Jump to content
Announcements
** November Poker League Result : 1st ian309, 2nd muttley, 3rd Burnley Joe **
** Football Tipster Competition Result : 1st MrJol, 2nd buga00, 3rd glavintoby, 4th Boulder5111, 5th bobsyerunkle **
** November Nap's Competition Result: 1st andellio, 2nd Saddlesore, 3rd bymatrix, 4th MrJol KO Cup: DonnyFlyer, Most Winners: Astleavista**

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 148
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Tsvetana Pironkova to beat Barbora Krejcikova at 1.88 with Pinnacle Pironkova might not be at her best on clay, but she's competent enough and this just looks like an overreaction to me. Krejciko

When Mark Petchey was asked today who he would prefer in the final, he said that from a sponsor's perspective a Nadal /Djokovic final would be most ideal judging from the sort of money such a final wo

Siniakova - Bertens: Siniakova to win at any betting site which gives you the win in case of a withdrawal: I mean, I wouldn't even be surprised if Bertens withdraws before the match has started,

Posted Images

Odds on Swiatek before FO was for sure influenced by her I round performance and defeat in Rome. I saw odd, 60 don't remember where. 

Don't understand your expectation/predictions about her form decay; she is a perfect and complete player, Wilander claims she has no tennis deficiencies, not a one.

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Brandnew

You preach on the WTA usually opposing the opinion of others. I've been watching WTA diligently for almost 30 years and been an urgent witness of the birth of Hingis, Pierce, Sisters, Henin, Clijsters, Sharapova, Andreescu and now Swiatek and therefore I'm not naive but experienced observer.

The outstanding quality of her game, calmness, speed have been identified as certain advantages for future GS victories by a number of tennis experts and former top players, and I fully agree with that.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with a lot of the mentioned points, but I'm not buying into the hype completely. She's still very young and success at this age comes with many dangers and obstacles. Her run was hugely impressive and she definitely has the potential to win many more GSs, but it's nowhere near guaranteed and we've seen similar stories go downhill in the past. I don't quite believe that she's going to go down the Ostapenko route, but I also don't quite believe that she's likely to win more than one GS next year. Winning one would be a great success imo, in fact.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Djokovic to beat Nadal & Both Players to win a set & Nadal to win a Tie Break in any set at 6.00 - local betting company called Stoiximan (🇬🇷). 

My gut says Djokovic will lift his second Coupe des Mousquetaires in Paris today. Obviously it's extremely hard to do so without dropping a set against the king of clay. I also fancy the chance of Nadal winning at least one tie break in the match, provided that they reach one during the match of course. I'm pretty sure Djokovic has a worse TB record than the Spaniard. In general I believe that Nadal and Federer have always been very elite at tie breaks throughout their careers so far and that's one more element of their greatness. Anyway I know I made a weird suggestion lol. 

Good luck folks 🤞 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Foo_Fighter said:

Djokovic to beat Nadal & Both Players to win a set & Nadal to win a Tie Break in any set at 6.00 - local betting company called Stoiximan (🇬🇷). 

My gut says Djokovic will lift his second Coupe des Mousquetaires in Paris today. Obviously it's extremely hard to do so without dropping a set against the king of clay. I also fancy the chance of Nadal winning at least one tie break in the match, provided that they reach one during the match of course. I'm pretty sure Djokovic has a worse TB record than the Spaniard. In general I believe that Nadal and Federer have always been very elite at tie breaks throughout their careers so far and that's one more element of their greatness. Anyway I know I made a weird suggestion lol. 

Good luck folks 🤞 

 

I have been pondering over this one for quite a while and I am still to reach anything conclusive. However, there are parts of the match that I have concluded. Firstly Whilst Djokovic has beaten Nadal a few times on clay, we have seen from history that Nadal’s preparation for this slam is second to none. He plays this slam different to everything else.

In answer to the question where the market inquires 5 setter? Yes 5/2 no 2/7. I say emphatically no. If anyone is ever going to beat Nadal in a Roland Garros  final, their energy levels would need to be at best 3/4 full. Djokovic has played one 4 setter and one 5 setter, and to be honest that 5 setter coming just before this final has done him no favours at all. In my opinion with the options left Djokovic can only win 3-0 or 3-1 at best and there does not seem to be enough petrol in his tank to account for such a feat.

Market moves over the last two days interestingly enough have gone in favour of Djokovic who opened at 5/4 now 6/5. In most cases using my model the market would always end up being right over 75% of the time unless there are conflicting factors to consider. The odds seem to indicate that there is a greater probability of Djokovic maintaining his unbeaten streak than Nadal equalling Federer’s record. I am in total agreement with that statement for whatever it amounts to literally. However I would rather rephrase the  statement to translate to.....that there are more chances of Nadal winning another French Open title than Djokovic remaining unbeaten. Same statement, different impact on the thought process. I see Nadal winning cosily 3-0 with over 70% possibility and 3-1 30%. Since the odds for both are respectable, we should only be talking outright price here. Verdict: Nadal to win the 2020 French Open.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, BrandNew said:

liquidglass, your posts are like the wires on my headphones, in that I have to spend time laboriously untangling them, before I can begin to make use of them.

 

Can you clarify/simplify a couple of things please, because you appear to have totally contradicted yourself.

'.... there is a greater probability of Djokovic maintaining his unbeaten streak than Nadal equalling Federer's record. I am in total agreement with that statement.....'

'..... there are more chances of Nadal winning another French Open title than Djokovic remaining unbeaten.'

Which is it?

I can't be the only person confused by this post?!

 Foo Fighter, There was nothing there to untangle. I just presented 2 schools of thought that looked the same depending on which angle you looked at it from. It’s called mirroring of thoughts. Why  would you have been confused? Was there not a conclusion to what I said? Did you not read where I arrived at Nadal being the winner by 3-0 70% probability or Nadal 3-1 30% probability? .  Did you not see where I said in black and white Nadal wins cozily? Put whatever bias aside and re-read that post again. Also learn to speak for yourself.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, liquidglass said:

 Foo Fighter, There was nothing there to untangle. I just presented 2 schools of thought that looked the same depending on which angle you looked at it from. It’s called mirroring of thoughts. Why  would you have been confused? Was there not a conclusion to what I said? Did you not read where I arrived at Nadal being the winner by 3-0 70% probability or Nadal 3-1 30% probability? .  Did you not see where I said in black and white Nadal wins cozily? Put whatever bias aside and re-read that post again. Also learn to speak for yourself.

My apologies Foo fighter. I meant to reply Brand New who might need spectacles. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Strange things happened today. Zero fighting spirit from Djokovic, zero energy, zero mentality. 

26 games ONLY played in the final of Roland Garros!

Hey punters,, we are not stupid. What happened to the Serbian  old man? Doping medicine didn't work for him today?

Or perhaps the old man from Serbia received warning about doping test? 

Is up to you to decide dear punters. Time has come for all those muppets to stop cheating us.

Good night! 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I did not have a bet (I was busy with other stuff yesterday) and I only watched the start and the end of the match (while doing other things), so I do not really feel cheated on. It looked like the "doping medicine" finally kicked in for Nole halfway through the 3rd set.

I hope ATP is happy with TV ratings and overall revenue. Rafa is certainly happy with yet another title and and catching up with Federer.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/9/2020 at 7:49 PM, BrandNew said:

I’m not worried about where the next big names are coming from, there are plenty of them around - I’m worried about how regularly they will reach the latter stages of major tournaments and be allowed to compete against each other at the business end of these tournaments.

I'd say that's an issue for the top players. If they aren't able to take advantage of the protection they get from being seeded and make the latter stages of tournaments then that's their problem. Ultimately at this tournament the top players have failed to win the matches they should have won and that's the reason so many lower ranked players got so far.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If seeded players aren't winning when they should do then do they deserve the tag of superstars - I don't think so. What you seem to be suggesting is that because the top players aren't winning when they should do they should be given some sort of free pass.

The 'closed shop' of just the top players playing against each other already exists at the tour finals, but personally I wouldn't want to see tournaments like that during the regular season, which I suspect is the only way to ensure top players playing each other all the time.

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, BrandNew said:

If someone is in the top ten or sixteen in the world rankings, then they have proven that they are one of the superstars of the game, because of their results across a whole season. I don't expect them to win every single three-set match in the season, against lower-ranked opposition, and never be allowed an off day.

There are loads of options to make things more advantageous for the top players. They would all involve drastic shifts in the traditions of the game, but that shouldn't be a reason not to do so. It could be moving to five sets for some matches. It could be reducing the number of players in the field/number of rounds that the top players have to play to win the tournament. It could be having some tournaments move away from being a straight knockout, which would allow some margin for error in terms of a bad performance, or dodgy weather, or great performance by an underdog with nothing to lose, or whatever. There are options other than just saying 'well, we put numbers 1 to 32 next to your names, it's your own fault if you didn't make the latter stages.' 

The men's French Open had six out of six 'Box Office' matches in the quarters and semis. Every match had a context, story, rivalry, subplot etc, that was relevant to tennis as a whole, many of them due to the fact that these were players who had played significant matches recently, and were continuing those stories. (Djokovic vs. Carreno Busta, Nadal vs. Schwartzman, Tsitsipas vs. Rublev.)

In complete contrast, the women's side of the draw had one 'Box Office' match out of the six quarters and semis - Kvitova vs. Kenin. That's a really poor return. Yes, there were several big names and recent Grand Slam champions missing from the draw, but there were plenty still in the draw. No offence to any of the names involved, but Collins, Siegemund, Trevisan and Podoroska being in the quarter finals, is not providing any sort of draw for spectators. Swiatek was clearly the one providing the 'underdog' story - without the need for four other players from outside the Top 50!

 

The way I see it, we now have five young recent Grand Slam champions - Osaka, Barty, Andreescu, Kenin and Swiatek, who could and should be big players for the next decade. Along with several others, Gauff being the most 'Box Office' at the moment, if not necessarily the best. I want to be watching as many games and tournaments being contested between these players as possible, rather than random players from somewhere way down the rankings, who happen to have hit a bit of form for one tournament. I don't want to see another Grand Slam with anywhere near 5 players from outside the top 50 in the quarter finals. 

We'll have to agree to disagree. For me, it falls on the top players fairly and squarely to justify their seeding, their ranking, their 'box-office' status or whatever you want to call it by winning the matches they are supposed to win. You continue to draw parallels with the men, which is interesting because they more or less all won the matches they were supposed to win which culminated in a final that went with the seedings. Of course the men play more sets and that undoubtedly makes it more likely that the top players will win, but the fact is it's been best of three for the women for some time now and despite that handicap it hasn't stopped the very best female players from getting to the business end of tournaments and racking up wins, with the most obvious example of that being Serena Williams.

The cream will always rise and if a player really is great then they will consistently get results in the biggest tournaments no matter the format, and there's an argument to say that regardless of ranking there just aren't that many great female players around at the moment. Rankings show how good players are relative to each other not necessarily how good they are, so it's possible to be a top 16 player without being all that great and the fact the female rankings fluctuate so wildly also backs up that assertion. In fact, if you disregard Djokovic, Nadal, Federer and maybe Murray then even the top 16 on the men's side is subject to change.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I get the feeling this could go on and on. I disagree with a number of things you just wrote and we clearly have very different opinions, which of course is fine. I've put forward my thoughts and you've put forward yours and no doubt plenty will have read our exchanges and will have their opinions as well. I'm not trying to change what anyone else thinks, I'm just putting down what I think and then others can make up their own mind.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm always happy to discuss but the problem is we fundamentally disagree. You think something has to change, whereas I broadly believe it's fine the way it is. At the moment, whether you like it or not, the sport is run as a meritocracy - albeit with an element of protectionism in the form of rankings and seedings which give promising players the chance to solidify their position at the top of the sport and create a legacy - and that's the way it should be in my opinion as there's a balance between every player getting a chance to compete whilst giving an advantage to the very best players which should mean they get to the end of tournaments and then face each other for the best spectacle.

At this tournament, despite having the advantage of being seeded a number of the very best players failed to perform and so lost to other very capable players, regardless of what those players were ranked and besides which rankings change - who's to say that Podoroska for example won't be much more highly ranked next year and then with the benefit of hindsight her run here won't look as strange. I think it's insulting and demeaning to those players to say that it 'stank' for them to go as far as they did - today's random players way down the rankings could go on to much better things tomorrow. If anything stank, it was the poor performance of the 'very best' players and I'm sure that most of them would agree with that if they were being honest - Svitolina for a start held her hands up to playing particularly badly.

I'm not at all interested in, nor do I believe in the idea of an elite group of players playing each other all the time. For a start, if such a system did exist, then how would the likes of Swiatek and other young players get a chance to make it. At the moment, tennis works like a free-market economy and as such it's been the case now for quite some time that the sport can support the top 128 ranked players that are needed in the current Grand Slam format. There are players below that ranking - those that are emerging, declining or simply not good enough to be ranked any higher, but in those cases some kind of sponsorship is usually needed to continue in the sport. That status quo could be about to change in view of the pandemic, and if it does then I'll be in support of those changes as they will be organic and the result of the economic situation within the sport, not engineered to suit a particular preference.

Your argument seems to be that the 'best' players aren't winning as often as they should be - which strikes me as an oxymoron -  and so something should be done to make it easier for them to win so that they're able to play more often against other 'best' players or that the 'best' players should exclusively play each other more often. My argument is if they were that good you'd have nothing to complain about because they'd be winning far more often than they do and subsequently meeting each other more often, which leads me to conclude that these 'best' players that you speak of just aren't really that good or that instead of thinking of the best players in terms of ability it would be better to think of the best players in terms of form instead.

Having followed the game for a number of years now, that makes a lot of sense to me. There is tremendous volatility in the rankings, and as I've mentioned before that has to do with consistency. Consequently, you can have a player ranked in the top 10 on the back of a great twelve months playing against a player outside the top 100 because they've had a lean twelve months and that kind of scenario is not uncommon -  those two same players could then play each other the following year with the roles reversed. That has nothing necessarily to do with ability and Siegemund is a good example of that - by your logic she should have got nowhere near the last 8 of this tournament but I disagree. Her ranking is lower than it could be due to injuries - her career-high ranking is 27 and so it's not that much of a jump to make the last 8 if, as was the case, she plays well and/or her opponents play poorly. Also, the rankings as I'm sure you know take into account all surfaces whilst Siegemund's best surface by far is clay. If she were to be ranked according to clay-court performance only, I imagine her career-high ranking would be higher than 27.

I think the reality is there's only a few players that really stand out, and even then they'll still lose matches that they should win - something I'm happy to see because it would be boring otherwise - and that the rest all move about in the rankings as their ability levels are similar but their form changes, to the extent that the rankings are almost obsolete as a measure of ability. I look at rankings - with the exception of the very best players - as a measure of form, and so your idea of siphoning off the highest ranked players to play against each other isn't valid to my mind because ranking isn't exclusively synonymous with ability.

There are two things that come to mind that could potentially 'solve' inconsistent results where much lower ranked players regularly beat higher ranked players -  firstly, more players that are head and shoulders above the rest and secondly a two-year ranking list instead of one which should lead to more stable rankings. One thing I am certain of though is that inconsistency isn't caused by an inability to hold serve -  in the men's game there are lots of service holds which more or less cancel each other out, and in the women's game there are lots of breaks and these more or less cancel each other out.

Finally, the consistency in the men's game that you consider to be a benchmark I would argue is the result of a freak situation where three of the best players ever to play the game have been playing at the same time - players who are head and shoulders above the rest. It's therefore no surprise that the men's game looks more consistent as it's usually one of these three players that wins all the big titles, and once again at this tournament as I mentioned previously the final was between the top two seeds. Take those players away and arguably the men's game would have been as inconsistent in the last 15 or 20 years as the women's game has been.

Edited by Torque
Link to post
Share on other sites

The more I think about it the more I think the ranking system is the cause of 'inconsistent' results and unpredictability - or at least the perception of it. A lot of results wouldn't be seen as inconsistent or unpredictable if there were no rankings - the rankings make you think that a certain player should be beating another player even if there isn't much between them in ability and that even translates to the betting.

I mentioned a two-year ranking list as a preferable alternative to the current one-year list - that would definitely make the rankings more stable and another thing I would do is look at the ranking points given out at Grand Slams. The thing that skews rankings more than any other - certainly in a one year list - is a good Grand Slam performance. The best example of that I can think of is Cecchinato - he had a great run at the French Open a couple of years ago which propelled him into the top 30 and that one good tournament performance meant he stayed at least at that ranking for a year. He's done next to nothing since and so it's probably fair to say that he was ranked higher than he should have been. One great performance at one big tournament shouldn't have such a big impact on your ranking.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, BrandNew said:

I don’t think you’ve answered my initial question.

Do you not think all sports need a small group of recognisable stars, to be attractive to an audience?

You are already a tennis fan. You know lots about a vast range of players, from a long way down the rankings. So, you may like the current system.

Casual tennis fans, and potential new tennis fans however, will be turned off by seeing names they don’t recognise. As mentioned previously, 32 different Grand Slam finalists in a decade (compared to 15 in the 1980s, 18 in the 1990s, 19 in the 2000s) is way, way too many, for casual fans to be able to engage with.

(I often use my Mum as a benchmark for the typical ‘Grand Slam only’ tennis fan. She asked me ‘I assume Kenin and Swiatek are both unseeded?’ She didn’t immediately remember having watched Sofia Kenin win the Australian Open earlier this year. That is exactly the sort of place I expect casual tennis fans to be in at the moment - completely unable to keep up with the names in the women’s game.)

 

A two-year ranking list is a great suggestion by the way. That is a step I hadn’t thought of, but that too would help.

I thought I did answer that, but for the avoidance of doubt no I don't think tennis needs a small group of recognisable stars. If there is one then fair enough, but to me if there isn't one right now then that's because there just aren't that many players that are considerably better than the rest. There probably will be in the future though and it will happen naturally, as it has done in the past - I don't think it can or should be forced and actually it's not too different from the ebb and flow that exists in life in general. The weather, for example, changes between being hot and cold and a lot of people like that variety whilst others would prefer it was hot all the time or even cold and that's a matter of opinion rather than what's best. The fact there isn't a core of really recognisable players right now could be viewed as a negative, or in a more positive way as a chance to become more aware of a wider group and to see if any player is able go clear of that group ahead of a change back to a group of really recognisable players.

I can understand what you're saying, but I think what you're wanting to see - which is your preference and which runs counter to others who think the men's game is boring because the same players always win - is completely at the mercy of how many great players happen to be playing at any one time. Even with changes being made to the ranking system, from where I sit there still wouldn't be a group of elite players emerging from the pack. As I said previously, where ability is more or less uniform then all the current rankings do is put players in order of form or in order of which players had the best lucky one-off run at a big tournament and so the current players would just perpetually swap rankings.

What the tour does in its current iteration is give the most amount of players the most amount of opportunities, and then it's up to the players to make use of those opportunities with whatever talent and application they have. It's an inclusive approach which is fair and I'll use an example to try to show why I think - possible tweaks in the ranking system that I already mentioned not withstanding - the current system works well. Player A starts their career ranked outside the top 500, they make quick progress and get into the top 100, then the top 50 and finally the top 10. If they're consistently able to play to the best of their ability across a number of years then they stay ranked in the top 10 and so would become recognisable, but if they don't then they drop down the rankings and another player who has been more consistent takes their place and gets a chance to stay in that place if they can maintain that consistency and so on and so forth.

Elite players are able to maintain their ranking and so ring-fencing them and playing them off against each other regularly would make sense, but players like that are few and far between and so with that in mind and in the interests of fairness by what criteria would a player be considered eligible to join a core of recognisable stars. At the moment the players move up and down the rankings like a yo-yo and that's because none of them - or very few of them - are particularly better than any other and so don't consistently win such that they are able to maintain a high ranking. Let's say for the sake of argument there are 2 elite players who have maintained a high ranking for years, and then behind them there are 30 players of equal ability who have all moved around the rankings during those same years. Obviously 2 elite players is not enough for an elite tournament, and by the same token 32 players is too many so how would you decide who qualifies for the elite group and that's what I mean about being at the mercy of how many great players there happen to be. If there aren't any or enough stand-out players then there just aren't any or enough stand-out players - I don't see what can be done about that. 

You've mentioned previous generations and the higher uniformity of results, and obviously that goes in tandem with fewer players but at the same time even if there was a bigger pool of players years ago I think you'd still see Evert and Navratilova and Graf dominating because they were that good. I'm all for elitism as long as it's derived from egalitarianism, and so I can't agree with the thrust of what you're suggesting which is to solve the issue as you see it of a diluted sport by arbitrarily limiting access to that sport.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am wondering about the idea of tournaments with groups of the best players and I think that is a lame idea.
How do smaller tournaments survive? How the worst than top 16 players will survive? What about local young players? Who will be interested in buying broadcasting from smaller tournaments when top 16 tournament is on the way, there are often 3 ongoing tournaments?

Edited by lelit
Link to post
Share on other sites

I understood you didn't mean the best players having their own tour, and I certainly agree that the ranking system needs to be changed. I don't think it's fit for purpose at all, and if it was changed in the right way in theory it should mean more incidences of higher-ranked players beating lower-ranked players. I don't necessarily agree there should be fewer places available at tournaments - the current numbers are effectively based on the financials of the sport and if the sport can afford to offer up opportunities for as many players as it does then long may that continue as far as I'm concerned as that gives any talent that's out there the best chance of showing itself.

I also don't agree the standard is being diluted downwards - I see it as just the way it is right now where there are a lot of good players and not many great ones, as opposed to times in the past where there were a lot of great players and not many good ones. More players doesn't mean a lower standard, in fact it's probably the opposite and the comparison I would draw is snooker. Years ago there was a top 16 and that was about it, and since the sport expanded the consensus seems to be that standards have improved.

Ultimately though, your opinion about the sport being too random is exactly that; your opinion. My opinion is different - the randomness doesn't bother me so much because I'm not convinced it really is randomness. For me, if you strip away rankings assigned to players then what you're left with is a lot of players of very similar ability and so in that context any player beating any other player on any given day is understandable. True randomness is inferior players beating superior players on a very regular basis and I'm not sure we're seeing that, except perhaps at smaller tournaments and then most likely it's a case of motivation. I would like to see the ranking system change though as right now any good run in a big tournament disproportionately affects a player's ranking, and there are numerous examples that back up that assertion. Also, not all rankings are created equal - in one year, the gap in ability between the top 10 and the top 50 could be much smaller or bigger than another year so that the number 50 beating number 10 could either be a really big shock or no shock at all.

Finally, the only way that results are going to become consistent in the way you want them to be, and again as I've mentioned before, is if there are a core of players that are significantly better than the rest and therefore that much more likely to win when they're expected to and even then there will still be plenty of upsets. Unfortunately, no change in the ranking system, or seedings, or number of rounds or players taking part can influence how many really talented players are playing in any given era and without those players there is always going to be a wide variety of players reaching the latter stages of tournaments. You seem to be very happy with the way the men's game is going, but that's only because there are 3 exceptional active players. When they retire, and if they're not replaced which is highly likely given there's 3 of them, you'll most likely be bemoaning the state of the men's game. The bottom line is that tennis is like life - no matter how much you try to control it unexpected things always happen.

Edited by Torque
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, BrandNew said:

You seem unable to take a step back from what you personally enjoy watching, and consider what is appealing to a large number of fans in general. Too many different names, that casual fans can’t keep up with, is not an attractive prospect.

The men’s game has plenty of continuity, even without the ‘Big 3’ or ‘Big 4.’ Ferrer and Berdych for example, were right behind the ‘Big 4’ for a number of years. So was Wawrinka. So too Thiem. When, by round four of the US Open, the big three were missing, we were still left with Box Office matches, between big names. We didn’t suddenly find ourselves looking at players outside the top 50, and outside the top 100. It’s a total fallacy to suggest that the consistency in the men’s game is solely down to the big three.

There is obviously less of a gap between each player in the women’s game than there once was. The WTA has to find a way to magnify those decreasing gaps, to continue to be attractive to fans.

You mentioned snooker. I’d consider myself a casual snooker fan. If I turned on a major tournament, and the quarter finalists included 3 players from 50-100 in the rankings, and 2 players from outside the top 100, then that wouldn’t interest me. I probably wouldn’t know who those players were and I wouldn’t be interested in watching their matches. The top 8 or 16 players in that sport are the big draw, as they are in women’s tennis, as they are in any other sport. There is a limit to the number of players that fans can keep up with.

As I mentioned a while back, our opinions are far too diverse for any hope of agreement. What you're saying is underpinned by the idea that rankings are king, whereas I've said that I don't believe the rankings are the be-all and end-all - at least in their current guise.

For the record, I have no preference about what I watch and I'm unbiased in that respect - I'm just as happy watching the 'consistency' of the men's game as I am the 'inconsistency' of the women's. What I am biased about though is a belief that where possible the sport should be accessible to as many players as it can, and from that starting position a group of elite players either emerge or they don't.

You would rather see the highest-ranked players taking up spots in the latter stages of big tournaments and I can understand that, and it may even be the majority view but if it isn't the highest-ranked players taking up those spots I don't think that means the majority of casual viewers aren't interested in watching - although like you there will be some who feel that way. As you say, there's less of a gap between the players than there was but I don't agree a way needs to be or should be found to magnify those gaps or believe it's possible to do so. It would be unfair to essentially say to a player that's really close to the level of another player that the sport is actively going to try to accentuate the gap between them via some kind of glass ceiling. I also wouldn't want to discriminate against a player on the basis of their ranking - there are plenty of good players that are ranked lower than they should be and conversely good players that are ranked higher than they should be, and that happens for a multitude of reasons.

You're right about the men's game and I should have been more specific - yes there have been a number of other players besides the big 3 that have able to stay near the top of the rankings for a prolonged period, but that's because they had the extra talent and consistency relative to the other players needed to do that. You can't get blood out of a stone and in the women's game it's just not like that - there isn't a plethora of both talented and consistent players.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I said right at the start that I'm not against giving the better players some form of protection, but my overarching point is I think it's gone far enough with 32 seeds at Grand Slams - the lowest seeded players are often not much better than players ranked twice as low which I would say makes 32 seeds unjustified. On top of that, the seedings in tournaments is one glass ceiling and one glass ceiling only which is binary in that you're either protected by your ranking or you're not - what you were talking about was to magnify the decreasing gaps between players which is a different thing and would be the equivalent of an exponential increase in the number of glass ceilings. 

I have no problem with the idea of change, nor of discussing change and I agree with you that evolution is sometimes necessary. Things change all the time and that's the way the world works but I'm no fan of change for the sake of change, and particularly when it fails to address the issue it's intended to address. I can only repeat what I've said a few times now which is that the changes you're suggesting won't change the fact that there aren't many players that are significantly better than the others, which is what is needed with the current ranking format in order for results to be more predictable, and with that in mind what's the point in making the changes. It doesn't make much sense to me - I just don't see how what you're suggesting improves the tennis spectacle, except from the standpoint of less players by definition meaning less possible combinations at the end of the big tournaments that most people tune in to watch. If that's what you mean then perhaps we simply differ in what we believe constitutes the best tennis product, and it may well be that your idea of how tennis should look is more appealing to the people consuming tennis than the way it is now and if that's the case then I've no doubt the current tennis model will change and I'll fully support that.

It's interesting that you've mentioned the changes that have been trialled in recent years, like no deuce and shorter sets. Both of those things without question increase the volatility of results, so I'm surprised if you're in favour of them based on your comments so far. Both of those things have also have failed to take off from what I've seen and so it's reasonable to suggest that tennis might need some tweaks, but it doesn't need to have the number of players halved - unless there are financial reasons for that which there may well end up being.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, BrandNew said:

No, I’m certainly not in favour of changing the actual structure of a tennis game, or structure of a tennis set. That was the point I was making, that changing the structure of tournaments or of rankings, should be far more preferable than changing the structure of the actual match itself. (I exclude the 3 set/5 set debate from that statement, as 3 sets and 5 sets are both seen as valid forms of tennis which already take place.)

That’s nonsense to say there is ‘one glass ceiling only.’ There are loads of ‘glass ceilings’ if that’s what you want to call them. The top 2 seeds avoid each other until the final. The top 4 avoid each other until the semis. The top 8 avoid each other until the quarters. The top 16 avoid each other until the fourth round. The top 32 avoid each other until the third round. Excuse my ignorance for not knowing the numbers, but, a certain ranking point is the cut off for automatic qualification. Then, I’m guessing there is seeding in qualifying? There is for most other tournaments. I believe there is pre-qualifying as well? So, there’s a cut-off point for how many qualifying matches you have to play? Presumably there’s some kind of cut-off for being allowed to enter the tournament - I couldn’t just turn up at Roland Garros with a racket and be allowed to enter qualifying?

Every single sport is separated in such a way, many to far more of a degree than tennis. In some sports, one extra place doesn’t just mean seeded/unseeded, it means huge implications for the future. In English football, you have the 4th placed team earning the prestige and the riches of playing in the next season’s Champions League, whilst the 5th placed team goes to the much less glamorous, and much less financially rewarding Europa League. Even more dramatic, supposedly almost the biggest financial difference in all of sport, is the difference between the teams finishing 17th and 18th. The higher of those teams gets to continue playing in the Premier League next season, again with all the riches that brings, whereas the lower team misses out and drops down a level.

This is how sport works. Tennis already does this. They might as well do it in a way that is beneficial to the sport and makes the sport as attractive as possible. A sport is allowed to come up with a structure that separates players into certain groups. As long as there are routes for movement between those groups, I don’t think that is a bad thing.

 

I can’t believe that we seem to disagree on the fundamental idea that a sport needs a group of 8-16 recognisable names, regularly competing at the business end of major tournaments. 

I agree with you, for example Laura Siegemund, or Danielle Collins, may be good enough to beat those top 16 players, say four times out of ten, so there is very little difference in standard. However, tennis has to structure itself in a way that exaggerates that gap and allows the public to be presented with some continuity and some familiarity, rather than a whole new set of names and faces at the business end of every Grand Slam.

I may have got this completely wrong, and I would be very interested to see some statistics and data on the issue, but I would be astounded if sports fans are as happy watching a group of random/unknown names, as they are watching players, rivalries, and continuations of stories that they are already aware of. That is what every sport is built on, I can’t see why women’s tennis would be any different.

As I've already said, I think the ranking system definitely needs to be looked at so I agree with you there, but where we differ in opinion is you think tournament fields should be smaller whilst I believe there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the way they are now - cutting fields in half will not solve the issue of few stand-out players and there will still be 'inconsistent' results.

You made a point of highlighting all the other 'glass ceilings' within the game besides seedings, and that to me just shows that there's more than enough barriers to entry and enough ways to separate the players already and protect them once they reach a certain level, but all of them hinge on players continuing to win relative to whatever level they find themselves at - win more and you can move up, win less and you move down. An obvious corollary of that is if you have players that are of a similar ability, then they will all move up and down depending on their form and a steady group of elite players will never appear - a system designed to protect better players will obviously fall down if there are no better players.

I don't disagree with you that it would be preferable if there were a group of recognisable players at the head of the game, but the fact is there isn't and that's either because ability levels are more or less uniform or because the ranking system isn't allowing them to stand out because the differences in ability are so fine. As the saying goes, form is temporary and class is permanent and as much as in the men's game a one-year list has been able to create a core of top players the reason for that is likely that those players stand out against the rest of the tour. In the women's game where there aren't currently that many players that reach the top and stay there, perhaps what's needed is a two-year list that would minimise the impact of form and allow class more of a chance to shine through - at the moment the ranking system possibly isn't shining brightly enough on the players to show subtle differences in ability.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...