Mats' Musings: The top women players are limited

Editor's note: Former world No.1 and seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander is writing exclusively for Yahoo! Sports throughout the U.S. Open. The 1988 U.S. Open champ breaks down who's hot and who's not, offering his thoughts courtesy of Lacoste.

The collection of upset results in the women's draw at this year's U.S. Open is not a sign of the depth of women's tennis, but a damning indictment on the limitations of the top players.

The performances of Melanie Oudin and Kim Clijsters have been fantastic and both fully deserve their place in the second week.

However, the fact that a 17-year-old with courage and a clever game plan - and a woman returning to the tour after giving birth to a child - can become the biggest stories of the event, merely highlights some serious problems.

So many of the stronger women players have mental weaknesses that really show up when the Grand Slams come around.

Time and again we have seen players choking when it really counts, especially in the second serve department.

Oudin's run has been brilliant, yet she has been helped by the way Elena Dementieva, Maria Sharapova and Nadia Petrova have fallen apart against her consistent game.

The problem for many women is that their game is so robotic. That is not their fault, it is the way they have been taught, but it leaves them without a Plan B.

Every player, no matter how great they are, gets affected by nerves. But if you have a well-rounded and adaptable game, those extra options make it much easier to handle the pressure.

I am always stunned by the attitude of many of these women. They have a great professional career and the chance to play on a stadium like Arthur Ashe should be something for them to savor.

Instead, we see the kind of grumpy attitude as shown by Vera Zvonareva on Sunday night. I know this is a business, but where is the love of the game?

You see it on the men's side, with guys like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray still playing with the kind of passion and intensity they showed when they were kids.

Unfortunately that is a rarity among the women, which is why a player like Oudin is such a wonderful breath of fresh air.

Here we take the latest look at my favorites for the women's title.


1. Serena Williams: Just too good and a huge favorite for the title.

2. Caroline Wozniacki: Big win over Kuznetsova presents her with a huge opportunity.

3. Kim Clijsters: Making a great comeback and she isn't finished yet.

4. Melanie Oudin: Her spirit and intelligence mean the dream run can continue.

5. Flavia Pennetta: In good form but has a difficult draw.

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