Patrick Mouratoglou

The older generation blooms

Patrick Mouratoglou

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It's a major surprise not to have any new names in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam.

It is all the more surprising to not have newcomers except for Petra Kvitova.

We could have imagined seeing Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Caroline Wozniacki, Melanie Oudin, Dominika Cibulkova, Sorana Cirstea, Victoria Azarenka or Yanina Wickmayer at this stage.

All these players are young, full of talent and ambitious. Some of them should reach the semi-finals or final of a Grand Slam in the years to come.

However, they are not ready yet while older players profited from vacant spots let by the once-retired stars and a Williams sister one-day getting old.

ITF to blame for late development of talent

We have already seen Samantha Stosur, Jelena Jankovic, Francesca Schiavone and Elena Dementieva at the French Open.

Now it's Tsvetana Pironkova and Vera Zvonareva turn to get through to the semi-finals of Wimbledon along with Serena.

It's funny to witness older generations blooming instead of witnessing younger ones.

Stosur, Schiavone and Zvonareva are playing the best tennis of their life.

Could this come to us as a shock or is it a consequence of the ITF's will?

Already, the ITF has a policy that is preventing players aged from 14 to 18, to limit the number of WTA tournaments played, which is one of the reasons why we see older players bloom.

The teenagers have to play junior tournaments until they turn 18, even if they outplay everyone in their own category at the age of 15.

This policy was put in place to avoid juniors to be broken in too quickly.

The problem with this policy is juniors don't have the opportunity to play the best players in the world, so they are not mature enough and don't have enough experience.

Instead they have the pressure of having to win their junior tournaments, which should happen later in the main tour.

That is why they bloom at a later stage of their career, which leaves seats for players with more experience and who also have learned to play with their best assets

Zvonareva finds emotional stability

Zvonareva is the best example. She split with coach Sam Sumyk, whom she was working with for four years, to hire Antonio Van Grichen, who used to coach Azarenka, and also decided to split after only three months.

We had a talk at Indian Wells as she is looking for a whole team to work with.

She still has many ambitions even if, for the moment, the priority for her is to find the
best balance possible.

She has not had good results since the start of the year, has travelled with a young sparring-partner and then started working hard again.

She played a great match against Wickmayer in the third round, with a huge serve, and a killer backhand down the line.

She was also very impressive at reading her opponent's game. She always seemed to be ahead by one shot during the match, was ready to anticipate her opponent's shot before she hit it.

Her former coach Sam admitted to me she has the abilty to know the qualities and weaknesses of her opponents.

As soon as the match starts she moves her opponent on both sides to understand the quality movement from the backhand to the forehand, and from the forehand to the backhand, to know which side is her best asset.

She tries to get as much information as she can and then use it to upset her opponent.

Vera is a great player, who has always tried to improve during her career.

She lost her emotional stability when she split with her coach at the end of last year, but seems to have found another one.

If she can work it out, watch out for her in the up-coming months.

Pironkova deserves credit for taking her chances

Watching Pironkova reach the last four is a surprise.

She is playing the tennis of her life and has shown good success, but I can't get rid of the fact that she got lucky and also has game that suits the surface.

I have known Tsvetlana for a long time and must admit being surprised to see her go that far.

She is a good counterpuncher, a great mover around the court and has a solid backhand.

However, she doesn't possess a major weapon and her forehand is very weak.

Nobody could have seen this player reach last four in this competition, which shows anything is possible if you believe in it...

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