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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Did the WTA road map and the reconfiguring of tournaments into the current format (from the tiers to the premiers) elevate the Tier I too far above the other events, especially with newly identified "mandatories?"

I feel like in the previous generation, top players prioritized Tier Is but Tier IIs were also considered desirable achievements, and there wasn't this huge emphasis placed on winning Tier Is at the expense of Tier IIs. I mean, we're still making fun of Angie Kerber for not winning a Tier I, despite all her accomplishments. And we're constantly measuring Tier I success as a marker for greatness but not really talking about Tier IIs. Do players process this in the same way?

I feel like we're definitely seeing that disparity, but it feels like a recent shift, because greats from the previous generation didn't seem particularly fixated on Tier Is.

Of Venus' 83 finals, only 15 were Tier Is (won nine). Lindsay's 94 only featured 21 Tier Is (won 11). Justine reached 14 Tier I finals (won 10) of her 61 total WTA finals. Kim's 61 finals featured 10 Tier I appearances (won seven). I think Martina's might be the most Tier I heavy. In her 69 finals, 27 were in the Tier Is (won 17).

Compare that to Simona Halep, who has been in 37 total finals but 16 of them are Tier I. I think Azarenka's numbers are pretty close, too.
 

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I think it has a lot to do with money and the disparity there. Additionally, traveling and all those expenses. When a player makes a personal road map at the beginning of each year I’m sure they include the net gain in that equation- losing R1 at a tier 1 vs other is worth more in the sense of having money to go the whole season etc.

I’m not sure how big the difference in prize money was between tier 1/2’s in the late 90’s early 00 but I doubt it was dramatically different.

I think the mandatories provide too much structure? I mean there is no point in them being “mandatory” when they offer so much money. Additionally I think due to this it takes a lot of players away from tier 2/3’s so you have a lot of 60-150 girls packing them where as you saw 2-5 top 35 players in tier 2/3’a back on the day and a couple top 15 girls who wanted to play closer to home or see a new city etc.

With all the money women’s tennis has (had? Lol) they could do it all quite a bit better but alas it’s about contracts and not really the players or the tour- see empty stands in China who pays most the WTA’s bills.
 

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It's literally just TFers who are like this.

Nobody else would dare suggest that these tournaments are on anywhere near the status of Grand Slams, but TFers think they're MORE important than slams when it suits their agenda (insisting that their fave is better than she really is, or insisting that someone they irrationally hate is worse than she really is).
 
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I have enough trouble knowing which event is a Premier, tier 5 or a Tier 37.

And i'm never sure who is eligible or how many events a player can play, if they can miss one, etc.

I will have to read the rules again.

At least with the men, you have the Masters series, and i think that's easier to understand for me anyway, The W.T.A. should do the same sort of thing.
 

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Sorry, but is Tier 1 like a Premier Mandatory or P5?

I didn't really get into the technical side of tennis until 2014. By then, the entire system was changed.
 

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I have enough trouble knowing which event is a Premier, tier 5 or a Tier 37.

And i'm never sure who is eligible or how many events a player can play, if they can miss one, etc.

I will have to read the rules again.

At least with the men, you have the Masters series, and i think that's easier to understand for me anyway, The W.T.A. should do the same sort of thing.
100% agree with this. The WTA "roadmap" is positively Byzantine, from the naming to the point structure, and the ways the WTA has made it impossible for any player to necessarily any event for which she is ranked highly enough has dramatically reduced the significance of non-Tier I tour events.

Players used to skip any number of Tier I events in favor of select Tier II events, and those events became really strong, or at least had one or two really strong marquee players. I can appreciate the roadmap's goal of having players face off more often and build a rivalry, but it hasn't worked - players are too evenly matched, so there's no anticipation of expectation and no excitement when there is a subsequent subversion of that expectation.
 

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Sorry, but is Tier 1 like a Premier Mandatory or P5?

I didn't really get into the technical side of tennis until 2014. By then, the entire system was changed.
Under the Tier system, both PMs and P5s would be considered Tier I events. Most of the existing PM and P5 tournaments were formerly Tier I events.
 

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Sorry, but is Tier 1 like a Premier Mandatory or P5?
Both.
Not every tier I was the same. Serena, Hantuchova and Henin won Miami, Indian Wells and Zürich respectively in 2007. All were tier I events. Serena got $492,950 and 500 ranking points, Hantuchova got $306,890 and 465 points, Henin got $182,000 and 430 points.
And Miami was the only mandatory event beside slams.
 

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^^^yes i remember it being really choppy as you listed.

They only needed to add the consistency of prize money and points not all the other rules. However I guess a players marketability/availability for a tournament in advance is what pays the bills.
 

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To answer the thread starter's question: the WTA tour desperately needs important events.
The idea of a mandatory is that it is mandatory, and all the good players will be there
Indian Wells, Miami, etc, you get to see all the stars and the prize money is good for anyone who can make a run
I dont see them as super important, except that you have to schedule them
You can pick a P5 to skip
The WTA needs important events and there are very few of them. So to be at IW with the men, good crowds, and with a billionaire owner is a big deal

This virus has shown how fragile the WTA tour is, and they need big events with the men whenever they can get them
 

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Of course they need it to be blown in importance. The WTA can only get good money from TV rights worldwide with Slams and PM/PM5 (FedCup is ITF), thus can offer higher prize money. Those TV networks are not interested in the other events unless it's the ATP. Where I live that's how it looks to be. Of course Tennis TV is different because they have to fill a 24/7 airtime.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I think it's the opposite actually. Tier I should be more important than they currently are. The slams only attitude some posters and players have is terrible for the tour.
But by that same logic, any sort of rigid hierarchy wouldn't be a sustainable approach to the tour's health. The top players shouldn't be heavily prioritizing slams and Tier Is and then ignoring Tier IIs. And my point is that historically, that wasn't the case. If the span between late the 90s and the mid 2000s are considered the golden decade of the WTA, you certainly saw top players committing to Tier Is but also Tier IIs. The tour was very strong, and slams were hugely important, Tier Is were great, but there was still value to competing in and winning Tier IIs. The current atmosphere seems to have elevated Tier Is so far above Tier IIs while simultaneously lifting the slams even higher thereby creating a massive value gulf between these tournaments.
 

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I think the phenomenon you're seeing has nothing to do with people thinking P5/PM tournaments are more important now and is literally entirely down to the fact that grand slams are all that people care about now. P5/PM tournaments are just lucky to be part of the first order tiebreakers (alongside Olympics, YEC) when people are close enough or generally tied on slams that they can sometimes come into the conversation. As such, they're a good idea for players to pick up from time to time to pad out their CV in a way that every other kind of tournament just isn't.

Tour level titles in general have been completely stigmatised because the increasing number of players who succeed at tour level and fail at slams has created a sentiment that tour level events are for Bad Players (and no amount of non-slam success will make you a Good Player). If someone like Svitolina, who struggles at slams, is a bad player (and lord knows TF thinks she is!), how do we make sense of her winning so many tour level titles? If someone like Muguruza is amazing, but has only won five tour level events compared to two slams, how does that make sense? The only way to marry that up is to say that the actually good players don't and shouldn't care about tour level events - they're for the players who aren't good enough to win tournaments that matter.

So if you want to build a legacy, why care about the tour, generally? The Olympics, YEC and P5/PM titles are semi-relevant in case there's a conversation about you and someone on the same slam count, but they don't matter otherwise. Pick up a few PMs and you'll have a nice tiebreaker on your CV, but to actually try to win P470 tournaments if anything just dampens your CV, because then you're playing with the scrubs/vultures. Bertens often wins P470s, and she's outright said that she prefers to play on outdoor courts. You lower yourself to her level if you win titles that she wins.

I've said this before on here but the era of the slamless #1s and the denigration they received (especially Safina and Wozniacki) has done a huge amount of damage to the tour because it has completely warped public perception of what makes a successful player. If you're not adequately successful in slams, you are to be mocked, and you are a fraud if you are considered a top player. If you are successful in slams, winning tour level events and particularly sub-Tier I events is a complete waste of time because they add almost nothing to your CV. Serena's comments about Safina winning Rome and Madrid did as much to deligitimise the tour as anything I can think of.

As long as tennis fans mock any amount tour level success without slam success and worship any amount of grand slam success regardless of failures at tour level, the players themselves will respond by caring only about the biggest tournaments. It's hard work to win 5+ tournaments in a single year, and insane work to try to get close to double digits. Who on Earth is going to put in that work if it doesn't add to their legacy? It's so much better to just peak for four tournaments a year and take it easy for the rest. Leave the weekly grind to the scrubs.

tl;dr Players don't really care about Tier IIs anymore because the tennis community has told them that they're irrelevant and there's no point working to win tournaments regularly throughout the year if you get nothing for it.
 

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But by that same logic, any sort of rigid hierarchy wouldn't be a sustainable approach to the tour's health. The top players shouldn't be heavily prioritizing slams and Tier Is and then ignoring Tier IIs. And my point is that historically, that wasn't the case. If the span between late the 90s and the mid 2000s are considered the golden decade of the WTA, you certainly saw top players committing to Tier Is but also Tier IIs. The tour was very strong, and slams were hugely important, Tier Is were great, but there was still value to competing in and winning Tier IIs. The current atmosphere seems to have elevated Tier Is so far above Tier IIs while simultaneously lifting the slams even higher thereby creating a massive value gulf between these tournaments.
If that's the case, Tier I are still not important enough. Your point is actually that Tier II lost a lot of importance, not that Tier I became important.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
If that's the case, Tier I are still not important enough. Your point is actually that Tier II lost a lot of importance, not that Tier I became important.
These aren't mutually exclusive; both can happen at the same time. I mean, why else do people mock Kerber for not having a Tier I? And the creation of mandatories, which essentially means, the tour is determining the importance of these events. They're so important, you are required to compete there.

As long as tennis fans mock any amount tour level success without slam success and worship any amount of grand slam success regardless of failures at tour level, the players themselves will respond by caring only about the biggest tournaments. It's hard work to win 5+ tournaments in a single year, and insane work to try to get close to double digits. Who on Earth is going to put in that work if it doesn't add to their legacy? It's so much better to just peak for four tournaments a year and take it easy for the rest. Leave the weekly grind to the scrubs.

tl;dr Players don't really care about Tier IIs anymore because the tennis community has told them that they're irrelevant and there's no point working to win tournaments regularly throughout the year if you get nothing for it.
I agree with a lot of this, and there's definitely some truth that the slamless #1s and the furor that result from those moments helped create this perspective. But Kim and Amelie were slamless #1s and there was never any talk of the other events being meaningless when they were snatching the #1 slot.
 

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These aren't mutually exclusive; both can happen at the same time. I mean, why else do people mock Kerber for not having a Tier I? And the creation of mandatories, which essentially means, the tour is determining the importance of these events. They're so important, you are required to compete there.
Of course they are mutually exclusive. How can something be too imporant and not important enough at the same time? That's a logical contradiction. About people who mock Kerber for not having a Tier I, well, come on, you are on this forum for a long time, you should know this place is full of trolls who just find excuses to shit on a player, whether they make sense or not. This is certainly not something very relevant. And how the WTA calls them (mandatories) doesn't mean a lot in terms of how fans value them (which is what matters the most).
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Of course they are mutually exclusive. How can something be too imporant and not important enough at the same time? That's a logical contradiction. About people who mock Kerber for not having a Tier I, well, come on, you are on this forum for a long time, you should know this place is full of trolls who just find excuses to shit on a player, whether they make sense or not. This is certainly not something very relevant. And how the WTA calls them (mandatories) doesn't mean a lot in terms of how fans value them (which is what matters the most).
I meant that the Tier Is are going up in stature as Tier IIs are going down.

And also, the casual fans do rate the Tier Is quite highly. I mean, maybe not in the same way in every tournament, but IW, Miami, Rome, Canada, these are highly respected events. We're still talking about Bencic for winning Toronto. And if there is a widening gap between how we view slams and Tier Is, it doesn't negate the fact that there is a larger gulf growing between Tier Is and Tier IIs.
 
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