Originally Posted by Soianka
I read an article by Stan Smith? (I think it was Stan Smith) a while back where he was talking about that he had a hunch that there was another path to creating a world champion tennis player. That a junior could be generally athletic and start playing tennis later like age 13-15 and maybe not complete in junior events, etc.
I guess the point is no one really knows what can be done until someone does it. The Williams Sisters did blaze a new path by not competing at the high level junior competitions in their later teenage years. Can someone become a great player without playing official junior tournaments at all (but rather just practice matches)?
So far, no one has exactly done that. But I personally think it's possible.
I guess we will see what happens with the careers of these youtube girls in the next 4 or 5 years.
My guess is that they would pay the price during their first years on tour. For example, lets take Nadal. He had success on the pro tour at a fairly young age and fairly soon after he turned full time pro. He had competed at a high level in his teens and was able to translate that experience quickly.
Had he never competed in juniors he might have struggled for 3-4 years as his knowledge of the nuances of competing in real matches caught up to his athletic talent. Paying the dues of learning to compete would have just been delayed and paid later. But I bet he would have still become the great player he is today, just a few years later.
I think examples like the Williams sisters do not work because they are "freaks". The Williams sisters had extreme size and power and training and opportunity and athletic ability. Like Tiger, their dads got 'lucky' as they happen to have huge talents to work with. We never hear about the other 1000000 kids whose dad's took them down similar paths and they could not cut it.
Think about the 10-20 mediocre tennis playing young girls you have seen in the past year. We all know them, they try hard but are simply low on talent. Had Richard Williams had 2 of them would he have made them champs? Had his girls topped out at 5'3" would he have made them champs? Not a chance.
But I agree with you....it is theoretically possible for this no juniors at all method to work if a dad is lucky enough to have an extreme talent on his hands.
But my spider sense is telling me these three dads have a different agenda, keep the hype going by avoiding the top girls. All have huge egos and why would they not like their girls to go to the Eddie Herr and destroy all the other girls? Of course they would.