Venus Williams wins on Day 1 of the 2013 Australian Open
By David Kane
When marketing tennis, it’s rarely about how well the game is played. To appeal to an audience broader than diehards, the question of “who’s playing” can be equally if not more important. Notorious for its shocking upsets and unheralded finalists, the WTA has struggled to corral its biggest names onto the back ends of its best tournaments. With the tour’s stars going through injuries and inconsistency (even unretirements), tournaments instead began relying on “matches worthy of a final” that in reality occurred days, sometimes weeks before the championship match.
Venus/Clijsters. Henin/Sharapova. Azarenka/Serena. All are marquee match-ups that took place before a Slam’s prestigious second week.
Of late, the women’s side has formed its own “Big Four,” but those cracking early match-ups still exist thanks to a most uncommon denominator in Venus Williams, who could play No. 2 seed (and kindred spirit) Maria Sharapov...