Matt Cronin, has a nice article up over at Fox Sports on the possibility that JJ will finish the year as the World #1 having not won a slam. I know, put the baseball bat down and back away from the dead horse. The guy clearly is not a JJ fan.
But Cronin's article is great because he gets some choice quotage from Carlos Rodriguez, Justine Henin's coach. Dude has got some opinions and he ain't shy to share em.
It's not like the Argentine doesn't like the potential of some of the kids — it's just that they are so wildly inconsistent. Take Roland Garros champion Ana Ivanovic, who is just 5-5 since winning her first Slam crown in Paris. Sven Groenefeld, whom Rodriguez considers the best coach on tour today, coaches the Serbian, but the 20-year-old is struggling mightily.
"I think Ana can do big things, but she needs more maturity," Rodriguez said. "It's very difficult for a player to learn what to do when she's in trouble. Ivanovic is not able to have a Plan B or C to solve the situations, and she loses complete control. The coach can help with this, but in the end, it's up to the player to find for herself what possibilities will work. The coach can only help you to a certain point."
Rodriguez spent a little time this past summer working with former world No. 4 Anna Chakvetadze but couldn't make it work with the Russian, who has spiraled downward to No. 12. On the outside, Chakvetadze appears to have all the ingredients that Rodriguez would like: foot speed, soft hands, the ability to take the ball on the rise and smarts. But he couldn't get through to the 21-year-old.
"Anna seems like she wants to work, but I told her, at the end of the day, deep inside of you, you don't want to try to go further and to push yourself more to succeed," he said. "I cannot help you if you don't have the will to do something, even if I'm the best or worst coach in the world. She has the talent. But she's really confused as to what she needs to do to succeed to do to become a No. 1 or No. 2 player in the world. She's not ready to make the sacrifices it takes to go to the top, there's not question about it. A champion is one inside and outside the court, and when you take Anna outside the court, she's really a disaster."
So far so good. Can't argue with him any thing here. How long have Ana fans been complaining about her lack of a B game? Crash the net, Baby E. CRASH THE NET!
But then Carlos starts running his mouth and all of a sudden he starts losing credibility with me:
"That's the face of tennis today, with a player who is reaching No.1 without winning a Grand Slam," Henin's coach Carlos Rodriguez told FOXsports.com of Jankovic, who was 0-9 against Henin. "It's a sign. She's a good player, but when you see Maria Sharapova and the Williams sisters, they not only win Grand Slams, but they have the charisma. They give something extra, not only hitting balls. There's more behind them."
What are you smoking? Uh, JJ lacks many things (a serve for example) but charisma is SO. NOT. ONE OF THEM. The woman does the splits on court, smiles all the time, chats with the crowd, and wears BODY GLITTER for goodness sakes.
And then, he inexplicably picks Nicole Vaidisova as the young player with the most potential:
"She's amazing," Rodriguez said. "It comes back to the entourage she has around her. It's so important. When you are talking mental, these girls are very strong, but when you are talking emotional, it's very hard. The emotional takes over the mental and she completely loses the way. It's a pity. I hope someone can take care of her because she's charismatic and is a really good player, but her emotional (state) and the intelligence is not that good."
I'm starting to get the feeling that Carlos doesn't know what "charismatic" means.
UPDATED: Apparently I wasn't the only one who was perplexed by Carlos' use of "charismatic". Matt Cronin posted this over at Tennis Forums:
From the author:
Allow me to weigh on a few things:
1: Carlos only responded to questions about the players I asked him about, hence the admission of Dementieva, Safina and Kim. I only had a certain amount of time and we also discussed coaching philosophy for a magazine piece I’m doing so I couldn’t fit those folks in.
2: What he essentially means by charisma is that “extra special something” that player takes on court, not charm, which JJ obviously has loads of. JJ still needs to prove that she’s a big time player and she knows that.
3: Chakvetadze publicly spoke about Carlos plenty during the summer, not it’s not out of hand for him to be discussing her. As much as I like her game and think she is smart, thoughtful person, she is struggling emotionally, hence her poor results.
4. I don’t agree with his comments about Maria, but he’s said much the same in the past about players who do a fair amount of modeling, photo shoots, etc.
5. He likes Ivanovic’s potential a lot, but said she’s needs to mature and I’m sure that AI would say much the same.
6. He does not want to coach Nicole and I was stunned as some of you that he thought that she still has such great potential and I told him so. He wants to coach juniors now, not pros.
7: He never said Justine was certain to come back.
7. He admits that he is a tough coach and says that only resilient players like Henin can put up with him.
Got to go but will be back on Tuesday if you want to discuss more...