Pro tennis needs CHANGE

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by M C, Mar 30, 2004.

  1. M C

    M C New User

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    The last few days lots of posts about ESPN's sucky tennis coverage has circulated. But nobody can really blame ESPN. They see tennis as a sport without a large fanbase, which may be true. This needs to change. Tennis really can make it. Maybe some people don't think anything is wrong with tennis, but I think it needs to become more popular in America. Give me a break! America can get a Golf Channel but the Tennis Channel is only in selected markets. Tennis is a much better sport than golf: cheaper to play, more exciting, easier to learn, etc. In order to make it more marketable some "radical" changes may have to occur, which tennis fans, including myself, may not like. I really like the game as it is now. Tennis is full of tradition, which is a large part in the game. But as corporate America has done, tennis needs to change with the times. Look how the NFL has been marketed! Wow! They have a great system to generate excitement for the games. Although it may not at first be good for the game, eliminating 3 out of 5 set matches would be good for almost all fans, the majority of whom are casual. If I (an avid tennis fan) watches a match with friends, they always get bored no matter what. Even a four-set well played match is quite lengthy. But three sets would make this much more exciting. Look at two out of three set matches today, there is energy in the first set barely ever visible in mens slams. Calleri vs. Agassi today, Calleri was pumped every shot he hit, this doesn't happen in 3/5. Davis Cup could be really exciting, look at some of the energy at the foreign venues. The US needs to look forward to this. One way to do it would be make it like the soccer World Cup or the Olympics-every four years. Tennis needs to bring in a fanbase. We have potential with a group of energetic young American men to excite fans, not to mention a slew of Russian women, some of which are very good looking (I'm 16 so I don't feel bad being attracted to Maria Sharapova). A new ad campaign (I have heard USTA is launching one with Jeff Gordon of NASCAR and Roy Jones Jr. the boxer) to excite is definately a good idea. Also get more people to the matches. There are plenty of tournaments in the states, get people to them. If you have to, make the atmosphere in the stadium better by doing something like playing music during changeovers (but still definately not anytime else). I have found that that athletic people generally tend to like tennis, but as a very casual sport. If the USTA can generate kids to play more semi-competitive tennis, and the high school base grows, so will the popularity of the professional game. Not competitive kids with coaches, but get tennis to draw as many kids as baseball in the spring when high school season rolls around. There are other good ideas which can make it exciting, like eliminating lets which could even be fun for the players, but the bottom line is everyone has ideas, someone has to make something happen so tennis can not just "hang around" as a large scale pro sport but become a spectator sport with a good fanbase.
     
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  2. Verbal_Kint

    Verbal_Kint Rookie

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    The differences between golf and tennis are that you don't have to be fit to be a golfer, you can play with a weaker/better player without a problem and golfers are usually wealthy. The Golf Channel probably thrives on infomercials, which wouldn't do to much for tennis-players. We can only play with one racket at a time and one set of strings. Golfers need special gloves, clubs, and other gimmicks.. I'm off to bed, so someone else can finish my story.. ;)

    Marnix
     
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  3. Ronaldo

    Ronaldo G.O.A.T.

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    You would be surprised how few tennis players, that play several times a week, watch tennis.
     
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  4. fastdunn

    fastdunn Legend

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    The nature of tennis game just does not fit great to be a
    "spectator" sport. Anyone remember ATP experimented
    with playing rock music during change-overs ? I remember
    Agassi hated it. As a spectator, you should be quiet and not
    moving for the most of time. (When I was watching one of
    Sampras' matches live, I remember Sampras stopped his
    service motion because I was moving toward my seat and
    disrupted his timing..) I actually felt silly to watch TV ratings
    going up when Jimmy Connors made it to a semi-final of US
    Open at the gae of 39(?). That was not tennis phenomena
    to be exact, IMHO. Tennis is very individual sport and no real
    "gladiator" nature in it.

    I'm a huge tennis fan and 80% of my TV sports followings
    are tennis. But I'm personally surprised at the kind of
    popularity the psort is having now. As I know, in terms of
    shear numbers, tennis is more popular than times of Borg-
    McAnroe,Evert and Navratilova. Its revenue has grown
    steadily over the years. There just has been no explosive
    growth like NBA in Jordan times and Golf with Tiger Woods..
    The sport also has some unique marketability, as I know
    at least in US, because it has narrow targeted audiences.....
     
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  5. Camilio Pascual

    Camilio Pascual Hall of Fame

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    I agree with your goal, but not all your assertions. Most adults are not athletic, those with the money find golf to be a much better sport to play than tennis. And it is much easier to handicap than tennis, where we don't seem to have found an acceptable handicapping method yet. We have tennis at the Olympics, it does not seem to have much mass appeal. I completely agree with you about the kids, semi-competitive juniors would be better without coaches. Juniors tennis is a very competitive and hostile environment, far more so than baseball, basketball, or football where there is peer support from teammates. You have some interesting ideas and observations. I'd like to see best of 5 sets, unless someone wins the first two.
     
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  6. juu

    juu New User

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    May be - play to an advantage of 2 sets, but not more than five sets total? Though that's not what the original poster wanted at all :).
     
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  7. david aames

    david aames Professional

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    Ban WTA and get the girls to sweep the courts, hand over the towels and the balls for the men. Venus and Serena can sit down and watch.
     
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