Monday, July 10, 2006

American Woman: Ghost of Tennis Past

American women have OWNED professional tennis. But now, that dominance is slowly slipping from our grasp. America's tennis stars continue a downward spiral in the world rankings after sup-par showings at Wimbledon. Venus Williams, who was the defending ladies' champion, tumbles from 12th to 23rd after being upset in the third round by Jelena
Jankovic. Lindsay Davenport is the only American now ranked in the top 20, falling to number 10 from number 7. There are just 12 Americans ranked in the top 100!

What's going on? Of the 15 women who have held the number one ranking on the tour since the rankings began in 1975, 8 of those athletes have done so wrapped in the American flag.

Between 200 and 2002, American women won 10 of the 12 majors. That is dominance. Since then, American women have won just 5 of 14 majors. That is not dominance. In fact, American women have won just 9 of the last 86 WTA events.

Age is a factor. Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati are both 30 and suffering from various injuries. Serena and Venus are 24 and 26 respectively, but in women's tennis, that is old.

The problem seems to be, there aren't any hotshot young American women ready to burst onto the world stage. Just two American teens are ranked in the top 100.

It seems I'm picking on the women, when the men have won just 6 of the 26 grand slam titles since 2000. The point is, we don't expect the men to win. We do expect the women to win. It's not fair, but it should be flattering for the women. We are proud of their accomplishments and hope to see it continue. Let's go Williams sisters. Please carry the flag until the next generation is ready!

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