Women’s Tennis is Boring Now

Tennis has a history of amazing women champions and matches that had you on the edge of your seat. Martina Navratalova, Chris Evert, Steffi Graff, Martina Hingis, The Williams Sisters, Henin, Clijsters and Mauresmo–to name a few. The late nineties and early 2000’s was an awesome time for women’s tennis and kind of a boring time to watch men’s tennis.
I found men’s tennis boring to watch during that time because it was a baseline power hitting game. No variety what so ever. They would just hit balls as hard as they could from the baseline until one or the other missed. I credit Federer with changing their game. He had the power but he also had a bunch of retro, nifty shots like (gasp!) serving and volleying, drop shots, awesome risky angles. The men had to change their games to keep up–and they did. Now their matches are amazing to watch.
I mean, look at how Roddick has transformed his game. The guy has the best serve in tennis yet he knows he can’t rely on it. He serves and volleys now, goes to the net a lot and I’m so proud of that charming meat head for biting the bullet, losing a lot of matches as he learned these new skills, and becoming a great tennis player to watch because of it. (He almost won Wimbledon last year in the final against Federer.)
Now the reverse has happened. A bunch of gigantic Eastern European and Russian women stand at the baseline and hit the ball as hard as they can at one another until one of them misses…But they don’t even do it that well! It’s rare that a line is even hit! I haven’t even watched the past few finals ’cause it usually comes down to who’s less nervous or who has more experience in big moments.
There are exactly four exceptions to this and they all come from a time machine from the year 2000. Serena Williams(Current#1), Venus Williams, Henin and Kim Clijsters.
Thank goodness for these women. They have a complete game and they don’t rely just on their power. Serena Williams can out hit and out serve any woman but she’s so dominate because she’s a great doubles player and so has a full variety of weapons that she can pull out as needed. There’s a reason Clijsters won the US Open as her first tournament after coming out of retirement. She’s like, I’m just going to get into pro tennis shape by trying out the US Open—and she freakin’ won the whole thing! Because Ivancovic and all the rest were like, what is she doing? What is this mysterious skill set she has to come up to the net and hit great angles and set up winners?
Unfortunately these four aren’t going to be able to play forever. Hopefully the younger players will learn from them and give me good tv watching for years more to come.

 

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