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post #1 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2010, 03:04 AM Thread Starter
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Bticker's views on actual state of women tennis

DESPITE BRILLIANCE OF SERENA, WTA TOUR A MONUMENTAL DISAPPOINTMENT SO FAR IN 2010

Posted by WTM on July 13, 2010

By Charles Bricker

With the exception of Serena Williams, who recently delivered one of the great fortnights of her career by sweeping through Wimbledon, the women’s tour has been a monumental disappointment in 2010.

Not just because of the lack of memorable matches, but because the season began with such heavy optimism.

The Williams sisters appeared to be healthy. Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters, two enormous talents, were back on tour after early retirements. Maria Sharapova had returned from shoulder surgery. There was the usual array of persistent top-fives in Elena Dementieva, Jelena Jankovic and Dinara Safina. And, finally, some impressive young players who looked ready to join either the elite or the near-elite on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour — led by Caroline Wozniacki.

All this and more made it appear as though women’s tennis was in for a very impressive year, but what we’ve gotten instead are more injuries and the disappointing showing of players from whom we expected much more.

Serena, though she has played only six tournaments, has done most of the heavy lifting, winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon and not exhibiting anything close to the anger management problems she had at last year’s U.S. Open.

But the rest of the cast of characters has fallen short and, as a result, so has the women’s tour. Still, it’s only the halfway point in the season. The U.S. hardcourt season is nearly upon us and there is an abundance of time for some of these other players to assert themselves.

Let’s go down the list:

* Serena Williams: Started the year at No. 1 and remains No. 1. Defeated Henin in the Aussie Open final, lost in the quarters of the French to Stosur, won Wimbledon without losing a set, defeating Vera Zvonareva in the championship match. Five top-20 wins and six if you count Henin, who was unranked at the time because of a lack of comeback matches but who is a former No. 1. Record: 25-4. Grade: A+.

* Venus Williams: Began the year at No. 6, now No. 4. She’s won two tournaments, but not against impressive fields. More telling is her work at the Slams — lost in the quarters at Australia to Li Na, in the round of 16 at the French to Nadia Petrova and in the quarters of Wimbledon to No. 82 Tsvetana Pironkova. At 30, she’s not the player she was even two years ago. Hasn’t won an important event in a long time and some very bad losses indicates a possible stamina problem. Record: 33-6. Grade: C.

* Kim Clijsters: Began the year at No. 18, now No. 7. When she won the 2009 U.S. Open, I thought she was fully back. Now, you’re entitled to ponder if she’s fully committed to the game, as she was before she began thinking about retirement a few years ago? Lost in the second round at Australia to Petrova 6-0, 6-1, an embarrassing result. But then she won Key Biscayne before injuring her foot and missing the French. A strong win over Henin in the Wimbledon quarters was followed by a quarterfinal loss to Zvonareva. No consistency. Record: 22-5. Grade: B-.

* Justine Henin: She has been similarly in and out of form and, while she looks just as quick and athletic as ever, her patience in the grinding points isn’t what it once was. Began the year unranked, came on the rankings at No. 33 with a semifinal finish at Key Biscayne and is now No. 13. She’s not top 10, which is very surprising, because she went out in the round of 16 at both the French (Stosur) and Wimbledon (Clijsters). Like others, a good won/lost record, but not good enough in the majors. Moreover, she’s out for the foreseeable future with an injury. Probably will miss the U.S. Open. Record: 32-8. Grade: C.

* Maria Sharapova: Started the year at No. 14, now No. 15. She has two titles, against soft fields at Memphis and Strasbourg, so she’s piling up the wins, but not in the right places. After shoulder surgery last year, she changed her serve and went through a long period of adjusting her motion in which she rolled up beaucoup double faults. That seems mostly ironed out now, but she’s still not close to the form that took her to three major titles. Lost first round at Australia to Maria Kirilenko, third round at the French to Henin and round of 16 at Wimbledon to Serena. No great shame in most of those losses, but she hasn’t recorded that one big win that moves her forward. Record: 20-6. Grade: C.

* Jelena Jankovic: Started the year at No. 8, now No. 2. She won Indian Wells, where, of course, neither of the Williams sisters played. Nevertheless, give her high marks for the title and for defeating Wozniacki in the final. She also has a runner-up finish at Rome, where she beat the sisters in succession. The problem is she’s not getting any bounce. She then got to the semis at the French, where she was blown out by Stosur, and went out to Zvonareva at Wimbledon with a retirement. Just when we thought she had reached a high new level of fitness (44 matches at this point), she hurt her back. Her immediate schedule is now a question mark, though she’s signed to play Portorez, July 19. Record: 32-12. Grade: B.

* Caroline Wozniacki: Started the year at No. 4, now No. 3. After all those matches in 2009, I wondered if she would back off in 2010. Not by much. At the halfway point, she’s played 43 matches, but she’s clearly not as effective as a year ago. Went out in the round of 16 at Australia to Li, in the French quarters to Francesca Schiavone (who won the tournament) and in the round of 16 at Wimbledon to Petra Kvitova by 6-2, 6-0. She needs to retrench and rethink her schedule. Record: 30-13. Grade: D+.

* Dinara Safina: Out almost the entire year with injury. She has become a non-entity this year — just another women’s tour disappointment. Hasn’t won a match since April. Record: 5-7. Grade: Incomplete.

* Notable surprise players: Stosur and Schiavone.

* Two who were headed north a couple years ago who haven’t made the next plateau: Agnieszka Radwanska and Victoria Azarenka.

Women’s tennis can be exciting, but right now it needs its best and most marketable players to start winning the big ones. Outside of Serena Williams, they’re not, and you can see the result at this last Wimbledon, where the women were not much more than a footnote to the men’s tournament, which produced an 11-hour match, a quarterfinal loss by Roger Federer that delivered some world-wide shock waves, a prodigious effort by Tomas Berdych and an eighth major title by Rafa Nadal.

Most of the women listed here will be back on court by the end of July, hopefully well rested and ready to start playing up to their potential.
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post #2 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2010, 03:39 AM
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Re: Bticker's views on actual state of women tennis

Given how he's setup his expectations, that's not an unfair assessment, assuming he's give B's to Stosur and Schiavone.

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post #3 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2010, 06:06 AM
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Re: Bticker's views on actual state of women tennis

This guy is full of it. But as soon as I saw the name Bricker, I figured this would be a bad article. He gives Venus a C when she was as high as no. 2 (doesn't bother to mention it). She defended two titles, reached the finals of two others, reached quarters at Rome, 4th r at RG, etc. She's 33-6. Sure she should have won at least two other tourneys, had the opportunity, but...come on, dude. He doesn't even mention how boring Berdych in the final turned out to be. Thumbs down!

He gives Jelena a B and she's 32-12. Ridiculous.

I never think of this guy as a great tennis writer. He seems to be fulfilling his obligtion here, just wanting to be negative about the WTA.
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post #4 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2010, 07:36 AM
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Re: Bticker's views on actual state of women tennis

I won't name names but this article almost looks like it could have been written by one or another of the more negative posters of this very forum. Yeah, it's that bad.

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post #5 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2010, 07:57 AM
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Re: Bticker's views on actual state of women tennis

Well if you put it in perspective, he's only grading the very top players of the tour. It would be pretty damn hard to get an A with all of their inconsistency, outside of Venus (but expectations for her was high anyway) and when placed against Serena.

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post #6 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2010, 01:23 PM
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Re: Bticker's views on actual state of women tennis

I dont see the problem. I think he is pretty accurate in his description
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post #7 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2010, 01:38 PM
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Re: Bticker's views on actual state of women tennis

Cannot say I know Charles Bricker, but I googled him and apparently he writes for Prime Sports Network. Which I don't know either. Maybe its just me. Anyho the dude is entitled to his opinion.

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post #8 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2010, 01:45 PM
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Re: Bticker's views on actual state of women tennis

The grades are a little harsh, but what he has to say isn't far from the truth.
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post #9 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2010, 01:53 PM
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Re: Bticker's views on actual state of women tennis

Seems pretty accurate to me...although giving Jankovic a B was a little generous in my opinion. But the tour has pretty much been a disappointment besides Serena winning the Slams. The Russians are slumping, the Belgians haven't hit a consistent stride yet, the young girls are still mentally struggling in the spotlight. What he said isn't too far removed from the truth.

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post #10 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2010, 01:54 PM
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Re: Bticker's views on actual state of women tennis

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Originally Posted by TS View Post
The grades are a little harsh, but what he has to say isn't far from the truth.
Agree. Dementieva getting another "Incompletes" hasn't helped things either.

So far, this has been a really bad year for the tour, and there's no way around it.

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post #11 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2010, 02:11 PM
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Re: Bticker's views on actual state of women tennis

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Originally Posted by miffedmax View Post
Agree. Dementieva getting another "Incompletes" hasn't helped things either.

So far, this has been a really bad year for the tour, and there's no way around it.
Is that not a matter of opinion and perspective? .. I would imagine in Italy its the best tour year ever .. In France they are probably not too unhappy either with Rezais 1H performances. Australians up in the middle of the night to watch Stosur play tennis in Paris...

Just to mention of a few of the interesting and exciting tour stories this year. Tour = WTA. Slams are ITF. But thats not what we're talking here. Right?

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post #12 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2010, 02:14 PM
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Re: Bticker's views on actual state of women tennis

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aryman3 View Post
Posted by WTM on July 13, 2010

By Charles Bricker

With the exception of Serena Williams, who recently delivered one of the great fortnights of her career by sweeping through Wimbledon, the women’s tour has been a monumental disappointment in 2010.


* Venus Williams: Record: 33-6. Grade: C.


* Jelena Jankovic: Record: 32-12. Grade: B.

you can see the result at this last Wimbledon, where the women were not much more than a footnote to the men’s tournament...
I guess he is speaking for himself and those who are upset that Serena remains at the top and their jubilant anticipations didn't live up to their expectations. When you have to make an exception for the #1 player in the world who played to her seeding that is a dead give away.

What is "bad" for the #1 player on the WTA to win 2/3 majors but it is great on the ATP that the #1 player also won 2/3 majors. The above highlighted just wreaks of his chauvinistic views because it is only in his mind that the women were just a footnote to the men. Both finals were uneventful straight set wins so I don't know what he is talking about. Yea, so there was a boring ace-fest 1st round match that went on for 3 days and the players didn't pass the 2nd round, how exciting.

Anyway can someone explain the math to me why 33-6 record is a C but a 32-12 is a B. All this is just more evidence that objective journalism in tennis is very, very, very scarce.

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post #13 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2010, 02:45 PM
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Re: Bticker's views on actual state of women tennis

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I guess he is speaking for himself and those who are upset that Serena remains at the top and their jubilant anticipations didn't live up to their expectations. When you have to make an exception for the #1 player in the world who played to her seeding that is a dead give away.

What is "bad" for the #1 player on the WTA to win 2/3 majors but it is great on the ATP that the #1 player also won 2/3 majors. The above highlighted just wreaks of his chauvinistic views because it is only in his mind that the women were just a footnote to the men. Both finals were uneventful straight set wins so I don't know what he is talking about. Yea, so there was a boring ace-fest 1st round match that went on for 3 days and the players didn't pass the 2nd round, how exciting.

Anyway can someone explain the math to me why 33-6 record is a C but a 32-12 is a B. All this is just more evidence that objective journalism in tennis is very, very, very scarce.
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post #14 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2010, 02:53 PM
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Re: Bticker's views on actual state of women tennis

Well he's right as far as the reports and gradings for the top players.

But that doesn't mean the women's game and the tour as a whole is really bad. It's never had more depth and in that sense it's better. And when it was predictable with the top players always winning - we just got criticism that there was no depth and women's tennis was boring with it's predictability. So you can't win. And as for his injuries comment - well that's a fact of life every year nowadays.

This article reinforces that apart from death and taxes there are two other certainties in life:
  1. Women's tennis will always be criticised no matter what the women do.
  2. Women's tennis will suffer from injuries.

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post #15 of 41 (permalink) Old Jul 14th, 2010, 02:55 PM
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Re: Bticker's views on actual state of women tennis

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Originally Posted by miffedmax View Post
Agree. Dementieva getting another "Incompletes" hasn't helped things either.

So far, this has been a really bad year for the tour, and there's no way around it.
Ever since I joiend this forum/started following tennis seriously (circa 2008) every year is a bad year for the tour.

Weird, huh?

Is there any creature on earth as unfortunate as an ugly woman?
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