SI's Jon Wertheim and TENNIS mag's Steve Tignor can't seem to understand why we should care about tennis in the Olympics.
When a reader asked Wertheim recently if he'll be including an Olympic-size version of his weekly "Tennis Mailbag" he says he's "passing" on the Games. Why? I'll let him explain:
Beijing messes everything up. Injuries are rampant, as players don't have time to recover after the Slams. The Masters Series events are moved two weeks ahead in the calendar. Players are wary of taxing themselves too much before Beijing so we have unfortunate situations such the now-infamous Montreal doubles session. The U.S. Open Series is more or less a fragmented mess, characterized by weak draws. (If this is the "Greatest Road Trip" in sports, maybe we should go on a cruise.)He ends his response by saying, "I suppose we should simply resign ourselves to the unfortunate fact that once every four years, the summer calendar will be a mess." Right, as if the tennis schedule is such a gem normally.
In his ESPN.com blog Tignor whines (and I mean that in the worst sense) that tennis is "diminished by the Olympic surroundings" and the only way its fans (and apparently its mainstream media) can truly appreciate the sport is on its "home turfs" such as Arthur Ashe or Rod Laver Stadium or even Wimbledon's Centre Court (which Tignor believes won't help Olympic tennis when it's played there in 2012 because it won't be called "Wimbledon".)
He ends by saying,
No matter how long tennis remains in the Olympics or how many of the top players compete, "gold medal" will never be synonymous with the sport the way "Grand Slam" is. For that reason alone, we won't need to watch it.P-P-P-lease. Are we so close-minded and self-involved that we can't appreciate the sport in any and all contexts, from the Olympics to a city park? Or is it that the mainstream tennis media feels encroached upon, that "others" are co-opting coverage of the sport they should own??
Maybe that's why they feel the need to render Olympic tennis meaningless and unimportant.
(image via Getty)