I really agree with Oslo. Back in 2000, the Williams Sisters were brash, cocky, and fresh. The public liked their Compton streets/black athletic sisters/Richard Williams is a nut package that they presented and wanted to see if they could walk the walk to match the talk. Hingis was also much cockier and known for verbal catfights vs. Venus and Serena, which also got the public interested. Then there was Davenport, the All-American, So. Cal, girl next door; Monica Seles, the amazing comeback story; in 1999 for a while there was also Steffi Graf, the all-time great, featured in some amazing matches against Hingis and the sisters; plus Mary Pierce (practically American) and Jennifer Capriati making strides towards the top as well, and the public was always ready to accept JCap back into their hearts. And to top it all off, like the delicious cherry atop a giant ice cream sundae, was Anna Kournikova. No one will ever transcend the sport more while achieving so little on the court. Kournikova was raw sex, and both guys and girls couldn't help but watch.
Sharapova doesn't have anything like the persona or star power of Kournikova, despite the titles. Commentators in the US, esp. Mary Joe and Pam, like to advertise Maria as this amazingly popular sports figure and model, but the truth is no one in America knows her name. Everyone knew Kournikova's name, and could refer to her simply as "Anna," or sometimes Pornikova.
And I've seen Sharapova at the practice courts at the US Open, and she's not so well-liked. The public was not eating her up, and they were not afraid to boo her when she wouldn't sign. Serena attracted a much bigger crowd.
So no, the "product" right now doesn't compare to what the WTA Tour had in 2000. The players aren't as marketable. Having said that, of course the WTA can do a much better job. It's a shame they're all idiots. But Davenport was right - the WTA has an opportunity in 2000 to take a bolder step and pump up the money, the sponsorships, the tournament prize money, the TV coverage, the popularity in the US, etc. but it didn't fully capitalize.