What a horribly piece. Could he make a few more platitudes to over-exaggerate the state of women's tennis? This is a classic case of the media not helping things at all with their regards to the WTA.
And hilarious in hindsight, with his incredibly wrong forecast for the rest of the year. I would describe the variations of the "tennis is dying/dead" theme in the media as either a kind of follow-the-leader mass hysteria or, when I'm feeling susceptible to conspiracy theories, a deliberate, orchestrated attempt by IMG to further weaken the game in order to help the chances of their WTA takeover bid. "Never let a good crisis go to waste." And if you don't have a good crisis, just make one up.
Both "The Sorry State Of Tennis" (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...66/1/index.htm
) and "Do Not Disturb" (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vau...5214/index.htm
) are more classic examples. And this news radio transcript, loaded with factual errors or convenient omissions of facts:
GRAF'S DEFEAT IN CITIZEN'S CUP ENLIVENS WOMEN'S TENNIS
National Public Radio
Saturday, May 7, 1994
SUSAN STAMBERG, Host: It's "Weekend Edition". I'm Susan Stamberg. Coming up, an artist gives new depth to cartoons. First, women's tennis star Steffi Graf lost to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario earlier this week in the final of the Citizen Cup in Hamburg. It's the same tournament where last year Monica Seles was stabbed by a fan. Seles has not played since. This week's loss breaks Graf's streak of 32 straight wins, and ordinarily, a broken streak would seem to be bad news, but Steffi Graf has so dominated the women's game over the past year that tennis lovers were looking for any hint that there might be a new challenger on the horizon. "Weekend Edition"'s sports commentator Ron Rapoport joins us from our studios in Los Angeles. Hi, Ron.
RON RAPOPORT, Reporter: Hi, Susan.
STAMBERG: Why was everybody so concerned about this? There's always one player who dominates the game.
RAPOPORT: Of course.
STAMBERG: It's Billie Jean King, it's Evert, it's Martina, it's you know-- Why do you take away Steffi Graf's glory?
RAPOPORT: Stop the presses! Steffi loses tennis match. News! Clip at 11:00, huh? You see, the thing you have to understand, Susan, is that over the years, women's tennis - and men's tennis, too, for that matter - has always seemed to have not one player at the top, but two. When it was Billie Jean, it wasn't just Billie Jean. It was
Billie Jean and Martina. And then it was Martina and Chris, and now, more recently, it's been Steffi and Monica. So when Seles was stabbed and left competition, the balance of the game was upset actually, and it never really came back. Well, it's been a year since then, as you point out, and I think it's clear that Seles' problems may be as much emotional as physical. I don't think she ever got over the fact that somebody would want to hurt her that way.
STAMBERG: What about that young filly, Jennifer Capriati? She's the one who beat Steffi Graf, right, for the Olympic Gold Medal.
RAPOPORT: Yeah, I was there in Barcelona. I saw Jennifer Capriati, but, Susan, I have this theory about little girl tennis stars, those who reach a level of play when they're 14 or 15, and that's that the American public and, particularly, the American press go absolutely ga-ga over them. And we don't pay attention to the enormous
pressure they're under at a time when they are, after all, just little girls.
RAPOPORT: So I was really delighted when Jennifer Capriati decided to take some time off and be a teen-ager.
STAMBERG: Is women's tennis seeming stale now, given this sort of Graf explosion, and seeming more acute because women's tennis is accepted as a unique sport, not just a shadow of what men do?
RAPOPORT: Well, there's no question that over the last 15 or 20 years women's tennis has come out of whatever shadow it was, in as far as men's tennis is concerned, but there's no question that it's going through a fallow period right now, with the fact that Seles is gone, that Graf is dominating, that nobody seems to be able to come up and challenge Steffi Graf. But I think that that'll happen. I think more, you know, other players will come up, and who knows? Maybe Steffi will get old like Martina and be 37, herself, sometime and somebody will actually beat her.
STAMBERG: Thank you very much, "Weekend Edition" sports commentator and columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News, Ron Rapoport, speaking from our studio in Los Angeles.
As for the Hamburg 94 final, I don't remember the quality being poor. I remember it being a very dramatic and exciting match; not the highest quality, no, but not an ugly match either.
Well, maybe not ugly, but I remember thinking "Neither one of them could buy a backhand today!" when I watched the edited bits and pieces (big problem with tennis on TV in the U.S.) of the match.