Most difficult transition in the sport


When it comes to clay and grass, there's nothing similar about the two surfaces except that the lines are in the same place. The colors are different, the bounce is different, how each surface reacts to rain and sun is different.

Obviously this is the only time of year where the players feel a huge rush to make a transition to a different surface, which is difficult to do in a short period of time. It's even more difficult than getting ready for the Australian Open after the holidays because you're not playing on a specialty surface.

So, that's the challenge of this time of year: Who can make the transition better than anyone else? Last year, because Roger Federer lost in the first round of the French Open, it might have helped him win at Wimbledon. It's going to take anyone involved in the final weekend at Roland Garros at least half a week to get over the French mentally and physically.

It's going to be interesting on the men's side with Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick losing in the first and second round respectively at the French Open. That means they're going to be much better prepared for grass than some others. The surface suits them better, and they know if they're facing an Argentine or an unknown French player it's a different story on this fast surface.

It's also a totally different ball game for the Williams sisters. Although they say they're both comfortable on clay (Venus was quite successful on it this year), grass is better suited to their style. The way they take the initiative pays bigger rewards on grass. The first time they hit a big serve and it pays dividends -- when an opponent doesn't even run after it -- they're going to go "Hallelujah" after dealing with the clay.

The Belgian women are out with health issues. I understand from Kim Clijsters' inside group that she probably should have had surgery earlier this year on her wrist. Her whole season is in doubt because if she has surgery now, she'll miss the next two majors whereas if she'd had surgery in March she could have been back for Wimbledon.

We can look forward to seeing how Anastasia Myskina handles the pressure now that she's a Grand Slam winner. Before this year's French Open, Myskina performed better on grass than on clay. She might be more confident or she might feel the expectations pressing in. She seemed to get over an emotional hurdle at the French, so maybe she'll blossom more at Wimbledon and won't be such a hothead on the court.

Jennifer Capriati is still recovering her belief in her game. You can tell by the way she came out in her semifinal with Myskina that she's still rebuilding her confidence. Three years ago, when she was winning her majors, she never would have performed like that. She had that extra bit of confidence and that extra bit of fitness. Until she gets even more fit, moving lighter and better, she's still going to be missing some of her confidence.

Lindsay Davenport is the last woman besides a Williams to win Wimbledon. She has to be 100-percent healthy, with her serve on and her ground strokes doing well. As long as Davenport's healthy, don't discount her chances. If she's going to win another major title, her best shot is at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open.

However, if the Williams sisters end up in different halves of the draw at Wimbledon, they'd be my pick to reach the final because one of them has taken the title the past four years.

ESPN tennis analyst Pam Shriver won 21 singles and 112 doubles crowns, including 22 Grand Slam titles.