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How Valuable is it?

  • Very valuable- Separates the Great from the Good

    Votes: 9 40.9%
  • Valuable- not as valuable as winning as 3 or 4

    Votes: 8 36.4%
  • It’s nice to have done, not brag worthy.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I would prefer this feat over winning 3 or 4 slams

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • It doesn’t matter much, two slams is two slams.

    Votes: 5 22.7%

  • Total voters
    22
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I think you're still overestimating how well known she. Outside of tennis, I highly doubt many people could name Victoria Azarenka. Like, if someone in their 20s or 30s were asked to name 10 female tennis players, I don't think she would come up often at all.
This is a highly unscientific poll, of course, but it is interesting: on the Sporcle quiz of open-era grand slam winners, Azarenka rates behind Kerber, Kvitova, Wozniacki, and Halep among her approximate contemporaries, just a hair above Mary Pierce (who retired over half a decade before Azarenka won a major), and a decent ways ahead of Kuznetsova (fair enough).

She's behind Barty and Stephens, which I'll chalk up to recency, but it's interesting that she's also behind Bartoli.

I really don't think many folks outside of tennis could pick Azarenka out of a line-up, or come with her name without prompting.

But I think that's true for most players. I doubt Naomi Osaka is known outside of tennis fans or sports fans who casually pay attention to tennis. Wozniacki never did get that Elle magazine cover in America, did she? Ana Ivanovic rates even lower on that Sporcle quiz.

Tennis doesn't break through like it used to, and Azarenka wasn't a player who tried very hard to break through.
 

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I wasn't trying to drag or 'guest' Vika. I think she's slightly better than all the players I mentioned (save maybe Kvitova who's still clicking along at the top), but it's because of the #1 ranking and sunshine double. Hardly anyone mentions her defending the AO as some sign of greater worth. If Vika could trade her second AO for a US Open or Wimbledon, she would.
 

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I wasn't trying to drag or 'guest' Vika. I think she's slightly better than all the players I mentioned (save maybe Kvitova who's still clicking along at the top), but it's because of the #1 ranking and sunshine double. Hardly anyone mentions her defending the AO as some sign of greater worth. If Vika could trade her second AO for a US Open or Wimbledon, she would.
Agreed, especially on Wimbledon, but I'd qualify that with respect to the US Open, she'd be remembered better or with more respect only had she won the US Open in the same year as the Australian, or 4 months prior to the Australian.

Which gets to my point about repeating at the hardcourt majors: unless you are doing so at both of them at the same time, going back-to-back at the US Open or at the Australian isn't distinguishing on the surface, because there's someone else winning majors on the hardcourt. Back-to-back at the French or at Wimbledon is an indication of year-long or multiple-year long mastery of a surface, but the hardcourts as an either/or is diminished in comparison.

I feel the same way about the US Open in the years when it was on clay, with the qualifier (again) that three of those years, the French was drastically less significant, and Evert didn't lose a clay court major from 1974-1980 (four French Opens, four US Opens), and about Wimbledon and Australia pre-1988, with the qualifier (again) that Australia didn't have consistently full fields (or even a 64-player draw!) until 1980, so it's a little less so in those early years.

edit: and I kind of am meaning to drag Azarenka, because I think she's significantly overrated on this board. She truly is a one-surface specialist, with all of one title off of hardcourts and that an Intl level event. She's held up as a brief rival to Serena even though her H2H is only marginally better than Sharapova's. She made it to #1 despite never being a factor on clay, and only marginally a factor on grass. I'd rate Kuznetsova, Kvitova, and maybe even Pierce over her, even if not a one of them was consistent enough in a single to match her two-ish year run from late 2011 through 2013.

Don't get me wrong, I like Azarenka plenty, she's got underrated hands and her game was a lot more than a female baseline basher, etc., but she's a hard courter who had two very good seasons and two pretty good half-seasons.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
I think you're still overestimating how well known she. Outside of tennis, I highly doubt many people could name Victoria Azarenka. Like, if someone in their 20s or 30s were asked to name 10 female tennis players, I don't think she would come up often at all.

IIRC, her relationship with that hip-hop guy was what earned her the nickname 'Guest', because she was assumed to be some anonymous B-girl he was shacking up with, not a 'star' in her own right.
Fair. I’m a tennis freak so I’m biased.

Also, she got the nickname “Guest” right here.

We started calling her guest when she lost to Stosur in the San Diego final one year in straight sets. The dawn of an era haha.
 

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Discussion Starter #45
I wasn't trying to drag or 'guest' Vika. I think she's slightly better than all the players I mentioned (save maybe Kvitova who's still clicking along at the top), but it's because of the #1 ranking and sunshine double. Hardly anyone mentions her defending the AO as some sign of greater worth. If Vika could trade her second AO for a US Open or Wimbledon, she would.
Agreed, especially on Wimbledon, but I'd qualify that with respect to the US Open, she'd be remembered better or with more respect only had she won the US Open in the same year as the Australian, or 4 months prior to the Australian.

Which gets to my point about repeating at the hardcourt majors: unless you are doing so at both of them at the same time, going back-to-back at the US Open or at the Australian isn't distinguishing on the surface, because there's someone else winning majors on the hardcourt. Back-to-back at the French or at Wimbledon is an indication of year-long or multiple-year long mastery of a surface, but the hardcourts as an either/or is diminished in comparison.

I feel the same way about the US Open in the years when it was on clay, with the qualifier (again) that three of those years, the French was drastically less significant, and Evert didn't lose a clay court major from 1974-1980 (four French Opens, four US Opens), and about Wimbledon and Australia pre-1988, with the qualifier (again) that Australia didn't have consistently full fields (or even a 64-player draw!) until 1980, so it's a little less so in those early years.

edit: and I kind of am meaning to drag Azarenka, because I think she's significantly overrated on this board. She truly is a one-surface specialist, with all of one title off of hardcourts and that an Intl level event. She's held up as a brief rival to Serena even though her H2H is only marginally better than Sharapova's. She made it to #1 despite never being a factor on clay, and only marginally a factor on grass. I'd rate Kuznetsova, Kvitova, and maybe even Pierce over her, even if not a one of them was consistent enough in a single to match her two-ish year run from late 2011 through 2013.

Don't get me wrong, I like Azarenka plenty, she's got underrated hands and her game was a lot more than a female baseline basher, etc., but she's a hard courter who had two very good seasons and two pretty good half-seasons.
I think she can manage on all surfaces well. And I think that would be reflected if she could be a consistent player. I think she’s better on clay than a lot of people think too.

Is what it is.
 

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Also, she got the nickname “Guest” right here.

We started calling her guest when she lost to Stosur in the San Diego final one year in straight sets. The dawn of an era haha.
It's not the critical piece of this thread, but...

Yes, TF made it stick, but I'm pretty sure it's because a photo she was in at a party was captioned "musician Redfoo and guest" rather than identifying her by name.

edit: it was the ESPY awards in 2013, at which Azarenka was a nominee, so in theory Redfoo was HER guest and yet the photo was captioned "Singer Stefan 'Redfoo' Gordy (L) and guest"
 

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I think she can manage on all surfaces well. And I think that would be reflected if she could be a consistent player. I think she’s better on clay than a lot of people think too.

Is what it is.
That's fair. And I think she was better on both clay and grass than Wozniacki, for example, who somehow won multiple titles on all surfaces (largely a function of playing weaker events on clay/grass than Azarenka used to).

But I do think Azarenka is a quintessential hard-court specialist in a way that not even 2000s era HC specialists (i.e. Clijsters) were, and that somewhat diminishes her in my mind. And to the point of the thread, the fact that she was a hardcourt specialist whom pretty much nobody ever really felt was the best hardcourt player on tour tells you why defending a hardcourt major doesn't mean as much as a French/Wimbledon repeat.
 

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Discussion Starter #48
That's fair. And I think she was better on both clay and grass than Wozniacki, for example, who somehow won multiple titles on all surfaces (largely a function of playing weaker events on clay/grass than Azarenka used to).

But I do think Azarenka is a quintessential hard-court specialist in a way that not even 2000s era HC specialists (i.e. Clijsters) were, and that somewhat diminishes her in my mind. And to the point of the thread, the fact that she was a hardcourt specialist whom pretty much nobody ever really felt was the best hardcourt player on tour tells you why defending a hardcourt major doesn't mean as much as a French/Wimbledon repeat.
Aye we finally disagree haha.

I think for a time she really was the best hardcourt player on tour. Her relentlessness combined with her return were really quite something in my mind.
 

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Aye we finally disagree haha.

I think for a time she really was the best hardcourt player on tour. Her relentlessness combined with her return were really quite something in my mind.
Fair enough, an agree to disagree moment.

But I will say, I just can't look at 2011-2012-2013 and see Serena taking two majors plus another final, two YECs, a Miami, a Canada, and a Beijing title, and a Cincinnati final, and say that Azarenka is the best hard court player, especially when during that stretch, even discounting pre-Azarenka slam winning matches and only counting hard court matches, Serena leads the hardcourt win-loss (if I counted right....)

2012 US Open and YEC - Serena
2013 Doha and Cincinnati - Azarenka
2013 US Open - Serena

So Azarenka led their hard-court win-loss during a limited stretch of February through August 2013, and even during that time Serena won the higher caliber of titles (PM and P5 vs. P5 and P5), not to mention Serena holding the US Open and YEC titles from 2012, both of which she won defeating Azarenka.
 
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