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View Full Version : Who are the players with star billing?


Steffica Greles
Apr 16th, 2009, 10:14 AM
Okay, I've moaned a lot about how women's tennis has declined. We can debate that somewhere else, although I've sensed that generally most agree with me to at least some degree.

But let's compare 2002/2003 with now.

Back then there was Venus, Serena, Henin, Clijsters, Davenport, Capriati, Mauresmo and in 2002, Seles was still playing to a high standard. In early 2002, Hingis was still at the top. Even Conchita Martinez and Mary Pierce were, though long past their best (or seemingly, at that stage in Pierce's career), still knocking around, causing the odd upset and turning up in the latter stages of a few tournaments. So, in short, you had around 7-10 players whose reputations preceded them; they had the 'quality assurance' mark. They'd proven their class in championships past and we knew that on their day, all of those players could provide thrilling tennis. They had celebrated their moments in the spotlight and ingrained themselves in our memories. We even had Sharapova to look forward to.

Nowadays, the only players who I would really give the seal of championship quality are Venus, Serena (both to a greater or lesser degree past their best), Sharapova and Ivanovic. All of those players belong in the higher echelons and have proven their ability. Ivanovic is not playing as well as she can, and Sharapova's career's in doubt. Mauresmo is still knocking about. But then, who else is there?

Some might argue for Kuznetsova belonging in that bracket, given that she's a past grandslam champion with a couple other finals, as well as Miami winner. Perhaps. Jankovic and Dementieva? Safina? Well, now you might see my point. These names are hardly thrilling.

And then where are the promising juniors? I see none. It's too early, in my opinion, to pin too many hopes on Laura Robson. I wasn't impressed with her backhand when I watched her.

I think the problem with women's tennis is that there are very few players with great talent, whose games and personalities, through their feats, the crowd, journalists and fans have learnt to respect and admire.

Viktymise
Apr 16th, 2009, 10:17 AM
Do you start any threads which don't have something to do with the decline of the WTA?

Ballbasher
Apr 16th, 2009, 10:19 AM
Completely true. Sadly. :(

Steffica Greles
Apr 16th, 2009, 10:20 AM
Do you start any threads which don't have something to do with the decline of the WTA?

There's not much else worthy of comment.

Pristine
Apr 16th, 2009, 10:20 AM
I agree. Jankovic and the Russians, bar Sharapova, are people that won't even be remembered if they retired except by the few hardcore tennis fans like most on this board. This board does not encompass every single soul that likes tennis. Yes, we know all of them and stats but when I go to the courts or talk to the casual fan they only know three women's names. Serena, Sharapova, and Venus in that order.

Ivanovic is in this merky middleground had she had kept winning and expanded on her '08 French Open success, I feel that she would have much more exposure to the casual fan not only by continuous being in the latter stages of tournaments but by that translating into more sponsors/exposure. If Ivanovic becomes successful again and hones her English, I think she can breakthrough.

Kart
Apr 16th, 2009, 10:34 AM
Perhaps the difference is that most of the top players around now are just being women tennis players and nothing more.

Aside from Jankovic, the rest don't even say a great deal to write about.

Compare that to:

Venus and Serena - rise from Compton / feud with Martina Hingis / Indian Wells.
Henin - lost her mother and willing to talk about it / part of an adored Belgian duo.
Clijsters - dating world no.1 Hewitt / part of an adored Belgian duo.
Capriati - drug taking drama.
Seles - no comment.
Hingis - not exactly media shy.
Mauresmo - openly gay.

I'm not saying any of these women used their stories to deliberately raise their profiles but it did give people something to write about. All I see at the moment is articles about Dementieva's perpetual choking, Jankovic's complaining. There's no drama about any of them - maybe because there isn't any. Which is not their fault really they can only be what they are and let their tennis distinguish them.

Sammm
Apr 16th, 2009, 12:28 PM
My mother is vaguely interested in tennis, and if she can remember a player that's a sign for me that the player in question has some star power.
I would say:
Venus + Serena
Sharapova
Jankovic (whom my mother refers to as Weird Jelena Jankovic)
Ivanovic
Clijsters
Mauresmo

AndreConrad
Apr 16th, 2009, 12:37 PM
(...)But let's compare 2002/2003 with now.

Back then there was Venus, Serena, Henin, Clijsters, Davenport, Capriati, Mauresmo and in 2002, Seles was still playing to a high standard. In early 2002, Hingis was still at the top. Even Conchita Martinez and Mary Pierce were, though long past their best (or seemingly, at that stage in Pierce's career), still knocking around, causing the odd upset and turning up in the latter stages of a few tournaments. So, in short, you had around 7-10 players whose reputations preceded them; they had the 'quality assurance' mark. They'd proven their class in championships past and we knew that on their day, all of those players could provide thrilling tennis. They had celebrated their moments in the spotlight and ingrained themselves in our memories. We even had Sharapova to look forward to.
(...)
I think the problem with women's tennis is that there are very few players with great talent, whose games and personalities, through their feats, the crowd, journalists and fans have learnt to respect and admire.
Well, I am not so sure that everyone felt this same way about these players in 2002/2003. I would say that there is a lot of names today that you have not mentioned whose reputation will be well known in 2012-2014.

miffedmax
Apr 16th, 2009, 12:37 PM
It depends on where you are. Dementieva is hugely popular is Russia and Japan and to a lesser extent France, a virtual unknown in the U.S. and Britain.

Polikarpov
Apr 16th, 2009, 12:40 PM
Yep, the names of the people you've mentioned are enough to sell tickets and fill stadiums.

Volcana
Apr 16th, 2009, 12:40 PM
Okay, I've moaned a lot about how women's tennis has declined.That's for sure.
Back then there was Venus, Serena, Henin, Clijsters, Davenport, Capriati, Mauresmo and in 2002, Seles was still playing to a high standard. In early 2002, Hingis was still at the top. Even Conchita Martinez and Mary Pierce were, though long past their best (or seemingly, at that stage in Pierce's career), still knocking around, causing the odd upset and turning up in the latter stages of a few tournaments.Let's deconstruct that list a bit.

Let's take April 16, 2003, exactly six years ago.

JCap's 27. Conchi's 31, Mary Pierce is 28, Lindsay Davenport is 26, Monica Seles is 29, and five years past he last slam final.Amelie Mauresmo has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won any.Justine Henin has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won anyKim Clijsters has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won any.Martina Hingis hasn't won a slam in four yearsIf I back up to April 16, 2002, I could even say Serena Williams looks like a 'one-slam wonder.

So on the tour, then you had were some veteran players people knew well because they'd been watching them forever. And you had some unproven players people did NOT know well. Nobody knew what Justine Henin was going to turn into six years ago. The future of the tour looked like Venus Williams and a cast of wannabes. And people moaned about how the quality of the tour was declining.

What do we have now? Some veteran players people know well. And some unproven players people don't know well.




Venus is 28, Serena is 27, Amelie Mauresmo is 29, Elena Dementieva is 27Sharapova, 5 4 slam finals, winning threeIvanovic, 3 slam finals, winning oneJelena Jankovic has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won anyDinara Safina has played in 2 slam finals, hasn't won anyKuzzy is four years past winning her last (and only) slam If anything, you could argue the tour looks stronger now than it did on April 16, 2003. But it certainly doesn't look like it's declined. You could quibble about how I placed Dementieva, but she did just win the Olympics. People do know and respect her. Call her today's Conchi, for argument purposes.

Golovinjured.
Apr 16th, 2009, 12:44 PM
Serena, Maria, Venus, Kimmie, Ivanovic, Dokic.

In that order.


Then Hantuchova/Jankovic/Safina/Dementieva/Mauresmo etc etc etc

Craig.
Apr 16th, 2009, 12:46 PM
That's for sure.Let's deconstruct that list a bit.

Let's take April 16, 2003, exactly six years ago.

JCap's 27. Conchi's 31, Mary Pierce is 28, Lindsay Davenport is 26, Monica Seles is 29, and five years past he last slam final.

Amelie Mauresmo has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won any.Justine Henin has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won anyKim Clijsters has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won any.Martina Hingis hasn't won a slam in four yearsIf I back up to April 16, 2002, I could even say Serena Williams looks like a 'one-slam wonder.

So on the tour, then you had were some veteran players people knew well because they'd been watching them forever. And you had some unproven players people did NOT know well. Nobody knew what Justine Henin was going to turn into six years ago. The future of the tour looked like Venus Williams and a cast of wannabes. And people moaned about how the quality of the tour was declining.

What do we have now? Some veteran players people know well. And some unproven players people don't know well.



Venus is 28, Serena is 27, Amelie Mauresmo is 29, Elena Dementieva is 27Sharapova, 5 slam finals, winning threeIvanovic, 3 slam finals, winning oneJelena Jankovic has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won anyDinara Safina has played in 2 slam finals, hasn't won anyKuzzy is four years past winning her last (and only) slam If anything, you could argue the tour looks stronger now than it did on April 16, 2003. But it certainly doesn't look like it's declined. You could quibble about how I placed Dementieva, but she did just win the Olympics. People do know and respect her. Call her today's Conchi, for argument purposes.

2009 French Open finalist :inlove:

Volcana
Apr 16th, 2009, 12:48 PM
2009 French Open finalist :inlove:Oops. Thanks for the catch.

thetennistimes
Apr 16th, 2009, 12:53 PM
Yeh .. this is all pretty true

Joana
Apr 16th, 2009, 01:06 PM
That's for sure.Let's deconstruct that list a bit.

Let's take April 16, 2003, exactly six years ago.

JCap's 27. Conchi's 31, Mary Pierce is 28, Lindsay Davenport is 26, Monica Seles is 29, and five years past he last slam final.Amelie Mauresmo has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won any.Justine Henin has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won anyKim Clijsters has played in 1 slam final, hasn't won any.Martina Hingis hasn't won a slam in four yearsIf I back up to April 16, 2002, I could even say Serena Williams looks like a 'one-slam wonder.


At that time, Justine Henin was known as a great talent whose physical shortcomings and problems with choking might keep her from achieving great things. Still, although not many people (myself certainly included) thought she was going to win 7 Slams and be the dominant #1, the general consensus was that she was going to win a Slam - Roland Garros by far the most likely, it was just a matter of time. Remember, in 2003 she was the first to beat Serena and we all remember what kind of form she was in.
Kim Clijsters was definitely considered a future great player and the one to really challenge the Williams sisters.
Even before RG '02, Serena was not perceived as a one Slam wonder. Everybody knew she was going to win big, people just didn't know how big it was going to be.
People were kind of giving up on Mauresmo considering she was so mentally frail, but there was no doubt about her abilities.
Hantuchova and Dokic turned out to be duds, but there were great expectations about them as well.

And today I just don't see any of it regarding the current crop of players. The general consensus seems to be that they're mostly a bunch of hacks, and there's absolutely no next best player in sight.
Perhaps people are being wrong, but the situation is not the same as 6 years ago, and it's not better either.

Kipling
Apr 16th, 2009, 01:09 PM
Okay, I've moaned a lot about how women's tennis has declined. We can debate that somewhere else, although I've sensed that generally most agree with me to at least some degree.

But let's compare 2002/2003 with now.

Back then there was Venus, Serena, Henin, Clijsters, Davenport, Capriati, Mauresmo and in 2002, Seles was still playing to a high standard. In early 2002, Hingis was still at the top. Even Conchita Martinez and Mary Pierce were, though long past their best (or seemingly, at that stage in Pierce's career), still knocking around, causing the odd upset and turning up in the latter stages of a few tournaments. So, in short, you had around 7-10 players whose reputations preceded them; they had the 'quality assurance' mark. They'd proven their class in championships past and we knew that on their day, all of those players could provide thrilling tennis. They had celebrated their moments in the spotlight and ingrained themselves in our memories. We even had Sharapova to look forward to.

Nowadays, the only players who I would really give the seal of championship quality are Venus, Serena (both to a greater or lesser degree past their best), Sharapova and Ivanovic. All of those players belong in the higher echelons and have proven their ability. Ivanovic is not playing as well as she can, and Sharapova's career's in doubt. Mauresmo is still knocking about. But then, who else is there?

Some might argue for Kuznetsova belonging in that bracket, given that she's a past grandslam champion with a couple other finals, as well as Miami winner. Perhaps. Jankovic and Dementieva? Safina? Well, now you might see my point. These names are hardly thrilling.

And then where are the promising juniors? I see none. It's too early, in my opinion, to pin too many hopes on Laura Robson. I wasn't impressed with her backhand when I watched her.

I think the problem with women's tennis is that there are very few players with great talent, whose games and personalities, through their feats, the crowd, journalists and fans have learnt to respect and admire.

:yawn:

With every tennis generation, somebody always brings this stuff up. Believe it or not, some of us don't think as highly of your precious "star" generation as you do, at least not in relation to past or present history. Who the hell were Capriati, Clijsters, Mauresmo and Davenport, really? I argue that they arrived at No. 1 in much the same way Jankovic or Safina have, or will have--because they hit their best stretch of tennis when better players were injured or slumping.

I'll go to my grave believing that none of them would have won a major if Graf and Seles and Hingis were around.

In reality, every tennis "generation" has 2-3 players max who can legitimately claim to be the best. The rest are playing supporting roles.

You're analyzing something that's ongoing. The 2002/3 group has by and large finished their careers, while the current one is at best in the middle of theirs. No, Jankovic nor Safina has ever won a major. They both probably will by the time they quit playing, though, and as far as I'm concerned, that would put them on a par with any of those players I mentioned above.

Every time one generation retires or fades, a new one comes along to win the majors, fight for No.1 and win all the endorsements. Wait until the current gang retires before condemning them to the trash heap.

tennnisfannn
Apr 16th, 2009, 03:47 PM
There is no such thing as Serena Maria and Venus in that order. Venus and Serena are part of a phenomenon because of ther achievements and their being sisters which makes their story extraordinary. One does not think of Serena and not think of Venus, they go together, eveen non fans may not know thier names but know them as the tennis sisters.
It is therefore V&S and then the rest.

Helen Lawson
Apr 16th, 2009, 03:55 PM
I don't think its necessarily lack of talent or personality outside the 4 you mentioned and the nobodies on their way up. It's that no one else seems to care or want it that bad, and I mean, want many big titles, and hate losing in finals and want to win, win, win because it's all they want. These new girls and the others today, they play bad late in big tournaments because I don't think they care if they win after like the QF. I don't know if it's there's so much money for mediocre results at the slams, or what, but they don't have the right mentality, I don't know whether you want to call it no killer instinct or what, and I'm not even sure Ivanovic has it, she just met someone worse in her final. When the 4 you mentioned retire, it's going to be who chokes the least or plays the least crappy in a final, if we're not already there. You can kiss the good finals we saw in the 90s and even into the 2000s good-bye. Some of the pieces of shit we've seen the last 5 years will look like classics next to what's in store if you ask me.

Zébulon
Apr 16th, 2009, 04:06 PM
I think the problem with women's tennis is that there are very few players with great talent, whose games and personalities, through their feats, the crowd, journalists and fans have learnt to respect and admire.
I think the problem with people who criticize nowadays wta rankings and such is that they just can't get interested enough in the young players, so they only see stars in older champions and a few recent slam winners. It takes time to be a champion as great as a williams sister e.g., took them years to win all they won, right ? :)
When I read a music mag, I get lost with all the new bands and tend to rely on older ones i've known for some years, yet when i discovered these, they were nobodies as much as the new young ones. It just showed me i don't care for all new bands as i used to, that's all, not that new bands are less interesting as those of 10 years ago. :shrug:
Just realize you grew old and live with it ! :wavey: :lol:

Volcana
Apr 16th, 2009, 04:18 PM
At that time, Justine Henin was known as a great talent whose physical shortcomings and problems with choking might keep her from achieving great things. Still, although not many people (myself certainly included) thought she was going to win 7 Slams and be the dominant #1, the general consensus was that she was going to win a Slam - Roland Garros by far the most likely, it was just a matter of time.That is not at all my recollection of the 'general concensus'. What I recall from the period were lots and lots and lots of people saying that no player as small as Martina Hingis would ever win a slam again. And Henin was smaller. Also, look at her slam record after she made that Wimbledon final. US 4th round, OZ-qf, RG 1st round, WB - semi, US 4th round, OZ-semi. On the date I use April 16, 2003, Henin had only ever won one Tier I title. (The second, ironically would come on or about Apil 19, 2003, at this very tournament.) Did her fans feel she would win a slam one day? Sure. But that was far from the 'general concensus'.Kim Clijsters was definitely considered a future great player and the one to really challenge the Williams sisters. By some people. And winning the 2002 Tour Championships open more than a few eyes. But again, look at the slam record from her first final to April 2003. QF, QF, SF, 3r, 2r, 4r, SF. She's about to go on a tear. But we don't know in April.Even before RG '02, Serena was not perceived as a one Slam wonder. Everybody knew she was going to win big, people just didn't know how big it was going to be.Everybody may have known it. But they sure weren't admitting it. Go back and look at some of the stuff posted about Serena on boards before RG '02. We called her 'Wild Thing' for a reason. She had matches where she put 60 and 70 UEs. Even I wasn't sure she'd win another slam, cause she hit every single shot as hard as she could. People were kind of giving up on Mauresmo considering she was so mentally frail, but there was no doubt about her abilities. Have to agree with you there.

Look, you may have seen all this coming. I sure didn't. And from what I rememeber reading, most people didn't. I expected Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati and Martina Hingis to be the players sharing slams with Venus and Serena at least til 2005, maybe longer. Then you look back.
Capriati won her last slam in 2002.
Davenport won her last slam in 2000.
Hingis won her last slam 1999.
When somebody tells me they accurately foresaw the next six or seven years of tennis in even before RG '02', I'm more than a little skeptical. Think about it.
Jennifer Capriati who just won OZ, only ever wins one more tournament.
The Serena Slam
Venus doesn't win another slam outside of Wimbledon
Justine Henin wins seven slam singles titles
Clijsters retires before age 25.
The 'Russian Wave' in 2004
The 'Russian Wave' only wins two slams after 2004
Anna Kournikova never does win a WTA tournament
Mary Pierce makes two slam finals in 2005
Lindsay Davenport ends 2004 and 2005 ranked #1
Amelie Mauresmo win two slams in a year
If you saw all that as the future of the WTA tour in 2002, God bless you. I sure didn't.

LDVTennis
Apr 16th, 2009, 04:20 PM
There's not much else worthy of comment.

It's funny, because it's so sad and so true... :lol::lol::lol:

Dave.
Apr 16th, 2009, 04:38 PM
:yawn:

With every tennis generation, somebody always brings this stuff up. Believe it or not, some of us don't think as highly of your precious "star" generation as you do, at least not in relation to past or present history. Who the hell were Capriati, Clijsters, Mauresmo and Davenport, really? I argue that they arrived at No. 1 in much the same way Jankovic or Safina have, or will have--because they hit their best stretch of tennis when better players were injured or slumping.

I'll go to my grave believing that none of them would have won a major if Graf and Seles and Hingis were around.


:tape: Davenport beat two of those players to win her slam finals, and totally owned the other. Capriati beat Hingis on her way to all 3 of her slams.

Volcana
Apr 16th, 2009, 05:07 PM
With every tennis generation, somebody always brings this stuff up. Believe it or not, some of us don't think as highly of your precious "star" generation as you do, at least not in relation to past or present history. Who the hell were Capriati, Clijsters, Mauresmo and Davenport, really? I argue that they arrived at No. 1 in much the same way Jankovic or Safina have, or will have--because they hit their best stretch of tennis when better players were injured or slumping.

I'll go to my grave believing that none of them would have won a major if Graf and Seles and Hingis were around.Hingis herself has said, over and over, she didn't know how to play Davenport. On top of that, Davenport won all three of her slams when Seles and Hingis were around, and I think Steffi played in two of them.

Capriati won her first WTA tour even when she fourteen. And you really think she'd have never won a major 'if Graf and Seles and Hingis') I could go furthe into that resume, but there's no real need.

Mauresmo won her two slams in 2006. Graf was what 37 and twice a mother. Seles was fat and injury-ridden. You really think either of them stopping Mauresmo that year? Henin at the peak of her powers, couldn't stop Mauresmo that year.

One last thing. Capriati, Clijsters, Mauresmo and Davenport had to deal with Venus and Serena and Justine Henin to win their slams. None of those players are the equal of Graf, but they are every bit the equal of Seles or Hingis.

hingis-seles
Apr 16th, 2009, 05:35 PM
Hingis herself has said, over and over, she didn't know how to play Davenport. On top of that, Davenport won all three of her slams when Seles and Hingis were around, and I think Steffi played in two of them.

Capriati won her first WTA tour even when she fourteen. And you really think she'd have never won a major 'if Graf and Seles and Hingis') I could go furthe into that resume, but there's no real need.

Mauresmo won her two slams in 2006. Graf was what 37 and twice a mother. Seles was fat and injury-ridden. You really think either of them stopping Mauresmo that year? Henin at the peak of her powers, couldn't stop Mauresmo that year.

One last thing. Capriati, Clijsters, Mauresmo and Davenport had to deal with Venus and Serena and Justine Henin to win their slams. None of those players are the equal of Graf, but they are every bit the equal of Seles or Hingis.

Seles wasn't obese in 2006. She'd dropped the fat by 2005.

I wouldn't call Venus or Justine the equal of Seles - it's not even close. Especially if you compare their results over their respective peaks. Ofcourse the entire trio, I would rate above Hingis.

Joana
Apr 16th, 2009, 05:40 PM
Look, you may have seen all this coming. I sure didn't.

Of course I didn't. I expected the Williams sisters to win 3/4 or more of all Slams until 2008 and be retired by now. I also thought Clijsters was going to be more successful than Henin etc.
I have modify my stance on Henin a bit - yeah, before the spring of 2003 she was mostly considered a nice little player that's bound to be beaten up by the big girls. It was the clay season of 2003 that changed that perspective and I think most people would have considered her one of the big favourites to win RG - not to dominate, I doubt anyone expected that, I certainly didn't.

And look, their Slam records by that time and such don't matter all that much. Serena was beating everyone left and right, what she didn't win Venus picked up. And yet those players (Henin, Clijsters and co.) were expected to challenge them, at least up to a point. That's a much bigger task than that players have today. There's no such domination anymore, but neither are there such expectations about most players.

Joana
Apr 16th, 2009, 05:51 PM
And let's just compare two situations: the AO '03 semi Serena vs Kim and this year's final Serena vs Dinara.

If we compare Kim's and Dinara's record, they're almost equal - Kim had won YEC but Dinara would have a Slam final more. Kim was playing a Serena at the height of her power, going for the Serena Slam. Dinara was playing a Serena obviously past her physical peak, who struggled to reach the final and got lucky a couple of times. And yet, who was given better chance to win the match, Kim or Dinara?