Legendary Wimbledon presenter Sue Barker thinks women's tennis needs big rivalries and players that will reach the level of fame that Maria Sharapova and Serena and Venus Williams reached. At this year's French Open, there was a lot of talk about the men receiving nine out of 10 primetime night matches.
Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina are standing out result-wise in the women's game but Barker suggests they also need to expose themselves more and reach a bigger audience. Swiatek, who is introverted, worked a lot over the last year to become more open and engage herself more with fans and the tennis community.
Rybakina, the 2022 Wimbledon champion, kept her quiet and stoic demeanor after becoming a tennis superstar as she usually lets her racket do all the talking. Of the three, Sabalenka is the most open and she has a certain charisma about her.
Barker: Need established players in the same fame as Sharapova, the Williams sisters
"It's a slight dilemma for a tournament director with the men's game being best of five sets and the women's being best of three. If you do schedule a match for the night session and it only lasts an hour, because some of the women's matches only last an hour, then the public isn't going to like it.
It's a very difficult, tricky situation for Amelie [Mauresmo] to be in. And sadly, now with Serena [Williams] having gone, there aren't the big names in the women's game at the moment. They've got to build up. What we really need is a few really good players to be in the slam finals for a few years and build up that rivalry that we've seen with Roger [Federer] and Rafael [Nadal] and Novak [Djokovic] and Andy [Murray].
People don't really know who those players are. Elena Rybakina, who won last year at Wimbledon, I don't think you would know her if she walked down the street. We need to have more established players in the same fame as Maria Sharapova and Serena and Venus Williams," Barber told BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour.
Maria Sharapova makes big pickleball announcement
Maria Sharapova poses like Jane Fonda! WATCH
Daria Saville predicts Maria Sharapova's come back on the court
Coach Rick Macci reveals astonishing strength Maria Sharapova had already at 11
Serena Williams' ex-coach tells how Serena, Venus Williams opened gate for Coco Gauff
Retired Monica Puig beats Venus Williams in sold-out Puerto Rico exhibition