Jelena Jankovic lost her opening two matches in Doha, winning just eight games in the process.
It's not really a surprise considering her second half of the season which has been a slow death.
Yet, it's always a shock to see a former number one player in the world and still a top 10 player sinking this way.
But it can happen, just have a look at her results since July:
- Loss in 2nd round in Portorov against Yakimova
- Loss in 1st round in San Diego against Kleybanova
- Loss in 2nd round in Cincinnati against Amanmuradova
- Loss in 1st round in Montréal against Benesova,
- Loss in 3rd round at the US Open against Kanepi
- Loss in 2nd round in Tokyo against Kanepi
- Loss in 2nd round in Beijing against Jovanovski
- Loss in 1st round in Moscow against Diyas.
These are the results of a player ranked 80 in the world.
The tour is very demanding and doesn't allow any letdown.
It must be understood that playing on the Tour demands a lot and that a player can pay a big price for any small failure.
Jankovic has reached the top by working hard with great fitness that has allowed her to push her opponent to exhaustion.
But somewhere along the way, she has stopped training to the same level and so she can't return as many unreachable balls as before.
If she can no longer make her opponent run, she becomes an average player and deep inside, she knows it.
She knows that if she can't display the same intensity she will become fragile and has become mentally weak as a result, whereas she used to be so strong in that area before.
When a player climbs to the top, the world changes around him or her. So why are we seeing some players stuck in this sort of crisis when they were once at the top?
There is no shortcut to success - the only way is to work hard and to stay focused.
It's the only one I know and when we're asking the players about what they want to achieve, they're often very adamant: they have high goals and are determined to do what's needed to reach them.
But the motivation crisis of one who achieves his/her goals is often irreparable.
When they reach financial comfort, attention from the media and recognition, things become tougher. This can be exacerbated by the people around them who flatter their egos and don't allow players to take a step back and question themselves.
They're also more exposed and feel like every small mistake is going to be judged harshly.
Even the attitude of their entourage changes because they don't want to take the risk of losing their relationship with the player.
They don't dare to tell the truth anymore to the player in case he or she gets mad at them.
In this unfavourable environment, it's common for those players to suffer a motivation crisis.
They now what it takes to succeed and how demanding it is so suddenly they're weighing up the comfort level they have and what it would take to go even higher.
With nobody there to warn them that they're going downhill, players are suddenly lowering the training hours and when they do train it's not as intense.
Losses come more frequently and that can be demoralising, even more so as thee players are always aware of how they have let things go.
This is the biggest difference between champions and good players.
The champion always want to go higher, to improve and are never satisfied of what they have achieved.
The good players hide behind lies that help them to justify poor performances.
PS: you've probably noticed that I'm adding news into my blogs lately. I find it interesting to sum up what has happened each week and what we can expect to happen. Sometimes I'm also adding opinions like the ones I gave for Doha and Bali.
PS2: From next week, I'll also add video in my blog with the aim of helping you all to see the technical developments made by some players and to share some tactical choices I've noticed. I want you to be able to understand better what you're all noticing while watching tennis matches.
PS3: A huge thank you to all of you who are reading my blog. Thanks for your loyalty and for always giving me your thoughts in the comments.