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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this has been discussed over and over, however, I am amazed that no one (that I am aware of) including myself realized where the main failure of the rule is.

We all know the main reason why the rule was created was the problems that some high-profile american teenagers faced (e.g. Capriati). The rule was supposed to prevent players from burning out because they were pushed to play to many tournaments.

there have been argument in favour and against it and I won't repeat them here, however, the main failure of the rule is that it targets the wrong problem.

Seeing Daniela yesterday, and reading some comments from some posters made me think, and compare to Capriati.

Daniela's problem isn't the she plays too much, it isn't that she is burnt out, it's pressure.

Capriati's problem wasn't playing too much, it was pressure.

I don't see a problem with a teenage girl playing 20 events a year, at least, not a bigger problem than with an adult doing the same.

I do see a problem with a teenager subject to so much media scrutiny, of being labelled as the next big thing, of having the whole media commenting how beatiful she is, who she has sex with, who she is dating, is she having an affair with her coach? or with a hockey/basketball/soccer/etc. player, or with a singer/actor/writer/politician/lawyer.

Tennis players are not movie stars, they are not prepared or educated to deal with the limelight, and they are not ready to pay the price of fame. Maybe some are, but an 18/19 years old girl normally will feel the intense pressure.

It's nice for them to be recognized wherever they go, but it's not easy, since they are billed as sex symbols, they have to look great all the time, they can't afford to go out without make up or not combining the colours properly because they have an image to care about (and sponsors). They have to deal not with tennis coach, that understand them and speak their same language but with agents, representatives, actors, directors, marketing experts, that not necessarily understand them, or care about them. It's about making a profit from their bodies as soon as they can.

Look what is happening with Maria Sharapova, and I hope she can cope with it, but really, she is been exploited because of how she looks, her tennis (she is a great player) is accessory, she could be 10 times better or 10 times worse, it wouldn't make a difference, but if she wasn't as attractive nobody would care about her (think of how many players have had great results this year and are ignored just because they are not attractive enough).

I understand this is a business, but, while players like Serena, Kim, Justine, Martina or Anna can deal with it, teenagers can't, to be in the show business without getting sucked by it it's extremely difficult, nearly impossible for a teenager.

So, the AER targets the wrong problem, I don't know if the WTA could or should do something to stop the overhyping of attractive teenagers but certainly, the AER won't prevent this from happening, as a result, they are deprived of doing what they are supposed to do (play tennis) while they are not only allowed but encouraged to do what really can damage them.
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