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View Full Version : Thoughts about the YEC, the rankings and the tour as it stands now


Sharapower
Nov 15th, 2004, 01:39 PM
YEC

Every year, I ask myself the same question: Isnít the YEC a title which has more value than a Grand Slam ? In practice, the answer is obviously NO because Prize money and ranking points are significantly superior in the GSís than at the YEC. But for me, thereís no doubt that the YEC is way more difficult to win than a GS, for three reasons:

1) though the YEC takes only 5 matches to win (possibly including one defeat like the case is for both finalists this year), Itís 5 matches played in 5 or 6 days while the 7 matches you have to win to be victorious in a GS are spread out on two weeks,

2) itís 5 matches against top level players while early rounds in GSís are often easy ones for the seeds,

3) itís played at the very end of the season, so mental and physical tiredness are at their highest.


Despite those points above, the YEC is not given that much consideration. For instance, Clijsters is known more as the player who reached world #1 without ever winning a GS than as the 2002 YEC winner. We could talk about the audience as well, thereís no kind of comparison between a GS second week attendance and the audience for the YEC (though, this year, the attendance increased impressively compared to 2002 and 2003), thatís rather strange, given that level of play is of course much higher in the YEC than in GS until quarter-finals.

Whatís your own perception of the YEC ?



RANKINGS


If Justine Henin didnít have to withdraw because of illness, the two players that are playing the final, this year, Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams, would be the two lower ranked to enter the competition and the two last qualified for the event.


This shows once again that the WTA rankings do not exactly reflect comparative values of players. Personally, I donít think that the system in itself is to blame but the real problem is that, except GSís, the big tournaments (Tier I) are not attended by all the top players in the same time as regularly as could be Masters-Series events in the ATP, and maybe Tier IIís are granted too many points.


LEVEL

This year 2004 appears to be a very satisfactory season for womenís tennis. The gap of level that there used to be between the top 3-4 and the other Top 10 has been filled. The proof is that none of the 8 competitors in the YEC went undefeated. No player clearly dominates.

And the future is even brighterÖ

A few other active players are banging at the door of top 10, like Venus Williams, Petrova, Molik, Bovina, Sprem.

We hope that Justine Henin Hardenne and Kim Clijsters are going to come back at their best, and there are also two relatively young players that have been top 5 who could come back in as contenders, Iím talking about Jelena Dokic (whoís back with her dad as her coach) and Daniela Hantuchova.

And last but not least, the upcoming generation: Golovin, Karatancheva, Vaidisova and the others that we donít know yet.

bandabou
Nov 15th, 2004, 01:48 PM
The YEC is tough to win and i think itīs history reflects this....but it is not comparable to a major imo. Just the fact that more people attend the majors makes it tougher.

For the rest I think you make some good points. No one really is dominating....anyone can beat anyone on a given day. That makes it more interesting for spectators.

Andy T
Nov 15th, 2004, 02:25 PM
Forget the pretentious boasts of Miami, this is the 5th major and the tour's premier indoor tennis tournament. For the reasons listed above it is a tough one to win. The WTA should never have moved it away from MSG NY, where it had been played for a long time and built up some sense of tradition. This tournament either needs a permanent home or to become an itinerant event played in classy/traditional arenas such as Bercy, the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Garden in NY or Kooyong to increase the sense of occasion.

Pureracket
Nov 15th, 2004, 02:45 PM
This year, though, it seems to be re-establishing itself and regaining some of its prestige. I'm not sure that it would be doing so well in the minds of the fans without the participation of Serena J. Williams.

bandabou
Nov 15th, 2004, 02:47 PM
Good point Andy....only when Serena was playing you could sense any kind of electricity.

New York was a much better venue.

Andy T
Nov 15th, 2004, 03:26 PM
The "sad" thing is that so many "names" didn't make it for one reason or another. The absences of Justine, Clijsters, Capriati and Venus are bound to reduce crowd interest and participation in a star-conscious city like LA. Lena, Nastya and Sveta and Vera are not yet stars in the way that the four mentioned above are. Lindsay and Momo, while established highly talented players, do not have star quality, either. Only Masha and Serena brought star quality to the event and here's hoping the final is a scintillating one whatever the result.

NB -I don't want to take away anything from the accomplishments of the four Russians mentioned - they deserved to be there because they did and achieved what was necessary.

tennnisfannn
Nov 15th, 2004, 03:37 PM
The final is a promoter's dream with the star attraction of serena and maria.
This year's YEC seemed alittle more difficult than last year's. everyone in it (bar vera to some degree) was totally capable of winning the title. Last year we had the likes of ai, chanda, and petrova who were more of competion rather than contenders, even dementieva last year wasn't the player that she is today. that venus, jen couldn't qualify is prove of how much more the top ten has become crowded.

Rolling-Thunder
Nov 16th, 2004, 12:42 AM
I think that the YEC is very close to the Grand Slams. Why? The $1 million prize money is near or more than some of the slams award. Plus the total points the winner can earn over the course of the YEC nearly matches a Slam. I think that points to the importance of the YEC.

fammmmedspin
Nov 16th, 2004, 01:05 AM
The YEC is obviously more difficult than winning 7 matches over two weeks. Indeed you can go 4 matches without meeting a top 20 player easily and in some cases like the AO this year you don't even find a top 10 player before the final.

Not sure about rankings looking at all wrong except in the most obvious sense that players lose matches they might not on their ranking. Lindsay defeated Serena and Elena. pretty good qualification for being number 1 Serena beat Myskina (with help from Nastya) but lost to Lindsay and then beat Momo - thats not surprising for Serena in 2004 - a narrow win almost by default, a loss and a brilliant win. Momo dominated the russians behind her but failed the serena challenge which doesn't tell us anything we don't know about her or Serena. Myskina defeated the world numbers 1 and 5 which makes her ranking perfectly credible. Maria beat Nastya and sveta (Nastya went AWOL again) but lost to Momo which suggests she is moving up a bit in the rankings but we knew that.She was beaten up for a set by nastya and by Momo but produced top rate performances against Sveta and at times against vera and Nastya - that is what made her ranked where she is this year too. The only surprise for me if you discount Nastya being unpredictable was Maria doing better than Sveta but that also is what you might expect given they are now neighbours in the rankings.

The rankings look about right to me. The players that play brilliantly periodically did so. The ones that are consistent but don't take the big wins are not in the final.

Doc
Nov 16th, 2004, 01:40 AM
The YEC is superior to a Tier 1, but it is not yet at the level of the slams, despite the prize money. It just doesn't get the attendance and the media coverage of even the smallest slam.

With stability and the right promotion, the YEC will grow in public estimation. But it hasn't had time (especially with the disastrous moves) to build up the traditions and mega-event status of the slams.

Limiting the field to 8 is a good idea, since it emphasise the elite nature of the event. This produces matches that are far more interesting than the early rounds of slams. Its just a matter of getting the public more involved.

fammmmedspin
Nov 16th, 2004, 02:00 AM
The YEC is superior to a Tier 1, but it is not yet at the level of the slams, despite the prize money. It just doesn't get the attendance and the media coverage of even the smallest slam.

With stability and the right promotion, the YEC will grow in public estimation. But it hasn't had time (especially with the disastrous moves) to build up the traditions and mega-event status of the slams.

Limiting the field to 8 is a good idea, since it emphasise the elite nature of the event. This produces matches that are far more interesting than the early rounds of slams. Its just a matter of getting the public more involved.
Still don't like 8 though. This year we would have had Jen and Venus there which might have built audience plus a bit of variety with players like nadia and patty in the mix rather than players losing 3 matches. Eurosport were saying the do or die SF were better than the loseable round robin matches - although you could argue the decisive RR matches brought out the best in some players like Myskina.

The publicity thing though is pretty awful - some of the quality UK papers have no coverage at all which suggests winning over the idle members of the press with suitable bribes to attend is another failing.

Doc
Nov 16th, 2004, 02:14 AM
Still don't like 8 though. This year we would have had Jen and Venus there which might have built audience plus a bit of variety with players like nadia and patty in the mix rather than players losing 3 matches. Eurosport were saying the do or die SF were better than the loseable round robin matches - although you could argue the decisive RR matches brought out the best in some players like Myskina.

I hated the YEC when it was 16 players. And if you remember, a lot of the matches were very poor quality because all the players seemed tired and laclustre at the end of the season. As a knock-out it seemed just like any other Tier 1, and had nothing special going for it. The Round Robin adds that bit of difference and spice to proceedings, and it ensures that more of the top players actually play each other, removing the luck of the draw from the result, and ensuring the maximum number of match-ups. And with top players struggling to get into the YEC there is more incentive for them to enter and fight in the late-season events than when the Top Ten knew they were "in" from the start.

The publicity thing though is pretty awful - some of the quality UK papers have no coverage at all which suggests winning over the idle members of the press with suitable bribes to attend is another failing.
Good point. Some of the ample amounts of bunce floating around at the YEC should be used to ensure good newspaper coverage.

Paldias
Nov 16th, 2004, 02:20 AM
I think that by looking at this YEC next years Australian Open is going to be WIDE open.