June 22, 2005

One and done. : Less than three weeks after winning the French Open, Henin-Hardenne exits Wimbledon in the first round.

posted by lil_brown_bat to tennis at 06:25 AM - 4 comments

In her defense, switching from clay to grass is always a difficult transition, especially when the basic blocks of your game are patience, spin and shot placement instead of power and flow. It's a genuine upset, make no mistake, but as with the parade of South American men who typically do well in the French and wilt at Wimbledon, it's not a shock. Henin-Hardenne has been able to make that transition before, but grass was never her strong point, and if there's even the slightest thing wrong with either her game or her focus, grass tournaments are not kind to her. She's run hot and cold the last few years anyways.

posted by chicobangs at 10:26 AM on June 22, 2005

The last grass match she played was 2 years ago. That in itself is probably the biggest reason she lost. She still played a tight match and any one who watches her play problably expected her to pull out another 3-setter with her steely reserve - similar to how she did in the French Open. "She's run hot and cold the last few years anyways"? That statement is utterly untrue in its simplicity. You can't make a statement like that without qualifying it. The only time she's been "cold" is when she was injured from her blood virus and other injuries. When she's been healthy, she's been winning.

posted by ny knicks at 10:45 AM on June 22, 2005

What ny knicks said - the virus (or a fear of its recurrance) being the reason she didn't play a warm-up tournament on grass prior to this week.

posted by JJ at 10:50 AM on June 22, 2005

ny_knicks, I just didn't want to write an essay on the matter. I didn't say she didn't have reason to be less consistent than we'd come to expect from her a few years ago -- serious injuries and illnesses will do that to anyone -- but a drastic cutback in one's schedule combined with the fact that it's probably been a couple of years since she last felt 100% couldn't not hurt her game. I like the way she plays, and I really hope she continues to get all the parts of her game back on track. But the fact remains, she put it all together two weeks ago, and this week she didn't.

posted by chicobangs at 10:57 AM on June 22, 2005

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