Anyone up for the Steffi Graf Cup? Serena Williams-Naomi Osaka v Simona Halep-Caroline Wozniacki?
Imagine having a team featuring Naomi Osaka, Sloane Stephens, Serena Williams and Venus Williams taking on a team with Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber and Petra Kvitova? Who would win? What would you call the tournament? The Steffi Graf Cup?
On the back of the second edition of the Laver Cup, which was another resounding success, perhaps it is time for someone on the WTA Tour to take a leaf out of Roger Federer’s book and come up with a women’s version.
The launch of the Laver Cup in 2017 was greeted with scepticism as many people believed it would be nothing more than a hit and giggle, and players would find it difficult to take the event serious, but two tournaments later and many of those doubts have been removed.
Sure the players still have a lot of fun and the push-up and swan dive celebrations from the non-playing members on sidelines don’t detract from the spectacle, it actually adds to it, but the players representing their respective teams give it their all.
It’s still in its infancy, but it has already exceeded even Federer’s “wildest expectations”.
Now is surely the time for the WTA Tour to piggyback on its success and introduce it’s a women’s tournament.
Let’s start with a name.
If you are going to stick with retired tennis players then the likes of Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King and Chris Evert are all in contention.
The Steffi Graf Cup has a nice ring to it, doesn’t? Or how about the Martina Navratilova Cup?
As for the “coaching” staff, there are plenty of options with Navratilova, King, Evert, Lindsay Davenport and Kathy Rinaldi great candidates for Team World.
There are also no shortages for Team Europe with Judy Murray, Amiele Mauresmo, Annabel Medina Garrigues, Conchita Martinez and Iva Majoli all successful coaches in their own right.
As for the teams itself, if we are strictly going for the highest-ranked players (September 24 rankings) on each side then Team World would consist of Naomi Osaka, Sloane Stephens, Serena Williams, Ashleigh Barty, Madison Keys and Venus Williams.
The top six players on Team Europe would be Simona Halep, Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Garcia, Petra Kvitova and Elina Svitolina.
But two players are of course “captain’s picks” so players like Coco Vandeweghe, Maria Sharapova or Victoria Azarenka could get a look in.
The tournament would definitely capture the imagination. We know Serena and Venus Williams are a formidable doubles partnership, but who wouldn’t want to see Serena and Osaka take on Halep and Wozniacki?
The competition is likely to be a lot more even than the Laver Cup where Team Europe won the 2018 event 13-8 and the 2017 event 15-9.
Reason? Unlike in the men’s game where European players (Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka) have dominated the Grand Slams in recent years, the women’s majors have had eight different winners in the last eight tournaments.
All in all, it sounds like great fun so can someone from the WTA Tour please take charge and get the ball rolling.
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