View Full Version : When Is A Player Over The Hill?

May 21st, 2002, 09:46 PM
I only ask this because I see on many boards and in many conversations the contention that if a player doesn't make a mark by the time they are 17, they probably have no real future in tennis.

Perhaps someone who really has this kind of knowledge at their fingertips can enlighten me.
How many players (WTA) have been really big deals when they were still VERY young? For this discussion, let's say 17 and under.

Hingis I think is probably the real exception, and then she was dominating at a time of transition in the women's game.

Wasn't Martina N a late bloomer? And when I say dominate, I don't mean winning a tourney here and there. I mean that when the player is in a tournament that the odds are that she will win it .

I ask because I don't buy this business that we should expect these girls to be dominating the tour at 16 and 17 years old.
But then I may be wrong.:o

May 21st, 2002, 09:51 PM
I agree especially now, that more girls are developing a power game, which takes longer to develop. Lindsay, Venus, Serena, and Jennifer were all pretty late bloomers. But since there break throughs one of them is usually a favorite for a title.

I think people expect a win around 17 or 18 simple because tennis players do not have a long shelf life. They usually can only play into their early 30's, of course there are exceptions. But I personally think that now most girls will start winning big titles at around 20-23.

Martina Hingis was one of the last players to do so well at such a young age. I'm not saying that another player won't do the same, but it's seeming less likely.

May 21st, 2002, 09:59 PM
I don't see how you can say "jennifer, serena, venus" were late bloomers.
Serena won the US Open at age 17! Venus reached the USOPen final at age 17! Jennifer reached the US Open semifinals at age 15!
Martina N. and Lindsay were both a bit of late bloomers, but they had definitely made their mark -- they were both in the top 10 before they were 18, i believe.
Sandrine is a real late bloomer -- but I think it's highly unlikely she'll win a grand slam.

I think if you haven't had some kind of impact by the time you're 18, you're not going to be a major player.

May 21st, 2002, 10:26 PM
monica, arantxa, steffi, gaby and conchi were all top-10 as 16/17 year olds, and with the exception of gaby and conchi, the others had won slams before their 18th birthday (the French Open in all three cases).

May 21st, 2002, 10:35 PM
And this was all 10 and more years ago when the compatition was not as tough as it is now.

And now power tennis is the way to go, you can't play powertennis at the age of 16-17 and winning a lot of tournaments. That sort of game needs time to improve and to cut down on the errrors. A powerplayer gets consistency through the years of playing.

May 21st, 2002, 10:44 PM
Originally posted by arn
And this was all 10 and more years ago when the compatition was not as tough as it is now.

what do you mean when you say not as tough ? You imply that because the game wasn't as powerful that it also wasn't as competitive.

the game shifted with the emergence of Graf and Sabatini in around 86-87, and then it was very competitive between old and new between 87-93. Players such as Seles and Graf dominated the period, but they had a lot of competition that were just waiting to take the titles in the event that they falter.

There is more depth in today's top-10, but that doesn't mean it's any more competitive.

May 21st, 2002, 10:52 PM
I didn't impy a link between powerplaying and competion!

But now every tier1 or GS has 4 or even more top favourates and it's a surprise when someone not belonging to this group would grab the title whereas 10 years ago you had 2 topfavourates and it was a surprise when someone else grabbed the title.

When you look at the points of the top-9, it's all close, much closer as 10 years ago.

My conclusion is; the game has more competion, it is more difficult to dominate over all the rest.