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Old Jan 4th, 2013, 08:43 PM   #4909
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Re: Womens Tennis in General

The sad state of Danish women's tennis

A few of you have asked me about Danish tennis, and since this is the time to look at the past year, I'll give my review of the state of Danish women's tennis (sorry for the excessive length!).

2012 was a terrible year for Danish women's tennis. The Fed Cup Team was relegated for the 2nd year in a row and is now ranked alongside nations like Rwanda, Lesotho and Liechtenstein. Denmark didn't have Caro on the team in 2012, of course, but it was still pretty bad.

Currently there are only two Danish players with a WTA ranking: Wozniacki at #10 and Karen Barbat at #617. Sweden, on the other hand, has 14 players with a WTA ranking. Sure, Sweden has always been among the bigger tennis nation - especially on the men's side. But I still think we should expect a somewhat smaller gap between Denmark and Sweden. Barbat has had approximately the same ranking for 5 years now, so unfortunately there are no real signs that she could get into top 200 or something like that (although she beat Johanna Larsson in 2012).

2012 wasn't very good for the junior girls either: No junior slam appearances by any of the juniors and no junior ITF titles. In fact, only one girl reached an ITF final in 2012 (Julie Noe), while 4 different Danish girls were in a final in 2011 (Cecilie Melsted, Julie Noe, Martine Ditlev, and Emilie Francati). This was particularly disappointing as the same girls were playing in 2012, except they had all become a year older and more experienced. Cecilie Melsted, very promising a few years ago, turns 18 next month but is now actually ranked lower at ITF than when she was 15. For some odd reason, all the Danish juniors seems to be regressing. I must stress, however, that I'm not critisizing the junior girls. They're workig hard and doing an incredible job (for instance winning the annual Nordic Team Championships for Denmark in 2012 for the first time in 17 years). But they lack Federational support.

The Tennis Federation seems to have realized the sad state and will try a few new things in 2013: The team tournaments (or club matches) will no longer have mixed gender teams. Instead they will have separate men's and women's matches. This also applies to junior matches. Hopefully this will put a bit more pressure on the women and girls and make their matches more important. This will also force the clubs to use more female players, which again, hopefully, will produce a "broader" field of elite players.

Secondly, the Federation will gradually introduce a new ranking system over the next couple of years. As it is now, there seems to be some "tournament whoring" going on. Apparently some players are very focused on their rankings and will playe every week if possible to gain points. The Federation's future ranking system, however, will limit the number of allowed tournaments in order to encourage players to play to develop their game and tactics instead of just playing for points. I approve of these changes, but I'm not sure wheter it will work. A change of the entire Danish "tennis culture" is needed.

Unfortunately, there are no signs yet of what would really improve Danish tennis more than anything else: Danish ITF Pro tournaments. It's really a shame that there are no $10,000 (or 15K or 25K) tournaments in Denmark. Danish players really struggle to make the transition from juniors to pro players. They have to play pro tournaments in Germany or Sweden in order to play, but they can't get in, as they don't get wild cards. It's really difficult to break through (and expensive with all the travelling), so the majority of the junior girls actually stop at elite level once their junior career is over. I know the Tennis Federation is very interested in geting ITF Futures/Challengers to Denmark but I don't know when it'll happen. Certainly not before 2014 by the looks of things, and more likely in 2015, if ever...

Last edited by angliru : Jan 4th, 2013 at 10:15 PM.
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