Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: In Albert Costa's Arms
Has the WTA burnt itself out?
1997-2001 was a golden age in women's tennis. Graf showed a bit of magic. Seles proved she could compete with anyone. Hingis played superb tennis that belied her age. Venus Williams toned down the errors to bring a devastatingly tough brand of tennis to the courts. Serena brought energy, effervescence and a winning smile to the tour. Anna K made a splash on the magazine covers. Jana, Arantxa, Conchi and Nathalie gave the veterans something to cheer. Two Belgians added refreshing personalities. Amelie Mauresmo brought character. And Jen Cap was making her comeback on the backcourts.
Women's tennis had never been rosier. So many personalities and styles to capture the imagination. And where was men's tennis?
So what's gone wrong? The LA championships really appear to be bringing a new message home. Munich had its excuses. First time in Europe, no Venus, Martina or Monica, Lindsay withdrawing from the final. Bad luck one might say. But what excuses are there for LA? Serena is there. Venus is there. Jen, Lindsay and Monica are there. Then there's the Belgians, Daniela, and Jelena.
Is it the lack of rivalry at the top? The sisters are doing their bit for the tour. They're playing strong, hard and thoughtful tennis. Their games are continually improving. Kim is playing better again. But everyone else seems really jaded or injured.
Of the five main components of the WTA revival (Venus, Serena, Martina, Anna K and Jen Cap) three are here, but only two look like taking the title. Only two look happy to be out there. Only two seem to really believe in themselves, that they can win the big ones. Kudos to them, but the gap is getting wider, and the look of hopelessness is written deep on the faces of the principal challengers -Jen, Lindsay, Martina, Kim and Justine.
I really think that the WTA overpushed the tour in 97-01. They changed the rankings system to encourage overplaying - quantity not quality. This caused players to be injured for weeks and months despite being 18-22 years old. Matches often come down to who is most hungry and least tired. Not who is the most skilled at tennis.
Basically, they exploited the short-term golden age of womens tennis at a longer term cost. The improved depth around 97-01 appears to have fallen away to a situation close to 93-96 RIGHT NOW. I really have doubts for the next 2-3 years.
So what do you think? Is the low attendance and media interest in this year's LA Championships indicative of a wider malaise affecting women's tennis right now, and do you think it's gonna get worse? Or do you think LA is a freak blip and not representative of any downturn in women's tennis.
Over to you!
You have long been my goal, been my chasing, been my soul. I have hung out on the edge. But I just couldn't let go. There's a time to forgive. There's a time to forget. Close your eyes, get ready, set. Walk me down this fall I'm taking but don't let me go yet. Oh let me go, sweetheart, throw me, around you, like you know me. And remember me too. Remember me too from a dream i had of you. Mary Margaret O'Hara | Dream I Had | Apartment Hunting | 2002.
Last edited by baleineau; Nov 9th, 2002 at 12:57 AM.