Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Men's Tennis

Da Realist:

did anyone see andy roddick on pti a couple of days
ago? THAT is how i feel about tennis. most 'fans'
out there are not interested in the game, but in all
the catty drama that comes along with it. it burns me
up when wilbon says the men's tour is boring and the
women's tour is exciting.

why wilbon? because 2 of the top women's players are
african american sisters? that's fine, but the
women's tour is mostly about drama, not tennis.
(venus and lindsay don't get along. what is serena
wearing today? maria sharapova is the new anna

the perception that the men's tour is boring is
attributed to american arrogance. you can't tell me
that if andy roddick was winning championships the way
roger federer is that americans wouldn't be all over
the sport. they'll be selling andy roddick t-shirts
and wristbands at your local footlocker. but because
roger is swiss and not american, no one notices.

no one complains about the ease of tiger winning
majors in golf, by 5, 8 and 15 strokes. they mostly
say that his dominance is intriguing enough. but
roger federer beats the 2nd best player in the world
9, 10 straight times in straight sets, it's considered

now i know there are some differences in the two
sports (in tennis you're competing directly against
your opponent and in golf you're competing against the
course and then matching up your scores with the other
participants later), but my point is still this...if
you replace tiger with roger, everybody in this
country would be a tennis fan while no one would care
about golf. that's not an indictment on the sport but
on the fans.
Gangsta D:

No, men's tennis is boring because there are NO rallies. 
It's serve, ace; serve, return winner; or serve, return
unforced error. There are no charismatic players and
no rivalries. I wouldn't say that the men's game is
bad per se, but it isn't exciting. You can't compare
tennis and golf because, tennis is player vs player;
golf is player vs course. No one wants to see Federer
destroy Roddick AGAIN in straight sets. But people like
seeing Tiger crush a field because of what he's doing
to the course. How far under par can he go? How many
birdies can he hit? It's not even apples and oranges.
It's apples and steak. Remember, when Pete was dominating
the tour people still thought the men's game was boring.
People weren't going crazy back then, so I don't think
American arrogance has anything to do with it. People
want drama and compelling action. There is no dominant
female player, so matches are tighter and last longer.
Can't say the same for the men...
Da Realist:

then why is the french open (the major most conducive
to rallies) the step-child of tennis majors as far as
america is concerned? there are nothing BUT rallies
at the french open, and yet we don't watch.

and people might have thought pete sampras was boring,
but they still tuned in. the ratings during the
sampras era were much higher than they are now. why?
because america drives the bus. we are the most
affluent country and we put the most money into
tennis. if we are not represented, we don't watch.
if we don't watch, ratings go down. and remember,
from '95 to '99, agassi was pretty much out of
commission. it wasn't the sampras-agassi rivalry that
brought in the viewers during those 4-5 years.
Gangsta D:

There's only ONE grand slam played in the US!  I don't
get your point. Why is Wimbledon considered the crown
jewel of grand slams? It's played in England. I actually
do hear what your saying, and it is A factor, among
many. If Roddick was Federer, people still wouldn't care.
Who the Hell cares about the Tour De France? An American
dominates that. Why isn't Boxing on top like it used to
be? Plenty of Americans in there. It all comes down to
being compelled to watch. Having a dominant American
helps, but it's not going to completely turn the tide.
Da Realist:

america doesn't care about the tour de france.  but
america has NEVER cared about that. tennis is
different. we like it when we're on top. we call it
boring when we're not. i disagree about roddick. the
media is shoving him down our throats now. and he's
only won 1 major!

yes, wimbledon is considered the crown jewel of the
majors but remember, pete won there 7 times. plenty
of time for america to become fond of the famous grass
court. how many do you think would watch federer vs
hewitt in the wimbledon finals? probably 3. how many
would watch roddick vs nalbandian? enough to register
for a highlight or two on sportscenter.

boxing is not on top because it lacks TALENT. there
are no top notch boxers anymore. they are all playing
football, basketball or wrestling in the WWE. tennis,
on the other hand, has PLENTY of talent and skill.

remember roger federer won wimbledon from the
baseline. no slam bam thank you andy. he won with
rallies from the baseline. do you remember the
federer-safin match at the australian open? nothing
but rallies. federer-nadal at the french? no
serve-ace there either.
Gangsta D:

I don't know.  Bernard Hopkins, Antonio Tarver, Jermaine
Taylor, Oscar, & Winky are pretty talented. Roy Jones was
dominant for awhile. I'm not totally disagreeing with you,
but I think you're putting too much emphasis on the nationalism
aspect. We live in a fractured entertainment culture.
There are literally thousands of options vying for our
attention. If there aren't compelling reasons to watch
something, it ain't getting watched. And unless it's the
Olympics, it's gotta be more than just an American
that's doing well. The USTA needs to promote it's
established stars and its up and coming ones as well.
How do we know who the next big thing is? How are
fans supposed to get emotionally attached? If the game
really is good, then the powers that be are doing a horrible
job of letting people know...

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