Marine of Tennis Notebook used the post-Wimbledon hangover time to reflect on the issues that are constantly raised in the WTA world. Let's see Marine's selection of "Five favorite debates of (occasionally) grumpy tennis fans".
Since I started following women's tennis, I have noticed that sometimes it does receive quite a lot of "tough love" from members of its audience. For some reason people just love to grumble about all things WTA. Maybe it’s the retirement of several tennis greats still missed by their large fanbase, the fact that the image of tennis has changed from conservative to glamorous or also preference of different playing style than in the older eras.
As a fan I like to join in the discussions, so I’ve decided to put together a list of what I see as the evergreen topics which always draw tennis lovers’ attention.
1. SLAMLESS NO.1s
This will probably never get old. Every time we have a No.1 without a Grand Slam, it’s as if Pandora’s box opened up. Media and fans question their game, schedule, coaching and sometimes even personal lives. Apart from that, ranking system suddenly breaks down and also there are speculations if, by having a Slamless No.1, tennis has not been brought to disrepute.
2. ONE SLAM WONDERS VS. SLAMLESS NO.1s
This is a spin-off of the above. There were some first-time Grand Slam winners who failed to live up to the status of a Grand Slam champion. Their form has faded away and never really came back, however, their achievements still remain in history books. The talk about which group does have a more important place in history will never cease to be popular.
3. QUALITY OF THE WOMEN'S GAME
This debate is mostly based on the comparisons with previous generations where fans were treated to many great rivalries. The tennis stars of the late 90s and 00s such as Justine Henin, Martina Hingis or Kim Clijsters all had their unique styles of play which many consider to be a lot more varied than we see today. Also, the top players achieved better consistency, especially on the big stage, whereas nowadays that is no longer the case, as we can see especially at Grand Slams.
4. WTA MARKETING
In its most recent marketing campaign "Strong is Beautiful" WTA has really been trying to emphasize the glamorous side of women's tennis. Everyone who has visited WTA’s website saw images of tennis players dolled up in elegant outfits and there was also a series of viral adverts available. In addition, the campaign uses help of famous faces from outside of the tennis world such as Richard Branson or Rory McIlroy to draw attention of wider public. Alas, glossy image is not always accepted the way marketers would like to see. Fans do not want to see just pretty faces, but something more. Otherwise they lose their interest and see everything a bit differently (see the gif above).
5. COMPARING WOMEN'S AND MEN'S TENNIS
It is no news that most fans favor men's tennis over women's game nowadays. It is somehow related to the issue with departure of a strong generation of female players as mentioned before. In the eyes of many, men's tennis is more professional, more interesting, has more variety and more personalities. In short, it’s just "more" in every way possible.
What do you think of my selection? If you have found your favorites or have some other favorite topic to add please do share.