Tennis: a snob sport for the upper class?

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by Someone Else, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Someone Else

    Someone Else Banned

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    Why has tennis traditionally always been a snob sport for the upper class?
    A related question would be why tennis is universally loved by all rich people.
    I don't know of a single upper class wealthy snob who has never played
    tennis before.
    It was not until the arrival of public tennis courts, that ordinary working class
    peasants were able to play this sport.
    At least tennis is not a socialist working class sport like badminton
    or handball, but I also do not like its exclusive nature and snob heritage.
     
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  2. gavna

    gavna Hall of Fame

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    I love the fact it's such a snob and elitist game. I think it's great the riffraff have their public facilities as its hard enough to get good court time as it is. It's nice when I'm able to sit and have a decent conversion about the next round of layoffs or plant closings my board and I are planning, hate to have folks in cutoff shorts and (my god) canvas tennis shoes running around.

    Let the proletariat's have Football (soccer for the yanks).
     
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  3. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Tennis is a sophisticated sport for sophisticated people.
     
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  4. Doubles

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    Wait, how is badminton a Socialist sport?
     
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  5. Someone Else

    Someone Else Banned

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    Not just socialist, but a socialist working class sport.
    Because badminton is universally loved by all working class peasants
    in socialist countries.
     
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  6. Tiebreak100

    Tiebreak100 New User

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    A glance at Queens club during the summer is enough to give you the dry boak. I personally think tennis would be better if it did appeal to a wider audience. The game is too stuffy and obsessed with dated traditions that most struggle to relate to. The game needs more controversial figures/rivalries and needle to appeal to the average Joe. Tennis should be for the people, not just the rancid strawberry munchers.
     
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  7. TheBoom

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    Just look at the cost of a racket and balls vs a football/cleats
     
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  8. JustBob

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    I wonder if Kim Jong-un will be able to break his father's record of 146 grand slams.
     
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  9. Phoenix1983

    Phoenix1983 Hall of Fame

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    He's currently 28 and already has 72 slams, having won every tournament he has entered since turning pro at the age of 10.

    He would have to play until he is 47 to break the record, but I see age as no barrier to the Great Successor.

    Of course Kim-Jong Il will likely remain the all-round greatest sportsman, as on top of his tennis career, he also won every major in golf 10 times, getting a hole in one on every hole. :twisted:
     
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  10. Homeboy Hotel

    Homeboy Hotel Hall of Fame

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    Wimbledon 'The Championships' IS tennis. Originating from the grass courts of South West London.

    Middle-class white people being able to afford a ticket to watch tennis, it was seen as the norm. There, thats it.
     
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  11. PrinceMoron

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    How fast is the DMZ? Bet it has got slower over the years. Where is the fun in that?
     
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  12. JustBob

    JustBob Hall of Fame

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    Excellent analysis. I concur! :)
     
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  13. forzamilan90

    forzamilan90 Legend

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    Could you have made the font any smaller on the OP?
     
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  14. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    LOLOL.

    Great stuff, guys.
     
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  15. winstonplum

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    This might be the single funniest post in the history of TT. Congrats, dear sir.
     
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  16. Gonzalito17

    Gonzalito17 Hall of Fame

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    Mostly smart people are attracted to playing tennis. You have to be smart to play and figure out ways to win. In playing serious tennis for 15 years now I have made the realization that there are a lot of intelligent people involved in tennis, on all levels.
     
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  17. Bergboy123

    Bergboy123 Semi-Pro

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    This thread is golden :D
     
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  18. MAXXply

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    Tennis was devised by the British as a leisurely pursuit for the wealthy classes. Most modern-day sports find their origins in the British upper classes of the 19th century. While my forebears were shipped across the world in prison hulks, left to burn in the Antipodean sun, the people who sent them down were holding parasols and enjoying tennis at garden parties on some rich person's back lawn. So yes, tennis' origins are upper class.

    If you think badminton is a socialist-inspired opiate of the masses, then the DPRK-made kimchi has obviously rotted your brain.
     
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  19. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

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    It was meant to be played by royalty. Thats why King Henry VIII and all of them did. Part of the reason why I love wimbledon, brings back the royalty factor in tennis along with the class and grace.
     
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  20. RF20Lennon

    RF20Lennon Legend

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    I hate the "snobby" bit but i love the classy and elegant part of tennis. But everyone from a dirt poor man to a king should play it
     
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  21. schang70

    schang70 New User

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    Here up north, you pretty much have to be at least upper middle class to play tennis year round. The court fees are $25 to $30 bucks per hour during the Winter. I imagine before the proliferation of public courts in this country, tennis was exclusive to the upper class. I think the fact that tennis is a non-contact sport that can be played at a leisurely pace appealed to the aristocracy. At least tennis is not as snobbish as golf. You won't get thrown out of a tennis club by wearing denim shorts a la Michael Jordan.
     
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  22. Someone Else

    Someone Else Banned

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    My brain is not rotten. I was not referring to the origins of badminton.
    I was referring to its increased popularity among working class peasants
    in socialist countries. It is now a poor man's sport that anyone can play
    pretty much anywhere. No net even required.
     
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  23. Emet74

    Emet74 Professional

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    The modern game of tennis (lawn tennis) was started as a game for British aristocrats.

    However, the old medieval form of tennis (the kind King Henry VIII played) was actually started by monks in French montasteries. It was then spread by students who studied with the monks and learned to play the game. For a while it actually was a street game played by the common people, who would gamble on the results. Some people think that the reason for the bizarre scoring system - 15, 30, 40 instead of 1,2,3 is that those were units of currency. In any event, because tennis was associated with gambling many countries passed laws forbidding the common people from playing it, so it became an aristocratic sport only.
     
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  24. CCNM

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    Amen, man!!!!
     
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  25. t135

    t135 Semi-Pro

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    I dont know anyone who plays badminton but I grew up on public tennis courts (free or cheap) and have known literally hundreds of players at all levels of the sport who did as well. And who continue to play on public courts (free or cheap). So the original question makes no sense to me. Golf is another story.
     
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  26. t135

    t135 Semi-Pro

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    Have you priced good seats to an NFL game lately? The playoffs or Super Bowl? Apparently someone other than wealthy white people can afford to buy stupid expensive sports tickets.

    This is a shallow discussion to have in 2013. Sorry.
     
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  27. FlashFlare11

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    Tennis' history show that it was the sport of choice for kings and royalty.

    Today, though, it still has that reputation. I think tennis appeals to a lot of people, and a lot try to play it. The sport is actually much more difficult than it looks and it generally isn't associate much with athletes so much as it is with intellects because, let's be honest, you have to be smart in order to play the sport well. It's a technical sport which means that because the motions aren't really natural for the body, it takes a lot of skill and practice to do well.

    As for the "snobby" part, I learned to play at my city courts and don't play at clubs or anywhere else where I'm required to pay. I don't see the reason to as I have access to public courts. I learned tennis through my high school team (and we also practiced on the city courts) and met a lot of different kinds of players from all kinds of backgrounds. It is a more expensive sport to play, but it doesn't have to be. Court access can be free and balls aren't that expensive. Any kind of sports clothes will do and racquets can be as cheap as USD $30. Of course, as you get better and play more important matches, the expenses do come.
     
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  28. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    Agreed. Also, I think the tennis is "too expensive" to play for the average person is overplayed. Everytime I drive by a public basketball court, I see guys playing in 100 dollar jordans and over-priced NBA jerseys. If you are just a beginner or recreational player, you don't have to spend 200 dollars on Babolats or vapors to enjoy tennis.

    Of course, I'm not going to deny that tennis does become an expensive sport if you want to go pro or play at a high level. However, to say that only rich people can enjoy tennis is ridiculous.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
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  29. nadal_GOAT_king

    nadal_GOAT_king Rookie

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    How many CYGS? One-handed or two-handed backhand?
     
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  30. Doubles

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    And what's wrong with that?
     
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  31. t135

    t135 Semi-Pro

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    Good comments although I've had the cramp beaten out of me by people with bad strokes. I guess they lacked the upper class snobbery to pay for real tennis training.

    Perhaps the original poster should research the top players of the sport throughout history and determine for himself how many came from wealthy families.

    It appears to me that this whole discussion is based on some sort of personal issue, not reality.
     
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  32. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    Same for me. Tennis is a cheap sport in America.

    The costs come if you want to be seriously competitive and have to travel around to places to play in tournaments. This wouldn't be the case if three times as many people played the sport!

    There are plenty of sports out there. You want an expensive sport, go polo. I would hazard mountain climbing is expensive, too.

    Earlier poster talking about British origins makes me wonder if the whole idea of "organized sport" really only began in the 19th c. AD.
     
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  33. KineticChain

    KineticChain Professional

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    three-handed back hand
     
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  34. NickC

    NickC Professional

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    As noted earlier, Tennis is associated with snobby upper class people, but the fact that it's played by folks of several different levels of income and races debunks that.

    If you want an exclusive, snobby, upper class sport, try Polo (as stated by Dedans), Equestrian (if you'd even consider it a sport), Lacrosse, or in some cases hockey, football, or any other sport that costs loads in equipment.
     
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  35. Aussieoz

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    Probably. Blacks werent even allowed in the sport 50 years ago.
     
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  36. Fuji

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    Equestrian is insanely expensive. My GF is a world level competitor, and the amount of time and money that goes into it is just ridiculous.

    -Fuji
     
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  37. omega4

    omega4 Rookie

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    Public golf courses can cost $35 for greens fees (not including carts, which can cost another $15).

    Until public tennis courts start charging an equivalent amount of money, I will never regard tennis as a "snob sport".
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
    #37
  38. LuckyR

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    Horses aren't expensive... Yacht racing (J boat) is expensive.
     
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  39. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I know a guy whose wife is into competitive horse shows or whatever they are called, and they spend a fortune on special transport for the animals to tournaments and so forth.
     
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  40. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    Depending on where you live, it can be a pretty cheap sport. I think if I'd grown up where I ended up living, I'd have played probably 10 times the amount of tennis I did.
     
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  41. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    It's all relative. 5 to 6 figures seems like a fortune, until you look at 6 to 7 figures...
     
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  42. goober

    goober Legend

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    The hoi polloi is beginning to encroach upon us in tennis. Unacceptable. Time to raise the prices of Western grips.
     
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  43. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    Credible proof needed. Citations please. Althea Gibson at Wimbledon, no?
     
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  44. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    I thought the Western Grips were an endangered upland game bird.
     
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  45. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I don't know about 50 years ago or some such specified time, but she used to play tournaments in which she had to change in the parking lot because she was not allowed inside the clubhouse.
     
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  46. TERRASTAR18

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    and how many tournaments could she play in the us?
     
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  47. NickC

    NickC Professional

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    And I don't think Golf can be exclusively classified as an elitist sport, while it isn't free to play, there are some excellent public courses around the nation that aren't prohibitively expensive. Hell, here in Tucson, where they hold the Match Play championships (Tiger has played here a few times), members of the public can play the same course in the off-season or in the dead of summer for 30 bucks a round. Not bad for a world-class course. The public 36-hole complex down my street is pretty cheap too.

    And for those not ready to hit the links, renting a few clubs and hitting the range is always pretty cheap.
     
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  48. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Golf, of course is a socialist sport of the masses, since Kim Jong Il played it. He had 11 holes in one and a 38 under par round the first time he played it, as reported in the North Korean media. For more facts on Kim Jong Il, see here:
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/vi...bout-kim-jong-il/story-e6frf7lf-1226226100974

    Quite an amazing guy. Even implemented a socialist state in the OP's country to create the Workers Paradise.
     
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  49. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    tennis was racially segregated in the american south (no blacks in the country clubs)...tennis was religiously segregated in the american north (No Jews in the country clubs) at the same time.

    There was little racial segregation or race problem in western europe at the time. Of course, blacks were less than .1% of the population there. Europe had all kinds of problems with Jews, Catholics vs. Protestants, etc., at that time. Not excusing the racism in the american south, it was a bad thing, a shameful thing. Just pointing out that western civilization across the board at that time was much less tolerant than we would like to think.

    (2013-50=1963, 7 years AFTER Brown v. Board, racially integrated colleges were the norm, althogh uneasily so still, even in the South)

    50 years ago there were very few public courts in the USA.
    Ergo, private clubs only, ergo, elitist image
    nail up a basketball hoop anywhere for $10 and a $5 ball
    (1963 prices) and you've got a place to play.
    See how the elitist image exists?
     
    #49
  50. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    Tennis is a high cost sport when you take into account the training required to practice it proficiently. If you start early your family pays for it and to do that most such families will be well in excess of average income.
     
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