Improving American women making up for men's decline

MELBOURNE Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:13pm IST

1 of 2. Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts during a match on Kids Tennis Day at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 12, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Damir Sagolj

Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers ride their camels as they rehearse for the "Beating the Retreat" ceremony in New Delhi January 27, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

"Beating The Retreat" Rehearsals

Rehearsals are on for "Beating the Retreat" ceremony which symbolises retreat after a day on the battlefield, and marks the official end of the Republic Day celebrations.  Slideshow 

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - For American tennis, it seems that when one door closes, another opens.

The retirement of Andy Roddick, illness of Mardy Fish and injury to John Isner meant that Sam Querrey is the only American to be seeded on the men's side at the Australian Open.

But in the women's event, four American women including the Williams sisters are seeded, six have made the second round and 10 began the tournament ranked in the top 100.

With Madison Keys making it through to round two, the Americans are scheduled to have 11 in the top 100, their best representation since 2007.

"It's a big plus for American tennis to have so many," rising U.S. player and 21st seed Varvara Lepchenko told reporters after her 6-4 6-1 win over Polona Hercog of Slovenia on Tuesday.

"We're all trying to compete hard and do our best and improve out there and do as much as we can.

"All the girls are looking up at each other and saying, 'I'd been playing with her, I'd been competing with her, I've been playing on the same level,' so we push each other and it gives a lot of confidence to others and everybody improves."

When Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova were winning most of the grand slam titles in the early 1980s, the U.S. dominated women's tennis.

The arrival of Steffi Graf and Monica Seles balanced affairs but Lindsay Davenport and Jennifer Capriati each won grand slams before the emergence of the Williams sisters.

But in March 2009, things had got so bad for American women that only three - Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Bethanie Mattek-Sands - were ranked inside the top 100.

The outstanding performances of the Williams sisters had masked a void for a number of years but the emergence of a number of players from the juniors appears to be changing things.

Eight of the 11 are under 25 and three including Sloane Stephens, tipped to eventually become the world number one by Serena Williams, have yet to turn 20.

"It's tough following the Williams sisters," said Jamie Hampton, who reached round two on Tuesday with a 6-2 6-4 win over 31st seed Urszula Radwanska of Poland.

"We all played juniors and when one of us does well, the others look at it and think if she did it, I can do it.

"I think we all have our own unique personalities and our own unique games. And all our games are very good and they're all going to mature at different times."

(Editing by Mark Meadows; mark.meadows@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 7933; Reuters Messaging:; mark.meadows.reuters.com@reuters.net)

Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

Reuters Showcase

ONGC Share Sale

ONGC Share Sale

ONGC share sale scheduled for this fiscal - oil minister  Full Article 

The Apple logo is pictured inside the newly opened Omotesando Apple store at a shopping district in Tokyo June 26, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/Files

Record Earnings

Apple iPhone sales trample expectations as profit sets global record  Full Article 

'Umrika' At Sundance

'Umrika' At Sundance

From Oscars to Sundance, Sharma and Revolori discuss India's 'Umrika'  Full Article 

Australian Open

Australian Open

Smooth Wawrinka, ill Serena through to Melbourne semis   Full Article 

India's Male Tenor

India's Male Tenor

India's lone male tenor aims to sing opera in local key  Full Article 

Japan Hostages

Japan Hostages

Mother of Japanese captive begs PM to save son held by Islamic State  Full Article 

Tripoli Attack

Tripoli Attack

Frenchman, American among those killed in Tripoli hotel attack - Libyan official.  Full Article 

U.S. Blizzard

U.S. Blizzard

Blizzard hits Boston and New England, spares New York despite forecasts.  Full Article 

Spying Row

Spying Row

Spying program leaked by Snowden is tied to campaign in many countries.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage