Tennis Prose



The Biggest Waste of Talent in Sports

By Scoop Malinowski

The major overachievers in tennis stand out because of their energy and inspirational examples. We all can agree that players like David Ferrer, Diego Schwartzman, Ivo Karlovic, Su Wei Hsieh, Yoshihito Nishioka, Dominika Cibulkova, John Isner and Alex deMinaur were not exactly blessed with the physical gifts for professional tennis success but these athletes have somehow managed to work and will themselves to the upper echelon of the sport.

Conversely, there are other players who seemingly were blessed with the talent and weaponry that many experts projected to be capable of achieving major success. Such a player could score memorable wins against history-making superstars like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on the biggest stages of the sport but the same mercurial talent could also lose to journeymen, publicly complain that he doesn’t love the sport, get coached by a chair umpire, and literally tank matches where ticket buying fans actually boo him off the court.

Or even worse, this misguided, wasted talent could even fake tank a match so blatantly and then blame it on a knee injury after being seen playing basketball earlier in the day, that one ticket-buying fan was actually moved to say that she would never bother to pay to watch or bother to watch this “disgraceful” player ever again.

For as many gritty court warriors who would literally dive for a shot or spare blood on the court to win a point, there are small faction of bizarre competitors who would rather coast to a loss and then gripe about the sport which has paid them millions of dollars and given them fame and fortune all over the world.

In tennis it’s easy to spot the wasted talents and the biggest waste of talent of all doesn’t even have to be mentioned by name. Everybody reading this article knows who I’m talking about.

You might even go so far as to say this player is the biggest waste of talent in sports … or even the history of sport.

Can you think of another? In team sports it’s difficult to waste talent. If a player in a team sport tanks or quits or whines about his life, he will soon be out of a job and alienated by his teammates and coaches.

Golf and boxing are the only other individual sports where extraordinary talent can be wasted. In boxing some major talents throw it all away by making poor lifestyle decisions like using or selling drugs or committing a crime or just not training. Michael Nunn of Davenport, Iowa was the best boxer on the planet in the late 80s, early 90s when he made the unfortunate decision to deal drugs on the side of his flourishing career. He soon lost by knockout to another super talent in James Toney and his career fell apart. He is currently still in jail. No other boxers or golfers come to mind for being massive wastes of extraordinary talent.

So the conclusion is this: This certain colorful, charismatic, clowning trick shot super talent with the seismic serve and the nuclear forehand could actually be the biggest waste of talent in not only sport but the history of sport.

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  • Wayne Bradford · January 10, 2019 at 6:48 pm

    Scoop we got the message. You should watch this.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

    That impersonator is very good. Josh Berry is the best though 🙂

  • catherine · January 12, 2019 at 2:40 am

    Posting here because the previous thread is a long tail.

    Kenin wins in Hobart and Petra is going into the 3rd v Barty which is something I’m sure she did not want. These tournaments right up against GSs can be difficult.

    I saw the TIME cover. Overall I think it was a bad decision on someone’s part. Naomi’s a nice kid so no one will resent her for it, but that’s a lot to live up to.

    Luckily today’s magazine cover is tomorrow’s recycling.

  • catherine · January 12, 2019 at 3:49 am

    Petra wins Sydney in 3 – off to Melbourne and rest. I don’t she’ll go that far at the Open if it’s hot but she’s shown in Sydney that Good Petra is around.

  • catherine · January 12, 2019 at 4:29 am

    Kerber speaks in Melbourne: ‘ It’s not easy to be here but the tournament starts from zero.’ She has no expectations – they all say that. Who has ? Some have of course but they’re not admitting.

    She says Schuettler is her first coach who has also played. ‘He understands my thinking and emotions on court. He loves the sport like me.’

    Angie has said before that t’ments start from zero – maybe someone, mental coach ?, has encouraged her to think like that but of course it’s not true. You drag the past after you, like it or not. You have to deal with those memories, which can be hard.

    Is it better for a coach to have played competitively at the pro level ?

  • Hartt · January 12, 2019 at 8:29 am

    It is always fun when “Good” or “Scary” Petra shows up. It sounds like that was a close, hard-fought match. I do have some sympathy for Ash, it would have been great to win in front of her home fans.

    Anyway, this title does mean a treat for me. 🙂

  • catherine · January 12, 2019 at 10:11 am

    Hartt – Petra’s serve was wobbly – 10 dfs – probably tiredness from playing that late night match. But her groundstrokes got her out of trouble when it mattered.

    Unfortunately she plays on Monday. That might be close.

    de Minaur gave the home fans a title.

  • Hartt · January 12, 2019 at 10:58 am

    That was a great win for de Minaur. He had a good start last season as well.

  • catherine · January 12, 2019 at 11:57 am

    I’ve just had a glance at Monday’s order of play. I think there’ll be some upsets on the women’s side. Trio of Kerber, Kvitova and Georges could all go out. Vekic is playing Kiki which could be fun.

    Can’t pick the men because I don’t see some them often enough.

  • catherine · January 12, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    Angie plays Hercog and I got her mixed up with Babos, the latter took Kasatkina to 3 sets at US Open and is ranked higher so I would think Kerber will win this one. She and Hercog last played a full match in 2011.

    Hartt if you see this – what do think about Felix ? His results haven’t soared recently.

  • Scoop Malinowski · January 12, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Deminaur is a marvel of a player. Very special. Looks ordinary but he just keeps on winning. Who knows, maybe he could get to AO semis or finals … or even win the whole thing. Players like Deminaur are impossible to read, he’s an unstoppable force and capable of anything.

  • Hartt · January 12, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    Catherine, I’m not too concerned about Felix. He just turned 18 in August, and is making the transition from playing mainly Challengers to more main tour tourneys. It sounds like he is still growing taller, he has talked about “growing pains” in his legs, so he probably has to adjust to a changing body as well.



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