'Can't Compare Today's Girls With Them': Williams & Sharapova's Absence Felt On WTA Tour

'Can't Compare Today's Girls With Them': Williams & Sharapova's Absence Felt On WTA Tour

by Nurein Ahmed

Former WTA No. 1 Karolina Pliskova recently spilled the beans about the current state of women's tennis, which she believes is lacking the aura and personalities of iconic players.

Plsikova, in an interview that was shared on X (formerly Twitter), is quoted admitting that the WTA has had a marketing problem since the retirement of Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.

Williams, 42, and Sharapova, 36, are two of the most influential and highly successful tennis players in history. And because of their inherent marketing appeal, both players were staunch ambassadors of several high-profile brands.

Their star power and global reach transcended the tennis landscape. Serena won 23 Grand Slams in singles in an illustrious playing career that lasted nearly three decades, and she was ranked No. 1 for over 300 weeks. She retired from professional tennis in 2022.

Sharapova, meanwhile, won five majors and touched the No. 1 spot during a 19-year playing career. According to Forbes, the Russian is estimated to have earned more than $200 million (including prize money) since 2001 having been the world's highest-paid female athlete for 11 consecutive years.

Pliskova believes the standards have dropped significantly on the WTA tour, even though she refrained from commenting on the tennis side. But she believes that the two icons left an indelible mark on the sport that has never quite been emulated by the current crop of players.

"I guess not only I feel that it's not entirely ideal, even though each of today's top girls has something to offer. I won't comment on the tennis aspect, but charisma plays a role too. Sharapova and Serena were huge personalities, even in the marketing world. You can't compare today's girls with them."

Pliskova hopes to return to competition next month after a premature end to her 2023 campaign due to a wrist injury. She states that the WTA isn't promoting the players sufficiently.

Furthermore, the big-serving Czech explained that the tour suffers from low crowd turnout and the playing field doesn't quite stack up to previous years.

"It doesn’t seem to me that they promote it well. Women’s tennis now seems sidelined, not as many people go to it as before. When I was playing well and these big names were still active, the level of everything around was higher."


You may also like