Tennis Prose




Jun/20

8

Kuznetsova Implies WTA Is Regressing

Two time major title winner Svetlana Kuznetsova made an interesting comment this week: “No offense but the WTA Tour has become shallow. There used to be more actual top players. Now I sometimes don’t even know who’s Top 10, there’s a very high turnover. And not because mid-ranked players raised their level to reach the leaders but rather the other way around.”

For years on the WTA circuit, there seems to be a “fear of success” mentality amongst WTA players. Sloane Stephens, Naomi Osaka, Madison Keys, Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova, Elina Svitolina, get a taste of success but then fade away back into the pack. “Hey, it’s the Williams Show, I just got lucky here! Let me get out of the way. Serena, is the best, not me!”

It’s as if all the players not named Serena Williams have too much respect for the Queen Bee Ree.

They don’t want to take over the throne, but rather sit on it for a few minutes and selfies, then step aside.

There is no doubt Serena Williams has a colossal presence in the sport. Even if she threatens bodily harm or murder on an official, most everyone in the media will spin her outrageous behavior into a positive. No one in the media will ever condemn Serena for fear of being called racist or opposing the Queen. All you will hear from the mainstream tennis media is how great Serena is. Non stop tributes.

This psychological domination by Serena with the media supporting her every move surely has a trickle down effect on the rest of the WTA players. They subconsciously defer. Nobody dares to challenge or criticize Serena. This, this mental intimidation transfers to the tennis court.

Serena having the media and the industry backing her has, in a sense, made her bigger than the sport. TV ratings and ticket sales are greater when Serena is in the house. Other players feel the favoritism and comply. Hey, the more money Serena brings in, the more we can get.

Now that Serena is on her last legs, at age 38, how much longer until she finally departs tennis for motherhood? Until Serena retires, the WTA will continue to stagnate, until the next dominant Queen steps up to fill the void.

Then we will see the WTA return to the more competitive, intense and feisty battlefield it used to be when Steffi, Monica, and Hingis reigned supreme.

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20 comments

  • JohnnyTD · June 9, 2020 at 12:11 am

    “This psychological domination by Serena with the media supporting her every move surely has a trickle down effect on the rest of the WTA players. They subconsciously defer. Nobody dares to challenge or criticize Serena. This, this mental intimidation transfers to the tennis court…”

    She got away with everything so they gave up. She got away with the panic room incident without consequences, imagine a Russian athlete doing that, she would have been torn apart, ridiculed and shamed, instead, they swept everything under the carpet for Serena. When Fancy Bears hacked WADA and it turned out Serena munched lots of banned substances in a short period, who cares, she had exemptions.

    I saw some very weak arguments that the things Serena took weren’t gonna boost her performance radically. Why are they on the list then?

    This exemption system is also shady, why can’t we know which players got how many exemptions? Some players could be munching steroids all the time with exemptions. If people saw this player got 1 exemption in 10 years, the other 30, no matter if they got them the “legit” way, people would get a clear picture who’s a clean player and who’s not. And ofc that’s why they’re not making the records public.

    So yeah, Serena got away with everything and other players just gave up.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 9, 2020 at 12:52 am

    Why must they keep the therapeutic exemption lists secret? Why can’t public know who gets to use peds and Why? It smells of a rigged loophole for corruption.

  • Jon King · June 9, 2020 at 9:29 am

    I agree in part. Had I been running tennis when Serena told the lineswomen that she would shove the ball down her throat, I would have given her a 2 year ban from the sport.

    Don’t agree on Serena fear being causation of lack of dominant WTA players. The girls start competing early and do not develop great weapons, too worried about winning at an early age. They all play the same game, stand 6 feet behind the baseline and wait for an error.

    Once they become pros, they want to be IG stars. If they win one slam, they get $3-4 million plus endorsements, set for life financially in their minds.

    I highly doubt once Serena is gone we ever see another dominant WTA player. We shall see.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 9, 2020 at 10:32 am

    Yes it’s possible Serena changed the WTA. One or two majors and that’s enough fame and fortune. They lose a fraction of drive and that’s all it takes. Wilander said, If a top player loses that mindset of every match being life and death, their ranking will go down. The mood of the WTA has changed, loner players and separate camps have been replaced by a friendlier more sociable happier tour. Players want to enjoy it more than being a tennis robot. Osaka is rich beyond belief now, her drive to dominate like Serena is gone, she’s more interested in popularity and life outside the court. Gauff could dominate, the industry and media wants her to, that’s for sure.

  • JohnnyTD · June 9, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    “I highly doubt once Serena is gone we ever see another dominant WTA player. We shall see.”

    “Gauff could dominate, the industry and media wants her to, that’s for sure.”

    Gauff is good, there’s also Anisimova, she’s young, fearless, with decent technique, a female commentator called her a “physical specimen” that’s important too.

    My favourite young player is Fanny Stollár, very talented, easy power, great serve, her shotmaking Federer level at times, not kidding, watch her long TB vs Vekic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MzKIzDc_1Y she lost that one but you can see he shotmaking ability. Bouchard also had nice words about her, she carried her in some tourney. She’s a successful model and fans were worried about that for a while but lately her work ethic got better.

  • Jon King · June 9, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    We knew Fanny as a kid. Her work ethic has definitely gotten better. She used to sneak out of the academy dorm with Nicky Coopersmith and they would go shopping, look for boys, etc. A fun loving kid and a skilled player.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 9, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    Anisimova is definitely very good and on the fast track but she got the big money already from Nike before winning a major. Not sure which way she will go – the Vaidisova or Sharapova route? Rumor is she is dating Kyrgios, if it’s true, how he influences her career will be interesting.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 9, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    Hungarian girls don’t seem to fulfill their potentials. Temesvari. Agnez Szavay who vanished before age 25 and she was a top 15 player. Dalma Galfi and Stollar were top juniors, Galfi was coached by Temesvari. One of my friends in FL is friends with Temesvari, he told me she broke up with a boyfriend last year and it affected her results but she’s coming back strong. Jon how good was Nicole Coopersmith and where is she now?

  • JohnnyTD · June 9, 2020 at 11:53 pm

    “We knew Fanny as a kid. Her work ethic has definitely gotten better. She used to sneak out of the academy dorm with Nicky Coopersmith and they would go shopping, look for boys, etc. A fun loving kid and a skilled player”

    Thanks for the info 😀 Her Hungarian coach also said she was a naughty kid, she curses a lot in Hungarian (and also English) on court, got lots of scolding from fans in the social media for it.

    “Rumor is she is dating Kyrgios, if it’s true, how he influences her career will be interesting.”

    Really? Recently Kyrgios said since he broke up with Kalinskaya he slept with lots of fangirls, he’s not wasting his time 😀

    “Hungarian girls don’t seem to fulfill their potentials. Temesvari. Agnez Szavay who vanished before age 25 and she was a top 15 player. Dalma Galfi and Stollar were top juniors, Galfi was coached by Temesvari.”

    Unfortunately after that spine injury Szávay had no choice. Even now she can’t play tennis so she manages her tennis school without going on court, i read about that in 2019. I’m excited for Fanny and Dalma, they are talented and driven.

  • Jon King · June 10, 2020 at 1:14 am

    Scoop, Nicole Coop was very solid as a junior. Her biggest win as a pro was against Madison Brengle. Nicky got up to 475 in the world at age 18. But she is out of the game last I heard. She was always a bit of a wild child. Boy crazy big time.

    Funny thing, I took my kid to get a drivers learners permit and the lady behind the desk and I started talking about tennis. She said her 25 year old son just started dating a ‘crazy’ former pro named Nicole who lived in Port Saint Lucie. I knew exactly who she meant!

    Her dad Roy Coopersmith still coaches. He has a young son he is grooming now.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 10, 2020 at 9:56 am

    Temesvari told me Galfi played Miami open a few years ago and walked by fellow Hungarian pro Babos who walked by her in corridor and didn’t even say hi or acknowledge her. Cold shoulder treatment.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 10, 2020 at 9:58 am

    I had some interaction last year with Roy coopersmith on Facebook and he was expressing that her tennis career hit a major stumblung block but if I remember correctly it was more because of politics. Will review the conversation…

  • Jon King · June 10, 2020 at 10:21 am

    Sorry for the double post Scoop. I kept getting an error message and the comment did not appear. So I changed one word of the comment and the error message went away but both comments appeared. The wonders of technology!

  • Jon King · June 10, 2020 at 12:46 pm

    I have known Roy for a while now. Honestly, dad is usually the last to know and/or accept. He would think Nicky was practicing in Wellington or Boca and a tennis mom would see her hanging out at the mall.

    Last I heard he was saying it was the ITF’s fault for revamping its ranking system a few years ago that she quit tennis.

    She and Fanny Stoller used to be on similar paths, hang out together, party and have fun. Fanny made the change to be more tennis focused as she got older, while Nicky never did.

  • JohnnyTD · June 10, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    “She and Fanny Stoller used to be on similar paths, hang out together, party and have fun. Fanny made the change to be more tennis focused as she got older, while Nicky never did.”

    That’s true, although her social media posts can still be “scary”, in interviews Fanny shows maturity, in a morning show for example she talked a lot about the mental part of the game and how among the pros she can’t lose focus even for a point. She also said that technically she had to fix only little things so she had to focus on the mental and the physical part. When she compared herself with Cibulkova i was surprised how good her knowledge of the mental aspects of the game was.

  • JohnnyTD · June 10, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    wow, i found a Coopersmith – Stollár match on youtube where Fanny breadsticked her, it lasted just one set then Nicole retired:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUpkNzJmD08

    It’s not too late for Nicole though, look at Fucsovics, similar paths, he was girl crazy 😀 haha both Diana and Mildren are from Marci’s city, Mildren said Fucsovics wanted to pick up one of his classmates on facebook in a quite rough style, he wrote something like if she wanted some to just ring him haha. Anyway, it was great to watch this set after the Nicole gossip 😛

  • Jon King · June 10, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    JohnnyTD, yes that is the worst for girls, losing to a friend….and one of the biggest reasons for retirement from matches.

    Even at 9-10 years old the girls will retire if they are getting beaten badly by one of their friends.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 10, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    Jon, what do you think of Dominguez pro tennis academy in Miramar Weston? Looks like a good spot for elite juniors trying to go pro.

  • Jon King · June 10, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    Scoop, Dominguez has trained some very good players. He runs his academy on some hard courts at a youth center.

    By the way, USTA just gutted High Performance, gave the boot to the national coaches like Richard Ashby. All that is left is a skeleton staff.

    Same with the National Tennis Center in Orlando, most staff let go and now going to be mostly players self training, locals playing, and some college tournaments once they return.

    USTA spent a ton of money on salaries and facilities and now money is tight.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 11, 2020 at 9:59 am

    I did not know the USTA is making severe cutbacks. IMG are too most likely.

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