Here's who needs a wake-up call
Two majors are down and only two remain this season, which means time is running out for those who hope to make a splash at tennis' biggest tournaments. The most prestigious of the lot, Wimbledon, begins Monday. So, halfway through the Grand Slam calendar, who needs a kick in the pants? These five -- for a start.
Robin Soderling: Surprisingly, Soderling exhibited a somewhat defeatist attitude at the Australian Open after losing in the fourth round: He said he didn't expect to do well in Melbourne because he's never done so in the past.
And this despite winning a tuneup in Brisbane.
Perhaps he's got an inferiority complex now, too, when confronting the likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Since the beginning of last year's grass-court campaign, he's 0-6 versus the duo, taking one set. Soderling, who's indeed had some injury problems, disappointed against Rafa in the quarterfinals in Paris this year.
Calm on court under Magnus Norman, the Swede became more irritated in his short stint with Claudio Pistolesi.
It's now up to the affable Fredrik Rosengren to get him going.
Mikhail Youzhny: It was always going to be difficult for Youzhny, the artistic Russian, to back up 2010, when he reached the quarterfinals at the French Open and semifinals at the U.S. Open and barely missed qualifying for the year-end championships.
Still, few expected the first five months of 2011 to be this bad. Youzhny hasn't reached the quarterfinals at any top-level tournament since February and in one stretch lost seven of nine matches.
Youzhny is tight with venerable coach Boris Sobkin, but maybe it's time to seek new input.
The good news for Youzhny is that he can make up ground at Wimbledon given he fell in the second round in 2010.
Fernando Verdasco: Verdasco didn't have luck on his side at the French Open. He was struck down by what he thought was a gastrointestinal illness, leaving him with little power facing veteran Ivan Ljubicic.
However, illness doesn't account for his other results.
Verdasco is looking a lot like his pre-Davis Cup final 2008 days. He's coasting along, reaching the third or fourth rounds of majors.
Since beefing up, it seems Verdasco is intent on trying to outlast opponents instead of ripping through them, a la the 2009 Australian Open. He continues to waste his first serve by opting simply for spin too many times and throws in nothing balls -- balls with no intent -- in rallies.
Verdasco's ranking of 23rd last week was his lowest since May 2008. Similar to Youzhny, though, Wimbledon presents an opportunity for the dapper Spaniard -- he lost in the first round last year to Mr. Controversy, Fabio Fognini.
Samantha Stosur: When he began coaching Stanislas Wawrinka, Peter Lundgren said his goal was to turn the ball-crushing Swiss No. 2 into a "beast" on court. Although he disappointed against Federer at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, Wawrinka is making progress at the majors.
Stosur's coach, David Taylor -- or someone else -- needs to transform the timid Stosur into an animal on court.
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In a wide-open Roland Garros, Stosur fell apart against Gisela Dulko in the third round, squandering a break lead in the third set. Stosur might have been suffering from a cold, but it didn't bother the 2010 finalist in emphatic victories the previous two rounds.
Stosur has never done well at Wimbledon -- only once has the Aussie landed in the third round. Now would be the perfect time to rectify matters. She needs a lift.
Ana Ivanovic: Is anyone else getting tired of listening to Ivanovic discuss her coaching situation? Enough, already.
Whatever her coaching predicament, Ivanovic's 2011 has been nothing short of dismal -- especially because she ended last season on a high. Remove Indian Wells, where the Serb showed signs of life by reaching the quarterfinals, and she's under .500 at 6-8.
Ivanovic had injuries leading into the Australian Open and French Open, but surely she shouldn't have lost to Swedish outsider Johanna Larsson in the first round in Paris.
Ivanovic went deep at Wimbledon in 2007, reaching the semis, yet her memories weren't as fond in 2010, losing in the opening round.
London-based Ravi Ubha covers soccer and tennis for ESPN.com. You can follow him on Twitter.
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