Tennis Prose




Jul/24

7

Djokovic Concerned About Future Of Tennis

At least one prominent professional tennis player is voicing concerns about the future of tennis and taking a leadership role in trying to safeguard and preserve it as a successful global historic sport. Novak Djokovic said this week at Wimbledon, ‘If we don’t do something about it globally, they’re gonna convert all the tennis clubs into paddle or pickleball…’

“In terms of innovation in our sport… other than Slams, we have to figure out how to attract a young audience. Tennis on one hand is in a good place, but at the same time, when we look at Formula 1 for example and what they’ve done in terms of marketing, in terms of growth of the sport, in terms of the races around the world and how popular they are… I think we need to do a better job on our respective tours. The grand slams are always gonna do well. But I think our tours need to do better. We are lucky to be very historic and a very global sport. But I think one of the studies that was done by PTPA 3 or 4 years ago showed that tennis is the 3rd or 4th most watched sport in the world along with cricket. Number 1 is football or soccer as you call it in the states. Second is basketball. Then it’s tennis and cricket. But tennis is number 9 or 10 on the list of all sports in terms of using its popularity, commercializing or capitalizing on that. I think there’s a huge space for growth. We’re quite fractioned as a sport. There are quite a bit of things for us to collectively look at and try to improve it. We need to grow the number of players that live from this sport. Very rarely do I see in the media that you guys are writing about the fact that you have only 350 to 400 players both men, women, singles, doubles across the board that live from this sport on this planet. That’s deeply concerning for me. Yes, we talk about the grand slam winner wins this or that. The focus is always on the grand prize but what about the base level? We’re still doing a very poor job there… very poor job. Tennis is a very global sport and it’s loved by millions of children that pick up a racquet that wanna play, but we don’t make it accessible. We don’t make it so affordable. Especially in countries like mine that doesn’t have a strong federation, that has Grand Slam or history or big budgets.. so I think collectively we all have to come together or create a new foundation, a corner stone of really what tennis is about.. which is the base level. The club level. Now we have paddle that is growing and emerging. People kind of have fun with it and say ‘Yeah but tennis is tennis. Tennis is the king or queen of all racquet sports.’ That’s true. But on a club level, tennis is endangered. If we don’t do something about it, globally or collectively, paddle, pickleball in the states, they’re gonna convert all the tennis clubs into paddle and pickleball. Because it’s more economical. You have one tennis court… you can build 3 paddle courts on one tennis court. Do the simple math. It’s just much more financially viable for the owner of the club to have those courts. These are some of the things I wanted to share. In the grand scheme of things, we need to address all these challenges and issues. Because they’ve been out there for a while. I don’t think we’ve been addressing it in the proper way.”

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16 comments

  • Cory · July 8, 2024 at 6:36 am

    As a guy who loves tennis and wants to play, I don’t know where to go or what to do unless I join some outrageously expensive tennis club that I cannot afford to join…

    It’s funny because if I want to play softball, or soccer, or basketball, etc… there are leagues everywhere. Where are the tennis leagues? Where do I go to find a local tennis ladder?

    Nice words from the goat.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 8, 2024 at 9:13 am

    Cory, it’s hard to start. We had a guy named Saad poking around at our club wanting to play and learn to play. He came around a bunch of times and then disappeared, I guess nobody helped him. I tried giving him a short lesson but apparently it wasn’t enough.

  • Steve · July 8, 2024 at 10:04 am

    I saw some people playing tennis with the red ball on a pickleball court. Would be interesting to flip the script on them and take over their courts. Red balls (or even the foam 36 ft ball) are great for getting beginners hitting with long rallies right away. Plus those that live near the pickleball courts will love red ball play because it is silent. The small court is also ideal for the injured and obese to play singles as well.

  • Steve · July 8, 2024 at 10:09 am

    …also when I played pickleball I was invited to join to two team reach groups and a whatsApp group in my first week. Maybe tennis has too much of a lone wolf vibe to it in the US. Whereas in Europe they have a club system where clubs play other clubs and etc.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 8, 2024 at 10:14 am

    Steve, to play mini tennis on a pickleball court would be interesting. As a mini tennis enthusiast (only using the four service boxes) the PB court would be perfect to use for that. Gilad Bloom is a huge mini tennis advocate, good for touch, footwork, spins, ball control. Years ago somebody from UK was trying to sell me on a new version of tennis on a tiny court, about the PB size court but I lost contact with him and forget the name of the game, I guess it faded away and was replaces by Padel, PB and platform. He sent me videos of it and it looked fun, tennis on a much smaller court.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 8, 2024 at 10:16 am

    Steve, there is a lot of inter club play here in US too, my club has four different teams and there are I think divisions all the way from A to H (8). Bergen county also their own inter club league play too. It’s very popular. It’s hard for the total beginner to get started.

  • Cory · July 8, 2024 at 10:48 am

    You guys talking about the youth/red tennis ball? I am teaching my 8 year old to play and when she was 4, we played with that ball. Interesting. It would be indeed a great ball for PB court, but playing tennis.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 8, 2024 at 2:38 pm

    And a lot less noisy )

  • Steve · July 9, 2024 at 8:14 am

    Yeah I think the red ball is great to keep in your bag.

    I’ve given them away to parents who are yelling at their little ones for missing too much in their first tries at tennis.

    Also to hit with beginner adult players. As you know, you can really extend rallies with any level of player with it.

  • Winston Smith · July 9, 2024 at 8:14 am

    Scoop
    In terms of concerns about tennis’s future, here’s one that disturbs me.
    Are we watching legitimate competition?
    Specifically: Alcatraz vs Tiafoe at Wimbledon (as well as at the US Open 2 years ago)…am I the only one who sees them “competing” symbolically to generate an “epic 5 setter?” A 5 setter in which Alcatraz gathers his wits to roll in the 5th. Great for ratings and great for getting Emma on at prime time in the UK.
    I know tennis and know when players are missing shots on purpose or leaving balls in the middle of the court for the opponent to take over the point. I saw plenty of this in the Alcatraz/Tiafoe match(es.)
    Also note the commentators referencing that Alcatraz and Tiafoe are “good friends” off the court. Is this code language to let the insiders know what’s up?
    Are there bets that the match will go 5?
    If, indeed, we are now entering the pro wrestling/boxing phase of professional tennis, then tennis will eventually fade away as sport entertainment and it will only have itself to blame.
    Your thoughts?

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 9, 2024 at 8:50 am

    Winston I thought the same thing, it was like a Nike theater match, the best possible result and extended exposure of the Nike brand, while also increasing the value of the slumping Tiafoe as going five sets with Carlos revitalizes his brand, image and value. If it’s also all betting related, that’s even more suspect. Yes like you I do wonder if some of these 5 setters and WTA 3 setters are pre-scripted. Don’t forget the TV advertising revenues also which increases profits due to longer matches. Missed shots and dumb tennis are easy to see by astute tennis fans. The establishment had better be more careful because WWF tennis will alienate the fanbase.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 9, 2024 at 8:51 am

    Good for kids to play with softer easier balls and not get discouraged with the bouncy regular yellow balls. This will keep them more interested.

  • Winston Smith · July 9, 2024 at 7:51 pm

    Scoop
    I figured that you would have noticed the “simulated tennis theater” brought to you by Nike. I needed to watch only a handful of games to know what was up. The facts are thus: Tiafoe is simply not that good, top 30 at best. His elevated ranking of recent years was based on his getting to US Open semis 2 years ago, beating Nadal along the way, a result I long suspected as not legitimate. I have watched tennis since the early 1970’s and, given my recent revelation that some matches are staged, I am now thinking back to other “head scratchers.” One that stood out clearly was Sloan Stephens vs Venus Williams on her way to winning the US Open. At the time I watched it, I was dumbfounded by what I was witnessing…now my “eyes are wide open” and I do not like what I see…

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 9, 2024 at 8:30 pm

    Winston, like in boxing, so many matches arouse curiosity. Many can be named. Tennis is a star driven sport. Sometimes stars need to be created…

  • catherine · July 10, 2024 at 9:40 am

    Sloan ‘whatever’ Stephens is so erratic that I had no problem in believing what my eyes saw in her match v Venus. And in many matches since…

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 10, 2024 at 9:42 pm

    Catherine, I’ve seen a number of SS matches and she’s floated through more than a few with zero emotion or intensity, as if going through the motions. She did win a major title though, vs Keys, her good friend. That final didn’t seem super intense and the friendliness after was kind of interesting.

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