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View Full Version : Tennis Generation Lost: Who is the Game's Next Star?


davey25
05-27-2010, 11:20 AM
http://tennis.fanhouse.com/2010/05/26/tennis-generation-lost-who-is-games-next-star/

PARIS – Svetlana Kuznetsova, defending French Open champ, had three match points against her Wednesday. Three. And she can't remember everything going through her head at that moment, but it wasn't strategy or details.

"I was thinking, 'You know, I really want to be here. This is really what I want the most. The one thing in the world I want is to be here right now, and I want to win so badly.' "

A day earlier, young American Sam Querrey, one of the big hopes for the future of U.S. tennis, split the first two sets, lost the next game, and then?

"I was done," he said. "I wanted to be off the court. I started thinking about leaving and pulling out of the doubles match and how much I wanted to go home."

You can guess what happened. Kuznetsova, the veteran, came back and won, and Querrey went home, withdrawing from doubles with friend John Isner.

"I haven't talked to Sam," Isner said.

Are you upset that he left?

"No."

Didn't even say goodbye.

But have you ever seen a sharper contrast than the attitudes between Kuznetsova, who has won two majors, and Querrey, who has not? Well, this isn't to praise one and bash the other.

It's to bash the entire young generation of tennis in general. That generation stinks.

I might have overstated that a little. But look at women's tennis. You think of teenagers filling the top of the rankings, of Seles and Hingis, Williams and Williams, Austin and Capriati, Clijsters and Henin.

Here's the list of teenagers in the top 25 in women's tennis today: Caroline Wozniacki.

And just two more of those top players are under 21.

Where are all the teenage champions? Why aren't they any good?

There are all sorts of answers, and the first one people will say is that the game has become more physical, too strong for a kid. Forget that. At the risk of sounding like an old fogey, here goes: These kids today ... there's something wrong with them.

"You know what I think?" Kuznetsova said. "All the teenagers, they come, or their parents or their agents or someone, and they think they're so good, and I don't see them respecting the other players like we did when we came here. I played Kim Clijsters [and] for me, it was huge. I played Justine Henin, and you're like, 'Wow.'

"[Today] they come and they see themselves as equal to other girls, and it's not like that."

The point she's making is that today's teens aren't respecting the process, aren't understanding what it takes, feeling entitled.

"And then physically," Kuznetsova said, "I don't see good, prepared and [mentally strong] girls."

Bingo. And it's not just the women. On the men's side, where it takes a little longer to make it on tour, you'd like to think 22-year-olds would be ready to be champions. But Querrey, at 22, is one of just three that young in the men's top 25.

Sam QuerryAnd Querrey (right), albeit for the first time, displayed an incredibly lack of professionalism here. How can an up-and-comer feel that he doesn't want to be at a major championship? He was asking himself that. He also was tanking points.

Some U.S. veteran -- Are you listening Andy Roddick? -- needs to chew him out. Roddick said he wouldn't comment without having talked with Querrey first.

Let's talk about the No. 1 problem: Lack of mental strength. Tennis, especially women's, has a cookie-cutter approach to development. Drill a forehand, drill a forehand, drill a forehand. Hit harder, hit harder.

Tennis is not just a collection of shots and skills. And you'll note that almost every young woman plays exactly the same style of blasting away.

On top of that, kids are preordained as the Next Great Thing on wrong criteria, then built up with agents and promotions and public expectations.

Donald Young was slated as the next American star when he was 14. And the talk now from U.S. tennis is that the next great Americans aren't the ones who are 17, 18, but instead 12 or 13. That's where the gold is.

Well, here is a truth that no one will say about boys tennis: What a 12-year-old does on a tennis court has nothing to do with how good he'll be at 18. OK, let's say almost nothing.

Young is now 20 and ranked No. 147.

What about Melanie Oudin, who had the thrilling quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open? An admission: I actually asked her after her first-round loss here about the possibility of being a one-hit wonder.

She mentioned something about being 18, about losing embarrassingly in the first round of French Open qualifying last year while being ranked in the top 40 and in the main draw now.

In other words, a learning curve. Are we willing to wait for them anymore?

There are other reasons. The demands of the tour are so much now that there's a greater learning curve once someone turns pro? I guess.

The women's tour has some limits on the number of tournaments that 14- to 17-year-olds can play. That matters.

But we've been waiting for Victoria Azarenka, now 20, to become a champion, and it doesn't seem to happen. Marin Cilic, 21, same thing. Juan Martin del Potro did make it, winning the U.S. Open.

Last year's major winners were veteran Serena Williams, comebacker Clijsters and Kuznetsova. Henin, in her comeback, is favored at the French, as old-timers can just walk back in and bypass the kids.

I wonder if we can develop a cookie-cutter drill that makes a champion's brain and heart.

davey25
05-27-2010, 11:32 AM
This is an interesting article and makes reference to something I have started to wonder too. Who are the up and coming stars. There are hardly any quality teenagers or really young players out there at all.

In D Zone
05-27-2010, 11:41 AM
http://tennis.fanhouse.com/2010/05/26/tennis-generation-lost-who-is-games-next-star/

Sam Q was burned out. Played a full schedules from March till his downfall in FO.

Goes to show you got to have that 6th , 7th or even 8th gear to push your way out of the rant and up. Only a few, the proud , the ELITE can do it.

Dreamer
05-27-2010, 11:51 AM
On the mens side it's strange but the teens of a few years ago were all in the same age group. Gasquet, Rafa, Murray, Djoker, Del Potro. They showed promise as teens and they are an absolute powerhouse of talent. It surprises me how strong this wave of now 23 year olds are. It's absolutely mind boggling.

I think it has to do with them meeting in the juniors. They see each other's successes and want to surpass each other.

Li Ching Yuen
05-27-2010, 11:52 AM
This is an interesting article and makes reference to something I have started to wonder too. Who are the up and coming stars. There are hardly any quality teenagers or really young players out there at all.

How do you know? Do you watch all the futures tournaments?
There's talent out there.

I saw Daniel Brands earlier in the tournament, and he looked like the kind of guy that could wipe the courts with some of todays players, if he would put in the hard work. Probably, being a pretty boy too, at his age, practicing hard is not really his main priority.

Hitting 225km/h serves with ease, strong on both sides, really impressive physique, good movement.


Plus, this is just one guy, there's plenty more that could rise up.

Dreamer
05-27-2010, 11:59 AM
How do you know? Do you watch all the futures tournaments?
There's talent out there.

I saw Daniel Brands earlier in the tournament, and he looked like the kind of guy that could wipe the courts with some of todays players, if he would put in the hard work. Probably, being a pretty boy too, at his age, practicing hard is not really his main priority.

Hitting 225km/h serves with ease, strong on both sides, really impressive physique, good movement.


Plus, this is just one guy, there's plenty more that could rise up.

Check the number of teens in the top 100. Eventually there will be new players, but there is a lull and no teens have been making any noise in the grand slams. It's strange because a few years ago, ATP was riddled with new talent. Nadal was the best of them and took no time to start dominating clay. Murray ended the year 17th 2006, he was still a teen. That same year Gasquet won 3 titles!

dropshot winner
05-27-2010, 12:10 PM
The mens tour is very strong at the moment, unfortunately some top10 players have been struggling with injuries recently (Del Potro, Davydenko).

The WTA isn't in the same position but just as the ATP the game got a lot more physical. You're probably not going to win a single slam with a hingis-like serve, or a power-less game.

On the mens tour it's even more extreme, you need big serve (unless you're Nadal) and strong baseline game to even get to a slam final.
How can any 16-18 year olds keep up with the power of the likes of a Federer, Nadal, Söderling and Del Potro? That's why we see less and less teenagers in the top100, feel and court-craft alone isn't enough to win these days.

Li Ching Yuen
05-27-2010, 12:14 PM
Check the number of teens in the top 100. Eventually there will be new players, but there is a lull and no teens have been making any noise in the grand slams. It's strange because a few years ago, ATP was riddled with new talent. Nadal was the best of them and took no time to start dominating clay. Murray ended the year 17th 2006, he was still a teen. That same year Gasquet won 3 titles!

By the time he was 12, Nadal was projected to be a freak. So he is no surprise.
And so was Djokovic...

But little by little, we will see young players hovering in the Top 50 and eventually making the big step. It's just a matter of time. Young guns can't be making their breakthrough tournaments all the time. It would be inane to think that. We're in a period, that's transitional. This will not last long tho.

Some generations are better than the other, and that's a fact.

Stinkdyr
05-27-2010, 12:30 PM
They need more Jimmy Connors mothers!

davey25
05-27-2010, 02:03 PM
Correct me if I am wrong but does Donald Young have a single player younger than him ranked higher?

And what is the next highest ranked teenaged girl after Wozniacki? The womens is even more disconcerting since teenaged girls doing well in the WTA is commonplace.

The question isnt so much about the state of the current game but its future. If those in their late teens arent event top 100 caliber players today that is worrisome.

Bryan Swartz
05-27-2010, 03:18 PM
I think in about five years the top 100 will be worse than it is now -- which will allow more younger players to break through. There's an ebb and flow to those things -- we are blessed with all the talented players we have at the moment, and there will be some valleys to come in terms of the overall talent.