View Full Version : Tennis What's with The Establishment?

Jan 10th, 2009, 08:48 PM
"They also are not cut from the same mould that we're used to seeing all the time, in that they grew up being told to do many different things in their lives, which exasperates me no end sometimes.

"I wish Oracene and Richard had been a little more, 'Go on and concentrate on your tennis, there'll be other careers after tennis'.

"I think sometimes it hurts their focus, and you really do have to focus to be the best you can be, I think, at this stage of the sport."
BJK on the WS

Why,esp after the retirements of Justine and Kim who arguably followed this approach,is the conventional wisdom that one should dedicate one's life only to tennis,still valid in the tennis establishments eyes?

The WS are the most accomplished tennis players on the WTA and with the possible exception of Sharapova, i can't see anyone else matching up with their numbers. Yet to this day their approach is found wanting.Why this conventional idea is regarded as sacred and not to be challenged remains beyond my understanding. Balance is everything in life.Everything. If you don't live a balanced life, something will break. I cannot for the life of me see why this isn't obvious. Mary Carillo has the same issue, always deciding what's best for the WS. How utterly infuriating.You can't, based on your limited outsiders view(and your view about another persons life is always from the outside).. tell people how to conduct their careers.

I love Billie so much and totally understand why the WS love her back because she seems to genuinely give them props.I can't speak to whether the WS way is best for everyone else, it's just worked out for them. Why isn't that enough?

As usual with the WS,the spectre of race is never far behind.I remember Mary Joe Fernandez commenting on a match after Serena had won saying...'let's face it, they were not warmly welcomed, they've changed tennis and a lot of people didn't like that they did what they wanted'.It's tempting to think that it's easier for the mostly white tennis establishment to tell African Americans what to do,even if they happen to be the best tour players.The latent belief that blacks somehow can't have it right and when they do it's a fluke. As a 'black' myself it's easy for me to think that and i have in the past.But it's really hard to prove that so i hold that view skepticism.ALso,BJK is waaay too classy and has experienced way to much discrimination herself for this to be true about her.

I remember P.Mac commenting after Venus lost to Pironkova in Oz,he said 'well the other girls have caught up to the athleticism of the WS (because that's the only reason they win) and now it's down to the Tennis.At the press conference Venus helpfully reminded everyone that you can't win a match making 88 unforced errors. This never figured in P Mac's mind of course,because it's all about the Tennis you see. The idea behind that is that the WS are not really pure Tennis players, they just skate by on genes. Juxtapose that to Rafael Nadal who plays tennis like no one before him, he is not graceful to say the least and most club coaches would not teach strokes modeled on his technique. He plays ugly tennis(again,ugly relative to the establishment,i don't think his tennis is ugly).But Good luck trying to find a negative statement about him. I remember Mary Carillo commentating on that epic Serena/Sharapova 05 Oz semi, she openly stated that Sharapova was the better striker of the ball.... "but this one, this one's better' was the quote.Of course Serena, in her very Serena way, went on to win the thing.

The point of this post is to get ideas on why the WS are continually questioned about everything from technique to having other interests even when others, going way back to Borg,that have followed the 'right' approached ended up burnt out and retiring.

To those getting ready to yell at me to post this on the player threads, i wanted a broad range of opinions is all.Most player threads are lovefests.

Jan 10th, 2009, 09:06 PM
Sharapova's strokes are ugly, great player, but her strokes are far from beautiful. She had a more beautiful game when she was younger.

Sharapova may be a better ball striker, but Serena has a lot more in her arsenal than just ball striking.

I have contended in the past on this board that Venus and Serena don't hit that hard all the time and a lot of people responded to me by laughing. Both of them, especially Serena, know how to work a point, and move people around the court more so than other "power" players (Lindsay, Maria, Mary, Dinara for example), but by the tennis establishment and many people on their board, they are seen as most physical raw power game than these others which doesn't make sense.

Maybe if by "raw power" they mean "explosive", that would be different, but I doubt they thought that far... even though, deep inside, this is what they really mean (undiscovered).

Jan 10th, 2009, 09:23 PM
I think BJK genuinely wants them to do well.

And I remember that comment at AO after Venus lost to Pironkova. That was extremely disrespectful. He basically said the only reason Venus and Serena do well is because they are good athletes and now that that everyone was good athletes finally "real" tennis could be played and subsequently Venus and Serena are losing. Fast forward to 2007 and the tour is suddenly incredibly weak now that Venus and Serena had won slams again. So basically when the WS lose it's because they're not that good and it's finally showing and when they win it's because their competition is weak. I find tennis writers and commentators expressing some version of that over and over again. They love to use athletic as a pejorative against the WS, as if they barely know how to play tennis. It's disgusting but I really don't think BJK is coming from that place. She is very supportive of all the players, including the WS, and that is why I think she has such a good relationship w/ them. Which I think is fantastic cuz she's really rubbed off on Venus in a good way.