Women’s Tennis is probably the most unpredictable tour in the world. The ever so dominant Serena Williams seems to be the only exception, while Angelique Kerber comes close to being a consistent figure. And rightly so, the evergreen Serena has become the face of the WTA tour with consistent performances and her sheer dominance. However, there is an ugly side to the Women’s Tour as well.
There have been numerous one-hit wonders in Women’s Tennis, notably Spain’s Conchita Martinez and France’s Marion Bartoli. Winning a single tournament or having a purple patch seems to be all that’s happening in the tour. Not a tournament goes by where Top seeds don’t bundle out in the first few rounds. At the four majors last year, only four of the top eight female seeds reached the quarter finals at the Australian Open, just two at Roland Garros and Wimbledon, and then three at Flushing Meadows. And there were 14 players who made just one quarterfinal run last year at Grand Slams.
Tennis Great Martina Navratilova was also had a few words for this indescribable phenomena:
“I don’t know why there is so much turnover…Players fluctuate so much more than in my time. Yes, there is much greater depth, no doubt. But still doesn’t explain the level of fluctuation. On the guys’ [side], you don’t really see it that much. You see it much more on the women’s side”.
Take for example the case of 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic. After winning her only Grand Slam, Ivanovic has failed to keep up with the level needed to be at the top. And though the 2014-15 season was a resurgent one for her, her ranking has stooped to a low of 31 before her first round US Open exit this year while she was ranked World No.7 at the same time last year. It’s just astonishing how something like this happens.
Caroline Wozniacki, a former World No.1, has no Grand Slam Titles to her name. Despite being a constant member of the Top 10 over the years, her ranking has dropped to World No. 74, in sharp contrast with her ranking last year, when she was World No. 4.
Bouchard is yet another significant example of failure by a player with great potential. The World No. 40 made yet another early exit from a Grand Slam at the US Open 2016. And it’s surprising that ever since her breakthrough 2013 season, she hasn’t been able to replicate any such performances in the following three years. It’s certainly something to expect from a young talent such as Bouchard.
It is distressing to see such performances from great players. The sport requires immense confidence and character to remain at the top. And while it’s a tough task to ask of, it remains a key aspect for survival.
Despite all this, certain players have come up with the goods, and have done well in recent Grand Slams. Muguruza, despite her shock exit at the US Open 2016 has made multiple Grand Slams in the past two years. So has Kerber, who has responded immensely well, and has continually risen to the position she is in. And Azarenka and Halep also look in good shape, despite the former having injury woes.
Younger players have also showed promise, with players such as Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe giving splendid performances every now and then.
While we hope the Women’s Tour changes for good, while we can’t really deny the fact that it is extremely competitive. All that we, as fans can do is to hope that we relive high quality tennis at the end of the day, and expect the best from and for the Tennis Players.