Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Assessing the effect of power on the women's game

The New York Times published a feature today on how power has changed the women's game. Michael Kimmelman looks at racquet technology, power training, and the influence the Williams sisters have had in shaping the tour. This kind of story has been written many times, but Kimmelman makes the current story more personal and anecdotal than some other writers have. All in all, it's a good read.

(Kudos to Kimmelman, too, for stating that Stacey Allaster is a chairwoman, despite her own failure to identify herself as female in her official title. I have come to expect a lot of sexism from the Times, so this was a nice surprise.)

The slide shows on power and hard hitting are quite unusual, and I wish I knew what the Times photo editors were attempting. Be prepared to laugh at both the music and the costumes. And why on Earth would Sam Stosur's backhand be featured instead of her forehand?

Having just watched this, the story only made me long for less power and more art and grace. The participants in the 1985 U.S. Open final had enough "power" for this viewer.


Overhead Spin said...

I thought the video was actually beautifully done. It showed the women in the way how I have always wanted to see them portrayed, beautiful and powerful. Graceful yet athletic. Women in charge of their own destinies.

I am tired of seeing them all glammed up and looking like they are starring in a porn flick. Show them the way how they really are. Intense, powerful, graceful, beautiful athletes.

As for Stosur's backhand, yeah, you would think they would go for the forehand shot. I loved that they started with Azarenka's feet since that is the part of her game that I love watching the most. I have become addicted to watching the feet of tennis players ever since USO 2008 when I saw Serena Williams rallying on her second match point. Her feet were just always in motion and I just could not understand why people say that she moves poorly. Love watching JJ and Wozniacki as well even though they make me feel tired everytime I do watch them.

Diane said...

I liked the slo-mo and the movement, but the outfits were just too much for me, except for Serena's, which I liked well enough. I understand the designers were trying to show "flow," but it didn't come off that way to me. I would rather have seen them in tennis outfits, or at least in costumes that were not so stylized.

People think Serena moves poorly?! I should move so "poorly"....

Overhead Spin said...

Diane, I say that as well. She is not only a great mover but she is as quick as lightning. You would not think it by the way she plods from one side of the court to the next. It is like she can hardly move but as soon as the point gets started, she is like a bullet.

svente said...

Bud Collins shouldn't be allowed to discuss womens' tennis bc he clearly has a hatred for it.

And seriously, this arguement comes up all. the. time. for. generations. Yet no one thinks Nadal/Feds dominance ruins the mens' game. Blech. In the end the reporter was spot on with this:

"People worrying about the game today will probably be the same ones, years from now, who boast about having seen Serena in her prime, along with Henin and Venus and Sharapova and Clijsters.

There’s nothing like it, they’ll say. Those were the days."

Diane said...

Bud Collins is actually the biggest supporter of the women's tennis of the entire media bunch. He was a supporter back when people thought women's tennis shouldn't exist on the pro tour. He is entitled to criticize the tour, however (and even then, I suspect only part of his sentence was published). But he clearly does not have a "hatred" for it--quite the other way around.