Former World No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam semifinalist Karolina Pliskova has spoken out about the state of women’s tennis in the post-Serena Williams era. Pliskova said that Williams and Maria Sharapova were huge personalities and charismatic individuals; they were well-known and marketable.
In today’s game, Pliskova does not see a woman with that type of notoriety and marketability, and she says that the WTA does not help matters with its marketing efforts.
There are talented female tennis players on the WTA tour, but there is not the buzz surrounding the play of these players like it was in the Williams and Sharapova era.
Karolina Pliskova is not wrong
Pliskova, one of the best players to never win a Grand Slam, is correct. The WTA’s marketing machine had a much easier job when Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and Maria Sharapova were among the game’s top players. Their names alone sold tickets and generated interest in women’s tennis.
It is possible that 19-year-old Coco Gauff could assume that role, but it is too early to tell. Gauff is the top-earning female athlete in 2023. Aside from Gauff, Aryna Sabalenka is arguably the most charismatic female in the top five. Sabalenka is from Belarus, and like it or not, the politics of the war in Ukraine have created issues for her and her Russian counterpart players in recent years.
When Serena Williams dominated, fans tuned in to see if an underdog could defeat her. When she and Venus were top competitors, fans tuned in to see the sisterly showdown. There is more parity in women’s tennis now; on any given day, any of the top five players could win a Grand Slam tournament. This should make the game more exciting, but Pliskova thinks the WTA needs a better job of educating fans about the players.