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Reckoner
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:02 PM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/jun/21/steffi-graf-wimbledon-womens-tennis


Where has it all gone wrong for women's tennis?

Premature retirements and loss of form are robbing the women's game of the sort of great rivalries that have kept fans enthralled in years gone by

Steffi Graf sits court-side at Roland Garros looking more bemused than bewitched, more deflated than elated. Ten years before, in the French Open final, she had electrified the crowd with a stunning defeat of Martina Hingis, who, confronted by her opponent's resolute brilliance, had gone into psychological meltdown.

Now Graf is in the stands to present the trophy to the 2009 champion. Almost unbelievably, it is the first women's match she has watched in the flesh in the 10 years since she stopped playing, not long after dispatching Hingis, to go off and marry Andre Agassi. Little wonder, then, that she looks so troubled as she surveys an all-Russian final between the world No1 Dinara Safina and Svetlana Kuznetsova that has fewer peaks than a Dutch landscape.

"I found it really hard to watch," says Graf, before graciously trying to dampen any criticism of the players. "I know how it is out there when you get nervous and tight, and you can't show your potential – or even play close to your normal game."

Maybe, but in Graf's case big-title matches unfailingly brought the best out of her. It seemed to Graf a matter of honour that she should do credit to the office of top-ranked player in the world. In Paris, Safina's performance is grim. Kuznetsova has to play no more than moderately well to lift her first French Open title.

"That's for you to judge," Graf says, deflecting an attempt to finesse out of her whether she thinks women's tennis was better when she played than it is now. "I just don't watch it enough. I see them and I know their faces, but I haven't really gotten into their games."

Those who have "gotten into their games" are becoming increasingly dismayed. Something seems to have gone wrong with women's tennis, which, only a year ago, was in sufficiently good health – despite the retirement of Justine Henin while still world No1 – for these pages to celebrate its achievements. A big fashion photograph of Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic, five of the very personable stars at the top of the women's game, accompanied the article.

What happened next was quite a shock. Ivanovic, Jankovic and Sharapova, the top three seeds, were all eliminated before the quarter-finals at Wimbledon and it was left to the enigmatic Williams sisters to rescue the competition by staying the course until the final.

The performances that led to the exit of the leading three seeds were all abject, none more so than Sharapova's. She was humbled twice by Alla Kudryavtseva, a fellow Russian ranked 154 in the world – first on court and then in the interview room. "It's very pleasant to beat Maria," Kudryavtseva said, "because I don't like her outfit… it was a little too much of everything. It was one of my motivations to beat her." Hitting the fashion-conscious Sharapova in her dress sense was possibly more painful for the former champion than her defeat.

Come the US Open, seven weeks later, Sharapova was sidelined by a serious injury to her right shoulder, two tears in the rotator cuff, while Ivanovic was so out of sorts, having suffered from cysts in her right thumb, that she lost to a qualifier in the second round. Although Jankovic reached the final, where she lost in straight sets to Serena Williams, she too was starting to struggle to hold her place in the top five.

The decline continues. Twelve months on and the poster girls who were the top three seeds for Wimbledon are down the rankings at six (Jankovic), 13 (Ivanovic) and 59 (Sharapova), which has left the Williams sisters – Serena at two and Venus at three – surrounded in the top 10 by a bunch of east Europeans who are more front office than box office. The top spot in the rankings has changed eight times in a year.

Whatever anyone may say, the absence of an American successor to the Williamses – more than 50 places in the rankings separate Venus from the next US player, Bethanie Mattek-Sands – must be worrying for the tour's long-term wellbeing.

Graf is less reticent about commenting when it comes to the question of having star players to illuminate the women's game. "It always helps if you have a few names like Sharapova or the Williams sisters that people get used to seeing over a period of time," she says. "Fans enjoy their rivalries and like to live some of their dramas and their difficulties, and have time to get know them a little more intimately, a little more personally."

Now, though, there is real concern that Sharapova, despite the fact she is in the early stages of a comeback, may never again be the contender she once was. "The question is, will she ever be healthy?" Nick Bollettieri, her former coach, asked recently. "Once you get that shoulder injury, you're going to start changing the serve motion."

Chris Evert, who, like Graf, is a true former star of the women's game, is despondent about the prospects of a recovery of form by either Ivanovic or Jankovic. Ivanovic's game, Evert says, is streaky and she does not give the impression that she is ready to repeat her success at the 2008 French Open.

Jankovic, meanwhile, has come up with a dog-ate-my-homework excuse for her decline: she blames off-season conditioning for making her overly muscular and limiting her movement. This is the same Jankovic who, only last year, made light of playing 97 matches in 2007, saying: "It's the way you prepare, the way your body is."

An American tennis magazine responded to the disappointing women's event at last year's US Open by running a story that it flagged on its cover with the words: "Can the women's tour be fixed?" Inside, it did a mock-up of a wanted ad, which began: "Most successful women's sports league in history seeks motivated, fierce, supremely athletic competitor to lead it into the next decade… Camera-friendly smile preferred." It finished by inviting applicants to send a covering letter and resume to the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

The story itself was derisive, labelling the pretenders of the women's draw unworthy of a practice session with the Williams sisters, and was particularly scornful of Safina, who was within a few months of taking over as world No1. In losing to Serena Williams 6-3, 6-2 in the semi-final, Safina made 41 unforced errors. At the time, it did not matter so much that Safina's form wavered, but now she is officially the world's top player and still cannot give a good account of herself – and, by extension, the women's game – in high-profile matches such as the Paris final. This must be of some concern.

Graf, happily retired, may excuse Safina's shortcomings, but some of those still heavily involved are not so relaxed about it. "We all know who the real number one is," Serena Williams said during the Italian Open in Rome last month. "Quite frankly, I'm the best in the world." With 10 grand-slam titles, including this year's Australian Open, to Safina's big fat zero, Williams has a strong case – and one that must cause embarrassment to the governing body, the Women's Tennis Association.

It does not help the WTA that it is currently in a state of transition, with Larry Scott about to vacate his post as chairman and chief executive, having been hugely successful over the past six years in securing the organisation's financial stability. The plain old WTA became the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour under his stewardship, thanks to an $88m deal that remains in place until the end of next year. Also, since Scott took over, revenue and sponsorship have multiplied several-fold.

But investors tend to only like enterprises that guarantee substance, even when times are not as straitened as they are now, and, unless things buck up soon, some of those with high stakes in the women's tour may start to look to put their money elsewhere.

It does not help that men's tennis is in rude health at the moment, led by a quartet of outstanding players – Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic – whose keen rivalry is in marked contrast to the uneven fare currently being churned out by the women. Scott's defence of the game he is leaving sounds a little tired. "The top of the women's game and battle for No1 is as intriguing as it has ever been. There has never been more depth in terms of quality of play and the number of marketable stars in the game rivals any sport, bar none," he says.

One answer to catching up with the men may be for the WTA, having won the battle for its members to be granted equal prize-money, to press for them to do the same amount of work and play best-of-five-set matches in the grand slams. Opponents will groan that this is a recipe for more dross, but women have suffered from not having the longer form available to them.

The most memorable matches tend to be the protracted duels between the top men – but consider last year's Wimbledon singles finals. The Williams sisters had to stop after two robust sets, while Nadal and Federer kept going after the Spaniard had dominated two unremarkable sets. We all know what happened next – a match that on its own was enough to sustain the reputation of the men's game for years to come.

Disappointingly, but not altogether surprisingly, when the best-of-five suggestion was put to Ivanovic last week her immediate response was: "What – and drive us into oblivion?"

It was the sort of meek reaction that some may see as the reason Ivanovic has failed to build on the foundation of her early successes. It would almost certainly have gained her a stinging reply had she uttered it in the presence of Billie Jean King, the American champion of the rights of women's players, who advocated women playing five-set matches in the 1970s.

Women's tennis has been in the position it is now before and rebounded strongly. What is alarming this time is the number of players in their prime who are either retiring – Kim Clijsters may return, but she cannot reclaim some of the prime playing years she has passed up – or whose careers are stalling, as those of Jankovic and Ivanovic appear to be doing.

Women's tennis has the bounty – now it needs to find bounty hunters who have the resilience and star quality that Graf possessed.

Reckoner
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:03 PM
It's good to know there is some optimism out there. :rolleyes:

canoe.
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:15 PM
when the best-of-five suggestion was put to Ivanovic last week her immediate response was: "What – and drive us into oblivion?"
Pathetic! :o

sammy01
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:18 PM
i agree with the article whole-heartedly. it breaks down womens tennis right now and its not looking good.

A Magicman
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:18 PM
5 sets of Wozniacki vs Dushevina aka "the pusher match from hell". :help:

And the obligatory "I'm the best besides the ranking" 4 losses in a row Ms Williams.

And the ever-excusing Miss Jankovic.

And the ever melting like an icecube in the sun Miss Safina.


Seriously, doesnt look too good, does it?

sammy01
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:22 PM
i also find it worrying that certain posters now expect nothing from slam semis and finals. the showcases of womens tennis should be the time for it to show itself off, for fans of the sport to expect nothing of these just shows what a dire state its now in.

if womens tennis could put on a show in the semis and finals of the next couple of slams it would take the pressure off, but who out of the players are going to deliver great semis and finals? serena is the only one to be counted on, even venus can only bring it at 1 of the slams.

CloudAtlas
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:24 PM
5 sets of Wozniacki vs Dushevina aka "the pusher match from hell". :help:

And the obligatory "I'm the best besides the ranking" 4 losses in a row Ms Williams.

And the ever-excusing Miss Jankovic.

And the ever melting like an icecube in the sun Miss Safina.


Seriously, doesnt look too good, does it?



There's bad 5 set matches on the men's tour too. I think 5 sets would be better and people would be getting more for their money , rather than seeing a sucky two setter with 45858595 unforced errors and the match being won on a DF.

supergrunt
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:31 PM
when u have the dominant #1 player retire suddenly, of course there is bound to be some anarchy

mb011
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:32 PM
very good article IMO. and very truthful, unfortunately...

LDF
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:43 PM
when u have the dominant #1 player retire suddenly, of course there is bound to be some anarchy

Yes, but this happened more than a year ago now, and if anything things at the top are even more unsettled than in first few weeks after Justine's retirement. The article is exactly right when it states that there are no consistent, exciting rivalries at the moment, because the so-called 'top players' are simply too unstable and off-colour at the moment. It doesn't make for a great read but like others in this thread I do whole-heartedly agree with it.

Craig.
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:44 PM
Fucking Kudryavsteva. Fucking bitch.

LDF
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:48 PM
Fucking Kudryavsteva. Fucking bitch.

:worship: Well said.

AnnaK_4ever
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:49 PM
It's nobody's fault Azarenka is the only truly big talent born since 1988.

goldenlox
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:49 PM
I don't know what people want. When Henin was winning EVERY match she played for about 7 months, no one said this is great.
We just had a rivalry. 2 players dominated the whole clay season and met in 3 finals.
No one liked that. Except for a few
You can't please people

supergrunt
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:52 PM
Yes, but this happened more than a year ago now, and if anything things at the top are even more unsettled than in first few weeks after Justine's retirement. The article is exactly right when it states that there are no consistent, exciting rivalries at the moment, because the so-called 'top players' are simply too unstable and off-colour at the moment. It doesn't make for a great read but like others in this thread I do whole-heartedly agree with it.

I disagree

1. Safina- USO semi, AO and FO final, and she wins a lot outside the slams
2 & 3. Serena and Venus

supergrunt
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:53 PM
there is a lack of rivalry but I think that the people in the top 10 are pretty consisten

Sammm
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:55 PM
Well, some of this article is very true. :(

But:

"Kudryavtseva said, "because I don't like her outfit… it was a little too much of everything. It was one of my motivations to beat her." Hitting the fashion-conscious Sharapova in her dress sense was possibly more painful for the former champion than her defeat"

Why do journalists turn women players into idiots? As if Pova of all people would care about an insult to her dress sense more than a defeat. :lol:

Sammm
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:56 PM
I don't know what people want. When Henin was winning EVERY match she played for about 7 months, no one said this is great.
We just had a rivalry. 2 players dominated the whole clay season and met in 3 finals.
No one liked that. Except for a few
You can't please people

Weren't all the matches they played two setters and neither was really on at the same time? Hardly a rivalry.:sad:

Serenita
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:56 PM
i agree with the article whole-heartedly. it breaks down womens tennis right now and its not looking good.
go watch mens tennis then. you will feel much better.
:wavey:

watchdogfish
Jun 21st, 2009, 09:57 PM
if womens tennis could put on a show in the semis and finals of the next couple of slams it would take the pressure off, but who out of the players are going to deliver great semis and finals? serena is the only one to be counted on, even venus can only bring it at 1 of the slams.

Yes and the worrying thing is that Serena and Venus are approaching 30 and are near the end of their careers. Who out of the younger generation is going to step up and consistently play high level tennis after they've retired? Sharapova is one but her body is fragile. At the moment the rest of the current generation are such headcases. This should be a transitional period for the tour but I think it's still relying too much on it's older generation of stars.

goldenlox
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:01 PM
Weren't all the matches they played two setters and neither was really on at the same time? Hardly a rivalry.:sad:
When Sveta wins in 3 nobody likes that either.They call Sveta names for not winning in 2.

If Dinara and Sveta are fighting for YE #1 the last 2 months of this year, it won't get positive publicity.
People want sex appeal at #1. They don't care about much else.

Paneru
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:01 PM
Cry me a river.

Fact is no matter what their is always complaining because instead of appreciating good things when you have them all everybody wants to do is find something, anything to complain about.

Don't like it, don't watch it.

KournikovaFan91
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:02 PM
More crap journalism.
5 setters can be complete yawnfests at men's and would be at women's as well. :rolleyes:

Also men's tennis usually revolves around both players holding serve until there is one break which decides the set, how freking boring is that.

sammy01
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:03 PM
go watch mens tennis then. you will feel much better.
:wavey:

i do watch mens tennis thank you, though its nice to know you think about how i feel :wavey:

Lunaris
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:05 PM
been there done that, I am not even going to read this because I strongly doubt there is anything I didn't read before

Serenita
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:06 PM
Cry me a river.

Fact is no matter what their is always complaining because instead of appreciating good things when you have them all everybody wants to do is find something, anything to complain about.

Don't like it, don't watch it.
well said,
always the same bitching complaining about womans tennis if you dont like go watch something else.

KoOlMaNsEaN
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:09 PM
I've always believed the Year End Final should be 5 sets. Heck why not bring it to other events?

KournikovaFan91
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:11 PM
YEC as 5 sets I can understand but that would be it.

Inktrailer
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:12 PM
I just wish the WTA could be as good as the mens. I mean, BANG...Ace, 15-0. BAM, couldn't return, 30-0. BAM, Ace, 40-0. BAM, ooh he returned that one, and BAM. Game. Your turn to serve now - BAM...Ace, 15-0. Boring as shite, the mens final at Eastbourne was by far the most boring match of the week.

The five set thing is interesting but look at the early matches - does anyone really want to see Federer have to play three sets against god-knows-who? If best of 5 was introduced into the womens I'd suggest having it from the QF's onwards, and the same for the mens because loads of the matches are just too one-sided to need at least 3 matches.

The rest of the article... people will moan no matter what, bollocks to them.

canoe.
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:15 PM
GS finals should all be b/5.

AnomyBC
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:17 PM
Sadly, all of that is mostly true. And I'm not sure that now is the right time for it, considering how much the level of play seems to have declined, but eventually I believe that all women's GS finals should be 3 out of 5 sets. Too many of them are just way to short and I've often found them to be disappointing simply for that reason, regardless of the quality of play.

Corswandt
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:19 PM
Same old negative shit that doesn't make allowance for the way in which things have changed since the days of the "rivalries".

Graf made her way to SF and even finals by breadsticking sucky scrubs who couldn't hit more than 3 shots without making a wild error. Today's top players have it much tougher as most top 100 players can now put up much more of a fight than ever before, and the game has become much more demanding (even grueling) from both a physical and mental POV as the elite often has to fight (or at least make an effort) to clear even the earliest rounds. Reaching the final stages of tournaments week in, week in is virtually impossible without risking burnout and/or injuries, and thus none of the top players are able to perform at a consistently high level for long. Their careers also tend to finish earlier.

Things aren't going to improve until the athleticism and resilience of the top players catches up with the new reality. And considering how much tennis is struggling to recruit good athletes, a recruitment where it now has to compete with many other sports, that may still take a while.

gopher
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:22 PM
the problem is let us face it too many east-europeans same game no personality (except for sharapova) no stardom (or pretended stardom jankovic, ivanovic)

starin
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:22 PM
there will come a day when the "athleticism" that the WS brought to the game from 98-2003 (they're not as strong now obviously since they're older) will become the baseline. At least that's what I hope. I'm not saying there won't be the davenports, sharapova's etc but they will be like Davenport was in 05, i.e. as fit as they can be.

right now we have young players inspired by Hingis of all people:tape:

OR women's tennis will die a slow death w/ all the great athletes going to other sports like they already are in the US.

sammy01
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:27 PM
Same old negative shit that doesn't make allowance for the way in which things have changed since the days of the "rivalries".

Graf made her way to SF and even finals by breadsticking sucky scrubs who couldn't hit more than 3 shots without making a wild error. Today's top players have it much tougher as most top 100 players can now put up much more of a fight than ever before, and the game has become much more demanding (even grueling) from both a physical and mental POV as the elite often has to fight (or at least make an effort) to clear even the earliest rounds. Reaching the final stages of tournaments week in, week in is virtually impossible without risking burnout and/or injuries, and thus none of the top players are able to perform at a consistently high level for long. Their careers also tend to finish earlier.

Things aren't going to improve until the athleticism and resilience of the top players catches up with the new reality. And considering how much tennis is struggling to recruit good athletes, a recruitment where it now has to compete with many other sports, that may still take a while.

do you really believe this? i think the likes of serena can still breadstick her way to the final, but unlike graf she doesn't turn upto slams in top condition to do so.

you say players could only hit 3 shots then an error in days of your, but the top 10 is like that most of the time now, get them to play 3 or 4 good shots and they breakdown.

womens tennis has got 'fitter' though the bartolis and kleybanovas still let it down, but i wouldn't say the tennis has improved.

The Dawntreader
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:29 PM
Fine, we all know the problems. Nobody wants to provide answers to the problems though, which irritates me.

It's like people want the WTA to fail just so they could say:

' I told you the WTA had gone shit'.

Lunaris
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:34 PM
do you really believe this? i think the likes of serena can still breadstick her way to the final, but unlike graf she doesn't turn upto slams in top condition to do so.

you say players could only hit 3 shots then an error in days of your, but the top 10 is like that most of the time now, get them to play 3 or 4 good shots and they breakdown.

womens tennis has got 'fitter' though the bartolis and kleybanovas still let it down, but i wouldn't say the tennis has improved.
I think what Corswandt wrote must be quite obvious to everyone who've been following tennis for a while.

Max565
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:36 PM
Top players definitely have to be more consistent. It's not that great when you have unseeded players in the latter stages of the tournament, imo. Rivalries between the top players have to develop. We need more match ups like Venus-Serena, Ivanovic-Jankovic, Venus-Maria etc in the semis and finals.

We need also better, higher-quality matches in the semis and finals. We had some great matches at the beginning of the French but who's gonna remember that in 10 years time? The finals are the matches which represent the slams.

Kart
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:40 PM
Pay the players less and they'll start to want it more.

Corswandt
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:41 PM
do you really believe this?

Yes, I do believe that the inability of any of the current top players to dominate the field for long, and the shortness of top players' careers in recent years, are directly connected to the increase in the overall depth of the field in the WTA.

you say players could only hit 3 shots then an error in days of your, but the top 10 is like that most of the time now, get them to play 3 or 4 good shots and they breakdown.

Maybe. But compare the pace at which rallies were played in 1994 and the pace at which rallies are played now.

sammy01
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:41 PM
I think what Corswandt wrote must quite obvious to everyone who've been following tennis for a while.

well not to me and i've been following womens tennis for a pretty long time now.

i just thought it was suprising of croswandt to say giving his not so pleasent remarks about womens tennis and some of its players. i mean does the girl who won in warsaw (her name has totally escaped me) fall into what croswandt says, when his remarks about her were not very flattering?

The Dawntreader
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:46 PM
It's obvious to me that the women's game has bulked up the depth. You see a lot more players who 5 years ago would've never surfaced at Slam level, creating upsets. There seems to be much more of a competitive nature about the WTA, then before. Can bpeople honestly say the game is predictable now? Say what you will about the quality, but the outcome of matches, Slams is at it's most uncertain element today. I can't agree that that's nessecarily a bad thing.

It's almost as if the quality has to match the depth. The WTA has gotten ahead of itself a little.

Corswandt
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:46 PM
i just thought it was suprising of croswandt to say giving his not so pleasent remarks about womens tennis and some of its players. i mean does the girl who won in warsaw (her name has totally escaped me) fall into what croswandt says, when his remarks about her were not very flattering?

Warsaw was just a random result typical of upper tier events played the week before Slams.

But Dulgheru's run is indeed a sign of the increased depth of the WTA - not in the sense that this new breed of scrubs plays awesome, but that the elite can't get away with playing shite as often as it did in the past.

KournikovaFan91
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:47 PM
I also agree the tour has depth unlike the boring ATP where the winner of a slam is usually pretty easy to predict.

sammy01
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:49 PM
i also think womens tennis has become very stale. if you think nav took it to a new level, then graf and seles did, then the williams sisters did, whos pushing tennis foreward now? its certainly not ivanovic, safina or jankovic there just picking up the pieces. azerenka is a less good version of sharapova. who is going to take womens tennis forward?
part of the reason a less than prime fitness serena can still pick off slams is because it hasn't been taken forward, seles couldn't win slams after 1996 because the game had just moved on and her fitness wasn't good enough, hingis didn't win one after 1999 because it moved on with power.
serena can still dominate and win because womens tennis if anything has taken a step back and i cant see anyone pushing it forward.

spartanfan
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:59 PM
Fucking Kudryavsteva. Fucking bitch.
Now, you have to admit, that shit she said was funny.:lol: Bold and Funny.:lol:

Corswandt
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:05 PM
i also think womens tennis has become very stale. if you think nav took it to a new level, then graf and seles did, then the williams sisters did, whos pushing tennis foreward now? its certainly not ivanovic, safina or jankovic there just picking up the pieces. azerenka is a less good version of sharapova. who is going to take womens tennis forward?
part of the reason a less than prime fitness serena can still pick off slams is because it hasn't been taken forward, seles couldn't win slams after 1996 because the game had just moved on and her fitness wasn't good enough, hingis didn't win one after 1999 because it moved on with power.
serena can still dominate and win because womens tennis if anything has taken a step back and i cant see anyone pushing it forward.

Firepower + mobility is the Holy Grail of women's tennis. The sisters are the exception rather than the rule on that regard.

Since the advent of the Big Gun Revolution, the women's game is pretty much divided between good movers without kill shots and big bashers with limited mobility. All the more so since, to generate the kind of pace you see in the game these days, players tend to rely on throwing their body weight into their shots rather than on immaculate technique+good timing. So big hitters tend to be big girls as well.

We haven't been very lucky with the newcomers in recent years. Which brings us to the recruitment issues I also alluded to.

HRHoliviasmith
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:05 PM
Fucking Kudryavsteva. Fucking bitch.

woooooooooow. :lol: :eek:

incidentally, that's when i became a fan of hers. :hearts:

HRHoliviasmith
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:06 PM
Now, you have to admit, that shit she said was funny.:lol: Bold and Funny.:lol:

hilarious. i remember cracking the hell up.

spartanfan
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:06 PM
i also think womens tennis has become very stale. if you think nav took it to a new level, then graf and seles did, then the williams sisters did, whos pushing tennis foreward now? its certainly not ivanovic, safina or jankovic there just picking up the pieces. azerenka is a less good version of sharapova. who is going to take womens tennis forward?
part of the reason a less than prime fitness serena can still pick off slams is because it hasn't been taken forward, seles couldn't win slams after 1996 because the game had just moved on and her fitness wasn't good enough, hingis didn't win one after 1999 because it moved on with power.
serena can still dominate and win because womens tennis if anything has taken a step back and i cant see anyone pushing it forward.
I agree with most of what you've said, but I don't think the womens game has taken a step back, it's just that Serena, and to a lesser extent Venus, when they got comfortable with winning on a big stage- were and still are simply better then most if not all the other players. Even on one of their "bad" days. It happens in sports.

sammy01
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:11 PM
Firepower + mobility is the Holy Grail of women's tennis. The sisters are the exception rather than the rule on that regard.

Since the advent of the Big Gun Revolution, the women's game is pretty much divided between good movers without kill shots and big bashers with limited mobility. All the more so since, to generate the kind of pace you see in the game these days, players tend to rely on throwing their body weight into their shots rather than on immaculate technique+good timing. So big hitters tend to be big girls as well.

We haven't been very lucky with the newcomers in recent years. Which brings us to the recruitment issues I also alluded to.

i agree, but i would have thought the williams sisters would have introduced the 'fast but attacking' player to the game more than it has, but it seems not. prehaps they did to 1 player in henin, who saw that combining great movement with great attacking skills would garner great results.

it will be sad for tennis if the williams sisters became an expection not the rule in years to come, as thats where it seemed womens tennis was heading.

Corswandt
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:13 PM
I also agree the tour has depth unlike the boring ATP where the winner of a slam is usually pretty easy to predict.

The ATP hasn't been competitive at the very top in recent years (it didn't use to be that way - 1999-2003 were bedlam at the top in the ATP), so in that sense you are indeed correct.

But the ATP still has that #6-40 ranking range in which just about anyone can beat anybody. I'm not sure, but I believe that, a couple of years ago, it went down even further, into #60 or so. But nowadays the #40-75 range on the ATP seems to have been contaminated by a number of useless challenger-level hacks.

On the WTA, we're still a long way from getting there, even though significant progresses have been made (I still remember the enthusiasm when, in mid-2007, we suddenly found ourselves with an extremely strong top 20, with a number of dangerous floaters all playing at quite a good level).

spartanfan
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:17 PM
The ATP hasn't been competitive at the very top in recent years (it didn't use to be that way - 1999-2003 were bedlam at the top in the ATP), so in that sense you are indeed correct.

But the ATP still has that #6-40 ranking range in which just about anyone can beat anybody. I'm not sure, but I believe that, a couple of years ago, it went down even further, into #60 or so. But nowadays the #40-75 range on the ATP seems to have been contaminated by a number of useless challenger-level hacks.

On the WTA, we're still a long way from getting there, even though significant progresses have been made (I still remember the enthusiasm when, in mid-2007, we suddenly found ourselves with an extremely strong top 20, with a number of dangerous floaters all playing at quite a good level).
I like your analysis, it's very evident that you follow both ATP and WTA very closely.

Lunaris
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:18 PM
i also think womens tennis has become very stale. if you think nav took it to a new level, then graf and seles did, then the williams sisters did, whos pushing tennis foreward now? its certainly not ivanovic, safina or jankovic there just picking up the pieces. azerenka is a less good version of sharapova. who is going to take womens tennis forward?
part of the reason a less than prime fitness serena can still pick off slams is because it hasn't been taken forward, seles couldn't win slams after 1996 because the game had just moved on and her fitness wasn't good enough, hingis didn't win one after 1999 because it moved on with power.
serena can still dominate and win because womens tennis if anything has taken a step back and i cant see anyone pushing it forward.
Women's tennis more than forward should perhaps take a step backward in terms of physical demands so that top players can catch up and get used to it. Injuries, burn outs and lack of consistency are results of incredible physical and mental pressure current rather unathletic top players have to face. The level established by Williams sisters, especially Serena in her prime, is what other players are yet to reach/are trying to reach. And that level is so high that we really don't need anyone to push the game even more forward in its physical aspects. Players need to reach that level first, then we can talk about further progress. I don't expect anyone from current top players to get there, though. Maybe next generation will be more successful in this regard or we we'll get stuck where we are for a while, let's see. Lesser players are catching up faster than top players are progressing btw.

partbrit
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:18 PM
I frequently wonder what became of players like Evert and Navratilova and Graf and Seles--players who were consistently good, who showed up and won. Of course, I think that all the racquet technology hurt both the WTA and the ATP. There are no only way too many injuries--the tennis just isn't as interesting to me. Watching the Chris and Billie Jean match last week had me captivated again; it isn't that I don't enjoy some of the matches now--they just aren't as filled with grace and cleverness.

There seems to be a real problem with mentality now. So many good players obviously do not believe they can win big titles.

spiritedenergy
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:19 PM
the problem is, the athleticism, power and mental toughness of the WS will remain unmatched for decades... The players today are trying to emulate them but will never be as good as them, especially on the mental side (Russians particularly are bad chokers). Maybe in few years someone like Henin or Myskina will come up and move the game forward... But I agree the state of the game is awful, the russian players play all pretty much the same game, have pretty much the same personality, and they do not bring any interest in tennis from fans (with few exceptions being Sharapova, Myskina). Once this second russian wave will be over, WTA will start looking better.

Monica_Rules
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:25 PM
I think it jsut sums up what us fans have been feeling for the past year.

I'm going to blame Justine, Justine vs Serena was the rivalry of the latter part of this decade and she bottled it out of the game.

I don't think any of the current crop of top players will change the game i think its the Larcher de britos, Laura Robson and the few young americans that will re vitalise the sport. Its going to happen at some point.

Expat
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:28 PM
I think that the solution is as Kart said. Acknowledge that womens tennis is a C version of mens tennis and start paying them accordingly.
Demanding equal pay when you can't deliver is a big joke.

goldenlox
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:45 PM
the problem is, the athleticism, power and mental toughness of the WS will remain unmatched for decades... The players today are trying to emulate them but will never be as good as them, especially on the mental side (Russians particularly are bad chokers). Maybe in few years someone like Henin or Myskina will come up and move the game forward... But I agree the state of the game is awful, the russian players play all pretty much the same game, have pretty much the same personality, and they do not bring any interest in tennis from fans (with few exceptions being Sharapova, Myskina). Once this second russian wave will be over, WTA will start looking better.Kournikova and Sharapova make your comments stupid.
As I said before, if a sexy player like Kirilenko was #1, people would be loving the women's tour.
There's nothing wrong with it. A lot of guys just aren't turned on by Sveta and Dinara, who are 1 and 2 in 2009 points

AnomyBC
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:46 PM
Fine, we all know the problems. Nobody wants to provide answers to the problems though, which irritates me.

It's like people want the WTA to fail just so they could say:

' I told you the WTA had gone shit'.

OK, here's the answer:

First, WTA officials need to go the UN and propose that an international law be passed requiring that all countries devote a certain percentage (maybe 5%) of their national budgets to recruiting and training promising young female tennis players in their own countries. The women selected for the training will be required to be not only talented but also attractive and marketable. Every country will be required to produce a certain number of Top 100 players relative their population---the larger the population the more Top 100 players they'll be required to produce---and any country that fails to meet the goals set for their country will face economic sanctions. Any country who votes against these proposed changes will be required to watch the AO '09, RG '09 and RG '04 finals in their entirety, after which time they'll be given an opportunity to change their vote.

Second, all Top 10 players will be required to play exceptionally high quality tennis in every match they play at a GS tournament, and especially the Finals, or else face forfeiture of their prize money. Later round matches will also be played 3 out of 5 sets.

Third, all top players who are judged to be "headcases" will be required to see a tour psychiatrist at least once a day in the weeks during and leading up all GS events and at least once a week for the rest of the year. These players will not be considered "cured" until they win multiple GS titles.

Fourth, any top player who manages to injure themselves in such a way that they can no longer compete for GS titles will be "put down" in a way similar to a race horse that breaks it's leg. All players will also be forced to attend weekly classes taught by Roger Federer on the subject of How To Not Injure Yourself Playing Tennis.

Fifth, any top player who announces an intention to retire early will be forced to watch the three finals mentioned above before being given an opportunity to change their minds. If they continue to insist on retiring they will then be shot to death.

Sixth, any unattractive, unmarketable player who wins a GS title will be forced to undergo plastic surgery and attend a six month program of intense "personality training" before being allowed to compete in any future GS tournaments.

Finally, if all else fails, the most highly marketable top players of the past 50 years will be required to donate egg and skin cells for a new WTA Laboratory for Cloning Research whose job it will be to clone these players and train them to play as well or better than their "parents". These clones will not be allowed to pursue any careers other than tennis and those who fail to become major tennis stars will be executed. Also, the "parents" of these clones will be forced to raise them and participate in their training. Any who refuse, or who refuse to donate cells to begin with, will be executed, at which time any necessary cells will be extracted and frozen for future cloning research.

Yes, I know some of these suggestions my sound harsh or extreme, but I believe that if these suggestions were all put into place that we could see the quality of play in women's tennis reach the level of men's tennis, or possibly even surpass it, in as little as 15-20 years. Anyone who does not believe it would be worth it should go watch the three above mentioned finals over and over again until they change their minds (most likely one viewing will be enough.)

OK, hope that was helpful :)

The Dawntreader
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:48 PM
OK, here's the answer:

First, WTA officials need to go the UN and propose that an international law be passed requiring that all countries devote a certain percentage (maybe 5%) of their national budgets to recruiting and training promising young female tennis players in their own countries. The women selected for the training will be required to be not only talented but also attractive and marketable. Every country will be required to produce a certain number of Top 100 players relative their population---the larger the population the more Top 100 players they'll be required to produce---and any country that fails to meet the goals set for their country will face economic sanctions. Any country who votes against these proposed changes will be required to watch the AO '09, RG '09 and RG '04 finals in their entirety, after which time they'll be given an opportunity to change their vote.

Second, all Top 10 players will be required to play exceptionally high quality tennis in every match they play at a GS tournament, and especially the Finals, or else face forfeiture of their prize money. Later round matches will also be played 3 out of 5 sets.

Third, all top players who are judged to be "headcases" will be required to see a tour psychiatrist at least once a day in the weeks during and leading up all GS events and at least once a week for the rest of the year. These players will be considered "cured" until they win multiple GS titles.

Fourth, any top player who manages to injure themselves in such a way that they can no longer compete for GS titles will be "put down" in a way similar to a race horse that breaks it's leg. All players will also be forced to attend weekly classes taught by Roger Federer on the subject of How To Not Injure Yourself Playing Tennis.

Fifth, any top player who announces an intention to retire early will be forced to watch the three finals mentioned above and before being given an opportunity to change their minds. If they continue to insist on retiring they will then be shot to death.

Sixth, any unattractive, unmarketable player who wins a GS title will be forced to undergo plastic surgery and attend a six month program of intense "personality training" before being allowed to compete in any future GS tournaments.

Finally, if all else fails, the most highly marketable top players of the past 50 years will be required to donate egg and skin cells for a new WTA Laboratory for Cloning Research whose job it will be to clone these players and train them to play as well or better than their "parents". These clones will not be allowed to pursue any careers other than tennis and those who fail to become major tennis stars will be executed. Also, the "parents" of these clones will be forced to raise them and participate in their training. Any who refuse, or who refuse to donate cells to begin with, will be executed, at which time any necessary cells will be extracted and frozen for future cloning research.

Yes, I know some of these suggestions my sound harsh or extreme, but I believe that if these suggestions were all put into place that we could see the quality of play in women's tennis reach the level of men's tennis, or possibly even surpass it, in as little as 15-20 years. Anyone who does not believe it would be worth it should go watch the three above mentioned finals over and over again until they change their minds (most likely one viewing will be enough.)

OK, hope that was helpful :)

At least you gave it your all:lol:

Expat
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:50 PM
Kournikova and Sharapova make your comments stupid.
As I said before, if a sexy player like Kirilenko was #1, people would be loving the women's tour.
There's nothing wrong with it. A lot of guys just aren't turned on by Sveta and Dinara, who are 1 and 2 in 2009 points
Ya looks are really important but look at a Henin. She was nowhere near sex goddess level but people for the most part knew that they could expect a certain level of tennis.
Federer or Murray are nowhere near the levels of Safin in terms of sexiness but people will pay to see their tennis. I don't think people want to see Safina choke in final after final.

sakya23
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:51 PM
reduce the calendar to give the women a longer off season. i like the fact that top ten players will have 3 weeks off after wimbledon.

Corswandt
Jun 21st, 2009, 11:53 PM
i agree, but i would have thought the williams sisters would have introduced the 'fast but attacking' player to the game more than it has, but it seems not. prehaps they did to 1 player in henin, who saw that combining great movement with great attacking skills would garner great results.

it will be sad for tennis if the williams sisters became an expection not the rule in years to come, as thats where it seemed womens tennis was heading.

Recruitment problems. I suspect that tennis is losing the gifted athletes to other sports - particularly team sports. They pay less than tennis, but it's a steady wage, and that may appeal to many.

The Dawntreader
Jun 22nd, 2009, 12:00 AM
reduce the calendar to give the women a longer off season. i like the fact that top ten players will have 3 weeks off after wimbledon.

I agree about the flaws in the season. I saw 'flaws', but they're actually pretty fatalistic. Roadmap has only served in providing more tennis in a shorter space of time. No wonder injuries and withdrawals are rife.

spiritedenergy
Jun 22nd, 2009, 12:01 AM
Kournikova and Sharapova make your comments stupid.
As I said before, if a sexy player like Kirilenko was #1, people would be loving the women's tour.
There's nothing wrong with it. A lot of guys just aren't turned on by Sveta and Dinara, who are 1 and 2 in 2009 points

:weirdo:

Kournikova wasn't an asset for tennis at all, during her "fame years" there were great players with great personalities playing and her absence was hardly noticed. Addtionally she was very skilled and talented much more than today's clones.
Sharapova is a ballbasher but not brainless, she's mentally tough and she gives great matches in finals, SF of slams, she never chokes so people can expect to see what they pay for. Sharapova alone though wouldn't save the tour, she was great in the mix with Clijsters, Henin, Mauresmo, Myskina, WS, etc.

Safina is a brainless ballbasher; additionally a choker, so you expect abysymal display in slams when most people watch. Her game is also horrid (in my opinion) and doesn't give justice to the past champions of the WTA. Dementieva and Petrova, pretty much clones of Safina. Kuznetsova is more talented but she usally chokes and resorts to brainless ballbashing. Zvonareva's game (sorry to her fans) is bland and boring, just bashing left and right from the baseline and running around. Azarenka is a bad clone of Sharapova.

These are the (bielo)russians players in the top-10 for you.:wavey:

goldenlox
Jun 22nd, 2009, 12:03 AM
Ya looks are really important but look at a Henin. She was nowhere near sex goddess level but people for the most part knew that they could expect a certain level of tennis.
Federer or Murray are nowhere near the levels of Safin in terms of sexiness but people will pay to see their tennis. I don't think people want to see Safina choke in final after final.As I typed earlier in this thread, when Henin was winning EVERY match, people weren't talking about how great the tour was.
They were saying it when Kournikova and Hingis were insulting everyone.

Lunaris
Jun 22nd, 2009, 12:08 AM
i agree, but i would have thought the williams sisters would have introduced the 'fast but attacking' player to the game more than it has, but it seems not. prehaps they did to 1 player in henin, who saw that combining great movement with great attacking skills would garner great results.

it will be sad for tennis if the williams sisters became an expection not the rule in years to come, as thats where it seemed womens tennis was heading.
Kuznetsova could be such player, but she's been wasting her potential more than not. Aside from her ehm... Lisicki perhaps? Maybe I should start following juniors a bit more.

xan
Jun 22nd, 2009, 12:49 AM
The problems of the Womens Tour are:

1. Injuries. Sidelining too many of the best players too often. The WtA needs to get on to this.

2. Poor quality performance from many players. In other words too many chokes and tanks in major matches, which should be showcases for the womens game. Solve that, and you're 90% towards a solution of the probs.

AnomyBC
Jun 22nd, 2009, 12:53 AM
The problems of the Womens Tour are:

1. Injuries. Sidelining too many of the best players too often. The WtA needs to get on to this.

2. Poor quality performance from many players. In other words too many chokes and tanks in major matches, which should be showcases for the womens game. Solve that, and you're 90% towards a solution of the probs.

No mention of early retirements??? :confused:

Temperenka
Jun 22nd, 2009, 01:06 AM
Just look at which top players bring their A-game consistently and how many tourrnaments those players compete in a year, and you have your answer. More restrictions NEED to be set in this regard.

Golovinjured.
Jun 22nd, 2009, 01:06 AM
It's true about the injuries and early retirements wreaking havok, but the women should have 5 set matches for GS finals and YEC finals.

If they want the same prizemoney they gotta put up or shut up.

Mikey B
Jun 22nd, 2009, 01:07 AM
best article ive read on the state of women's tennis... great read, despite being truthfully dark and slightly depressing!!!

duhcity
Jun 22nd, 2009, 01:14 AM
i also find it worrying that certain posters now expect nothing from slam semis and finals. the showcases of womens tennis should be the time for it to show itself off, for fans of the sport to expect nothing of these just shows what a dire state its now in.

if womens tennis could put on a show in the semis and finals of the next couple of slams it would take the pressure off, but who out of the players are going to deliver great semis and finals? serena is the only one to be counted on, even venus can only bring it at 1 of the slams.

Not even Serena can be counted on. Some of her AO matches were rough.

I thought last year's Wimbledon and USO finals were pretty good. Nothing to write home about but I wasn't cringing while watching.

Albireo
Jun 22nd, 2009, 01:21 AM
Same old negative shit that doesn't make allowance for the way in which things have changed since the days of the "rivalries".

Graf made her way to SF and even finals by breadsticking sucky scrubs who couldn't hit more than 3 shots without making a wild error. Today's top players have it much tougher as most top 100 players can now put up much more of a fight than ever before, and the game has become much more demanding (even grueling) from both a physical and mental POV as the elite often has to fight (or at least make an effort) to clear even the earliest rounds. Reaching the final stages of tournaments week in, week in is virtually impossible without risking burnout and/or injuries, and thus none of the top players are able to perform at a consistently high level for long. Their careers also tend to finish earlier.

Things aren't going to improve until the athleticism and resilience of the top players catches up with the new reality. And considering how much tennis is struggling to recruit good athletes, a recruitment where it now has to compete with many other sports, that may still take a while.

Well said (as usual).

What they're also not comprehending is that introducing best-of-5 into Slam matches (or elsewhere) is going to exacerbate the injuries and burnout. Sure, you can go best-of-5 in the finals, but that's not going to help matters; adding another few sets of poor-quality tennis and possible meltdowns isn't going to give a better accounting of things.

Albireo
Jun 22nd, 2009, 01:25 AM
The problems of the Womens Tour are:

1. Injuries. Sidelining too many of the best players too often. The WtA needs to get on to this.

2. Poor quality performance from many players. In other words too many chokes and tanks in major matches, which should be showcases for the womens game. Solve that, and you're 90% towards a solution of the probs.

Yes, but how do you SOLVE the problems? The injuries are the easier problem to solve, and yet either the Tour is keeping its head in the sand about them, or their solutions have made things worse.

Anyone with the numbers want to compare retirements-per-year over the last five years?

AcesHigh
Jun 22nd, 2009, 01:54 AM
I agree with the article and, at the same time, what Corswandt and others are saying.

Honestly though, if we had 2-3 players playing consistent high-level tennis, we would be completely distracted from the mess the WTA is. The problem is the ENTIRE TOUR is in shambles.

After Sampras retired, the ATP was a mess with no one taking the mantle. This was when I personally got more interested in women's tennis as WS, Hingis, Davenport, etc. started to duke it out. I pray to god that the WTA is just going through the same thing only to see a Federer, and then Nadal (and then Murray, Djokovic, etc.) rise out of the rubble.

The problem is even though the men's tour was a mess from around 2000-2003, there were still classic matches. Right now, we're getting nothing from women's tennis.. no rivalries, no classic matches, no consistent top players.. nothing. The game might have reached a level where it cannot possibly be sustained by most of the women on tour. It's possibly too physical stressful, draining and their bodies(and minds) can't take it. We also might be suffering from recruitment issues where we are missing out on great female athlete.s

homogenius
Jun 22nd, 2009, 01:56 AM
Same old negative shit that doesn't make allowance for the way in which things have changed since the days of the "rivalries".

Graf made her way to SF and even finals by breadsticking sucky scrubs who couldn't hit more than 3 shots without making a wild error. Today's top players have it much tougher as most top 100 players can now put up much more of a fight than ever before, and the game has become much more demanding (even grueling) from both a physical and mental POV as the elite often has to fight (or at least make an effort) to clear even the earliest rounds. Reaching the final stages of tournaments week in, week in is virtually impossible without risking burnout and/or injuries, and thus none of the top players are able to perform at a consistently high level for long. Their careers also tend to finish earlier.

Things aren't going to improve until the athleticism and resilience of the top players catches up with the new reality. And considering how much tennis is struggling to recruit good athletes, a recruitment where it now has to compete with many other sports, that may still take a while.

yep That and the fact that women have to deal with much more pressure than before : a lot more money is involed (also meaning that you much more marketing obligations), the media attention is not the same (now every little sentence or move is dissected on the internet, same with the matches while before people got to see only big events on tv and that was it), etc...

pav
Jun 22nd, 2009, 03:11 AM
Many writers are always denigrating eastern european players, if they did the same to the (trendily named) african american players there would be an uproar!but the eastern euros seem fair game.
Re.spiritedenergy's quote : Zvonareva's game (sorry to her fans) is bland and boring, just bashing left and right from the baseline and running around. Apart from net approaching, volleying and some drop shots which you can't have seen ,what else is she expected to do? break racquets and cry all the time? some can't win!
The Willy's certainly don't lower the male's testosterone tank level! Someone writing that if Masha K. was #1 it would be popular, but while a pretty girl I've never detected a trace of personality from her! I think it is good the way it is, I meen look back at Navrat and Graf boredom city !

Sharapower
Jun 22nd, 2009, 03:13 AM
First of all, anyone suggesting that women should play best of 5 sets instantly loses my respect. If anything, I would even be advocating that men don’t play best of 5 anymore: for both genders, the game has become physically taxing at such an incredible level to justify that.

What’s happened to the women’s tour in the last few years is actually the pitfall of Larry Scott’s commercial success: Too many tournaments, too many mandatory events. Sponsors are craving to have a big event in their name, so the WTA’s plans to reduce the number of Tier 1 events couldn’t be carried out; actually, what happened is the contrary, we now have 19 “Premier” tournaments instead of the former 12 Tier 1’s. No wonder then, that players are injured or burnt-out.

The Williams Sisters actually showed the tennis world the way to go: Playing less events but playing quality tennis and remaining in good health. It’s as simple as that.

azinna
Jun 22nd, 2009, 05:46 AM
Physically and mentally, it takes much more now (than it did in the 70s, 80s & 90s) to produce 2-4 consistent champions capable of giving us competitive matches in most big tournaments. That's mostly a result of advances in technology and training. But it requires an adequate response from the tour, and we didn't get one. Certainly not a Roadmap designed to nurture rather than over-exploit the star talent.

There's no getting round a return to rewarding quality over quantity. At a minimum, we need to go back to the Divisor or Best-12 system for rankings. Bonus/quality points. And a longer off-season. The powers-that-be have to start thinking of tennis seasons as being too physical to be analogized to golf seasons, rather than baseball or football, and thus requiring similar periods for rest, rehabilitation and proper rebuilding/retooling.

Sure, the changes would upset several sponsors. But the sport is eating its young and mature alike. Becoming incapable of sustaining its stars and rivalries. And ending up with a product that simply isn't marketable.

scheele
Jun 22nd, 2009, 07:14 AM
I read this in The Observer. I like the 5 setter idea a lot.

Corswandt
Jun 22nd, 2009, 09:50 AM
yep That and the fact that women have to deal with much more pressure than before : a lot more money is involed (also meaning that you much more marketing obligations), the media attention is not the same (now every little sentence or move is dissected on the internet, same with the matches while before people got to see only big events on tv and that was it), etc...

Additional pressure, yes. Players who find themselves in major finals tend to freak out because they feel it may be their only shot at a big title, since they know their careers will be short, their time at the top probably even shorter, and above all that nothing is to be taken for granted anymore. Major finals have become once in a lifetime opportunities - life or death issues even.

Players who due to their perceived marketability and/or talent were hyped (and sponsored) from early on are under huge pressure to deliver - this was arguably what killed Vaidisova's career.

Players back in the good ole' days in which 14 of the top 16 seeds made it into the 4R of the Slams acted with poise and played their best or near to it in the latter rounds of big tournaments as they were confident that they would easily reach them in many further occasions.

Didn't even address the "equal pay = best of 5" argument until now because it doesn't hold up to common sense. By this logic, cinema or theatre ticket prices would vary according to the length of the films or plays. And as other people have pointed out, if it's clear that the athleticism and stamina of the top players is lagging behind the increased physical and mental demands of the game, in what way exactly would going best of 5 help to improve that?

sammy01
Jun 22nd, 2009, 09:57 AM
i would only go for best of 5 sets in a slam final, just because its such a special thing that players should push themselves to the limit to win one.

Hazel
Jun 22nd, 2009, 11:03 AM
Physically and mentally, it takes much more now (than it did in the 70s, 80s & 90s) to produce 2-4 consistent champions capable of giving us competitive matches in most big tournaments. That's mostly a result of advances in technology and training. But it requires an adequate response from the tour, and we didn't get one. Certainly not a Roadmap designed to nurture rather than over-exploit the star talent.

There's no getting round a return to rewarding quality over quantity. At a minimum, we need to go back to the Divisor or Best-12 system for rankings. Bonus/quality points. And a longer off-season. The powers-that-be have to start thinking of tennis seasons as being too physical to be analogized to golf seasons, rather than baseball or football, and thus requiring similar periods for rest, rehabilitation and proper rebuilding/retooling.

Sure, the changes would upset several sponsors. But the sport is eating its young and mature alike. Becoming incapable of sustaining its stars and rivalries. And ending up with a product that simply isn't marketable.

I agree fully that it's time to reward quality not quantity. Some tournaments are not even half attended by 'fans', so have fewer tournaments and make more of a razamatazz about them.