Tuesday, April 05, 2016

1Q BSA's: The Most Interesting Tour in the World, Pt.1

One thing the WTA can never be accused of is being boring and ordinary. Taking the "scenic route" is never an exception. It's a rule.

High drama. Low insults. Quality play. Craziness. Rising stars. Fabled veterans. Newcomers galore. Comebacks. Falls. Matches that turn on a dime. Controversies that will not die. And players with hearts that won't let them give up. Everything seems to be haphazardly tossed into a bag sometimes, but there is no denying that when they're all mixed together they produce an entity that simply demands attention.

Make no mistake about it, by hook or by crook, the women's tennis tour is, well, the most interesting tour in the world.

It's (already!) time for a look back at the first quarter of action in the 2016 season. First up, in what is essentially a "Ms.Backspin" quarter post update, the players whose accomplishments carried the day through the first four months...

*1Q Awards - Weeks 1-13*
1. Victoria Azarenka, BLR
...the road back was longer and bumpier than anticipated, but the 1st Quarter of 2016 has given us the gift of the return of the real Vika. In three months, she's gone 22-1, won three titles (her first since 2013) and posted wins over the current #1 (Serena Williams), #2 (Angelique Kerber) and #4 (Garbine Muguruza) ranked players in the world. Meanwhile, she's climbed from outside the Top 20 back into the Top 5 with the same sort of success-craving edginess that originally gave an air of verisimilitude to the notion a few seasons ago that she was capable of becoming Serena's one true rival in the closing stages of the (now) 21-time slam champ's career.
2. Angelique Kerber, GER
...armed with a more aggressive approach, Kerber saved a match point in the 1st Round and then went on a roll in Melbourne that didn't end until she'd won the Australian Open by handing Serena Williams her first loss in a three-set slam final, becoming the first German to win a major since Steffi Graf in 1999. After a period of adjustment that saw her results sag, Kerber rebounded in Miami with a semifinal run (ended by Azarenka in their third match-up of the year, after the Brisbane final and AO QF) that allowed her to end the quarter at #2 in the rankings (and here, as well).
3. Martina Hingis & Sania Mirza, SUI/IND
...the Dreamers left 2015 in untouchable form, and their level of play maintained that high standard into the spring of '16. They won their third straight slam crown in Melbourne and extended their winning streak to eight straight titles and forty-one matches before finally falling in Doha. The co-#1's suffered an immediate hangover during the Indian Wells/Miami swing of the schedule, falling in the 2nd Round in both events while their closest competitor -- world #3 Bethanie Mattek-Sands -- won titles at both tournaments. They still lead by 4770 points in the rankings, though.

4. Dutch Fed Cup Team
...even team Captain Paul Haarhuis said it would take a "miracle" for his Dutch Fed Cup squad, without a Top 100 player, to take down the Russians in Moscow the Fed Cup 1st Round. Well. What happened was quite possibly the biggest upset in FC history, as a Russian roster Captained by a former slam winner (Anastasia Myskina), sporting two former slam champs (Svetlana Kuznetsova and Maria Sharapova, the latter of which who didn't play after showing up following a threat by the Russian Tennis Federation that she might lose her Olympic spot if she didn't -- of course, that would turn out to be the least of her problems a few weeks later), a multiple slam semifinalist (Ekaterina Makarova) and the fastest-rising teenager on tour (Daria Kasatkina) soon found itself down 2-0 after Kuznetsova lost a Fed Cup record 4:00 match to Richel Hogenkamp. Sveta was called upon to play the FIRST match of Day 2, as well. Not surprisingly, with little left to give, she went down and out in straight sets to Kiki Bertens as the Dutch team clinched their eighth straight FC tie to advance to the nation's first FC semifinal since 1997.
5. Aga Radwanska, POL
...Radwanska continued to float above the clouds in the Asia/Oceania region, carrying over her late '15 run by winning a Week 1 title in Shenzhen (her third straight going back to last season) and reaching the Australian Open semifinals. With four SF+ results in five events on the season, Aga climbed as high as the #2 ranking (matching the career-high she first set in '12 after reaching the Wimbledon final).
6. Serena Williams, USA
...while her 1Q was a "disappointment" for her, MOST players on tour would be more than ecstatic with appearances in the Australian Open and Indian Wells finals, and would be content with a Round of 16 result in Miami, as well. But for Serena it constitutes a "concerning" four-event title drought that began with her U.S. Open semifinal loss to Roberta Vinci in September. The tentative hand-wringing may be a slight overreaction, but after going 18-2 in three-set matches a season ago, Williams stands at 0-2 in '16. Of course, she could STILL end up finishing '16 18-2 in three-setters, couldn't she? Truthfully, no one would be surprised if she did.
7. Chan Hao-Ching & Chan Yung-Jan, TPE/TPE
...on the heels of claiming the deciding doubles for Taiwan in Fed Cup zone play (winning promotion from Asia/Oceania I), the sisters reeled off back-to-back title runs in Kaohsiung and Doha.

8. The Italians
...the Italians may have failed to return to the FC semifinals (losing to France), but in the weeks after -- specifically Weeks 6-7 -- they staged a brief takeover of the WTA tour. In St.Petersburg, Vinci won her biggest career title and became the oldest (33) woman to make her Top 10 singles debut. A week later, Sara Errani grabbed HER biggest career crown in Dubai and returned to the Top 20 AND 35-years young Francesca Schiavone, who'd fallen in AO qualifying and didn't match Ai Sugiyama's tour record for consecutive slam main draw appearances (62), became the fourth-oldest WTA singles champion in the Open era with a title run in Rio. Meanwhile, retired U.S. Open champ Flavia Pennetta has maintained her Top 20 ranking all season long.
9. Czech Fed Cup Team
...Petra Kvitova (a shocking 0-2) didn't provide a singles win in the effort, but Karolina Pliskova picked up the slack by having a hand in all three points in a tight 3-2 1st Round win over Romania, teaming with Barbora Strycova in the deciding doubles to send the two-time defending champion Maidens into an eighth straight semifinal. It's been twenty-one years since a nation three-peated as Fed Cup champs, when the Arantxa/Conchita-led Spanish squad dominated the competition from 1993-95.
10. Anabel Medina-Garrigues & Arantxa Parra-Santonja, ESP/ESP
...it took two thirtysomething Spaniards to replace Timea Bacsinszky as the Queen of Mexico, and AMG & APS were the ones who did it by sweeping the doubles titles in both Acapulco and Monterrey

French Fed Cup Team: the Garcia-led, Mauresmo-Captained Pastries once again knocked off the Italians to reach a second straight FC semi
Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA: with different partners, BMS swept Indian Wells (Vandeweghe) & Miami (Safarova)
Sloane Stephens, USA: her feast-or-famine campaign has included TWO title runs in Auckland and Acapulco, but precious little else
Swiss Fed Cup Team: Bencic's singles (def. Kerber & Petkovic) and doubles (w/ Hingis) efforts led the Swiss past Germany to their first semi since 1998 (yes, Martina was on that team, too)
Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP: once again, the WTA's Spanish achievers come in a set of two. In the 1Q, CSN notched career win #400, climbed to a career-high of #6 and won her biggest title in Doha

Daria Kasatkina, RUS: look out, here she comes. The 2014 RG girls champ has been a teenager on the go since last summer. Her '15 U.S. Open 3rd Round run as a lucky loser kicked off a seven-month stretch that has seen her rise from the #370's at the end of the '14 season to #72 one year later. She won her first tour doubles title at the Kremlin Cup last fall, opened '16 by notching her first career Top 10 win in Auckland by upsetting none other than Venus Williams. In her second career slam MD, she began things by putting out #27 seed Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, leading to another 3rd Round slam result in Melbourne. She had a hand in Russia's only point (in doubles) in the 1st Round loss to the Netherlands, helped (w/ Vesnina, her Moscow title-winning partner) end Hingis/Mirza's 41-match winning streak in Doha, and was the best Hordette in the field as she reached the St.Petersburg semis back home in Russia. In Indian Wells, she had her best Premier effort by advancing to the QF. Now ranked in the Top 35, Kasatkina has already opened the 2Q by putting up her 100th pro singles match win. And she seems to be just getting started.

1. Angelique Kerber, GER
2. Aga Radwanska, POL
3. Elina Svitolina, UKR
4. Johanna Konta, GBR
5. Sloane Stephens, USA
6. Belinda Bencic, SUI
7. Karolina Pliskova, CZE
8. Timea Bacsinszky, SUI
9. Caroline Garcia, FRA
10. CoCo Vandeweghe, USA
11. Heather Watson, GBR
12. Garbine Muguruza, ESP
13. Nicole Gibbs, USA
14. Monica Puig, PUR
15. Misaki Doi, JPN
16. Camila Giorgi, ITA
17. Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
18. Timea Babos, HUN
19. Madison Keys, USA
20. Kiki Bertens, NED
21. Magdalena Rybarikova SVK
22. Alize Cornet, FRA
23. Zheng Saisai, CHN
24. Naomi Broady, GBR
25. Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
26. Alison Van Uytvanck, BEL
27. Christina McHale, USA
28. Irina-Camelia Begu, ROU
29. Wang Qiang, CHN
30. Madison Brengle, USA
31. Kurumi Nara, JPN
32. Alison Riske USA
33. Johanna Larsson, SWE
34. Wang Yafan, CHN
35. Zarina Diyas, KAZ
HM- Julia Glushko, ISR

1. Daria Kasatkina, RUS
2. Daria Gavrilova, AUS
3. Jelena Ostapenko, LAT

4. Margarita Gasparyan, RUS
5. Yulia Putintseva, KAZ
6. Denisa Allertova, CZE
7. Samantha Crawford, USA
8. Annika Beck, GER
9. Anett Kontaveit, EST
10. Naomi Osaka, JPN
11. Maria Sakkari, GRE
12. Shelby Rogers, USA
13. Zhu Lin, CHN
14. Elizaveta Kulichkova, RUS
15. Carina Witthoeft, GER
16. Lauren Davis, USA
17. Han Xinyun, CHN
18. Elena Gabriela Ruse, ROU
19. Donna Vekic, CRO
20. Barbora Krejcikova, CZE
21. Louisa Chirico, USA
22. Katerina Stewart, USA
23. Sabina Sharipova, UZB
24. Aleksandra Pospelova, RUS
25. Marie Bouzkova, CZE
26. Maryna Zanevska, UKR
27. Sachia Vickery, USA
28. Renata Zarazua, MEX
29. CiCi Bellis, USA
30. Jamie Loeb, USA
HM- Robin Anderson, USA


1. Vera Lapko, BLR
2. Elena Rybakina, RUS
3. Tereza Mihalikova, SVK
4. Sofya Zhuk, RUS
5. Kayla Day, USA
6. Amanda Anisimova, USA
7. Katie Swan, GBR
8. Anna Kalinskaya/Tereza Mihalikova, RUS/SVK
9. Dayana Yastremka, UKR
10. Usue Arconada, USA
11. Marketa Vondrousova, CZE
12. Kimberly Birrell, AUS
13. Maddison Inglis, AUS
14. Sara Tomic, AUS
15. Anna Kalinskaya, RUS
16. Sonya Kenin, USA
17. Priscilla Hon, AUS
18. Rebeka Masarova, SUI
19. Du Zhima, CHN
20. Anna Blinkova, USA
21. Raveena Kingsley, USA
22. Panna Udvardy, HUN
23. Claire Liu, USA
24. Kylie McKenzie, USA
25. Destanee Aiava, AUS
26. Jaimee Fourlis, AUS
27. Dayana Yastremka/Anastasia Zarytska, UKR/UKR
28. Anastasia Potapova, RUS
29. Baijing Lin, AUS
30. Ludmilla Samsonova, RUS
31. Ellie Douglas, USA
32. Eva Guerrero, ESP
33. Zoe Hives, AUS
34. Dominique Schaefer, PER
35. Morgan Coppoc, USA
36. Chiraz Bechri, TUN
37. Georgia Andreea Craciun, ROU
38. Caty McNally, USA
39. Valeriya Zeleva, RUS
40. Natasha Subhash, USA
HM- Emily Appleton, GBR

1. Naomi Broady, GBR
2. Cagla Buyukakcay, TUR
3. Anna-Lena Friedsam, GER

4. Aliaksandra Sasnovich, BLR
5. Arina Rodionova, AUS
6. Cindy Burger, NED
7. Kimberly Birrell/Jarmila Wolfe, AUS/AUS
8. Pauline Parmentier, FRA
9. Han Xinyun, CHN
10. Laura Siegemund, GER
11. Kristina Kucova, SVK
12. Veronica Cepede Royg, PAR
13. Magda Linette, POL
14. Viktorija Golubic, SUI
15. Risa Ozaki, JPN
16. Nicole Melichar, USA
17. Paula Cristina Goncalves, BRA
18. Chang Kai-chen, TPE
19. Varatchaya Wongteanchai/Zhaoxuan Yang, THA/CHN
20. Zhang Kai-Lin, CHN
HM- Miyu Kato, JPN

1. Angelique Kerber, GER
2. Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza, SUI/IND
3. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA

4. Aga Radwanska, POL
5. Serena Williams, USA
6. Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP
7. Anabel Medina-Garrigues/Arantxa Parra-Santonja, ESP/ESP
8. Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS
9. Zhang Shuai, CHN
10. Roberta Vinci, ITA
11. Venus Williams, USA
12. Sara Errani, ITA
13. Maria Sharapova, RUS
14. Jiske Griffioen, GER (WC)
15. Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka, CZE/CZE
16. Francesca Schiavone, ITA
17. Barbora Strycova, CZE
18. Andrea Petkovic, GER
19. Samantha Stosur, AUS
20. Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
21. Elena Vesnina, RUS
22. Julia Goerges, GER
23. Jelena Jankovic, SRB
24. Monica Niculescu, ROU
25. Kateryna Bondarenko, UKR
HM- Kirsten Flipkens, BEL

1. Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2. Zhang Shuai, CHN
3. Genie Bouchard, CAN
4. Ekaterina Makarova, RUS
5. Nicole Gibbs, USA
6. Elena Vesnina, RUS
7. Christina McHale, USA
8. Lucie Safarova, CZE
9. Dominika Cibulkova, SVK
10. Sorana Cirstea, ROU
11. Ashleigh Barty, AUS
12. Alize Cornet, FRA
13. Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka, CZE/CZE
14. Vania King, USA
15. Tamira Paszek, AUT
16. Anastasija Sevastova, LAT
17. Galina Voskoboeva, KAZ
18. Vera Dushevina, RUS
19. Petra Martic, CRO
20. Kateryna Kozlova, UKR
21. Varvara Flink, RUS
22. Anastasia Pivovarova, RUS
23. Michelle Larcher de Brito, POR
24. Taylor Townsend, USA
25. Lauren Albanese, USA
HM- Vesna Dolonc, SRB

1. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova, SVK
2. Russian Fed Cup Team
3. Petra Kvitova, CZE
4. Kristina Mladenovic, FRA
5. Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
6. Daniela Hantuchova, SVK
7. Bojana Jovanovski, SRB
8. Jordanne Whiley, GBR (WC)
9. Serena Williams, USA
10. Simona Halep, ROU
11. Garbine Muguruza, ESP
12. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS
13. Karolina Pliskova, CZE
14. German Fed Cup Team
15. Sabine Lisicki, GER
HM- Ana Ivanvoic, SRB

1. Martina Hingis/Sania Mirza, SUI/IND
2. Bethanie Mattek-Sands, USA
3. Chan Hao-Ching/Chan Yung-Jan, TPE/TPE
4. Anabel Medina-Garrigues/Arantxa Parra-Santonja, ESP/ESP
5. Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Lucie Safarova, USA/CZE
6. Andrea Hlavackova/Lucie Hradecka, CZE/CZE
7. Bethanie Mattek-Sands/CoCo Vandeweghe, USA/USA
8. Yui Kamiji, JPN (WC)
9. Xu Yifan/Zhang Saisai, CHN/CHN
10. Anna Kalinskaya/Tereza Mihalikova, RUS/SVK (Jr.)
11. Anna-Lena Groenefeld/CoCo Vandeweghe, GER/USA
12. Elena Vesnina, RUS
13. Sara Errani/Carla Suarez-Navarro, ITA/ESP
14. Daria Kasatkina/Elena Vesnina, RUS/RUS
15. Timea Babos/Yaroslava Shvedova, HUN/KAZ
16. Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic, FRA/FRA
17. Vania King/Alla Kudryavtseva, USA/RUS
18. Ashleigh Barty, AUS (ITF)
19. Elise Mertens/An-Sophie Mestach, BEL/BEL
20. Vania King/Monica Niculescu, USA/ROU
21. Kimberly Birrell/Jarmila Wolfe, AUS/AUS
22. Andreja Klepac, SLO
23. Julia Goerges/Karolina Pliskova, GER/CZE
24. Han Xinyun/Christina McHale, CHN/USA
25. Chuang Chia-Jung/Darija Jurak, TPE/CRO
26. Veronica Cepede Royg/Maria Irigoyen, PAR/ARG
27. Dayana Yastremka/Anastasia Zarytska, UKR/UKR (Jr.)
28. Oksana Kalashnikova, GEO
29. Varatchaya Wongteanchai/Zhaoxuan Yang, THA/CHN
30. Anna-Lena Groenefeld/Nicole Melichar, GER/USA
HM- Liang Chen/Wang Yafan, CHN/CHN

1. Isabella Shinikova, BUL
2. Elena Gabriela Ruse, ROU
3. Naomi Broady, GBR ($100K)
4. Ashleigh Barty, AUS

5. Anne Schaefer, GER
6. Chantal Skamlova, SVK
7. Tereza Mihalikova, SVK
8. Angelica Moratelli, ITA
9. Katerina Stewart, USA
10. Sorana Cirstea, ROU
11. Stefanie Voegele, SUI
12. Barbara Haas, AUT
13. Marie Bouzkova, CZE
14. Irina Khromacheva, RUS
15. Kathinka von Deichmann, LIE
16. Arina Rodionova, AUS
17. Ysaline Bonaventure, BEL
18. Zhang Shuai, CHN
19. Kristyna Pliskova, CZE
20. Martina di Giuseppe, ITA
21. Anastasia Grymalska, ITA
22. Ons Jabeur, TUN
23. Irina Ramialison, FRA
24. Anna Zaja, GER
25. Viktoriya Tomova, BUL
26. Ivana Jorovic, SRB
27. Madison Brengle, USA
28. Catalina Pella, ARG
29. Wang Qiang, CHN
30. Eri Hozumi, JPN
HM- Julia Terziyska, BUL

**FED CUP (Week 5)**
1. Karolina Pliskova, CZE
2. Belinda Bencic, SUI
3. Kiki Bertens, NED
4. Caroline Garcia, FRA
5. Garbine Muguruza, ESP
6. Richel Hogenkamp, NED
7. Samantha Stosur, AUS
8. Aliaksandra Sasnovich, BLR
9. Venus Williams, USA
10. Monica Niculescu, ROU
11. Annika Beck, GER
12. Alison Van Uytvanck, BEL
13. Lesia Tsurenko, UKR
14. Carla Suarez-Navarro, ESP
15. Monica Puig, PUR
16. Nadia Podoroska, ARG
17. Andrea Gamiz, VEN
18. Ysaline Bonaventure, BEL
19. Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE
20. Kateryna Bondarenko, UKR
1. Karolina Pliskova/Barbora Strycova, CZE

2. Belinda Bencic/Martina Hingis, SUI
3. Casey Dellacqua/Samantha Stosur, AUS
4. Olga Govortsova/Aliaksandra Sasnovich, BLR
5. Chan Hao-Ching/Chan Yung-Jan, TPE
6. Andrea Koch Benvenuto/Daniela Seguel, CHI
7. Shuko Aoyama/Eri Hozumi, JPN
8. Liang Chen/Wang Yafan, CHN
9. Maria Irigoyen/Catalina Pella, ARG
10. Julia Glushko/Shahar Peer, ISR

*2016 Weeks in Top 10*
14 weeks...Serena Williams
14 weeks...Angelique Kerber
14 weeks...Aga Radwanska
14 weeks...Garbine Muguruza
14 weeks...Simona Halep
14 weeks...Petra Kvitova
12 weeks...Maria Sharapova
8 weeks...Belinda Bencic
8 weeks...Flavia Pennetta
7 weeks...Roberta Vinci
7 weeks...Lucie Safarova
7 weeks...Carla Suarez-Navarro
4 weeks...Venus Williams
3 weeks...Victoria Azarenka
red - in current Top 10

*2016 Weeks in Top 20*
14 weeks...Serena Williams
14 weeks...Angelique Kerber
14 weeks...Aga Radwanska
14 weeks...Garbine Muguruza
14 weeks...Simona Halep
14 weeks...Petra Kvitova
14 weeks...Roberta Vinci
14 weeks...Maria Sharapova
14 weeks...Belinda Bencic
14 weeks...Carla Suarez-Navarro
14 weeks...Flavia Pennetta
14 weeks...Venus Williams
14 weeks...Lucie Safarova
14 weeks...Karolina Pliskova
13 weeks...Victoria Azarenka
12 weeks...Timea Bacsinszky
11 weeks...Ana Ivanovic
11 weeks...Sara Errani
10 weeks...Svetlana Kuznetsova
9 weeks...Elina Svitolina
7 weeks...Caroline Wozniacki
6 weeks...Jelena Jankovic
4 weeks...Madison Keys
red - in current Top 20

*Active Top 10 Weeks Streaks*
208 - Serena Williams
132 - Petra Kvitova
114 - Simona Halep
44 - Lucie Safarova
39 - Garbine Muguruza
28 - Aga Radwanska
27 - Angelique Kerber
8 - Belinda Bencic
7 - Roberta Vinci
3 - Victoria Azarenka
1 - Maria Sharapova

*Active Top 20 Weeks Streaks*
424 - Aga Radwanska
286 - Maria Sharapova
270 - Petra Kvitova
237 - Serena Williams
215 - Angelique Kerber
161 - Carla Suarez-Navarro
135 - Simona Halep
91 - Lucie Safarova
60 - Karolina Pliskova
42 - Garbine Muguruza
35 - Belinda Bencic
30 - Roberta Vinci
30 - Flavia Pennetta
27 - Venus Williams
13 - Victoria Azarenka
10 - Ana Ivanovic
7 - Sara Errani
7 - Elina Svitolina
6 - Svetlana Kuznetsova
3 - Timea Bacsinszky

*Simultaneous Weeks in S/D Top 20's*
14...Garbine Muguruza
14...Lucie Safarova
14...Carla Suarez-Navarro

Still to come: Performance & Match lists!

All for now.


Blogger Diane said...

Love the opening graphic, Todd. And the opening words.

Wed Apr 06, 03:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

I wish the WTA would adopt something similar to "the most interesting tour in the world" line as a promotional tool/slogan (like "We've Got It All." or "You Want It? We've Got It."). It'd be a nod to the women's players, but also a minor jab at the men's tour that acknowledges all the recent/ongoing debate while challenging and throwing it back into the faces of critics with a "Yeah, what of it?" spin. Of course, the wink here at the "Most Interesting Man in the World" ads -- which have now ended -- was my own subtle little poke. ;)

While some of the other campaigns have been nice, something that reaches people other than those who are already paying attention would be nice, and using some humor and clever ways to talk about the player's individuality couldn't hurt (I think you noted, either here or on WWS or Twitter about wishing the WTA did something like the LPGA's ads). My noting of so many players wearing the exact same outfits is a day-to-day example of how the tour lets all but a few (usually single-name worthy) players to carry too much of the promotional load, leaving 99% of the athletes to be viewed as a collective, faceless horde virtually unknown to casual-or-occasional fans who don't really get how much they'd enjoy so many other players if, you know, they knew they existed.

A different sort of campaign would be a way to give a face to the so-called "unknown" players (like Vinci, who shouldn't have been a "stranger" to so many when she def. Serena at the Open) and highlight what makes them someone you SHOULD be a fan of. Something like those short ESPN SportsCenter ads with athletes that have been running for years, maybe.

The close matches, upsets, and highs & lows of top players should be utilized as a selling point, too, and not be something critics can use to try to bash the tour over the head for a perceived lack of "quality." Calling attention to the wonderful reality of three different tennis "generations" (the teens, twenty and thirtysomethings have all won or reached finals in the opening months) being equally capable of winning matches on any given day should be a calling card, not something to be denied or explained away.

At it's heart, while it's a sport, it's also an entertainment business. The WTA too often allows outside forces and individuals to define it rather than getting ahead of the argument, turning it against the naysayers and making perceived "negatives" the positives they really are.

Ironic, considering the history of the founding of the tour in the first place. :/

Wed Apr 06, 03:44:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Agree with everything you just said. There just isn't enough creative initiative taken in promoting the tour, so then it's left up to "others" to define the tour.

Yes, the LPGA has clever, funny ads that feature several players at once or a pair of players. The latest one, that pokes fun at the rookies, is an example.

Wed Apr 06, 05:14:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

The WTA organisation should hire you as the creative director. Would have been more diversity on the tennis perspective than they merely put a lot of focus on the young and pretty.

Wed Apr 06, 10:22:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

is bencic slumping?

Thu Apr 07, 05:37:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

No, she has a back injury--the one from Miami.

Thu Apr 07, 08:41:00 AM EDT  

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