Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki has been playing exceptionally well as of late and is one of the favorites to win the U.S. Open, along with Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters and the other usual suspects. However, Thomas Kinslow at Bleacher Report thinks she might just be the savior of women’s tennis (does tennis actually need saving, by the way?). While Kinslow has a list of ten reasons, most of these are related to Wozniacki being young, hot, and good at tennis. Although these are all true, to me they do not seem to distinguish Wozniacki from all the other pretty Eastern European ladies on tour (Wozniacki’s parents are both from Poland). In fact, Kinslow’s description sounds quite similar to the way Maria Sharapova was praised when she came onto the scene a few years ago (I actually thought Wozniacki was Sharapova the first time I saw a picture of her).
Kinslow also neglects to mention two of tennis’ biggest female stars, Venus and Serena Williams.
If women’s tennis needs saving, especially in an American context, wouldn’t it make more sense that the savior(s) would be American themselves? In my opinion, in at least a popular sense, these saviors have already come in the form of Venus and Serena Williams. While women’s tennis was somewhat popular before these two came along, since their arrival, they have not only dominated the competition, but have led to greater visibility for and more discussion about the sport. Yes, there was the occasional drama of Monica Seles getting stabbed on the court, but tennis, especially women’s tennis, was largely an afterthought compared to baseball, football, basketball and even golf. That these two juggernauts (my grandmother calls them Amazons) were not only American, but so different in both background and demeanor to the largely White European world of tennis, is what makes them truly the saviors of the women’s game, at least in my eyes (I must admit, I am a casual fan at best and usually only catch the highlights). If women’s tennis is suffering a financial problem (which Kinslow makes no mention of), that is another matter altogether and one great athlete, no matter how sexy or how talented, will not be able to right a sinking ship. Indeed, tennis, especially women’s tennis (no offense, but America just does not seem to care about women’s sports), must realize that it will always play second (or tenth) fiddle to more popular and commercialized sports.