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ikarinokami
Jun 20th, 2009, 10:36 PM
This article is so bias, it appeared in the london times. Federer and nadal have dominated the men's game, but somehow its rife with competition. And maybe the fact is the william sisters are genetics freaks and tennis prodigies, prehaps they will never again be equal.

:The article follows

Last yearís annual health check for the menís game and womenís game, otherwise known as the Championships, was unequivocal. The menís game had never been better, never more athletic, never greater in depth, never more thrilling at the top, and the final was by common consent the most brilliant match anybody could remember. The womenís game was so lifeless that diagnosis could wait: press the alarm and call for resuscitation.

This year will be no different. The question of who will win the menís singles is vital and fascinating, even without the enticing prospect that a British player is a true contender. The question of who will win the womenís singles ignites no passion and little interest. The answer is one of the Williams sisters, probably. After all, at least one of them has appeared in eight of the past 10 finals, winning seven.

That is itself an indictment, but the sisters should be absolved from blame. While others have stumbled, retired or become frozen with nerves, Venus and Serena have filled their trophy cabinets. Last year, when they suspended their usual sibling non-aggression pact and served up a decent scrap in the final, they took home well over £1m between them. It was equal prize-money with the men, but hardly for equivalent quality or effort.

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During the tournament, we had the further embarrassment of a world No 1 and top seed, Ana Ivanovic, showing that she hadnít a clue how to play on grass when she lost in the third round to Jie Zheng in straight sets. Zheng was delighted to discover that if she hit the ball hard and deep to Ivanovicís backhand, the ball wouldnít come back. On return of serve, Ivanovic took a full swing and tried to belt the ball as if she were on a hard court. Blocked or sliced returns, so vital on grass, were beyond her imagination or repertoire.

At the time, Ivanovic was the French Open champion. There lies a depressing succession. In the 2007 French final, Justine Henin breezed past the nervous Ivanovic, who was shaking like a leaf; Henin retired shortly before the 2008 French championship, a grievous blow to the womenís game and one that allowed Ivanovic to redeem herself slightly by beating an even more nervous Dinara Safina and to head for Wimbledon as the highest-ranked woman in the world.

Ivanovic has since slid all the way down to 13th while Safina, dedicating herself to hard work on and off court, has taken over as No 1. But when she had her chance to justify her place at the head of the game by winning her first Grand Slam event, Safina flunked it, losing this yearís French Open final to Svetlana Kuznetsova, undone once more by nerves.

Now Safina arrives at the All-England Club as No 1 seed, supposedly the best player in the world. Perhaps we are being unfair in comparing the standard of the menís and womenís games. The men have always been hugely superior. One testimony proves the point. Michael de Jong has for many years coached a number of the leading women players, including Mary Pierce when she was world No 1. Many years before that, de Jong managed to be ranked just inside the top 500 male players, although he knew he could never approach the top. Nevertheless, he was proud enough to make it a point of principle that even as he approached middle age, he would never lose a set to his illustrious employers, and he never did.

That merely underlines the obvious gulf. But what is not excusable is that while the menís game has clearly become stronger year on year, the womenís game has not progressed. The first time the Williams sisters played each other in the Wimbledon final was in 2002. Six years on, they were no better and their rivals were worse.

With painfully few exceptions, the game purveyed by the leading women is not beautiful but stereotyped and ugly. Itís an all-purpose, all-court baseline game in which tactics and surprise are forsaken for a back-and-forth bash, usually cross-court corner to corner, single-handed on the forehand, double-handed on the backhand. The product of modern racket technology and training drills on hard-courts, it can be impressive, for the ball does get seriously hammered, with grunting for percussion, but the tedium of repetition ruins the spectacle.

How we long for someone to take them on as Martina Navratilova took on Chris Evert and the other baseliners of her day. How we miss Martina Hingis, who had such tactical cleverness and subtlety of shot, and Henin, who had a backhand of single-handed beauty.

Two former champions who might have been expected to illuminate the championships are unfortunately reduced. Amelie Mauresmo has the attacking game and the agility but is one of the most mentally frail; Maria Sharapova is as tough as nails mentally, but injury and surgery to her shoulder have reduced her power and prospects.

ďI donít know,Ē Sharapova said when asked whether Wimbledon had come too soon in her rehabilitation. ďI canít tell. I donít know whatís going to happen in a week. I donít know whatís going to happen in a month and I certainly donít know what other people think. Thatís the least of my worries. I know how I feel. I know what Iím capable of and I just go out on court and try to give it all I can.Ē

Is there hope? Certainly. Soon, Kim Clijsters, the Belgian whose game and personality always shone brightly, will return to the sport, to compete in the US Open. ďA lot of them play the same type of tennis,Ē she noted recently. ďThere are not many players who stand out with a different game. I seem to remember that my matches involved more strategy and thinking. Now it seems theyíre just hitting the ball hard.Ē

Clijsters will find her own way to counter the stereotypes. And somewhere out there, perhaps there may be a young girl with the talent and personality to go against the grain, to find her own attacking game and to use it to cut a swathe through competence and conformity. Such a player could conquer all.

Horizon
Jun 20th, 2009, 10:48 PM
It's true.

Still, WTA > ATP.

Drama, excitement and competition is far more abundant in the women's game. Quality-wise it's almost laughable when put next to the men's, but to be honest I don't give a shit, it makes it far more watchable for me.

There is so much more unpredictability that comes from women's matches. Lack of mental toughness and even choking and nerves can sometimes lead to fascinating up and down rollercoaster matches, complete fights out to the death, passion, emotion, grunting, injury time outs, early exits, feistiness. Anything can happen, it's fabulous :hearts:

Volcana
Jun 21st, 2009, 01:08 AM
This is one of those cases where bias masks a good arguement. The author could have made his points better if he could have controlled his own bias.

He's right, Venus and Serena are no better than they were in 2002. And if their opponents are not worse, there are fewer of them. With Sharpaova coming off injury, with a diminished serve, and Maursemo nt within light years of her 2006 results, they don't compare to the Hingis, Davenport, Capriati, Henin, Clijsters lineup of secondary players in 2002.

And yes, baseliner with two hand backhanded, one handed forehand dominates the women's ranks.

And yes, we've had some fragile #1's in the WTA recently.

And he gives it up, in a backhanded way, to last year's women's final. "Last year, when they suspended their usual sibling non-aggression pact and served up a decent scrap in the final"

But he so obviously starts out with a bias. One could as easily write about Federer-Nadal dominance of the men's tour as an indictment of the depth of the ATP. But Nadal and Federer have, not contrasting styles, but styles that are immediately differentiable. Venus Williams, Serena Wiliams, Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Dinara Safina ... all have style that differ in nuance, not in the main. Yes Venus and Kuzzy have good volleys. But they don't SERVE, and volley, so the first few strokes of the point look the same as if they were Serena or Dinara.

dwynn10
Jun 21st, 2009, 02:34 AM
It's true.

There is so much more unpredictability that comes from women's matches. Lack of mental toughness and even choking and nerves can sometimes lead to fascinating up and down rollercoaster matches, complete fights out to the death, passion, emotion, grunting, injury time outs, early exits, feistiness. Anything can happen, it's fabulous :hearts:

Um, ok. If you enjoy watching two brainless, screaming banshees bashing the ball back and forth, trading breaks like there's no tomorrow, with, more often than not, ridiculously lop-sided scores in the finals, more power to you. I used to think women's tennis is more interesting too. No more. This is supposed to be sport, not Kabuki theather.

The quality and competitiveness of the men's game is undeniably superior now. It's blatantly unfair for a female slam winner to take home the same paycheck for winning 6-0,6-2 in the final as a male player who busts his ass to win an incredibly tight five-setter the way Fed and Nadal had done in the last two Wimby finals. When was the last time a women's final at a major was considered a classic?

Diesel
Jun 21st, 2009, 02:40 AM
When there was predictability in the women's games people complained. Mostly when the predictable had a last name of Williams. When that was interrupted and unpredictability came through, more complaining, just using a different argument.

gmokb
Jun 21st, 2009, 05:26 AM
I am so sorry for these wannabe sport writers. I swear they are just bitter cause they couldn't cut it as a tennis player; they really need to control their envy and jealousy. Nadal and Roger have been dominating the tour and sharing up the slams yet there is no complain. Quite the opposite, they are being worship. What was so exciting about Nadal FO 2008 win over Roger? If they don't want to watch the women and their ball bashing, then don't. I for one will not miss their bias reporting anyway. Also, lay off the WS, not their fault that they are still winning.

friendsita
Jun 21st, 2009, 05:41 AM
I'm f*ckin' tired of this articles... men's tennis is boring, I only enjoy watching rafa and sometimes nole... the rest are simply chokers, and this Wimby will be more boring in the men's side.
I love women tennis and that is the reason that makes me love this game.

Hazel
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:27 AM
I'm also tired of only getting coverage of tennis in UK newspapers when it's Wimbledon. Svetlana's RG win was hardly even reported in the major UK newspapers.

The UK press knows so little of tennis that in yesterday's Sun - the most popular newspaper in theh UK, albeit a dreadful tabloid - it had a centre spread on the female players called 'Flirty all' with pictures of the girls in swimsuits etc. One of the biggest photos went to Golovin who I thought had retired! The copy supporting the pictures had no up to date insight into the girls' careers. It was so bad!

We'll only know the level of play once the torunament gets going so these commentators should just report the facts and support the sport, not denigrate it.

Hazel
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:29 AM
I am so sorry for these wannabe sport writers. I swear they are just bitter cause they couldn't cut it as a tennis player; they really need to control their envy and jealousy. Nadal and Roger have been dominating the tour and sharing up the slams yet there is no complain. Quite the opposite, they are being worship. What was so exciting about Nadal FO 2008 win over Roger? If they don't want to watch the women and their ball bashing, then don't. I for one will not miss their bias reporting anyway. Also, lay off the WS, not their fault that they are still winning.

I agree. I was lucky enought to be at RG this year and the best matches I saw in terms of excitement were Azarenka v Safina and some doubles matches which were great. The mens singles I saw were awful - Federer v Monfils and Murray v Gonzalez.

volta
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:32 AM
sounds like something MTF posters would write

veryborednow
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:03 AM
One testimony proves the point. Michael de Jong has for many years coached a number of the leading women players, including Mary Pierce when she was world No 1. Many years before that, de Jong managed to be ranked just inside the top 500 male players, although he knew he could never approach the top. Nevertheless, he was proud enough to make it a point of principle that even as he approached middle age, he would never lose a set to his illustrious employers, and he never did.

That merely underlines the obvious gulf. What the hell does this even mean? There's NO logic. Since when does the career of a coach inform the quality of a player? Or highlight the difference in quality between men and women.

Can someone point out to him Toni Nadal's ranking? Or that Marat was coached by his mother? Or inform him about Richard and Orecen Williams' illustrious professional tennis careers before they retired and coached multiple Grand Slam Champions?

Wanker.

Destiny
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:14 AM
:smash:

The Witch-king
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:29 AM
Um, ok. If you enjoy watching two brainless, screaming banshees bashing the ball back and forth, trading breaks like there's no tomorrow, with, more often than not, ridiculously lop-sided scores in the finals, more power to you. I used to think women's tennis is more interesting too. No more. This is supposed to be sport, not Kabuki theather.

The quality and competitiveness of the men's game is undeniably superior now. It's blatantly unfair for a female slam winner to take home the same paycheck for winning 6-0,6-2 in the final as a male player who busts his ass to win an incredibly tight five-setter the way Fed and Nadal had done in the last two Wimby finals. When was the last time a women's final at a major was considered a classic?

I totally agree! Nadal should not have been paid the same as Ana at the FO 08, he deserved much less. As did Federer at Wimbledon 05 and 06 than Venus and Mauresmo.

I won't bother commenting on the article.

Le Chat
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:31 AM
I'm also tired of only getting coverage of tennis in UK newspapers when it's Wimbledon. Svetlana's RG win was hardly even reported in the major UK newspapers.

The UK press knows so little of tennis that in yesterday's Sun - the most popular newspaper in theh UK, albeit a dreadful tabloid - it had a centre spread on the female players called 'Flirty all' with pictures of the girls in swimsuits etc. One of the biggest photos went to Golovin who I thought had retired! The copy supporting the pictures had no up to date insight into the girls' careers. It was so bad!

We'll only know the level of play once the torunament gets going so these commentators should just report the facts and support the sport, not denigrate it.


I remember Wimbledon 2005 Venus Williams vs Davenport 9/7 at the final set ..:scratch:

Le Chat
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:32 AM
Um, ok. If you enjoy watching two brainless, screaming banshees bashing the ball back and forth, trading breaks like there's no tomorrow, with, more often than not, ridiculously lop-sided scores in the finals, more power to you. I used to think women's tennis is more interesting too. No more. This is supposed to be sport, not Kabuki theather.

The quality and competitiveness of the men's game is undeniably superior now. It's blatantly unfair for a female slam winner to take home the same paycheck for winning 6-0,6-2 in the final as a male player who busts his ass to win an incredibly tight five-setter the way Fed and Nadal had done in the last two Wimby finals. When was the last time a women's final at a major was considered a classic?


I remember Wimbledon 2005 Venus Williams vs Davenport 9/7 at the final set ..

tennnisfannn
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:33 AM
How does anyone respond to such garbage: How do you lament Hinigis' loss whose career was ended by cocaine or Henin who quit for no apparent reason other than she was 'bored'. If venus and serena had quit for those reasons, there would be lynching parties every weekend.
How do you decry the style of game the women play and then look to maria as a 'saviour' who is hampered by injury, the sisters have more variety than her.
and now comes the priceless hope -Kim Clijsters. She was even more nervous than safina on the slam final stage. This is a woman who had so much talent yet won only one slam!
The writer of this article sounds so bitter.

Horizon
Jun 21st, 2009, 12:49 PM
Um, ok. If you enjoy watching two brainless, screaming banshees bashing the ball back and forth, trading breaks like there's no tomorrow, with, more often than not, ridiculously lop-sided scores in the finals, more power to you. I used to think women's tennis is more interesting too. No more. This is supposed to be sport, not Kabuki theather.

Um, no that's not what I was trying to say. I never said I liked terrible finals or anything.

I was saying there is just far more that can happenon a women's tennis court match. Even if the tennis is inferior, there can still be amazing matches that entertain you. It becomes an emotional sport that changes very quickly, anything can happen. It can be just as much, if not a lot more entertaining.

BuTtErFrEnA
Jun 21st, 2009, 01:32 PM
:yawn: next

Inktrailer
Jun 21st, 2009, 03:29 PM
:cuckoo:

No worries, give it two weeks and tennis will be forgotten again in the UK press.