WTA is in trouble.

veroniquem

Bionic Poster
It seems to me that Justine's retirement left the WTA in complete disarray. The current performances of the top players are rather alarming. Would you agree the level is worse than it's ever been?
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
No. The field is very open and competitive right now and that usually helps. Biggest problem may be that the preponderance of top players is coming from Eastern Europe, where the TV market is not enormous. Further emergence of Chinese players, if it continues, will open up a huge market in that country, and another Mirza or two will do the same in India. There's huge opportunity for growth there, unlike what we see with the men's game which seems not to be producing Chinese or Indian players for the nearly three billion people in those countries.
 

veroniquem

Bionic Poster
No. The field is very open and competitive right now and that usually helps. Biggest problem may be that the preponderance of top players is coming from Eastern Europe, where the TV market is not enormous. Further emergence of Chinese players, if it continues, will open up a huge market in that country, and another Mirza or two will do the same in India. There's huge opportunity for growth there, unlike what we see with the men's game which seems not to be producing Chinese or Indian players for the nearly three billion people in those countries.
I think it's great if more Asian players succeed, I'm really happy for them but the way I saw some top women seeds play at W (no name for no spoiler!) left me stunned, it was beyond mediocre IMO. I am not trying to belittle their opponent's effort but still what's going on? Top players are really not supposed to play THAT poorly.
 

taffymoon

Semi-Pro
It seems a litte stale with only the Williams sisters as serious contenders at Wimbledon, and the traditionally strong women on the way out, but I think this is a transitional time, and new faces are just appearing, soon they will be established.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
It is difficult for anyone to maintain focus in Slams on either side of the Channel. It is not surprising that Ivanovic fell flat at Wimbledon after winning the French.
 

Oui c'est moi.

Hall of Fame
It seems a litte stale with only the Williams sisters as serious contenders at Wimbledon, and the traditionally strong women on the way out, but I think this is a transitional time, and new faces are just appearing, soon they will be established.
My thoughts too.
 

grafrules

Banned
The womens field currently SUCKS. As a longtime WTA fan I am appaled at the current womens field. With Henin's premature and shocking retirement it has suddenly been made alot worse too.
 
1

1970CRBase

Guest
After Hingis (trumped up charges) and Henin, I don't care who out-godzilla's who on "the other tour" . They are all exactly the same godzilla clones anyway. Even I'm surprised though - as to how just low standards have fallen.
 

ACE of Hearts

Bionic Poster
The women's game sucks.I had hope with Ivanovic because her game looks good but she failed!!!!I dont care about the Williams sisters because their attitude stinks!!!Come back Henin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

zagor

Bionic Poster
Well I only watch WTA these days if the girls who play happen to be gorgeous like Ana,Kirilenko,Sharapova,Dementieva etc. Other than that I think the level of tennis is a bit low and 99% of the girls play the same slug it from the baseline error fest so I guess WTA is in a bad state at the moment.It was bearable with Justine still playing beautiful tennis but now that she's gone it's much worse IMO.
 

gj011

Banned
It seems a litte stale with only the Williams sisters as serious contenders at Wimbledon, and the traditionally strong women on the way out, but I think this is a transitional time, and new faces are just appearing, soon they will be established.
My thoughts as well. I prefer this state much more than for example 15 years ago when one player was artificially made dominant using the cold weapon on the tennis court.

Also all this crying about Henin, is getting old. Face it, she could not compete any more, her results this year before retirement clearly show that. The way she was playing whole year, she had no chance to win the FO, and even smaller to win Wimbledon. She would not retire if that was not the case.
 

ACE of Hearts

Bionic Poster
Give me a break.Henin wasnt doned.She was gonna be the french open favorite either way.I think she was thinking about other stuff.
 

grafrules

Banned
The women today should all play in bathing suits. That is the only way there would be anything interesting about them anymore.
 

Swissv2

Hall of Fame
The field of WTA has always been open for a long time now. I do not feel that Justine's retirement did anything significant except change the seeding structure for all the GS and Majors.
 

grafrules

Banned
Justine would be the most reliable consistent of all the top players and the clear #1 if nothing else, even if not totally dominant. Almost never, unless she was seriously sick or injured, would she lose in the early rounds of a slam event, like any of Ana, Venus, Serena, or Maria can do at any slam it seems. I know she struggled early this year but she was dominant last year, and in event decent form would have won this years French Open, and had a good shot at both this years Wimbledon and U.S Open. I know she has never won Wimbledon, but watching the women play at Wimbledon this year it is hard to see anyone beating her in even decent form.
 

gj011

Banned
Justine would be the most reliable consistent of all the top players and the clear #1 if nothing else, even if not totally dominant. Almost never, unless she was seriously sick or injured, would she lose in the early rounds of a slam event, like any of Ana, Venus, Serena, or Maria can do at any slam it seems. I know she struggled early this year but she was dominant last year, and in event decent form would have won this years French Open, and had a good shot at both this years Wimbledon and U.S Open. I know she has never won Wimbledon, but watching the women play at Wimbledon this year it is hard to see anyone beating her in even decent form.
The only thing is, she was not anywhere close to "even decent form" this whole year. I am pretty sure she would not retire if there was a slightest chance she could win the FO.
 

superstition

Hall of Fame
Except for Nadal and Federer, how is the men's field anything special right now? Djokovic was beaten really early. Roddick was really early. The most interesting player, Santoro, was also dispatched early.

The wacky upsets on the women's side (like Ivanovic/Dechy, which should have been one) have been more interesting than the rather boring upsets on the men's.

Both sides have a few players to watch. It will be interesting to see how far Murray can go and how far Haas can go. Unfortunately, they play each other (or already did... I'm a bit behind in my TV viewing). Safin is one to watch, too. It will be interesting to see how far Zheng Jie can go and whether or not the Williams sisters can set up another final together (are they on opposite sides of the draw?). I'm hoping for another surprise finalist.
 
Last edited:
L

lordmanji

Guest
yes, justine has left a huge power vacuum in the game. she was so very consistent and would eliminate alot of the unknowns. now that shes not here, its like anyone new can appear in a semifinal. its very sad that she left the game. although i despised her after her ao final retirement v mauresmo, her game was beautiful and she was a fierce competitor that will be missed. really i think shell be back in one year tho.
 

ShcMad

Hall of Fame
It seems to me that Justine's retirement left the WTA in complete disarray. The current performances of the top players are rather alarming. Would you agree the level is worse than it's ever been?
The WTA was always a joke, so right now, it's even a bigger joke.
 

acehigh

Rookie
AND they have equal pay to the men also. With the Women play the best of 3 sets, I think they are overpaid too.
 
L

laurie

Guest
I think part of the problem is the lack of variety of styles at the top of the womens game.

The sudden retirement of Justine Henin and the demise of Amelie Mauresmo has left quite a void in the top 5. Because these two players played a game that was an extension of the recent past, players like Graf, Navratilova, Sabatini, Conchita Martinez and Jana Novotna - Henin and Mauresmo move beautifully on grass, can volley extremely well, both have great one hand backhands and also slice beautifully; not just on grass but all surfaces plus both are athletic, in 2005 and 2006 they played some incredible matches on the tour against eachother.

So with these players not around and no other youngsters with similar styles of play coming through, we've been left with a top 20 of players who literally play the same way, most of them scream or grunt after every shot, and none of them volley particularly well. Svetlana Kuznetsova despite a two hand backhand has a game that is more all court than just typical baseline so as a fan of hers, I would like to see her get to the top - but right now she still hasn't realised her potential yet.

The other thing I find particularly alarming about women players today is the unforced error count. If you watch one of the Graf v Seles matches from the 1990s, they hit the ball very hard, but didn't make many unforced errors. But players like Vaidisova can make an incredible amount of unforced errors in a match, almost as if they are not in control of themselves, so the quality of matches is so poor so often. I would have to include Ivanovic as well, she is awsome when on her game - but doesn't have a change of tactic when she's not on her game. And really, Maria Sharapova is probably the biggest example of this.

As for Venus, she only really seems to excel now at Wimbledon, so she cannot score enough points in the ranking to ever be a number 1 contender again. Re Serena, her game just looks unbelievably sloppy these days and she looks out of shape - it's entrirely posible for her to win Wimbledon but can she play enough events in a year to become a number one contender again?

So the upsets are more a question of the game levelling off, as opposed to there being more depth in the womens game. When Tracey Austin said that today on the BBC, I wonder how many people listening to that believed her, or if she really believes that herself.

So as others have pointed out, its a chance for someone to make a name for themselves - I hope Svetlana can play the sort of all court Tennis people want to see and she can become a great player - her game is much more typical of the top players of recent times.
 

flyer

Hall of Fame
This could take a bit to explain....

Ok, as the game develops the game becomes more competitive in general, in the early days of tennis the same players always won, the female game has developed slower than the male game, not because they are women but because generally in the past women were not as encouraged to play sports, they are more and more now though, so the game is developing, in time the womens game will follow in the footsteps of the mens game, players will become more well rounded and there will be more variety, they will be more fit, etc obviously at a lower level than the mens game, but you get the idea, so the fact that the field is deeper and lower ranked players can beat the top players is just a natural progression....am I making sense to people?
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
I think part of the problem is the lack of variety of styles at the top of the womens game.
I would say in most sports, players play in exactly the same way. Tennis is unique in having one handed and two handed backhands. The two handed backhand has taken over most of the men's game and almost all of the women's game. Table tennis is unique in having penhold and shakehand grips, though it is now going shakehand even in Asia.

I don't see anyone asking for variety in golf, basketball or soccer. There is basically a standard way of doing stuff and some do it better. Sports itself is a highly repetitive activity and that is why athletes start so young and train to build muscle memory.
 

LafayetteHitter

Hall of Fame
The womens game is all over the place. Anyone can lose to anyone at anytime. The "I was tired" type excuses don't really cut it from a number 1. Imagine if a quarterback in the Superbowl said he wasn't up to par because he was a little tired that day...lol

The lack of variety does make the women's side a bit boring to watch.
 
L

laurie

Guest
I would say in most sports, players play in exactly the same way. Tennis is unique in having one handed and two handed backhands. The two handed backhand has taken over most of the men's game and almost all of the women's game. Table tennis is unique in having penhold and shakehand grips, though it is now going shakehand even in Asia.

I don't see anyone asking for variety in golf, basketball or soccer. There is basically a standard way of doing stuff and some do it better. Sports itself is a highly repetitive activity and that is why athletes start so young and train to build muscle memory.
Indeed, what you say is very true. But I think you slightly missed the point I was making - the point been that usually the players with the variety, the ability to change tactics during the course of a match, the players with the ability to outwit opponents with smart play, the players who can use the slice backhand to keep the ball low, added to a strong mind and athletic ability, I think it's no coincidence Henin was at the top for so long because she had the ability to do all of this against players who usually either just hit the ball hard or harder the next time. Just look at the head to head records of Justine aginst some of her opponents in the top 10, it's quite incredible. One of the few players Justine had a close head to head with was Mauresmo, because she presented the same challenges to Justine that Justine presented to the other baseline players - the ability to change the play, especially serve and volley , or chip and charge etc, I remember Justine doing that to Svetlana a lot in the 2006 French Open final.

That contrast in style makes for great spectacles, like the 2007 WTA final between Justine and Sharapova, best match I've seen in person, the 2005 WTA final between Mauresmo and Pierce, or the great battles between Graf and Seles. There hasn't been too many exceptional women matches in recent times between two out and out baseliners with two handed backhands. The only one I can think of in recent times has been the 2005 Wimbledon final between Venus and Davenport, but that's because Venus had the role of counterpuncher in that match. The 2006 WTA semifinal between Mauresmo and Clijsters was also an awsome match because of the contrast in styles of play and intensity.
 
I think it's great if more Asian players succeed, I'm really happy for them but the way I saw some top women seeds play at W (no name for no spoiler!) left me stunned, it was beyond mediocre IMO. I am not trying to belittle their opponent's effort but still what's going on? Top players are really not supposed to play THAT poorly.
But it is good to see Asian players move ahead. Thats a BIG audience out there.
 
L

laurie

Guest
Supersition makes a good point - of course there is variety in other sports - for instance, the best footballers (soccer players) are the ones who can improvise with the ball and do amazing things, like Zidane or Maradona, Platini etc. The European championships have been a great success because teams have been really attacking eachother and scoring lots of goals, not just content to be defensive - both Italy and Greece who tried to be defensive both got knocked out early.

In cricket the best batsmen are the improvisers, like Kevin Pietersen. In sport you must have the ability to improvise, it's not just about muscle memory or we might as well watch robots play sports.
 
Top