Who are the players with star billing? - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2009, 10:14 AM Thread Starter
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Who are the players with star billing?

Okay, I've moaned a lot about how women's tennis has declined. We can debate that somewhere else, although I've sensed that generally most agree with me to at least some degree.

But let's compare 2002/2003 with now.

Back then there was Venus, Serena, Henin, Clijsters, Davenport, Capriati, Mauresmo and in 2002, Seles was still playing to a high standard. In early 2002, Hingis was still at the top. Even Conchita Martinez and Mary Pierce were, though long past their best (or seemingly, at that stage in Pierce's career), still knocking around, causing the odd upset and turning up in the latter stages of a few tournaments. So, in short, you had around 7-10 players whose reputations preceded them; they had the 'quality assurance' mark. They'd proven their class in championships past and we knew that on their day, all of those players could provide thrilling tennis. They had celebrated their moments in the spotlight and ingrained themselves in our memories. We even had Sharapova to look forward to.

Nowadays, the only players who I would really give the seal of championship quality are Venus, Serena (both to a greater or lesser degree past their best), Sharapova and Ivanovic. All of those players belong in the higher echelons and have proven their ability. Ivanovic is not playing as well as she can, and Sharapova's career's in doubt. Mauresmo is still knocking about. But then, who else is there?

Some might argue for Kuznetsova belonging in that bracket, given that she's a past grandslam champion with a couple other finals, as well as Miami winner. Perhaps. Jankovic and Dementieva? Safina? Well, now you might see my point. These names are hardly thrilling.

And then where are the promising juniors? I see none. It's too early, in my opinion, to pin too many hopes on Laura Robson. I wasn't impressed with her backhand when I watched her.

I think the problem with women's tennis is that there are very few players with great talent, whose games and personalities, through their feats, the crowd, journalists and fans have learnt to respect and admire.

Last edited by Steffica Greles; Apr 16th, 2009 at 10:21 AM.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2009, 10:17 AM
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Re: Who are the players with star billing?

Do you start any threads which don't have something to do with the decline of the WTA?

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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2009, 10:19 AM
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Re: Who are the players with star billing?

Completely true. Sadly.

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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2009, 10:20 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Who are the players with star billing?

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Originally Posted by Viktymise View Post
Do you start any threads which don't have something to do with the decline of the WTA?
There's not much else worthy of comment.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2009, 10:20 AM
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Re: Who are the players with star billing?

I agree. Jankovic and the Russians, bar Sharapova, are people that won't even be remembered if they retired except by the few hardcore tennis fans like most on this board. This board does not encompass every single soul that likes tennis. Yes, we know all of them and stats but when I go to the courts or talk to the casual fan they only know three women's names. Serena, Sharapova, and Venus in that order.

Ivanovic is in this merky middleground had she had kept winning and expanded on her '08 French Open success, I feel that she would have much more exposure to the casual fan not only by continuous being in the latter stages of tournaments but by that translating into more sponsors/exposure. If Ivanovic becomes successful again and hones her English, I think she can breakthrough.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2009, 10:34 AM
 
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Re: Who are the players with star billing?

Perhaps the difference is that most of the top players around now are just being women tennis players and nothing more.

Aside from Jankovic, the rest don't even say a great deal to write about.

Compare that to:

Venus and Serena - rise from Compton / feud with Martina Hingis / Indian Wells.
Henin - lost her mother and willing to talk about it / part of an adored Belgian duo.
Clijsters - dating world no.1 Hewitt / part of an adored Belgian duo.
Capriati - drug taking drama.
Seles - no comment.
Hingis - not exactly media shy.
Mauresmo - openly gay.

I'm not saying any of these women used their stories to deliberately raise their profiles but it did give people something to write about. All I see at the moment is articles about Dementieva's perpetual choking, Jankovic's complaining. There's no drama about any of them - maybe because there isn't any. Which is not their fault really they can only be what they are and let their tennis distinguish them.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2009, 12:28 PM
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Re: Who are the players with star billing?

My mother is vaguely interested in tennis, and if she can remember a player that's a sign for me that the player in question has some star power.
I would say:
Venus + Serena
Sharapova
Jankovic (whom my mother refers to as Weird Jelena Jankovic)
Ivanovic
Clijsters
Mauresmo

Dementieva Keothavong Clijsters V. Williams Mattek
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2009, 12:37 PM
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Re: Who are the players with star billing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steffica Greles View Post
(...)But let's compare 2002/2003 with now.

Back then there was Venus, Serena, Henin, Clijsters, Davenport, Capriati, Mauresmo and in 2002, Seles was still playing to a high standard. In early 2002, Hingis was still at the top. Even Conchita Martinez and Mary Pierce were, though long past their best (or seemingly, at that stage in Pierce's career), still knocking around, causing the odd upset and turning up in the latter stages of a few tournaments. So, in short, you had around 7-10 players whose reputations preceded them; they had the 'quality assurance' mark. They'd proven their class in championships past and we knew that on their day, all of those players could provide thrilling tennis. They had celebrated their moments in the spotlight and ingrained themselves in our memories. We even had Sharapova to look forward to.
(...)
I think the problem with women's tennis is that there are very few players with great talent, whose games and personalities, through their feats, the crowd, journalists and fans have learnt to respect and admire.
Well, I am not so sure that everyone felt this same way about these players in 2002/2003. I would say that there is a lot of names today that you have not mentioned whose reputation will be well known in 2012-2014.

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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2009, 12:37 PM
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Re: Who are the players with star billing?

It depends on where you are. Dementieva is hugely popular is Russia and Japan and to a lesser extent France, a virtual unknown in the U.S. and Britain.

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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2009, 12:40 PM
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Re: Who are the players with star billing?

Yep, the names of the people you've mentioned are enough to sell tickets and fill stadiums.
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2009, 12:40 PM
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Re: Who are the players with star billing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steffica Greles View Post
Okay, I've moaned a lot about how women's tennis has declined.
That's for sure.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steffica Greles View Post
Back then there was Venus, Serena, Henin, Clijsters, Davenport, Capriati, Mauresmo and in 2002, Seles was still playing to a high standard. In early 2002, Hingis was still at the top. Even Conchita Martinez and Mary Pierce were, though long past their best (or seemingly, at that stage in Pierce's career), still knocking around, causing the odd upset and turning up in the latter stages of a few tournaments.
Let's deconstruct that list a bit.

Let's take April 16, 2003, exactly six years ago.
JCap's 27. Conchi's 31, Mary Pierce is 28, Lindsay Davenport is 26, Monica Seles is 29, and five years past he last slam final.
Amelie Mauresmo has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won any.
Justine Henin has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won any
Kim Clijsters has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won any.
Martina Hingis hasn't won a slam in four years
If I back up to April 16, 2002, I could even say Serena Williams looks like a 'one-slam wonder.

So on the tour, then you had were some veteran players people knew well because they'd been watching them forever. And you had some unproven players people did NOT know well. Nobody knew what Justine Henin was going to turn into six years ago. The future of the tour looked like Venus Williams and a cast of wannabes. And people moaned about how the quality of the tour was declining.

What do we have now? Some veteran players people know well. And some unproven players people don't know well.




Venus is 28, Serena is 27, Amelie Mauresmo is 29, Elena Dementieva is 27
Sharapova, 5 4 slam finals, winning three
Ivanovic, 3 slam finals, winning one
Jelena Jankovic has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won any
Dinara Safina has played in 2 slam finals, hasn't won any
Kuzzy is four years past winning her last (and only) slam
If anything, you could argue the tour looks stronger now than it did on April 16, 2003. But it certainly doesn't look like it's declined. You could quibble about how I placed Dementieva, but she did just win the Olympics. People do know and respect her. Call her today's Conchi, for argument purposes.

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Last edited by Volcana; Apr 16th, 2009 at 12:48 PM.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2009, 12:44 PM
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Re: Who are the players with star billing?

Serena, Maria, Venus, Kimmie, Ivanovic, Dokic.

In that order.


Then Hantuchova/Jankovic/Safina/Dementieva/Mauresmo etc etc etc
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2009, 12:46 PM
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Re: Who are the players with star billing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Volcana View Post
That's for sure.Let's deconstruct that list a bit.

Let's take April 16, 2003, exactly six years ago.
JCap's 27. Conchi's 31, Mary Pierce is 28, Lindsay Davenport is 26, Monica Seles is 29, and five years past he last slam final.
Amelie Mauresmo has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won any.
Justine Henin has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won any
Kim Clijsters has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won any.
Martina Hingis hasn't won a slam in four years
If I back up to April 16, 2002, I could even say Serena Williams looks like a 'one-slam wonder.

So on the tour, then you had were some veteran players people knew well because they'd been watching them forever. And you had some unproven players people did NOT know well. Nobody knew what Justine Henin was going to turn into six years ago. The future of the tour looked like Venus Williams and a cast of wannabes. And people moaned about how the quality of the tour was declining.

What do we have now? Some veteran players people know well. And some unproven players people don't know well.



Venus is 28, Serena is 27, Amelie Mauresmo is 29, Elena Dementieva is 27
Sharapova, 5 slam finals, winning three
Ivanovic, 3 slam finals, winning one
Jelena Jankovic has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won any
Dinara Safina has played in 2 slam finals, hasn't won any
Kuzzy is four years past winning her last (and only) slam
If anything, you could argue the tour looks stronger now than it did on April 16, 2003. But it certainly doesn't look like it's declined. You could quibble about how I placed Dementieva, but she did just win the Olympics. People do know and respect her. Call her today's Conchi, for argument purposes.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2009, 12:48 PM
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Re: Who are the players with star billing?

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2009 French Open finalist
Oops. Thanks for the catch.

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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old Apr 16th, 2009, 12:53 PM
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Re: Who are the players with star billing?

Yeh .. this is all pretty true

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