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View Full Version : Why is it that people say 18 year olds can't be elite players unless they are already


Gowza
Feb 13th, 2003, 12:43 AM
people have been saying that certain players because they are already 18 have no chance of being an elite player or haven't shown that they could be. apparently no one can improve once they hit the age of 18. well lina k was mentioned, she is 18 and she just beat seles 7-5 7-5.

so then what happens? people start saying monica is getting tired and old, if she does't finish the year in the top 10 then it is not a big win.

lina also took monica to 3 sets a couple of weeks ago. some people just fcan't handle it when young players come through.

King Lindsay
Feb 13th, 2003, 12:49 AM
gowza, look at most of the legends of the women's game. Where were they when they were 18? where was Hingis? Evert? seles? Graf? Venus? Serena? And so on and so on. Nobody saying if you haven't won a major by age 18 you never will (davenport, Navratilova, Novotna), but if you're going to do it, the chances are at age 18 you'll be in the top ten.

BK4ever
Feb 13th, 2003, 12:52 AM
Lina is not a good example. Had it not been for injury that led to being off the tour most of last season, she would probably be one of the contenders right now...she did very well as a 15 and 16 year old.

Volcana
Feb 13th, 2003, 03:27 AM
Nobody's saying their can't be exceptions. But who's the last GS winner who wasn't top ten by the time she was 18?

Majoli as born in 1977, and ended 1995 ranked #9. Age 18.

Gowza
Feb 13th, 2003, 03:29 AM
why do we have to base the performance of young up and coming players on those who have come before them? each player is different and develops at different times and at different speeds.

Volcana
Feb 13th, 2003, 04:04 AM
why do we have to base the performance of young up and coming players on those who have come before them?

I don't know Gowza. Som of it is, a lot of people in sports are into records. Who won how many GS titles? Who won how many titles on clay? Who was the youngest when they won a GS title? All that is basing 'the performance of young up and coming players on those who have come before them.'

Some folks like to figure out early who's going to be a star and follow them. Venus Williams got pulled out of juniors cause she was clobbering kids three years odler than here. Does that mean the next 9 year old who's beating 12 year olds is the next Venus Williams? No. But that's likely to be a damn good player.

Is it more significant to win a title at 16 or 26? Well, if we measure against those who have gone before, all other things being equal, it's more significant to win at 16. If we ignore what we've learned in life, than what's the difference?

why do we have to base the performance of young up and coming players on those who have come before them?

Because that's historically the most accurate basis on which to judge them?

Because using knowledge combined with observation has historically uyielded more accurate results than guesswork or intuition?

What would be a better way measure of the performance of a player, than how s/he's against her peers, and against the past?

Gowza
Feb 13th, 2003, 04:23 AM
i really don't mind people making comparisons. but when someone says there is not much hope of her being an elite player because she is now 18 and hasn't done anything amazing, i just think it is unfair.

with lina she has had injuries and been interrupted and so has ally baker and elke clijsters. they don't take these things into account.

someone said kuznetsova or zvonareva won't be an elite player because they haven't done anything special. i guess taking a set off serena when only a couple of people in that year have is nothing.

people also don't take into account that the game is changing. it is changing in a way that players have to develop physically before they can compete at the very top. how is a 16 year old meant to have the same mucle as a 21 year old? they also don't believe that the age eligibility rule has changed anything when it clearly has when you take into account that players are not physically developed to compete at the top at that age, they therefore need to play more so they get the ranking points.

it is all well and good to say a 16 year old has as good a chance to be #1 in the world because serena did it in 13 tournaments and the age rule allows that many played pr however many it is but the player is physically developed and finds it harder to compete because of that therefore you shouldnt compare the players.

if you compare in a fair way then i'm fine with it but people are not comparing things in a fair way.

Volcana
Feb 13th, 2003, 04:58 AM
Gowza, the way things have been measured, the game itself have changed down through the years. But players who don't make the top ten young don't win GS titles. The reasons don't matter. Making the top ten is a VERY low bar. You can do it without winning a tournament. Kournikova and Dementieva both did. This IS fair. There hasn't been an exception to the rule for at least 35 years. Possibly the whole Open era.

So what I'm saying is you should be good enough to achieve a goal that doesn't even require winning a tournament, by 18. Sorry, bro' but unless you intend to provide an example of aplayer who breaks this pattern, it seems legit.

Sam L
Feb 13th, 2003, 05:07 AM
Jana Novotna did not enter the top ten until she hit 20 or older I think and she ended up winning a tournament.

Mary Joe Fernendez was a promising teenager who was in the top ten early but never ended up winning a grand slam.

I think in the end it's up to the individual, all these predictions based on "numbers" are tiring. We're dealing with people who play a sport here, not the stock market or science experiments.

Gowza
Feb 13th, 2003, 05:13 AM
i'm saying a new pattern is emerging. this generation should be the first to break the pattern. bovina, zvonareva, kuznetsova. these players look to be top contenders to challenge for grand slam titles and they haven't hit top 10 yet. in ten in years comeback and ask me for a player who has broken the pattern and i'm sure i will be able to give you a few.

Lisbeth
Feb 13th, 2003, 05:50 AM
When did Davenport make the top 10? I think she was about 22 when she won her first slam.

bobcat
Feb 13th, 2003, 06:41 AM
I think part of the reason is that women's bodies tend to mature pretty early and that most are more or less fully matured by the age of 18.

King Lindsay
Feb 13th, 2003, 07:13 AM
Lindsay was a top ten player in her first full season, 1994.

Sharapower
Feb 13th, 2003, 07:28 AM
In this debate we must take into account that the WTA changed the rules, not allowing girls under 16 years age to play in WTA tourneys with a restriction on number of tournaments. So in the current field we have girls who began very early, 14-15 on the tour (the case of Hingis-retired and of Venus Williams) and those who began rather at 16-17 : Serena, Kim, Justine, Daniela, Jelena and all the young generation.
A girl like Martina was able to reach #1 at less than 17 obviously because she began on the tour earlyer (at age 14) : then it took 3 years before she got the full rhythm of the tour as a very top-player and everyone agrees she was kind of a prodigy.
With the younger girls, assuming they enter the WTA tour at 17, you can't expect them to peak before 20 or even 21 (see Serena : began on the tour at 16 (1997) and peaking now at 21/22 (though she won a GS in 1999, aged 18) .
I don't think the purely physical question matters a lot considering that women are in the highest of their physical potential between 18 and 24/25 (sometimes even older).
It's rather all a matter of maturing their specific tennis skills : strokes, tactics, vision of the game at the high level.
If there wasn't the total domination of Serena and before her, Venus and Martina, the majors would likely be won by Kim, Justine and Daniela who are around 20 or 21 now. So the assumption in the thread topic seems false to me.

Sam L
Feb 13th, 2003, 11:17 AM
Great post quasimodo! :cool:

Thanks for bringing up the topic of "age eligibility rules".

Volcana
Feb 13th, 2003, 11:06 PM
The AER is totally irrelevant. Serena came up under it, and Venus might as well have, since she played far less than allowed. And both were roundly and often criticized for pulling out of tournaments injured. So to me, niether injuries no opportunity os what holding these players back. If anything is holding back the development of these players, it likely their own talent level.

As a coach in another sport once said "You are what your record says you are."

Gowza
Feb 13th, 2003, 11:38 PM
to me an 'elite' player is one that will be in the top 10 or these days top 15 is going to be a task when daniilidou and bovina take their places up there.

venus and serena are two of the greatest of all time. to me that is above the elite.

venus and serena are in the list of elite players of all time but there is also a list of elite players for each generation which is basically the top 10 of that time.

King Lindsay
Feb 13th, 2003, 11:45 PM
Gowza, please quit arguing with Volcana. You can't possibly win.

i like how you call Venus and serena above elite, and then in the next sentence, you refer to them as elite players.

Gowza
Feb 13th, 2003, 11:49 PM
i said there are two types of elite.

in terms of the elite i am talking about they are above the elite. when you put them with current top 10 players like henin then they are above the elite but when you put them with the legends they are ONLY elite.

see, two types of elite, i didn't contradict myself.

King Lindsay
Feb 14th, 2003, 12:03 AM
No, not at all.

Anyway, the answer to the question posed by this thread is that everybody who goes on to win a major is in the top ten by age 18. And major winners is what Volcana is talking about when he says elite players, I think.

and if you're just talking about top ten prospects, then nobody is saying these girls can't make the top ten because they aren't already. Plenty of people have done it at a later stage in their careers.

Gowza
Feb 14th, 2003, 12:06 AM
top 10 players that MIGHT challenge for a slam a couple of times in their career.

King Lindsay
Feb 14th, 2003, 12:14 AM
Challenge, maybe. Winning? History seems to rule that out.

CoryAnnAvants#1
Feb 14th, 2003, 12:36 AM
I think the main reason is because girls tend to develop quicker physically than guys. Most girls stop growing when they are 16 or so. Many guys even sprout a couple of inches during college and players with skinny builds as 18 year olds tend to fill out more over the next three years. Look at Rafter. It's hard to be a successful serve and volleyer as a teen when you look like you came straight out of Munchkin Land. When he got taller and stronger, it was easier to play a serve and volley style, and his results got much better as a consequence.

Asmus
Feb 14th, 2003, 01:25 AM
The WTA now has stricter rules so that players cannot start to play a full schedule until they are 18. That is why Clijsters, Henin-H and Dokic didn't reach the top ten until this age. It's called "The Capriati Rule."

Of course, the last player to escape that rule has just announced retirement at age 22! Perhaps they should make the rule even stricter, like no player under the age of twenty is allowed to play more than twenty tournaments until they get rid of their crazy fathers!

caseyl45
Feb 14th, 2003, 02:10 AM
Originally posted by King Lindsay
Anyway, the answer to the question posed by this thread is that everybody who goes on to win a major is in the top ten by age 18. And major winners is what Volcana is talking about when he says elite players, I think.

So, let me make sure I understand you right. Since they weren't top ten players by the time they turned 18, you don't think that players like Hantuchova, Clijsters, or Henin-Hardenne are capable of winning Grand Slams? I don't know, I think I would have to disagree with that. Right now, Hantuchova doesn't look like she's ready to win a Slam, but she's still young, and I would argue that both of the Belgians are capable of it (possibly this year), and neither of them were top ten players before they turned 18.
I agree that the Age Eligibility Rules (AER) are going to have an effect on future generations. Yes, Serena Williams is number one at age 21 and is a no-doubt Hall-of-Famer, but even she was a relatively late bloomer when compared to some women's legends. Graf was a top ten player at 16 and Seles was top ten at 15. Both of them were number one at 18, and Seles got there before that. If the AER have had no affect on players, then where was Serena at that age? She and Seles were about the same age when they turned pro, so if the AER didn't keep her out of the top ten, then what did?

bobcat
Feb 14th, 2003, 06:06 AM
Kim was born was born on Jun 8, 1983 and finished 2001 ranked #5, so she was indeed top 10 by the age of 18.

caseyl45
Feb 14th, 2003, 06:19 AM
Originally posted by bobcat
Kim was born was born on Jun 8, 1983 and finished 2001 ranked #5, so she was indeed top 10 by the age of 18.

No, she wasn't. She didn't turn 18 until the day before she played the Roland Garros final, and she didn't enter the top ten until after that event was done, so she missed by a couple of days. She was in the top ten at eighteen, but not by the time she turned eighteen. There's not much of a difference, I'll admit, but there is a difference, nonetheless.

bobcat
Feb 14th, 2003, 06:22 AM
Originally posted by caseyl45
No, she wasn't. She didn't turn 18 until the day before she played the Roland Garros final, and she didn't enter the top ten until after that event was done, so she missed by a couple of days. She was in the top ten at eighteen, but not by the time she turned eighteen. There's not much of a difference, I'll admit, but there is a difference, nonetheless.

Oh gimme a break...:rolleyes:

caseyl45
Feb 14th, 2003, 06:24 AM
Originally posted by bobcat
Oh gimme a break...:rolleyes:

It's true. I'm sorry, but it is.:p

Sam L
Feb 14th, 2003, 06:29 AM
A question: Do any of you really believe that tennis players' careers are defined by these statistics and history? That the likes of Bovina and Krasnoroutskaya or whoever cannot win a grand slam in another 5 years or so because they're not in the top ten already?

I mean really, do you believe in that?

Also if you were them, do you think they would believe it? (I mean I'm guessing if they did, they would've hung their racquets by now and found another career?)