Friday, July 04, 2008

A Tennis Conundrum

The following statements are indisputable facts about tennis which do not add up.

1. Most tennis fans are also recreational tennis players

2. Well over 90 percent of all recreational tennis is doubles, and always has been.

3. Every major tennis tournament has doubles in it, men's, women's, and mixed-the three forms of tennis played by recreational players.

4. Nobody pays any attention to doubles. Quick, who won the doubles Grand Slams last year. I dunno. Neither do tennis fans. Doubles is what television shows when the singles competition turns into a rout or there's a rain delay and they have to go to yesterday's videotape.

5. This is an opinion. Doubles is more fun to watch. More kinetic. Rallies are what make tennis fun, and there are of them in doubles.

6. Back to fact. Despite 5. I myself seldom watch or care about doubles when I watch tennis. How come? What is the pathology of this discrepancy. Again, I dunno. Anybody have a guess?


At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You answer your own question with your next post on tennis (Wimbledon 2008).

Tennis stars are presented as singular identities, marketed as such - this provides a greater emotional subtext to the event.

A simple example: Venus and Serena. They won the doubles (I believe), but that was just subtext for their individual battle.
Together they were (at Wimbledon) clearly the best two female players, and they showed that in the doubles section.
It was, however, their individual one-on-one match up that drew all of the attention. It was heightened by the doubles victory but not defined by it.
The perfect game, a home run record, etc. - all of these are followed both because it's the individual who is marketed (Manny Ramirez makes a commercial, not the Red Sox)and it allows a greater emotional connection in the context of a culture still heavily influenced by conceptions of the individual hero.


Post a Comment

<< Home