Friday, June 26, 2009

Big heads, bulging balls and grunting

It's one of those strange ironies in life that, just as Britain finally develops someone with enough talent in tennis to have a chance of winning Wimbledon, my interest in the competition is at an all time low.

I'm not, as you may know if you follow this blog, much of a sports fan - but I used to love Wimbledon. The thing is, though, Wimbledon used to be different from every other tennis tournament simply because it was on grass - and grass is where the serve/volley player flourished over the boring baseline bat it back and forward brigade.

But with the development of lightweight tennis rackets with massive heads the baseline player has been given the edge even on grass. One of the benefits of the modern television coverage is the slow motion replay. - and with this you can see that today's players often hit the ball around the edge of the string area rather than out of the centre. Thanks to the size of the heads on rackets these days this is still enough of a sweet spot to guarantee a decent hit - but in the sixties a shot like that would have spun off the wooden frame into the crowd. One wonders how the modern player would cope with the smaller, wooden tennis racket used by the great Rod Laver - my bet is not too well.

Another thing that annoys me is the two handed backhand. Nothing wrong with that per se, but it means that the player no longer has a free hand to hold onto the spare ball - so they tuck it in their pocket or, in the women's game, inside their knickers producing a huge unsightly bulge rather like a massive carbuncle on their hip.

Finally, there is the grunting. Now we all grunt a bit when we're putting in that bit of extra effort to a physical activity - but these players who do it every shot (often quite a while after they've actually hit the ball) and grunt loud enough to drown out a passing Kawasaki are really taking the mickey.

So what with the big heads, bulging balls and extreme grunting I've kinda lost interest in Wimbledon. I wish Murray all the best and if he gets through to the final I'll certainly watch it (especially if Federer does too as he really is something special - I'm afraid that most of them, in my opinion, aren't).


William Gruff said...

Anyone but Murray! He's Br*tish, you say? So what? I'm not Br*tish; I'm English and I hope he's humiliated.

You'd have to spend some time in Sc*tland to understand.

JPT said...

I used to love it but I haven't watched a game this year yet.

North Northwester said...

Stan, you're doing that controversial post title thing, aren't you?
If so, you missed out 'frilly knickers day', which is how Papa Northwester used to describe the women's singles final, rest his soul. Or was that ladies' singles final, once upon a time?

Anonymous said...

The two-handed backhand is an abomination and should be banned - the two-handed forehand even more so.

Without a free arm for counterbalance, the player becomes an upright automaton dishing out power shot after power shot - as exciting to watch as a robot serving machine.

(Apologies for seeking anonymity - I'm married to a tennis coach.)