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Over the past few years, men’s tennis has been dominated by Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and Murray. Dubbed the big 4, they are consistently winning or reaching the latter stages of the Grand Slams and are remarkably disciplined in their work ethic and attitude.
Since the departure of Justine Henin, women’s tennis has been unpredictable. In that I mean, players are reaching the pinnacle of the sport without winning a Grand Slam, and those that do, don’t go on to perform. Is it because they lack the hunger for more success? Are they putting enough preparation into tournaments they will be judged upon?
It is difficult to pinpoint a specific reason because it seems to be happening from one player to the next. 2011 saw four different women capture the major titles and this year is shaping up to be no different. In fact, every single Grand Slam champion that year lost early in their successive Grand Slam.
1. Kim Clijsters: Won the Australian Open but lost in the second round of the French Open
2. Li Na: Won the French Open but lost in the second round of Wimbledon
3. Petra Kvitova: Won Wimbledon but lost in the first round of the US Open
4. Sam Stosur: Won the US Open but lost in the first round of the Australian Open
This time last year, Maria Sharapova was gathering momentum and was starting to peak after her shoulder operation. In winning the French Open, she has completed the Career Grand Slam and comes into Wimbledon with huge expectations. But can she avoid an early exit and achieve the seemingly impossible: string together victories in two successive Grand Slams and possibly finish the year as the No. 1 player in the world? In this current time and place, there would be no better player to do it than Sharapova.