Sunday 6 September 2009

The Williams Sisters have the right idea!

I haven't managed to watch much of this year's US Open tennis tournament yet, but I've been following reports everyday in the papers. Naturally there's a lot of focus on Andy Murray. He made some comments this week which I found slightly annoying, about the Williams sisters.

It was in relation to the women's ranking system. He argued that the sisters had made the system pointless by playing in so few tournaments and only turning up for the big Grand Slams!

I'm not quite sure why Murray was being asked to comment on the women's ranking system, or why he's so concerned about how many tournaments the Williams sisters play. What has it got to do with him?

The main issue about the rankings concerns the fact that the world No1 Dinara Safina is ranked No1 despite never winning a Grand Slam. Serena Williams has won 3 out of the last 4 Grand Slams but is only ranked No2 in the world.

The point Murray was trying to make is that the Williams sisters don't turn up for those tournaments that give low ranking points for participating in, unlike the Grand Slams. Murray's argument is that there should be a reward for a player's consistency over a season, which is something that can be said of Safina despite her failure in the Grand Slams.

It's not the Williams sisters fault that so many tournaments don't provide enough ranking points. At the end of the day as with all sports; teams and individuals are judged and remembered on how they perform in the major championships and events.

The Williams sisters are two of the all time greats of women's tennis, and that greatness has been established by winning the Majors on a regular basis.

Safina may well be the current No1 but she will never be remembered as a great champion unless she starts winning the majors. She was knocked out of the US Open today, and her performance in this year's Wimbledon Semi-final against Venus was so shocking it made a mockery of her No1 status.

Another point that I think should be raised about the women's game is the amount of tournaments that women play and the length of many players careers.

At the moment the women's game is essentially the Williams sisters verse a number of faceless forgettable Eastern Europeans. Players who are here today gone tomorrow.

The Williams sisters have been around for well over ten years consistantly winning major tournaments. Maybe they have the right idea of limiting the amount of games that they play in a season, making sure they're fit for the four Grand Slams and also keeping themselves fresh and not burning themselves out.

You have players like Maria Sharapova who although still in her early 20s has suffered so many injury problems in recent years, it seems she's already past her peak! Other top women players like Justine Henin end up having to retire at the ridiculously young age of 25!

Andy Murray might by making a valid point about how the women's ranking system is organised but there's no reason to have a go at the Williams sisters. He should concentrate on his own game and try winning a Grand Slam, a true measure on how good any tennis player is thought to be.

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