Maria Sharapova was RIGHT to suggest there is a shortage of elite talent in women’s tennis


Maria Sharapova was RIGHT to suggest there is a shortage of elite talent in women’s tennis… but the strength in depth lower down is probably greater ahead of US Open final clash between Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur

  • Maria Sharapova suggested there’s a lack of elite talent in women’s tennis
  • She was right to suggest that but the depth below the elite level is great now
  • Saturday’s US open final will see Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur go head-to-head
  • Jabeur feels that her experience at Wimbledon will come to good use this time
  • Swiatek comes into the match with a remarkable record in WTA finals  

Maria Sharapova turned up at Flushing Meadows on Thursday night, and showed she has not lost her ability to deliver a caustic observation.

Commentating on the US Open women’s semi-finals for ESPN, the former world number one recalled a conversation with former rival Serena Williams at last year’s Met Gala.

‘ I was like, “No disrespect to this generation but you are so much better, you need to go out there”,’ said Sharapova, who has just celebrated the birth of her first child.

Maria Sharapova recently suggested there is currently a lack of elite talent in women’s tennis 

Given that Williams was about to turn 40 at the time and injured, the inference was clear about the current crop.

Serena has now moved on, and the final she has left behind will be between world number one Iga Swiatek and Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur.

Sharapova is right to suggest that there is a shortage of elite players on the women’s side right now, although it should also be said that the strength in depth lower down is probably greater.

And at least the final will be between the one standout player, Poland’s Swiatek, and a challenger who has been clearly the second-best player in the world this season, Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur.

Sharapova told former rival Serena Williams she's better than the current crop of players

Sharapova told former rival Serena Williams she’s better than the current crop of players

The women’s game also retains the capacity to create history, which would certainly be the case if Jabeur becomes the first woman from the Arab world to win a Major.

Swiatek had the tougher passage, coming back in a deciding set to take advantage of the talented but brittle Aryna Sabalenka 6-4 in the third. Jabeur stopped the player who looked to be in the best form, France’s Caroline Garcia, abruptly in her tracks with a crushing 6-1 6-3 victory.

In Tunisia, where she is known as the ‘Minister of Happiness’, her exploits are so widely-followed that her quarter final even managed to knock football off the main TV channels.

‘It was the Champions League, Juventus was playing against Paris Saint-Germain’, she said afterwards. ‘In Tunisia it’s all about soccer but people were not watching the game, they were watching my game.’

Ons Jabeur exploits are so widely-followed in Tunisia that her quarter final even managed to knock football off the main TV channels

Ons Jabeur exploits are so widely-followed in Tunisia that her quarter final even managed to knock football off the main TV channels

Jabeur feels that her experience at Wimbledon, where she lost in the championship match to Elena Rybakina, will help her second time round.

‘It feels more real, to be honest with you, just to be in the finals again. At Wimbledon I was kind of just living the dream, and I couldn’t believe it.

‘But now I hope I’m getting used to it, just happy the fact that I backed up the results in Wimbledon and people are not really surprised I’m in the finals, keeping going and just doing my thing.’

Iga Swiatek has a remarkable record in WTA finals, with nine wins in her last nine finals

Iga Swiatek has a remarkable record in WTA finals, with nine wins in her last nine finals 

Swiatek came in before the tournament complaining that she had difficulty to control the lighter ball the women use, but here she is.

In her favour is her remarkable record in WTA finals, including her two French Open triumphs. In her last nine matches to decide tournaments she has won all nine, without dropping a set.

As Jabeur reflected: ‘ Iga never loses finals, so it’s going to be very tough. I know she struggled a little bit with the balls here, but I don’t see her struggling much, to be honest with you.’





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