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Women's Grand Slam tennis: A revolving door of champions

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London, July 9 (IANS) If Karolina Pliskova, a former world No.1 and a finalist at 2016 US Open, manages to win the women’s final against Ashleigh Barty at the Wimbledon Championships on Saturday, she will be the 13th woman winning a singles title over the last Grand Slam 17 events. Women’s singles tennis at Grand Slams, unlike men’s tennis, has been a revolving door of champions over the last four years.

In the corresponding period — going back to French Open 2017 — there have been only three male players winning the singles trophies. Roger Federer has clinched three of those, Rafael Nadal six and Novak Djokovic seven. Federer had even won the 2017 Australian Open just before the French Open.

Karolina’s opponent Ashleigh is the current world No. 1 but has only Grand Slam singles title to her name. She had won the 2019 French Open.

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Multiple champions have devoid women’s tennis of a player who could acquire legendary status as massive fan following comes with domination at the top level like in the case of men’s tennis, where there are either Federer fans or Nadal fans or Djokovic fans since the trio alone has dominated top flight tennis.

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka, with four titles, and Romanian Simona Halep, with two titles, are the only women players to have won multiple Grand Slam singles titles during the period.

Naomi, due to her multiple major titles that pushed Serena Williams to second place and her into first place in the 2020 Forbes list for highest earning female athletes, has looked like one who could dominate the tennis scene for a long time.

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But due to her inability to handle media pressure and unwillingness to face them, she pulled out of both the French Open and Wimbledon this year. She had to cop $15,000 fine too for skipping a media interaction during the French Open.

Her absence, however, has allowed the tournaments to become even more open and competitive.

Imran Mirza, who has mentored his daughter Sania into one of India’s top woman tennis players, and has observed women’s tennis closely for around three decades due to his involvement with her career, said there are two ways to look at it.

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“Some people say that the quality of women’s tennis has gone down. But you can also say that quality and competition has gone up. Back in the 1990s, you would have players like Steffi Graf, Gabriela Sabatini and Monica Seles who would coast to semi-finals, winning sets with 6-0, 6-1, 6-2 margins,” said Mirza before explaining that men’s tennis has seen an unusual era where the top three have been too good to allow any competition.

“Until the semis, they wouldn’t face competition. But that is not happening now. You have so many contenders,” he said. “Men’s tennis has seen a domination of players – Federer, Nadal and Djokovic — who were exceptionally good. You wouldn’t find anyone else coming near them. That is why recent singles Grand Slam titles have been shared among these three only.”

–IANS

kh/qma

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