It could be years before you see an American player crack the Top 10 after the retirement of Lindsay Davenport and the endless injuries that constantly seem to sideline the Williams sisters.
The struggling state of American women’s tennis was illustrated Monday in the Australian Open warm-up event at Gold Coast where both Americans in the draw were dismissed. Meghann Shaughnessy ran out of gas 6-0 in the third set against No. 5 seed Shahar Peer of Israel, while qualifier Vania King lost in straight sets to No. 7 Katarina Srebotnik.
Shaughnessy, Shenay Perry, Jamea Jackson and Venus Williams are the only Americans with rankings likely to get them straight into most (smaller) WTA Tour events while Serena Williams and the rest of the American hopefuls have to rely on wildcards or the qualifying rounds.
Last year was the first year that an American player did not finish in the Top 10 in the history of the WTA Rankings.
AROUND THE DIAL:
Anastasia Myskina says she may skip the Australian Open after re-aggravating a toe injury in her loss at Auckland: “I realized during the match that I may not be ready for the Australian Open. I still feel pain there and it bothers me. Maybe I’m going to take a longer break.”…Congrats to Aussie officials for debuting the “Australian Open Series,” which unfortunately has no extra rankings or prize money but is a “series” in name only. In other words, same as last year, except now it has a “theme.” What’s the point of that? According to the ATP: “The Series, which celebrates the promotional theme ‘The Wonderful World of Tennis,’ culminates with the Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific — the Australian Open. The other five events in the Australian Open Series include next week’s Medibank International in Sydney, three WTA events (Gold Coast, Sydney and Hobart) and the mixed team Hopman Cup.” What size braintrust did it take to come up with “The Wonderful World of Tennis”? Did former Disney employee Etienne de Villiers toss that one off to the ITF as a freebee?…From SI.com’s Jon Wertheim: “Mid-match coaching will flop. One of the sport’s virtues is the self-sufficiency it demands of players. The WTA’s wrongheaded, sponsor-driven decision to let coaches provide counsel at changeovers will not only rob tennis of its tradition but also give an unfair advantage to top players, who are more able to afford the extra help.”
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