Tennis Prose



When, Why Did The Tennis Media Go Rotten?

By Scoop Malinowski

Reilly Opelka famously condemned the tennis media last year as being “the worst and awful” as this article illustrates.

The bias of the tennis media can be encapsulated by this – one of the most ridiculously lousy, shameful hate articles which was penned by some idiot named Giri Nathan. Here’s a sample of his rubbish: “…Maybe Novak Djokovic read this on a little paper slip in February and and realized that the present health crisis was indeed an enormous opportunity to reveal himself as a clown, emphatically, repeatedly and internationally, until there was absolutely no question as to how big a clown he is. Now he is also a clown with covid 19…” This imbecile nobody, who actually called the greatest champion in tennis history a clown three times in one paragraph, actually was awarded a young journalist of the year award by some Tennis Writers group.

This is just a drop in the bucket of all the biased media hate Djokovic has been subjected to by the fake news tennis media.

When I first began covering pro tennis in the 1990s, there never was any signs or hints of any bias by the tennis media against any player. There was always a tone of respect for the players and the sport. Tennis was also a tremendous pleasure and privilege to cover into the 2000s. The first indication I can think of where the tennis media began to show a negative, hateful bias was against Djokovic when he began to threaten the supremacy of Federer and Nadal. And the closer he got to catching and then surpassing them, it seemed the hate volume was increased, particularly in the last three years and after the Wimbledon 2019 final where Federer blew the two match points he had on Djokovic.

The tennis media actually conspired to try to destroy Djokovic over the virus and his decision to decline to take the drug shot that we all now know was a fraud and failure and even a health risk according to some doctors.

But the bias and hate of the tennis media still exists and it still targets certain players like Holger Rune, Alexander Zverev, John Isner, Tennys Sandgren, Russian players, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Emma Raducanu, etc.

Despite all the media turmoil, tennis is about to enter the most important and exciting Grand Slam in history. If Novak Djokovic wins the 2023 Roland Garros title, he will regain the ATP no. 1 ranking (388th week)… he will become the first man in history to achieve a triple career Grand Slam… and achieve the historic male record of 23 Grand Slams won. Djokovic is seven matches from establishing himself as the greatest champion in the history of tennis and perhaps, ANY sport.

This is an incredible high point in the history of tennis and sport. But how will the tennis media cover it? Will they continue to harp on attacks, agendas, biases to desecrate the ultimate fortnight in the history of tennis? Will they use media manipulation to create another negative anti Djokovic narrative? Or will they stop the insanity and finally do the right thing?

And that is to cover this sport the way it deserves to be, the way it was covered and reported on, just a few years ago, with respect and fairness.

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  • catherine · May 26, 2023 at 2:11 am

    The ubiquity of social media changed everything.

    The opinions of millions of dumb people who had never seen a tennis ball hit in their lives suddenly became terribly important along with spouting on all subjects under the sun. Everyone is an expert on everything now.

    Believe me Scoop, there was plenty of hate and bias around in what you see as the Golden Age but not many people knew the stories and the effort of actually putting fingers to keys or pen to paper was too much for those whose main activity was most likely propping up a bar somewhere.

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 26, 2023 at 6:44 am

    Catherine, you will have to elaborate more on this allegation that media hate of certain players existed in the golden age please…

  • catherine · May 26, 2023 at 11:55 am

    Scoop – I’m not stupid and although I’ve been long out of the business I’m not naming any names. But human nature being what it is there were players and officials years who were greatly disliked and the target of scurrilous gossip from players and gutter press.

    (I’ve mentioned Julie Heldman’s book before – plenty to read between the lines there.)

    And the ‘media’ didn’t exist as an entity until the coming of the internet – now it’s a blob – some parts good, some bad but maybe not as powerful as you seem to believe. You have to be specific, you can’t just attack the reputation of the ‘media’ and blame various reporters and news outlets for the success/failure of individual players.

    If your favourite player is a true champion he will rise above whatever the’media’ serves up and he will win.

  • Sam · May 26, 2023 at 2:42 pm

    catherine wrote:

    The opinions of millions of dumb people who had never seen a tennis ball hit in their lives suddenly became terribly important along with spouting on all subjects under the sun. Everyone is an expert on everything now.

    Welcome to Brave New World 2.0. 😹

  • Scoop Malinowski · May 26, 2023 at 3:00 pm

    Catherine, the anti Djokovic hate mob media spearheaded by wertheim, rottenberg, navratilova, clarey, dickson, etc are no match for #nolefam. They tried to destroy Djokovic’s career and name and rep over a drug shot that is a failure and fraud. But they failed and Djokovic is more popular now than ever. Wertheim tried to say the tennis media is not anti Djokovic, which was the worst lie I think I ever heard in tennis. I was in the US Open press room since 1992 and I never sensed any media agendas against any player until Djokovic. Maybe Rios was a target but his actions and behavior invited it, he was the ultimate villain and the media portrayal of him was accurate, he seemed to want to be the villain. The US Open was always a joy and privilege to cover, and be around the great writers like Flink, Collins, Bodo, etc. they were all straight honest fair great writers. They covered tennis with a pure respect and love. But at some point, some kind of deep state cabal began to dictate to the writers to be anti Djokovic. There is no doubt about that. I believe certain key writers were incentivized to be anti Djokovic. But it all failed. The US Open is not a wonderful paradise to cover now, too many corrupted unfair militant political activist writers pushing agendas and attacks.



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