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Rest in peace Bally
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Third first-timer in a row @ Hobart tomorrow? :eek:h:
 

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Hobart strikes. Kenin's first title in 2019

12 months lates she would be the last standing woman at the aus open. (Lol)

Vondrousova winning her first title ay the age of 17 in Biel. She would go on to make the final of the french open the following year two years later




Andreescu started the 2019 season with a final at Hobart and really begun showing her hard court prowess claiming the coverted indian wells title.
 

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In the late 90's and early 2000's, it was much much harder to win a title than it is nowadays. Less withdrawals, more top/elite players played events, the quality and strength of the tour was much stronger. During that time, the top players scooped up all the titles, and Elena, although she was a great player, was not part of the very elite. I remember the threads, when is Elena going to win a title..
Only at the Tier I and Tier II level, though. Dementieva, Petrova, and especially Kournikova were hamstrung by the era's requirement for players at a certain ranking/classification to play the upper-level events before they were well and truly ready.

The exempt list was a significant hindrance to players like that: they had a breakthrough that propelled them to top 20 (a slam SF, typically), and then they couldn't play tournaments at the Tier III and IV level, when Henrieta Nagyova and Anna Smashnova were sweeping through tournaments without top 20 opposition. If Kournikova had played a full season of Tier III/Tier II tennis in her career, she certainly would have taken a title.

For example, after Kournikova reached the 1997 Wimbledon SF at 16 years old, she didn't play a tournament below the Tier II level until Feb. 1999 (Oklahoma City, which also featured Venus Williams and Amanda Coetzer, so not a weak Tier III). She played Gold Coast and Luxembourg in 2000, got injured early in 2001, and was never the same player after that. So from her breakthrough event to her physical diminishment, she had three tournaments total that were theoretically hers to win. Some of that was her management group, and certainly in her pre-18 years, the decision was to play Tier I and II events because she only got to play [X] number per year, but then the tour included her on the exempt list and she couldn't play Tier III and IV events at the rate her ranking would normally allow.

Compare that with Sharapova, who after Wimbledon 2004 played Tier III and IV events in Asia, because she (and her team) wisely considered that getting accustomed to the 'attitude' of winning was more important than making appearances at Tier I and II events that she was not favored to win and would harm her confidence. That option wasn't allowed to Kournikova under the old exempt lists: you couldn't do that kind of tournament scheduling. She was double screwed over because for a large chunk of that exempt list era, the tour and tournaments made her part of that exempt list even though she wasn't qualified by ranking. In effect, they declared her too good to play a Tier III and IV schedule even though she wasn't ranked high enough to merit that declaration.

It's similar to why Stosur and Barty took longer to develop in singles: they were elite doubles players and didn't get to develop their singles game at the appropriate level, jumping between lower-Tier singles events (Stosur) or ITFs (Barty) and the slams/Tier I events where they were doubles title threats.
 

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Only at the Tier I and Tier II level, though. Dementieva, Petrova, and especially Kournikova were hamstrung by the era's requirement for players at a certain ranking/classification to play the upper-level events before they were well and truly ready.

The exempt list was a significant hindrance to players like that: they had a breakthrough that propelled them to top 20 (a slam SF, typically), and then they couldn't play tournaments at the Tier III and IV level, when Henrieta Nagyova and Anna Smashnova were sweeping through tournaments without top 20 opposition. If Kournikova had played a full season of Tier III/Tier II tennis in her career, she certainly would have taken a title.

For example, after Kournikova reached the 1997 Wimbledon SF at 16 years old, she didn't play a tournament below the Tier II level until Feb. 1999 (Oklahoma City, which also featured Venus Williams and Amanda Coetzer, so not a weak Tier III). She played Gold Coast and Luxembourg in 2000, got injured early in 2001, and was never the same player after that. So from her breakthrough event to her physical diminishment, she had three tournaments total that were theoretically hers to win. Some of that was her management group, and certainly in her pre-18 years, the decision was to play Tier I and II events because she only got to play [X] number per year, but then the tour included her on the exempt list and she couldn't play Tier III and IV events at the rate her ranking would normally allow.

Compare that with Sharapova, who after Wimbledon 2004 played Tier III and IV events in Asia, because she (and her team) wisely considered that getting accustomed to the 'attitude' of winning was more important than making appearances at Tier I and II events that she was not favored to win and would harm her confidence. That option wasn't allowed to Kournikova under the old exempt lists: you couldn't do that kind of tournament scheduling. She was double screwed over because for a large chunk of that exempt list era, the tour and tournaments made her part of that exempt list even though she wasn't qualified by ranking. In effect, they declared her too good to play a Tier III and IV schedule even though she wasn't ranked high enough to merit that declaration.

It's similar to why Stosur and Barty took longer to develop in singles: they were elite doubles players and didn't get to develop their singles game at the appropriate level, jumping between lower-Tier singles events (Stosur) or ITFs (Barty) and the slams/Tier I events where they were doubles title threats.
Just a bit of perspective. Aside from the Grass courts of Birmingham, Sharapova played a total of 6 events below Tier 2 from 2002-2010 (averaging to less than one a year). In comparison, after winning Wimbledon 2004 she actually played 6 Tier I/II events to just the 2 Tier III/IV events. In fact, she only played Tokyo because she was the defending champ and has openly stated how much she loves Tokyo and will play any chance she gets. So the perspective of her dropping down to win in favor of playing bigger events, was not the case( as she played 3x the number of big events than she did small events, in that time frame). And an even bigger stretch, after winning Wimbledon, she'd only play 3 Tier III/IV events over the next few seasons ( which is similar to Kournikova's 1999-2000 total of 3, and she was also top 10).

As for Anna, she ended 2001 just outside the top 20 and ended 2002 ranked in the 30s......in that 2002 season she played SIX Tier III/IV events, so i'd say that's a pretty strong season of lower tier events. With that said, yes sure wasn't as her physical best BUT she did give it a try for one season and she was still a "semi top" player that season( she made 1 Final and 4 SF's, including a Tier 1). Would she have won a title had she played a handful of Tier III/IV during the 97/98/99 seasons? Almost certainly, but the bigger take is.......even if she could, i don't think Anna would have played those events.
 

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As for Anna, she ended 2001 just outside the top 20...
Don't forget that she lost half that season because of the stress fracture to her foot. I think it would be reasonable to assume that the lost points from those missed tournaments would have given her a (substantially?) higher ranking at the end of the year, which would also have given her a better start into 2002, eventually culminating in a higher end of year position once again.
 

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Only at the Tier I and Tier II level, though. Dementieva, Petrova, and especially Kournikova were hamstrung by the era's requirement for players at a certain ranking/classification to play the upper-level events before they were well and truly ready.

The exempt list was a significant hindrance to players like that: they had a breakthrough that propelled them to top 20 (a slam SF, typically), and then they couldn't play tournaments at the Tier III and IV level...

...That option wasn't allowed to Kournikova under the old exempt lists: you couldn't do that kind of tournament scheduling. She was double screwed over because for a large chunk of that exempt list era, the tour and tournaments made her part of that exempt list even though she wasn't qualified by ranking. In effect, they declared her too good to play a Tier III and IV schedule even though she wasn't ranked high enough to merit that declaration.
I had completely forgotten about that.
 

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Just a bit of perspective. Aside from the Grass courts of Birmingham, Sharapova played a total of 6 events below Tier 2 from 2002-2010 (averaging to less than one a year). In comparison, after winning Wimbledon 2004 she actually played 6 Tier I/II events to just the 2 Tier III/IV events. In fact, she only played Tokyo because she was the defending champ and has openly stated how much she loves Tokyo and will play any chance she gets. So the perspective of her dropping down to win in favor of playing bigger events, was not the case( as she played 3x the number of big events than she did small events, in that time frame). And an even bigger stretch, after winning Wimbledon, she'd only play 3 Tier III/IV events over the next few seasons ( which is similar to Kournikova's 1999-2000 total of 3, and she was also top 10).
True, but you're comparing Sharapova, for most of that time (2002-2010) a grand slam champion and for a portion of it a former YEC champion and sometime/former world #1, to Kournikova whose absolute peak was #8, which she only held for a few weeks of competition (she hit #8 in the last week of 2000 and fell out of the top 10 forever in April 2001). Kournikova only played four events, at any level, in her entire career as a top 10 player, and yet faced very specific restrictions, some of which were specifically made to apply to her for the benefit of Tier II tournament directors, on being able to 'play down'. By the time her ranking had fallen enough to allow her to play Tier III and IV events, she was done as a player: her serve was never even remotely professional grade after the injuries in 2001.

And saying 'other than the grass of Birmingham' is disingenuous: from 2005 through 2007, Sharapova was a former Wimbledon champion and current top 5 player consistently choosing the smaller of the grass court warmups. Kournikova played Eastbourne, the bigger/more prestigious/Tier II grass event warm-up, each of those years.

I don't think Sharapova 'playing down' in late 2004 was a bad thing at all, and I don't object to playing Birmingham instead of Eastbourne either, especially given Birmingham gives a player a rest week before Wimbledon (had Kournikova done so, she may have been able to play the 1998 Wimbledon, when she was in great form, had just beaten Graf on grass, but injured her thumb and couldn't recover in 4 days for Wimbledon). I like when players to tournaments from early in their careers, etc. But she doesn't get extra credit in your Tier III/IV count for playing smaller events, something Kournikova was essentially barred from doing.

The better comparison than Sharapova, even though it's accurate to say Sharapova played more lower-level events than Kournikova even when she was a more established top player, would be Nadia Petrova, who didn't win a title until she'd already reached #6 or #7 in the rankings and yet was able to (and allowed to!) play 8 Tier III/IV events from the time she reached her first slam SF in 2003 to the time she won her first title in 2005. That's an opportunity Kournikova didn't get until she was too compromised to do so.

Look, it's still on her for failing to win a title: she lost out in multiple situations, etc., and choked in more than But it's also worth remembering that Kournikova was a 16-17-18-19 year old superstar who was used by the WTA and the tournament board in ways that limited her ability to succeed and get the title-less moniker off her back.
 

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Look, it's still on her for failing to win a title: she lost out in multiple situations, etc., and choked in more than But it's also worth remembering that Kournikova was a 16-17-18-19 year old superstar who was used by the WTA and the tournament board in ways that limited her ability to succeed and get the title-less moniker off her back.
And yet she was still able to win two Grand Slam titles and two YEC titles in doubles, all before she was 21. Obviously, in some people's eyes (not yours), that doesn't take any ability at all.
 

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Dubai Love
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Discussion Starter #198
Anyone have the picture of Vaidisova from 2004 Vancouver??
Can't edit first post, so just going to upload all pics here.

Venus - 1998 Oklahoma
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Serena - 1999 Paris
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Kvitova - 2009 Hobart
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Safina - 2002 Sopot
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Ivanovic - 2005 Canberra
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Zvonareva - 2003 Bol
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Sharapova - 2003 Tokyo
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Kuznetsova - 2003 Helsinki
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Azarenka - 2009 Brisbane
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Hantuchova - 2002 Indian Wells
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Dubai Love
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Discussion Starter #199
Dementieva - 2003 Amelia Island
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Henin - 1999 Antwerp
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Mauresmo - 1999 Bratislava
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Wozniacki - 2008 Stockholm
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Dokic - 2001 Rome
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Bedanova - 2000 Bratislava
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Casanova - 2002 Knokke Heist
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These two were posted by others in this thread, but bringing them back to this page without watermark.
Clijsters - 1999 Luxembourg
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Hingis - 1996 Filderstadt
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