> Is this true? I would think so since tennis just deals with
> individuals, where basketball and baseball uses whole teams. I know a
> lot more famous basketball players than tennis players. Comments?
> Visit my page:
I think it has a lot to do with the difficultly of a casual observer
to really appreciate the game without any background playing the sport.
The action at a basketball game is a lot easier to figure out. A dunk
almost explains itself. But a kick serve that bounces up high to the
backhand side and forces an error? From a channel-hopper's perspective,
they have no idea why a pro shouldn't be able to return that. TV makes
everything look slower; Sampras, Ivanesivich, and a few others still have
serves that look fast, but it's hard to tell HOW fast.
There's also the question of easy recognition, which I guess should be
one of the key criteria for being considered 'famous.' There are college
basketball players that get more media exposure (at least within the US)
than most pro tennis players. And the players are less physically
imposing. If Michael Redd (2-guard for OSU) goes anywhere on campus,
people recognize him almost before he gets within shouting range. The OSU
first singles player? Don't know him, but my guess is he's a heckuva lot
better than Bob Weekender, and yet he could probably sit down across from
you at a restaurant and you would never have a clue that he was a tennis
player; actually, you'd probably be more likely to take him for an
intramural basketball player. And I'll bet he never gets an interview for
anything more than a sports minute in the Columbus Dispatch or WOSU AM
The point is it takes more than just being among the best in your
sport to get you fame. At my high school (and this makes me gag), more
people have heard of Anna Kournikova than Pete Sampras. Name a male pro?
Andre Agassi (name stands out is probably the only reason; most of them
couldn't pick him out of a crowd of two). I ask them why him and they
usually say something like "isn't he the best in the world or something?"
Well, he's had his turn there, but then how come they've never heard of
Pete Sampras? Duh.... Name a tennis tournament? They hesitate, and
usually someone finally thinks of Wimbledon. Name a college player?
Duh...... Ask them the same questions about basketball or football, and
most of them can talk all day, right down to their *** expressions,
height/weight, jersey number, recent trades, recent arrests, recent
There has to be something really distinctive about a tennis player
before he/she really starts garnering enough attention to be considered
famous. Distinctive about the players themselves as well as their games.
The Williams sisters are a prime example ... the Dennis Rodmans of the WTA
(I noticed someone on this ng calls them Medusa and Satana). Kournikova
stands out simply because she would anywhere; people don't care that she's
never won a major tournament. Agassi has a lot of charisma and camera
presence; he'd probably make a good actor, if he ever took an interest in
it. But the huge spectrum of personal foibles, both in appearance and
character, that are commonplace in the basketball/football world (and
probably in the soccer world worldwide, since that's the big thing outside
the US) are much more scarce in tennis. And it's not an innately
cinemagenic game. That's why the Williams sisters and Kournikova have
attracted fans and media attention so quickly, and may ultimately be good
for the game (especially the women's game) even if they never win major
tournaments (even though from all indications, Big Sister is on the right
track). People do want to see something GOOD, but even more important is
that it be INTERESTING. Why do you think the World Chess Championships
never get a packed house in Madison Square Garden? Everyone knows they're
good. Who cares?
TODAY'S WORDS OF WISDOM:
Don't judge a book by its's cover.