Well once again a Grand Slam (Wimbledon) has come to an end and we have learned a bundle of new information about both the ATP and the WTA. I'm going to focus on four select aspects that may prove to be very significant for the rest of the year.
1. Elena is Back
After one of the most impressive starts to '09, Elena Dementieva, fizzled out and had decent results throughout the rest of the year, however, she lacked some big wins. This Wimbledon she waltzed to the semifinals facing no seeds and many, including myself, thought she just took advantage of an easy draw and Serene would obliterate her. Clearly, I was wrong as Elena scratched and clawed in her epic semifinal loss to Serena. Her serve was phenomenal, her movement precise, and her mental fortitude matched Serena's. If Elena can recover from her loss she will surely be a contender going into the grueling summer hard court season.
2. Roddick Can Play
Six years ago Andy Roddick won his first slam. He has yet to win another. This fortnight, however, Andy stepped up and played one of the greatest matches in Wimbledon history, losing an epic 14-16 fifth set to Roger Federer. His forehand was ferocious and serve was unbelievable as always. But the part of Roddick's game that surprised me the most was his backhand. It certainly is not a weapon yet, but he his hitting it aggressively and can end points with it. Particularly, he can pass with his backhand and players can't take advantage of an easy forehand up the line approach shot to Roddick's backhand anymore. Overall, Roddick's confidence will have hopefully grown after his performance and he can continue his form to the USO. Preferably he will not land in Federer's quarter of the draw but by not being in the top 4 Roddick will need some favorable draws to do well.
3. The WTA Ranking System Needs Retooling
Serena Williams has won 3 slams and a slam quarter yet is only ranked number 2. That statement seems impossible but it is true. Dinara Safina surely deserves to be at the top of the rankings, but it's hard to believe that she even believes she is the best tennis player in the world. She has won countless other tournaments and reached multiple finals, including two grand slam finals. These results, however, just don't seem enough to overthrow Serena.
My only justification can be that Serena has done poorly outside of the slams. Her series of losses on clay compared to Dinara's two titles and one runner-up are the main reason, I believe, that anyone can make an argument to say Dinara is the best in the world.
I guess I would say that Dinara definitely holds the number 1 ranking on tour, but Serena is the best player on tour. Does that make sense? I guess it does to me...
4. ATP Revival
For years on end I could not stand the ATP. Who wants to watch one man dominate everyone outside of clay? Not me. But now Roger Federer is being challenged. And it's other players other than Nadal that are doing this. It's great news!
As the WTA continues to fall apart because of lower quality matches, the ATP thrives with thriller after thriller in finals. Just look at the past few grand slam finals. The WTA has not gone three sets in a grand slam final since '06 Wimby, while the ATP has had a five set final twice already this year. I can't say this enough, although I love so many of the WTA players, the ATP just has so much more attractive qualities to it.