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mboyle
Jul 1st, 2010, 06:05 PM
No active woman born after 1987 has finished two consecutive seasons in the top ten, and no active woman born after 1987 has reached more than one grand slam semi-final.
In the open era, has there ever been such a dearth of talented MIDDLE AGE players? I mean, Sharapova is old by historical tennis standards, and she's the youngest multiple slam winner on tour. Ivanovic, at age 22.5, is the youngest slam winner period.

Julian.
Jul 1st, 2010, 06:08 PM
"No active woman born after 1987 has finished two consecutive seasons in the top ten"

Wozniacki will change that soon :sobbing:

Just Do It
Jul 1st, 2010, 06:13 PM
So what ? What's a big deal about this ? I'd rather have them peak at the age of 25-26 than 18.

Atrixo
Jul 1st, 2010, 06:14 PM
I think what's lacking with the new generation of players (born after 1987), is that they lack the requisite mental toughness that the champions (born prior to 1987) have. A lot of them have the weapons and physical tools and skills to win slams, but not the mental fortitude to see it through with any consistency.

Maybe it's the increased environmental pollution after 1987? Messed with their brains, or something. I don't know. ;):lol:

AndreConrad
Jul 1st, 2010, 06:52 PM
Radwanska finished 2008 and 2009 in the top 10. Furthermore I think in current coonditions it will take longer time for young players to peak; perhaps between 22-25.

ptkten
Jul 1st, 2010, 07:03 PM
I think what's lacking with the new generation of players (born after 1987), is that they lack the requisite mental toughness that the champions (born prior to 1987) have. A lot of them have the weapons and physical tools and skills to win slams, but not the mental fortitude to see it through with any consistency.

Maybe it's the increased environmental pollution after 1987? Messed with their brains, or something. I don't know. ;):lol:

And the one youngster, Wozniacki, who has the mental toughness of a slam champion, doesn't seem to have a big enough game.

miffedmax
Jul 1st, 2010, 07:36 PM
I do think some of it is that the younger players don't get to play as much while their 16 and 17.

Also, with the fitness regimes they're own, you've got "old" ladies like Venus, Dementieva, Frannie etc. playing into what was, not all THAT long ago retirement age. Also, the increased prize money means that a lot of mid-level women who hovered in the bottom 60-120 can now play for a decade--something only highly ranked players could do in the past. All of which makes it harder for young players to break through and be consistent.

Those conditions have always been more prevelant on the men's tour. It will be interesting to see if the women adjust, or if this really is the ugly future of the ladies' game.

olivero
Jul 1st, 2010, 08:37 PM
No active woman born after 1987 has finished two consecutive seasons in the top ten

Wrong. Radwańska did.

Polikarpov
Jul 1st, 2010, 09:20 PM
So what ? What's a big deal about this ? I'd rather have them peak at the age of 25-26 than 18.

The thing is, not everybody peaks at the same age.

Albireo
Jul 1st, 2010, 09:40 PM
It might also be parallel with the disappearance of good coaches--many of the guys who were around for "the glory days" are either retired or on the men's tour, and the current crop are either working as a coaching "team" for apparel companies or--with few exceptions--are staggeringly ineffective. (One could make the case that the players make the coaches, rather than vice versa; while this is certainly somewhat true, it's hardly the norm.)

miffedmax
Jul 1st, 2010, 10:12 PM
The thing is, not everybody peaks at the same age.

I'm hoping one of them peaks at 28 or 29. Maybe 30.

Cp6uja
Jul 1st, 2010, 10:43 PM
Before Steffi Graf wins wins career first GS title in 1987, youngest GS winner was about 25y old (Austin/Mandlikova), thanks to Navratilova/Evert total domination (five years in the row 1982-1986 this two won all slams except one :eek:). So Ana Ivanovic today is (I think) 2nd oldest ever Youngest Player which won GS, and at last seasons USO before Wozniacki reach final, Ana Ivanovic played like 2nd oldest ever (almost 22yo) "Youngest player which reach GS final" (about 5 months younger than Sukova at RG/87).

miffedmax
Jul 2nd, 2010, 01:51 AM
Say what? Austin was a few months shy of 17 when she won her first US Open. Mandlikova won her first AO at 18.

Sean.
Jul 2nd, 2010, 01:58 AM
It just means that the peak age is getting older, it's now about 20-22. The game's changed. Hopefully it means fewer burnouts.

tennisforadults
Jul 2nd, 2010, 02:01 AM
No active woman born after 1987 has finished two consecutive seasons in the top ten, and no active woman born after 1987 has reached more than one grand slam semi-final.
In the open era, has there ever been such a dearth of talented MIDDLE AGE players? I mean, Sharapova is old by historical tennis standards, and she's the youngest multiple slam winner on tour. Ivanovic, at age 22.5, is the youngest slam winner period.

People need to wake up... YOUTH is NO LONGER the key to winning in tennis. It's happening to both men's and women's tennis.

Players are peaking later and later in their careers. What's 'retirement' age 10 years ago is the best time to be playing tennis now.

Better fitness regimes, strength, hitting power and mental toughness are making the 25 yr olds the champs. The 18 yr olds just can't cut it with their weak serves and groundstrokes. Hingis could get away with less power in the 90s but not on today's tour.

Tennisstar86
Jul 2nd, 2010, 02:04 AM
It just means that the peak age is getting older, it's now about 20-22. The game's changed. Hopefully it means fewer burnouts.

I doubt that.... Look at who has burned out..... Vaidisova....Safina....Ivanovic....(Azarenka?) the older players (Henin/ clijsters even hingis) walked away..... The older generation's ranking fell when they went away/ got injured.... These new girls keep playing and keep losing... Its quite sad actually...

Vartan
Jul 2nd, 2010, 02:05 AM
I'm hoping one of them peaks at 28 or 29. Maybe 30.

:worship::worship::worship:

Tennisstar86
Jul 2nd, 2010, 02:16 AM
People need to wake up... YOUTH is NO LONGER the key to winning in tennis. It's happening to both men's and women's tennis.

Players are peaking later and later in their careers. What's 'retirement' age 10 years ago is the best time to be playing tennis now.

Better fitness regimes, strength, hitting power and mental toughness are making the 25 yr olds the champs. The 18 yr olds just can't cut it with their weak serves and groundstrokes. Hingis could get away with less power in the 90s but not on today's tour.

Also disagree with this.... Look at today's active slam champions...

Name and age first slam:
Serena: 17
Venus: 20 (First final at 17)
Sharapova: 17
Kuznetsova: 19
Henin: 21 (First final at 19)
Clijsters: 22 (First final at 18)
Schiavone: 29
Ivanovic: 20

Many people say these players are young they've made semi's they have great futures.....The statistics basically show if you havent made a final by the time you're 20 you pretty much will not be a slam champion. unless you're a rare one slam outlier like Schiavone... Can these girls have good careers? maybe squeek a slam? sure, but I'm pretty sure the next star of the tour/ Serena/Maria/ Venus/ Henin/Graf/Hingis caliber player will make a slam as a teenager...

hurricanejeanne
Jul 2nd, 2010, 02:19 AM
It just means that the peak age is getting older, it's now about 20-22. The game's changed. Hopefully it means fewer burnouts.

Exactly and that would be, in the long run, better for the tour.

Valanga
Jul 2nd, 2010, 02:38 AM
for some reason I thought the topic is Soderling Statistics about Young WTA Players :hysteric:

Shvedbarilescu
Jul 2nd, 2010, 02:40 AM
People need to wake up... YOUTH is NO LONGER the key to winning in tennis. It's happening to both men's and women's tennis.

Players are peaking later and later in their careers. What's 'retirement' age 10 years ago is the best time to be playing tennis now.

Better fitness regimes, strength, hitting power and mental toughness are making the 25 yr olds the champs. The 18 yr olds just can't cut it with their weak serves and groundstrokes. Hingis could get away with less power in the 90s but not on today's tour.

Great post. Absolutely spot on.

Also disagree with this.... Look at today's active slam champions...

Name and age first slam:
Serena: 17
Venus: 20 (First final at 17)
Sharapova: 17
Kuznetsova: 19
Henin: 21 (First final at 19)
Clijsters: 22 (First final at 18)
Schiavone: 29
Ivanovic: 20

Many people say these players are young they've made semi's they have great futures.....The statistics basically show if you havent made a final by the time you're 20 you pretty much will not be a slam champion. unless you're a rare one slam outlier like Schiavone... Can these girls have good careers? maybe squeek a slam? sure, but I'm pretty sure the next star of the tour/ Serena/Maria/ Venus/ Henin/Graf/Hingis caliber player will make a slam as a teenager...

I am afraid you have missed the main point of tennisforadults post. He/she is comparing the age at which players develop today to the age at which players developed ten years ago. Serena, Venus, Henin and Clijsters are all from the generation that emerged around a decade ago. To use these players as examples for your argument when the poster's argument is distinguishing the difference in the ages players develop now compared to a decade ago can only be described in one word.....FAIL.

Even Sharapova and Kuznetsova, the tour's last teenage winners, breakthoughs were six years ago.

Take a look at the age of the entire top 100 and compare it to that of 10 years ago and it should be clear to anyone with an open mind the age at which tennis players are emerging is indeed getting older and substantially at that. What's more, I don't see it as a bad thing at all.

Loungy
Jul 2nd, 2010, 02:41 AM
Say what? Austin was a few months shy of 17 when she won her first US Open. Mandlikova won her first AO at 18.
Cp6uja means that, in 1987, Austin/Mandlíková, both 25 years old at the time, were the youngest GS champs in activity (until Steffi won RG). Just like Masha (23) and Ana Ivanovic (22) are now.

Nicolás89
Jul 2nd, 2010, 02:51 AM
The same happens in the ATP isn't Del Potro the youngest in the top 100 and he is like 21?

thegreendestiny
Jul 2nd, 2010, 02:57 AM
25 is the new 17. Didn't you know?

Tennisstar86
Jul 2nd, 2010, 03:01 AM
The same happens in the ATP isn't Del Potro the youngest in the top 100 and he is like 21?

21 has always been the age for the men for breakthroughs....

And I'm sorry the tour isnt anymore demanding in 2010 if anything the caliber of play has gone WAAAAY down then when Henin/ Clijsters/ Sharapova and Kuznetsova had their breakthrough grandslam wins. circa 2003/2004

You either have the heart of a champion or you dont....

Shvedbarilescu
Jul 2nd, 2010, 03:03 AM
21 has always been the age for the men for breakthroughs....

And I'm sorry the tour isnt anymore demanding in 2010 if anything the caliber of play has gone WAAAAY down then when Henin/ Clijsters/ Sharapova and Kuznetsova had their breakthrough grandslam wins. circa 2003/2004

I disagree with the 2nd paragraph.

As for the 1st paragraph you are just plain WRONG. Find me one other period in Men's tennis history where there wasn't at least a few 20 year olds and some teenagers in the top 100 as well. For that matter find me a WTA top 100 from the past with fewer teenage top 100 players than we have now. Just try. I bet you, you will not succeed.

tennisforadults
Jul 2nd, 2010, 03:13 AM
Also disagree with this.... Look at today's active slam champions...

Name and age first slam:
Serena: 17
Venus: 20 (First final at 17)
Sharapova: 17
Kuznetsova: 19
Henin: 21 (First final at 19)
Clijsters: 22 (First final at 18)
Schiavone: 29
Ivanovic: 20

Many people say these players are young they've made semi's they have great futures.....The statistics basically show if you havent made a final by the time you're 20 you pretty much will not be a slam champion. unless you're a rare one slam outlier like Schiavone... Can these girls have good careers? maybe squeek a slam? sure, but I'm pretty sure the next star of the tour/ Serena/Maria/ Venus/ Henin/Graf/Hingis caliber player will make a slam as a teenager...

You're missing my point, as Shvedbarilescu point out.

The breakthroughs of Serena, Venus, Kim and Justine are a decade ago (when champions were young). Let's look at the age of GS champions in the last 5 years.

2006
A. Mauresmo (26)
J. Henin (23)
A. Mauresmo (27)
M. Sharapova (19)

2007
S. Williams (25)
J. Henin (24)
V. Williams (27)
J. Henin (25)

2008
M. Sharapova (20)
A. Ivanovic (22)
V. Williams (28)
S. Williams (27)

2009
S. Williams (27)
S. Kuznetsova (23)
S. Williams (27)
K. Clijsters (26)

2010
S. Williams (28)
F. Schiavone (29)

Only Sharapova was below 21 when she won her crowns. The 'maturing' trend cannot be more obvious.

Nicolás89
Jul 2nd, 2010, 03:20 AM
21 has always been the age for the men for breakthroughs....

Nadal won his first slam at 18, Djokovic, Del Potro, Safin, Hewitt and Federer were 20. ;)

Albireo
Jul 2nd, 2010, 04:00 AM
Take a look at the age of the entire top 100 and compare it to that of 10 years ago and it should be clear to anyone with an open mind the age at which tennis players are emerging is indeed getting older and substantially at that. What's more, I don't see it as a bad thing at all.

So perhaps the obvious discussion question: how much of this can be attributable to long-term effects of the Capriati rules, and how much to other factors?

mckyle.
Jul 2nd, 2010, 04:08 AM
Maybe Sharapova will be the last ever teenage winner? :inlove: Nice way to be in the record books :lol:

shoparound
Jul 2nd, 2010, 04:15 AM
for some reason I thought the topic is Soderling Statistics about Young WTA Players :hysteric:

I thought so too :lol:

Tennisstar86
Jul 2nd, 2010, 06:57 AM
You're missing my point, as Shvedbarilescu point out.

The breakthroughs of Serena, Venus, Kim and Justine are a decade ago (when champions were young). Let's look at the age of GS champions in the last 5 years.

2006
A. Mauresmo (26)
J. Henin (23)
A. Mauresmo (27)
M. Sharapova (19)

2007
S. Williams (25)
J. Henin (24)
V. Williams (27)
J. Henin (25)

2008
M. Sharapova (20)
A. Ivanovic (22)
V. Williams (28)
S. Williams (27)

2009
S. Williams (27)
S. Kuznetsova (23)
S. Williams (27)
K. Clijsters (26)

2010
S. Williams (28)
F. Schiavone (29)

Only Sharapova was below 21 when she won her crowns. The 'maturing' trend cannot be more obvious.

You have no point. As I said.... The youngters might get a slam, but the next Serena/ Venus/ Henin is still a teenager... You throw out Henin/ Clijsters/ Venus/ Serena, but include Mauresmo(who also made a slam final at 19) and Schiavone and inclue them all in your the players are so old now.... No they arent. This isnt anything new. stop making excuses for this new batch. These new girls are just not cutting it, and the next star of the wta has yet to present herself.

tennisforadults
Jul 2nd, 2010, 07:19 AM
You have no point. As I said.... The youngters might get a slam, but the next Serena/ Venus/ Henin is still a teenager... You throw out Henin/ Clijsters/ Venus/ Serena, but include Mauresmo(who also made a slam final at 19) and Schiavone and inclue them all in your the players are so old now.... No they arent. This isnt anything new. stop making excuses for this new batch. These new girls are just not cutting it, and the next star of the wta has yet to present herself.

When the next 'star' presents herself (like winning a Slam), she'll be older than 21. That's what I'm saying.

Is it that hard to understand?

Beat
Jul 2nd, 2010, 07:25 AM
people should get used to the fact that it's older players dominating the tour right now. it's neither a positive nor a negative thing.

Before Steffi Graf wins wins career first GS title in 1987, youngest GS winner was about 25y old (Austin/Mandlikova), thanks to Navratilova/Evert total domination (five years in the row 1982-1986 this two won all slams except one :eek:). So Ana Ivanovic today is (I think) 2nd oldest ever Youngest Player which won GS, and at last seasons USO before Wozniacki reach final, Ana Ivanovic played like 2nd oldest ever (almost 22yo) "Youngest player which reach GS final" (about 5 months younger than Sukova at RG/87).

Cp6uja is like miffedmax, always smuggling his favourite player into his posts. the only difference: Cp6uja is serious about it :o :lol:

chuvack
Jul 2nd, 2010, 08:02 AM
No active woman born after 1987 has finished two consecutive seasons in the top ten, and no active woman born after 1987 has reached more than one grand slam semi-final.
In the open era, has there ever been such a dearth of talented MIDDLE AGE players? I mean, Sharapova is old by historical tennis standards, and she's the youngest multiple slam winner on tour. Ivanovic, at age 22.5, is the youngest slam winner period.


In a word, Generation Suck.

You can take the suckage all the way back to players born in 1983 (with Clijsters as the youngest member of the "pre-suck" successful generation).

chuvack
Jul 2nd, 2010, 08:25 AM
Here's what's going to happen in the Slams if Serena and the Belgians fall off: since somebody has to win the Slams, random low-ranked players like Pironkova, Kvitova, Schiavone are going to start winning them - but only as a one-time fluke. I predict that the next 5 years will see 15 different Slam winners. The Slams will become essentially like the Tier 3s.

madmax
Jul 2nd, 2010, 08:41 AM
there are simply no great players on tour born after 87, simple as that...Maria is the youngest great champion, Ivanovic's slam starts to look like a fluke more and more and generation suckers (from 89 - 90) are simply not that good. So either Maria finally rounds into some kind of dominating form, or we will be seeing flukey slam winners more often than not in the near future

ivanban
Jul 2nd, 2010, 08:47 AM
Before Steffi Graf wins wins career first GS title in 1987, youngest GS winner was about 25y old (Austin/Mandlikova), thanks to Navratilova/Evert total domination (five years in the row 1982-1986 this two won all slams except one :eek:). So Ana Ivanovic today is (I think) 2nd oldest ever Youngest Player which won GS, and at last seasons USO before Wozniacki reach final, Ana Ivanovic played like 2nd oldest ever (almost 22yo) "Youngest player which reach GS final" (about 5 months younger than Sukova at RG/87).

This has to be the most ridiculous nonsense I read on TF this year :help: :bs: :weirdo:

Kworb
Jul 2nd, 2010, 08:59 AM
Martina summed it up pretty well

MARTINA HINGIS: We just had different style. Everyone had its own style. That made it unique. Pretty much now it looks very much the same, like the hard hitting, yeah.

I think they just don't teach it anymore.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Now it's about the power.

MARTINA HINGIS: We just played a lot more tennis, so... Different way, different way of coaching I believe, you know.

Sharapowerr
Jul 2nd, 2010, 09:15 AM
Q. Could you both analyze the state of women's tennis right now, the popularity of the game, what you think it's lacking maybe.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: I think that right now there's still those amazing names: the Williams girls, Henin, Clijsters. Thank God they came back. I just think, to me personally from the outside, it looks like there's not that many household names besides those really four girls, plus Sharapova.

MARTINA HINGIS: It's quickly changing.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: A true tennis fan, he will know who Jankovic is, Wozniacki, people that are between 5 and 10.

MARTINA HINGIS: Even Ivanovic.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Before, I think it was many more household names. Hingis, Williams, Clijsters, Henin, Pierce, Sanchez, Graf, Capriati. We played in an era where I think there were many generations. There was the older generation, the medium and the younger. I think I played the late '90s. It was such a huge mix of generations and people.

But right now, anybody who is outside of top 5 or 10, a normal sportsfans, I don't think they would recognize the names of the girls, even though they're amazing and good.

MARTINA HINGIS: We just had different style. Everyone had its own style. That made it unique. Pretty much now it looks very much the same, like the hard hitting, yeah.

I think they just don't teach it anymore.

ANNA KOURNIKOVA: Now it's about the power.

MARTINA HINGIS: We just played a lot more tennis, so... Different way, different way of coaching I believe, you know.

Sharapowerr
Jul 2nd, 2010, 09:21 AM
there are simply no great players on tour born after 87, simple as that...Maria is the youngest great champion, Ivanovic's slam starts to look like a fluke more and more and generation suckers (from 89 - 90) are simply not that good. So either Maria finally rounds into some kind of dominating form, or we will be seeing flukey slam winners more often than not in the near future

Maria has found her dominating form, she plays better every match she was the toughest opponent against Serena on route to the final,if Serena wasn't serving that amazing Maria had a big chance winning that match.

bandabou
Jul 2nd, 2010, 09:32 AM
Hmmm...different game now. Plus the up and cummmers, none seem to have a truly distuingishing shot yet.

Cp6uja
Jul 2nd, 2010, 09:47 AM
This has to be the most ridiculous nonsense I read on TF this year :help: :bs: :weirdo:
Cp6uja is like miffedmax, always smuggling his favourite player into his posts. the only difference: Cp6uja is serious about it :o :lol:This has to be the most ridiculous nonsense comments about my posts which I read on TF this year :help: :bs: :weirdo:

Yes, of course, I like to say something nice or positive about my favorite player... but in this case fact that 1987-born Ivanovic is currently youngest WTA slam winner speaks in thread like this about WTA next generations (born after 1987), not about Ivanovic (or 1987 also Sharapova). Read next time OP and what is subject of thread, before complaining about other posters! Fact that 1962-born Tracy Austin at nearly 25 being youngest WTA player in 1987 which won slam title not telling anything about Austin in 1987 (BTW she won last GS title 6 years ago, in 1981), but speaking about 1st half of 80'is tennis era with total Navratilova/Evert dominance. So Ana Ivanovic today, 4 months before 23th birthday is 2nd oldest youngest WTA player which won slam title, but that is not related to her, but about non-achievement of all others WTA players born after Sharapova/Ivanovic 1987 class :shrug:


BTW stats are pretty clean here. It's pretty big possibility that Youngest 2010 WTA GS winner will be OLDER than oldest WTA GS winner during 2000-2008 (or older than oldest ATP GS winner since 2004, except Federer AO/10 case). Even worse - so far in 2010 youngest WTA GS finalist (almost 26 old Zvonareva) is older than any WTA finalist in four straight seasons between 2001-2004! So YOUNGEST older than OLDEST!

ivanban
Jul 2nd, 2010, 10:56 AM
This has to be the most ridiculous nonsense comments about my posts which I read on TF this year :help: :bs: :weirdo:

Yes, of course, I like to say something nice or positive about my favorite player... but in this case fact that 1987-born Ivanovic is currently youngest WTA slam winner speaks in thread like this about WTA next generations (born after 1987), not about Ivanovic (or 1987 also Sharapova). Read next time OP and what is subject of thread, before complaining about other posters! Fact that 1962-born Tracy Austin at nearly 25 being youngest WTA player in 1987 which won slam title not telling anything about Austin in 1987 (BTW she won last GS title 6 years ago, in 1981), but speaking about 1st half of 80'is tennis era with total Navratilova/Evert dominance. So Ana Ivanovic today, 4 months before 23th birthday is 2nd oldest youngest WTA player which won slam title, but that is not related to her, but about non-achievement of all others WTA players born after Sharapova/Ivanovic 1987 class :shrug:


BTW stats are pretty clean here. It's pretty big possibility that Youngest 2010 WTA GS winner will be OLDER than oldest WTA GS winner during 2000-2008 (or older than oldest ATP GS winner since 2004, except Federer AO/10 case). Even worse - so far in 2010 youngest WTA GS finalist (almost 26 old Zvonareva) is older than any WTA finalist in four straight seasons between 2001-2004! So YOUNGEST older than OLDEST!

Uhmm.....OK :unsure:

Steffica Greles
Jul 2nd, 2010, 11:26 AM
No active woman born after 1987 has finished two consecutive seasons in the top ten, and no active woman born after 1987 has reached more than one grand slam semi-final.
In the open era, has there ever been such a dearth of talented MIDDLE AGE players? I mean, Sharapova is old by historical tennis standards, and she's the youngest multiple slam winner on tour. Ivanovic, at age 22.5, is the youngest slam winner period.

I know I regularly lament the state of women's tennis, but that's just to stir up debate. Really I think it's a lot more complicated than I make out it is.

Watching Zvonareva and Pironkova yesterday, it was like watching a women's match from the 1970s or 80s, only with modern rackets which allow for more power. Both used angles and wrong-footing tactics and hit cleanly. They weren't at Chris Evert's level (I appreciate her more and more as I watch on youtube - in many ways she was the first complete player) but there were moments when they both looked very talented indeed. Zvonareva was more within her comfort zone in the end.

So, in that example or similar, women's tennis hasn't declined at all, especially if an 82-ranked player can hit like that. There's still the elementary errors, and shanked shots, but that's because they're not used to those kind of matches. They haven't honed their consistency. But then, watching Sharapova and Serena, it's just awful - apart from the serving. There's no feel, no thought, just reaction.

As much as I admire Serena's ability and always have, I really hope she just clears up these next few years and then moves on to other things. I think the women's tour needs a space where it can revive itself, and the Belgians are not the ones to take over - they're too old themselves. It could be a generation before someone decent comes through.

All I know is a link has been broken in women's tennis. When Court dominated, there was a precedent - Maureen Connolly. Yes she was over a decade earlier, but she was widely held as the greatest of all time right into the late 1970s. It's a pity their eras never overlapped. King was egged on by Court, and Evert strove to reach their benchmark. Navratilova (and Austin) battled to gain the upperhand over Evert, and in doing so Navratilova set new standards of altheticism, until Steffi Graf came along. She was invinsible until a fearless Yugoslavian stepped forward, and Seles really used Graf's benchmark of dominance to rate her own performance. It seemed a natural evolution that Hingis would take the lamp from Graf, but she wasn't up to it. The Williams sisters 'kind of' took over from Hingis, but neither of them have ever been that committed, with a tendency to get bored. When they were both beset by injuries, the Belgians used their benchmark of power and althleticism, but then they too suffered from their ailments, and so since that time there has never been any constancy.

It was the same in the late 1990s in men's tennis. Sampras was past his peak but Wimbledon was still his home, and so we had a series of one or two slam wonders. Nobody really led the pack. Whnever a player reached number one, they'd lose four consecutive first rounds. It wasn't until 2004 when Federer took over that men's tennis became more interesting than the women's. And then what happened the following year? Nadal emerged. You can bet your bottom dollar Nadal would never have raised his level so high had it not been for Roger.

Women's tennis needs someone who can emerge and really lead the women's tour. Serena and Venus have never really been interested in doing that, while Justine is physically unable to last, and Kim isn't mentally up to the mark. Maria suffers physically from her own uncompromising style of tennis. We need a player of technical and athletic brilliance who is obsessed with tennis. We could be waiting a tennis generation.

An ideal would be someone with Lindsay Davenport's serve and groundstrokes, which were clean and effortless, who is also a great athlete with a mean instinct. With Lindsay's connection there'd be fewer injuries, and with great movement there'd be no achilies heel. But when you look at the juniors, and you see ghastly screaming contests like the Maria-Serena match, you really wonder whether any such player is being coached.

Sharapowerr
Jul 2nd, 2010, 11:42 AM
I know I regularly lament the state of women's tennis, but that's just to stir up debate. Really I think it's a lot more complicated than I make out it is.

Watching Zvonareva and Pironkova yesterday, it was like watching a women's match from the 1970s or 80s, only with modern rackets which allow for more power. Both used angles and wrong-footing tactics and hit cleanly. They weren't at Chris Evert's level (I appreciate her more and more as I watch on youtube - in many ways she was the first complete player) but there were moments when they both looked very talented indeed. Zvonareva was more within her comfort zone in the end.

So, in that example or similar, women's tennis hasn't declined at all, especially if an 82-ranked player can hit like that. There's still the elementary errors, and shanked shots, but that's because they're not used to it those kind of matches. They haven't honed their consistency. But then, watching Sharapova and Serena, it's just awful - apart from the serving. There's no feel, no thought, just reaction.

As much as I admire Serena's ability and always have, I really hope she just clears up these next few years and then moves on to other things. I think the women's tour needs a space where it can revive itself, and the Belgians are not the ones to take over - they're too old themselves. It could be a generation before someone decent comes through.

All I know is a link has been broken in women's tennis. When Court dominated, there was a precedent - Maureen Connolly. Yes she was over a decade earlier, but she was widely held as the greatest of all time right into the late 1970s. It's a pity their eras never overlapped. King was egged on by Court, and Evert strove to reach their benchmark. Navratilova (and Austin) battled to gain the upperhand over Evert, and in doing so Navratilova set new standards of altheticism, until Steffi Graf came along. She was invinsible until a fearless Yugoslavian stepped forward, and Seles really used Graf's benchmark of dominance to rate her own performance. It seemed a natural evolution that Hingis would take the lamp from Graf, but she wasn't up to it. The Williams sisters 'kind of' took over from Hingis, but neither of them have ever been that committed, with a tendency to get bored. When they were both beset by injuries, the Belgians used their benchmark of power and althleticism, but then they too suffered from their ailments, and so since that time there has never been any constancy.

It was the same in the late 1990s in men's tennis. Sampras was past his peak but Wimbledon was still his home, and so we had a series of one or two slam wonders. Nobody really led the pack. Whnever a player reached number one, they'd lose four consecutive first rounds. It wasn't until 2004 when Federer took over that men's tennis became more interesting than the women's. And then what happened the following year? Nadal emerged. You can bet your bottom dollar Nadal would never have raised his level so high had it not been for Roger.

Women's tennis needs someone who can emerge and really lead the women's tour. Serena and Venus have never really been interested in doing that, while Justine is physically unable to last, and Kim isn't mentally up to the mark. Maria suffers physically from her own uncompromising style of tennis. We need a player of technical and athletic brilliance who is obsessed with tennis. We could be waiting a tennis generation.

An ideal would be someone with Lindsay Davenport's serve and groundstrokes, which were clean and effortless, who is also a great athlete with a mean instinct. With Lindsay's connection there'd be fewer injuries, and with great movement there'd be no achilies heel. But when you look at the juniors, and you see ghastly screaming contests like the Maria-Serena match, you really wonder whether any such player is being coached.

Are u stuck in the 70/80's and about Lindsay, Maria won 3 gs by the age of 20 17/19/20 and she has a similair gamecompared to Lindsay but Maria owns Lindsay 5-1 H2H

Polikarpov
Jul 2nd, 2010, 12:12 PM
Great post Steffica.

I hope that coaches realize that not every young aspiring player possess the natural athletic gifts to play first-strike tennis. It's a shame that some of the young players nowadays are almost forced to have a type of game which their bodies couldn't really allow. Some of these kids could have great hands and touch, and could have the potential to be a competitive volleyer or a sound all-court player. But instead of honing and nurturing what these kids are naturally good at, more importance are given on how to blast every ball for a winner. Thus we have a lot of new faces with solid baseline games, but with nothing special to set themselves apart from each other. They all have the same limited set of skills and so things ultimately turn into a contest of who is hungrier, who can hit the ball harder, and who could stay injury-free while doing it.