If I have to watch another women’s pro match and have to listen to that obnoxious screaming, I just might have to nix the volume and go mute! Now, here is the good news…Thanks to tennis legends Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, among others, who have constantly urged tennis officials to take a stance and change our current rules as far as excessive grunting is concerned. Let’s face it, when we are forced to watch Victoria Azerenka and Maria Sharapova square off, it is virtually impossible to focus on the tennis because we are bombarded with this overly dramatic yelping.
Have you ever wondered why tennis fans are unable to watch live college tennis? To me, not being able to view the NCAA Championships is a complete travesty. What is college tennis? Unlike the professionals, the kids play with so much passion it is impossible not to fall in love with the sport. The raw emotions, team camaraderie and electric atmosphere are addicting. Marco Island, Florida Gator fans would have been glued to their televisions watching Lauren Embree drive her team to two consecutive National titles!
Unless tennis fans sign a petition or use the social media to create change, we will never see college tennis live on either the Tennis Channel or ESPN or Verses. If you are a rabid college tennis fan, please exercise your right and contact the networks so we can view Lauren’s Gators striving for their third consecutive National Championship.
What else has grabbed my attention in the world of tennis? Andy Roddick. Yes, I will go out on the limb right now and predict that Mr. Roddick will win a few matches at Wimbledon. Unless he gets a terrible draw, Andy Roddick has had so much success in England he just may surprise a few folks. From my standpoint, he has lost his way trying to play longer points and completely abandoning his powerful weapons.
Sure, people are no longer intimidated by the big Nebraskan cannonball serve but where is his huge forehand drive? When we age in sports, we tend to lose a step or perhaps a little power but that should not prevent Roddick from banging his two most feared weapons: serve and forehand drive. Does anyone have the guts to tell Andy that his slice backhand wouldn’t survive on the college circuit? Here is my plan for Andy for the rest of the summer: Go for the huge serve, bang the forehand drive earlierin each point and stick with the two-handed backhand and try to get some depth. Finally, when Andy rocks a big forehand dip drive, go to the net and hit through the volley – no more ‘cupping’ of the net strokes as the ball tends to stay up too long.
I’m positive I’m not the only American tennis fan who would like to see Andy knock off one of the awesome European stars. Ok, David Nalbandian’s outburst looked worse than the actual offense, right? Last week, Argentinean tennis star, David Nalbandian, who was playing in a warm up event in England, lost his cool and accidentally kicked the umpire in frustration. Believe me, as I write about this incident, it is not easy to stick up for Mr. Nalbandian but we have to not be over reactive. What was his intent? Was he mad at the tennis umpire? In his defense, he lost his temper and was attempting to kick the sideline advertisement. If he did it all over again, perhaps he would have made sure not to kick out anywhere near a person, official, you name it. It was a very regrettable situation and David Nalbandian apologized for his actions and there was no need to involve the police. Fine him, put him on probation but do not send him to jail.
My last rant today is about the powers that be who completely push aside doubles as we never are able to view matches in prime time. Come on, most of the viewing public play doubles so why is it put on the back burner? Give it some time and allow people the opportunity to fall in love with watching doubles. In many ways, singles has gotten a lot less interesting as each combatant stands over 80 feet away from one another and constantly bashes the ball until someone’s arm falls off. But doubles offers a completely different look; the angles are more well defined, we get to witness quick volley exchanges and we see many more lobs during a typical point. Therefore, it can be rather compelling to view a big doubles match especially when the Bryan twins hit the court. Someone in TV Land must step up to the plate and give doubles a legitimate chance. It is time for a change.
Doug Browne is the Hideaway Beach Tennis Director and the new Collier County USPTA Pro of the Year. Additionally, Doug has been the International Hall of Fame Director of Tennis this past summer. Doug has been writing his tennis column for the past fifteen years and welcomes your feedback.