FromTom Perotta at ESPN.com:
The fall tennis season is much maligned and for good reason: Players are usually banged up this time of year, and the tournaments lack prestige compared to the majors. For someone like Ivanovic, though, the fall season can provide an escape from the spotlight and a chance to rebuild both strokes and confidence. This can pay dividends -- just ask Amelie Mauresmo. In the fall of 2005, a struggling Mauresmo lost two consecutive first-round matches in Moscow and Zurich, the latter by the score of 6-2, 6-0 to Katarina Srebotnik. A few weeks later, she won a small tournament in Philadelphia and then won t he season-ending championships. Mauresmo knew her best days were ahead of her.
"I was feeling very strong in my game, and my confidence was very high," Mauresmo said in an interview earlier this year. "Definitely I was feeling like a dominant player."
Mauresmo won the Australian Open, her first major title, in early 2006 and followed it up with a victory at Wimbledon (she also regained the No. 1 ranking). Without those titles in late 2005, she said, she wouldn't have been ready for such success.
Mauresmo was a late bloomer, not uncommon for a crafty player who often charges the net and wins points with tactics rather than an onslaught of bludgeoned balls. Ivanovic doesn't have Mauresmo's quickness or agility, but she, too, is more tactician than basher. As Groeneveld said, Ivanovic, who will celebrate her 21st birthday next week, needs time to mature, both physically (she's much more fit than she once was) and mentally. She isn't going to win slugfests. She isn't going to win with speed and defense. Variety is her best weapon, but it's a weapon that takes years to master. If Linz is any indication, she is once again moving in the right direction.
Can I just say that I LOVE that she's not being described as a ball basher anymore?