Damn back stabbers
No Americans at WTA Championships
By PAUL LOGOTHETIS, Associated Press Writer
November 7, 2006
MADRID, Spain (AP) -- Something's missing from the WTA Championships. There are no Americans in the field for the time since the elite season-ending tournament began in 1972.
Their absence was unusual but not completely surprising to the eight female European stars, who started play Tuesday in an event that features a $1-million prize.
"The U.S. had such great generations of players who dominated the sport and some have retired, and there just haven't been anyone to replace them," Russian Nadia Petrova said.
It became obvious long before this week that no U.S. singles players would qualify for the season-ending tournament.
Lindsay Davenport -- the only American player at last year's championships -- started the year at No. 1, has fallen to No. 19 and remains the only American in the top 35. A back injury sidelined her for five months and she hasn't played since September.
Venus Williams played only once since Wimbledon because of a left wrist injury. Serena Williams, who started in only four tournaments because of a lingering left knee injury, scheduled her comeback for January in Tasmania.
American success on the tour has also been diminished with the injury absences of Jennifer Capriati and Monica Seles, and the increasing depth of talent from Europe -- especially Russia. Chinese players are also on the rise.
This year, no American women reached the semifinals at the Grand Slams. Only three tournaments were won by Americans, compared to 19 by Russians. The European players won 30.
After Davenport, 27-year-old Meghann Shaughnessy is the next-highest American at No. 39. Shenay Perry, Jamea Jackson, and Vania King are among the young U.S. talents, but might not make the top 10 by next year.
"(American tennis) needs the young ones to come through now and make it through to the top," said No. 1-ranked Amelie Mauresmo of France. "It's probably tough when you have such a big history. For them to reach the highest level is not easy -- I think it's a lot to live up to, and they're probably being criticized because they're not there yet -- so that's even more pressure."
Tournament ambassador and former No. 1 Arantxa Sanchez Vicario said the game has changed, in part due to the Williams sisters.
"The players are faster, stronger, better conditioned and really healthy," Sanchez Vicario said. "And the domination of Russian players and players from the east is one reason for it. European tennis is much stronger at the moment."
Seven of the top-20 players on the tour are Russian.
"We are dominating the sport and have a lot of young players coming up," Petrova said. "We're all the same age, we all competed in juniors together, we traveled together, and there was always competition between us which also helped.
"We all wanted to represent our country and to be the best, and you have to work hard to get there -- all of us did that."
The championships moved to Madrid this year, only the second time it has been hosted outside of the United States. It reflects the shift in power, sponsorship dollars and fan interest in the women's game.
"The tournament was moved from Los Angeles because the public was not interested in it," tournament director Manuel Santana said. "The promotion of women's tennis in America is not great. The men's is OK, they have great players in (Andy) Roddick and (James) Blake, but they still don't have a big star like we do here in Europe with (Rafael) Nadal and (Roger) Federer."
The only short-term answer for American women, according to Mauresmo, is for the Williams sisters to get healthy.
"They need the Williams sisters to get fit and ready -- if they were, I'm sure they would be a part of this event," Mauresmo said. "I think it would be good for the rivalries in the sport if they came back. It depends on how (much) they want it."
Amazing these are some of the same bozoos who claimed these two young ladies were not good for the sports and they are ruining it, all along they were wishing the WTA would find some way to get rid of them now they are lamenting their lost of V&S from the WTA. They ask for it and they got it. Go
along with what you have because V&S sure aren't paying the WTA any attention. They treat them like shit, disrespected them, condemn their game, you name it they did it to them. V, S and their family said we had enough, we will do what we want and when we want and that includes playing tennis.