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Tennis Philosopher
07-06-2005, 08:11 PM
It's evident that the U.S. is not the tennis power it once was. With only Federer-fearing Roddick and injury stricken Agassi left in the men's top 20 [ in the top 50 only Spadea, Dent, and Fish grace the list] while tiring Capriati, near retiring Davenport, out-of-sync Serena and resurgent Venus are left in the women's top 20 [in the top 50 only Frazier and Raymond remain], American players are scarcely seen- let alone top american slam contenders. What will it take for the U.S. to regain dominancy in tennis: maybe mandatory training in Barcelona? Is there anything the American juniors lack or oare doing wrong- i.e. extreme grips, attitudes towards tennis in the midsts of football, baseball, and basketball, lack of world class training and competition, less than admirable work ethics, or in other words, kids lacking the will power to put all the work in that is neccessary?

ATXtennisaddict
07-06-2005, 08:15 PM
I don't think the 90s batch (sampras,chang,agassi,courier,etcetc) come along very often. Maybe they come in cycles. If you're young, watch out for the next batch!

Tennis Philosopher
07-06-2005, 08:28 PM
You're right, a generation like that of Sampras-Agassi comes along very infrequently. Then again I'm talking about just a few American contenders in the top 20 not a dream team. I don't know but I have a feeling the reason there are a scarce amount of Americans in the tour lies a little deeper than bad luck. I guess only time can tell. Because if in 5-10 years from now, there are still few Americans on the tour then we might have to reevaluate.

tennissavy
07-06-2005, 08:31 PM
As the very well-respected Mary Jo Fernandez stated on tv, it is cyclical. It may take time but we will have another group of slam contenders for sure.

Phil Daddario
07-06-2005, 08:36 PM
Numerous reasons, at least I think.

America is so reliant on pop culture and constant trends. Currently, tennis isn't considered "cool" by many.

Not sure why, from what I've seen tennis players get the "hottest" girlfriends and wives. :D

So all the potential athletes are drawn away to sports with a bigger image, such as basketball or whatever. Not to mention they're more accessible than tennis, and you can still be extremely good or have fun without playing for a while or starting from an early age to have a chance at being professional.

It's frustrating for many beginners when they pick up a racquet and can't seem to do anything. Then they try soccer or the aforementioned basketball, where the learning curve is much easier.


Definitely lacking the willpower. To juniors, there is so much else (other more "active" sports, movies, thrilling video games, whatever) that they would rather be doing. America has been sort of lazy.

On the other hand, those in other countries are ready to put the effort and train juniors where tennis is "cool" too. Hopefully the trend will pass, and America will return to the way it was in the 70s and 80s.

THAT'S why we had so many great athletes then. When they were young, starting, and playing, tennis was popular. You could play tennis without the fricking peer pressure and false labels.

Tennis Philosopher
07-06-2005, 08:42 PM
Well that's something we definitely hope for. But unfortunately this is only speculatory. For example, let's examine Argentina or Spain. It's obviously smaller in size than the U.S. yet year after year they almost always have good players, even top 20 players, onthe tour. Now, of course, there are a lot of factors to why this is so: hunger factor often fueled by their tough lifestyles [especially in the case of Argentina], better quality instruction, or maybe they are simply hotbeds producing top notch pros frequently.

Phil Daddario
07-06-2005, 08:47 PM
It's the fact that tennis is considered "cool", as stated. Also, in poorer countries, they often can't find a way to financial success through academics and whatever else. But they still can play and develop athletic and physical skills. Tennis, or other sports for that matter, are their way out. Tennis is accessible for them, so they can play it.

As an example, that's why there are so many black athletes, especially in basketball. Historically and out of luck, they've been forced into poorer "slum" areas sometimes because of past prejudice. Later, they can't afford to move out all of the time. While they don't have access to a full education (many are very smart, but simply don't have access as money goes to food and simply surviving rather than school), they have access to basketball courts. You only need a ball to play, and hoops are commonly found everywhere. Public places have them frequently, and a basketball hoop can even be easily constructed.



The other countries are more focused on tennis. Not as many distractions, not as many volatile "trends".

Tennis Philosopher
07-06-2005, 08:54 PM
Numerous reasons, at least I think.

America is so reliant on pop culture and constant trends. Currently, tennis isn't considered "cool" by many.

Not sure why, from what I've seen tennis players get the "hottest" girlfriends and wives. :D

So all the potential athletes are drawn away to sports with a bigger image, such as basketball or whatever. Not to mention they're more accessible than tennis, and you can still be extremely good or have fun without playing for a while or starting from an early age to have a chance at being professional.

It's frustrating for many beginners when they pick up a racquet and can't seem to do anything. Then they try soccer or the aforementioned basketball, where the learning curve is much easier.


Definitely lacking the willpower. To juniors, there is so much else (other more "active" sports, movies, thrilling video games, whatever) that they would rather be doing. America has been sort of lazy.

On the other hand, those in other countries are ready to put the effort and train juniors where tennis is "cool" too. Hopefully the trend will pass, and America will return to the way it was in the 70s and 80s.

THAT'S why we had so many great athletes then. When they were young, starting, and playing, tennis was popular. You could play tennis without the fricking peer pressure and false labels.


Exactly my line of thinking. It seems that because America is more priviledged financially, they are, and i hate to say this, in a lot of the ways you outlined, being a little spoiled by so many enticing replacements for the only slightly popular tennis. And like we both seem to concur, they lose interest and wil power. Whereas, in other more successful parts of the world, the wide spectrum of options seems to be substantially diminished [Argentina: tennis and soccer]. As a result, they yearn for tennis success much more so, it seems, than the U.S.. So all in all, I would say this and maybe higher quality instruction [i.e. Bretts Academy or Barcelona] plays a major part in America's current drought.

Phil Daddario
07-06-2005, 08:57 PM
I agree with you completely.

Except on the instruction. Many foreign players actually come to the United States for training. Because of as stated financial priviledges, there are many tennis academies (especially in Florida, for that matter) and other things.

As you said, "yearning" for tennis is the biggest factor. :D

Yours!05
07-06-2005, 09:01 PM
Numerous reasons, at least I think.
On the other hand, those in other countries are ready to put the effort and train juniors where tennis is "cool" too. Hopefully the trend will pass, and America will return to the way it was in the 70s and 80s.Problem is with the Olympics coming up, tennis is about to be hit with battalions of Chinese players. The women are already making waves.
- For example, let's examine Argentina or Spain.Tennis philosopher - I believe this will pale into insignificance by comparison with Asia. So the cycle might be a long one. Also can't see anything to make US, or Ozzie, youth fundamentally prefer a non-team sport where the financial rewards are both less, and less assured, for the average professional, as was pointed out by AndrewD recently.
Finally, vision-free tennis administration wherever you look.

Phil Daddario
07-06-2005, 09:04 PM
Asia will certainly make a big leap, China in particular.

I was just there in April. They have so much manpower, and as stated before so much "yearning" because there are so many people that want to make it out of poverty.

Just walking in public areas I found LOTS of "athletic areas" with all kinds of courts and different sports. Soccer, basketball, tennis, volleyball, EVERYTHING, with lots of kids playing them at all ages. Huge facilities in some cases.

The Chinese have the people and desperately want to make a huge athletic appearance. Chinese women are doing fine, and some are making leaps (Peng Shuai) and I plan on seeing Chinese men making some appearances in the future.

Argentina and Spain are the current examples of this, but I didn't think about Asia. Definitely. Lots more publicity, just look at Srichaphan.

Yours!05
07-06-2005, 09:10 PM
just look at Srichaphan.Even in Japan. We hear that their players hardly have to compete at all to maintain their superstar status at home.

Tennis Philosopher
07-06-2005, 11:10 PM
Phil Daddario Quote:

I agree with you completely.

Except on the instruction. Many foreign players actually come to the United States for training. Because of as stated financial priviledges, there are many tennis academies (especially in Florida, for that matter) and other things.

As you said, "yearning" for tennis is the biggest factor.


True but almost ALL who flock to Florida are already developed, skilled, precocious, or at least showing some potential. That's not to say Americans don't exhibit promise as they trek to Europe but there are more foreigners already well developed and they are USUALLY, not always, at a higher level than Americans. So, what I am saying is that in this case, the academy does less and less of the work. You're right in the img academies aspect, but like i said, Bretts Academy is extremely popular and effective. The case is similar with Barcelona, Sanchez Cassal Academy, and many more not as reputable ones. Of course, you could point out Courier, Krickstein, Arias but i would venture to say that the foreign academies produce more at similar quality players. So I still stand with my opinion. But thanks for the feedback.

Tennis Philosopher
07-06-2005, 11:21 PM
Quote:
- For example, let's examine Argentina or Spain. tennis philosopher - I believe this will pale into insignificance by comparison with Asia. So the cycle might be a long one. Also can't see anything to make US, or Ozzie, youth fundamentally prefer a non-team sport where the financial rewards are both less, and less assured, for the average professional, as was pointed out by AndrewD recently.
Finally, vision-free tennis administration wherever you look.

You're right-despite Coria, Nalbandian, Vilas, Sabatini- in that Asia, especially Russia, and, in my view, especially Eastern Europe, seem to be emerging as a nascent power. There is good player development though its more pronounced on the women's side. And yes, it does seem that, with Spain, Argentina, Russia, Eastern Europe, [i.e. Serbia and Montenegro] and an up in coming Asia, the U.S. and Australia, which is in an even more dire drought, can't like their chances in producing champions. :(

pound cat
07-07-2005, 04:23 AM
I can't figure out Argentina. As in N. America, tennis is an elitist "club sport" & you have to have $ ot pay for coaching & courts. Yet this small country produces masses of tennis players. Maybe tennis is the choice of rich athletes, whereas soccer, the popular sport, would be considered the sport of the masses & declasse. N. American's want instant gratification...throw the ball, it hits the bat, toss the ball, it goes in the basket, instant gratification. whereas tennis takes years of hard work with maybe few reults at first. & I still havent's figured out Argentina, or Chile. And why not more players from Brazil? Maybe they haven't been hit by too much TV yet as children.

Yours!05
07-07-2005, 04:42 AM
direDrought :(With your permission I might change my name to this some day!;)

newnuse
07-07-2005, 09:02 AM
Tennis is on the decline in the USA. The public courts are not as crowded as they were back in the 80's and 90's. I live in the Los Angeles area. There is not as much interest in the game.

I don't know if this will translate to fewer top players, but it sure doesn't help. I don't think the days of the USA being a tennis power will return any time soon.

Tennis Philosopher
07-07-2005, 12:15 PM
With your permission I might change my name to this some day!;)


Haha! Lol. Sure, if you want :D

Tennis Philosopher
07-07-2005, 12:22 PM
Tennis is on the decline in the USA. The public courts are not as crowded as they were back in the 80's and 90's. I live in the Los Angeles area. There is not as much interest in the game.

I don't know if this will translate to fewer top players, but it sure doesn't help. I don't think the days of the USA being a tennis power will return any time soon.


You know I'm afraid this may be the case. Interest is fading but then again, we tennis players watch tennis for the tennis itself. What I am saying is that, though our current situation is depressing, we ourselves must not lose interest in tennis and we must keep being avid tennis fans. :)

simi
07-07-2005, 02:16 PM
This thread has made interesting reading. All of the posts have been very well though out and are respectful of each other.

However . . . I have a very difficult time understanding why the United States has to be the best . . . in anything (sports related). Are our egos that big?

Maybe it is just me. As I grow older and have a chance to visit other cultures worldwide, I gain an appreciation for the differences and what they have that we do not. It is interesting that the only two professional sports that I follow closely over the past decade or two have been tennis and cycling (bicycle racing). Both of these sports are international sports. With few exceptions, the best participants are from countries other than ours.

It is the sport I love, not the nationality of the participants. I love tennis, even if I didn't start playing until later in life. I'm not very good and probably will never be very good, but I enjoy the sport for many, many reasons. Among these are the competition, physical exercise and conditioning, comradery, and the struggle in mastering a difficult activity. I will continue to play until my body does not allow me to. At the last renewal, I purchased the lifetime USTA membership.

We don't have to be the best. It's okay with me if we don't have a certain percentage of citizens in the top 20 or top 50, or even the top 100. Heck, most of the players are United States residents anyway. Maria Sharapova is more of a Yankee than a Russian. Hasn't she lived here since she was seven years old, or was it six years old?

I just enjoy the sport and watching the competition. (But I would like to see Henman, Mirnyi, Dent, or Bjorkman do well, as they are some of the last of their breed (S&V players).)

Tennis Philosopher
07-07-2005, 02:31 PM
This thread has made interesting reading. All of the posts have been very well though out and are respectful of each other.

However . . . I have a very difficult time understanding why the United States has to be the best . . . in anything (sports related). Are our egos that big?

Maybe it is just me. As I grow older and have a chance to visit other cultures worldwide, I gain an appreciation for the differences and what they have that we do not. It is interesting that the only two professional sports that I follow closely over the past decade or two have been tennis and cycling (bicycle racing). Both of these sports are international sports. With few exceptions, the best participants are from countries other than ours.

It is the sport I love, not the nationality of the participants. I love tennis, even if I didn't start playing until later in life. I'm not very good and probably will never be very good, but I enjoy the sport for many, many reasons. Among these are the competition, physical exercise and conditioning, comradery, and the struggle in mastering a difficult activity. I will continue to play until my body does not allow me to. At the last renewal, I purchased the lifetime USTA membership.

We don't have to be the best. It's okay with me if we don't have a certain percentage of citizens in the top 20 or top 50, or even the top 100. Heck, most of the players are United States residents anyway. Maria Sharapova is more of a Yankee than a Russian. Hasn't she lived here since she was seven years old, or was it six years old?

I just enjoy the sport and watching the competition. (But I would like to see Henman, Mirnyi, Dent, or Bjorkman do well, as they are some of the last of their breed (S&V players).)


You're absolutely right. Egos and nationalities should be the furthest thing from one's mind. Instead, one should focus and admire the different syles of play and different abilities exhibited by the pros, etc. There should not be this excessive desire to have top players in one's country. Instead revel in the diverse group of talented individuals available on the tour. :p


But with that being said, there has been some sort of a decline in American tennis. But this does not reveal my desire for patriotic tennis. I'm simply stating the fact and why this may be so.

Yours!05
07-07-2005, 03:06 PM
You make an excellent point:Maybe it is just me. As I grow older and have a chance to visit other cultures worldwide, I gain an appreciation for the differences and what they have that we do not. It is interesting that the only two professional sports that I follow closely over the past decade or two have been tennis and cycling (bicycle racing). Both of these sports are international sports. With few exceptions, the best participants are from countries other than ours...I just enjoy the sport and watching the competition. (But I would like to see Henman, Mirnyi, Dent, or Bjorkman do well, as they are some of the last of their breed (S&V players).)And Tennis Philosopher: You know I'm afraid this may be the case. Interest is fading but then again, we tennis players watch tennis for the tennis itself. What I am saying is that, though our current situation is depressing, we ourselves must not lose interest in tennis and we must keep being avid tennis fans. :)I guess I am accustomed to having someone who shares my culture to cheer for. It may depend on when you first learnt to love tennis too. I tend to equate tennis with Australian S&Vers.;)
But given what we read about US TV coverage, it will not be possible to follow international tennis unless there are home heroes. And Australia will be following close behind lol.

simi
07-07-2005, 03:53 PM
But given what we read about US TV coverage, it will not be possible to follow international tennis unless there are home heroes. And Australia will be following close behind lol.

The only times we get to watch foreign players on the television is when they play a Yankee, (unless it is the semis or finals of a major). American broadcasters would much rather show a lously match over and over instead of showing two foreign born players. It galls me that they do not show doubles anymore, even though a majority of active weekend hackers play doubles instead of singles. I always make sure that I set the Tivo on Davis Cup Saturdays. That is the only time they broadcast doubles.

Good or bad, the culture of this country is becoming the culture of the world. Americans have been criticized in the past for not learning foreign languages. It seems that the international language of communication is (or has) become English. All the tennis players are learning the language.

I'd better get off the soap box. Back to lurk mode.

Kevin Patrick
07-07-2005, 04:31 PM
simi,
the success of American players isn't just important to Americans. The US is a very big piece of the pie when it comes to TV rights/revenue, etc. The ATP headquarters are in the US.
Lendl once said in the late 80s, "When there is no longer an top American player, the sport will suffer on the whole."

Tennis Philosopher
07-07-2005, 05:16 PM
simi,
the success of American players isn't just important to Americans. The US is a very big piece of the pie when it comes to TV rights/revenue, etc. The ATP headquarters are in the US.
Lendl once said in the late 80s, "When there is no longer an top American player, the sport will suffer on the whole."


America is definitely essential for tennis as a whole. Like an organism, all functions of tennis must collaborate so as to produce the best results for the game.

simi's point is valid. There is no doubt that the American media features Americans almost exclusively. There's nothing wrong with patriotism but there is something wrong with jingoism.