Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Goran Volley Misses Point, Says Martina

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Goran Volley Misses Point, Says Martina

Article excerpt


AS Wimbledon hosts the farewell tours of two SW19 icons, the debate begins about the winners and losers of the tennis generation game.

Goran Ivanisevic's body is so battered and bruised from 15 years on the men's circuit that he is retiring at the age of just 32. He may have won through to the third round but the creaking Croat was unconvincing against the punishing ground-strokes of his 22-year-old Italian Filippo Volandri.

In contrast, Martina Navratilova is in such good shape at 47 that she can still cruise into the second round of a women's grand slam event. Although the wildcard's run was ended by world No59 Gisela Dulko in three sets yesterday, the fact that she even reached that stage will cause concern at the Women's Tennis Association.

Phenomenal as Navratilova may be, what does it say about the strength in depth of the women's game that she remains competitive at such a physical sport?

Few eyebrows are raised at the staying power of a 47-year-old golfer but the demands on the human body are so much greater in tennis. Ivanisevic, for one, is dismissive about standards on the female side and claims Navratilova's exploits could not be replicated on the ATP tour.

He said: "In men's tennis, two weeks is about the maximum you can take off before it affects your chances. Martina didn't play a match for eight years and has won here.

That tells you everything about women's tennis.

"It is a weakness. Before each tournament starts, you pick five girls and you know they are going to reach the semi or quarterfinals. They win 6-0, 6-1 or 6-0, 6-0 and then they say how good tennis they play!

"You can't do that in men's tennis.

It's very tough to say who is going to win. I picked the results of five matches the other day and got every one wrong."

John McEnroe, a contemporary of Navratilova's, still plays regularly in exhibition matches but Ivanisevic does not believe the 45-year-old would stand a chance in a grand slam. …

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