Saturday, March 21, 2009

What's Wrong With the WTA?

by Savannah

From the fans:

I think that if what is supposed to be one of the WTA tour's most prestigious and important events, a Premier, mandatory event for the top players, and it can pass by with so little spectators viewing the womens matches, so little fan interest, and frankly, so little good tennis, then there is a problem somewhere.

"Scoobsuk"

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...and for the fans that are at home, WTA should be desperately doing something to encourage better coverage on the TV........coverage of Indian Wells and WTA in general this year has been the worst ever!! How do they expect to get new fans to the game when so little of it is actually being shown.

And as for the rest of us, the die-hard fans who travel the world for tournaments, stay online for hours on end just to follow the livescores, or desperately searching the whole of the internet for a livestream....what is WTA doing for us? Nothing - just making it more and more difficult to find out commitments info, pathetic livescore coverage at some tournies, giving out inaccurate info for other tournaments, late releases of draws and that's just for starters......so many things about the management of the Tour is bugging me at the moment.

"Elisse"

The ATP has a much more better product, with a higher level.
Half of the WTA top 10 is UEs machines.

"Wiggly"

Saying best or worst can be measured only in terms of the overall quality of matches not by the perception that a tournament is bad when top seeded favorites lose, some even very early. That is irrelevant. Only the quality of the matches matters.

Having said that, I must admit some of the matches had dismal quality, and not one -- quite a few, including the last match of my own favorite.

"Malva"

All of the above are from the fan site dedicated to Women's Tennis.

The WTA is... badly led and Scott is too arrogant and stupid to adopt measures or ideas that work for the ATP. As long as that dude has his position the WTA will not grow, be marketed well etc.

"Gemdal"
From ESPN Tennis Board

I've been talking about the state of women's tennis for a long time. I don't think the powers that be give a rat's ass about what I think but when the top women's fansite has not one but several threads discussing the woeful state of the women's game from all aspects someone in the ivory tower needs to begin to take notice. These fans are not bashing individual players they're talking about three general areas:

Overall quality of the sport
When your potential number one player can barely keep a return inside the lines something is wrong. It's coming down to whoever makes the least amount of unforced errors wins the match. Is it the style of play, the mentality of the players or lack of support from their association? When twelve people are in the stands watching your "best" on Stadium Court while they're hanging from the rafters watching a men's doubles match something is very very wrong.

The anonymity of most of the players
I'm sorry but who are these people? That seems to be the question most fans have about the current crop of WTA players. Only dyed in the wool fans have heard of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to mention one up and comer while I'd be willing to bet most tennisheads know about Grigor Dmitrov and Bernard Tomic. Ernests Gulbis and Marin Cilic are also players that ATP fans know about and follow. Why are the up and coming ATP players better known than up and coming WTA players? Does the WTA think that it can skate on it's past glory when players like Evert, Navratilova and Seles dominated? Has the WTA concentrated on promoting a "face of the WTA" instead of the WTA? The top junior player is from Thailand but I bet more people have heard of Yuki Bhambri than Noppawan Lertcheewakarn. If she takes the tour by storm the casual fan can be excused for saying "who?" It seems that if you don't fit a particular mold you're not worthy of the hype machine.

The lack of media exposure in print, broadcast and internet.
It is very difficult to find accurate information on WTA tournaments. Official sites are usually inaccurate and the draws, when they come, are late. Try finding information on WTA challenger events. Try finding entry lists that aren't weeks old and have no bearing on reality.
I'm still stunned at the complete blackout of women's play in Memphis. Why did WTA coverage start on Monday March 16 at Indian Wells instead of over the weekend like the ATP? Why does the biggest story out of IW continue to be the Williams Sister's boycott and not what is going on in the matches?

Some fans have suggested that the mens and women's finals are being held on the same day to avoid the sea of empty seats and the lack of fan interest that would imply for the WTA. I have news for you. There is a lot to do at a tournament besides watching matches. If you're not interested in a particular match you can shop, eat, or just wander the grounds until it's time for the match you are interested in. You can also time your arrival to make sure you avoid some if not all of a match you don't want to see.
Fans buy tickets way in advance and with prices so high they come out to see match play. Let's see how full the stands are for the women's final. I'd love to be proven wrong.

3 comments:

Karen said...

Ah Savanna, you are like that bibilical prophet, Jeremiah. A voice crying in the wilderness. I am one of the few fans around who actually enjoy the women's tour moreso than the men's tour. I agree with you 100% on the disgraceful lack of coverage of the women's matches as against the men during the early rounds of IW. I am also disgusted that Tennis Channel is now becoming an offshoot of the ATP. They are now showing classic matches and every year all we see are the men's matches from long ago. What about women's matches. What about that epic final between Lindsay and Venus. What about when Sharapova won. What about when Hingis became the youngest person ever to win at Wimbledon. There are some compelling women's stories around but do we ever get to see them. No, we get to see men in tighty whitey shorts every single year. Also, I used to laugh at Marion Bartoli's service motion, but having seen Boris Becker's service motion recently, it reminded me so much of Bartoli's.

Savannah said...

Interesting point about Becker's service motion and Bartoli's Karen.

I'm going to have a lot to say about yesterday's final but let's just say the WTA isn't going out of it's way to make sure their athletes are promoted as well as possible on all media fronts.

I don't have Tennis Channel but it seems that once again the WTA isn't making female tennis players stories known.

Kia said...

Karen, I have TTC and I couldn't agree with you more. I think that racquetball gets more coverage than the WTA on that channel.

I can't imagine the Miami coverage will be any better, but I can hope.