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The Tennis Business Discussion Forum Archive

[tennisbiz] Re: Mens Tennis in the USA

From: Kjell Petterson <>
Date: Thu 27 May 2004 06:39:22 -0400


May 26th, as the last of ten American guys was eliminated from the
French Open - Wednesday of the first week!! - gave a pretty good
illustration to what the problem is.

Whoever in the USTA killed the clay court circuit here and also, later,
decided it would help their numbers game to make team-leagues virtually
the only form of recreational tennis is guilty.

If you create a culture where players grow up thinking that tennis is
only based on big serves and knock-out forehands, you are at a
disadvantage, especially on slower surfaces, to players who have learned
to construct points. During Roddick's match against Mutis, the
commentators used the expression 'red clay' over and over again as an
excuse for Roddicks failure to handle the 125th ranked Mutis. They also
marveled at how many times the French guy won easy points at the net,
"by coming in at the right time".

Well, that's it. Someone who has learned to play tennis on clay has a
solid foundation from which they can also adapt to playing on hard
courts, like so many of the Spanish players have shown. The opposite
does not work quite as well. Especially in the last two sets, yesterday,
Roddick tried to come to the net by hitting a hard shot from the
baseline and advancing as far as the service line only to be passed by
Mutis' returns. On a hard surface, that 'approach shot' may have
overwhelmed the opponent, but not here.

In our country, recreational clay court tennis is mostly played by an
aging group of players, and that does not produce the future world class
players. Unfortunately, as American players can't compete
internationally, the fans lose interest and the game is choking.

Is there someone up there in the tennis bureaucracy who can correct the
situation? Is it too late?

Kjell Petterson

Received on Thu Jun 03 2004 - 14:56:00 CDT

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