I think that this is just an indication that the WTA, like any sport, needs stars to drive ratings in the U.S. For clarification, I mean a final between TWO stars (in most cases). Look at the rating for the all Belgian final in 2003 for instance. Stars are made by the media and via their own high level, consistant play. Sharapova is a star, as well as Serena,Kim C., and Azarenka is an emerging one.
Equally as impressive are the milestone numbers associated with the first-round upset of star Serena Williams on Tuesday, May 29. The match’s 1.02 rating was good for first place among all cable networks in Tennis Channel’s household coverage area and averaged 533,170 homes during the time period. Peaking at a 1.60 rating, the match generated more than one million viewers at its height, and is the highest-rated early round tournament play in network history. The Williams match is not the only pole propping up the network’s ratings canopy, however, as ratings in matches played by Maria Sharapova (0.95), Victoria Azarenka (0.84) and John Isner (0.68 – No. 2 in coverage area), pointed to sustained, weeklong viewer demand.