How low can you go?

Everyone in the world wants to know, what happened to Nicole Vaidisova. I like the article below, thanks Forty Deuce for the find.

'Private voice' saying all the wrong things to Vaidisova

March 2, 2009

Athletic and attractive, Nicole Vaidisova was primed to become the next Maria Sharapova and reap the benefits that inevitably follow in lucrative endorsements. But that is all in the past.

At 17, she reached the semi-finals of the 2006 French Open and the 2007 Australian Open, and ranked No. 7 in the world just after turning 18.

Now, less than two months from her 20th birthday, the six-foot, blond Czech will this week drop to about No. 80 in the WTA Tour rankings. She is playing so poorly she is a pushover for opponents.

After a quarter-final finish at Wimbledon last July, she was just 2-7 for the rest of 2008.

This year, Vaidisova began with what should have been a character-building 7-6 (3), 4-6, 7-5 win over Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia in Auckland, New Zealand, but her three most recent matches have been abysmal: 6-1, 6-1 loss to No. 131-ranked Mara Santangelo of Italy; 6-2, 6-1 loss to No. 96 Séverine Bremond of France; and 6-1, 6-4 loss to No. 134 Émelie Loit of France.

Against Bremond at the Australian Open, Vaidisova won the first two games, missed a smash right on top of the net, then fell apart. It was painful to watch her incapable of stringing together more than two or three shots without drilling the ball into the middle of the net or flinching it well out of bounds.

By all accounts, Vaidisova has no physical problems and plays well in practice. But a source familiar with the situation said: "She basically cannot compete. And there's a difference between that and trying. The minute things go wrong, she can't handle it. There's a complete irrationality about her when that starts to happen on court."

The source, referring to Vaidisova's boyfriend of more than a year, compatriot and men's tour player Radek Stepanek, added: "The one thing that's unfair is to say it's all about Radek. If it wasn't him, it would be another boyfriend."

After working with David Felgate since last April, Vaidisova and the Briton split after the 2009 Australian Open.

"What's hard for any player like her, her margins [for error] are quite low," Felgate said of Vaidisova's powerful, flat-trajectory ground strokes. "When she was winning and confident and it's all going in, it works very well. You start to miss, the inevitable happens and you lose a bit of confidence.

"I will say that Nicole tried everything. She didn't leave one stone unturned. She wasn't just going though the motions. She was trying to get back."

Dr. Jim Loehr, the renowned American sports psychologist who has worked with numerous players including Jim Courier, Monica Seles and Daniela Hantuchova, says someone struggling has to work on his or her inner "private voice" and "craft a whole new way of looking at things that will change how they feel on the court."

"It's going to take a new story," Loehr added, "and a new beginning and she can actually put together an understanding of why she got herself in this situation. Players have amazing insights, once they sit down and rally that wise, perceptive and intelligent part of themselves. They probably will see where this all came from.

"And she needs to play a lot of competitive matches that are not tournament-based, play different players in practice and get her private voice going properly in those matches when she's not really putting it on the line."

Vaidisova is not willing to drop down to lower-level Challenger events to try to regain her confidence. Recently, her agent, Olivier van Lindonk of IMG, wrote in an e-mail that his client will next play this month's big events in Indian Wells, Calif., and Miami.

He also wrote that Vaidisova has been training at the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida and is "exploring starting to work again with her stepdad [and former coach] Ales Kodat."

One person who has observed much of the unravelling of Vaidisova, wondered: "I don't know how low she's got to get before she lets go."

The implication was that, maybe then she could finally put it all back together.

So, what I've been thinking about Vaidisova is that she doesn't have a fighter's spirit in her. Nicole simply doesn't have the fire to win that Sharapova, Henin, Venus and Serena have. What she has is professional tennis skills, for exhibition matches and a beautiful face and bod.

Poor Nicole. This girl is headed for a very early retirement from tennis if she doesn't seek the right people to boost her confidence and help her find her inner-self on the court.


Neil Parker said...

Interesting Article. Too much talent to fade away.. I'm confident she will put it together. I shot much footage of her first tour victory and still believe she can get back to where she was. Watch out for Cecil Karankecheva, she could be comeback player of the year..

edgar said...

Yah it's a shame about Vaidisova with such a big game she plays.

Sesil, I've been waiting for her since before her doping ban, when she was 15 yrs old.

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