"Tennis being soccerized..."

Discussion in 'Business and Media' started by Malaga CF fan, Aug 28, 2002.

  1. Malaga CF fan

    Malaga CF fan Member

    Apr 19, 2000
    Fairfax, VA
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Frank Deford was on NPR this morning lamenting the lack of American players in the US Open this year. His description of the current state of tennis and the lack of American representation was good, but then he went on to describe the current way of playing tennis as being too influenced by soccer!?? To quote him "Tennis has been soccerized, lacking attacking flair so typical of American greats who charge the net, tennis has gone the way of that favorite European team sport where slow build-up and long rallies are preferred to attacking play." This isn't a direct quote, but he literally blamed soccer and the current European preeminence in tennis for the state of the men's game today.

    This is more for information and a good laugh than anything else. I could care less what Deford has to say, he's proven himself as an old codger who can't bear to see soccer succeed, but he has gone so far as to blame soccer for current tennis style. Hmmm, using that logic, "I really don't like the way Indians play tennis, it's too influenced by their national sport of cricket. They're always trying to hit the ball out of the arena..." Or taking European basketball and saying that they play differently because of soccer. Ridiculous. Who gives these guys jobs anyway?
     
  2. Cruickinator

    Cruickinator New Member

    Jan 14, 2002
    Nottingham
    The same people that won't show soccer on American television.
     
  3. FootyMundo

    FootyMundo New Member

    Mar 1, 2001
    Minneapolis
    Two things:

    First, he's old. He'll be dead soon anyway.

    Second, if his premise is that tennis has been soccerized, then it would also seem he is blaming the lack of American success on soccer. In other words, there must be something to the European way of playing the game that makes the players better than their American counterparts. He's asserting that we're inferior. And that would not be very Deford like - or very true either.
     
  4. TOTC

    TOTC Member

    Feb 20, 2001
    Laurel, MD, USA
    This is just Example No. 4,685 that FRANK DEFORD IS A WANK.

    Note that he only made the example of the "soccerization" of tennis as "un-American" on the men's side.

    He didn't mention the women who, like in soccer, have Americans as the best protagonists. Oh, and many are known by one name as in Brazil.

    But what gets me is that he doesn't seem to realize that what he calls "soccerization" in tennis translates to other sports in the United States.

    Basketball is now a walk-it-up game where the result is either a dunk or 3-point goal. Football is now controlled by coaches in skyboxes with headsets and quarterbacks with speakers in their helmets instead of QBs who call their own plays.

    Baseball is now specialized relievers and specialized pinch-hitters, platooning for left- and right-handed pitchers, and home runs. There is little room for stolen bases, the bunt, and the sacrifice. Even in hockey, there is now a "speed-up" faceoff rule going into effect for 2002-2003; there were so many line changes at faceoffs that it slowed down the game.

    I actually call it the corporatization of sports, not soccerization.

    http://www.geocities.com/topofthecircle/corporate.html

    So there, Frank the Wank.
     
  5. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    whether he knows this or not, that's the first implication that crossed my mind. That, and, "yeah, Europeans don't play attacking tennis. Right."

    Note to Frank: ALL players hang out at the base line more at the US Open than at other tourneys. That's because it's an extremely fast surface, and ill-timed net rushing just gets you smoked.
     
  6. dcc134

    dcc134 Member+

    Liverpool FC
    May 15, 2000
    Hummelstown, PA
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    not true. The faster the surface, the more likely a serve and volley player is going to win. See Patrick Rafter and Pete Sampras.

    Baseline rallies are common on clay, which is much slower allowing the players to stay back. Clay is also the predominant Euro surface, hence most Euros, play a baseline game.
     
  7. bungadiri

    bungadiri Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 25, 2002
    Acnestia
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I could NOT care less about Frank Deford, either. Nor could I possibly care any less that there are fewer successful American male tennis players.

    Well okay, maybe I could care a little bit less about what Frank Deford says, because I do wonder why he says so little about the Williams sisters but laid waste to small forests in order to spew orgasmic pap about "Little Chrissie" Evert.

    But, Frank Deford on soccer? As if I could care less.
     
  8. Dynamo73

    Dynamo73 New Member

    Aug 22, 2002
    Cleveland
    Listening to Deford this morning, I had an epiphany about the man. I used to think that, since he was a famous sports writer, he knew a lot about all sport, including soccer, and thus his opinions mattered. I now realize that he's a one-trick pony (American sports fans are all xenophobic -- see also his "Not My Cup of Tea" article) who is completely out of touch with reality. It's like Freud making everything about sex. My deep-seated anger at him lessened, and I just laughed.

    (And, BTW, his premise fails to explain the Ichiro phenomenon -- a foreign player who plays "small ball" (not bash-ball) finds acceptance among American fans.)
     
  9. eric515

    eric515 Member

    May 8, 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    Club:
    Aston Villa FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I surprised he didn't compare it to "nimbledy peg" or some other arcane game that he has compared soccer to at one time or another. Personally, I am not a huge tennis fan. Anyone who can sit there for 3 hours or more, and watch 2 people hit a ball back and forth over a net, has no right to call soccer boring!!

    Personally, the fact that I know a soccer game will be over in under 2 hours is part of its appeal. No commercials, just 2 solid runs of 47-49 minutes worth of play...gotta love that.
     
  10. monster

    monster Member

    Oct 19, 1999
    Hanover, PA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Who's Frank Deford?
     
  11. mpruitt

    mpruitt Member

    Feb 11, 2002
    E. Somerville
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    i dont know anything about that... but it kills me that mens tennis, which is i think the most uninteresting major sport out there gets a ton of coverage. id sure as heck say soccer is more popular than it. imo
     
  12. eric515

    eric515 Member

    May 8, 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    Club:
    Aston Villa FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Yes, I would definitely say that. When I think about how many guys I knew who played soccer when I was in high school as compared to the guys who played tennis, it was no contest.

    The key thing is that tennis is, for some reason, more popular with the media and old farts like Bud Collins and Frank DeFord because they can't let go of the 70's when Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, and Connors...oh, and that Euro Bjorn Borg really killed tennis...much like Lendl, Becker, Edberg, etc.

    I know very few "hardcore" tennis fans to be honest...but I also know very few 40+ women other than my mom...
     
  13. NorthGoalGang

    NorthGoalGang Member

    Feb 16, 2001
    Coventry, CT
    In order to keep people on the radio from pissing me off about this and that, I listen to CD's in the car instead. Perhaps you should all look into it.
     
  14. Jeremy Goodwin

    Feb 16, 1999
    Club:
    Montreal Impact
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Frankly, I think that if Americans had more exposure to Japanese Baseball, they'd never look back at what passes for baseball in MLB.

    It's a stripped down game with all the things that people lament losing in MLB, steals, defense, sacrifice bunts...
     
  15. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Not to mention sushi at the ballpark. Yum.
     
  16. Malaga CF fan

    Malaga CF fan Member

    Apr 19, 2000
    Fairfax, VA
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    My purpose in posting this wasn't to get people all pissed off, just to point out some idiocy. I generally don't listen to the radio for the same reasons, just happened to catch it because I haven't changed my CD's for a while. To blame the current lull in tennis in the US on soccer is a new, very stupid low.

    Earlier on, someone pointed out how clay courts force a backline game and their prevalence in Europe leads players to play that game. Imagine how it could actually be a style of play, and not soccer that is to fault for the current state of the men's tennis game.
     
  17. mpruitt

    mpruitt Member

    Feb 11, 2002
    E. Somerville
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    i'll give you theres more history in tennis and it is a sport that grew up in the US about the pace it grew up in the rest of the world. but as long as networks will put "boring" sports on tv, id rather see soccer. granted soem of the best tennis players in the world are american, where as not the case in soccer but id rather watch paint dry than watch any tennis that doesnt involve skirts.
     
  18. eric515

    eric515 Member

    May 8, 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    Club:
    Aston Villa FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You mean baseball isn't all about a roided up Sosa or Bonds whacking the ball over the fence?? Surely you jest!! Personally players like Ichiro and the Braves Rafael Furcal are the guys I enjoy watching, fast, bold, great arms. I will take an Andruw Jones defensive gem or a Furcal stolen base over a Shef or Chipper homer any day...there's a lot more tension in the former two, and tension and uncertainty really are 2 components that help make sports great...
     
  19. schmuckatelli

    schmuckatelli New Member

    Nov 10, 2000
    I usually listen to NPR on the way to work EXCEPT when Frank Deford begins speaking. The last time he was relevant as a sports writer was about 1973. I stopped getting incensed about it and just change the station for 3-5 minutes.
     
  20. Cascarino's Pizzeria

    Apr 29, 2001
    New Jersey, USA
    While we're on the topic of tennis. The sports yakkers on WFAN in NY - Mike & The Mad Dog - broadcast live from the US Open and believe it or not, they could not get a single player to come on the show for an interview. Nobody. Not even a 50-something ranked player. Mike isn't much of a tennis fan but the Mad Dog is. If this is the way they go about plugging their sport, then tennis will fall even further out of the minds of Americans. As it stands now, the Little League World Series games draw better on TV (and in the stands) than the average tennis tournament.

    I don't know much about him, but apparently Leyton Hewitt hates giving interviews and he's the current # 1 player. Even the people that cover the sport like Bud Collins and Mary Carillo admitted that tennis does nothing to promote itself nowadays.
     
  21. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Maybe because there's only one Little League World Series, but there are tons of "average" tennis tournaments?

    The Majors of tennis do fine, I think, for tennis. But the Buzz Capra Celebrity Pro-Am presented by Wheatabix, with the latest faceless automatons going at it baseline-to-baseline for five sets, who has time for that?
     
  22. Beakmon FC

    Beakmon FC Member+

    LA Galaxy
    United States
    Jan 10, 2002
    The OC
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Deford is the King of Attemting to Wax Poetically....ever see this guy on HBO's "Real Sports"? When Franko and Bryant Gumbel chat after a segment, you'd think that sports have become irrelevant compared to the "Old Days"...."Duh-Ford" is more like it. Of course they don't charge the net anymore. Their oppoennt is using a veritable rocket launcher made of composite metals previously reserved for military aircraft....not the wooden Jack Kramer racket in my parents garage!!!!
     
  23. cdmphy

    cdmphy Member

    Jan 14, 2000
    Natick, MA
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Netherlands

    What American has played serve and volley since McEnroe. In fact it was the Europeans: Becker and Edberg and in fact Navatralova(sp?) that gave the game attack and flair until American baseline dominated and made it duller than curling. Not only is he completely jingostic, but he's not even close to the truth. He's like a sporting version of Rush Limbaugh.
     
  24. whirlwind

    whirlwind New Member

    Apr 4, 2000
    Plymouth, MI, USA
    DeFord is sort of right about American tennis being "soccerized", but not in the way he thinks...

    ...so many young Americans are playing soccer instead of tennis, we've ceased to be a world tennis power and have become a world soccer power instead.

    And that ain't a bad thing.
     
  25. The Cadaver

    The Cadaver It's very quiet here.

    Oct 24, 2000
    La Cañada, CA
    Club:
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    As usual, "some reason" ends up being $$$$. Because tennis comes out of a history of private clubs and upper crust society, the "average" tennis fan probably has most disposable income than the "average" soccer fan. Ours is a working class sport. Tennis is a leisure class sport. Therefore the tennis following, even if numerically small, is a very desirable demographic for advertizers of certain kinds of products - Lexus for example.
     

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