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Tennis
Women serve up Wimbledon intrigue
Men get the attention despite narrow field of contenders as WTA tour quietly goes about providing the best tennis.
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2011 07:04
Sabine Lisicki, ranked 62nd in the world, celebrates her win over French Open champion Li Na [GALLO/GETTY]

There are many critics of the women's game, and there have been for many years.

Despite us seeing great players such as Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova and the Williams sisters in recent years, people just aren't satisfied.

The criticism can be explained by the depth of the WTA tour, rather than a lack of talent.

There will always be dominance in the game, like there has in years before.

Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert...they have all been on top of the world, some with more absolute supremacy than others.

So why aren't people satisfied at the moment?

The game changed when Venus and Serena Williams came on the scene. Power became the force du jour, and those without it struggled to cope.

Purists became disillusioned with what seemed to be a move away from the classic play of tennis.

"Surely it's testament to the depth of the game when there is no clear favourite. And I don't think there needs to be. It's fascinating to look at the long list of those who could challenge"

Chris Tortise

Yet, the interest in the men's game has continued to gain momentum, despite a similar turn.

Big serves and short rallies are commonplace, and the excitement of gruelling points is generally left to the women.

One major issue is the ranking system, which can leave those without a Grand Slam title at the top, such as current number one Caroline Wozniacki, or Jelena Jankovic.

There's no doubt in my mind these women deserved to be number one, though there are many critics that disagree.

I believe the best tennis of recent months has been played by the women.

In the first five rain-delayed days of Wimbledon, the best matches by far have been in the women's draw.

Venus taking on Kimiko Date-Krumm, Sabine Lisicki edging past French Open champion Li Na with "the serve of a man"...fantastic matches that deserve all the excitement they've generated.

Then there have been the trials of Serena - who could face German Lisicki if both reach Tuesday's quarter-finals - coming back from her injury and illnesses. Every tie has been a rollercoaster.

In terms of the men, well - Marco Baghdatis and Novak Djokovic have done their best to scupper my argument with their titanic contest on Saturday.

Robin Soderling came back from two sets down to beat Hewitt on Thursday, before being put to the sword by Hewitt's understudy Bernard Tomic.

But I still believe the real intrigue both in individual matches and tournaments as a whole lies with the women.

There are four men at the top of the world. One of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or even Andy Murray will almost certainly win the title.

Who will win the women's?

Surely it's testament to the depth of the game when there is no clear favourite. And I don't think there needs to be.

It's fascinating to look at the long list of those who could challenge, and it will only encourage a higher level of play.

And with the emergence and re-emergence of stars, the future is very bright for the WTA and its associates.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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