Not this time… again
June 1, 2011 1 Comment
Roland Garros semifinals are finally set. By now, we all know the last four brave women who will fight for the second Grand Slam of the year. What does it tell us about the situation of women’s tennis? Well, it only confirms what we all already know.
WTA scenario is completely different from the one we had a decade, 15 years ago or so: after the generation of teen-wonders – like Hingis, Capriati, even Sharapova – experience is talking louder these days. Go check it.
As the 1989-born Victoria Azarenka fell today (making me sad, I admit), the only players left in the draw are Marion Bartoli (turns 27 in November), Francesca Schiavone (will celebrate her 31st birthday next month), Li Na and Maria Sharapova – who have already turned 29 and 24, respectively, this year, and even though Maria is the youngest of the four, she won her first Slam seven years ago. It’s like she was 30 or something, in tennis years.
“But this is an isolated event”. Oh, is it? So tell me how come the Aussie Open was final was contested between Kim Clijsters and Li Na? Or how we had Serena and Zvonareva (twice), Kim, Sam, Fran and Henin in the Major finals last year? The youngest of them is Vera, who was 26 – still young, but come on, Hingis almost had the Grand Slam complete when she was 10 years younger.
Explanations and theories? I have some. Of course, I have my opinions Two main ones: 1-) N-E-R-V-E-S – Way easier to hold yours when you already have some mileage and gone through that situations (LIKE, serving for the set or holding for your life) before, something that, and here comes the item 2-) teens can’t have anymore – since WTA has deployed some age-limitation measures. If I’m not wrong, you can’t play the full season until you turn 18. Tell me how, exactly, a girl who still has her brackets on can pull a surprise at, say, Wimbledon, when all she’s got is junior experience? She will have to be REALLY good. And even though you might argue that the current #1 is a 20-year old Danish, never forget she still hasn’t pulled her best on the main stages, winning seven consecutive matches with all the spotlight and eyes on her – it’s not hating, it’s a FACT.
If this is good or not? Heck, don’t know, you tell me. If you start too soon you are also likely to finish it soon, right? But if you like that super-talented prodigy girls, I must warn you: WTA might be disappointing these days – Ana Ivanovic was the last really young player to win a Major (she was 20 back in the day) and, in my humble opinion, she is likely to hold this record for a while.
PS: In case you wonder, the last teen to lift a Grand Slam was Maria Sharapova, at the US Open, in 2006, at the tender age of 19. She defeated Justine Henin in the final.