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Discussion Starter #1
I have to speak out here, maybe it's just in Britain, but I have to say that tennis will never really be a sport that appeals to the masses, like football.

It is an increasingly expensive sport. There are no public courts here that are mainatined well AT ALL. You have to pay for the properly maintained ones that are always associated with a club, hence the overblown court fees + membership. I manage to get to play tennis on a court for free because I am a student of a school which has asphalt courts.

But still... tennis will never be a sport that working class proletariats like myself will follow en masse. I'm glad I love the sport so much despite the fact daddy doesn't own a f**king yacht or earns enough money to buy a solid gold house (you know what I mean, quite clearly I'm exaggerating;))

I'll still be at Wimby this year (even though it does dent yer bank balance), but sadly not many working class people will be, as I saw in 2000, you can clearly see many people who go are middle class. It is also detrimental to British tennis as a whole that this snobbery continues so much. You never get kids coming out of an estate playing tennis and becoming a star. You get footballers coming from anywhere to becoming world stars because the game is available to everyone. Tennis is only available to the priveledged. Of course anyone can kick a ball around no matter how much the ball costs, but still, when evern you have got the equipment to play tennis at even the most basic level, you have to pay through the nose to keep it up.

It should not be that way.

My ambition is for a British kid, with a working class background to win a slam, or a tournament for that matter. It's a shame. Until then, our hopes will remain in a public schoolkid whose parents had enough money to build him a court in his back garden, and an ex-Canadian.
 

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It is much simpler in the US, plenty of public courts, even with floodlights. In fact, I regret that tennis is not partly a sport of businessmen, that place is completely taken by golf, which I hate. And every person that wants to make a serious career in our business in the USA has to play golf..:)
 
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Discussion Starter #4
i wasnt "bagging it". i love tennis. i am just saying that it is a problem in MY country, and I suppose it is a bit elitist to other countries too. You have sort of missed my point.

I wouldnt post on here if I didn't like tennis.
 

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You're right, but ask any kid with a working class background who they'd rather be David Beckham or Tim Henman. The answer is Beckham all the way and not because he's married to the Spice girl.

There's just not enough promotion of the sport in England :( it gets zero coverage for 49 weeks of the year unless you've got cable and there aren't exactly a large bunch of role model tennis heroes to follow in mens or womens tennis here.

Facilities are a big problem, but getting people motivated onto tennis and off football is an even bigger problem.
 

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joey makes good points.
 

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I live in Britain and Joey is quite right. My local courts do not even have nets and the surface is full of holes. It's a joke, unless you have a rich daddy don't even bother trying to persue tennis.

I didn't see any "bagging" either.:confused:

When was the last time Britain had a decent female player? Jo Durie? That was a long time ago!! Too long.
 
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I agree with what u say Kart. Kid's here get out their rackets or buy a racket the week Queens is on and the fortnight Wimbledon is on, and two weeks after, and then you nevr hear of tennis agin for another year. It's as though it is a fad.

A lot of this in Britain is down to the LTA. They simply do not put enough money into getting people interested in tennis. They say "we are focusing on grass roots", but these young promising players they are focusing on are still part of an elite selection.

There are so many children who may have the natural ability to play tennis, but will never be found because of the inability to attract youngsters to the game. The game has to be brought to the masses more.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
I'll try and get a picture one day of my towns only true public courts. The markings have almost disappeared, holes in the courts and the fencing vandalised. The bowling greens are in immaculate condition... but you have to pay to use those, and bowls is incredibly much a minority sport compared to tennis, probably a speck of dust compared to tennis' popularity and potential popularity.
 

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Kart:

You're right about the coverage. I listen to the BBC World Service, and they're absolutely terrible when it comes to covering sports not involving competitors from the British Commonwealth. I don't remember hearing anything about Hingis winning the Doubles Slam, but when Paes and Bhupathi won a minor tournament in Japan in 2000, the BBCWS made a huge deal about it. They follow Britainstimhenman, Rusedski, and the Aussies, and virtually ignore women's tennis because the British Commonwealth players (with the exception of Coetzer) have virtually no success.

But I should add that coverage in the US is almost as bad, although at least we have more events. But if you asked the average person at last year's US Open who the only player to defeat Venus Williams in the US in the past two years was, I'd bet that not only would only about 10% of them know, half of them would say they've never heard of the player who is the correct answer. Part of the problem, I think, is that the US media seem to like players who act like a**holes on court (Connors, McEnroe, the early Agassi, and Roddick), and players they can use to promote their political agenda (eg. why they didn't laugh Richard Williams out of Indian Wells for his comments that what happened to him was the worst thing since the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr -- or for calling Spirlea a big white turkey -- could you imagine what would happen if anybody called one of the Williams sisters a big black turkey?). And golf and tennis have always been seen as sports of the wealthier, which really irritates most journalists. This, I think, is part of the reason why Davenport has never gotten the attention commensurate with her results.
 

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The LTA is useless, I'd bet that most people in England don't even know what the letters stand for. Of course almost anyone could at least make a guess at what FA or FIFA stand for.

In terms of the women's game - as someone else pointed out, Jo Durie was the only one of any substance for about 20 years, but I think that women's tennis in particular is still highly underexposed.

It's not like British women tennis players don't exist.

If the media promoted them - even just a little bit is better than nothing - I think that would at least wake up the minds of schoolgirls that the sporting world is not comprised totally of men (despite what Grandstand's coverage would have you believe).
 

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I guess it all depends on where you live. Where I live, court memberships are not expensive at all... I work at a tennis academy now so I get to use courts for free but when I didn't, memberships weren't all that costly. I'm not from a rich family either. It really all depends on where you live.

I know that there are A LOT of problems with the LTA in Britain... as british female player Karen Cross pointed out: "the media only gives us attention during wimbledon, where we get slated because we don't do so well, and the rest of the year we are ignored".
 

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And Ted :), I think you hit a huge point re: number of tournaments - England has about 4-5 major tournaments.

However, being realistic, even if there were more, I don't think that the non-cable TV would cover them as they wouldn't have enough airtime to fit them in. Still, at least that would publicise the sport on a local level which is better than nothing I guess.
 

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those skanky promotions with Ian Wright (a fucking footballer!!!) promoting tennis to inner city kids are ridiculous.

fine, get the kids interested in tennis.... then get them depressed cos their parents can't afford a racquet, the courts, the clothes, the balls, the coaching, etc etc etc.
 

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Where I live, most schools do have tennis courts that you can use for free. The cost of renting a court is not very cheap... and there are no public courts.
 

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Another view.

This is a very interesting comment. Being
a US citizen residing in Singapore is quite
an eye opener.

I find that yes; tennis is big back in the states; but
not as big as golf, football, baseball or basketball.
It use to be a middle class sport;but has filtered to
the mainstream in most warm climate states.
Tennis racquets are affordable and so are lessons
with free tennis clinics at most city parks.

Oddly enough because of the Singapore's past
British ties tennis is probably bigger here than
actually in Britan. Everybody is glued to the
grand slams; everybody knows who is still in
a tournament especially if it's WIMBLEDON.
Ok; the regular ATP and WTA events may not
be that big ;but I suppose because Badminton is
played as an P.E sport in every primary ,highschool
and junior college "net" sports tend to be very
accesible. All the big public parks have tennis
courts available throughout the island. There
are private clubs too around the island for members.

On the other hand in other countries in Asia-
Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia,
Phillipines, Malaysia tennis is for
the upper classes without much free public
courts available.

Thailand oddly enough; has public courts and
indoor courts available for the
general public. The fees for indoor venues are
quite affordable. The success of Tamarine T
and Paradorn has opened up the doors of tennis
to Thailand and sealed the investment of tennis
as a national sport to pursue.
 

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Tennis is extremely popular where I live. There are tennis courts opening all the time everywhere. These courts are fully booked from 06:00 to 21:00 (except from 12:00 to 15:00 because it is far too hot here).

Tennis bookings are a little bit high by local standards (USD 3 to USD 6 depending on where and when - off peak and peak hours), but since doubles is more popular than singles, it reduces the booking fees.

There are very few private clubs and courts are mostly booked by the hour.

The tennis courts are most of the time in excellent condition (see the links to some pics I have taken of tennis courts next to the place I live. Courts are empty as I took the picture today at around 13:00!).

Accessories are quiet affordable (racquets, shoes, clothes and even balls) as there is a secondary market.

Whenever there is an international tennis tournament here, players are extremely surprised by the attendance compared to other countries (I understand for instance that there is absolutely no one watching the ITF / Challenger tourneys when there are some in Singapore ;) ) and the "involvement" of the crowd (some players are not used to it at all ;) ).

There were not enough seats for the last Men $10,000 ITF event in Hanoi last year !!!

Picture one

Picture two
 

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It's a vicious circle. If you don't have any top players, tennis doesn't get much coverage, tennis isn't popular, not enough kids start playing it, so you don't have any top players.

In Belgium Sabine Appelmans and Dominique Van Roost led the way. They were never ranked as high as Kim and Justine now, but they were ranked high enough to get a lot of coverage.

Now that we have Kim and Justine, it's very difficult to join some tennis clubs because they're full! Tennis is immensely popular now, lots of people are taking up the sport. In some places, you can only play at night because the courts are being used all the time.
 

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joey...you are right.

Tennis is still a pretty exclusive sport. Also in Belgium. People who want to make it in tennis have to be at least middle class I think. It's just too expensive otherwise.

We have public courts in some places, but they are mostly in bad shapes. The good courts are in the clubs, and they are not that cheap. But not too expensive either..I think Tennis just has the name to be a classy sport.

Although it's hard to believe sometimes..lots of the tennisfans are well educated people. Just look at all the members here, and it's clear.
 
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