Williams Sisters Rock the Garden; U.S. Women’s Tennis Otherwise on Life Support

by Richard Vach | March 3rd, 2009, 10:12 am

While the Williams sisters were collecting half a million to a million each on Monday night to play the Billie Jean King Cup at Madison Square Garden, the rest of American tennis is in the trenches this week at the Monterrey (Mexico) Open.
The smallest of tournaments ($220,000) on the WTA calendar, Monterrey saw only one American make the main draw (barely) in No. 101-ranked veteran Jill Craybas. Vania King then qualified into the main draw.

Casualties in the qualifying were Alexandra Stevenson (1st rd.), Mashona Washington (1st rd.), Alexa Glatch (2nd rd.), Madison Brengle (1st rd.), and Lilia Osterloh (2nd rd.).

Take No. 39-ranked Bethanie Mattek-Sands (currently sidelined with injury) out of the equation and the U.S. currently has two healthy players ranked inside the Top 100 — Venus and Serena Williams.

The Williams sisters deserve to be put upon a pedestal for all their accomplishments — but the lack of other Americans waiting to climb up is a daunting proposition for those in charge of U.S. player development. With the Williams sisters go U.S. women’s tennis, completely. You wouldn’t see an American raising a Grand Slam trophy in years, much less in Monterrey.

The men’s side went into panic mode years back, but that has subsided with the rise of players like Sam Querrey and the promise of players such as John Isner and Donald Young (hoping such promises are kept).

On the women’s side, not to say there is no hope, but if the Williams sisters retired tomorrow due to injury (which they have many) or off-court lures (which they have even more), the U.S. will have gone from five Americans in the Top 10 to none in the Top 25 in a 20-odd-year span.

It’s easy to put player development on the back burner when you’re at the top, but all those years just expecting top talent to surface, as it had in the past, has put the U.S. in a hole. Talk about the Dow dropping — U.S. women’s tennis, sans the William sisters, needs the financial bail-out.

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11 Comments for Williams Sisters Rock the Garden; U.S. Women’s Tennis Otherwise on Life Support

judy Says:

oudin looks like she might be good if she gets in shape. no really talented prospects. where are they? the russians seemingly have 100s.

Von Says:

On the women’s side, there is Coco Vandeweghe, Oudin, Asia Mohammad and on the men’s side Ryan Harrison, Bad Gilbert’s son, and a few more, whose names elude me at the present time.

Hopefully, by the time Roddick, Blake and Fish retires, Querrey and Young and hopefully, Isner, would become more seasoned and competitive players, thereby ensuring the baton is in someone’s hand and not lying on the ground being tossed around by the wind.

Down the road, maybe in about 9 years or less, we’ll probably see Sampras and Agassi sons take up where their fathers have left off. That’s one mouth-watering prospect to look forward to and keep in mind. There’s hope looming on the horizon. We ain’t dead yet.

tenisbebe Says:


Ha ha! You are too funny..Bad Gilbert’s son. LOL

Von Says:


Brad’s son attends Bolletieri’s academy. Who knows he could be one of our hopefuls. I guess I’m becoming desperate.

Danica Says:

I think Tenisbebe was amused by your misspelling: “Bad” (instead of “Brad”).

tenisbebe Says:


Giner Says:

Clearly Americans are spoiled if two top women aren’t enough. Outside of Russia and Serbia, how many other countries have more than that?

On the men’s side you have a point, but you still have two top 10 players and a few top 50s or 100s. There are a lot worse fortunes out there.

I don’t expect the next Sampras to be appearing in this generation, but the US does still rank among the strongest of tennis nations.

tenisbebe Says:


I don’t think Blake’s in the top 10 anymore – only Roddick. Clearly spoiled but that’s what happens with expectations based on past years.

tenisbebe Says:

Von – are watching this Vania King/ Bartoli match in Monterrey? King took the 1st set 6-2 and though is down a break in the 2nd, is looking sharp. The commentators are impressed with her so far – she is a qualifier & Bartoli’s the 2nd seed. There’s hope yet…

margot Says:

Giner: r u British? If yes, perhaps we can share a box of Kleenex!

Giner Says:

margot I’m actually Australian, but I’ll still share your Kleenex with you!

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