Why Top-Seeded Jelena Jankovic's Loss Comes as No Surprise

ZipCorrespondent IJanuary 25, 2009

Women's tennis lacks dominance.

Not even through week one of the Aussie Open and there have been three big upsets. The dismantling of Venus Williams, Ana Ivanovic, and Jelena Jankovic should come as a surprise, but it does not.

The seeding system for the tournament should make a difference, but really, it is one big free for all.  Guess that gives hope to the so-called underdogs in the women's game, because anyone can win on any given day.  

Although the Williams sisters are still the most dominant force in women's tennis, they are just as susceptible as the rest when it comes to falling short of expectations. 

If Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, or Andy Murray had been knocked out of the tournament already that we be a huge upset.  People would find themselves in a bit of shock about such an unnerving outcome.  However, on the women's side it is just run of the mill for a grand slam tourney.

Jankovic is ranked number one in the world but she has yet to capture a grand slam title.  She lost to Marion Bartoli in the fourth round 6-1, 6-4.  The match wasn't even close.  Umm, so why is she ranked No. 1?

Jankovic plays in a plethora of tournaments during the year to boost her ranking, but it doesn't mean much if she can't win when it counts.  Therefore, she is hardly a world number one.  Bartoli's easy ousting of Jankovic proves that women's tennis lacks a sovereign ruler.

Why is there such a discrepancy between the men's and women's game?  Perhaps, the playing field is more equal. However, the issue runs a bit deeper, and again, Jankovic serves as the perfect example.

Female players seem more vulnerable to cracking under the pressure. While Jankovic is a talented player, she often chokes during matches.  Her inability to close out a match will haunt her career.  Putting yourself in a position to win is great, but doesn't mean much unless you can close.  

Venus Williams was up 5-3 in the third with a chance to serve out the match, but she still managed to lose.  Certainly Carla Suarez Navarro deserves some credit for coming back to win.  But why wasn't Venus able to grit out the match?  No doubt she is the better player.

Loss of confidence can happen to anyone, especially as points don't go your way. Nevertheless, the tendency to question one's game and tighten up during pressure points seems more potent on the women's side.  

In some ways it makes women's tennis more exciting because anything can happen. At the same time however it is never fun to watch a player choke, especially when he/she is heavily favored.  

The ability to win a major tournament does not come from hitting winners and aces, it comes from an inner solitude.  A place where the player has ice running through the veins and nails shooting out from the skin.  Recently retired Justine Henin-Hardenne was that type of player as was Steffi Graf.  

In the remaining week of the tournament, who will play with the unquenchable thirst to win?  My money is on Serena Williams.  She has won the Australian Open in every odd year since 2003, so her time is due.  

While Serena has been known to falter, she is also the fiercest player on the tour. Besides, have you seen her guns?  I wouldn't mess with that.