Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Sometimes U.S./Sometimes Asia
There IS a lot more depth on the ATP these days, AND there are more one-surface specialists. The two are related. Like Pete Sampras gets slammed for being a terrible clay-courter. I mean, he did get to the semis at the French, he won the Italian Open over Becker, and he beat Agassi at Houston this year. The problem, like Pete said himself, is "When Rod Laver won the Grand Slam, he only had to worry about four or five guys, but when I play the French Open, I have to worry about a 100 Spaniards and South Americans!"
This over-depth is not good for the ATP, at least not in the U.S. Tennis is a star-driven sport, and there just aren't superstars among the men these days (except for Agassi, and the time on his meter is clicking away). Now, it feels like one player gets on a hot streak, wins a big tournament, gets injured, and never really reaches that same level again (Rios, Moya, Phillipousis, Norman, the list goes on and on). Do you remember when Becker, Lendl, Edberg, and John McEnroe were at the very top? The rivalries between them were so exciting, and the fans had favorites they cheered for. Nowadays, I don't really care who wins on the men's side, and I don't think I'm alone.
It really is a shame, because the level of tennis is amazing on the ATP. In fact, from a strictly technical point of view, I think men's tennis is far superior to women's tennis (much better winner-to-unforced error ratio and more all-court games). But like I said, tennis is a star-driven sport, so I'm a much bigger fan of the WTA, where Venus, Serena, Anna, Lindsay, Martina, and company aren't just tennis players. They're "divas."