling me about a theory of his
recently and it is one that I tend to agree with.
So many of the female players out
there, especially those from Eastern Europe,
love to knock off top players. They love the experience of rocketing up the
path to fame and glory, but when they finally get there they show no real love
of the game and no real love of competition.
When suddenly it is them who are
the ones being scalped, they cannot take it anymore. That's what is happening
to nearly all of them.
I have to say that Maria Sharapova
is an exception to this rule; she is a case apart and loves competition. But
the others? It is fascinating to watch their decline!
Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic,
Dinara Safina, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva - all of them have looked
like amazing competitors in the past but they are not, they simply are not.
I don't think any of them are
enjoying their tennis at the moment and it is almost like they all need a year
off. Then they can come back again because they are all terrific players and
they have all BEEN terrific competitors, but they are just not at that level
It is not a case of lack of hunger;
I just think they are not enjoying what they are doing. They just don't like
being hunted. They enjoyed the hunting, but not being hunted.
However, if we go back to two
Belgians, their return could be the thing that brings the game back up to its
You could have a lot of fun trying
to predict who will finish the end of next season at the top of the rankings.
I expect to be a million miles out
with any predictions I make but I think you can lock-in Roland Garros for
Justine Henin - I think that's pretty much a sure thing.
I don't believe that Venus Williams
will return to her former level again and I cannot see her winning another
Grand Slam, but I might be wrong about that.
As for Serena? Well I haven't got a
clue. I could see a situation where she never wins another Grand Slam, but I
could equally see a scenario where she wins another four or five. She is a
really difficult case to predict.
I would have Clijsters and Sharapova
as my two picks to do well at the Australian Open next year. I think Sharapova
is starting to play really well again and we saw what Clijsters is capable of
at the US Open.
Are any of the others who I have
been scathing about going to miraculously find their form? I don't know. It has
all been a bit transient so I wouldn't want to nail my colours to the mast just
yet, but if I had to predict the top four in the world at the end of next year
I would go for:
2. Sharapova (provided she can
steer clear of injuries, which is a worry)