I was just checking in here this morning and had a random thought.
If someone asked me why I spend so much time investigating tennis history, what would I tell them?? (besides the fact that I apparently just don't have a life!). :help:
I know plenty of people in here love the 'Chrissie era' or the 'Monica era' etc etc and love to discuss the golden days when they became hooked on tennis, but I'm especially thinking about those who are fascinated by the eras before they were even born (in many cases before their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents were born!).
In the years since I first joined TF, I've discussed/shared lots of historical info with others in BFTP, in PMs and via email, but I don't think I've ever asked (or been told) why others are motivated to re-discover tennis history.
So come on - spill the beans! What makes you geeks tick? :)
Nov 17th, 2011, 09:39 PM
And I guess I better go first...
I became fascinated with the Olympic Games as a little kid and started reading into the history of the Games. I'd spent plenty of time in libraries looking through histories/newspapers etc to discover some facts from the past I was interested in, but was surprised not to find more books covering the history of sports. Once, when I ordered a specialist historical book from overseas the author replied that if I had a copy of an Australian historical book (which I did) and sent him photocopies of it, he would send me his book for free.
When he sent me the free book, he also asked a few questions about a particular Australian athlete of the 1940s/1950s. I was soon down the library, looking through newspapers and sending him this 'unknown' info. This was before the days of the internet, so this kind of research could take a long, long time, but it was a bit of a buzz to think I was rediscovering lost history.
Eventually as part of my research, I discovered that the official history of this sport in Australia was wrong (very wrong!) and set about to re-discover what the true facts were. The history of the sport for women was especially wrong, saying it had only started around 1927, whereas I found out that competitions had been held from the early 1900s and an official (amateur) body for women had been established not long after this. I also discovered a bunch of 'lost' world and national records of the time.
Eventually I wrote a revised history of the sport (athletics/track and field) which was published by the IAAF (equivalent of the ITF) and was even featured in newspapers around Australia in the lead-up to the 2000 Olympics. And when athletics published a new history of the sport a little later, I was mentioned and some of my historical facts were published in that.
While doing the athletics research, I'd get distracted by stories of tennis (and other things) in the newspapers, though I'd always assumed that the history of tennis (a much more popular sport in Australia) had been covered much better and was pretty much intact.
Of course, not so. And the coming of the internet made me realise how much tennis info was missing/not known. I couldn't believe that even GS results from the old days were largely unavailable until I came across BFTP.
Of course, as great as BFTP is, there is still plenty of missing info from the past. So - that's why I'm one of the geeks in here trying to put the jigsaw puzzle together! :weirdo:
Nov 17th, 2011, 10:28 PM
I don't come to this board as often as a few years ago but BFTP was my favorite forum from the very beginning. It's a lot of fun to reminisce as well as learn about the history of women's tennis. On a personal note, BFTP is also reassuring because I can feel quite old (I'll be 50 soon) in the other forums. hahaha
Nov 18th, 2011, 12:24 AM
To keep alive the memory of champions who have passed or will pass in the next few years. It's sad when someone like Margaret Osborne DuPont is asked what advice she would give to current players like Serena Williams and responds with something like, "I have no advice to give because the game we played is nothing like today." I believe that's plain wrong. A champion of any era is just as much relevant as a champion of today. They are all made of the same stuff.
Also, to compile the definitive history of Billie Jean Moffitt King's adult tennis career, which is close to complete in singles but may never be complete in women's and mixed doubles..
Nov 18th, 2011, 06:07 AM
Well I got my first taste of tennis in 1971 when our local girl Evonne Goolagong won Wimbledon and then came home to our home town for a street parade. It was very exciting for a young 11 year old who really didn't know much about sport at all (except for football and cricket which our family all played).
But what really hooked me on the game was when I first saw Francoise Durr playing on TV in the mid 70s at some event in Australia. I was mesmerised by her crazy grip and style and she looked so cute and feminine and yet had the temper of a caged lion! So that was it, I found a tennis wall and started hitting balls on it for a few years before I finally took to a court.
I guess I really started to follow womens tennis then, with my idols being Durr, Goolagong and Evert in particular. Allthough I had a soft spot for Austin as well. I always went for the feminine girls.
I started getting into the history of the sport and was fascinated by a few eras in particular - the Lenglen era and then the 60s with Bueno, King, Court, Turner, Jones, Richey etc and the incredible 70s with Court, King, Evert, Wade, Navratilova, Durr, Richey, Reid and so on. I started my collecting of videos and spent most of my income on them over a period of 20 years.
Discovering the BFTP was a blessing as it has allowed me to find out more facts and results about all the legends that I love as well as providing some of my own insights to others based on what I have read and seen (esp on all the match footage that I have acquired). I just love finding out more about the greats of the past and sharing thoughts on them all.
Nov 18th, 2011, 01:55 PM
Originally I was just looking for old draws. I’m trying to complete a database of results; using it to create a formula for G.O.O.E – Greatest of Open Era (as opposed as Greatest of All Time).
In the process the goal got somewhat lost. The results are accompanied with entertaining and funny stories; a lot of this was known only to tennis insiders and now I not only collect results but also read these funny bits.
I wish there was such place for men’s tennis as well, because I’m equally interested in it.
Nov 18th, 2011, 07:07 PM
I am unashamedly a product of the Battle of the Sexes tennis boom of the 70s. After the whole family sat down to watch it (of course, I was a huge BJK fan), my dad took me for lessons, and I was totally hooked. All we had was Wimbledon to watch each year, which was weird, because I grew up 90 miles from Forest Hills. If they had the internet or BFTP back then, I would've been all over it. As it was, back then everybody played tennis, and the public courts were always full. I stopped playing during Navy days in the 80s (they wouldn't grant my request to install a court on board the ship), but when Graf beat Evert at Hilton Head, I got back out there and have been playing ever since, with the exception of the last 2 years. The Blast is a great place to discuss all of our memories, and I admit, I sometimes like a good argument- keeps me on my toes. Anyway, I think I've been posting here on and off for about 8-10 years (Rollo will know), and have actually had the pleasure of meeting him. Going down to interview Pauline Betz Addie with Rollo was a real treat. I've also met several other members personally, like Daze11, AndyT, Jeanmi18, and spoken on the phone with many more- it's a fun place to be!
Nov 22nd, 2011, 06:37 AM
I wish there was such place for menís tennis as well, because Iím equally interested in it.
Well there is such a place! Take a look at www.tennisarchives.com and let me know what you think or maybe can contribute.
For the rest: Many congratulations to Rollo and all the others here for making such a wonderful site!
Nov 24th, 2011, 03:02 PM
It's a great question, GT. We do seem to share a very unusual interest. As I may have said here once, the first time I saw a tournament - Forest Hills 1963, I was utterly fascinated by the huge draw sheet and the smaller one in my program. I filled it in dilligently each morning from the NY Times and then discovered that there were some results in the Times almost every day. A couple of years later I discovered World Tennis and its arrival became the highlight of each month. I spent some time every day creating lists and making my own ranking. And pretty much have done something with tennis lists every day since. So the simple answer is that I have some enduring, if unexplained, fascination with the names and rankings of tennis players. Other sports, too, but the international aspect of tennis makes it the best and so that gets 95% of my list time.
Of course, before the internet this was a purely solo hobby. Most of my friends over the years have just accepted it as David's quirky tennis list thing. They sort of shake their head and shrug. So it's been great to find the rest of you who are also drawn to this and I really love that we are pooling our individual interests to create something bigger than any of us could on our own. (Yes, with Alex over at tennisarchives, too)
For me, it really is all about names, results and, especially, rankings. I never read any of the chat about players in the last 30 years. And I can't watch more than a couple of minutes of two baseliners playing now. I do like the bios, which add some great depth behind the names.
And as you notice, GT, many of our interests go back to before we were born. When I got to college in 1971 I had pretty much digested all the results from my World Tennis subscription. The library there had ALT and WT back to 1936, and so it immediately multiplied my supply of results to play with. (It probably didn't do much for my grades). The history continues to be more interesting to me than the current news. I love filling in the gaps in my database - there's nothing like discovering someone's first name that I've just had as an initial for 40 years. So I'm very grateful to you and the others who are contributing to this collection and happy to be able to work on it with you all.