Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Slow Death Of American Tennis

Tennis is dead. There I said it. I think its been dead for years. It died when the torch was passed from Sampras and Aggasi to Andy Roddick. I feel he didn't care about being a tennis player. He just loved the perks and the lifestyle that went along with it. It was obvious in his play and many coaching changes that he didn't care to be a champion. Yes I know he won a US Open very early in his career, but the results afterward was pure rubbish. But this isn't a Roddick bashing post.
The person who stomped on American tennis' neck and crushed it and took the last breath from the American game was Serena Williams. Very selfish and arrogant player. She puts herself before the game. She's a very poor winner and loser. When she wins she brags and boasts about how her opponent was inferior to her. When she loses she mumbles her answers, then questions the credibility of the interviewer. I hate how she is trying to have rivalry with Maria Sharapova. She states that Maria isn't a serious player because of the modeling and endorsements. Serena does the same thing on a much bigger scale.....she also acts and has a clothing line. I have three words for Serena....pot, kettle, black. But this isn't a Serena bashing post.....okay, maybe a little!
I say tennis died years ago because of the laziness of our current society. I blame all the video games, God awful television shows and the dangerous world we currently live in. Allow me to explain.
Growing up I lived near a park. Us kids in the neighborhood would always play baseball, basketball and football......everyday. Just make a few phone calls and you had an instant pick up game. If we wanted to play tennis or volleyball, we went to another park that had the courts.
Try driving past a park nowadays. The parks are EMPTY!
My point is that everypark I went to, the tennis courts were full. Some of my favorite memories growing up is playing tennis with my cousin Lola. We would just hit balls and talk about school, homework or whatever else was on our teenaged minds.
Sometimes I would be lucky enough to be invited to play at the local racquet club Country Oaks ( was closed for a housing development that never happened).
It wasn't very often, but I took advantage of it. I remember when as an adult when I became a paying member. I would hit againts the practice wall until I got tired.
I was even a member at the stuffy Natomas Racquet Club. I say stuffy because if you didn't know anyone, you couldn't play. Very cliqueish there. So I would hit againts the practice wall until I got bored. I even signed up for an adult tennis league night there. The club pro was an ass. He didn't make me feel welcome. He was also the tennis coach at the college I went to. He was more concerned about his tennis team then us students.
So my love for tennis slowly disapeered.
It would be years before I would touch a racquet. Why? Because I was burnt out and lazy.
Thats my personal history with tennis. Growning older and having more responsibilities also took away from my tennis time.
So I contributed to the death of tennis too.
Working in the Napa valley has gotten me re-connected with tennis. A few co-workers play and invited me to play. My love for the game came back. I started looking forward to the next time we would play.
I dug up my old tennis books for tips. I even was watching more tennis on the telly.
What does this have to do with the death of tennis in America you ask? To further explain, I'm a serve and volley player. I love rushing the net. But my opponents would stay at the baseline. Forcing me to stay back because the would blow the ball past me. Baseline to baseline is soooo boring. I think the modern ball and racquets are just too powerful now. I played with vintage wood racquets a few times and there is a difference. At last years US Open Mens Final, John McEnroe said something I noticed right away. He said, "This match has been going on for two and a half hours, and thats the first serve and volley of the match. This shows that the game is truly a baseline to baseline game now."
The other day I was talking to a young lady on the Napa College tennis team. I was sharing my theory on the game when she said something that blew my mind. I was talking to her about the death of the serve and volley game, and she said, "The inherited apathy of our generation has contributed to the lazy baseline playing in our tennis society. The "dinosaur" sport is dying from the great competitive and sportsmanship to basically no rallying or real playing." Poetry!
The final question remains, can tennis make a comeback? Yes it can. How? Simple.....go out and play!

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