Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

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Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by hawkeye on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 3:00 pm

For the past ten years the ATP has benefited from having two players who have transcended the sport strutting their stuff. Tennis is star led so having such big stars has meant that they can be used to sell the ATP. But looking at the direction the mens game is taking perhaps the ATP as a product is inferior to the WTA. When people talk about how men play compared to women the talk tends to be of the mens "superior" power but I would argue that this can have a negative impact on the mens game. Greater power is not necessarily a good thing. In fact it has led to the mens game developing in a way that in many ways is less attractive.

Too serve dominant.

Too many points ending with an nonreturnable serve

Too many tall players with poor movement

less point construction

More ball bashing

Too many sets decided on a tie break with no breaks of serve

Long matches consisting of little more than players taking it in turn to serve nonreturnable serves

It's as if the ATP has learned nothing from the 90's and nothing from the way the public love the sort of game that Federer and Nadal play. The WTA doesn't suffer from these problems. Both tours need some new stars to break through to keep interest but as a game to watch I would argue that once Roger and Rafa have retired the WTA will be the superior product. I watched the WTA match between Cibulkova and Muguroza and it was the most entertaining match I've seen in Miami. The standard of tennis was high, the competition was tight and each point was contested. Tennis at the moment is selling the WTA short...

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by temporary21 on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 3:06 pm

Erm I mean I feel your bullet points are relevant only really to big match John and Raonic. We had a long debate where I think we found that that sort of tennis isn't actually that successful.

I think theres plenty of old and new blood that don't fall into that trap, and the WTA stil has a serious problem with lack of variety itself

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 3:21 pm

We need players like Dolgo, Herbert or even Tomic to make things interesting; or a Murray of old.

I do think that players are playing a similar style these days, almost every match is played with the same style, from the baseline mostly.

Maybe when Fedal is gone, that will give the young guns some space to shine. Djokovic will also be affected if Fedal is gone, as most of his epic matches involve those two guys, unless the young guns could step up and provide Djokovic with some new challenges.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by It Must Be Love on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 3:25 pm

Good article; I'm also actually beginning to follow WTA slightly more and find the matches more entertaining than ATP in general.
On Clay I still find ATP tennis more entertaining, but away from that I think the average WTA I would probably prefer these days. Nadal obviously the big exception.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by hawkeye on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 3:47 pm

Belovedluckyboy wrote:We need players like Dolgo, Herbert or even Tomic to make things interesting;  or a Murray of old.  

I do think that players are playing a similar style these days, almost every match is played with the same style, from the baseline mostly.

Maybe when Fedal is gone, that will give the young guns some space to shine.  Djokovic will also be affected if Fedal is gone, as most of his epic matches involve those two guys, unless the young guns could step up and provide Djokovic with some new challenges.

Using Dolgopolov as an example. He is one of the most entertaining players on the mens tour to watch. His skills look unique but too often when I've watched him play he runs round doing all this beautiful clever stuff only to get stamped on like a butterfly by some huge giant getting easy points by means of his power on serve. In the WTA a player with a watchable and entertaining game like Dolgopolov would stand a better chance hence the reason why I believe that the WTA may have the superior product.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by temporary21 on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 3:54 pm

On that subject, where is the dog lately?

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by LuvSports! on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 4:00 pm

Playing Nishi today.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by Guest on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 4:10 pm

Too serve dominant??

And before you crack out the stats about points lasting between 1-3 strokes, ask yourself what is that a result of? Poor returning? Poor shots? 

Men's tennis was superior way before Roger and Rafa and will be when they're gone.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by temporary21 on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 4:45 pm

ooooh! That's a good match

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by hawkeye on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 4:51 pm

legendkillarV2 wrote:

And before you crack out the stats about points lasting between 1-3 strokes, ask yourself what is that a result of? Poor returning? Poor shots? 


Who wants to watch matches where the serve is so powerful that they are answered with poor returns and poor shots. You are not selling me the mens game as a product.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by temporary21 on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 4:54 pm

Despite being one sided, the Fed-Novak Aus open match probably still contains more variety and quality than any WTA match has managed thus far.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by temporary21 on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 4:55 pm

To take Roger away from it, Murray Nishikori was also an excellent match with quite a lot of ling rallying and net play

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by hawkeye on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 5:07 pm

^ Yes you have to take Roger away from it that is the point Wink

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by temporary21 on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 5:10 pm

fair play. In that case can you name me a WTA match this year, that could top maybe Murray Nishikori?

Heck can you name me any WTA match that was better than last years French open?

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by socal1976 on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 5:11 pm

This argument that the difference in fan support and ratings for the women and men is down Federer and Nadal's unique popularity and that the rest of the men are gravy training just like Maria, Serena is a ridiculous myth and unsupported assertion of the equality at all costs crowd. It does not even pass the smell test and is laughable.

Then why was the ATP higher rated and more popular in 70s, 80s, 90s, and early 2000s when there was no Federer or Nadal. If judging by endorsement power than Murray and Djokovic are equal draws to Maria and Serena. Novak makes more endorsements than Serena and Maria and Andy is right around their neighborhood. Tsonag/Gasquet are huge draws in france, Murray in the Uk, Raonic in Canada, Nishikori japan, Djokovic in eastern Europe and Asia.

The sad thing for the women is that if you go by ratings, attendance, and earning the men even minus Federer and Nadal would far outstrip them. How do we know this because that is what the numbers have reflected ever since they started the respective tours. But lets not let facts get in the way of more convenient fictions and suspended disbeliefs that we have to hold in our minds to pretend that this unfair policy is fair. And of course Hawkeye has no problem maintaining convenient fictions that favor whatever positions she has.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by socal1976 on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 5:15 pm

Another hilarious thread, yeah its all Roger and Rafa that is why the ATP tour just became more popular than the wonderfully high quality WTA in 2005 or so. (lol sarcasm) Jeez the silly lies and unsupported assertions the equality at all costs crowd should prove how little substantively they have to say in favor of their positions.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by Henman Bill on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 5:21 pm

Seems to me we have about 4 threads to discuss the same or related topics!

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by Guest on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 5:36 pm

hawkeye wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:

And before you crack out the stats about points lasting between 1-3 strokes, ask yourself what is that a result of? Poor returning? Poor shots? 


Who wants to watch matches where the serve is so powerful that they are answered with poor returns and poor shots. You are not selling me the mens game as a product.

Define powerful serve exactly?

If this nonsense about powerful serves dominating why is a Raonic or Karlovic not sweeping the boards?

It's about time you changed the record. We get the message. You like Roger and Rafa.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by YvonneT on Tue 29 Mar 2016, 2:04 am

It's all a matter of taste, but to me, you go so over the top in praising the WTA and disparaging the ATP below Roger/Rafa as to make your case incredulous.

I like the WTA, but let's not pretend that the finesse players in the WTA don't get "stamped on like a butterfly by some huge giant getting easy points by means of power". Have you seen Radwanska's head to head with Serena or Sharapova. Same for Halep, Suarez Navarro etc. Of course, Serena and Sharapova will be done soon enough and the balance might change. They do have a good variety of players in the top 10 with different styles. But the power players have been dominant recently.

And Cibulkova and Muguruza are both essentially baseline ballbashers. I like them and I'd pay to watch them, but they probably play with as much variety as Berdych. It was the same when you went out of your way to praise a Serena-Sharapova final one time, but criticise the ATP side for too much power play.

It's true that the serve is not as dominant of course so if you don't like aces then the WTA is better for that.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by YvonneT on Tue 29 Mar 2016, 2:09 am

Regardless of your exaggerations though, I do think post Roger/Rafa (and Novak) that the popularity of men's tennis is going to fall back a bit so that the difference in popularity between men's and women's tennis is going to be closer - back to similar levels to the eighties/nineties/early noughties.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by socal1976 on Tue 29 Mar 2016, 4:07 am

YvonneT wrote:Regardless of your exaggerations though, I do think post Roger/Rafa (and Novak) that the popularity of men's tennis is going to fall back a bit so that the difference in popularity between men's and women's tennis is going to be closer - back to similar levels to the eighties/nineties/early noughties.


Before Roger, Rafa, and Nole where every born the ATP was the bigger draw and nothing has changed that from the founding of the tours till today. Put aside an odd women's final due to scheduling conflict or a particularly intriguing matchup getting higher ratings. It is reflected by the 250s in the respective tours where the men's total financial commitment is well over double that of the women on average. By the way this has nothing to do with Roger, Rafa, Nole, Maria, or Serena) at most these type of players play one or two 250s the whole year. Most 250s the biggest draw will be Ferrer, Tsonga, Berdych, Nishikori etc. They are not collaring Novak, Andy, Roger, and RAfa for very many 250s. Therefore the fact that the 250s of the men (minus big 4 drawing power) is more than double the financial commitment of the women (minus their biggest draws) shows you that minus Fedal the men are still are more popular.

By the way why is it fair to consider the drawing power of the ATP minus its two biggest stars and not the WTA? Take Serena and Maria out of the women's field which draw do they have as big Murray, Djoko, or even Nishikori? How well do the women outside their big 2 draw that the critics are throwing stones at the rest of the ATP?

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by YvonneT on Tue 29 Mar 2016, 10:05 pm

Oh I agree that men's tennis will still be more popular than women's. It would take a huge shift to change that. I just think it's going to fall back from the current position so that the gap in popularity will not be as wide.

On your second point on the loss of Serena/Maria, agree with you to an extent, but (1) I don't think they attract as many to the sport as Roger/Rafa and (2) I think the lack of real rivalries at the top of the sport (which have been missing since Henin, Clijsters, Davenport etc departed the scene and Venus declined) is already factored in the women's popularity at the moment so Serena herself going is less of an impact.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by socal1976 on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 5:29 am

I can agree with that Yvonne that is a good post. I think the women's game like the men's game has always done better when you have three or four multislam winners competing and pushing each other in classic matches. The Graf v. Navratilova or Everett v. Navratilova is missing on the tour. The fact that Serena basically has no Rafa to her Federer has hurt the woman's game. Plus Serena is not Roger, she is not very well liked outside the US when compared to how well Fed or Rafa are liked outside her country. Her attitude and how she carries being the flagship of her tour is not nearly as competent and universally acclaimed as Federer.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by MMT1 on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 5:18 pm

It's a great point and an interesting question: with Ray Moore's criticisms of the WTA, exactly how well is the ATP doing if you take away Fedal? We may find out soon enough.
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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by temporary21 on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 5:26 pm

I stopped watching WTA after Henin retired, and i havent enjoyed the little ive seen since.

Oddly, its partly due to Serena, she has essentially gobbled up the womens game, to the point that when shes not doing well, the game has a massive, massive, vacuum of star power.
I had to be reminded last week that Kerber won the Aussie, and Penetta won the US, which is a shame cos they deserved that, but the WTA needs to get stars and rivalries post Williams, because theyve been struggling since Henin left.

There arent any new real rivalries or personalities around the womens game that I can see really peeking interest.

Add to that, which is somewhat on Socals point, I dont like Serenas game, its by far the best a woman has ever played... but it is still a somewhat weaker version of a mens power game. Movement in particular is amazingly poor, I cant beleive that hasnt been exploited much.

I preferred the Graf and Navratilova game, that were their own thing that men didnt necessarily do at all.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by LuvSports! on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 5:37 pm

Amen on Henin. She was brilliant to watch. Uuuuunnnreaaal talent. That bh. Oy vey.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by temporary21 on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 5:42 pm

Up there with Gasquet and Stanimal. I dont know many women with a top shot like that anymore, bar Serenas serve. Graf had the best slice bh of them all in the day, and Navratilova was as good a volleyer as any male player. The Wta has been lagging behind for too long since she went

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 6:26 pm

I like Henin. After she left, I think there was a period where we had Cjlisters, Li Na and Schiavone winning the slams in Serena's absence and I thought that period was more entertaining than what we have now. Cjlisters and Henin both were good enough to beat the Williams at a slam final. I like Li Na's personality and I like Schiavone's all court tennis with finesse at the net.

The current crop of players, with the exception of Rawanska, are playing hard hitting power tennis with their 2HBH as their main weapon. They play too similar a style with not much finesse, not very exciting.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 6:28 pm

Mauresmo and Schiavone both have SHBH too but as not beautiful as Henin's.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by socal1976 on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 8:07 pm

MMT1 wrote:It's a great point and an interesting question:  with Ray Moore's criticisms of the WTA, exactly how well is the ATP doing if you take away Fedal?  We may find out soon enough.


Yes but the argument on this thread isn't that when Fedal leaves that the ATP will lose some pulling power, I don't think anyone doubts that. The nonsensical part of this thread is the idea that minus Fedal the ATP tour is less popular than the WTA. Of course Hawkeye apparently thinks the world of tennis started when Federer first played Nadal. From the founding of the tours from 1973 till now the ATP has always had higher ratings and bigger popularity. Why should we analyze the ATP minus their top two stars. What exactly does the WTA offer without Maria and Serena that is so superior. It actually isn't a great point it is a stupid point since from the birth of both tours till today, long before Rafa was ever born the ATP outdraws the WTA. So it bears no, no logical relationship to Moore's comments. It is just the feverish cherry-picking and biased driven nonsense we have gotten used to from the original poster.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by kingraf on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 8:27 pm

I'd think ATP should do fine. Or at least no worse than WTA. Without Sharapova, Serena at $11 million is the highest earning athlete wrt endorsements. Kei Nishikori makes only a million less than her. Milos Raonic signed a presumably healthy lifetime contract with New Balance. Nick Kyrgios has a multitude of endorsements as well. Now while endorsement aren't exactky cause/effect. They do point somewhat to marketability. Seems if you take away Fedal the ATP is still more marketable than the WTA
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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by temporary21 on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 8:45 pm

To ask a more equal question. If the WTA lost Serena and (as they have done) Sharapova, and the ATP lost Fedal? Who is worse off? Semms to me the WTA would be in real trouble for some time

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

Post by Belovedluckyboy on Thu 31 Mar 2016, 3:34 am

The atp will 'suffer'more without Fedal but still popular enough to do better than the WTA, imo.

I think the new gen youngsters will make things exciting for the atp. There may never be another Fedal superstar power like popularity but there may be enough number of interesting and exciting players to pull in the crowd.

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Re: Take away the Roger and Rafa effect and is the WTA a superior product?

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