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Discussion Starter #1
Pilot Pen may take ‘Q’ from Russians

Dave Solomon 08/03/2003

NEW HAVEN — If Maria Sharapova says the word, Anne Worcester is ready to move heaven and earth to sell a relatively unknown 16-year-old Russian qualifier to the Pilot Pen tennis public.

Madison Avenue used to call it sex appeal, until that became offensive to male and female alike. Now they call it "Q score," which is offensive to none but means the same thing.

I had never heard of the term Q score until this week, but I know that Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne, two giants of women’s tennis at No. 2 and 3 in the world, respectively, do not have it — whatever it is that compels you to be in the seats at the Connecticut Tennis Center each August.

Sharapova, who is not even eligible for a wild card into the main draw at the Pilot Pen, would have to get through the qualifier just to reach the main draw of 28. But when you’re in Worcester’s tres trendy Pliner’s (as in shoes), you take a chance on someone with a Q score as high as this Russian teen.

"If (Sharapova) signs here, you’ll see us restructure our print ads and restructure our TV ads," said Worcester, the tournament director of The Pen. "It’ll be a campaign inconsistent with her 56th ranking and one we’ve never had surrounding a qualifier. A lot of people will say, ‘Who’s she?’ It will be our responsibility to educate the public."

See Solomon, D5

Worcester, and all of women’s tennis have an important stake in Sharapova and several of her countrywomen. With the exception of Serena and Venus Williams, the superstars of women’s tennis are getting old.

Jennifer Capriati hasn’t won in 18 months and Monica Seles hasn’t won in more than a year. Lindsay Davenport has one title (Tokyo) in the last two years, while the other American in the top 10, Chanda Rubin, has so quietly snuck up to No. 7 in the world that it’s all you need to know about her Q score.

"Women’s tennis is cyclical," Worcester said. "When I became CEO of the (WTA) in 1994, women’s tennis was the Steffi Graf Show. There was no Monica, no Jennifer, (Gabriela) Sabatini was about to retire and Martina (Navratilova) retired in 1995. If a tournament didn’t have Steffi Graf, it didn’t have (star appeal)."

Then Venus Williams came along with Davenport, Martina Hingis, Anna Kournikova and Serena Williams and, combined with Seles and Jana Novotna, women’s tennis flourished on the court and on magazine covers in the late ’90s and for most of this young decade as well.

But where’s the buzz going to come from now, particularly with the American stars (other than the Williamses) on the backside of their careers. It’s a real concern and conceivably a major problem for women’s tennis in the not-too-distant future.

If it becomes the Serena Show, much as it did with Graf a decade ago, women’s tennis is in real trouble.

"There have been seven or eight marquee players who have pretty much been in the superstar category," Worcester said. "Who’s going to replace these superstars, who not only played a high level of tennis, but were charismatic and beloved ... or not beloved, but they were talked about? Their Q scores, their popularity and recognition scores, were very high. That’s how celebrities and athletes are rated.

"Kim (Clijsters) and Justine are very, very talented and they’re nice, quiet girls who mind their own business. They just go out and win. But are their Q scores high enough to take women’s tennis to the next level? Winning the French Open for Justine should have catapulted her into the hearts and minds of tennis spectators everywhere. We don’t get that many calls for (Henin-Hardenne) ... and she’s been here for three years. That’s just a fact."

Sharapova, who turned 16 in April and now lives in Bradenton, Fla., is the youngest and arguably brightest of the Russians with superstar potential. In June, as a qualifier at Birmingham, she eliminated three seeded players on the way to her first WTA semifinal. Then she attracted worldwide attention by reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon.

Then there’s Anastasia Myskina, a three-time winner who just turned 22; Vera Zvonareva, 18, with a WTA title this year and a stunning win over Venus Williams at the French Open; Elena Dementieva, 21, a winner at Amelia Island this year; and 20-year-old Elena Bovina, two-time winner last year.

At the risk of being slapped silly, their attractive quotient is also very high.

"It’s naive to think that physical appearance doesn’t matter," Worcester said. "Having said that, I would love for people to be more focused on athleticism and power and strength than appearance. But there is a reason why Anna Kournikova, despite having never won a tournament, has a Q score through the roof and is top-rated on every Lycos and Internet list of celebrities in the world.

"History teaches us that it’s talent and physical appearance and personality that makes a superstar.

Looking down the pipeline as we all need to do, the future of women’s tennis could very well lie in the hands of a few Russians."

It’s why Worcester is so diligently recruiting Maria Sharapova, the young Russian with an emerging game and Q score to match.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
So, Maria won't get a maindraw WC for New Haven nor Toronto tournaments. She will have to decide to play in the qualies in either Toronto or New Haven. :tape: :scratch:

I have the feeling that Maria will pick New Haven over Toronto.
 

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Does Maria really need to be told her Q score is great and Henin's and Clijster's isn't? This is the kind of stuff that will make the players resent Maria the way they did Anna Kournikova. :sad:

Sharky, I think Maria will choose Toronto over New Haven because Toronto has 1 less qualifying round to play. But Anne Worcrster is going all out to get Maria to play in New Haven.
 

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also Toronto quali field is gonna be 10 times weaker than New Haven
New Haven will have about 15 top 50 players in qualies
 

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the cat said:
Does Maria really need to be told her Q score is great and Henin's and Clijster's isn't? This is the kind of stuff that will make the players resent Maria the way they did Anna Kournikova.
The players who want to already know who has what Q score. Things like that are what agents keep track of for you.

As long as Maria doesn't wind up leading the tour in endorsments without ever winning a tournament, she won't wind up in the same box as Anna.

Let's be honest. There's a lot of money to be made by various companies using "Blonde, White, slender, young, single, female, athlete sex-symbol". it's a type. It's a charicature. It's a way of identifying a demographic. The young white male tennis fans who were hot for Anna pay the same money as the 'elite' fan who knows the game inside out. The blonde little girl who sees someone she could grow up to look like on TV and gets her parnets to take her to Anna-matches, makes the tournament the same money as the 'elite' fan does.

Serena is a fabulous face for the tour. Smart, sexy, well-spoken, educated, outgoing, religious and willing to take risks. But the author is correct. A one player tour isn't good enough for marketing purposes. And there's a ticket buying demographic that Anna showed us all that's not being courted now.

Sharapova could be the next Harkleroad, or the Kournikova or the next Steffi. Who knows? But I do know that a lot of people out there are willing to buy things if "Blonde, White, slender, young, single, female, athlete sex-symbol" is the one selling it to them. Why shouldn't Maria make 50 million or so of that money?
 

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OMIGOD KIM AND JUSTINE ARE RUINING THE WTA TOUR WITH THEIR LOW Q SCORES!!!!

:lol:
 

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"If (Sharapova) signs here, you’ll see us restructure our print ads and restructure our TV ads," said Worcester, the tournament director of The Pen.
"It’ll be a campaign inconsistent with her 56th ranking and one we’ve never had surrounding a qualifier. A lot of people will say, ‘Who’s she?’ It will be our responsibility to educate the public."
This is pathetic and appalling and I think very likely to doom her future. Being fawned on like this when you are 16 years old and have done well in a mere pair of tournaments is an open invitation to arrogance and distraction. It would be one thing if she were really getting results over a period of time like Safina but what young girl's head ISN'T going to be turned by this kind of
attention?


But there is a reason why Anna Kournikova, despite having never won a tournament, has a Q score through the roof and is top-rated on every Lycos and Internet list of celebrities in the world.
yes, there is. Her handlers marketed her as a jailbait sex symbol with risque photo shoots from the time she was 14. Look what it did for HER tennis. :rolleyes: :tape:
 

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yes, there is. Her handlers marketed her as a jailbait sex symbol with risque photo shoots from the time she was 14. Look what it did for HER tennis.[/QUOTE]

ouch
 

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Cybelle Darkholme said:
OMIGOD KIM AND JUSTINE ARE RUINING THE WTA TOUR WITH THEIR LOW Q SCORES!!!!

:lol:
Not like Serena or Venus Williams have a Q score, lol, the Americans cheer for whoever is their opponent.
Anyways, Q score this, Q score that, the seats at the San Diego final were filled! :)
 

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The seats were filled in San Diego because the fans thought the Williams sisters would be playing! J/K. ;)

You make a good point, Infiniti. A woman like Anne Worcester should not be promoting Maria like that. The WTA players will freak out if a New Haven qualifier (Sharapova) get's Kournikova like publicity for playing the qualifying! :eek: Is this good for Maria in the long run?
 

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well maybe if they would have some faith and actually praise and promote justine and kim then they would be more popular. Instead, they are promoting "miss screech" how sadly superficial.
 

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Do you guys realize how many people show up for qualifying? Especially the first day? I went to Pilot Pen qualifying the first day last year to watch Shikha Uberoi play and you know how many people were watching her match? Seven! SEVEN! Obviously there were more people watching other matches, but that's still really fucking pathetic considering the Pilot Pen probably has the strongest qualifying draw on the calendar. Wendy Turnbull and her dinner rolls attract more spectators during her senior matches at the Open. Anne Worcester is a friggin genius! If she is actually able to get word around that a potential #1 and the second coming of Kournikova in the looks department is playing the qualifying, a lot of people will show up. Tickets for the qualifying are only $5 as well, so that's an even bigger incentive to come. Even though the qualifying field is sick, people aren't exactly camping out overnight to watch Lindsay Lee Waters play. This is a very smart move IMO.
 

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Apparently there are a few posters here like Glenn who don't know that Serena and Venus have by far the highest 'Q' scores in women's tennis (along with Anna K), and that S & V ALSO have two of the highest 'Q' scores for professional athletes in all of sports...
 
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