Could Dokic be the next dominant force in tennis?
Former Czech tennis player Jana Novotna has been given a rough deal. Her collapse against Steffi Graf in the 1993 Wimbledon final when she was up 4-1, 40-15 in the third set, established a new benchmark in choking.
This turned Novotna into the poster-child of choking, whereas if she played today, she’d be just another player.
Time and time again supposed contenders, such as Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova, and Elena Dementieva, have wilted on the biggest stage.
Jankovic has become the world’s number one ranked player without ever having won a Grand Slam singles title. Dementieva has never won one either.
Kuznetsova won the 2004 US Open and since then has failed to win another slam.
Ivanovic has failed to get past the third round of a Grand Slam since winning last year’s French Open.
It’s bad enough that they are bowing out to players such as Marion Bartoli, Dinara Safina and Jie Zheng, because they are the least of their concerns.
Women’s tennis in this decade has been dominated by three players: the Williams sisters and Justine Henin. The trio share 22 of the 36 Grand Slam titles won to date. Only on six occasions did someone manage to get by without requiring to face at least one of the three on her way to the trophy.
Ironically, both Kuznetsova’s and Ivanovic’s titles came this way.
Safina did all the hard work for Ivanovic defeating Sharapova, Dementieva and Kuznetsova on her way to last year’s French Open final. Kuznetsova final three opponents in the 2004 US Open were Nadia Petrova, Lindsay Davenport and Dementieva.
Following the demise of the great Navratilova-Evert period, Steffi Graf reigned supreme, and then came Monica Seles. Who knows what would have happened had Seles not been stabbed?
From winning the 1990 French Open, she won seven of the next eleven Grand Slam titles.
Thereafter, Graf returned to the top and pretty much had it her own way until Martina Hingis came onto the scene. Hingis won her last Grand Slam title in 1999, the same year that Serena Williams won her first. Since then, it has been one-way traffic for the Williams-Henin triumvirate.
Henin has gone and you can’t imagine the Williams have too many years left in them.
The question is, who going to dominate once they go? Jelena Dokic?
As crazy as the idea is, it wouldn’t be any less crazy than any of the other suggestions. Poor old Jana Novotna, Kim Cljisters and Gabriela Sabatini! They played in the wrong era.
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