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View Full Version : I am so sick of Age Eligibility Rules


VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Jul 4th, 2010, 04:08 PM
I just read the Hingis/Kournikova interview and even they think this is ridiculous.

They need to be relaxed or abolished altogether. If the WTA really wants it's mojo back, they need to reconsider how it got so many stars in the first place - teenage girls.

There is really no contrasting of generations anymore, or a changing of the guard, just a constant flux of uncertainty of who will win (like Roland Garros) if Williams and Belgium goes out of a Grand Slam.

Who agrees?

JJ's biatch
Jul 4th, 2010, 04:10 PM
I'm with you!

KournikovaFan91
Jul 4th, 2010, 04:15 PM
I think there should be some limit but the current limits are way too harsh.

I think Robson is only allowed play 12 WTA/ITF tourneys a year or something ridiculous.

égalité
Jul 4th, 2010, 04:22 PM
Agree 100%.

Larrybidd
Jul 4th, 2010, 04:28 PM
I think there should be some limit but the current limits are way too harsh.

I think Robson is only allowed play 12 WTA/ITF tourneys a year or something ridiculous.

The way the game is played today, do you honestly think that 14-17 yr. old girls can have success that they are incapable of at age 18?

Are we going to pimp out young girls to attract more fans? Is that the answer? I don't understand what would be the point of it. Anna talks about how hard it was for her a a young girls to deal with so many people pulling on her, thank God her mother protected her, 'cuz I remember a lot of shuttlebutt about her and grown hockey players. Is that the kind of buzz that you all want to grow the Sport? Geez.

tennisbum79
Jul 4th, 2010, 04:29 PM
There was a very good reason this rule was put in place.

There were lot burnout, as a result of parent treating their kids as cash cow, meal ticket.

They put so much pressure on the kids, using abusive language if they don't win, booking them for too many tournaments way over their phsyical capacity.

Tripp
Jul 4th, 2010, 04:29 PM
Agree. AER should exist, but not to this limit. It's way too harsh.-

simonsaystennis
Jul 4th, 2010, 04:32 PM
I think AER should exist, but be loosened. 17 year olds should be allowed to play as many tournaments as they want. 16 year olds maybe like 18. 15 year olds maybe 15. 14 year olds 12?

Larrybidd
Jul 4th, 2010, 04:37 PM
I think AER should exist, but be loosened. 17 year olds should be allowed to play as many tournaments as they want. 16 year olds maybe like 18. 15 year olds maybe 15. 14 year olds 12?

OK, so you allow kids to play a few more events on the tour. That accomplishes what? Particularly when the likelyhood is they will be eliminated early in those events - like Robson. The cream rises. If the girls are good enuf to compete at 16 they'll be good enough at 18.

KournikovaFan91
Jul 4th, 2010, 04:46 PM
The way the game is played today, do you honestly think that 14-17 yr. old girls can have success that they are incapable of at age 18?

Are we going to pimp out young girls to attract more fans? Is that the answer? I don't understand what would be the point of it. Anna talks about how hard it was for her a a young girls to deal with so many people pulling on her, thank God her mother protected her, 'cuz I remember a lot of shuttlebutt about her and grown hockey players. Is that the kind of buzz that you all want to grow the Sport? Geez.

Her mother was the problem, she should never have took Anna from Nick. Alla wasn't a tennis coach, she was the one who ruined Anna's career.

The rules for 16/17 year olds should be relaxed, for 14/15 year olds I don't agree they should be relaxed.

The age restrictions stop girls from playing quality tennis early in their career and playing an ITF/Junior mix seems stupid and pointless.

bbjpa
Jul 4th, 2010, 05:03 PM
Totally agree , here is the main explanation why there are any under 18 girl on top 100 and only two 18 years old on :eek::mad:
And after that WTA will be sorry for the lack of new talents on the tour, ridiculous :fiery:

Steffica Greles
Jul 4th, 2010, 05:07 PM
There's two ways of looking at it:

First of all, women's tennis has lost a generation of stars: Sharapova, Vaidisova, Ivanovic. Sharapova is a sick note, Vaidisova lost motivation and Ivanovic is not in much better condition.

Now, on one hand the age eligibility rule did nothing to protect those women. A player can burn out physically and mentally at any age, as they would exemplify. On the other hand, all of those women were world class before the age of 18 and by the age of 20/21 were on a downward spiral from which to date they have never recovered, suffering mentally and/or physically. Surely that is an argument to prevent even worse burnout amongst younger players who are physically and emotionally still less developed?

VSFan1 aka Joshua L.
Jul 4th, 2010, 05:08 PM
The girls are playing week in and week out anyways with the junior tour....it's just ridiculous.

fufuqifuqishahah
Jul 4th, 2010, 05:09 PM
To say its because they dont play enough tournaments is kind of ridiculous. Increasing the number of tournaments will help a lot and improve their results, but since they lose early most of the time anyways, one has to wonder to what extent their results would improve.

I do have to agree with VSFan1 and Steffica and simonsays

Slutiana
Jul 4th, 2010, 06:01 PM
Have they not been in place since like '94?

TheBoiledEgg
Jul 4th, 2010, 06:02 PM
The girls are playing week in and week out anyways with the junior tour....it's just ridiculous.

that was Julia Cohen :lol:
there wasnt an AER on the junior tour until Cohen did her 6 month non stop rubbish :help: :help:

Shonami Slam
Jul 4th, 2010, 06:17 PM
the better the player, the more the restrictions could possibly protect them.
i would prefer anxiously (sp, sorry) waiting to see how vaidisova developed since the last time she played, since she could only play 12, then what really happened - letting her play more and more, since her ranking is going up and up, the WCs bieng granted, the slams not bieng counted.
i'd bee forced to watch the junior tour if i were a fan, watch how she obligates to the junior slams and orange bowl and A grade tournies, since she can't play full time on the WTA and ITFs.
patience has a huge plus side - when they ARE 18 - they can skyrocket withing 10 tournies, and i'd be the one who knew it was going to happen, and following it GRADUALLY since 14.
much better for the tennis fans, the romours, the hype that way, then watching them all the time crunbling before our very eyes.

and yes - i was a hardcore sucker for vaidisova, but there are too many examples.

Patrick345
Jul 4th, 2010, 06:59 PM
I think there should be some limit but the current limits are way too harsh.

I think Robson is only allowed play 12 WTA/ITF tourneys a year or something ridiculous.

So? What difference does it make, if she plays 12 or 18 matches a year.

bobcat
Jul 4th, 2010, 07:59 PM
Meh, if you have the talent it's going to be obvious no matter how many tournaments you play. 12 tournaments is still plenty if you have talent. The AER mainly effect the lesser players who want to try and make a living on the tour by playing singles and doubles in 25 MM tournaments.

duhcity
Jul 4th, 2010, 08:11 PM
The AER is there to protect girls who don't have the talent to make it to the top, but whom have parents who believe they do.
It lets girls continue with their education as well. Surely, that's not a bad thing.

TennisFan66
Jul 4th, 2010, 08:31 PM
AER is there for a reason.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1291657/Family-selling-splitting-girls-tennis-dream.html

Not sure if this article has been debated here. Granted DM is a tabloid and likely numbers are exaggerated, but still ....... :help:

Patrick345
Jul 4th, 2010, 08:44 PM
Meh, if you have the talent it's going to be obvious no matter how many tournaments you play. 12 tournaments is still plenty if you have talent. The AER mainly effect the lesser players who want to try and make a living on the tour by playing singles and doubles in 25 MM tournaments.

Exactly.

juki
Jul 4th, 2010, 08:52 PM
R1 losses shouldn't count towards their AER

1) Its not like playing one match in the entire week will cause any stress to their body.
2) Reduces the pressure they face to produce a big result every time knowing they risk "wasting" a tournament (Pavs talked about this).
3) Encourages them to try and play bigger tournaments since the high-risk of losing first round won't hurt their AER.
4) Gets them out of junior tournaments.

:shrug:

juki
Jul 4th, 2010, 09:14 PM
Also want to add that the AER rules don't take into account the increased depth and strength of the ITF circuit. Unless you take a Dulgheru silver bullet into the top-100, building your ranking is a slow, difficult process, no matter how much talent you have. Current AER regs just make it more unnecessarily long and difficult.

Sean.
Jul 4th, 2010, 09:17 PM
I think they are a good idea, it stops young girls playing week in week out when their bodies are really not ready to handle it. The game is far mroe physical now than before the limits were brought in.

Atrixo
Jul 4th, 2010, 11:41 PM
I don't think anyone's advocating the elimination of the AER in it's entirety. Of course, there has to be some form of minimum regulation. However, the current AER is much too restrictive.

Players will burn out regardless of whether the rules are strict or more relaxed. These players WILL burn out, whether it's from physical injury, mental fatigue, or family/social pressures. The rules may delay burnout for some; but these same players were heading towards that endgame anyway. Those who can handle and deal with the daily grind and expectations WILL; those who can't WON'T. Restrictive rules won't change that outcome.

What the current AER does do, is prevent those players capable of becoming the next generation of WTA stars from accelerating their development, and capitalizing on their gifts. Age is just a number. It doesn't arbitrarily determine mental and emotional maturity. You don't somehow "become" more capable of handling pressure just because you've aged one year. Wasting years of professional development being forced to enter junior/ITF tournaments, when your obvious abilities/talents dictate otherwise, does nothing negate forward momentum. You don't gain anything by facing inferior opposition. Like all pro sports, the minor leagues are there to acclimate and evaluate players for the majors; the best will graduate to that level at an accelerated rate; the worst won't graduate at all. And for those in the middle, they may take longer to mature. But the thing is, you shouldn't arbitrarily bind the best players to the same evaluation criteria as those in the middle or bottom. You're just wasting potential star talent.

In any case, I believe the AER rules should be loosened greatly. They should be allowed to played unlimited events from age 16 onwards. Most of the girls are fully developed physically at that age, and should be allowed the freedom to pursue their own course. 13, 14 and 15 year olds should still be regulated, but they should be allowed to play (more) tournaments than they are now. When you see young players play full junior schedules + the max. allowed in the ITF/WTA, they end up playing 25+ tournaments anyway. How's the AER helping then?

Kworb
Jul 4th, 2010, 11:44 PM
It doesn't matter. Juniors these days can't handle the top women. They all learn power over variety and precision and with that kind of game you won't peak until later in life.

KournikovaFan91
Jul 4th, 2010, 11:46 PM
I agree with the 16 age limit.

Younger than that and I think they should be quite strict, personally I think 13, 14 and 15 should just be junior and some ITF draws and then from 16 just regular WTA rules.

Slutiana
Jul 5th, 2010, 12:26 AM
Agree with what a lot of you are saying. But then again I ask; has it not been in place since '94?

Since then we have seen the rise of many players from a young age - the Russians, Belgians, Serena and even more recently the Lost Generation of Sharapova, Ivanovic, Golovin and Vaidisova who were all beating the best from aged 15 and 16.

The AER is nowhere near the problem, or at least the main problem. The talent of the players is. As both Anna and Martina said, they all learn to play in the same way. There's barely any intelligence, variety or even athleticism. It's just power, power, power.

Larrybidd
Jul 5th, 2010, 12:52 AM
Relaxing the AER is the typical solution in search of a problem. I disagree with the premise that a player being "forced" to play juniors or ITF tour hinders there growth in any significant way. If any player were clearly superior to the players on that tour they would shoot up the WTA rankings anyway since those are the same players they would be competing with in tournament qualifiers to even get into the main draws of the tournaments you want them in.

At the age of 18, at least here in the states, one is considered an adult. So it stands to reason that all restrictions end at that point. Before then, the risk of abuse - and record of abuses - is too high to ignore, on the questionable premise that some phenon is being held back. If kids are over the hill at age 18, I'm not interested in tennis as a sport. What is this gymnastics?

KournikovaFan91
Jul 5th, 2010, 12:55 AM
In many countries in Europe 16 year olds get many adult benefits. :shrug:

Larrybidd
Jul 5th, 2010, 01:15 AM
Then next there's the issue of different treatment of girls and boys. I'm not familiar with AER rules on the ATP, but I'm guessing they know that boys cannot compete on a day to day basis with grown men.

I feel the same about women. A 15 or 16 yr. old girl should have no business competing on a regular basis with the women on the WTA - if the WTA has any athletic credibility that is. The reason I'm interested in women's tennis is that it much more of a sport - with real world class athletes - than it used to be. Personally, I thing the fact that a 16 yr. old Tracy Astin won a GS was a joke. And looking at the old matches on Tennis channels classic matches, the level of athleticism WAS certainly a joke compared to today. As long as the W in WTA still stands for women's then I'm fine with restricting it mainly to women. Kid's will grow up and it will be there time, IF they really are good enough.

Lindsayfan32
Jul 5th, 2010, 01:33 AM
The rules are there for a very good reason to protect young players from burnout and over bearing tennis parents that want to push them too hard. Laura Robson will be able to play a full schedule soon enough. The rules don't need to changed at all they are fine just the way they are.

Atrixo
Jul 5th, 2010, 02:30 AM
Then next there's the issue of different treatment of girls and boys. I'm not familiar with AER rules on the ATP, but I'm guessing they know that boys cannot compete on a day to day basis with grown men.

I feel the same about women. A 15 or 16 yr. old girl should have no business competing on a regular basis with the women on the WTA - if the WTA has any athletic credibility that is. The reason I'm interested in women's tennis is that it much more of a sport - with real world class athletes - than it used to be. Personally, I thing the fact that a 16 yr. old Tracy Astin won a GS was a joke. And looking at the old matches on Tennis channels classic matches, the level of athleticism WAS certainly a joke compared to today. As long as the W in WTA still stands for women's then I'm fine with restricting it mainly to women. Kid's will grow up and it will be there time, IF they really are good enough.

You'd be surprised about the AER for the ATP. You have to be a minimum of 14 years old to play, period. 14 year olds are allowed to play up to 8 professional tournaments (ITF/ATP). 15 year olds are allowed to play up to 12 professional tournaments (ITF/ATP). At the age of 16 years old, they're allowed to play an unlimited schedule.

The funny thing is, the AER's of both tours would be better served with the "other" side. The ATP's rules seem more logical for the WTA, and vice versa.

Volcana
Jul 5th, 2010, 02:58 AM
If you want to see how the AER can be beneficial, just look at the players born in the early 80's, restricted scedule vs full schedule. Venus and Serena are still here. Kournikova and Hingis are gone. Clisters was playing a full schedule at 17. And wound up taking two years off at the heart of her career. Dementieva didn't play a full schedule til she turned eighteen. Henin didn't play a full schedule til the year she turned nine-teen.

And BTW, whoeve wrote ealier in this thread that the girls are fully developed at 16 is full of shit, or a total non-athlete. That simply IS. NOT. TRUE. All you have to do is look at them at seventeen, and look at them at 22. They're waifs at 17, most of them, or butterballs. They are far from 'fully developed', whether it's a matter of not shedding the fat, or not yet putting on the muscle.

Atrixo
Jul 5th, 2010, 03:47 AM
If you want to see how the AER can be beneficial, just look at the players born in the early 80's, restricted scedule vs full schedule. Venus and Serena are still here. Kournikova and Hingis are gone. Clisters was playing a full schedule at 17. And wound up taking two years off at the heart of her career. Dementieva didn't play a full schedule til she turned eighteen. Henin didn't play a full schedule til the year she turned nine-teen.

And BTW, whoeve wrote ealier in this thread that the girls are fully developed at 16 is full of shit, or a total non-athlete. That simply IS. NOT. TRUE. All you have to do is look at them at seventeen, and look at them at 22. They're waifs at 17, most of them, or butterballs. They are far from 'fully developed', whether it's a matter of not shedding the fat, or not yet putting on the muscle.

By fully developed, I mean "most" have reached physical maturity (i.e. adult height, etc...). In terms of their physical build, of course there's going to be variations. Physical training regimens and diet will develop the body further into what we perceive of as their final incarnations (age 18+). I don't know about you, but the teen female athletes I was surrounded by in high school were extremely well-developed physically (tall, muscular, strong and athletic). Quite frankly, a lot of the junior players appear "waify" or "chubby" because at the junior level, the demand to keep oneself in optimum physical condition isn't paramount yet; the competition level doesn't require it. Notice how they really build themselves up physically once they start playing on the WTA/ITF tour? The competition level dictates that they improve their bodies (strength, stamina, agility). Those "waify" and "chubby" junior bodies will start disappearing earlier if they're allowed to participate at the professional level more consistently at an earlier age. So no, I'm not "full of shit". :(

The view that the WTA takes (and you) towards these young women is incredibly patronizing. Young women need to be coddled and babied until they're 18? Right. :rolleyes:

Gemini7
Sep 25th, 2010, 09:05 AM
The Age Eligibility Rules are basically ruining the game. Take the Women's game. We all remember the position the game was in when the Williams sisters were both injured and Henin and Clijsters were retired. We had the ludicrous situation where players were becoming number 1 who were totally unworthy of the position and who had not even won a grand slam (e.g. Jankovic, Safina, etc. And they still have not won a slam!!). Outside of the Williams sisters, Henin, Clijsters, there is just no real talent in the game. I fear for the future. The Williams sisters, Henin, Clijsters will all be retired in a few years and then where will the game be? The fact of the matter is that because of these ludicrous age eligibility rules, a whole generation has been lost and once the Williams sisters, Henin, and Clijsters have gone, the game will be paying the price for that with lost public interest and eventually, declining investment. Ultimately, the paying public are not going to follow a sport without any real stars. The fact of the matter is that players develop most at a young age and if you choke that development off with artificial restrictions, then they don't fulfil their full potential. That is the lesson that has to be learned from this fiasco. I recently saw an item in which Stacey Allaster, President of the WTA, defended the rules and maintained that the sport was still in a healthy state. But that is only because the Williams sisters, Henin, and Clijsters are still around to help maintain public interest. She is not seeing the bigger picture and looking ahead at the problems post Williams sisters, Henin and Clijsters. That is when the rot will really set in and she is sticking her head in the sand if she pretends otherwise. Action needs to be taken now if disaster is to be averted. The following statistics represent a warning of real decline ahead: The winners of this years 4 grand slams were aged 28 (Australian Open), 29 (French Open), 28 (Wimbledon), and 27 (US Open). Of the current top 20 players in the world, just 1 is under 20 years of age, with 13 over the age of 25. This is an appalling state of affairs. Of course 25 - 30 is not old in general terms, but unfortunately it is in tennis because after all, most players retire at around 30. Hence , when the sport is dominated by the over 25's and there is barely anybody in the wings to replace them, you have got a real problem.

Juju Nostalgique
Sep 25th, 2010, 09:27 AM
Well they both should ask for a harder AER instead of a softer one. Look: one ended up as a cocaine addict and the other one as a titleless pseudoerotic symbol... :weirdo:

Not the best examples to tennis future stars... :weirdo:

TennisFan66
Sep 25th, 2010, 09:32 AM
The way the game is played today, do you honestly think that 14-17 yr. old girls can have success that they are incapable of at age 18?

Are we going to pimp out young girls to attract more fans? Is that the answer? I don't understand what would be the point of it. Anna talks about how hard it was for her a a young girls to deal with so many people pulling on her, thank God her mother protected her, 'cuz I remember a lot of shuttlebutt about her and grown hockey players. Is that the kind of buzz that you all want to grow the Sport? Geez.

Agree 100%. WTA Tour is not the latest American Idol; 'I can tweet with The Kardashians' or 'I am not a celebrity. Get me in here'. The tour has a responsibility and its living up to it by restricting the amount of tournaments YOUNG teen girls can play.

Juju Nostalgique
Sep 25th, 2010, 09:38 AM
BTW IMO since the f@cken AER came up there have been no real new big stars in the game. I mean dominant players that can make the Tour excinting and competitive. One good player here, another one there... but no big rivalries and a Top-10 plagued with unknown inconsistent useless players... :weirdo:

F@ck you AER! :weirdo:

FleetSeb
Sep 25th, 2010, 09:41 AM
We shouldn't put the tour ahead of the girls themselves. Sure a 16/17 year old making a great run in a tournament is always cause for headlines and publicity, but the fact is, these girls' bodies are still developing. The tour should be trying to nurture them for the future rather than letting them play themselves into serious injuries or burnouts. It might slow down your career in the short term but in the long run it's a good thing I feel.

JamieOwen3
Sep 25th, 2010, 09:44 AM
it should be loosened, 15-16 year old aren't gonna have great tournaments in every single one they play are they? if one or two?? :shrug: so i think it does harm the players these days!

Shvedbarilescu
Sep 25th, 2010, 09:44 AM
I have seen too many players burn out, either physically, emotionally or mentally at young ages after having great success as a teenager to be against any age restrictions. These rules are there for a very good reason, to protect the future of tomorrow's tennis players.

Cracking the top 10 or the top 50 or the top 100 at a very early age does not ensure longterm success, very often it leads to careers that are over by the time a girl is in the their early twenties. Many other players burn brightly as teenagers but are spent afterwards and end up having hugely disappointing careers. I could list dozens and dozens.

Could a player like Robson be doing better now and having a more successful career presently without any age restrictions? Of course she could. Would that be in her best interest for her long term career. I don't think so for a minute.

terjw
Sep 25th, 2010, 09:59 AM
The AER was more of an issue when it came in when Anna was young. I don't see any downside to the rule today and it is there to protect the player from burnout.

However, I remeber Anna bitterly complaining about it. It always affected her and prevented her playing and never affected Hingis and she thought this was so unfair. It also prevented more of a rivalry at that time. Indeed - if the AER hadn't been in force - I'm sure Anna would have won a title which of course she never did.

So - no I'm not against the AER. But if ever a player was hard done by it - it was Anna.

Shvedbarilescu
Sep 25th, 2010, 10:15 AM
The AER was more of an issue when it came in when Anna was young. I don't see any downside to the rule today and it is there to protect the player from burnout.

However, I remeber Anna bitterly complaining about it. It always affected her and prevented her playing and never affected Hingis and she thought this was so unfair. It also prevented more of a rivalry at that time. Indeed - if the AER hadn't been in force - I'm sure Anna would have won a title which of course she never did.

So - no I'm not against the AER. But if ever a player was hard done by it - it was Anna.

Thing is both Hingis and Kournikova were gone from the game at 22, although Hingis did later return for a couple of years. This is the kind of thing the AER needs to prevent from happening and I think both Hingis and Kournikova are fine examples of why players should not be rushed.

BuTtErFrEnA
Sep 25th, 2010, 10:45 AM
Relaxing the AER is the typical solution in search of a problem. I disagree with the premise that a player being "forced" to play juniors or ITF tour hinders there growth in any significant way. If any player were clearly superior to the players on that tour they would shoot up the WTA rankings anyway since those are the same players they would be competing with in tournament qualifiers to even get into the main draws of the tournaments you want them in.

At the age of 18, at least here in the states, one is considered an adult. So it stands to reason that all restrictions end at that point. Before then, the risk of abuse - and record of abuses - is too high to ignore, on the questionable premise that some phenon is being held back. If kids are over the hill at age 18, I'm not interested in tennis as a sport. What is this gymnastics?


the law saying you're an adult and mature enough to make your own decisions doesn't automatically MAKE you mature...much like what someone before you said, the wta deciding that you are NOW ready to handle the tour doesn't make you ready

Gemini7
Oct 9th, 2010, 01:21 PM
Further to my post of the 25th September 2010, I note that as of this coming Monday Caroline Wozniacki will ascend to number 1 in the rankings. Many congratulations to her - whilst she is yet another example of a player who has attained the ranking without having ever won a slam, unlike Jankovic and Safina, I think she deserves to be there. Hopefully, in 2011 she will win a slam to go with the ranking and put the anomaly right. I think however she missed a golden opportunity in losing to Zvonareva in the semi's at the US Open. Its a match she really should have won. Nevertheless, that loss highlights the one possible thing about her that could prevent her from becoming the dominant force in Women's tennis in the years to come - her temperament. Does she have the nerve and ruthlessness of Graf, Navratilova, and the Williams sisters to win out in the very biggest matches? Or is she yet another example of someone with all the talent in the world, but without the temperament to match to enable them to take their place amongst the greats (a certain male British tennis player and male Spanish golfer are examples that fall into that category). The Jury's still out on that and only time will tell.

Wozniacki is another example of a player that has been held back by the AER's. Had it not been for the AER's, then like Graf, she could well have won 4 or 5 slams by the age she is now. Shame. By the age Wozniacki is now, Maureen Connolly's career was already over courtesy of an altercation with a truck whilst out horse riding. Just think, had AER's existed back in the 1950's, the world would have been deprived of one of the greatest players that has ever lived (the first female winner of the grand slam in 1953)

Yes, we can all quote examples of players who burn't out young. Yet, who is to say they would not have burn't out anyway. The AER's does not stop players practising just as hard day in day out. They still play just as much Tennis. They just don't enter as many tournaments. Hence, there are still just as many young players burning out. Its just that such examples don't hit the headlines anymore because the individual players have not reached international prominence. Accordingly, players are going to burn out regardless of whether the AER's are in place or not. Regardless of this however, the fact of the matter is that the overwelming majority do not burn out. The proponents of the AER's keep on trotting out the same old examples of burn out. Yet Steffi Graf turned professional at the age of 13 and went on to win over 20 slams without burning out. There are many other examples. And just to set the record straight - Martina Hingis did not burn out in 2002. She was forced to retire due to an injury totally unrelated to the age she started out at. And what about the players who came up under the AER's. Well, there are plenty of examples of how it hasn't prevented premature retirement. Take Henin and Clijsters for example. Did the AER's stop those two from prematurely retiring in their early-mid 20's. No - it did not. Not only do the AER's choke off development, but they are also a complete and utter flop in terms of their aims and objectives - a total waste of time.

The acid test will come in terms of what happens to the game once the Williams sisters, Henin, and Clijsters have retired. As stated in my post of the 25th September 2010, my view is the WTA are facing disaster with a sport likely to enter a period of severe decline. They had better hope that Wozniacki has the temperament to go with the talent and for the sake of the sport, so do I. But the fact remains that the WTA should never have allowed the sport to get into this predicament in the first place. It should wake up and smell the coffee. If the sport does enter a period of severe decline, it will be 100% the WTA's fault.

Gemini7
Oct 9th, 2010, 01:58 PM
p.s. to my last post. Whilst on the subject of Maureen Connolly, she once came up with a very interesting quote which I believe goes to the heart of burn out. She said: "I have always believed greatness on a tennis court was my destiny, a dark destiny, at times, where the court became my secret jungle and I, a lonely, fear-stricken hunter. I was a strange little girl armed with hate, fear, and a Golden Racket." You see, sport by its very nature is a tough business and life on the international tennis circuit is somewhat phoney and lonely place to be in. If that's how she felt way back in the early 1950's, in today's global village its many times worse. To survive in a world like that, you have to have the personality to cope with it. If a competitor doesn't have that, then burn out and/or premature retirement is inevitable and its irrelevant at what age you start out. You've either got it or you haven't, and its not something that can be acquired with age and training.