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...Roger didn’t say it but his meta-point seemed to be that we have become so accustomed to his success that we dismiss anything that falls short of a win in the finals. He didn’t say it but he seemed to be implying that we his fans, are somewhat prone to either-or thinking, such that anything that is not a win in the finals is defined as a failure. He didn’t say it, because he was doing his whole classy guy act, but he seemed to be hinting that in this, we are all quite full of it. And then some.

I thought of this today when I looked at the series of questions that Dinara Safina faced from the press, minutes after being wiped out by Venus Williams. Here are the first three questions, verbatim:...

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Comment by Jazz Burks on July 5, 2009 at 9:47am
"needed to do to beat her"? Like giving ED a match point? Remember, there was a rest day between the semis and finals. If anybody benefitted it was Serena. Venus would have been a HUGE favorite if the championship match was on Friday instead of Saturday. IMO Venus' serve let her down. Venus' toss must have gone off as it was windy on Centre Court and Venus had to make multiple catches. Carillo made a point that Serena is a better rythmn server than Venus and it showed in the match. Venus' serve is more effective than Serena's at Wimbledon but only when its going in. Nice win for Serena!
Comment by tennischick on July 4, 2009 at 3:38pm
I think it took more out of Venus to beat Safina than was immediately apparent. Hence Venus' complete flatness in the finals. This is my problem with both of the sisters, but especially with Venus. Beating Safina took a tremendous amount of energy. I believe that Venus could have beaten her with a scoreline that would have been perhaps less impressive but which would have left something in the tank for finals day. That's the match that Serena played. She was never overwhelmed by Dementieva nor did she try to overwhelm her. She did what she needed to do to beat her. And there was clearly a whole lot left in the tank. Venus' win against Safina came at an overly high price IMHO.
Comment by Mark / The Mayor on July 4, 2009 at 1:17pm
I agree that Dinara has a lot to learn, but she also has time. She's young and her mental game has time to improve. I don't think her mental problems are the same as Marat's as Jazz suggested. She seems to want it too badly whereas Safin seemed to not care enough.
Comment by Jazz Burks on July 4, 2009 at 12:25pm
Then I shall agree that Dinara is better than the rank and file of the WTA. The problem that I have is a number one ranked player is being destroyed out there. Its the same problem most folks had with Ana Ivo after she won Roland Garros. Too much "happy to be here" not enough "gotta make that next move". When Fed made the "monster" comment it was in response to the media speculating that he was done after winning three majors in 2k4, 6, and 7. To quote Ryoma Echizen, Dinara "you still have a ways to go". Hopefully she goes back to the drawing board and makes that push to the next level instead of being another good player that made it to number one.
Comment by tennischick on July 4, 2009 at 10:06am
I believe that I acknowledged Dinara's deficits in this match. For example, I said (quote): "When we speak of spectacular losses in the future, Safina’s today to Venus Williams will deservedly stand out. It was an incredible display of awkward bewilderment in the face of confident talent."

The angle of my article was simply to look at the flip-side of this issue and also acknowledge that she has accomplished more than most professional players have.
Comment by Jazz Burks on July 4, 2009 at 1:26am
Interesting take on Dinara. The only problem is that Dinara has looked pathetic in these prime time matches. Federer was winning everything in sight including majors. Sanfina is fine until its time to take that step into greatness then its like that sickness her brother has for self destructing takes over. Dementieva fought like a demon against Serena and Dinara did this? At least when Jankovic was numero uno she gave Serena a match a the USO. Henin wasn't afraid to mix it up with the sisters, and look at the Wimbledon final between Davenport and Venus. Nobody is saying that you have to dominate the Sisters, but don't role over and go belly up as Dinara has done. Winning Tier 1's in Abu Dhabi is fine but the real players shine in the majors.

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