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What's Wrong With U.S. Women's Professional Tennis?

Where's the U.S. version of Dominika Cibulkova or Sabine Lisicki?

If anything, this year's edition of the Hopman Cup has shown that there really isn't any player around their age or of their caliber reppin' the red, white and blue coming any time soon. I mean, why else would Meghann Shaughnessy be tapped to replace Serena Williams on the U.S. squad despite only playing a handful of matches last year due to injury? The sad thing about the state of the pro game is that if you were to think about it, you couldn't have made an argument for anyone else, excluding Venus Williams or Lindsay Davenport.

Shaughnessy has played her opponents pretty tough after being put in a difficult situation.

However... (if you read my blog, Tennis Talk, Anyone?, you had to know a "However" was coming!)

She shouldn't have been in that situation! With the resources the United States Tennis Association has, there should've been a young player making a serious dent in the rankings by now. Instead, a nation of journeywomen has developed: Ashley Harkleroad, Vania King, Jamea Jackson, the list goes on and on.

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the last U.S. player to crack the top 10 was Serena Williams almost 10 years ago. (Shaughnessy, once a great U.S. hope, only got as high as 11.) Those are pretty sad results.

There's a few youngsters playing now that have had good junior results, such as Madison Brengle, Melanie Oudin, Asia Muhammad and CoCo Vandeweghe, who won the U.S. Open juniors last year. (And in a shameless plug, check out what I wrote about her for On the Baseline.) Hopefully, they can soon make waves on the pro level.

I don't believe the U.S. women are less talented than their peers. Is it a matter of desire? That's been one of the age-old arguments, but I actually think it's getting kind of stale.

The U.S. won't collapse if it doesn't win the Hopman Cup again and I don't want it to seem like I'm dumping on Shaughnessy (I'm actually a big fan), but counting on Venus and Serena to carry the hopes of a nation will only go so much longer. Something really needs to be done.

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Comment by Patrick on January 13, 2009 at 5:46pm
I'd love to see a little gas in the U.S. Womens circuit as well, but I think the academy-driven focus is ruining some possible contenders. I think these girls attend the Chris Evert or Bollettieri camps, and they believe that the wins will simply happen by default, rather than realizing that the effort must still be made to overcome some of the best players the womens' game has ever seen.

As always, I love reading your stuff.

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