Now that the last batches of prodigies (Capriati, Hingis, Williams, Kournikova) have established themselves and set upon their own paths in their tennis careers, I'm interested in knowing who will be the next couple of batches to come through.
Who are some of the latest, highly touted, batch of "prodigies" from around the world? How old are they now?
Which players currently playing were considered "prodigies" in their youth? Are there some "prodigies" already competing in the juniors, perhaps?
Jennifer Capriati was probably the most hyped and highly-touted prodigy of them all. I'm thinking of players like her and Andre Agassi, who have been brought to public attention since they were little kids. There aren't many kids like that making headlines these days.
Was Steffi Graf considered a "prodigy"?
How many "prodigies" actually make it to the top of the game? All of them? Most of them? A lucky few?
Dec 22nd, 2002, 02:42 PM
steffi was a prodigy in germany. since there were already articles written about her when she was 12 or so and it were the german media who decided to give her the name steffi (and then her father jumped in and so few know that steffi was never her official name till she protested years later)
I don't know about the rest of the world
Dec 22nd, 2002, 02:46 PM
mirjana was a prodigy, monique viele was.
there was not so much written about serena before she went on tour. it was often about venus.
I think some make it and some not.
I was watching a movie about wimbledon 85 once and they gave a few juniors a lot of attention in that movie (jenny burn?) and no one ever reached the top!
Dec 22nd, 2002, 02:47 PM
I read an article about Monika Seles ( back in the days when she was still using the 'k'' ) in World Tennis when she was 11 or something. Definitely considered a prodigy.
Mirjana Lucic definitely was spoke about a lot before she went pro. She has underachieved but hopefully has time to get back on track.
I remember reading a series of articles about Sabine Haas when she was young and Peter Graf was predicting good things for her. Of course she quit before she even really got started.
Irma, I think Monique Viele was more a product of self made hype encouraged by Donald Trump rather than a prodigy. She had no tennis results to suggest a prodigy in the making.
Dec 22nd, 2002, 02:48 PM
Hmm good question. I dont think theres a current batch of prodigies that are going to be as good as Hingis, Williams sisters etc. They were facing off in Slam finals when still in their teens, now there are good teenage players like Safina, Widjaja, Kuznetsova etc, but not of the same calibre as Hingis and Williams. Maybe its because of the AER, but I dont see any 16 vs 17 year olds Slam finals like the US Open 98 in the near future.
Some people think Sharapova is the next prodigy, but shes yet to post any convincing results. Shes the closest to a prodigy in modern times, but even so Graf Seles Hingis etc were better at her age.
Dec 22nd, 2002, 02:51 PM
1. Jennifer Capriati
2. Anna Kournikova
3. Venus Williams
No one else was a true protege. Hingis, Seles, Austin, and Jaeger (among others) had to do something impressive and amazing before they were hyped up. Those three were touted as champions from birth (in Capriati's case) or very early childhood. Nick wouldn't shut up about Anna, which gave Alla a big head, which taught Anna to hit way too flatly, never develop a serve, and never learn the proper positions to volley. All the expectations made Jennifer do pot (enough said). Venus was somehow unaffected by the pressure, but she is the exception, not the rule.
Dec 22nd, 2002, 02:53 PM
myboyle I disagree. martina was maybe not hyped as much in america. but she sure was in europe even more in germany (wich was a big tennisnation then as we know)
Dec 22nd, 2002, 02:54 PM
and martina was also born to play tennis. her mother dragged her on court when she could hardly walk!
Dec 22nd, 2002, 02:57 PM
Graf WAS a prodigy, 'cos she won the Olympics at 14.
She was a sensation in those two weeks in La.
Hingis WAS, in italy i read articles about her in 89, when she was 9!
And the Williamses were also famous long before having results, to my knowledge.
Dec 22nd, 2002, 03:22 PM
The comment about Mirjana underachieving made me think there might be more players like her. They had huge potential but aren't quite doing themselves any justice. Are there any other underachieving former "prodigies" currently competing on the tour?
Dec 22nd, 2002, 03:59 PM
Prodigies were: Capriati, Hingis and Venus. Serena was less so, because she was in the shadow of Venus. After she won the us open people started writing about her. Monica was also a prodigy, because she was beating Graf the way no one could. But fate intervened and it was never the same again.
Dec 22nd, 2002, 05:52 PM
Tracy Austin was on the cover of Sports Illustrated when she was four or five years old.:rolleyes: She was definitely a prodigy, at least here in America. When she won the U.S. Open at 15 (or whatever age she was) she became even more of a prodigy and she lived up to the hype until injuries set in. She was pretty much finished at 21.:sad:
Same for Andrea Jaeger. She started out with a lot of hype and lived up to it for a little while (never won a Slam though).:o Physical injuries got to her but it was mostly mental stress.:sad: Andrea was saddled by a father who was exactly like Peter Graf and Stefano Capriati (even had the accent).:sad: She buckled under the pressure from him, quit tennis and now runs a wonderful camp for children who are dying of cancer or other diseases.:angel:
I think the only recent prodigy who lived up to her hype for a long period was Steffi Graf.:kiss: Before that it was Chris Evert. These days it's Venus and Serena. I think Jennifer's breakdown and comeback is a great story but she really didn't live up to the hype, which is why she had the breakdown in the first place.:sad:
Dec 23rd, 2002, 01:58 PM
Dec 23rd, 2002, 02:16 PM
Seles was a definite prodigy. She didn't even play the juniors yet World Tennis wrote numerous things about her from the time she was 12. Obviously, she had to be quite talented since Bolletieri gave her a full scholarship and paid for her family to move to the U.S. this was about two years before she even played a pro match. I recall that in World Tennis' '87 Yearbook they wrote that '88 would be the year that we'd finally see the long awaited pro debut of Monika Seles.
Tracy Austin was on the cover of World Tennis at age four years old! She was on the cover of Sports Illustrated at 13, this was a year before she had even played a pro match. So yes, there was hype about prodigies even before they played a pro match going way back.