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I think most people (except for some of the WS fans) would agree that it's been a piss-poor 18 or so past months for the WTA. Whatever, i'm glad that the Belgians are coming back, good for them and their legions of fans, but in my opinion most of the damage to the tour from their absence has already been done. Starting from the second half of 2003, it's been almost like a collusion between the Williams sisters and the two Belgians not be competing at their top level at the same time. Vacuums are only a problem, however, when nobody steps up to fill them. There hasn't been a legitimate new star to emerge in the game since Sharapova almost 5 years ago (i can't yet count Ivanovic as one).

On its own, i don't believe having past-peak Clisters and Henin back can improve the tour that much. I seriously doubt that the previous rivalries that the two Belgians had with the Williams sisters and with each other can be re-established at anywhere near the original intensity.
 

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There hasn't been a legitimate new star to emerge in the game since Sharapova almost 5 years ago (i can't yet count Ivanovic as one).
Huh? In the last 5 years, the women's tour has seen the rise of Ivanovic, Safina, Jankovic, Dementieva, Zvonareva, Azarenka, Kuznetsova, and Radwanska, to name a few. It's much more exciting to watch a tourney where any one of ten different contenders could win, and is healthy for the WTA. Compare that to the three years on the ATP where Federer won every event, how boring.
 

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There hasn't been a legitimate new star to emerge in the game since Sharapova almost 5 years ago (i can't yet count Ivanovic as one).
Neither can I. Ana is still fragile, in my opinion. Unlike Maria, she can't quite hang with the big girls on a consistent basis yet.
 

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How many "stars" do you want?
When Evert and Navratilova were winning almost everything, how many different stars were there?
 

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the WTA needs bona fide new stars
It does, but it won't get any. The young players who broke through at RG 07 (Wozniacki, Cibulkova, Szavay) are proving to be an epic fail. They just don't look the part of Slam contenders. Yet they don't even look that bad when compared to some more recent Slam debutantes/hopefuls. There are no signs of hope on that front. I have made some guesses as to why this is (tennis no longer being competitive in the recruitment of gifted athletes due to its elitism?), since it's been going on for too long for it to be a mere accident.

vogus said:
Vacuums are only a problem, however, when nobody steps up to fill them.
The problem is that the current changing of the guard was different than others we had before. The storyline for young stars was for them to break through early and have a go at the previous generation of greats; beat them in big matches and eventually supersede them, even if by then the old greats were past their prime. Most of the current "top players" either failed at that, or weren't even given the chance to do so. Others are perennial bridesmaids who simply slid into higher slots on the rankings when those were vacated by actual elite players who retired prematurely. We can't help feeling that they didn't earn their current status, and that they're "top players" by default.

vogus said:
There hasn't been a legitimate new star to emerge in the game since Sharapova almost 5 years ago (i can't yet count Ivanovic as one).
Whatever you think about the divine Ivanovic's accomplishments, and who she had to beat to get them, she's now the face of the Tour for promotional purposes. Maybe she isn't a star, but she sure is being treated as such.
 

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How many "stars" do you want?
When Evert and Navratilova were winning almost everything, how many different stars were there?
Pam, Hana, Zina, Helena, the Maleevas. Or maybe you don't consider them stars?
 

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The problem is that the current changing of the guard was different than others we had before. The storyline for young stars was for them to break through early and have a go at the previous generation of greats; beat them in big matches and eventually supersede them, even if by then the old greats were past their prime. Most of the current "top players" either failed at that, or weren't even given the chance to do so. Others are perennial bridesmaids who simply slid into higher slots on the rankings when those were vacated by actual elite players who retired prematurely. We can't help feeling that they didn't earn their current status, and that they're "top players" by default.
Agreed and I feel bad about feeling that way towards this generation but I do. By default indeed.
 

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I don't consider Shriver Maleeva and Sukova to be bigger stars than Ivanovic, Dementieva and Jankovic
That's after Sharapova and both Williams
 

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I think the last two pitful weeks in IW may have been a factor.

Or maybe they read the mysery on this board and other tennis boards during those 2 weeks
 

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Pam, Hana, Zina, Helena, the Maleevas. Or maybe you don't consider them stars?
Hana, perhaps, Pam...married George Lazenby. However the others are also rans who no-one outside of tennis has ever heard of. Helena Sukova is the epitomical bridesmaid, she doesn't/didn't have any star power whatsoever.
 
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I don't consider Shriver Maleeva and Sukova to be bigger stars than Ivanovic, Dementieva and Jankovic
I was only a tween during their heyday so I'm not a good judge but they seemed like big stars to me at the time.
 

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Huh? In the last 5 years, the women's tour has seen the rise of Ivanovic, Safina, Jankovic, Dementieva, Zvonareva, Azarenka, Kuznetsova, and Radwanska, to name a few.
You just named eight players with 2 slam singles titles between them.

Perhaps we need to define 'star'.

If you're going accompishments, who do think has won more titles? The eight players you named, or Henin and Clijsters combined?

If you're going celebrity, which of the eight players you named rivals Venus?

A 'star' isn't somebody YOU want to see. A star is somebody EVERYBODY wants to see. Are you REALLY arguing that Greater Radwanska is someone most tennis fans want to see?
 
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wow, yeah when you think that the last star to emerge was maria sharapova, then the tour really does need something new to break through... it seems like she's been around forever...

if jj can pull herself together and win a slam or two, then she can be the next star. she has the personality and charisma, just lacking the trophies...
 

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wow, yeah when you think that the last star to emerge was maria sharapova, then the tour really does need something new to break through... it seems like she's been around forever...

if jj can pull herself together and win a slam or two, then she can be the next star. she has the personality and charisma, just lacking the trophies...
I totally agree! There's a star-in-the-making when it comes to JJ. C'mon girl, get it together! :)
 

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Whatever you think about the divine Ivanovic's accomplishments, and who she had to beat to get them, she's now the face of the Tour for promotional purposes. Maybe she isn't a star, but she sure is being treated as such.
Maybe that's the problem. Nobody questioned if Seles or Graf, or Venus, or Serena, or Hingis were stars. Then again, none of them were asked to BE stars after only winning one slam/
 

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There is more to a star than being a good player.
Mirza is a star in India. Was Sukova a star? Was Shriver? They packed stadiums?
 

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There is more to a star than being a good player.
Mirza is a star in India. Was Sukova a star? Was Shriver? They packed stadiums?
Helena, no, but I consider Pam a star by association (Martina's long-time doubles partner).
 

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There is more to a star than being a good player.
Mirza is a star in India. Was Sukova a star? Was Shriver? They packed stadiums?
Many players from countries where tennis has a modest success are stars.

That is not what we are talking about.
As star is regcognized regardless of where she played, and invariably they become a star through achiement in their sports.

Of course, Kournikova is an exception.

True she did not win a GS, but her earliess success in the Junior, her looks and some very good tennis in the first fews years she turned pro, made her a star.

I might also another factor was the potential, the promise that she will one day win big tournaments once she fixed whatever was blocking her. Unfortunately, that never materialized.
 

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TOP5 level player was always welcome, no mater about her age, race, nationality or whatever. I dont have anything against fact that last two players which improve to that level is not teenagers from some region which currently lack with high-level players, but Dinara Safina and Vera Zvonareva, two Russians which seems at one moment that will be forever TOP20 players - but in last 12 months they not only improve to standard TOP10 players - they improve much more than that (Dinara especially) and that is great!

So what if Kim Clijsters is 25 yo, or another girl from Europe, or not "new name", or whatever?
She is BTW still younger than 4 of current TOP10, Western Europe actually also lack of high-class players, Kim establish her name in past with reason... etc...

If she comeback successfully (at least TOP8 YEC level) it will be simple great for womens tennis and WTA tour will be for sure better and more competitive than if she not comeback. End of story.

Kim at 18 was already Grand Slam finalist and TOP3 player and right now youngest active player which ever reach GS final or TOP5 was 21yo Ana Ivanovic. It's not secret that any of 1988-1992 girls not seems even close to Kim in terms of talent right now, so of course that her comeback at 25, just 2 years after she was still TOP5 is great news. Also her personality is great and she's been WTA "crowd favorite" for many years, so comeback of such player is alwys good for sport.
 
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