"Sexy legs" can't sway American fans
Not even Serena Williams' praise of Maria Sharapova's legs seemed to tempt Los Angeles fans to travel to the home of the Lakers last week for a closer view. The only inspection of the Russian came by way of maginified adverts on the side of highways plagued by traffic jams, writes James Buddell.
Even Serena's news outfits didn't boost ticket circulation and neither had Sharapova's liking for a L.A. Lakers tracksuit top.
The turnstiles were in no danger of breaking down and the only time the ticket touts were busy was when American representatives, Serena and Lindsay Davenport
, were playing.
So what was the problem?
Five Russians in an eight-woman field are largely unfamiliar to an audience who often switch off their television sets when non-Americans are playing.
Even the U.S. television networks at the U.S. Open were criticised by viewers for showing highlights of American matches when 'other players' were on court live.
So when Jennifer Capriati
and Davenport went out at the semi-final stage in the New York major it was only natural for their to be a nationwide turn-off.
While Florida-based Sharapova had the lions share of the attention, her major-winning compatriots Anastasia Myskina
and Svetlana Kuznetsova
don't have the star appeal just yet.
Only Amelie Mauresmo
competed under a flag other than U.S. or Russian.
CHANGE FOR THE BETTER
The WTA Tour reverted to an eight-woman competition last year. A format that was last used in 1982, when Chris Evert
and Martina Navratilova
were sparring partners.
It is generally accepted that the WTA Tour have changed their season-ending championship, from a 16 to an eight-woman format, for the better.
But without the likes of the star names, Justin Henin-Hardenne
, Kim Clijsters
, Venus Williams
and Capriati, the buzz of anticipation was missing.
If the tour wish for the event to stay in L.A. on a long-term basis it may be wise to take notes of the Masters Cup in Houston beginning on Monday.
is the lone American in the field, which include players that can generate publicity and huge ticket sales themselves.
hmm.. interesting. I thought this was a funni article