Why is tennis such an under appreciated sport?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by BeHappy, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Why are sports like golf and basketball for example so much more popular than tennis? I don't understand it at all. People like us who actually follow tournaments other than Wimbledon are really pretty rare. What happened in the 90's to the incredible popularity of tennis of the 70's and 80's?
     
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  2. BaboFan

    BaboFan Rookie

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    Some people like watching tennis back then bc there was fights and such (Mcenroe, Jimbo, etc.). Now its too passive. People resort to hockey, football, MMA, etc.

    Golf is a way of showing you are upper class, but im not very fond of it.
    Basketball is a fun game and easy game to play.

    Not to mention people like what they can play. Not many people can play tennis.
     
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  3. Nuke

    Nuke Hall of Fame

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    I kind of agree with BaboFan. The game had more characters back in the 70/80's. The players are too "nice" these days. Whenever a player gets a little feisty now, they get a beatdown in the press and places like this very forum, for boorish behavior. Of course, you can only get away with boorish behavior if you have the game to back it up (see Connors, McEnroe, Nastase), but today's stars are known more for giving up and defaulting instead of arguing over line calls. Serena is the only old-school "character" on the scene at the moment, and a lot of us (guilty, me) treat her like a pariah, but she's really the most interesting woman on the tour. The pro wrestling people already know that you need good guys AND bad guys in the mix to keep things interesting, but tennis just wants good guys. Good guys don't always make headlines, though.
     
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  4. GOAT BAAH!!!

    GOAT BAAH!!! Professional

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    Agreed. When I went through the debacle of trying to show my family how skillful the sport is during Cinci; my father continually remarked on how there is "no personality" in the sport and was shocked that "celebrations" after points were considered over the top or classless and how code violations are thrown at people for breaking racquets or what he considered "a healthy way of getting your frustration out temporarily." He's a big football, baseball and boxing guy and basically thinks that apologizing for things like let cords when you're in the "heat of battle" is outrageous....I've heard similar reasoning from others....

    I think a happy medium is the way, allow the players to express themselves whilst somehow keeping the "gentlemanly" aspect of the game. It's tough to market robots that hit the ball back and forth, back and forth, back and forth....
     
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  5. pound cat

    pound cat G.O.A.T.

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    Most people can't relate to an individual sport where every player has to be in top shape, spends hours every day practicing and working out, spends his entire year travelling all over the world only to often lose after a day or 2 of a tournament, where only a top few make a relatively big salary based on all of the above plus a lot ot talent. Plus he has to pay a lot of money for a coach who may or may not help improve his game. Who can picture doing that?

    Plus all the fans seem to be unicoloured everywhere excepted in Asia. And the Euopean and N. American game has the connotation of snooty tennis clubs where rich people go to bat a few balls over a net playing doubles....or even mixed doubles? Ha ha ha.


    That's tennis for you. Hard to relate to for the average person. And people are my nature gregarious and team sports are far more appealing.
     
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  6. TenFanLA

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    Imagine "Die Hard" without Hans Gruber, "Wall Street" without Gordon Gekko and "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" without Nurse Ratched. Well, that's tennis in 2011. The tennis diehards will watch and play tennis but the rest of the population won't.
     
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  7. ryu1revline

    ryu1revline New User

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    I think tennis is at the height of its global popularity technically, and with the sport growing so fast in countries like China, it's bigger on paper.

    If you are an American, the sport has faded from being a media favorite for quite awhile now. There are just too many other popular team sports in the US that get the spotlight. Even formerly unpopular sports like soccer have been gaining serious momentum lately; as if there weren't tons of mega sports already grabbing everyone's attention here. On top of that, ratings juggernauts like Nascar squeeze even more air space away from tennis.

    I will say though, it is MUCH easier to follow tennis now than it was in the late '80s with TTC and ESPN 3. ****, I remember the only way to follow smaller 250 tournies was by flipping through a very small results section in the newspaper; no photos or anything!
     
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  8. ryu1revline

    ryu1revline New User

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    This is so true.. I'm getting off-topic here, but tennis is SO much different than the traditional American sports that most people just don't relate to it. Players like A-Rod would be considered an upstanding sportsmen if he played baseball, etc.. In tennis, he's got anger issues. :)
     
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  9. Diabl0

    Diabl0 New User

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    Tennis has faded from the general publics attention in the same way boxing has. Both individual sports with only small hardcore fan bases.

    The growth and billions of money involved in the big team sports has taken many of the potential athletes away from tennis and boxing. Only the very best can make millions in tennis and boxing...but playing football (european) or in the NBA, NFL etc - its far more lucrative.

    So whats to blame? I guess the big team sports got too popular and the resulting billion dollar tv deals (that filter down to the teams and players) is luring all the young talent.
     
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  10. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    Tennis underappreciated? It's going through a golden age right now.
     
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  11. Federer>Djokovic>Nadal

    Federer>Djokovic>Nadal Banned

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    It is definitely in America, I can tell you that.
     
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  12. ryu1revline

    ryu1revline New User

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    I think OP was referring to the States because he mentioned basketball.

    It's sad watching the Li Na match at New Haven with like 16 people in the stands..
     
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  13. cknobman

    cknobman Legend

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    In America some of the individual causes are:
    • Exposure
      • Not heavily shown on TV due to format not being cooperative with advertising and unpredictability of match length time.
      • Kids are exposed to other sports like baseball, football, and basketball because they are more easily available and team driven lessening the burden on the individual (this ties in with cost and effort)
      • There are a lot of areas of the country where courts are not plentiful or even attainable vs baseball and football which can be played in an empty field or yard and basketball where all is needed is a goal (which are portable and cheap)
    • Cost - tennis is (comparatively) a very expensive sport (court time, coaching, racquets, strings, shoes, etc. (I used to think tennis was cheap until I started playing it).
    • Effort - tennis being a primarily individual sport requires a much greater effort than many of your team sports which means more time and a deeper commitment.
    • $$$$$$ - big money in America revolves around the big 3 baseball, basketball, and football. There are a few other sports that do get some attention (hockey, golf, maybe soccer) but for the most part everything revolves around money.
     
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  14. Tammo

    Tammo Banned

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    I don't think tennis is underappreciated, it's just that other sports are overappreciated.
     
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  15. Crisstti

    Crisstti Legend

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    I don't agree at all. Players don't need to be rude jerks to be interesting.

    The issue is that team sports are just so much more popular, people follow them because they follow a certain team... it's really difficult for tennis to compete with that (no idea why golf is that popular though). I myself pretty much have followed it depending on if there is a player I really like or not.

    In Chile tennis is clearly less popular now that there are no Chilean players that are that good. I'm guessing the same has happened in the US... while we can be sure in Spain, Serbia, Switzerland tennis is in a hight of popularity.

    I agree also that most people don't play tennis themselves, plus it requires that one has money to rent a court... and it is seen somewhat as pertaining to people of certain social classes...
     
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  16. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    There shouldn't be a tournament this week, period.

    Well, sure. China had 182 people who knew what tennis was in 2008 - now they have 10,000 (exaggeration) - so they have 'explosive' growth. But will they become long term fans? Or will they go away when Li Na retires? (she is in the back end of her career)

    Marketing. Like him or not, Stern is a genius in his marketing of the NBA worldwide. The ATP is trying to market the players - some do have personalities. But a lot of the players are guarded - they don't want to say or do anything too outrageous or controversial and risk losing their endorsements. Since their careers are short, I can't blame them.

    And Golf is big because it's a social game. You can talk with your buddies between shots. Kinda tough to yell back and forth the 80 ft length of the court. In addition to the physical requirements.
     
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  17. Crisstti

    Crisstti Legend

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    Good point.
     
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  18. ryu1revline

    ryu1revline New User

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    Agreed with the social aspects of golf.

    In my field a ton of business deals get done over golf. Then, you plan your vacation around a decent golf course because it's so relaxing and slightly more physical then chess. :)
     
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  19. TenFanLA

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    That's true. Tennis is not underappreciated in many parts of the world, esp. Europe. But it's practically on the respirator in US compared to the 80's. I used to love watching Borg vs. McEnroe with Connors, Lendl thrown in.

    When Becker and Sampras started dominating along with the other big servers, I lost interest. Women's tennis was more interesting with actual rallies. Then Federer and Nadal reignited my passion for tennis. But for most other Americans, they still want/need a homegrown hero. Someone like Roddick with the talent of Federer. Doesn't look like it's gonna happen anytime soon though.
     
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  20. FedExpress 333

    FedExpress 333 Professional

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    In America, it is pretty simple. Why would you choose an individual sport with only 30 ppl can make a living out of when you have to spend soooooo much $$ because the USTA gives all their money to a few kids when you can play a cheap team sport that lets many more ppl make a living and is more popular?
     
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  21. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    In America? Because they don't care, or know, about it. They have soccer/football, American football, baseball, and basketball as the big ones, followed by Hockey. They like team sports (since America is such a team-playing nation, right?), especially those with lots of aggression and injury.
     
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  22. Funbun

    Funbun Professional

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    Because on TV, it looks like the guys are walking left and right. The balls look slow.
     
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  23. TERRASTAR18

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    tennis at it's heart is an elitist sport and at times it seems to keep the public at a distance. at it's higest points, the players who resonated with fans were the ones the casual fans could relate to, whether it was agassi, mcenroe or today it's the williams sisters.
    but tennis at the top is ruled by the same snobbish elites. whether it's the debacles at wimbledon or the gimmicks by the usta to "promote tennis".
     
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  24. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    Err, not only is that entire thing full of errors in logic, but "debacles" isn't even used properly...

    No one uses debacles to promote something, except for politicians pointing out the faults of the other party...
     
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  25. d4o

    d4o New User

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    it isn't as appreciated as other sports because people play more team sports because they are easy to play and more sociable, and they accordingly watch more team sports .
     
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  26. Nuke

    Nuke Hall of Fame

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    Well, not ALL of them need to be jerks, but we need a mix of heroes and villains to make things interesting. Muhammed Ali, referencing professional wrestling and Gorgeous George observed, "I saw 15,000 people coming to see this man get beat. And his talking did it. I said, 'This is a gooood idea!'" In the locker room afterward, the seasoned wrestler gave the future legend some invaluable advice: "A lot of people will pay to see someone shut your mouth. So keep on bragging, keep on sassing and always be outrageous."

    We saw a lot of that behavior with Connors and McEnroe. Today, not so much. It's not such a bad thing if sometimes you watch a match to see someone get beat, rather than watch someone win. But, aside from Serena Williams, I don't see that so much now. OK, maybe you like Nadal, but you don't really hate Federer or Djokovic so much. There aren't really any of the "bad boys" like in the 70/80's today to cheer against. Maybe you mildly dislike Nadal or Djokovich because they claimed a fake injury and pulled out of a minor tournament to help their chances in an upcoming major, but there's been nothing like a top player getting defaulted for bad behavior (yeah, Serena comes the closest to "interesting" these days).

    To make tennis "stories", we need both heroes and villains. The top tennis players should be celebrities, and if bad behavior is a reason for their celebrity, so be it.
     
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  27. The Dude

    The Dude New User

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    Because TV does not utilize the rear court camera angle enough, which better shows the speed and spin of the shots...
     
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  28. TERRASTAR18

    TERRASTAR18 Hall of Fame

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    what errors of logic?
    i said debales at wimbledon or usta's gimmicks to "promote tennis". they are two seperate examples: wimbledon debacles on one hand, the usta on the other
    definition of or-
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/OR
     
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  29. Ripster

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    I agree with this. People (especially Americans) want to see a battle between two guys that hate each other or at the very least are rivals. That's why MMA and the UFC is so popular. People will pay big money to see two guys fight it out who genuinely dislike each other. Now a days the players are just boring PR machines who, if they let out even a bit of anger or emotion, are given fines, warnings, point penalties etc, and who can't talk trash during press conferences.

    It makes me miss guys like Marat Safin or even Marcelo Rios who just did whatever the heck they wanted. Even a guy like Roddick - who I generally don't like but will admit, draws big crowds because he wears his heart on his sleeve and gives honest, interesting press conferences.

    You don't necessarily have to be a jerk but nobody wants to see a bunch of emotionless robots.
     
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  30. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    All these criticisms apply to golf too though. That's what I don't understand.

    Tiger Woods was never charismatic, never really trash talked with Mickelson or Els or any of his other rivals, plus golf is a far more slow paced game that takes even longer than a 5 set grandslam final to complete. Golf is even more expensive to play than tennis and way more elitist, and far less fun to both play and watch (that's just my opinion though)

    Tennis has everything that both golf and basketball has to offer rolled into one. The skill of golf and the athleticism of basketball. You'd figure the same guys who appreciate long drives would appreciate Andy Roddick's serve. That they'd appreciate Nadal's athleticism, Federer's skill. But tennis has only a fraction of the popularity of those sports.
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011
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  31. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

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    Good point, I second that!
     
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  32. BeHappy

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    When the guy goes to the net that angle is no good though.
     
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  33. Manus Domini

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    errors of logic being that tennis is ruled by the "same snobbish elites" without athletes people can relate to. Nadal and Murray could have gone pro soccer, and are easily to relate to, as is Djokovic. Federer's the only one who most might have trouble following...

    also, the phrasing of 'debacles at wimbledon or the gimmicks by the USTA to "promote tennis"' basically says that Wimbledon uses debacles to promote the sport.
     
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  34. Ripster

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    Way more Americans play golf over tennis. Tennis may be popular as a leisurely sport that people will try a few times in the summer, but do you think these same people are going to routinely watch tennis on tv? Or for that matter, pay $100 to watch the pros play?

    There are way way more serious golfers than tennis players in the US. There are golf courses everywhere and good tennis courts are hard to come by. Golf is a part of the corporate culture in America, tennis is not.
     
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  35. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    I know, I just don't understand why golf is so much more popular than tennis. Why did people stop playing tennis and shift to golf? It was probably 50-50 in player numbers and mainstream popularity twenty-five years ago, now there are probably 90 golfers for every tennis player.
     
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  36. SeriousSummer

    SeriousSummer New User

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    You can't dunk, there aren't any "hits" and all you see on TV is two people hitting a small ball back and forth. Before high definition television you couldn't even see the ball half the time. Watch some Youtubes of old matches sometime. They are really hard to follow.

    Without obvious spectacular feats or mayhem, tennis in the United States is really only of interest to people who play and to some extent when there are American champions.

    Golf is just as bad to watch, but a lot more people play golf.
     
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  37. BrooklynNY

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    Because tennis players suck at volleying now.

    And watching ping pong is boring.l
     
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  38. SeriousSummer

    SeriousSummer New User

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    More people play golf than tennis now because we're fatter and older. You don't have to be in very good physical condition to play golf. Tennis requires at some exertion.
     
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  39. Tennis_Monk

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    Why not ? whats wrong with having a tournament this week?
     
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  40. MichaelNadal

    MichaelNadal Talk Tennis Guru

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    People simply DON'T KNOW when it's going on. There's no advertisement WHATSOEVER outside of slams. The casual tennis fan can easily forget tennis even exists outside of the slams, and even then, they just happen to catch it on NBC.
     
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  41. TERRASTAR18

    TERRASTAR18 Hall of Fame

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    point 1- it is run by elites, have you ever looked at the leadership of any of the federations?
    point 2- they children of the rich w/o much personality hardly relatable.
    point3- no it doesn't, the or is to signify they are completely different statements. you might want to brush up on your reading skills:rolleyes:
     
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  42. devila

    devila Banned

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    viewers generally don't like scoring that involves many deuces, and special praise and tv time for 1 or 2 players. they don't care to hear idiots like pat mcenroe who enjoy shoving down their throats that federer's the best, genius and most full of "integrity".
     
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  43. Clay lover

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    Recreational ping pong maybe boring, but pro ping pong is definitely not boring. I would argue that professional ping pong is an even more physical demanding sport than tennis albeit the much shorter matches.
     
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  44. BeHappy

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    You get all that in golf though.
     
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  45. wy2sl0

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    #45
  46. Pacific3000

    Pacific3000 New User

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    Then you lost a lot of excellent tennis years. You missed the entire Sampras-Agassi era!!

    Federer-Nadal was always like watching paint dry to me.
     
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  47. DoctorBackhand

    DoctorBackhand Rookie

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    There is no instant gratification in tennis. It takes years to master the technique, learn strategies, and develop the mental toughness needed to play competitively. Other sports are easier to pick up and to most people more fun to watch.
     
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  48. Clay lover

    Clay lover Hall of Fame

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    People just don't appreciate how hard it is at the pro level, in that regard tennis suffers the same problem other racquet sports like table tennis and badminton faces. It looks easy to run around and hit the ball across the net but people don't realize how hard it is at the pro level.
     
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  49. I guess you are American?

    In Sweden,Norway,Germany,France,Serbia,Spain tennis is blooming! Many clubs in these countries have at least a year waiting list before you can join the club and sometimes you have to wait more than a year.

    EDIT: You mean pro tennis?
     
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  50. Viper

    Viper Professional

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    DING DING! WINNER!


    I've touched on this in the past. The game is far too slow in it's current state. It's like the decline of baseball in the U.S., the current generation sees the action packed, one hour spurts to games from basketball and football, so everything else in comparison looks slow. Only the real fans get the reason for the pauses, the slowness of a point, or sit through a slow match because of the prestige or rivalry.
     
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