View Full Version : Should they do away with the age eligibilty rules? (aka Capriati rule)

Feb 18th, 2002, 05:37 PM
We all know why this was introduced in 93/94 because of Capriati's burn-out from tennis.

But really don't you think now that if they can't remove it, they could at least lower the age to play full-time on the tour to 16.

I have seen many players complain about the rule (Anna, Dokic to name 2) but never seen anyone say about how great it was for them.

There have been no cases since Capriati, and she to be honest was a one-off, Hingis was the last player to take advantage of not playing under the rule in playing at the end of 94.

What are your views on this?

Feb 18th, 2002, 05:41 PM
I would love to see a 13 year old girl kick the top players' butts! I mean, if the talent is there, why not?

Feb 18th, 2002, 05:45 PM
I know a lot of the young players are really held back by it, especially those whose game requires a lot of matchplay to hone, like Lina K. TBE's the one to ask, though.

Feb 18th, 2002, 05:48 PM
And the other problem I think is that when they turn 18 they over-schedule and play near enough every single week...and you can't blame them as they had been held back for playing when they want for so long...and I do think it doesn't help.

Feb 18th, 2002, 05:49 PM
Lina's suffering from it, had she been able to play fully last year, I have no doubts she would have made Munich.

It holds alot of players back but its for their protection really, some see it and others don't.

Take Dokic for instance, once she was clear of the AER rules she played every week until end of year, missing just Strasbourg and Shanghai due to withdrawals.

If she'd been say 15 and done that ...... thats where the problem comes in..... burn out.

Feb 18th, 2002, 05:54 PM
i disagree. i think for a 13 year old girl (boy) to leave their familly, friends, stable environment...and education at that age is stupid. your right it would be good for the game to see someone beat a top player but in the long run it could harm them..maybe not physically but mentally for sure. what these athletes do is amazing and i give them all my uttermost respect..constantly travelling, being away from loved ones always under pressure..from media, coachs, agents and in most cases there own famillys. i just dont think its right. kids need to go to there proms (in usa) or there cheesey disco (in the UK:rolleyes: ) experiance the pressure of exams in a room full of people and all kinds of shit we do...i can say that cant i:confused:

i mean this is just my opinion and im sure theres gonna be a load of people who disagree with me but hey...thats what debates and discussions are!!

love ya all:kiss:

Feb 18th, 2002, 05:54 PM
Eggy, re. my post above yours, if players could play when they wanted imo they wouldn't over-schedule.

Dokic complained about the restricitions a few times and I really believe that if she didn't have that she would never have scheuled like she has done for the past couple of years. Players get frustrated and when they hit 18, they play as much as they can to get as many points as they can to push their ranking higher to a place where they feel it should be if they had not been restricted they are making up for lost time.

Kim did that for a little but I think she realised after a while the damage it could do.

Feb 18th, 2002, 05:59 PM
Kelly, I see your point but I think if a player wants to be a world class tennis player it should be their choice and if necessary they can go back and get an education if that is what they want.

But really the older generation of players I can't think of any it harmed. But then this is just my opinion.

Feb 18th, 2002, 06:02 PM
Well, when Jelena turned 18, she was hungry to play! At 17, Capriati was yearning for a break.

I think young girls and boys should not be able to play full time until maybe 17. THis way, they get a taste..and it means more. JImmy Connors mom only gave him 15 mnutes on the court a daywhen he was young, to keep him hungry. Of course there are probably exceptions, but not for 13, 14 or even 15 year olds. Capriati was the exception. I do not think there are many 13 year olds that could beat top 10 players like Jen did. Jen was really the exception to the rule. I think it is good they changed it.

Feb 18th, 2002, 07:00 PM
The rule is totally useless without coordination with the ITF Junior, because when you take into consideration their Junior schedule and their limited WTA events they are already overexerting themselves. I checked the schedules of a few top juniors and most of them played more tennis than the average player on the tour when you add their junior and senior events.

So in essence the rule doesnt really accomplish anything. Only in sports is a child allowed to work these types of hours.

Feb 18th, 2002, 07:34 PM
This issue is older than 1994. Pam Shriver talks about teen "burnout" and possible rules in her 1985 book Passing Shots. As Shriver pointed out then(and it's still true)any age eligibility rules can be gotten around because of exhibitions.

There were rules limiting teens as early as 1990(it was known as the "Jaeger" rule then) and the WTA violated it's own rules by letting Jennifer go over the limit so she could qualify for the WTA finals.

I doubt that dropping the rules would make these young women play a more sensible schedule. Why?
For one, it's the parents who decide where they play in 90% of the cases. And few of them learn to reduce schedules even into their 20's until seriously injured.

One way to stop overplaying is to change the ranking system by going back to the averaging ranking system,or to reduce the number of events counting towards a ranking. Even these measures would have only a limited effect.

Whatever is done, the bottom line is the incentives are too great for parents, agents, and the girls(and I mean girls, not women) to usually resist temptation. Gone are the days when Chris Evert's parents limited her til she 18 she
finished high school.

Feb 18th, 2002, 07:50 PM
Burn out isn't just about the physical exersions (sic), but the mental ones too.

If there was no AER yes, the amount played would even itself out (ie it'd be unlikely you'd get the state of affairs with Jelena, once she was free of AER), but you have to consider how AER can potentially lead to mental scars.

Hingis was not restricted by AER, and she's turned out OK I hear you say?

Well, the simple truth is that Martina and her relationship with tennis approaches savant-like status and you can't expect player to have that kind of mental fortitude.

What happens to the Sonya Jeyaseelan to name but one example? Mental fatigue and injury. The vast majority of players can only dream of getting a career high rank of sub 50. And that's what AER tries to protect.

I know what people mean about 'if you're good enough, then you're old enough'. It was great to see Jennifer just totally whipping Martina's arse. Martina Navratilova, that is. But you can still have that with AER, it just safeguards the players against the weariness (... and young girls, they do get weary ;)) of the Tour.

Feb 18th, 2002, 07:59 PM
with the AER ruling, it has drastically improved the standard of the junior game.

but the juniors play too much and at the top level tourn they are expected to play 6 matches in 6 days as well as doubles.
ITF has also given an incentive to finish in the top 10 of end of year Junior ranks as this gives those players 3 selected entries into various levels of Challenger events.

Rollo ...... the AER ruling also affects exhibitions.
in their final year they are only allowed 4 exhibition tourns

16-17 3 Exhibitions
15-16 2 Exhibitions
14-15 1 Exhibition

Feb 18th, 2002, 08:10 PM
What are the penalties for "overplaying" exhibitions TBE? And even if there are penalties, how are exhibitions defined? It just seems to me that no matter what the rules are, if there is a will then there is a way around ANY WTA rule.

Feb 18th, 2002, 08:17 PM
Exhibitions are any Non-Tour event between two or more players

Penalties are stiff..... fines of upto $25K and/or being banned upto 6 months from all WTA/ITF events

Feb 18th, 2002, 08:20 PM
The other thing is that the (particularly when you're younger) the more
you win, the more you want to play. The more you lose, the more your
coach and parents could pressure you into play.

If there's no AER too much pressure is being put on a young player. And again,
I'm not talking about the Dokic's or Krasnoroutskaya's of this world.

auntie janie
Feb 18th, 2002, 09:09 PM
I am in favor of age restrictions, but I believe they should end at age 17 rather than 18. I do not favor allowing 13-year-olds to play, but I think 15-year olds should be allowed what 16-year olds are allowed now, and 16 year olds should have the limitations now imposed on 17 year olds.

So if they just adjusted it this one notch, while keeping the 14-year olds to current restrictions, I think all would benefit.

Feb 18th, 2002, 11:52 PM
Do we really need to see other parents pimping out their kids the way Stefano did to Jen?

The rule was put there for a reason.

Feb 19th, 2002, 12:28 AM
I really do think that the AER is there for the protection of the players. Both physically and mentally it isn't good for a 14/15 year old to be playing full time on the WTA tour. On the other hand, I think that 18 is quite a high limit. After all, in most countries you can leave school and find a job at 16 and that should apply also to playing professional tennis.

Feb 19th, 2002, 02:20 AM
Well personally I don't like age restrictions in any sport at all because first of all it's hard to draw the line at a certain age... certain 17 year olds may be more mature than some 20 year olds so it's not really fair for them not to be able to play. Also the cases like Jennifer's are rare... I think it's really too bad that happened because now it takes away that oppurtunity to other 14 year olds... also I think if the parents of that child feel that it's not good for her to be playing then don't let her play... it's not up to the wta tour to baby-sit. Anyways my thinking has always been that if you're good enough, you can be 10,15,25,75 whatever...

Feb 19th, 2002, 02:30 AM
If I may, Volcana affects Vincent Price voice "You're all Maaaaaaddddddd....." :bounce:

Seriously, the age-eligibility rules are an unqualified success. No burnout victims. Two more players since Hingis have won their first GS by 20. More than half the top ten is 21 years old or younger. If you had specifically designed the age-eligibility rules to help the younger players dominate the tour you couldn't have done it better.

Look at it this way. Every player in the top ten above the age of 22 is a multiple GS winner. That's how well the young talent has developed since the AER went into affect. If you're a veteran, you have to beat the Davenport/Capriati/Seles level to even compete.

Age 22 Mauresmo
Age 21 Williams, V
Age 21 Hingis
Age 20 Williams, S
Age 19 Henin
Age 18 Dokic
Age 18 Clijsters

Those ARE young players. Except Dokic, everyone at LEAST a GS finalist. That's the evidence the AER works. The young players are reaching their potential, instead of burning out. The WTA has never had this many higly accomplished young players. NEVER. This is the youngest top ten I can remember.

I think they could defend RAISING the age of eligibility. It sure as hell didn't hurt the Williams sisters. Clijsters and Henin have already been GS finalists. The AER is cranking out good young players like a machine. And I have yet to see a player it has hurt.

It's not reasonable to project what a player WOULD have done if they'd played more. How would six or seven first ropund losses have helped. Look at Kournikova. Former top ten player and she can't string two winning matches together. If all Lina K needed last year was match play, we'll find out this year, when she gets it. A top twenty player? Possibly. But so far, I don't see more potential than Amelie Mauresmo, the current #10. Who's only 22.

Ted of Teds Tennis
Feb 19th, 2002, 03:55 AM
The AER wouldn't be so bad if the rankings were divisor based. The problem is that the Best NN situation encourages *everyone* to overplay. Yes, there are several very young players near the top, but we note that they didn't suddenly move up the rankings in most cases until they turned 18 and could play whenever they wanted. Dokic is the excellent example of this, IMO.

The whole WTA system is screwy, but that's a topic for another thread. :p

Feb 19th, 2002, 04:30 AM
Volcana: Jelena is 18 not 19 :)

I think that the rules should end at 16-17. Jelena has been really against the rules because she says that it slows development. She had to spend weeks off the tour because she couldn't play as much and she felt that it took her longer to arrive on the tour, mentally and physically.

She said that if she didn't have the AER she wouldn't have played so much last year.

Feb 19th, 2002, 04:33 AM
angele87 - We're talking about minor children. I can't speak for other countries, but the reason for the existence of child labor laws in the United States is not because children couldn't DO the work. It was because doing the work was determined to be NOT in the best interest of the child. We don't leave the outside limits to parents to decide.

Suppose a child is 13, and her parents decide she can and should work 40 hours a week in a coal mine. And rather than attend school, be tutored around her job schedule. Is that okay? In the USA, it's illegal, okay or not.

Feb 19th, 2002, 04:36 AM
ILUVJELENA - Thans for the catch.

Feb 19th, 2002, 04:39 AM
One of the reasons these rules were created is so that the WTA would not take the blame for burnouts. I don't think they do much good anyhow. It should definately end at 17, because I think most of the girls are ready by then.

Feb 19th, 2002, 11:16 AM
By making their totals 13 events at age of 17 is a little too low

the best 17 year olds if their rank is high enough to get into either QUAL/MD of any slams are entitled to those events in addition to the 13 tour events.

It should be moved upwards to around 16 seriosuly, thats still less than the 17 factor but it gives them a chance to drop points in the addtional 4 events if their rank is good enough.

I doubt we will ever see a 16 year old making the top 10 let alone winning a slam.

Feb 19th, 2002, 12:30 PM
Well, these rules are still quite new, too new to see the long-term-effects.
Íf these young players reached the top already with 16 or 17, what's the prospect that they will still play at the age of 28 ?
Maybe the rules will help that more players can have a steady and long career. They will reach their highest level a bit later, so you have to be patient
Anke Huber, for example, was sick of tennis with 26. She started at 15. Maybe, with the rules, she would still be playing.
Lina K., for example, would maybe be in the top 10 already without the rules. But what in 5 or 10 years ? Would she still be hungry ?

Ted of Teds Tennis
Feb 19th, 2002, 12:55 PM
The Boiled Egg wrote:
I doubt we will ever see a 16 year old making the top 10 let alone winning a slam.

How old was Hingis when she won the 1997 AO? And did she get to #1 before she turned 17?

Feb 19th, 2002, 01:01 PM
Yes she did but Hingis was the last one to get in before the WTA enforced the AER rules so she wasn't affected.

Feb 19th, 2002, 02:05 PM
I think Anke is a very different case, she retired because of all the injuries, the one that did it for her was at the US Open in 2000 when she injured her wrist in a doubles match after she played very well to get to the quarters there. She was ALWAYS very injury prone and I believe that if that injury had not occurred she would still be playing now. But that is another what if.

You have players like Tauziat, Coetzer, Sanchez-Vicario and others who played in or around their 30's. But that is due to their style of play. That is another thread;)

IMO you will not see that with any of the power hitters in the modern game, I would predict that they would have retired quite a few years ago.

Each player is unique.

Also the only reason Hingis made her debut in 94 was so she was not under the age restrictions at all until she was 18. If she hadn't you would have seen different 96, 97, 98. But she was born to play tennis, her mother was even playing tennis when she was 6 months pregnant with her;)

I am for the age restrictions but I do think they should be lowered to 16, if not 17.

If anyone can find a player praising the age restriction AFTER/DURING going through it, I would be very interested in reading it.

Feb 19th, 2002, 03:29 PM
Agreed Ted-going back to a divisor system at least takes away the excuse of "having" to play yourself into the ground with 20 or more events a year.

As sure as the sun rises we will(one day) see another grand slam champ aged 16. At that age many women are developed enough to play. Every prodigy that ever came along at that age had pundits saying "she would be the last". having already lived through Austin and Hingis, it's a safe bet I'll see another:)

If anything, the restrictions will favor the younger women(to a point) because it takes a while to figure out the game of someone new. Besides, many rookies have no fear.

Feb 19th, 2002, 04:02 PM
Rollo - But many rookies have immense pressure from parents, agents, coaches etc. And every time they enter a tournament they know they have to do well in it because they won't be getting too many chances; if they don't do well, their ranking doesn't go up and they don't get into bigger tournaments. Take Su-Wei Hsieh: she's had three pretty bad results in a row. It's probably just some erratic fluctuations in play rather than a real indication of talent, and the players she's lost to aren't bad (Alex Fusai was the last), but the point is she won't get many more chances to move up from around the 150 spot this year and she knows it. In a few tournaments' time - for her - it'll be the end of the year, and she'll have to defend mega-points from Bali and Pattaya. A bad draw there and she's back to square 1.