No, these WTA teenagers aren't yet ready.

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
I said this a while ago, and it received no notice but needs to be heard. So, I'll say it once more as a reply to a certain someone who claimed the weak era doesn't exist. That we're being fooled by the faraway TV screen view, and that the current game is harder and faster with more impressive rallies than ever before. And since there's a trillion threads on the ATP tour, I'll keep focusing on the women.

"There's a plethora of close-up angles you can find of the modern players online. Even when you spectate in person, you won't see any drastic difference between the speeds of today and when Sharapova was getting her first wild cards into tournaments. Technology has changed, but the discipline and skills among the top players has changed even more. The pace of the WTA game peaked around the late '90s. We've been on a plateau ever since, with most strings focused on spin generation rather than standard pace, and today's players ride this train by hitting with heavier spin and pulling speed from the ball. You'll see exceptions with occasional flat strokes and serves, but those are rarer today than in the past. Today's pros also hit with less spin on their slice strokes.


This performance is decent, but you'll notice the accuracy for the earlier players is simply better. The rally highlights below are longer and more physically intensive. Even more ridiculous when you remember the earlier players played flatter, on faster surfaces.


They hit with noticeable topspin of their own to keep these long rallies in the hard courts, but they're also able to consistently target the lines with an even greater pace because they're flattening their shots out with pure precision. Look at how easily Hingis targets Venus' stronger side, time after time.


And neither of these two is at their best ('97 and '00). No WTA player in this tournament that I've seen would be hitting consistent volleys in the rallies these two are. Let alone volleys like the following:


You can look through that entire '21 final video and not find exchanges like the video from '99. The only sure area of progression is with the serving, courtesy of those better rackets."





Now after the celebrations are said and done and Raducanu/Fernandez have rested up, they're gonna want to surpass the following players' levels in order to start impressing qualified coaches and sports analysts:

First, they'll need to pass Osaka. Fernandez barely scraped by Osaka. Osaka as she is, is overweight and suffering from visible depression. Osaka's not a joke, but she shouldn't be giving a finalist that amount of trouble. The highest level of the tournament was with Sabalenka, and she and Osaka both choked away their wins over Fernandez who played worse as the tournament went on. When Fernandez finally met a non-choker, the result was that Fernandez couldn't scrape by. Worse still, Raducanu played at a lower top level than both Osaka and Sabalenka. I won't be as hard on her because she was more deserving to win this title, but we can't deny this. Barty's comparable to Osaka as well. Maybe if the three stop choking away wins, they can show these kids how their real selves play.

Once the kids have passed the modern champions, they'll need to surpass the past champions' abilities, in roughly this order:

Wozniacki
Azarenka
Mauresmo
Ivanovic
Pierce
Martinez
M. Joe Fernandez
Novotna
Capriati
Vicario
Sharapova
Sabatini
Kournikova
Henin
Hingis
Clijsters

Once this is done, we can start talking about a new Stefanie Graf and Monica Seles. That list isn't meant to be exhaustive or braggartly, but it's an offhand account of players with superior forms. Look at the quality of playstyles Raducanu and Fernandez need to match or exceed. We can't seriously expect this to happen overnight. At around the Vicario range, these two kids could contend to claim most of the major tournaments in any given calendar year per this era. But, from where they stand, they have a long road to travel. Osaka at her best was highly inferior to Pierce on a technical level and even in terms of power. Where they're showing promise is on their serves, and Raducanu has a forehand slightly beyond Fernandez's almost unique talent in taking balls on the rise.

More still, it remains to be seen whether Osaka, Barty, or one of these other women will step up to the plate and contend against these two's mentalities. Fernandez's mentality was already proven shaky yesterday. We'll see if either her or Raducanu can add themselves to that list of names. And if so, where.
 

Graf1stClass

Professional
I can't comprehend this? Why do Sabatini and Anna Kournikova rate so highly? How can we begin to say if Raducanu's worse than them from one slam? Did you see her play Conchita Martinez? All we know is Raducanu did not lose a set -- that's more impressive than most of this list, is it not?

Edit -- Okay. Sabatini beat Graf a bunch, but I think that overstates her. Steffi had personal issues in those matches. Emma's run in this draw makes her stand out more than beating one player. Just my opinion.
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
Good gracious. I've been trying to tune your channel down for a while, and here you are, still following me for multiple days now to post your anti-Kournikova jabs as if I could care less. Considering she was so terrible and yet more accomplished than Dokic, that must really steam you. Might consider changing that avatar, buddy.
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
I can't comprehend this? Why do Sabatini and Anna Kournikova rate so highly? How can we begin to say if Raducanu's worse than them from one slam? Did you see her play Conchita Martinez? All we know is Raducanu did not lose a set -- that's more impressive than most of this list, is it not?

Edit -- Okay. Sabatini beat Graf a bunch, but I think that overstates her. Steffi had personal issues in those matches. Emma's run in this draw makes her stand out more than beating one player. Just my opinion.
I didn't rate those players by their worsts. I rated them by their best averages. Raducanu and Fernandez were rather measly players before two weeks ago. So there's no reason to talk about those parts of their careers if we're believing they've just taken their careers to the next level. I'm not going to include the doldrums of Sabatini or Kournikova's careers for that same reason. I don't expect Raducanu to ever be as big of a choker as the later Sabatini or as injured as the later Kournikova. I didn't rate by majors either, because these two kids, who'd barely won a single title between them, somehow cruised to a slam final among a pitiful field, and they didn't play Graf to win it.

But there's no point in rating "peaks" either. No player can be in a peak for longer than a calendar year, and peaks vary in length. Raducanu's peak can be five years from now, and the competition could've ironically grown too tough for her to easily handle by then. Her current peak is something closer to Li Na and lower than every player I listed, so it's not necessary to bring up. What this does do is speak to how easily Li Na in the early '10s would be cleaning these slam events today.

Last, Raducanu didn't lose a set because she was extremely lucky. From this tournament alone, if either Barty, Osaka, or Sabalenka had won their matches, let alone some other possible reversals, Raducanu would've had a much harder time out there. If I were a betting man, I'd have bet on either Barty or Osaka over Raducanu in this slam final. Provided I knew they were going to bring their A games.
 

ChaelAZ

G.O.A.T.
Not sure what all the psuedo-analysis is going on about, but the question fo what they can do next is the same questions of every great champion that ever rose up, but also of those that were one-and-done. Just saying they aren't ready and trying to talk down the level is hog wash though. You do not win a slam by luck in any case. It takes everything that previous champions had to make it so. Can they repeat...who knows.
 

R. Schweikart

Professional
I said this a while ago, and it received no notice but needs to be heard. So, I'll say it once more as a reply to a certain someone who claimed the weak era doesn't exist. That we're being fooled by the faraway TV screen view, and that the current game is harder and faster with more impressive rallies than ever before. And since there's a trillion threads on the ATP tour, I'll keep focusing on the women.

"There's a plethora of close-up angles you can find of the modern players online. Even when you spectate in person, you won't see any drastic difference between the speeds of today and when Sharapova was getting her first wild cards into tournaments. Technology has changed, but the discipline and skills among the top players has changed even more. The pace of the WTA game peaked around the late '90s. We've been on a plateau ever since, with most strings focused on spin generation rather than standard pace, and today's players ride this train by hitting with heavier spin and pulling speed from the ball. You'll see exceptions with occasional flat strokes and serves, but those are rarer today than in the past. Today's pros also hit with less spin on their slice strokes.


This performance is decent, but you'll notice the accuracy for the earlier players is simply better. The rally highlights below are longer and more physically intensive. Even more ridiculous when you remember the earlier players played flatter, on faster surfaces.


They hit with noticeable topspin of their own to keep these long rallies in the hard courts, but they're also able to consistently target the lines with an even greater pace because they're flattening their shots out with pure precision. Look at how easily Hingis targets Venus' stronger side, time after time.


And neither of these two is at their best ('97 and '00). No WTA player in this tournament that I've seen would be hitting consistent volleys in the rallies these two are. Let alone volleys like the following:


You can look through that entire '21 final video and not find exchanges like the video from '99. The only sure area of progression is with the serving, courtesy of those better rackets."





Now after the celebrations are said and done and Raducanu/Fernandez have rested up, they're gonna want to surpass the following players' levels in order to start impressing qualified coaches and sports analysts:

First, they'll need to pass Osaka. Fernandez barely scraped by Osaka. Osaka as she is, is overweight and suffering from visible depression. Osaka's not a joke, but she shouldn't be giving a finalist that amount of trouble. The highest level of the tournament was with Sabalenka, and she and Osaka both choked away their wins over Fernandez who played worse as the tournament went on. When Fernandez finally met a non-choker, the result was that Fernandez couldn't scrape by. Worse still, Raducanu played at a lower top level than both Osaka and Sabalenka. I won't be as hard on her because she was more deserving to win this title, but we can't deny this. Barty's comparable to Osaka as well. Maybe if the three stop choking away wins, they can show these kids how their real selves play.

Once the kids have passed the modern champions, they'll need to surpass the past champions' abilities, in roughly this order:

Wozniacki
Azarenka
Mauresmo
Ivanovic
Pierce
Martinez
M. Joe Fernandez
Novotna
Capriati
Vicario
Sharapova
Sabatini
Kournikova
Henin
Hingis
Clijsters

Once this is done, we can start talking about a new Stefanie Graf and Monica Seles. That list isn't meant to be exhaustive or braggartly, but it's an offhand account of players with superior forms. Look at the quality of playstyles Raducanu and Fernandez need to match or exceed. We can't seriously expect this to happen overnight. At around the Vicario range, these two kids could contend to claim most of the major tournaments in any given calendar year per this era. But, from where they stand, they have a long road to travel. Osaka at her best was highly inferior to Pierce on a technical level and even in terms of power. Where they're showing promise is on their serves, and Raducanu has a forehand slightly beyond Fernandez's almost unique talent in taking balls on the rise.

More still, it remains to be seen whether Osaka, Barty, or one of these other women will step up to the plate and contend against these two's mentalities. Fernandez's mentality was already proven shaky yesterday. We'll see if either her or Raducanu can add themselves to that list of names. And if so, where.

When someone speaks of "Vicario" while meaning Arantxa Sanchez I know enough to be very sceptic about anything else he says about tennis.
But hey, isn't he the one who claims that "Martinka" of January 1997 played at the highest level of women's tennis - no of tennis in general! - ever?
Yes, it's him...
 

Djokovicfan

Semi-Pro
Imagine caring this much about womens tennis.

but seriouslyop, womens tennis is a festival of flat balls. More topspin is what is good for womens tennis, not less.
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
Imagine caring this much about womens tennis.

but seriouslyop, womens tennis is a festival of flat balls. More topspin is what is good for womens tennis, not less.
Flat balls are what whooped Djokovic's ass yesterday. They're also what denied Nadal a few Wimbledons and Federer's entire early career.
 

zvelf

Hall of Fame
Good gracious. I've been trying to tune your channel down for a while, and here you are, still following me for multiple days now to post your anti-Kournikova jabs as if I could care less. Considering she was so terrible and yet more accomplished than Dokic, that must really steam you. Might consider changing that avatar, buddy.
I've never made any claims to Dokic being a great player, but she was better than Kournikova. Dokic won 6 tournaments. Kournikova won 0. Dokic's highest rank was #4. Kournikova's was #8. Dokic ended years in the top 10 twice, Kournikova only once. Kournikova only leads Dokic in one area, career W/L % and even there it is a negligible 62% to 61% and mostly thanks to Dokic playing to the end of her career at age 30 while Kournikova retired way early. Oh, and in their one match against each other, Dokic won including bageling Kournikova in the final set. So much for Kournikova being more accomplished than Dokic.

When someone speaks of "Vicario" while meaning Arantxa Sanchez I know enough to be very sceptic about anything else he says about tennis.
But hey, isn't he the one who claims that "Martinka" of January 1997 played at the highest level of women's tennis - no of tennis in general! - ever?
Yes, it's him...
Yes, Swerve's the one who said that Hingis could beat Sampras! :eek:o_O:unsure:
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
Yes OP, I think we can all agree the two teenagers are currently not better than these two all time greats, Hingis and Venus.
It's not just that angle. Venus wasn't an all time great at this point. Hingis had an argument, but she was already past her prime. You've gotta understand that these two kids were in the dawn and twilights of their careers, and look at how they're hitting with so much more authority. It's unbelievable.

Not sure what all the psuedo-analysis is going on about, but the question fo what they can do next is the same questions of every great champion that ever rose up, but also of those that were one-and-done. Just saying they aren't ready and trying to talk down the level is hog wash though. You do not win a slam by luck in any case. It takes everything that previous champions had to make it so. Can they repeat...who knows.
What's hogwash is that uppity attitude. Approach me with a little civility, and I'll give you the time of day.

I missed it. Was too focused on watching Martina's footwork the whole time. It's mesmerizing how much better it is than Federer & Nadal's combined.
What's worse, she's moving this well while she's injured. I wouldn't claim that her footwork's significantly better than Nadal's here, but I wouldn't be upset if you did.

Kournikova was just a babe and nothing more.
She has made 1 semi final and that is her best at a slam, she was mostly a journeywoman who was a model, thats it.
There are a few more factors to consider. Before I go any further, all these women today would be journeywomen in Kournikova's time. There's no good-faith argument to be made that Raducanu, with her laughably easy draw, had a harder time than Kournikova normally dealt with, when she was running into Hingis types even in Tier 3 tournaments. This kind of thinking gets you into trouble, and you'd do well to not bet on it. Why do you think I've been right about Osaka, Swiatek, Sabalenka, Andreescu, and so on. The patterns of play and levels of opposition are what matter. Not the titles you win. Some alien can beam down from Mars and be better at this sport than any of us, and we'd be bonkers to claim he's a "journeyman" because he hasn't yet won a tournament final.

From '95-'97, she wasn't allowed to play any significant amount of tournaments in the first place (18 total tournaments). That's nearly 30% of her career gone from the start. Courtesy to the meaningless Capriati regulations that screwed her over. She was livid, and I would've been more livid, and I'll tell you something: Capriati was one of the worst things to happen to women's tennis. And besides her being horrifically injured at the start of her peak in '98, her actual peak was in '93-'94, when she was beating absolutely everybody, including her male training partners and other pros. After that, her body merely grew as her form spectacularly deteriorated. The difference you need to recognize is that her lack of mental toughness from '94 onward is Raducanu's advantage, but Raducanu hasn't reached Kournikova's prime form and possibly won't ever reach Kournikova's junior form.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
"Now after the celebrations are said and done and Raducanu/Fernandez have rested up, they're gonna want to surpass the following players' levels in order to start impressing qualified coaches and sports analysts".

Wow, both girls have just played their maiden Slam final but they still need to start impressing qualified coaches and sports analysts! :oops:
 

ScottleeSV

Professional
Even if there's any merit in any of that though, Jason, you'll have trouble convincing anyone. Even if you wrote a book about Kourrnikova, released it, and people bought it and read it, I don't think many people will ever rate Kournikova as highly as Raducanu (even if Raducanu retired tomorrow to become your agent on the Kournikova book tour).

At the end of the day, Raducanu is a US Open champion and Anna is not.
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
"Now after the celebrations are said and done and Raducanu/Fernandez have rested up, they're gonna want to surpass the following players' levels in order to start impressing qualified coaches and sports analysts".

Wow, both girls have just played their maiden Slam final but they still need to start impressing qualified coaches and sports analysts! :oops:
Like myself. They could also retire on their current riches, starting today. Truth be told, I'd take the second option. That's probably why I never made it past collegiate tennis.

Even if there's any merit in any of that though, Jason, you'll have trouble convincing anyone. Even if you wrote a book about Kourrnikova, released it, and people bought it and read it, I don't think many people will ever rate Kournikova as highly as Raducanu (even if Raducanu retired tomorrow to become your agent on the Kournikova book tour).

At the end of the day, Raducanu is a US Open champion and Anna is not.
Ha. Well, as you and Sunny've spoken, slams are all that matters to anyone. For that matter, Kournikova has a couple of them to flash. We can claim "doubles" from sunrise tp sunset, but her competition was greater.

This isn't the point I'm bringing forth. The point I'm bringing forth is that Kournikova had a more solid game at its best- along with all those other ladies above. When it fell apart, it was of course worse. But there's no sense in comparing these women to other women whose games have fallen apart. I care about them at their best level, and nothing lower. I already told you @Sunny014 that Raducanu has shown the mind Kournikova never had. But part of that is because Kournikova had an entire box of shots to choose from that Raducanu never had, and she felt obligated to try using all of them at some point in all of her matches, because Bollettieri forced her, to her chagrin, to be a typical baseliner. Raducanu has less variety-of-shot and less experience even hitting the shots Kournikova was able to hit, and that makes her game simpler for her to worry about.
 

ibbi

Legend
Aren't yet ready to... What? Be all time greats? Is anyone suggesting that they are? Two teenagers in the past 12 months have won major titles. That suggests they're ready to do the only thing they need to do. Win. You keep bringing up Osaka, but Swiatek in making 4th rounds at all 4 majors has already surpassed Osaka in being able to make whatever minimal adjustments need to be made in this day and age to succeed across the surfaces. Raducanu with her 4th round at Wimbledon can say the same.

Hingis and Venus are two of the best players of the last 30 years, and the game was completely different then, so obviously they're playing a totally different way because that was what was required. It's funny though how in your deference to that match you don't bring up the cramps that killed Venus at the end, or the double digit double faults she coughed up. Fernandez and Raducanu played all that tennis, and that was never an issue for either of them. In the end the better person just won. Something to be said for that.
 

ScottleeSV

Professional
Ha. Well, as you and Sunny've spoken, slams are all that matters to anyone.
I actually really appreciate the Wozniacki type careers where players stack up title after title (but not necessarily at the majors). I just like it somehow.

It troubles me a bit when I look Osaka's CV and more than half her titles are majors, or at someone like Ostapenko/Andreescu; barely any titles but 1 of them is a major. It doesn't seem right somehow. Emma gets a pass because she hasn't played the tour yet. Brooks Koepka would be golf's equivalent of Osaka, I guess.

Anyway, if only Kournikova could fall back on a few small tourny wins to help sell your book...except she can't. For all her talent (I'll take your word for it on that; I only saw the Wimbledon run), something clearly wasn't right with her upstairs long before the injuries scuppered her. She didn't have that champion factor. Key ingredients were missing.

Raducanu on the other hand, even if armed with less shots, showed her X factor at so many key moments where other youngsters might have settled for being the near-but-yet-so-far semi finalist or finalist. She was epic. And she won with so much to spare. It was like Tiger winning the Masters by 12 shots.
 
Last edited:

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
Aren't yet ready to... What? Be all time greats? Is anyone suggesting that they are? Two teenagers in the past 12 months have won major titles. That suggests they're ready to do the only thing they need to do. Win. You keep bringing up Osaka, but Swiatek in making 4th rounds at all 4 majors has already surpassed Osaka in being able to make whatever minimal adjustments need to be made in this day and age to succeed across the surfaces. Raducanu with her 4th round at Wimbledon can say the same.

Hingis and Venus are two of the best players of the last 30 years, and the game was completely different then, so obviously they're playing a totally different way because that was what was required. It's funny though how in your deference to that match you don't bring up the cramps that killed Venus at the end, or the double digit double faults she coughed up. Fernandez and Raducanu played all that tennis, and that was never an issue for either of them. In the end the better person just won. Something to be said for that.
There's nothing to be said for the better person winning. That's to be expected. And Hingis, even in '06, was the better person than Raducanu. The fact that Venus cramped up and double faulted? The matches were tougher, back then, and Venus was in worse shape than Hingis and hadn't reached her stride. Venus was playing harder, and Hingis pressured her much more than a Raducanu ever would have. I made that clear at the very start. This latest final wasn't 40% of the intensity. You can't expect them to be feeling any pain when the match is mostly Raducanu dominating Fernandez and barely breaking a sweat. 6-4 6-3 is a very comfortable win.

Bring up Swiatek if you want. You're missing me. I'm talking about the major factors in this tournament whose losses made it a cinch for Raducanu to succeed. Swiatek wasn't one of those factors. Osaka was. It's not about these two being "all time greats" or flukes. It's telling you the physical and technical levels they need to reach in order to catch up to the past greats. They can reach that level and never win another slam, and I'd still be impressed. If Raducanu keeps winning with easy draws like this, I'll still be impressed if she can rout her competition this way, but you're fooling yourself to claim she'd already reached even Mauresmo's best level of play in that last run. That display was too brief to match them with Azarenka or Wozniacki. You can't play like the average WTA player and barely scrape by Osaka and then claim to be a better player than anyone on that list. You can't lose to a slumping Clara Tauson and tell me you're better than the list. I need three more tournaments out of you. Three as a "minimum".
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
I have my own watch, on my own time. Drivel on Bruv.
If he sounds like a child, he probably is one.

I actually really appreciate the Wozniacki type careers where players stack up title after title (but not necessarily at the majors). I just like it somehow.

It troubles me a bit when I look Osaka's CV and more than half her titles are majors, or at someone like Ostapenko/Andreescu; barely any titles but 1 of them is a major. It doesn't seem right somehow. Emma gets a pass because she hasn't played the tour yet. Brooks Koepka would be golf's equivalent of Osaka, I guess.

Anyway, if only Kournikova could fall back on a few small tourny wins to help sell your book...except she can't. For all her talent (I'll take your word for it on that; I only saw the Wimbledon run), something clearly wasn't right with her upstairs long before the injuries scuppered her. She didn't have that champion factor. Key ingredients were missing.

Raducanu on the other hand, even if armed with less shots, showed her X factor at so many key moments where other youngsters might have settled for being the near-but-yet-so-far semi finalist or finalist. She was epic. And she won with so much to spare. If it was like Tiger winning the Masters by 12 shots.
If Raducanu can amass some tournament wins of any kind, I'll reconsider things if she's playing at the same level as in this tournament. The latest form she showed is worthy of the list. Is it worthy of Kournikova? No. It might be worthy of Ivanovic. The forehand and general power is lower- but everything else seems to be in order. The mentality is the biggest point. Osaka's mental weakness was evident for years before this current tour. Being inspired for as long as Raducanu's been isn't a natural thing. There's a mental aspect to it, and her form benefits from what she's learned. We'll see whether she can hold onto this form as the pressure continues to mount. It's been over 20 years since a youngster showed that sort of mentality, and it's even harder in this age. Color me uncertain. Because Ivanovic would not have let Raducanu off as easy as Fernandez did.

Likewise, I'd love to see this kid as the newest prodigy in 20 years. Even without that status, no other veteran from this generation has had a rounded-out resume. It's obscene to dwell on. The level is so much lower, but it's too thoroughly low for anyone to benefit from it.

As for Kournikova, her place on the list covers her technique and athleticism, not her achievements. I'm not going to sit here and type out the lie that Raducanu played worse than Kerber. "If only Kournikova at 16 could've fallen down a pothole and ended up in January 2021" is a better hypothetical for you. That person was the type to choke away 50 serves and still dominate her matches. However...I'd be more than willing to give Raducanu her credit if I see her playing a game as strong as Kournikova's, whether or not the kid reaches a second major. I'm well capable of parsing out Raducanu's rough level, even if she's dealing with some extremely pitiful opposition.
 

Chanwan

G.O.A.T.
There's nothing to be said for the better person winning. That's to be expected. And Hingis, even in '06, was the better person than Raducanu. The fact that Venus cramped up and double faulted? The matches were tougher, back then, and Venus was in worse shape than Hingis and hadn't reached her stride. Venus was playing harder, and Hingis pressured her much more than a Raducanu ever would have. I made that clear at the very start. This latest final wasn't 40% of the intensity. You can't expect them to be feeling any pain when the match is mostly Raducanu dominating Fernandez and barely breaking a sweat. 6-4 6-3 is a very comfortable win.

Bring up Swiatek if you want. You're missing me. I'm talking about the major factors in this tournament whose losses made it a cinch for Raducanu to succeed. Swiatek wasn't one of those factors. Osaka was. It's not about these two being "all time greats" or flukes. It's telling you the physical and technical levels they need to reach in order to catch up to the past greats. They can reach that level and never win another slam, and I'd still be impressed. If Raducanu keeps winning with easy draws like this, I'll still be impressed if she can rout her competition this way, but you're fooling yourself to claim she'd already reached even Mauresmo's best level of play in that last run. That display was too brief to match them with Azarenka or Wozniacki. You can't play like the average WTA player and barely scrape by Osaka and then claim to be a better player than anyone on that list. You can't lose to a slumping Clara Tauson and tell me you're better than the list. I need three more tournaments out of you. Three as a "minimum".
It's obviously too early to tell one way or other about Raducanu, but I for one am very impressed and do see a lot of things pointing to a great future potential (not discussing where she ranks on your list)
  • RoS off both wings. She took each and every one of her 2nd serve returns inside the baseline and iirc won more than 50 % of her return games for the tournament
  • Movement, she's got elite movement even though she apparently only just learned, she can slide on hard.
  • Related, defense. Very hard to hit winners past her and she doesn't just get the ball back, she gets it back with interest from hard positons.
  • Groundies off both wing. She hasn't got a weak side and can hit plenty of winners/offensive shots
  • She plays with a fairly big margin of error. Doesn't go for the crazy winner or the lines, but forces the issue and builts her advantage
  • She's not afraid to come forward and can actually volley, compared to most
  • Mentality - again to early to tell, but she handled the occasion like one who's been there many times before
  • Mentality 2 - she seems to have a solid head on her shoulders and is able to think on the court
  • Atletic build - to me, she seems close to the ideal build for a female tennis player. Tall enough to be able to have a good serve. Short enough to be a great mover. And no extra weight, just lean.
  • 1st serve could get even better, but the 2nd is already pretty great
All in all, while she might not be the very best on the current tour in any single category just yet, she seems to me to have 'the full package' with no apparent weakness and can obviously still develop further.
That said: This is one fairytale run and we need to see her deal with the her new reality and play more tournaments, but the future looks bright. Billie Jean King think she's the real deal and I tend to agree
 

tex123

Professional
I said this a while ago, and it received no notice but needs to be heard. So, I'll say it once more as a reply to a certain someone who claimed the weak era doesn't exist. That we're being fooled by the faraway TV screen view, and that the current game is harder and faster with more impressive rallies than ever before. And since there's a trillion threads on the ATP tour, I'll keep focusing on the women.

"There's a plethora of close-up angles you can find of the modern players online. Even when you spectate in person, you won't see any drastic difference between the speeds of today and when Sharapova was getting her first wild cards into tournaments. Technology has changed, but the discipline and skills among the top players has changed even more. The pace of the WTA game peaked around the late '90s. We've been on a plateau ever since, with most strings focused on spin generation rather than standard pace, and today's players ride this train by hitting with heavier spin and pulling speed from the ball. You'll see exceptions with occasional flat strokes and serves, but those are rarer today than in the past. Today's pros also hit with less spin on their slice strokes.


This performance is decent, but you'll notice the accuracy for the earlier players is simply better. The rally highlights below are longer and more physically intensive. Even more ridiculous when you remember the earlier players played flatter, on faster surfaces.


They hit with noticeable topspin of their own to keep these long rallies in the hard courts, but they're also able to consistently target the lines with an even greater pace because they're flattening their shots out with pure precision. Look at how easily Hingis targets Venus' stronger side, time after time.


And neither of these two is at their best ('97 and '00). No WTA player in this tournament that I've seen would be hitting consistent volleys in the rallies these two are. Let alone volleys like the following:


You can look through that entire '21 final video and not find exchanges like the video from '99. The only sure area of progression is with the serving, courtesy of those better rackets."





Now after the celebrations are said and done and Raducanu/Fernandez have rested up, they're gonna want to surpass the following players' levels in order to start impressing qualified coaches and sports analysts:

First, they'll need to pass Osaka. Fernandez barely scraped by Osaka. Osaka as she is, is overweight and suffering from visible depression. Osaka's not a joke, but she shouldn't be giving a finalist that amount of trouble. The highest level of the tournament was with Sabalenka, and she and Osaka both choked away their wins over Fernandez who played worse as the tournament went on. When Fernandez finally met a non-choker, the result was that Fernandez couldn't scrape by. Worse still, Raducanu played at a lower top level than both Osaka and Sabalenka. I won't be as hard on her because she was more deserving to win this title, but we can't deny this. Barty's comparable to Osaka as well. Maybe if the three stop choking away wins, they can show these kids how their real selves play.

Once the kids have passed the modern champions, they'll need to surpass the past champions' abilities, in roughly this order:

Wozniacki
Azarenka
Mauresmo
Ivanovic
Pierce
Martinez
M. Joe Fernandez
Novotna
Capriati
Vicario
Sharapova
Sabatini
Kournikova
Henin
Hingis
Clijsters

Once this is done, we can start talking about a new Stefanie Graf and Monica Seles. That list isn't meant to be exhaustive or braggartly, but it's an offhand account of players with superior forms. Look at the quality of playstyles Raducanu and Fernandez need to match or exceed. We can't seriously expect this to happen overnight. At around the Vicario range, these two kids could contend to claim most of the major tournaments in any given calendar year per this era. But, from where they stand, they have a long road to travel. Osaka at her best was highly inferior to Pierce on a technical level and even in terms of power. Where they're showing promise is on their serves, and Raducanu has a forehand slightly beyond Fernandez's almost unique talent in taking balls on the rise.

More still, it remains to be seen whether Osaka, Barty, or one of these other women will step up to the plate and contend against these two's mentalities. Fernandez's mentality was already proven shaky yesterday. We'll see if either her or Raducanu can add themselves to that list of names. And if so, where.
I'm sorry but this is a bizarre post. You mention "pacy" shots by Hingis and Venus. All I see is those two rallying consistently without taking any risks. From what I can see, both Raducanu and Fernandez have x times more power than these two can generate. I also don't see them move like these teenagers move on the court. Here's Raducanu practicing:



Then you go ahead and rate some duds above these two teenagers. Kournikova really? Do you have any data on Venus/Hingis vs Raducanu/Fernandez to compare the ball speed and rpms to back up your claims?

Both have ATP style forehands. Hingis had a poor serve. To compensate for that she played the ground game. Venus had a big serve but I wouldn't rate her ground game as strong as Hingis. In contrast, both teenagers have bigger and better serves. They dictate with their forehand and their backhands are not too shabby either. So, you've got to take into account their style of play. If you expect them to play like David Ferrer with endless rallies, that's not their style of play.
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
Not ready? You are about three weeks late to the party bro.
The TTW party. If I were late, I wouldn't have made a living off this sport.

It's obviously too early to tell one way or other about Raducanu, but I for one am very impressed and do see a lot of things pointing to a great future potential (not discussing where she ranks on your list)
  • RoS off both wings. She took each and every one of her 2nd serve returns inside the baseline and iirc won more than 50 % of her return games for the tournament
  • Movement, she's got elite movement even though she apparently only just learned, she can slide on hard.
  • Related, defense. Very hard to hit winners past her and she doesn't just get the ball back, she gets it back with interest from hard positons.
  • Groundies off both wing. She hasn't got a weak side and can hit plenty of winners/offensive shots
  • She plays with a fairly big margin of error. Doesn't go for the crazy winner or the lines, but forces the issue and builts her advantage
  • She's not afraid to come forward and can actually volley, compared to most
  • Mentality - again to early to tell, but she handled the occasion like one who's been there many times before
  • Mentality 2 - she seems to have a solid head on her shoulders and is able to think on the court
  • Atletic build - to me, she seems close to the ideal build for a female tennis player. Tall enough to be able to have a good serve. Short enough to be a great mover. And no extra weight, just lean.
  • 1st serve could get even better, but the 2nd is already pretty great
All in all, while she might not be the very best on the current tour in any single category just yet, she seems to me to have 'the full package' with no apparent weakness and can obviously still develop further.
That said: This is one fairytale run and we need to see her deal with the her new reality and play more tournaments, but the future looks bright. Billie Jean King think she's the real deal and I tend to agree
What you and Billie Jean King think isn't necessarily wrong, but it doesn't matter to the extent you're comparing Raducanu's form against this subpar competition. That means nothing in the long run. When people once compared Sampras to Federer, none of those comparisons would've mattered for an instant if Sampras had played in the so-called "Lost Generation". We don't want to analyze Radacanu "down" to today's standards. We want to analyze her up to where she needs to be at her best.
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
I'm sorry but this is a bizarre post. You mention "pacy" shots by Hingis and Venus. All I see is those two rallying consistently without taking any risks. From what I can see, both Raducanu and Fernandez have x times more power than these two can generate. I also don't see them move like these teenagers move on the court. Here's Raducanu practicing:



Then you go ahead and rate some duds above these two teenagers. Kournikova really? Do you have any data on Venus/Hingis vs Raducanu/Fernandez to compare the ball speed and rpms to back up your claims?

Both have ATP style forehands. Hingis had a poor serve. To compensate for that she played the ground game. Venus had a big serve but I wouldn't rate her ground game as strong as Hingis. In contrast, both teenagers have bigger and better serves. They dictate with their forehand and their backhands are not too shabby either. So, you've got to take into account their style of play. If you expect them to play like David Ferrer with endless rallies, that's not their style of play.
If you think those two are playing a defensive-baselining style on that '90s carpet as they constantly look to charge the net, I'm honestly not sure what to tell you.
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
I'm sorry but this is a bizarre post. You mention "pacy" shots by Hingis and Venus. All I see is those two rallying consistently without taking any risks. From what I can see, both Raducanu and Fernandez have x times more power than these two can generate. I also don't see them move like these teenagers move on the court. Here's Raducanu practicing:



Then you go ahead and rate some duds above these two teenagers. Kournikova really? Do you have any data on Venus/Hingis vs Raducanu/Fernandez to compare the ball speed and rpms to back up your claims?

Both have ATP style forehands. Hingis had a poor serve. To compensate for that she played the ground game. Venus had a big serve but I wouldn't rate her ground game as strong as Hingis. In contrast, both teenagers have bigger and better serves. They dictate with their forehand and their backhands are not too shabby either. So, you've got to take into account their style of play. If you expect them to play like David Ferrer with endless rallies, that's not their style of play.
Further, the flatter shots aren't going to have "RPMs". Understand that when you're using these terms, you're talking about topspin. Just look at how fast the ball moves to each player in each video. It isn't too monumental.
 

Graf1stClass

Professional
Swerve, you just said a minute ago they're worse than Barty, but now it's 'equal to Ivanovic'. That's ok if you don't like them, but this topic sounds like an excuse to cover it up.
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
Swerve, you just said a minute ago they're worse than Barty, but now it's 'equal to Ivanovic'. That's ok if you don't like them, but this topic sounds like an excuse to cover it up.
Their overall levels aren't higher than Barty's best. In this one final, Raducanu showed tennis prowess approaching Ivanovic. Does that clear the fog?
 

Autodidactic player

Professional
Kournikova was just a babe and nothing more.
She has made 1 semi final and that is her best at a slam, she was mostly a journeywoman who was a model, thats it.
I don't consider someone who made #8 in the world a "journeywomen" but I agree that she should not be included in OP's list of "modern champions."

P.S. Kournikova is the same age as Roger Federer and she retired in 2003!
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
Kournikova became so underrated that now she is wildly overrated, she would not be able to hang in rallies with either of the finalists and they would both pummel her serve, though she was a better volleyer than either currently are.
They would pummel her second serve. Her first serve was very respectable if not routine- when she could get it in. The serving issues didn't begin until after her thumb injury.

Now, you're talking about rallying. I don't think you recognize just how hard Kournikova smacked the ball.


Kournikova's injured here, slumping, and currently in the middle of very embarrassing serving yips. And she walked away as soon as she hit her return. That's the difference in power we're talking. There would be no "rallying" between her and Raducanu. Kournikova'd either be nervously missing everything or hitting winners within, at the very most, 4-5 shots. The Raducanu forehand wouldn't trouble her in any way. Kournikova was physically faster than everyone in the '21 US Open. Kournikova hit heavier on both wings than Raducanu's forehand has shown- so far. Of course there's room for Raducanu improve, and I hope she does. But let's not jump the gun until she's shown a bit more promise. It's not good for Raducanu if she can only win her match by praying the technically better opponent self-implodes.

Can we start using wojak crying bald glasses guy meme for these threads?
You children and your "memes" almost killed this forum. It used to be a place of great discussion. Take the nonsense over to Ticktock or wherever you frequent.
 

MrFlip

Professional
They would pummel her second serve. Her first serve was very respectable if not routine- when she could get it in. The serving issues didn't begin until after her thumb injury.

Now, you're talking about rallying. I don't think you recognize just how hard Kournikova smacked the ball.


Kournikova's injured here, slumping, and currently in the middle of very embarrassing serving yips. And she walked away as soon as she hit her return. That's the difference in power we're talking. There would be no "rallying" between her and Raducanu. Kournikova'd either be nervously missing everything or hitting winners within, at the very most, 4-5 shots. The Raducanu forehand wouldn't trouble her in any way. Kournikova was physically faster than everyone in the '21 US Open. Kournikova hit heavier on both wings than Raducanu's forehand has shown- so far. Of course there's room for Raducanu improve, and I hope she does. But let's not jump the gun until she's shown a bit more promise. It's not good for Raducanu if she can only win her match by praying the technically better opponent self-implodes.


You children and your "memes" almost killed this forum. It used to be a place of great discussion. Take the nonsense over to Ticktock or wherever you frequent.
The meme represents the original problem from the child poster.


If they're not ready or lucky how come both beat the top players of the WTA?

This place used to be about talking about why you like players, now its about being an expert arm-chair analyst while talking down about anything said player has achieved
 

Jason Swerve

Hall of Fame
That's the issue. I don't care who you "like," son. I didn't coach college players by telling them who I "liked". If you're going to bother again, I'll give you one more chance to make it intelligent.
 

Visionary

Professional
Whether those WTA teenagers are, or are not, ready is not up to us to decide; however, it is our wishful thinking to analyze them based on their performances and the history of the sport. Drawing parallels in between the previous and current teens in WTA may not be enough for reasons beyond our understanding. Not only that we're living in different times but also producing distinct athletes who have their strong characters. Emma or Leylah surely are going to be tested in the modern environment of their stardom and they are going to be exposed to a lot more distractions than Anna Kournikova, Martina Hingis or Maria Sharapova had to deal with as the media is unforgiving and sponsors/opportunists ruthless. But knowing those obstacles and diversions Leylah and Emma will be better managed for they are, in my view, strong and better educated. 2022 will see Emma and Leylah in top ten most likely.
 

Max G.

Legend
Just curious - are there stats to back up the claims here? Like, average pace and spin on the ball, or something? Or player speed? Because I'll be honest, that video clip of Kournikova to me looks like she's slower than Raducanu was in her match, and the balls don't look as heavy. They look flatter and less consistent. But hey, you can find clips to make anyone look good if you want.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Kournikova became so underrated that now she is wildly overrated, she would not be able to hang in rallies with either of the finalists and they would both pummel her serve, though she was a better volleyer than either currently are.
Yes. This is typical. In their efforts to counter the underrating, they now assign to get qualities she doesn't have.
 

Dolgopolov85

G.O.A.T.
Just curious - are there stats to back up the claims here? Like, average pace and spin on the ball, or something? Or player speed? Because I'll be honest, that video clip of Kournikova to me looks like she's slower than Raducanu was in her match, and the balls don't look as heavy. They look flatter and less consistent. But hey, you can find clips to make anyone look good if you want.
I remember Kournikova as a highly error prone player, even during her better days. Neither Raducanu nor Fernandez were serving up bucketloads of errors. That's number one. Number two is today TV channels use a higher resolution with more frames per second which also makes the broadcast look slower than back in the 90s. Kournikova had a decent serve and a wonderful net game but she was certainly not feared for her groundies. Maybe briefly in 98 she was when the Williams Sisters had yet to step up and Graf was in a terrible slump. Aka the same void that benefited Hingis. But if you ask Jason, he will tell you Hingis in 97 hit harder than Serena in 2012. Yeah.
 

STRONGSTYLE

Rookie
They would pummel her second serve. Her first serve was very respectable if not routine- when she could get it in. The serving issues didn't begin until after her thumb injury.

Now, you're talking about rallying. I don't think you recognize just how hard Kournikova smacked the ball.


Kournikova's injured here, slumping, and currently in the middle of very embarrassing serving yips. And she walked away as soon as she hit her return. That's the difference in power we're talking. There would be no "rallying" between her and Raducanu. Kournikova'd either be nervously missing everything or hitting winners within, at the very most, 4-5 shots. The Raducanu forehand wouldn't trouble her in any way. Kournikova was physically faster than everyone in the '21 US Open. Kournikova hit heavier on both wings than Raducanu's forehand has shown- so far. Of course there's room for Raducanu improve, and I hope she does. But let's not jump the gun until she's shown a bit more promise. It's not good for Raducanu if she can only win her match by praying the technically better opponent self-implodes.


You children and your "memes" almost killed this forum. It used to be a place of great discussion. Take the nonsense over to Ticktock or wherever you frequent.
Nah, Kournikova always had trouble getting her first serve in and she would have even more trouble getting it in if she faced returner like these young women. If you can win a match by waiting for your opponent to self implode, great, like Bonaparte said: "Never interrupt an enemy when he's making a mistake" and even a healthy Kournikova was always ready and willing to self implode.
 

tex123

Professional
If you think those two are playing a defensive-baselining style on that '90s carpet as they constantly look to charge the net, I'm honestly not sure what to tell you.
The court speed is allowing that style of play. Flatter does not mean completely flat. It still has topspin. Hingis was never known for powerful shots. She was the queen of angles. The teenagers have a different type of courts and balls. Slow. Even in these slow conditions, they have more power than Hingis. Tennis is not just about hitting flat. Serena hits flatter than Azarenka. If you want the teenagers to play that style, you need to have that type of balls.

They're only 18. If you want to compare, clips of Hingis or Venus would be better for comparison.
 
Would Raducanu beat Sabatini, or Hingis at the same age? I don't know, and I don't care, because it's of no importance whatsoever. She does not have to beat Sabatini, because she won't be playing her. She has to beat Sabalenka, Pliskova, Osaka, Barty and Azarenka. Try to enjoy watching her try to do do that, probably sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing, rather than getting lost in unresolvable angst about the overall level of tennis.

I can enjoy watching a competitive match between the world no. 24 and world no. 34 just as much as between nos. 1 and 2 if it is close and they are playing well. I don't have some deep seated need to feel like I am watching the best tennis ever played every time I watch it.

I also enjoy watching old film of Graf, Navratilova and Sabatini, players I was amazed by when young, but it doesn't make me enjoy watching Sabalenka vs Giorgi less.

It doesn't 'need to be heard' because whether it is a 'weak era' or not is not only a matter of opinion that is at least very difficult, probably impossible to measure, but it's also completely inconsequential.
 
Top