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wongqks
Sep 4th, 2002, 12:20 PM
Okay, I write this because I am very fed up with commentaotrs downgrading women tennis, saying they are too lopsided and there are no excitement. They are all prove wrong when Saturday night session achieves an all time record audience.

Using Saturday night as an example, commentators complain audience didn't get a good deal coz they saw three lopsided matches, saying that women tennis is not excitng because it is so predictable.

Now the main question I would really like to ask is this, do audience really care if the matches is lopsided? I brought this up because I do get a consensus from casual fans that they really don't get too excited about five sets cliffhanger unless they know those guys. They know Sampras, they know Agassi, they may know Hewitt, but for casual fans, it stop right here. A five set epic between Paradon and Greg will not capture anyone imagination apart from big fans like us or people from their country.

Back to the point, to fill up more than 20,000 you cannot expect all of them are big fans of tennis and know everyone, they (like the majority of TV audience) only get into tennis for this two weeks and has a limited knowledge about some players. Who would have known that Rusedski and Paradon was the hottest player on tour heading to US Open? I would say 1% of people who watch tennis in these two weeks

Do people prefer to watch five sets cliffhangers by two not so famous player to non fans, or a 40 minutes blow out by people they are familiar with? To the commentators, of course they love the five sets, coz they have so much knowledge about tennis. But for casual fans, the cruel truth is that they would prefer to watch Agassi or Serena beating the hell out of other player in an hour.

This world is driven by free market, in the end, tennis as a whole should be looking at why people love women tennis and say men tennis is stagnating. Many commentators just brush it off and claim it is just an illusion, but they never really looking into the problem, causal fans do not know as much knowledge as them and quite frankly watching a four hour marathon between two players they don't know is as bad as most of us watching 4 hours of US Open golf champuionship. And another valid point, why Tiger Woods help golf to increase the audience to golf dramatically when he is winning everything? Does it really matter that no one can challenge him on the regular basis?

Why dissed your own sport when women tennis can help the growth of tennis as a whole?

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Sep 4th, 2002, 12:34 PM
Quentin......this has to be the best post in the history of WTA world! ;)

I totally agree with you! :D

wongqks
Sep 4th, 2002, 01:25 PM
Thanks for the comment Joshua, hehe

Unfortuneately the truth still lie in the fact that commentators are dominated by past pros who do not find joy in watching women tennis unlike the majority of people. Maybe they need to look deeper when they commentate than to what they really think

Greenout
Sep 4th, 2002, 01:51 PM
OH Wongqks- you are so wise. I applause in awe.
Well..said young man. To be honest if my favorite, favorite
player such as Natasha Zvereva or Maggie or Kimiko or
even a Jana did a bagel to some newbie unknown. I
LOVED IT!! It made me so happy that they didn't have
to play a silly 3 set match against some qualifier from
Australia or wherever. The Sisters , Jen, Martina, Monica
etc...their fans LOVE seeing them clobber opponents.
Look at Steffi fans..it was the same thing. Watching Steffi
blow out some one in 47 minutes was utter delight for
them. Who's to argue if this is what the fans want to
see from their favorites. Sure..long matches are
entertaining; but mainly it's from the neutral tennis fan.
Your right WONGQKS; look at Wayne vs Younes finishing
up after 2:00am, 3 tie breaks, latest match in US OPEN
history. Did anybody care? Was it even reported in
the sports media? NOOOOOO!

Jem
Sep 4th, 2002, 04:28 PM
I've been watching tennis for 31 years and can both agree and disagree with your sentiments, wongqks. My two favorite players by far were Chris Evert and Monica Seles. One of the coolest matches I ever saw was Chris beat Martina Navratilova 6-0, 6-0. As I've gotten older, however, I've come to enjoy tennis for the sake of tennis. In other words, I prefer a good match to a particular player.

But I think the commentators have a point about women's tennis. I have long enjoyed the women's game more than the men and found it to be more entertaining. As of late, however, with a few notable exceptions, the women's game has been very poor in my opinion. I realize the players are hitting with more power, but their lack of consistency is appalling. A four-stroke rally that ends in an error makes for miserable tennis. In sharp contrast, the men are playing remarkable rallies, using so much of the court and hitting so many winners after working the point. I just think the quality of the men's game is far superior to the women at the moment -- although not their personalities. On top of that, the top women are so far ahead of the field that it makes for boring tennis. Consider Serena's demolition of Hantuchova last night -- there wasn't much to get excited about, unless you were a Serena fan who wanted the match over and done with as quickly as possible. Contrast the ease of the top player's on the women's side of the draw with the plight of the top men. The top men are struggling much more. The main culprit is depth, and I'll agree that the depth on the men's circuit is hindering the development of great rivalries. But the rank-and-file women desperately need to step up their games and make more of an impression. One of the best things that could happen to the women would be to return to 16 seeds -- the last Grand Slam tournament to generate much excitement among the women in the first three or four rounds was the 2001 French Open. Since then, it's been pretty much routine.

wongqks
Sep 4th, 2002, 04:43 PM
Jem, thanks so much for yuor opinion, I really really appreciated, coz I have written this post to let me know what two sides of opinion can be and you gave me just that.

I agree with you to some extent, I used to hate men tenis, and I mean hate, but very quickly I realize that the only reason I hate men tennis so much is becuase I only see them in Wimbledon, where serve and volley is the only way to win matches. I also dislike men match French Open, i think points are just drag too long and players are merely putting their balls to the other side until they see an opening by chance.

After watching a handful of men matches last year, my altitude change, I get really excited when some of the matches that stretches over five sets, but there is a trend which I start developing when I watch men matches as well, it is that even if it is a match I am so dying to see, I will still wait for it to have played an hour and a half after they started and then I tune in. And I can be pretty sured that I am not the only one who did it.

anyway, I am getting too far to make a point here, but in the end, what I want to say in this post and also the above post is that both men and women tennis has their own value, I dunno why we have to have two different tours. I don't kinow why we need to compare them, they are different sports but more importantly, why men tennis find it so disheartening that women tennis is getting popular. Why those commentators have to diss their own sport?

But truth to be told I didn't enjoy Serena demolition of Daniela today and I did get pretty excited about Venus match against chanda, but in the end it is always come down to if the majority of TV audience also agree with you, and as I mention before, it is not true that majority of TV audience find a four hours men match more interesting than Serena demolishing everyone.

But generally, a great point about going back to 16 seeds, it will be so great and it will shut everyone up about top players getting easy matches in edarly rounds

Cybelle Darkholme
Sep 4th, 2002, 04:50 PM
They need to stop picking on women's tennis when THERE HAVE BEEN COMPETIVE MATCHES. THE NUMBER FIVE SEED IS GONE!!!
THE BELGIANS HAVE BEEN UPSET!!! MONICA HAS PLAYED TWO GREAT THREE SETTERS!!!

That evil jim courier is just trying to backstab women's tennis, notice he doesn't say anything about Agassis straight sets slaughter of his opponents....

I implore everyone to write USA and tell them to can the negative comments on women's tennis right away before you switch channels.

wongqks
Sep 5th, 2002, 10:54 AM
I think we will need a psychologist to explain this kind of human behaviour from what I hear about Patrick Mcenroe, and Jim Courier etc.

Maybe it is jealousy

BritneySpearsIsHot
Sep 5th, 2002, 11:07 AM
I wish people didn't remind me that the number 5 seed has gone :(

Brian Stewart
Sep 6th, 2002, 12:48 AM
You raise many good points, Quentin.

There is a notorious double-standard at work. When male athletes perform great and dominate their peers, they are praised. When women athletes do it, people trash the competition. What the ratings reflect though, is that people appreciate greatness. They would rather see a great player playing well and skunking his/her opponent, than to see that great player putting forth a mediocre performance just to make a match close. Fans like great players/teams. It's true in all sports. The NFL likes to claim it's salary-cap induced parity, where top teams can't keep their great players, in generating more excitement. But TV ratings are down in the absence of consistent, great teams.

It's the same in tennis. They want to see greatness. The widespread chaos on the men's tour this year even had some of their most ardent supporters in the media asking, is the tour really that deep, or is it an absence of great players at the top. We've seen at this US Open, when top players like Hewitt, Agassi, play well, they destroy their opponents. That's what great players do: they make very good players look very bad. It's just that the top women do it consistently. And it's only when the top men come down to the level of everyone else that they get parity.

The other problem is this adversarial attitude. The men's tour, and most of the tennis media, view the women's tour as "the enemy", instead of part of the sport as a whole. So whenever the men's tour struggles, they take potshots at the women. That's why the sport isn't getting where it should. When the Pete and Andre rivalry flared up in in the mid-90's, some tennis writers wanted the reaction of WTA officials, expecting them to be jealous. They were shocked when the WTA folk said they thought it was great. The WTA realized that the Pete/Andre rivalry wasn't just making men's tennis more popular, it made tennis more popular. And this helped the popularity of the women's tour too. When Magic Johnson's Lakers excelled, it didn't just make the Western Conference more popular, it made the NBA more popular. Likewise, the success of Jordan's Bulls didn't just help the Eastern Conference. Yet the people supporting the men's tour just don't get it. Yes, the success of Venus and Serena does primarily benefit the women's tour, but it benefits the sport as a whole. There is a coattail effect. But if they keep taking childish potshots, they will find the fans starting to draw a distinction between the two tours. It's happening already. If they're too self-centered to work for the good of the sport, I can't feel sorry for them when it happens.

BigTennisFan
Sep 6th, 2002, 12:55 AM
Right on Brian.

frenchvee
Sep 6th, 2002, 01:12 AM
wow so many great toughts express in this thread
great post
wongqks and
brian

Monica@53
Sep 6th, 2002, 03:42 AM
I think that the quality and depth of the men's tour is much much better than that on the women's tour...... yet that still doesn't make me half as interested in the ATP then I am with the WTA.

For me, there is so much drama happening at the top of the women's game and the leading protagonists of the women's game have interesting personalities and rivalries that it makes it much more interesting for both the casual observer who has come across these big names in the media and also die-hard tennis fans who relate to these players' results day in and day out and "love" them for what they bring to the game.

disposablehero
Sep 6th, 2002, 03:56 AM
The depth on the women's tour is definitely coming. There were 4 fourth round matches that were extremely highly anticipated, because the lower seeds were all considered extremely dangerous. Amelie Mauresmo has a habit of beating almost anyone on a given day, and has, twice. Daniela Hantuchova is a rising star who knocked off a star who rose about a year sooner. Chanda Rubin is a proven veteran who has beaten most of the tours top players just within the past few months. And Martina Hingis is an all time great, when she is in the draw she has to be considered dangerous regardless of her form. Remember the January she had.
Also, the 32 seed system came in for two reasons. Partly because of the Spanish claycourters at Wimbledon, but the idea first got serious consideration not from the LTA but rather the USTA, because Venus lost in the first round of Roland Garros. Too much depth can be as problematic as too little. The WTA has a balance right now.

Greenout
Sep 6th, 2002, 04:05 AM
What about Roddick vs Sampras?
3 straight sets at 1 1/2 hours of play.
Where's the depth of men's tennis here?

CellJr300
Sep 6th, 2002, 04:10 AM
There is depth in men's tennis, and slowly but surely the women's game is developing depth as well. I think the main problem facing men's tennis is that most of their young stars don't have great personalities, or if they do you never see it on the court. In women's tennis you have so much variet to choose from-the Williams sisters, Hingis, Davenport, Capriati, Kournikova, Hantuchova- and that list will just keep on getting bigger, whereas the ATP is struggling to find the next star that the fans feel they can get excited for.

bobcat
Sep 6th, 2002, 04:45 AM
I don't buy that argument about "personalities". Everyone has a personality. If a player doesn't have a personality then the media will just invent one for him.

The problem w/ the ATP is that the current top male players are mediocre by historical standards.
It's pretty amazing to me that players like Safin, Haas, Kafelnikov, and Henman can be ranked in the top 5 with their pathetic level of play.

Right now Lleyton is the only player that can put up relatively consistent results week in and week out. But I'm not sure even he is playing at the level that Pete, Andre, Rafter were just a couple of years ago.

Grycochek
Sep 6th, 2002, 05:54 AM
This is a great thread. I started following tennis because of Steffi Graf. She was winning everything in sight. I wanted to see how long she would keep it up or if anyone would come along to challenge her. Alas, Monica Seles. Then came Hingis, Davenport, the Williamses and Capriati. I don't care much for the ATP, especially now that Sampras and Agassi are getting old. There isn't player on that tour I would call my fav. So I just don't care who wins. But the WTA, it is just pure drama, off and on the court. My favs are definitely the Williams sisters. Imagine a grand slam final with two unknown players, I definitely wouldn't watch that match (ATP that is).

Crazy Canuck
Sep 6th, 2002, 09:39 AM
Why can't people talk about womens tennis without feeling the need to insult mens? :confused:

I always hear about how apparently the womens game is being crapped on - au contraire, no one is getting it as bad as the ATP these days :rolleyes:

wongqks
Sep 6th, 2002, 10:52 AM
Rebecca, if you actually bothered to read my post, you will know that I am not taking any cheap shots at men tennis.

I am barely stating the fact the male commnetators perception opf women tennis may not be the same as the general public

2284
Sep 6th, 2002, 11:25 AM
Originally posted by wongqks


Now the main question I would really like to ask is this, do audience really care if the matches is lopsided? I brought this up because I do get a consensus from casual fans that they really don't get too excited about five sets cliffhanger unless they know those guys. They know Sampras, they know Agassi, they may know Hewitt, but for casual fans, it stop right here. A five set epic between Paradon and Greg will not capture anyone imagination apart from big fans like us or people from their country.
Do people prefer to watch five sets cliffhangers by two not so famous player to non fans, or a 40 minutes blow out by people they are familiar with? To the commentators, of course they love the five sets, coz they have so much knowledge about tennis. But for casual fans, the cruel truth is that they would prefer to watch Agassi or Serena beating the hell out of other player in an hour.

Why dissed your own sport when women tennis can help the growth of tennis as a whole?

I couldn't agree more. Even when I know the other player, it's great to see a top 10 player win 6-0 6-0

earthcrystal
Sep 6th, 2002, 11:27 AM
What an excellent thread, with a variety of perspectives thoughtfully expressed. Thanks guys, I truly enjoyed reading it.

Btw, Rebecca, you might want to try it (reading, that is) before posting next time. ;)

2284
Sep 6th, 2002, 11:29 AM
I love watching womens' tennis...maybe it's just because I have a short attention span and find it hard to sit through 5 sets (even 3 is bad). Basically in mens' tennis, unless it's Hewitt or Agassi playing I rarely bother to watch it

Informative
Sep 6th, 2002, 02:48 PM
Thanks Brian for your excellent post

Ted of Teds Tennis
Sep 6th, 2002, 03:43 PM
wongqks wrote:
Do people prefer to watch five sets cliffhangers by two not so famous player to non fans, or a 40 minutes blow out by people they are familiar with? To the commentators, of course they love the five sets, coz they have so much knowledge about tennis. But for casual fans, the cruel truth is that they would prefer to watch Agassi or Serena beating the hell out of other player in an hour.

Sad, but true. I remember last year when Janet Lee won the Mahwah Challenger and promptly went to Stanford Qualifying rather than play in the exhibition. The organizer said that there were far more people who would rather come out and watch Capriati beat the crap out of some low-ranked player rather than two mid-level players play a great match against each other. Not only that, but here in the States, many 'fans' would rather watch one of the top Americans beat the crap out of somebody than watch two Top 10 players play against each other in a good match. Look at how little of the Clijsters v. Mauresmo match USA showed. Hénin v Hantuchová (admittedly only #11, not Top Ten!) got virtually no coverage either. Frankly, it wouldn't surprise me if a significant majority of the people in attendance at the Chanda Rubin v. Venus Williams match at the USO didn't even know that Rubin had defeated Serena Williams earlier this summer. (Heck -- Tracy Austin had never heard of Yoon-Jeong Cho, and she's supposedly paid to know about players like this!)

And naturally, this is what the networks tailor their programming around. USA showed a fair amount of doubles at 11am the past few days (when there was no singles to show), and I really enjoyed it. I also thought last year's men's doubles final was much better than any of the singles semis or finals -- men's or women's. But expecting them to show doubles other than Hingis/Kournikova or Williamsx2 is, unfortunately, a pipe dream.

The question is, how does tennis get more people to become fans of the game instead of fans of Capriati/Seles/Williamsx2/Kournikova/etc.? Clearly, the WTA aren't thinking about the long-term popularity of the sport, since it's pandering to the fans of individual players instead of the sport of tennis.

Crazy Canuck
Sep 6th, 2002, 06:39 PM
I did read it, but thanks for being so condesending and making false assumptions :wavey:

At least now I see what an asshole I look like when I do it ;)

Crazy Canuck
Sep 6th, 2002, 06:41 PM
I wasn't even refering to you guys as much, as I was the media.

Every couple days a new article pops out about how the mens game is on the decline :rolleyes: and lists the 23423423 things wrong with it.

But the way people complain in here you'd think it was the women they were crapping on about!

For petes sake, who the hell cares what Jim Courier says anyhow? (for example).

Most of the media agrees with you guys, so why focus on what a few retired has beens says?

jmp
Sep 6th, 2002, 10:28 PM
Wow! I just found this forum yesterday. I read Jon Wertheim's Mailbag for a smathering of fan opinions from around the world. But, I often find that I'm hungry for more in depth discussion among intelligent, thoughtful fans. The different opinions on this topic are really exciting. On the original point of the thread, I don't believe that the complaints are pointless. I do think we hear them too often, though. I much prefer constructive analysis of a player's game or a particular match. I've also noticed that age has mellowed John McEnroe.

My sentiments echo Jem and Brian Stewart to a lesser extent. I have been a tennis junkie for a little over 20 years. My fav's were Bjorn Borg and Martina Navratilova. Over the years I've developed a pure love for the game from a fan's prospective. So, I'm a little put off when people imply the sport is only viable when players become "personalities" or when rivalries develop. Not so! I enjoy watching players wax their opponents when they are performing at the top of their games. But, Serena and Venus' dominance of the game is less a testament to their greatness (which is unquestionable) than a knock on the other professionals in the game. Does anyone remember how Navratilova extended her career by rededicating herself to fitness? Serena and Venus do exactly what all elite athletes do - they constantly challenge themselves to improve. How about Venus going to the practice courts right after the Rubin match? Serena recognized that one of her matches at the French Open was subpar in serves. I'm frustrated that the other players haven't risen to the challenge. They have so much potential! Serve accuracy and placement, net play, lobs, and holding serve are sorely missing on the tour. Rubin knows the score and has come back with a vengeance. Eventhough Capriati won't admit it as a weakness publicly, I thought her serve was greatly improved in her US Open run. Mauresmo earned her chance. Let's see what she does with it. I think the teen Europeans are getting ready to mak some noise, too. I hope so.

On the mens side, I look forward to well contested matches. That can happen in three sets or five. I also like the fact that anyone can win on any given day. It keeps the outcome from becoming predictable. There are at least 20 men who have different and exciting court presences. I agree that noone has emerged as the overwhelming dominant player, but, I think this new aspect of mens tennis is appealing. Watching the young guys improve their technical and mental games is fascinating.

I have a great appreciation for the business of television needing to attract casual fans. But, give me two players that are hot at the same time on the same court and I'm glued to the match.