Poster #3 beat me to it but I’ll give it a go.
Yes and No IMO.
Yes in the sense that, I think the issue you raise is valid and makes sense; success at large events outside slams inflates ranking and also expectations and pressure which can have a detrimental effect on players psychologically when their stopped winning the BIG titles by better players etc etc. – which aids a higher frequency of choking and poor/nervy play that can extend outside of big tournaments – generally speaking.
But, I think that phenomena is a by product of other bigger problems. Essentially second rate players shouldn’t be winning big events outside slams to begin with. So at the core of the issue is the inconsistency (deliberate or not) of the top players and/ OR that the schedule in it’s current state isn’t feasible.
So… we might want to consider:
*Is the power game too much for most women players to maintain and if so should less power ready racquets be delegated to women players at pro level? Or do more top players just need to adopt Dementieva’s training regime, hence this isn’t an issue needing intervention. Players will learn from people like Dementieva soon enough and adapt.
*Is the tour promoting big tournaments outside slams well enough? I think the ATP master series marketing was best IMO because the prestige is well known. A fuss has been made about Nadal being on the verge of having won the most masters series titles ever – should he win 2 or 3 more to eclipse Agassi. The Premier / Premier Mandatory system seems to be on the right track – but the marketing doesn’t seem to have a zing to it. It’s much better than just labelling tournaments tier 1, tier 2 a separation that was usually explained in terms of the money and points on offer only – not really as part of a valued achievement. They might want to package the bigger tournaments as a ‘Golden set’ and make a fuss about players winning those events. Like for instance Antwerp had that diamond racquet for anyone who won 3 times in 5 years. But not just monetary incentives – just a prestige. ‘She’s won 5 golden set tournaments… WOW just 3 more to go to be the first ever Golden set Champ’. ‘She has 8 tier ones…
Well I think you get what I mean
*Also – reschedule events, like put a few more useless events at the start of the year, then Make Sydney a Golden tournament with a week rest/tier 3 before the slam. And extend the grass court season with a big golden mandatory tournament in there. You effectively create a situation where the best preparation before the slam is a particular (just one) big tournament but give the players a week off after for the slam. Something to look into.
So to answer the question – No, because the ranking fiasco is just symptomatic of wider issues and really second rate players crumbling on the big stage will always happen unless we can get more top players turning up to scoop the big titles. That should be the focus on any intervention.
Having said all that, I think maybe some of you guys are making far too much of this. Maybe we are just in a transition period that will level out in a few years. The players know the top tournaments, and Kim and Justine are understanding that Serena’s schedule doesn’t work for them. Players will adapt to the more powerful game and it will transform – because success will require more than big hitting – it already does. Give it time.
I hope that makes sense, I’m working on 2 things and typing this up