There is one infallible way to ruin a debate, and that is to mention Hitler, i.e. to “play the Nazi card”. When the infamous “reductio ad Hitlerum” come into dialectic play, it spells doom for any argument, all but driving it towards implosion – and this is especially true if the debate is web-based.
Ever since Maria Sharapova received a ban from the WADA, something akin to what I’ve described has started to happen. In what way? Well, regardless of what I’ll be writing in the next few lines, someone is going to comment on the article by reminding us that Maria has been banned for substance abuse. At that point, defense attorneys and prosecutors will enter the arena, and every other aspect of the discussion will become an afterthought – we might call Sharapova’s predicament “reductio ad Meldonium”.
This is why I’d like to propose a deal to our readers: since we’ve had plenty of occasions to discuss Sharapova and doping, and since we’ll have many more in the future, can we just for once refrain from talking about it, and instead reflect on something else? This isn’t a way to do her a favour (I’m not a defence attorney myself), but rather an attempt to create a chance for reasoning without incurring into the usual jingle.
Another subject that I don’t want to discuss is her glam side, the side that’s been able to become such a household name off-court, transcending sporting achievements. Nor do I want to talk about her resumé – 5 Majors, and a Career Grand Slam. What I’d like to do is focussing on the type of tennis she played, and how she’s left her mark on the women’s game from 2004 onwards.
High-intensity power tennis
Events such as the arrival of the Williams sisters on the main stage, Lindsay Davenport’s successes, and the twilight of Martina Hingis’ dominance, are all viewed as the essential tokens of the passage to a new tennis era – the advent of power tennis. At the turn of millennium, a new generation of female athletes reached the top, provided with a special gift for injecting pace to their shots, thanks to a superior innate power.
Davenport was born in 1976, four years before Venus, and five before Serena. Sharapova, despite succeeding at an obscenely young age (she won her first Slam at SW19 in 2004), was born in 1987, and thus ascended on the WTA scene a few years later. For this reason, she can’t be considered among the progenitors of the new age, but at the same time she introduced a few innovations that are worthy of a mention.
To explain what I mean, I’ll quote from an article I wrote a few years ago about a historic match, the 2005 Australian Open semifinal between her and Serena (Williams won with a 2-6 7-5 8-6 scoreline). Here it goes: “Serena is a player who still showcases the legacy of the classic game, a game in which the highest degree of aggression is expressed through the charging of the net. Serena did just that in several crucial moments of the match, enacting plays from the previous decades, with aggressive approaches followed by volleys or smashes. Disclaimer: it was unmistakably power tennis, but rallies were devised with the idea of a vertical transition towards the net.”
On the other hand, Sharapova was a thoroughly modern player. Generally, her game never encompassed the idea of verticality, but rather entailed never-ending pressure from the baseline, with supreme confidence in her ability to hit winners with her groundstrokes.
And while Williams has dominated the head-to-head tally against Sharapova, one might argue that history has reversed the tendency, with more and players embracing Masha’s style. Nowadays, it’s hard to believe that Serena herself once approached the net with hints of the classic style, and yet she did, at least until she “Sharapovised” her game through the years, focussing more and more on hitting winners from the baseline.
So, the first aspect that I’d like to highlight vis-à-vis Sharapova’s game is her nature as a pure power hitter from the baseline, wholly detached from the dogmas of the previous century.
Furthermore, there is another aspect that is entirely hers, and that is strictly linked to a baseline-aggresion, namely her constant search for the highest degree of intensity.
Such voltage was conveyed via a brand of aggression that didn’t know hesitation nor pauses, to the point that interlocutory shots were chopped down to a minimum, when not erased altogether.
Sharapova was hardly the first player to display such an intense attitude – the real forerunner in this regard is undoubtedly Monica Seles. However, the Russian might have been the first athlete to employ both of the aforementioned weapons (power and intensity) with such frequency.
Why Newly Married Elina Svitolina Has No Plans To Change Her Surname
The Ukrainian explains why she isn’t using her husband’s surname of Monfils just yet as she books her place in the third round at Tokyo 2020.
Just over a week ago Elina Svitolina tied the knot with her long-time partner Gael Monfils at a ceremony in Geneva, Switzerland.
Shortly after the world No.6 took to social media and changed her name on Twitter to Elina Monfils as part of the tradition that the woman takes on the man’s name once they are married. As a consequence, various websites started to identify the Ukrainian under that name. Although she would rather that they don’t do such a thing.
“I don’t know why they changed my surname. Maybe they saw that I had changed it on my social networks,” Svitolina told BTU.
“I’m going to play as Svitolina till the very end of my professional career and will change it only after retirement.”
Svitolina explains she believes it is better if all of her achievements are made under the same name instead of two. So far in her career she has won 15 WTA titles, reached two Grand Slam semi-finals and has earned more than $20.5M in prize money.
“I had numerous achievements and people know me as Svitolina. My father would be upset if I changed the surname and played as Monfils,” she joked.
“I am proud to be Svitolina and my tennis career will always be connected with this surname.”
Over the coming week the 26-year-old is hoping to add an Olympic medal to her resume. On Monday Svitolina survived a stern scare after coming back from a set down to defeat Ajla Tomljanović 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and move into the third round of the tournament. Her win came on the day where there were shocks galore in the women’s draw with seeds Aryna Sabalenka, Iga Swiatek and Petra Kvitova all crashing out.
Svitolina will play Greece’s Maria Sakkari in the next round whom she has lost to in two out of their three previous meetings.
Why Ash Barty Isn’t Staying At The Olympic Village In Tokyo
The two-time Grand Slam champion has opted to stay at an alternate venue heading into the Games.
Ash Barty will prepare for her debut at the Olympic Games by staying at a base located outside of the athletes village as part of her ‘performance plan.’
The world No.1 heads into Tokyo as one of the favourites for gold following her triumph at Wimbledon where she defeated Karolina Pliskova in the final. She is one of six top 10 players set to play in the women’s singles tournament which will start on Saturday.
Leading up to the Games, the head of the Australian Olympic delegation has told reporters that Barty’s decision not to stay in the village will enhance her gold medal chances. In previous Games athletes have stayed outside of the villages but this year it is more challenging to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tokyo is currently in a state of emergency and fans are banned from attending the event amid fears of the virus spreading if they do so.
“Ash is staying elsewhere,” chef de mission Ian Chesterman told the Australian Associated Press.
“We have a number of athletes staying outside the village. We allow that, it’s just what works best for them.
“Something I’ve always been very big on is driving performance takes a whole lot of flexible decisions, flexible options.
“In terms of her performance plan, it’s best served by her being able to control her environment and we respect that.”
The exact location of Barty’s base has not been disclosed but it is near to the village where she was said to have visited and had a cup of coffee on Tuesday morning.
“She is staying in an Australian environment where she can still easily access the village,” Chesterman stated.
The 25-year-old is bidding to become only the second Australian in history to win a medal in the women’s singles at the Olympics. The first was Alicia Molik who claimed a bronze medal back in 2004.
During a recent interview with The ITF, Barty said playing at the event is a dream come true for her as she describes representing her country as the ‘highest honour.’
“Being an Olympian has always been a dream of mine as a kid, I think representing your country is the highest honour,” Barty told the ITF.
“For an Aussie it’s the best thing you can do and I can’t wait to have an opportunity to wear the green and gold.
“You’re playing for something bigger than yourself. You’re playing to represent your nation. You’re playing to make people proud and that’s not just with results it’s with your attitude.”
Bianca Andreescu pulls out of Tokyo Olympics
The world number five has officially pulled out of the Olympics in Tokyo stating reasons due to the ongoing pandemic situation.
Bianca Andreescu will not be making the trip to Tokyo to play in the Olympics after withdrawing due to the current pandemic situation.
The former US Open champion issued a statement concerning what she describes as a ‘difficult decision.’ Andreescu is the latest top name to pull out of the Olympics. Last week Nick Kyrgios also said he wouldn’t be playing for similar reasons. Due to a a surge of COVID-19 cases in Tokyo, the city has gone into a state of emergency which prompted organisers to ban spectators from attending Olympic events in the city. Athletes will be subjected to tough restrictions during their time at the event, as well as regular testing.
” I would like to inform you that I have made the very difficult decision to not play in the Tokyo Olympics later this month,” Andreescu wrote on Instagram. “I have been dreaming of representing Canada at the Olympics since I was a little girl but with all the challenges we are facing as it relates to the pandemic, I know that deep in my heart, this is the right decision to make for myself. I look forward to representing Canada in future Fed Cup ties, and competing at the 2024 Olympics in Paris! “
The Canadian hasn’t played since losing in the first round of Wimbledon to Alize Cornet of France and most recently split with her coach Sylvain Brunneau after a four-year partnership.
Her 2021 season has been up and down starting in Australia where she lost in the second round before making the semifinals at the Phillips Island Trophy event. She then made the final at the Miami Open before taking a fall in the final against Ash Barty and was forced to retire due to injury.
Then the clay-court season came and Andreescu tested positive for Covid. She was forced to miss events in Madrid and Rome, so she headed to Strasbourg for some preparation before the French Open. The world No.5 won two matches in Strasbourg before pulling out due to an ab injury. She then lost in the first round of the French Open.
The Canadian moved on to the grass-court season heading to Berlin but again would get upset in the first round by Alize Cornet before winning one round in Eastbourne and losing to Anett Kontaveit.
Cameron Norrie ‘Happy’ With Performance After Extending Winning Run Against Kyrgios
‘Probably Gonna Quit’ – Tennys Sandgren Blasts Performance After missing Out On Olympic Medal
Updated Entry List For Washington
Alexander Zverev Ends Djokovic’s Golden Slam Dreams At Olympics
Karen Khachanov Reacts To Reaching Olympic Final In Tokyo
REPORT: Wimbledon Matches Under Investigation Over Suspicious Betting Patterns
Novak Djokovic A Bigger Favourite To Win Wimbledon Than Any Other Major, Says Zverev
Roger Federer Rules Out Retirement In ‘Immediate Future’ But No Guarantee Of Return To Wimbledon
Daniil Medvedev Fumes Over Heat, Cheater Question At Olympics
Kristina Mladenovic Handed Hefty Fine Over ‘Off Court’ Incident At Wimbledon
(VIDEO) Dominic Thiem, Juan Martin Del Potro Gathering Momentum In Comeback Bids
Steve Flink On Wimbledon: “Bautista Agut would be a tough semifinal test for Djokovic”
Wimbledon, Flink: “Djokovic Will Beat Zverev in the Final”
French Open, Steve Flink: “Nadal is the clear favourite, but Tsitsipas and Djokovic have a shot”
French Open, the women’s draw. Flink: “Osaka’s press conference boycott is a mistake”
Hot Topics2 days ago
Daniil Medvedev Fumes Over Heat, Cheater Question At Olympics
ATP1 day ago
Fabio Fognini Apologises For Use Of Homophobic Slur During Olympic Match
Hot Topics1 day ago
‘The Greatest Thing In The World’ – Delighted Belinda Bencic Secures Olympic Medal At Tokyo
Focus2 days ago
Ugo Humbert Pulls Off Tsitsipas Upset In Tokyo
Focus2 days ago
Tokyo Olympics Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic Faces Japan’s Kei Nishikori
Featured2 days ago
2020 Tokyo Olympics, Djokovic on the heat and the new scheduling: “I’m glad they listened to us”
Focus2 days ago
Svitolina Beats Giorgi to Reach Semis in Tokyo
Focus3 days ago
Tokyo Olympics Daily Preview: Djokovic, Barty, Nishikori Among Players Pulling Double Duty