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  #1  
Old 06-28-2013, 05:20 PM
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Default Next Tennis Break-Out Star

After looking at this year's Wimbledon really a so far I think it's safe to say that we're bound to get some change in the "top" of men's tennis. Now whilst this change can come from anyone there are a few people I can see breaking through faster than others.

Jerzy Janowicz for example is my number one pick to be the first major break through as he has the service skills of some of the best in the game like Raonic, whilst also being able to hammer ground strokes on the court. I think if he gets some more confidence and a little more consistency he'll be top 5 by the end of the year.

Vasek Pospisil is also someone I see making a nice run this summer. I feel he is the actual future for Canadian tennis. He may be a mental case right now however I've seen him live actually and have found that he has a ton of desire. He was also only two holds away from entering the third round of wimbledon.

Bautista Agut- I've had my eye on him ever since I watched him at a Challenger event back in Novemberish I believe. He has fire and a good head on him. Plus he beats everyone he's supposed to beat. Give him time and he will shine.


However who do you all think can be the next big thing.
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  #2  
Old 06-28-2013, 07:30 PM
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I'm not going to talk about the ATP. This is for two reasons, the first, and most important reason is I have very little interest in it. The second is that breaking out in the ATP is so fucking difficult I don't see a major shake up coming to the top of the game any time soon. Federer will retire, and Rafa will take time off. But ultimately, their absence won't enable a fresh batch of players to break into the top tier. It just means the Tsongas of the world might get a change to win a few ATP1000 events. There's a systemic cause for this. To break into the top flight almost requires a player to have a full team to support them, which takes money that frankly does not exist unless you're a top player (you make piss all money on the Challenger circuit). Combine that with teenagers being nowhere near the top level (there's only one in the top 200) and the same faces aren't going to get displaced any time soon. It's a shame, but it's a sign of the times and how physically demanding the game has become.

However on the women's side there are some definite breakout stars in the making. There are the obvious people like Laura Robson, Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys. Three girls with big games and results to go along with it. I believe Laura's recorded more top 10 wins than world number 5 Sara Errani for example; and both Sloane and Keys have victories over Serena Williams, the latter when she was just 14 (granted it was at a WTT event, but still). There's also Donna Vekic, who turned 17 yesterday and is the youngest person to break into the top 100 in over 6 years, and has reached two WTA finals. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are several young players I haven't mentioned that should have bright futures, as well as players that have been around a little longer that are also looming and finding success.

Of the ones I mentioned, (and I shall disclose that I am biased here) I feel Robson will be the biggest star. It's not because she's the best player. At the moment, that's almost certainly Sloane if for no other reason than Laura's been about as consistent as a random number generator on the court this year. She shows up for big events, but when you've lost something like 13 first round matches this year, and averaged a dozen double faults a match... yeah, there's a reason Sloane's ranked in the top 20 and Laura isn't. However, there's more to being a star than being a great tennis player. You have to be able to connect with people off the court, and that's an area that Laura does better than any of the other girls I've mentioned. She comes off as being likeable and is entertaining in her press conferences, which combined with her looks (which are depressingly important. Sharapova wouldn't have half the number of fans that she does if she wasn't pretty and blonde), gets her a lot of press attention building her profile and status beyond what it would be based on her results alone. She's also better at managing her image than at the very least Sloane Stephens who managed to have a PR disaster involving a pathetic feud with Serena Williams over getting unfollowed on Twitter (I say pathetic because that's exactly what it was, and it got blown out of proportion, partially because of things Sloane said in interviews) which damaged her reputation in at least the short term. If you're a public figure, you have to be careful what you say on the record (unless you're someone whose thing is to do the opposite) and Laura really is. She rarely says anything negative about other players (hell, just last week fellow young Brit Heather Watson said lower ranked players get ignored by Serena and other top players, while Robson talked about the Williams sisters and other players bonding over their pet dogs. It's a notable contrast, in my opinion) or that can be misconstrued (not since implying other players were sluts when she was 16, anyway) while still providing quotable answers. It's how you handle things off the court (or at least while not playing a point) that make the difference between being a star and just a successful player.
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  #3  
Old 06-29-2013, 05:18 PM
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Well I have to agree with you the three women you picked for break out stars I have nothing against at all.

Going off on a small tangent here but I think the most important thing for someone who wants to elevate their game is a sound head. I was a huge Raonic fan for example and I feel for all the hype surrounding Raonic however I've recently come to terms that he just isn't great mentally. He hired lbujicic as his new head coach changed all his gear, and tried modifying his strokes and ultimately he gets a second round defeat in a tournament that he should do well in. His response was "I'm pathetic" you're absolutely right in saying in tennis a star is made off the court as well as on the court.

If you look at someone like Federer he's been on top for so long and I can honesty say the worst PR Ive ever heard about him is the fact that he may be too "traditional." He's a star also for his tennis but having nothin negative said about you in his long career is also something quite interesting.

To your other point about the ATP and how hard it is to breakthrough, I think part of this is because the newer players just can't play as much as some of the established starts. Sure there are plenty of challenger level events but when you're askin someone who makes about 60,000 a year (being generous) to go to tournament to tournament Paris to India to New York it's not feasible.

To breakthrough I think it's necessary to get yourself somehow enough sponsors and team to play the tournaments and then up your ranking. I think it's ironic that the countries that publicly support their tennis players (France, Spain, Serbia) I shall not even consider adding U.S.A to that list have the most consistent players in the Top 100.

It's all about how you market yourself and then if you can back it up with good play and in tennis that seems kind of hard to do.
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Old 06-29-2013, 07:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macios View Post
Well I have to agree with you the three women you picked for break out stars I have nothing against at all.
Stephens gives the impression of having a terrible attitude. Not that it takes away from her on court performance, but it's the kind of thing that really alters how you're treated by the media and general public (and by extension, sponsors)

Quote:
Going off on a small tangent here but I think the most important thing for someone who wants to elevate their game is a sound head. I was a huge Raonic fan for example and I feel for all the hype surrounding Raonic however I've recently come to terms that he just isn't great mentally. He hired lbujicic as his new head coach changed all his gear, and tried modifying his strokes and ultimately he gets a second round defeat in a tournament that he should do well in. His response was "I'm pathetic" you're absolutely right in saying in tennis a star is made off the court as well as on the court.
Oh, absolutely. Once you're approaching the top level of the game, the difference between ok, good and great is almost entirely mental. There's no better proof of that than Sara Errani. She doesn't have a serve (well, she does. It's just got a lot of accuracy and no power), she doesn't have any ways to reliably end a point. But what she does have is a willingness to chase down every ball that she can get to and fight for every point no matter the scoreline. With that mindset she's gotten as high as number 5 in the world.

Just to go back to Robson for a moment, she provided a stellar example of why mental strength is so important. She lost the first set 1-6. She went a break down in the second. However, she didn't give up and remained in the game until she broke twise, taking the set 7-5. She broke twise in the third set and although she got broken once, she still comfortably served it out. Her opponent choked and Robson capitalised. In her presser after the match Robson admitted that she knew that her only option was to keep playing her game and put the pressure on until her opponent folded. She played badly (or at least, well below her best) but succeeded because she was mentally stronger than her opponent.

Quote:
If you look at someone like Federer he's been on top for so long and I can honesty say the worst PR Ive ever heard about him is the fact that he may be too "traditional." He's a star also for his tennis but having nothin negative said about you in his long career is also something quite interesting.
Well there are also slightly more rabid fans (mostly of Nadal) who call him worse things, but nobody really listens to them. They're the smarks of the tennis world.

Quote:
To your other point about the ATP and how hard it is to breakthrough, I think part of this is because the newer players just can't play as much as some of the established starts. Sure there are plenty of challenger level events but when you're askin someone who makes about 60,000 a year (being generous) to go to tournament to tournament Paris to India to New York it's not feasible.
It's not playing that's the problem. It's how much you need to pay in order to just break even. Someone on another forum I browse worked out that in order to break even at the bottom rung of the ATP - the 10K future events - requires $1,100 a month (and that's cutting every possible cost that you can, living in a van and driving it between tournaments). Playing 4 of such tournaments a month (that might not always be possible) you'd need to consistently reach the quarter finals of each in order to break even. And even then I think he's underestimating how much it'll cost and how hard it'll be. Breaking through is doable, of course it is. It just takes a lot of time, debt and a supportive family. Oh, and talent. But no amount of talent in the world can help you if you can't afford to stay in the game.

Quote:
To breakthrough I think it's necessary to get yourself somehow enough sponsors and team to play the tournaments and then up your ranking. I think it's ironic that the countries that publicly support their tennis players (France, Spain, Serbia) I shall not even consider adding U.S.A to that list have the most consistent players in the Top 100.
There are over 2,000 men who play tennis professionally, and just over 1,000 women. Unless there are exceptional circumstances at play (like an especially good juniors career) you're not going to sniff sponsorship money until you're one of the elite players (top 10-20%). That's just the reality of being a professional sportsman. Ironically, it's when you start winning enough to support yourself on winnings that your home federation will start to support you and sponsors will start paying you to use their racquets and wear their clothes.

Quote:
It's all about how you market yourself and then if you can back it up with good play and in tennis that seems kind of hard to do.
Well, there's a lot of competition and in a lot of places not a lot of interest outside of the major tournaments and/or big name players. However, there is one thing to be said for tennis. If you're a woman, it's the one place where you can make as much money as a man, and you can make a lot of money. With the season only half over, 7 women have already made a million dollars in prize money (and that's ignoring any income from sponsorship deals, which they all have). There's enormous disparity, but for those that beat the odds, it's a great sport to be a part of.
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  #5  
Old 06-29-2013, 07:52 PM
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I'd use specific quotations but chunking it out on my phone is quite difficult so I'm just going to write it out with quotes.

Stephens can appear bitchy sometimes however there are other moments in which she seems like a generally nice person. I think her problem is when she starts commenting on other players and such and starts to get a bit cocky. Personally on tennis channel racquet bracket challenge I had her winning the entire damn tournament because I think she has te skills to win, but like we've talked about its all mental. If she focuses on herself then I think she can do it (especially with how her draw has ended up) if she starts to focus on her opponents then I'd say no.

Secondly I have to agree the 1100 dollars seems quite small, I'd guess it be much larger however It all depends of course on what an average tennis player would need for victory. Surely sleeping in a van with minimal food and expenses cannot be that great for a tennis player's overall performance. However to your point you need tons of support.

Fom my own personal experience back when I was younger I was registered in the USTA and was ranked in the Middle States portion of the USTA. Now I know it was my parents paying it however an average tournament entry fee was around 60 dollars, transportation usually another 60, lodging could be around 150, and food could be anywhere from 30-100 for a 5 day tournament. And that's just the cost for a junior. Tennis costs way more than one would ever expect.

And finally I've had this conversation lots recently but women do extremely well in tennis. When looking at slams in general they play about half the amount men do and get relatively similar pay checks. It's really interesting how that works and as you said one of the only sports that have great equality.
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Old 06-29-2013, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macios View Post
I'd use specific quotations but chunking it out on my phone is quite difficult so I'm just going to write it out with quotes.
Fair 'nuff.

Quote:
Stephens can appear bitchy sometimes however there are other moments in which she seems like a generally nice person. I think her problem is when she starts commenting on other players and such and starts to get a bit cocky.
There is that, but at times that cockiness just crosses over into unlikability. Seriously, she referred to her last opponent (who took a set from her 6-0) as "that girl" not to mention her other dramas of earlier in the year. She definitely needs to work on her interview skills though.

Quote:
Personally on tennis channel racquet bracket challenge I had her winning the entire damn tournament because I think she has the skills to win, but like we've talked about its all mental. If she focuses on herself then I think she can do it (especially with how her draw has ended up) if she starts to focus on her opponents then I'd say no.
Serena's going to win. It's her best surface and Sloane took advantage of her being injured in Australia. She has a good skillset, but her biggest problem lies between her ears. She's liable to be passive despite having the tools to do otherwise. Occasionally mentally fragile too. The semis are possible, but she'll struggle to get past Petra Kvitova.

Quote:
Secondly I have to agree the 1100 dollars seems quite small, I'd guess it be much larger however It all depends of course on what an average tennis player would need for victory. Surely sleeping in a van with minimal food and expenses cannot be that great for a tennis player's overall performance. However to your point you need tons of support.
This is the guy's breakdown. The $1,100 is what an average player in the top 500 is making, according to what's been said to the media.

Quote:
1. $40 entry fee per tournament
2. Gas to tournament
3. $100 per month on protein powder supplements
4. $30 per month for a gym, such as LA Fitness, where they are everywhere
5. Shoes, well you can get a pair of adidas Barricades right now on tennis warehouse for $100, and they have 6 month guarantee, you exchange for free new pair. I spend no more than $200 per year on shoes, call it $20 per month.
6. No coaches, you are your own coach
7. You are your own physiotherapist
8. Play on public courts
9. Scavenge for balls at tournaments. Today I found 20 almost new balls.
10. What equipment? I already have my racquets and clothes. So long as your string your own sticks and don't smash them, you are ok.
11. Car repairs, this is the biggest thing, if anything.
12. Car insurance, like $80 per month
13. Food, like $300 a month tops
As long as he doesn't need to spend more than $400 on gas, he figures he can scrape by as a top 500 player. Statistically, it's unlikely for him to make it to that level.

Quote:
Fom my own personal experience back when I was younger I was registered in the USTA and was ranked in the Middle States portion of the USTA. Now I know it was my parents paying it however an average tournament entry fee was around 60 dollars, transportation usually another 60, lodging could be around 150, and food could be anywhere from 30-100 for a 5 day tournament. And that's just the cost for a junior. Tennis costs way more than one would ever expect.
Oh absolutely. It's one of those things where people think that it's cheap. All you need is a racquet, right? Yeah, once you take into account the logistics and how much it costs to get good (i.e. training) the costs start to escalate.

Quote:
And finally I've had this conversation lots recently but women do extremely well in tennis. When looking at slams in general they play about half the amount men do and get relatively similar pay checks. It's really interesting how that works and as you said one of the only sports that have great equality.
This is a topic for another thread. Long story short, best of 5 sets is something that can fuck right off. It's a relic of a bygone era. It's getting to the point where it's irresponsible when the game's as physical as it is on the men's side and so much time is spent playing on concrete with sand in its paintjob.

Women get a comparatively good deal in tennis for what amounts to one reason. The balls on Billie Jean King (and 8 other brave women) are huge and made of brass. She persuaded other female players to screw the establishment and set up their own tour with what amounted to decent winnings. It was a big risk, and it paid off. They had their own circuit, their own TV deals and its own sponsors. Because women had leverage now, they could apply pressure and get a fairer deal and what's fairer than getting paid the same amount to be watched by the same audience to beat the same number of opponents (assuming there weren't any walkovers)? Before the original 9 walked out and formed the Virginia Slims Circuit (which led to the WTA) the pay disparity between men and women was up to 12:1. We've come a long way.
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