Sunday, May 31, 2009

Divas, Drama, & Why I Often Hate Tennis

So, I was on the road in the hinterlands of Ontario & missed this bit of drama going on at Roland Garros::

While a part of me likes the genteel rules of tennis, I wonder how they fit with the übercompetitiveness of today's professional game, i.e., the high stakes of a grand slam event.  I "get" the idea of the rule if the ball touches any part of your body, you call it & lose the point.  On the other hand, the rules are mute on intentional beaning.  What gives me pause is how Serena hit the ball hard at her opponent who was rushing the net.  María didn't call herself out and Serena lost the point and the first game {4-6}.  Let the bitching commence.  Serena, in her incredulity, tried {in my opinion} to go as far to say she felt bad for hitting her opponent.  Then, at the end of her unsuccessful gripe fest with the chair umpire, she quips, "she better not come to the net again."  Please.  I just wish María retorted with this::

Serena, with acting ambitions, is no stranger to drama. She accused María of being a "cheater" to the press, after the former won the match {4-6, 6-3, 6-4}.  It does look like the ball did hit Sanchez, but I'd penalize Williams for unsportsmanlike conduct for her on and off-court antics.

I'm sure some people don't mind or even like the diva behaviour in the sport {not everyone can be a Federer, I suppose}, but I think allowing it creates a culture in tennis that diminishes the sport and its appeal.  

Let's see if the Canadian Wozniak can derail the drama queen...


linnyqat said...

Well, we talked about this at length yesterday... I'm one who enjoys the drama. I get your point about it having a diminishing effect on the sport, but I don't think it tarnishes the appeal, except maybe for self-important types who swear up and down they never read the tabloid headlines while waiting at the check-out stand.

Sport is entertainment. That's not all it is, but it's a sizable chunk. There's the finesse aspect, to be sure, and it is a great joy to watch an athlete do things with their bodies that seem impossible. You would think that in itself would be enough drama, but this is the ADD generation! People want to personalize their experiences. I think for many, tennis is just as popular for the personalities that drive the sport as it is for the beauty of the game.

As far as Serena's behaviour is concerned, I think she had a valid point while on the court, and I can excuse her "she'd better not rush the net" comment as eye of the tiger / heat of the moment run-off, but whinging about it after the fact was off-putting.

Kenneth M. Kambara said...

I think there are different kinds of drama. If one looks at sports as a type of entertainment, which I have, it makes sense to look at story and narrative.

McEnroe was an outrageous character who even managed to shower the King of Sweden {and other spectators} with shards of glass on one of his tirades. At the end of the day, he was a great player & was exciting to watch. McEnroe's tirades bugged many, but they were funny to me and breathed life into what I saw as a stuffy sport. Even the King of Sweden was amused. Serena comes across as just a whiner:: "Let me bitch about another player & to every season churn, churn, churn."

I feel Serena's behaviour is polarizing and she opens herself up for a backlash & the press is eager to help her do it. Her whiny drama isn't fun to watch, it's just shrill. I'm sure she wishes people would say, "it's just Serena being Serena," akin to "Manny Being Manny", but Manny Ramirez has had his share of ups, downs, & backlashes. Manny drama is more fun than Serena drama, at least in my book, but there's always the danger of degenerating into just being a joke.