Virginia Wade interview - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old Nov 20th, 2004, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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Virginia Wade interview

Recent Virginia Wade interview from the Guardian concerning the current state of British female tennis:

http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/tex...2004-55948.asp
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old Nov 21st, 2004, 08:38 PM
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"In the end, winning matches is about what opinion you have of yourself and whether you think you are good enough."

nice one, virginia!! this is a 'point' not enough players are willing to cope with. you can't mean this comment across the board, obviously...talent doesnt grow from desire alone, and that will determine certain levels of possibility for each of us. but at a certain moment in a player's development, this becomes the issue. (ms. capriati isnt british, is she? )

thanks for the post, santorofan. ....i also really like your signature. who IS this DAZE11??!! does he have other quotes?
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old Nov 22nd, 2004, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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It would be interesting to hear from some British posters on whether or not they agree with Wade's (and others') premise regarding the British public's tennis-playing psyche. Does it hold any merit?

Yes, this Daze11 has a virtual galaxy of quotations, many from another website that shan't be named But this one in particular seemed especially wise and worthy of greater exposure
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old Nov 23rd, 2004, 06:52 PM
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If we took all our tennis stars to Russia for a year to see how tough it is to survive, do you think that would make them better players though?
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old Nov 23rd, 2004, 07:09 PM
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sure, a player is just a person, and the expression of a person's personality at some basic level an outgrowth of the cultural expectations and pressures they live in. If you look at the russian women or the argentinian men right now, the group ascension is clearly no accident.

but its not necessarily social unrest that creates the focus and belief she is talking about: the US tennis revolution came out of a passion for the sport. But the system of a belief in one's own capacities as being limitless (even if untrue) was helpful in the development of a strong US presence on the worldwide tennis scene...still is.

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old Nov 25th, 2004, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Santorofan
It would be interesting to hear from some British posters on whether or not they agree with Wade's (and others') premise regarding the British public's tennis-playing psyche. Does it hold any merit?

Yes, this Daze11 has a virtual galaxy of quotations, many from another website that shan't be named But this one in particular seemed especially wise and worthy of greater exposure
Basically, everything Virginia says is true and I'm afraid much if it pertains to sport across the board in the UK and not just tennis. Sport is just not regarded as of major importance any more and there is no hunger to win. For example, the spread of PC has meant that many schools have abandoned their traditional sports day because it is not right that some children should "lose"! Little money is being put in at grass roots level where it all has to start and the malaise starts at a young age.

Unfortunately too, there is still this basic British attitude eminating from the "Empire" days that we are better than the best which is obviously not true any longer (if it ever was!). The attitude really is that it is okay to have lost but didn't I play a good game! It really was pathetic this year to see all the boasting from the LTA when four British girls got to the SECOND (yes) round at Wimbledon.

There is also a peculiar form of pressure put on any player whom the press scent has a chance of success and they are built up into much more than they really are (they have started already with Andrew Murray, a 17 year old male tennis player) but as soon as any success is achieved they are hovering like scavengers to immediately put them down. I don't think there is any other country in the world with these attitudes. Had British sportsmen and in particular tennis players the Aussie attitude then it is very probable they could fight their way to the top.

Nancy recently mentioned how Ann Jones would play drop shots to her during the knock-up. I am not condoning this at all but it demonstrates a determination to win which is sadly lacking today.

Virginia has more or less summed the situation up to a T.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old Nov 25th, 2004, 08:21 PM
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chris, sometimes i think thats why john lloyd got such a rush experiencing chrissie's success vicariously. he was more than willing to give up the pressure of his own success and have chris do all the winning for him. And he still to this day says, maybe some people cant understand it, but it was entirely fulfilling being part of her victories. EVERT was not so happy he didnt have more success of his own, but of course she came from the american ideal of being a 'winner'...do you think that has a role in it?

john lloyd, by the way, was just last year saying he thought the quality of play at wimbledon was the worst of the grand slams BY FAR, and thats because grass is the worst most old fashioned surface to play on, and suggested wimbledon change from being played on GRASS! did everybody over there just go ape on him about it or did it totally blow over? AND...is this another incarnation of the inferiority trip or do you think he really just doesnt like grass court tennis? very curious about all that.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 2004, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by daze11
chris, sometimes i think thats why john lloyd got such a rush experiencing chrissie's success vicariously. he was more than willing to give up the pressure of his own success and have chris do all the winning for him. And he still to this day says, maybe some people cant understand it, but it was entirely fulfilling being part of her victories. EVERT was not so happy he didnt have more success of his own, but of course she came from the american ideal of being a 'winner'...do you think that has a role in it?

john lloyd, by the way, was just last year saying he thought the quality of play at wimbledon was the worst of the grand slams BY FAR, and thats because grass is the worst most old fashioned surface to play on, and suggested wimbledon change from being played on GRASS! did everybody over there just go ape on him about it or did it totally blow over? AND...is this another incarnation of the inferiority trip or do you think he really just doesnt like grass court tennis? very curious about all that.
I suppose John did have a certain amount of success, Daze. He made the top 30 I think. Not spectacular but probably as good as any Brit of the time. I think Buster Motrram might have made 20 and of course John had a successful mixed doubles partnership with Wendy Turnbull. I don't think, however, the public as a whole expected too much from him. Maybe the Press did put too much pressure on him when it came to Wimbledon and too much was made of his reaching the Aussie final in 1977.( We won't go into the strength of field again!) They always are unrealistic, anyway.

You probably would get a thrill from the successes at top level of your partner but to the extent which John apparently did, I don't understand. It must just be part of the psyche. Sometimes it can be quite unhealthy a la father of Jelena Dokic and IMO Yuri Sharapova'a reactions especially at Wimbledon are quite nauseating. Not that I know anything about psychology but my reading of John's attitude would be an inferiority complex.

I remember the remark getting newspaper headlines for one day but was then quickly forgotten about. Our national station the BBC regard him as one of the top "commentators" and often interview him for an opinion. He and Sue Barker have a yearly love-in during Wimbledon about how THIS is Tim Henman's year and make wildly optimistic but unrealistic predictions. Obviously you have to encourage and support the home players BUT.....

Wimbledon is a peculiarity in the UK. For two weeks of the year most of the public live and breathe it, it fills the newspapers, the public courts (not that there are many, most tennis is played by the middle class in private clubs) are full and the streets are full of kids with a racquet. A week later all this has disappeared. It is rare to get coverage on TV apart from this. For a few years while Henman and Rusedski were both high up the rankings the World Group Davis Cup was broadcast (the sad fact is they never won a World Group match) and this year there was a 4 or 5 day hiatus when Henman progressed to the French semis. This is obviously men's tennis but the position would be the same for the women.

The Brits still jealously guard Wimby as the World's leading tournament. I tend to think the four Slams are more or less all equal now. There have been some disparaging remarks from players with clay-court pedigree about it although I do have an idea that if the world's top 100 players were polled and given the "guarantee" of just one Slam singles titles during their career the majority would actually still choose Wimbledon.

I remember Lindsay Davenport, whose ambition, quite rightly, was to win the USO, saying that she never realised the importance of Wimbledon until she had won it. After her US victory she was still relatively unknown but after her Wimby title she said people would have looked at her and recognised her and said "there's the Wimbledon Champion".

I feel it is great that the four Slams are on different surfaces. To devote one month in eleven to grass can hardly be called excessive and remember the game was originally called Lawn Tennis with three of the four majors on that surface. Why should those suited to grass courts not have a surface to suit them just as others will be better on clay courts or cement, or hard etc. I cannot see Wimbledon deserting grass. Despite all the problems with the weather the tournament rarely overruns! Plus the advent of the roof cover means that there will always be play guaranteed, good from the spectators point of view but more importantly from the commercial aspect the TV companies will always have live tennis. It remains to be seen how the roof might affect the surface although it is said it should not make a big difference. Although Wimbledon have said they have not altered the conditions, I think the players know what they are talking about when they say the ball weight and cutting the grass to a different level is making the ball bounce higher and generally giving baseliners a better shout.

There is no better tennis match than a classic serve-volleyer v a top baseliner such as recent matches between say Rafter and Agassi.

Interestingly too Grermany and the Netherlands have made investments in grass courts recently. From time to time the suggestion is made that they change from grass. Depending on who said it and whether they want to cause some controversey the Press will headline it but then it's forgotten about overnight - for those 50 weeks of the year the public forgets tennis!

Was he really serious? Maybe a publicity stunt? I don't know. I can't see that the play at Wimbledon was any worse than the other Slams this year for example. Unfortunately in the women's game the overall standard has been quite poor. So many points have been won by losing rather than winning shots and a big proportion of these unforced.

IMO John loves to box above his weight!
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old Nov 27th, 2004, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris whiteside
Basically, everything Virginia says is true and I'm afraid much if it pertains to sport across the board in the UK and not just tennis. Sport is just not regarded as of major importance any more and there is no hunger to win.
Hmmmm....not sure I agree entirely with this. I think we are still sports-mad in the UK. I certainly heard it mentioned during the Olympics coverage that Team GB were consistently one of the most supported nations throughtout the two weeks, Union Jacks being waved all over the stadium etc.

Now I do certainly recognise some of the thing Virginia says about UK traits eg "It's social genes we're lacking. British people are too apologetic. People aren't prepared to stand up for themselves or demand higher standards." and the 'No, after you' comment in the article (I think that was from the journalist rather than VW). BUT....if these really are traits riven through UK life as a whole, why is it not affecting our standards in ALL sports, rather than just tennis ? The fact is, we still compete at the upper levels in many major sports eg football (soccer), rugby, golf, boxing, athletics (track & field) for a start. And look at all those cycling & sailing Olympic medals - many of them golds.

Maybe our real problem with tennis in the UK is that it is still seen as a nice, middle-class sport for nice, midlle-class people who in my experience are the group most likely to exhibit the character traits that VW probably correct identified as holding back UK tennis success.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old Dec 2nd, 2004, 02:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris whiteside
IMO John loves to box above his weight!
who could deny THAT?!

i dont think lloyd's results were dreadful, i just know it was a 'pinch' of tension in their relationship, like when he fell out of the 30s and into the 200s...chris said she didnt care what his ranking was, per se, but that her issue was that he respect himself and believe in himself, which to some degree would at least be reflected in results. But he got out of the double hundreds and back up to the top 30, as you say. he also furnished chris with her successful doubles partnership with wendy turnbull. That was his partner first. Not to mention giving chrissie the coaching of dennis ralston!!

I certainly agree that grass court should be kept in pro tennis, and definitely at wimbledon. Many people are not aware that the modern game rules and court size were 'finalized' as they are now played, at wimbledon-- which is what makes it so historic. But i am not sure as i once was that its at the top of the desire list for pros. For americans and brits, DEFINITELY. davenport's comments dont surprise me. But so many europeans in general and certainly south americans appear to dream of winning Roland Garros from their childhood and into their adult playing years. The US Open is 3rd to those, from what i can tell, but the french is 3rd to the americans, as they dont have the patience to win there anyway. And americans hate when they cant win. nothing 'sporting' about their attitude where 'perceived success' is concerned.

Interesting post from dogdriller though i wouldnt even start to say i understand the british psyche enough to comment; certainly good points none the less. I think 'dogdriller' may be my favorite user name ever...though i refuse to ask about the inspiration for it!! Talk about, "I don't believe that angle exists!"

Last edited by daze11; Dec 2nd, 2004 at 02:44 AM.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old Dec 2nd, 2004, 06:54 AM Thread Starter
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Daze:

During John Lloyd's rankings freefall shortly after marrying Chris, he lost a total of 19 straight matches in a row The balancing act of two pro careers on different circuits seems almost impossible to master, at least for players at or near the top. Concerning Lloyd's later re-emergence to the top 30 in 1986, Lloyd states it was because he was angry during that time and it actually helped motivate his tennis. At the time, Evert herself stated that if she "deserved any credit" in John's later success, that it was only "in a negative way" because clearly, her husband's unhappiness with the state of their relationship evidently fueled his focus on tennis.

I can't see Wimby changing from grass anytime soon; for better or worse, the surface is it's trademark and the Brits are obviously far more steeped in tradition than the U.S. or Australia...at least I'm glad to see centre court finally getting some coverage fairly soon from those torential British mid-summer showers...I sure won't miss watching Andy Roddick re-runs

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old Dec 4th, 2004, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Dogdriller
Hmmmm....not sure I agree entirely with this. I think we are still sports-mad in the UK. I certainly heard it mentioned during the Olympics coverage that Team GB were consistently one of the most supported nations throughtout the two weeks, Union Jacks being waved all over the stadium etc.

Now I do certainly recognise some of the thing Virginia says about UK traits eg "It's social genes we're lacking. British people are too apologetic. People aren't prepared to stand up for themselves or demand higher standards." and the 'No, after you' comment in the article (I think that was from the journalist rather than VW). BUT....if these really are traits riven through UK life as a whole, why is it not affecting our standards in ALL sports, rather than just tennis ? The fact is, we still compete at the upper levels in many major sports eg football (soccer), rugby, golf, boxing, athletics (track & field) for a start. And look at all those cycling & sailing Olympic medals - many of them golds.

Maybe our real problem with tennis in the UK is that it is still seen as a nice, middle-class sport for nice, midlle-class people who in my experience are the group most likely to exhibit the character traits that VW probably correct identified as holding back UK tennis success.
You could have an interesting debate as to whether the standards in all sports in the UK are declining or not. The rugby success could be put down to one man - Clive Woodward, the English football team is not exactly setting the world alight. You mention athletics - apart from a couple of spectacular successes at the Olympics the overall performance of the UK team was pretty dismal leading to calls for cuts in the funding many athletes were being given and the swimming was a disaster. Yes there have been successes in some sports cycling and rowing as you mention where foreign coaches have been brought in and adequate funding given.

However unless the media is hyping things up and the statistics are wrong there are fewer young people playing sport but rather sitting at the TV or computer. Schools are not encouraging pupils to participate and for whatever reason are selling off playing fields etc. An interview on Five Live (the top news/sports national radio sation in the UK) recently showed that only by actively taking their kids to places like swimming baths , tennis courts were they getting the chance to participate. Even now, because of the likelihood of litigation if anything goes wrong schools are not taking classes on adventure outings etc. Obviously there will be those who are sports mad, but it would appear that this number is continually dropping.

But hey, this is the tennis forum. It is a fair comment that British tennis is still steeped in middle class syndrome to a great degree although I believe that part of the malaise is general.

Look at the demise of British women's tennis. From the mid 50s we had Angela Mortimer backed up by such players as Jean Smith, Pat Ward, Angela Buxton, Anne Shilcock, Christine Truman. Then Ann Jones, Truman although hit by injury and lack of motivation was probably still in the top 20, we had players many will never have heard of such as Elizabeth Starkie and Deirdre Catt who both at one stage threatened Jones position as the British #1 and both just missed out on top 10 placings in certain years, Rita Bentley won international tournaments - she was never a threat at Slam level but she would probably have been ranked inside the top 20. The Virginia Wade with Winnie Shaw and Joyce Williams slightly lower down. Sue Barker made the top 5 and flickered briefly but we also had high ranking (but not as high ranking as before!) players such as Sue Mappin, Anne Hobbs, Glynis Coles, Michelle Tyler. Jo Durie came through but faded quickly, then Annabel Croft was our leading player who managed to make the top 30, then Sam Smith who manger to make around #50 and now we're at the position of not having a player in the top 100.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 2004, 04:32 PM
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check out this pix of virginia! just B E A U T I F U L !!!
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 2004, 05:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daze11
check out this pix of virginia! just B E A U T I F U L !!!
How is this also your 888th post? Are you directing the numbers again, daze?

You know how I feel about Virginia- lovely pic, and deserves another:
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There is nothing more beautiful than Evonne Goolagong in full flight moving across a tennis court.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old Dec 9th, 2004, 05:38 PM
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check out this pix of virginia! just B E A U T I F U L !!!
Er , yes. Well they do say beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
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