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View Full Version : Tennis fans cheated out of natural progression of champions by sudden retirements


Hulet
Feb 16th, 2004, 10:07 AM
Okay, this thread is just an extension of the discussion I had with my friend yesterday who knows a LOT more about tennis, and sports in general, than me. We were talking about the constant withdrawal from tournaments of the Williams sisters with injuries and how it affects the tour. My friend was of the opinion that, as long as the sisters come back to play for some extended duration eventually, it doesn't affect the tour that much.He says, as long as the recent champions of the tour (Justine and Clijsters) are given an opportunity to play against the slumping but always dangerous previous champions of the tour (Serena, Venus, Jennifer, Lindsay), then the tour would have a natural progression of champions.

He thinks most sports follow the same set of scripts and one of the most important plots in these scripts is the "former-champion-in-the-twilights-of-her-career vs an-upcomer-pretender-to-the-throne" matches. So, that's why he is very critical of Martina Hingis, who he thinks retired from the tour just when she figured out she is not the number one girl on the tour anymore. He says she was a "coward" (his words and I think that's harsh) for not playing against the big babes when they were just about to ascend to the throne. He thinks this created a void in the tour and did tennis a greater disservice b/c it removed a slight bit of credibility from the next set of champions/dominators of the tour.

I have to admit I had to agree with him (which I don't like to do) in the end, do you? Do you believe Martina's sudden retirement did tennis a greater disservice than the constant withdrawal of the sisters?

moby
Feb 16th, 2004, 10:53 AM
no because martina's retirement was caused by injuries...

zoguet
Feb 16th, 2004, 11:28 AM
no because martina's retirement was caused by injuries...


Cause doesn't matter.

CinnamoninCinema
Feb 16th, 2004, 11:40 AM
Cause doesn't matter.

It does if you want to call her a coward for retiring.

CinnamoninCinema
Feb 16th, 2004, 11:41 AM
But I don't agree with that anyway. Hingis passed the torch long before her retirement.

~ The Leopard ~
Feb 16th, 2004, 11:48 AM
What's this "scripts" and "plots" business? That might apply to fake sports like World Wrestling Entertainment. It has nothing to do with real sports like tennis. There is no responsibility on players to continue beyond their prime unless they do so out of sheer enjoyment of the game. If they want to continue, let 'em. If they want to go out on a high note like Graf and Sampras, that's also fine. In Marti's case, she didn't have a lot of choice, since she is injured.

saki
Feb 16th, 2004, 11:58 AM
I sort of see the point. There wasn't a 'changing of the guard' moment with Hingis and the Williams sisters - no moment like Graf's first Wimbledon title in 1987 d. Navratilova or Navratilova's last Wimbledon final loss to Conchita Martinez, nor even a gradual fading away as with Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario - we just lost Hingis unexpectedly. That said, it's clearly not her fault that she picked up a chronic injury, nor should she be expected to play on just to provide more emotional matches.

irinska
Feb 16th, 2004, 12:52 PM
Your friend is some thinker ! Now, Marti is guilty than the others can't play an attractive tennis . and she should ignore her healt and come back to entertain him . Very smart !

skanky~skanketta
Feb 16th, 2004, 01:02 PM
i dont see why ppl call martina a coward. even if she had retired cuz she wasnt #1 anymore, i think that says alot about her. she wouldnt settle for anything less. thats a good quality to have. perhaps she felt that she couldnt develop muscles and stuff so she just retired. (what?i'm actually defending maritna???)

who cares anyway?she has millions in her pockets now, the bitch.

jimbo mack
Feb 16th, 2004, 01:03 PM
martina could play if she wanted to

its not her injuries that is stopping her

she doesnt want to be a perrenial quarter-finalist/ semi-finalist, she wants to be the champion all the time, thats what she's used to. she wont be content with less

i mean, i like her and everything, but she was a very bad loser (french open 99 is one example)

jimbo mack
Feb 16th, 2004, 01:07 PM
i dont see why ppl call martina a coward. even if she had retired cuz she wasnt #1 anymore, i think that says alot about her. she wouldnt settle for anything less. thats a good quality to have. perhaps she felt that she couldnt develop muscles and stuff so she just retired. (what?i'm actually defending maritna???)

who cares anyway?she has millions in her pockets now, the bitch.

tennis shouldnt be about winning. it should be about competing and trying your best.

if u give up something because ur not getting ur own way all the time, it doesnt say very much for u as a person

i'm not bashing martina in any way and i'd love for her to come back..................which is quite possible

starr
Feb 16th, 2004, 01:08 PM
For that one example, her fans could name innumerable examples of her perfect good cheer upon losing. For instance please recall her losing to Serena Williams at the U.S.O. Even Serena praised Martina for her friendilness after the loss. That's just one example. There are many many more.

Scorch
Feb 16th, 2004, 01:12 PM
For God's sake!!! Martina H has stated on NUMEROUS occasions that she cannot put the required effort into training or playing matches because her feet cause her too much pain. She has come to the decision that rather than continuing to play through pain and risk further and more serious injury she must retire from the game. She has said over and over again that she would not want to play when she is unable to give 100% and that she could not stand to play under 100% and lose to players she would otherwise beat.

Anyone who CONTINUES to blindly make dumb ass statements like 'she could come back if she wanted to...' is actually making the statement 'Martina is a liar' which is a whole other debate for which there is no proof.

TonyP
Feb 16th, 2004, 01:14 PM
This is pretty flawed thinking on your friends part. It assumes that Hingis did NOT have injuries. She did. How does your friend know that she didn't? Is he/she a doctor who has examined Hingis? Her retirement was not of her own choosing.

It also assumes that the torch has passed on to the Williams sisters. Right now, it looks like the torch is in the hands of the Belgian sisters, not the Williams sisters. Venus, in particular, appears to have had a very brief vogue. But the fact is, Hingis played the Williams dead even,16-16 in head to head career stats. She only began to lose regularly to them because of her injuries. But Hingis' defeat of Serena Williams twice in a row in early 2001 and her shallacing of Venus 6-1, 6-1 in the semi-finals of the Australian Open 2001, a victory coming after Venus had already come into her own, proved that Hingis was a match for the Williams sisters, if she had her mobitlity. She was no match for them without it.

Martian Willow
Feb 16th, 2004, 01:52 PM
Okay, this thread is just an extension of the discussion I had with my friend yesterday who knows a LOT more about tennis, and sports in general, than me...

...apparently he doesn't know much at all about anything...even ignoring the injury (which is stupid in itself) Martina had already been overtaken before she retired...there is absolutely no onus on any player to continue competing when they don't want to...it wouldn't have been doing tennis much of a service for Martina to drag her damaged body around the world humiliating herself for the sake of your dickhead of a friend... :)

jimbo mack
Feb 16th, 2004, 01:56 PM
i think alot of u people are being very naive

she CAN come back, she has already said she is considering a return

its not any injuries thats stopping her, its whether she has the will power and motivation

Volcana
Feb 16th, 2004, 02:03 PM
IS there such a thing as a 'natural progression' of champions?

That aside, I think the answer is 'no'.

What happens in the case of the Williams sisters and with Martina Hingis, and Monica and Steffi, for that matter, is that we don't get a chance to test OUR pre-concieved notions against the real world. Justine wins RG, Serena wins WB, you naturally WANT to see them play at US. And we didn't get to. But its not guaranteed they would have played. Nothing ever is. That's not a cheat, and it's not a deviation from 'natural progression'. If anything, it shows us what 'natural progression' actually is. Sudden, unexpected change producing results we didn't anticipate.

So retirements actually force us to deal with 'natural progression', instead of staying inside the nice tidy world of our own expectations. Hadn't Mary Pierce been long since surpassed by RG 2000? Apparently not.

Scorch
Feb 16th, 2004, 02:05 PM
what evidence do you have that the injury is not as serious as has been reported?

what you call naivety I call giving someone the benefit of the doubt. I think that you have to have a bias against someone to choose not to believe what they say regardless of there not being any spec of evidence that they are lying.

Volcana
Feb 16th, 2004, 02:07 PM
she CAN come back, she has already said she is considering a return
Please provide us with a source for that quote. I cannot take your word for it because your statement is at odds with everything I've ever heard her say on the subject.

starr
Feb 16th, 2004, 02:10 PM
i think alot of u people are being very naive

she CAN come back, she has already said she is considering a return

its not any injuries thats stopping her, its whether she has the will power and motivation
Where have you been? At the AO when she was asked about playing again, she said that she simply could not take the pounding on her feet to train 4 to 6 hours a day. She said she was not considering a return.

jimbo mack
Feb 16th, 2004, 02:12 PM
Please provide us with a source for that quote. I cannot take your word for it because your statement is at odds with everything I've ever heard her say on the subject.


there's two threads about it!!!! it was on british bbc teletext, eurosport and ITV ,and her quotes are in these 2 threads

i'll let u find the threads, it was jus after the australian open had finished

i dont think that 3 major television networks would jus be making up her quotes???

starr
Feb 16th, 2004, 02:13 PM
what evidence do you have that the injury is not as serious as has been reported?

what you call naivety I call giving someone the benefit of the doubt. I think that you have to have a bias against someone to choose not to believe what they say regardless of there not being any spec of evidence that they are lying.
SO true. I mean there are players I don't believe because it's been proven their word isn't reliable. Maybe they aren't lying, maybe they are only often mistaken. But Martina has been flagrantly and rashly open and honest in interviews for most of her career. I think she underplayed her foot condition most of her career but other than that......... She was much too honest for her own good.

Volcana
Feb 16th, 2004, 02:21 PM
there's two threads about it!!!! it was on british bbc teletext, eurosport and ITV ,and her quotes are in these 2 threads
Thank you. I know I was around during OZ, and somehow I completely missed ANY quotes stating she was considering returning. I saw lots of people write what THEY thought, but Martina has been very consistent about saying she won't return and why.

irma
Feb 16th, 2004, 02:39 PM
Not everybody can be like Nav;)

Even if Martina the second had never gone through any surgery and still would have retired then it had been her choice and life

per4ever
Feb 16th, 2004, 02:48 PM
Martina was injured of course, but I think she could still play with it, but probably not at the highest level anymore (top 5-10). I think that a real topplayer, a real winner can't accept that. Steffi retired when she was still at the top, but feeling that she wouldn't be the absolute top much longer, and it was time for other players to take over. Look at Andre Agassi, he'll play as long as he knows he's still one of the best out there and when he's playing he's best he can beat everyone. When he realises that that isn't possible anymore, he'll retire.

Same thing will happen with Justine, Serena.. they can't stand losing.

Volcana
Feb 16th, 2004, 03:03 PM
You can't be top 10 if you play a tournement once every 2 months.
Yes you can. Serena Williasms has only played five tournrmanets in the past twelve months. That's less than once every two months.

TonyP
Feb 16th, 2004, 03:20 PM
Martina has explained the injury situation over and over again and the evidence was there for all to see toward the end of her playing days in 2002. Even her worst critics admitted she was moving around the court much slower than in her prime.

Hingis' game was not a power game. It was based on anticipation and great court coverage. Without her mobility, she could not achieve that coverage. She could not regain that mobility with the foot problems she was experiencing, unless she was willing to go on playing in pain. After something like two years of playing in pain, she decided she had had enough. For her, taking pain pills regularly was not an option.

So she was faced with continuing to play at well below her best, or retirement.

Since she had already been to the very top of the mountain, since she had already been the best in the world for awhile at her profession, she decided to retire.

Perhaps, had she not achieved what she had achieved, perhaps had she not made as much money as she made, she might have struggled on. But she obviously no longer needed to play for financial reasons and was not the type of person who fools herself into continuing on in a hopeless situation.

So, she retired. Often, atheletes do not. They hang on, continuing to drop lower and lower in the rankings of their sport, whatever it may be. Others hold themselves to a very high standard of excellence and feel that once they can no longer maintain that level of excellence, they must move on to something else.

That's "cowardly" only if you assume someone needs to squander years of their life for your personal entertainment. Many of Martina's harshest critics I think wanted to see her playing at well below her best, so she would lose. They are the same ones who always try to diminish her accomplishments in the first place.

But the great thing about achievement is that it cannot be taken away from you. A Wimbledon crown is a Wimbledon crown and the self appointed experts who don't have one will never know what it feels like to wear it. Those who never were number one at anything in life can carp away at number ones all they want. But they are at the bottom of the mountain, looking up. Not the other way around.

I always get a kick out of it. It's the unaccomplished telling the accomplished, where THEY went wrong.

Lastly, all this talk about Hingis ruining tennis by retiring is just further proof that she was the most charismatic player in the sport and it hasn't been the same since she left it.

GoDominique
Feb 16th, 2004, 03:20 PM
It's not true... She said it many times that because of her foot she wouldn't be able to play a normal year on the tour. You can't be top 10 if you play a tournement once every 2 months.
Martina said this, but that does not mean it's the whole truth.

She might be badly injured, but I think she might have retired anyway even without injury.

Hulet
Feb 16th, 2004, 04:40 PM
I will print out this thread and give it to my friend. :)

jimbo mack
Feb 16th, 2004, 04:44 PM
Martina said this, but that does not mean it's the whole truth.

She might be badly injured, but I think she might have retired anyway even without injury.

i definitely agree, guess this was the point i was trying to make all along :)

Scorch
Feb 16th, 2004, 05:08 PM
If all we are doing is making groundless speculations then we could dream up any scenario we want to. If you like the player you make positive speculations and if you don't care for them then you make negative ones. I am ready for the negative posters to now claim that 'I really like Martina H blah blah' or 'I have nothing against her blah blah'

BTW I think that if Roseanne Barr had not concentrated on her career in TV but lost some weight and developed a fantastic tennis talent then she could have been a top 10 player. FACT.

Stefwhit
Feb 16th, 2004, 05:54 PM
Martina was injured of course, but I think she could still play with it, but probably not at the highest level anymore (top 5-10). I think that a real topplayer, a real winner can't accept that. Steffi retired when she was still at the top, but feeling that she wouldn't be the absolute top much longer, and it was time for other players to take over. Look at Andre Agassi, he'll play as long as he knows he's still one of the best out there and when he's playing he's best he can beat everyone. When he realises that that isn't possible anymore, he'll retire.

Same thing will happen with Justine, Serena.. they can't stand losing.
Your post reads as if you're saying Steffi and Martina were alike in that part of the reason why they retired was because they couldn't compete at the highest levels anymore and since they couldn't be at their respective highest levels of the sport, they moved on. I think you're reasoning for retirement in regards to both Steffi and Andre's future retirement is narrow and extremly limited. How about this as an option: After 16 years on tour and winning every major tournament possible maybe she felt she had gotten everything there was to get out of tennis and was ready for the next phase of life. Retirement is NOT always done just because one feels they are no longer the best- you make it seem like the whole idea of retirement is conceeding you no longer have what it takes to keep winning. Andre's retirement may have nothing at all to do with- as you say, his best no longer being good enough, maybe he'll just not have the passion for it he used to, or maybe he'll just get tired of the lifestyle....

In regards to Marti, who knows. I mean it's not as if she would actually say, "I no longer want to play because my best isn't good enough and I can't settle for anything less" even if that was the real motivation. This is going to sound very harsh but I'm under the opinion that it's convienent for Marti to have the foot injury (valid or not,) because I don't believe Marti would have stayed on tour if she didn't have the quality results she was used to having ALL of her life. It's possible that if she kept playing that she would've won a few more tournies, but if she hadn't, I honestly believe she would have left the sport early regardless. All Marti knows is winning and on top of that she was very cocky- so that's what I base my opinion on...

starr
Feb 16th, 2004, 06:02 PM
Martina has explained the injury situation over and over again and the evidence was there for all to see toward the end of her playing days in 2002. Even her worst critics admitted she was moving around the court much slower than in her prime.

Hingis' game was not a power game. It was based on anticipation and great court coverage. Without her mobility, she could not achieve that coverage. She could not regain that mobility with the foot problems she was experiencing, unless she was willing to go on playing in pain. After something like two years of playing in pain, she decided she had had enough. For her, taking pain pills regularly was not an option.

So she was faced with continuing to play at well below her best, or retirement.

Since she had already been to the very top of the mountain, since she had already been the best in the world for awhile at her profession, she decided to retire.

Perhaps, had she not achieved what she had achieved, perhaps had she not made as much money as she made, she might have struggled on. But she obviously no longer needed to play for financial reasons and was not the type of person who fools herself into continuing on in a hopeless situation.

So, she retired. Often, atheletes do not. They hang on, continuing to drop lower and lower in the rankings of their sport, whatever it may be. Others hold themselves to a very high standard of excellence and feel that once they can no longer maintain that level of excellence, they must move on to something else.

That's "cowardly" only if you assume someone needs to squander years of their life for your personal entertainment. Many of Martina's harshest critics I think wanted to see her playing at well below her best, so she would lose. They are the same ones who always try to diminish her accomplishments in the first place.

But the great thing about achievement is that it cannot be taken away from you. A Wimbledon crown is a Wimbledon crown and the self appointed experts who don't have one will never know what it feels like to wear it. Those who never were number one at anything in life can carp away at number ones all they want. But they are at the bottom of the mountain, looking up. Not the other way around.

I always get a kick out of it. It's the unaccomplished telling the accomplished, where THEY went wrong.

Lastly, all this talk about Hingis ruining tennis by retiring is just further proof that she was the most charismatic player in the sport and it hasn't been the same since she left it.
:worship: :worship: :worship:

Stefwhit
Feb 16th, 2004, 06:09 PM
When one considers the age that Marti started playing and all that she accomplished in juniours and in pros it makes her career not seem as short as it appears at first glance. The only thing is that there will always be some speculation- I've heard it suggested many times (as most everyone else here has at some point,) that her retirement was more motivated by her lack of confidence and not winning like she used to. I'll give her the bennefit of the doubt and just assume it's 100% physical and nothing else, but again I still believe that she would have left the sport early regardless...

TonyP
Feb 16th, 2004, 06:32 PM
One other point which critics might keep in mind. I predicted as far back as 1997, when Martina was almost unbeatable, that she would be gone from the sport by age 25. Obviously, I could not predict various injuries. But it was apparent to me that even when she was the undisputed queen of tennis, that at times it actually bored her a little, especially the very easy victories.

It was also very apparent as far back as '97 that tennis was NOT the only thing in her life. Graf may have had other interests too, but if she did, she kept them to herself, her interests and her boyfriends too. IN fact, there were always rumors her boyfriends were just her beards.

Whatever, Hingis was always interested in other stuff and I just always felt that since she started playing tennis at such a young age, and since she won grand slams and got to number one at such a young age, she was going to quit at a young age. She just had too good of a mind to spend year upon year hitting a fuzzy little yellow ball back and forth across a net and doing very little else but that.

Some athletes hang on forever because they just never find anything else which interests them as much as their sport. Some athletes never want to do anything but play sports. That's why so many male athletes who can afford to retire and then spend the rest of their lives on the golf course. Can you imagine anything more boring than playing golf day after day? But what do you think Sampras is doing these days, working with NASA on the Mars program? He's out there playing golf.

What did Hingis do after retirement? Go to school, earn her license in show jumping and taking up this extremely exacting,mentally taxing sport for real, and entering broadcasting as well. The same mind we saw on court is now taking her to new places. I guarantee you. And that is the difference between her and so many other jjocks.

alfajeffster
Feb 16th, 2004, 06:51 PM
"Natural progression of champions"??? There is no such thing. No two champions hit the ball the same way, or reacted to pressure the same way, or played tennis the same way. When it comes to comparing champions, it is necessary to realize at the get-go that it is fundamentally impossible to do.

Stefwhit
Feb 16th, 2004, 07:11 PM
...Whatever, Hingis was always interested in other stuff and I just always felt that since she started playing tennis at such a young age, and since she won grand slams and got to number one at such a young age, she was going to quit at a young age. She just had too good of a mind to spend year upon year hitting a fuzzy little yellow ball back and forth across a net and doing very little else but that.

Some athletes hang on forever because they just never find anything else which interests them as much as their sport. Some athletes never want to do anything but play sports. That's why so many male athletes who can afford to retire and then spend the rest of their lives on the golf course. Can you imagine anything more boring than playing golf day after day? But what do you think Sampras is doing these days, working with NASA on the Mars program? He's out there playing golf.

What did Hingis do after retirement? Go to school, earn her license in show jumping and taking up this extremely exacting,mentally taxing sport for real, and entering broadcasting as well. The same mind we saw on court is now taking her to new places. I guarantee you. And that is the difference between her and so many other jjocks.
That's wonderful that she was able to apply herself to other things and have accomplishments after her tennis life. Too bad she wont ever be regarded as one of the greatest and it's too bad she left without winning the elusive French. I only bring these things up as reminders of things she still had left to accomplish in her tennis career. You make it seem as if she was bored being so great and winning everything, but when you stack up her accomplishments to the greats it's not all that impressive. I'd rather assume it was the injury that forced her out rather than being bored and wanting to do other things, especially when there was so much more she could have acheived... Sampras can at least look back on his tennis career and not have any regrets, he's secured his place in both tennis history and the "Tennis Hall of Fame" with that said, he deserves some relaxion- so golf your heart out Pete....

fammmmedspin
Feb 16th, 2004, 08:26 PM
Its an interesting idea (though it casts judgements on Martina's injury which are unsupportable) but you can read things completely differently. Martina was hardly the old timer ending her career (nor actually was Graf as she could still beat her major successors in her two last GS)

Martina being younger than many of her chasing group would look odd as the old queen of the pride fighting off younger lionesses. The replacement for Graf would have been someone like Jennifer or Lindsay with 2-3 times their GS records - they didn't emerge as fully as Martina. Martina was engaged in a struggle for that type of supremacy but no one really emerged a long-term the victor between Jennifer, Kindsay, Venus and Martina for any length of time once war commenced. Even Serena hasnt the longevity to play the role of elder super star of the tour and ,even if she nearly has it, who sees her being around as long as Graf, Navratilova, Evert etc..

Possibly the best you can get at present is another fight for the top position, a few more effective contenders for the top 3-4 perhaps called Anastasia , Mary, or Amelie, and a strong challenge to them all from the Golovins, Safinas, Sprems and Sharapovas. If we are very lucky we will also find some new giant killers to spice things up replacing Sandrine, Patty, Iva, Amanda, Conchita and Natasha - perhaps with names like Sandrine. Patty, Elena (any) Nadia, Vera or Francesca.

Stefwhit
Feb 17th, 2004, 01:10 AM
Whatever the real reasons are behind her retirement I think we all agree (fans and non-fans alike,) that she is missed. I was never a fan of Hingis, but I surely do miss her and even though I was never a fan I at least could appreciate what she brought to the game. I'm all for diversity and as many quality opponents out there as possible....u gotta have someone to root against besides ________.

azza
Feb 17th, 2004, 01:33 AM
Martina :sad: