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Wednesday, July 2, 2014
#Wimbledon 2014 Back to the Future of Tennis
Does John McEnroe Have Any Answers?
It's middle Sunday a Wimbledon . All of my Facebook friends are posting about Brazil's amazing win with a penalty kick off the rim. I hate soccer and I know this. Haven't watched a spec of the World Cup although it has been on at every bar and restaurant I've gone to in the past week or two. I'm more interested in solidifying that Henman Hill be officially named Murray Mound. And yes I am American.
If I go out today in my hometown and ask 1000 people where is Henman Hill and what do you think of the name change to Murray Mound maybe 3 would know what I'm talking about. If I went to an active tennis club anywhere on the west coast the percentage wouldn't get much better. Even Americans who play tennis do not necessarily follow the professional events as they happen. Those that do generally stick with the 4 majors: The Australian Open, The French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.
Even the commentators for those events don't show up for the little shows that the current professional players put on week in and week out 11 months of the year. Tennis is a year round sport for professional players. There are events that they are required to show up for at every corner of the calendar year. With such a robust global calendar how is it that so few Americans enjoy watching the sport? Is it just that baseball and football are that much more interesting?
Being a tennis fan is harder than losing 10 pounds. The focus and attention that it takes to watch live matches and live a normal life is impossible. Right now we are in the middle of Wimbledon the third major. A week after the Wimbledon finals Stuttgart will be having their finals, then Bogata and Hamburg, and the week after that Atlanta. After a few years of following tennis and managing to watch live matches, the time of day becomes irrelevant. That is not a normal American trait.
TV time outs and 25 second time limits between points are just a couple of changes that I have noticed as a spectator that don't necessarily fall in the category of servicing the competition of the players as much as servicing the TV production. I would hope that in the long and short of it these adjustments are all for my benefit as a spectator.
I'm not complaining. I only hope that one day enough people in my town would be interested in professional tennis as spectators to host an event here. The San Jose event is now the new Bogata event. I would love to go to Bogata. But San Jose is a lot closer. Tennis is fun to watch and making the effort to see live matches all over the world on TV or in person is a good part of what makes it so fun for me. I look forward to the day when others get excited to see my favorite sport more up close and personal on TV and in their hometown.