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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 10:07 AM   #1
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Your Tennis Documentary Series

You have been commissioned to plan/host a series of 6 hour-long TV specials to celebrate the 60 years of unbroken tennis since 1945. You have carte blanche as to how you would structure the 6 specials (by tournaments, by decades, by eras or focussing on individual players, for example) and what form each "episode" would take (interviews, clips, bios, etc). Tell us what you'd do!
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 11:37 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Andy T
You have been commissioned to plan/host a series of 6 hour-long TV specials to celebrate the 60 years of unbroken tennis since 1945. You have carte blanche as to how you would structure the 6 specials (by tournaments, by decades, by eras or focussing on individual players, for example) and what form each "episode" would take (interviews, clips, bios, etc). Tell us what you'd do!
I'd have one episode dedicated to telling the true story behind the birth of the WTA tour. It will include a tribute to Gladys Heldman, and give her the credit that she's never received from the general press or the sports press for the role she played. Billie Jean King and her revisionist stories will all be discredited and all of the original contract players will be given equal airtime. I'd also investigate the blatant attempts by the tour to favour American players, including tinkering with the ranking system. Oh, and the episode will not feature the Spite Girls (Hingis, WilliamsX2, Kournikova) at all, and will end with the Graf/Seles/ASV era
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"A couple of years ago, we nicknamed Steffi Graf's forehand 'Jaws'. And that music would go perfectly when she starts running in to the net, swarming on that little ball." (JoAnne Russell, during the 1988 Wimbledon final between Graf and Navratilova)
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 12:41 PM   #3
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I'd start out episode 1 with an hour long look at the American Tennis Association, and specifically, how it began, evolved, and became what it is today. It would be a collection of interviews of the movers and shakers of the African American community who have been involved in tennis over the past 60 years, together with special sections highlighting the careers of Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe, Zina Garrison, Lori McNeil, and the rise of the Williams sisters- all threaded together with the premise of tennis in the public parks systems, and where they are today.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 01:19 PM   #4
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6 hours of Monica Seles' matches she played as an amateur in 1988 would interest ME the most. As an 1-minute intro you can see pictures of Maureen Connolly and Andrea Jaeger. The outro has short clips of every number one player until 1986.

Some sport channels do show great matches before the start of a Grand Slam, but they always show the same matches. I'd love a program that shows every Grand Slam final since 1968! That would be quite something.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 02:07 PM   #5
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I'd dedicate my 6 hours to women's tennis only. If I were to do it chronologically/by era, I split it as follows:
1) American Domination 1945-58: covering the 7 sisters: Betz, Brough, Osborne, Connolly, Hart, Fry and Gibson.
2) From Amateur to Open 1959-70 and the Internationalisation of Women's Tennis: Hard, Bueno, Court and King, and the birth of the Federation Cup.
3) Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis: 1970-1978
The birth of the Slims tour, a women's Grand Prix, the WTA, team tennis and the '73 battle of the sexes.
4) 1979-1987: The Dual Monarchy: Evert and Navratilova
5) 1988-1999: Triumph and Tragedy: Graf and Seles
6) 2000- now. The era of "big babe" tennis
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 04:18 PM   #6
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I would take the years 1945, to 1950, and look at some of the unfairness going on in tennis. First, I would look at racism and how a talented player like Althea Gibson is denied a chance to play in many of the really big tournaments when she's at an age when most players can really develop their games. Gibson doesn't get to go out to Dupont's estate and play on all those wonderful grass courts. She doesn't get to play in many of the East Coast tournaments. Due to racism and lack of money Gibson is almost forced out of the game. Thankfully, with the help of Alice Marble and Sarah Palfrey she'll finally get some help.

The second thing I would look at is how Pauline Betz is unfairly tossed out of women's tennis. I still can't see how a player is punished for merely talking about turing pro. I would make a point of showing how the tennis "system" at this time hurts players like Gibson and Betz, but really helped players like Margaret Osborne. Betz is forced out of the game, Gibson is denied a fair chance. Osborne gets to stay because she has a ton of Dupont money and can still play by the rules set up by the Lawn Tennis Association.

The next thing I would do is a piece on the rise of "Little Mo" and the return of "Teach "Tennant. I can just picture the older players like Brough and Dupont looking on as "Teach" is back and with her is this "Kid." who's going to trounce them and she'll do it without mercy.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 05:10 PM   #7
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Episode 2 would be a documentary focusing on the 20 year period between 1948-1968, tracing the state of Lawn Tennis Associations of the world, the influence of Wimbledon and the handful of lesser big lawn tennis clubs throughout the world, and specifically, the slow and gradual rise of the professional tour in the United States, spearheaded by Jack Kramer and other promoters, and the effect it had on post-war players like the whiz kids Ken Rosewall & Lew Hoad, Pancho Gonzalez, Althea Gibson, and the turbulent transition in the late 60s from the LTAs into "Open" tennis as we know it today.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 05:14 PM   #8
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Episode 3 would be dedicated to the birth, acceptance, and history behind tennis' influence on the concept of women as athletes, culminating with the women's liberation movement of the 60s and 70s, Title 19, how it effects today's game.
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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 09:11 AM   #9
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Episode 2 of my series would be dedicated to the serve-volley style in the women's game It would start with Alice Marble, examine the postwar era of the women's game and the premier serve/volley stylists, then lead up to the King/Court/Goolagong era, reach its absolute peak with Navratilova, and then showcase the painful death of this playing style with the rise of Graf and Seles.
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Best left-right combination by a German (and that includes Max Schmeling): Steffi Graf. All she did in 1987 was knock Navratilova out of #1 and try to knock Evert out of the sport. (Mike Lupica in "The Best and Worst of Tennis in 1987", World Tennis)

"A couple of years ago, we nicknamed Steffi Graf's forehand 'Jaws'. And that music would go perfectly when she starts running in to the net, swarming on that little ball." (JoAnne Russell, during the 1988 Wimbledon final between Graf and Navratilova)
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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 01:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samn
Episode 2 of my series would be dedicated to the serve-volley style in the women's game It would start with Alice Marble, examine the postwar era of the women's game and the premier serve/volley stylists, then lead up to the King/Court/Goolagong era, reach its absolute peak with Navratilova, and then showcase the painful death of this playing style with the rise of Graf and Seles.

I'm picturing your "death scene" and what it might be like.

<Dramatic music in the background>

Slow motion shots of serve/volley players hitting approach shots and rushing into net. Then the music turns sinister as big bad Steffi, Monica, and lesser players with bigger racquets whip passing shots by the net rushers leaving them stunned and in disbelief. Smashing returns off of hard first serves go ripping through the air past the likes of Sukova, Novotna, Hana, Durie, etc. Then the serve/volley player gets stuck at the baseline being forced to take brutal blows over and over from some screaming mindnumb basher until she just wilts and falls away.....................
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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 01:19 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by HanaFanGA
I'm picturing your "death scene" and what it might be like.

<Dramatic music in the background>

Slow motion shots of serve/volley players hitting approach shots and rushing into net. Then the music turns sinister as big bad Steffi, Monica, and lesser players with bigger racquets whip passing shots by the net rushers leaving them stunned and in disbelief. Smashing returns off of hard first serves go ripping through the air past the likes of Sukova, Novotna, Hana, Durie, etc. Then the serve/volley player gets stuck at the baseline being forced to take brutal blows over and over from some screaming mindnumb basher until she just wilts and falls away.....................
No, it'll build on a theme proposed by a longtime poster on rst about how the new breed of power baseliners hunted the traditionally big and slow serve-volleyers (the Sukova/Durie/Shriver school, not the Hana/Martina school) to extinction But your suggestion isn't too bad, either. Especially if it's accompanied by the music from "Jurassic Park" or "Jaws" or some such.
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Best left-right combination by a German (and that includes Max Schmeling): Steffi Graf. All she did in 1987 was knock Navratilova out of #1 and try to knock Evert out of the sport. (Mike Lupica in "The Best and Worst of Tennis in 1987", World Tennis)

"A couple of years ago, we nicknamed Steffi Graf's forehand 'Jaws'. And that music would go perfectly when she starts running in to the net, swarming on that little ball." (JoAnne Russell, during the 1988 Wimbledon final between Graf and Navratilova)
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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 01:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HanaFanGA
I'm picturing your "death scene" and what it might be like.

<Dramatic music in the background>

Slow motion shots of serve/volley players hitting approach shots and rushing into net. Then the music turns sinister as big bad Steffi, Monica, and lesser players with bigger racquets whip passing shots by the net rushers leaving them stunned and in disbelief. Smashing returns off of hard first serves go ripping through the air past the likes of Sukova, Novotna, Hana, Durie, etc. Then the serve/volley player gets stuck at the baseline being forced to take brutal blows over and over from some screaming mindnumb basher until she just wilts and falls away.....................
<Trumpets Sound>

Suddenly, Billie Jean King, dressed in red, white, and blue, comes riding in on a big white horse and makes it to the net before the first ball is struck, with flames shooting out of her eyes, spilling bowls of judgment on the whole mess, and showing everyone that yes, indeed, there is indeed a goddess...
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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 01:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samn
No, it'll build on a theme proposed by a longtime poster on rst about how the new breed of power baseliners hunted the traditionally big and slow serve-volleyers (the Sukova/Durie/Shriver school, not the Hana/Martina school) to extinction But your suggestion isn't too bad, either. Especially if it's accompanied by the music from "Jurassic Park" or "Jaws" or some such.

That does sound evolutionary samn. The big, slow footed serve/volley players being hunted down down, ravaged, and consumed! Yikes! I'd be too afraid to watch this by myself!
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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 02:56 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by alfajeffster
<Trumpets Sound>

Suddenly, Billie Jean King, dressed in red, white, and blue, comes riding in on a big white horse and makes it to the net before the first ball is struck, with flames shooting out of her eyes, spilling bowls of judgment on the whole mess, and showing everyone that yes, indeed, there is indeed a goddess...
Er, if you were going to talk about a goddess who was going to be the saviour of serve/volley, wouldn't you rather use Evonne or Hana?
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Best left-right combination by a German (and that includes Max Schmeling): Steffi Graf. All she did in 1987 was knock Navratilova out of #1 and try to knock Evert out of the sport. (Mike Lupica in "The Best and Worst of Tennis in 1987", World Tennis)

"A couple of years ago, we nicknamed Steffi Graf's forehand 'Jaws'. And that music would go perfectly when she starts running in to the net, swarming on that little ball." (JoAnne Russell, during the 1988 Wimbledon final between Graf and Navratilova)
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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 03:01 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by samn
Er, if you were going to talk about a goddess who was going to be the saviour of serve/volley, wouldn't you rather use Evonne or Hana?
Absolutely not. Billie Jean King (in my less than humble opinion) is one of the greatest volleyers every to play tennis- male or female. She was a better volleyer than Martina Navratilova, Evonne Goolagong, and definitely Hana Mandlikova. I would even go as far as to say each of those women would agree with me, and also admit that they disliked playing Billie Jean King because of it. In the rush to crucify Billie because of her public persona, oftentimes her tennis is forgotten.
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