Monday, December 29, 2014

I Don't Understand

by Savannah

I keep trying to post my last post of 2014 and everytime I try something catches my eye. Like this interview Andy Roddick did with Ravi Ubha of CNN . The headline was "Scrap Hawkeye or Change System". It was posted by a good tennis friend of mine on a fan site and when I saw the headline I rolled my eyes and started to skip it figuring it was blather but I said to myself "what the hell" and I read it.

Here is Roddick's reasoning:

Roddick says that there is " not enough interaction between players and umpires".
What kind of interaction" " If someone is really having a go at the umpire, you are not going to change the channel. It's an impossibility."
He doesn't end there.

"We love our guys in the game now, Roger, Rafa and the way they carry themselves but there's some entertainment value on the guys that don't carry themselves so well," Roddick said, mentioning himself, retired two-time grand slam winner Marat Safin and the man dubbed 'Super Brat,' John McEnroe.
"Johnny Mac is out here all the time still going nuts and people love it," said Roddick, referring to the 55-year-old McEnroe competing in seniors' events.

Roger Federer's objections to the system are cited by the author as proof that some in the sport don't like Hawkeye, going back two years to quote this statement by Federer:

"What I like without Hawk-Eye is just the players challenging the umpires more often."

Somehow I don't think Federer wants to turn tennis into the WWE.

Roddick allows that getting rid of Hawkeye may be too extreme an idea so he says the number of challenges should be reduced to one per match.

There is also this.

Another change in the game Roddick would make is keeping play going when there are lets.
For Roddick, the entertainment factor is indeed key.
"We are fooling ourselves if we don't think sports are entertainment," he said.

It's always amazing to me that you see this sort of thing coming from American players. Retired American players. I guess if you can't play up to the level of the top men why not enable a side show to take place? Roddick says he doesn't want tennis players coming out in feather boas and sequins but isn't that what he's advocating? Somehow I don't think too many fans want to see this kind of thing come back. I know I don't.


Randy Burgess said...

It's funny Roddick would say this. He was no Johnny Mac - he never swore at umps and I never saw him act badly toward another player. But the fact is, his own disputes with umps were often accompanied by meltdowns; and these meltdowns were anything but entertaining.

I especially remember watching, with disbelief & a sinking heart, what must have been one of his last meltdowns before he retired. He was playing Kohlschreiber in Cincinatti & was struggling in the 3rd set. He had gotten a warning earlier for busting a racket. So when he double-faulted to give Kohlschreiber a break point, and then whacked the ball out of the stadium in frustration, he got a point violation . . . which gave Kohlschreiber the game. Roddick tried to argue with the ump that he hadn't hit the ball in anger but it was obvious to everybody that he had.

That itself wasn't so bad. What was bad was the next game, with Kohlschreiber serving and Roddick returning: Roddick literally didn't move an inch for most of the serves. For a moment I had to wonder if he was tanking. I don't think he was - I think he was just in such inner turmoil that his body locked up on him.

The same goes for other players arguing with umps and then melting down. Fognini, Jankowski - yes, I don't change the channel, but I'd still rather not see it any more than I want to see a traffic accident. Then there is the unfortunate memory of Nalbandian throwing a tantrum and hurting a linesman.

As for MceEnroe, it's clear from what he has said & what others have written that his trantrums had nothing to do with "entertainment" and everything to do with being unhappy on court & not knowing how to handle the tension of competition. His tantrums came from the same unhappiness & immaturity that led him to retire at a relatively young age.

Savannah said...

The only thing I would add Randy is that whenever Roddick threw a tantrum he ended up losing. It wasn't always as obvious as the Kohlschreiber incident in Cincy but when he threw a fit he was on his way to losing.

And yes it's the same with today's enfants terrible's.

Happy New Year!