View Full Version : Nicknames:The USTA is getting really desperate

Kevin Patrick
07-19-2005, 01:15 PM
Just read this. They should just give up on tennis in the US. Rocket Man??

"Starting Monday, the U.S. Tennis Association takes another swing at reclaiming its eroding audience, rolling out the second year of its U.S. Open Series with a $3 million ad campaign, a new look for tennis courts (blue rather than green) and a roster of nicknames ginned up by marketing executives in an effort to transform players like Germany's Tommy Haas ("the Stud") and France's Amelie Mauresmo ("the Artiste") into household names."

The goal of the U.S. Open Series is to re-energize tennis by introducing the top players -- American and international alike -- to sports fans whose attention has been siphoned off by golf, stock-car racing and every sport and pastime in between....

The USTA is also pouring more than $3 million into a marketing blitz to promote it all, with TV spots, a revamped Internet site and print ads touting the U.S. Open Series as "summer's hottest reality series." In that vein, its executives have bestowed the lead "actors" in tennis's "reality series" with a nickname.

In tennis's heyday, nicknames like "Jimbo" and "Nasty" arose a bit more spontaneously -- blurted out by an announcer or bestowed by a scribe. But with waves of youngsters from all corners of the globe shooting up the rankings overnight, the USTA is desperate to forge a connection, however contrived, between players and the viewing public.

"Tennis is very much of a star sport," Dell said. "The great thing about the U.S. Open Series is, hopefully, you're going to start building new stars."

But whether fans will start referring to Spain's Rafael Nadal as "Boy Wonder" and Russia's Kuznetsova as "the Contender," as the USTA suggests, remains to be seen.

In the interim, 2003 U.S. Open Champion Andy Roddick, whom the USTA has dubbed "Rocket Man," is optimistic about the series' prospects for injecting new interest in the sport.

"It makes it feel like the whole summer is kind of in unison on something," said Roddick, who headlines the draw at Washington's Legg Mason next month. "It may make it a little simpler for the fans knowing that all these tournaments before the Open have a common goal leading up to the Open. They're kind of prep work; they have a direct effect on what might happen at the U.S. Open."


07-19-2005, 01:19 PM
Have you seen the commercials? They are kind of cute, done kind of like the Real World intros. I don't think those names are supposed to stick, they flash them on the screen almost too quickly to read them.

Kevin Patrick
07-19-2005, 01:19 PM
here's the full list of nicknames:


Kevin Patrick
07-19-2005, 01:21 PM
Fee, the only nickname they should push is the one you came up with: "ToJo"

07-19-2005, 01:22 PM
Yeah, I saw that with my Tennis/USTA magazine.

I laughed when I saw Kim Clijsters had earned the moniker "Miss Congeniality" but four time slam winner Justine was left off.

Kevin Patrick
07-19-2005, 01:26 PM
Noticed Guillermo "I touch myself" Coria wasn't on the list.

07-19-2005, 01:30 PM
Uugh! Tennis survives . . . despite the USTA.

07-19-2005, 01:50 PM
My cringemeter has flown way off the scale.

I guess they figured that one possible way of increasing public enthusiasm for tennis was to market it as if it were a more macho sport like Nascar racing and to present it in such a way that individual players seem bigger than the game.

07-19-2005, 02:50 PM
Okay, let's have some fun. Who did they miss?

Vince Spadea "Vanilla Spade"
Sjeng Schalken "Rigor Mortis"
Paradorn Srichapan "Unforced Error"
Amy Frazier "Country Clubber"
Justin Gimbelstob "The Spaz"
Olivier Rochus "The Runt"
Greg Rusedski "The Jerk"
Mary Pierce "Twitchy"
Anastasia Myskina "Drama Queen"
Tatiana Golovin "Wedgie"
Vera ******vina "Summer's Eve"
Dinara Safina "Little Sister"
Jennifer Capriati "Potty Mouth"

07-19-2005, 03:11 PM
Polaris - My cringemeter has flown way off the scale.
Kevin Patrick - Noticed Guillermo "I touch myself" Coria wasn't on the list.

At least The Goddess,The Diva and The Legend have risen semi-spontaneously, rather than being imposed by a Committee of old men whose first love was Clara Bow, the "It Girl" of 20's Hollywood.

Kevin Patrick - Fee, the only nickname they should push is the one you came up with: "ToJo"

ToJo- NO NO!
"Hideki Tojo was Prime Minister of Japan when the attack on Pearl Harbour took place plunging the Far East into a war which was to end with the destruction of Hiroshima in August 1945." And the surname, which lent itself to various rhymes, still resonates here in the South Pacific, and undoubtedly also with US veterans of the Pacific Campaign. A word capable of causing nightmares.*
Back to the drawing board!;)
And yes,
simi - Tennis survives . . . despite the USTA.
(Great work there gully):D

*No offence at all intended towards any Japanese readers. These are facts.

Jon Hampton
07-19-2005, 04:28 PM
Sjeng Schalken "Rigor Mortis"

I love that one! Mr. "No Knee Bend" could suffice too.

Justin Gimbelstob "The Spaz"

How about "The Leaping Spaz"?

Mary Pierce "Twitchy"

I like the "Fat One" better.

I think my favorite out of all of them is Safin's "Mr. Unpredictable". You have to admit that his title, out of all of them (yes, even more than Serena's "The Diva"), it makes the most sense; we don't know whether Safin will make it to the final, or be thrown out in the second round. Oh, the drama is killing me!

07-19-2005, 04:40 PM
Wouldn't it be better to just make the game more interesting? All the flash and Hollywood promotion in the world isn't going to make a boring product interesting. The only thing that makes tennis bearable to watch now is a) watching a player you hope will lose (like watching NASCAR for a wreck) or b) a player like Haas or Federer who can do it all. Sadly, those are about the only two who can do it all.

07-19-2005, 04:41 PM
How about "The Leaping Spaz"?Stand by, gully and jon. Hewitt called someone a Spaz once, and you can guess what happened next....

07-19-2005, 05:03 PM
Kudos to the USTA! I wonder if the fans will see through the razzle-dazzle WWF/E style lick of paint.

07-19-2005, 05:04 PM
Vera ******vina "Summer's Eve"
Jennifer Capriati "Potty Mouth"

Hehehe, it would be great if someone hacked the teleprompter and Mac/Cariillo/Cliffy mentioned one of these. Good stuff, Gully.