Kelli DeMario

  • The 21st century feminization of men's tennis

    2009-02-16 11:01:41

    Many moons ago, an ancient Chinese proverb taught us a valuable lesson- a picture is worth a thousands words.

    After viewing a specific image snapped at the Australian Open in January, one thousand words- at least- swirled around in my head.  For anyone who might have missed it, this picture was taken at the conclusion of World No. 1 Rafael Nadal's semifinal battle with countryman and (then) World No. 15, Fernando Verdasco.

    The press long speculated that the two didn't get on well, going so far as to suggest some verbal bitch slapping had taken place between them at Queen's Club a few years back. Nadal and Verdasco are not friends. Really? Take a gander at the photographic love-in below and let me know if you agree with the tabloids.

    Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco The Australian Open marked the first major tournament of a young 2009, and the internet had been bombarded with countless similar examples of tennis players flaunting public displays of affection. A slew of incriminating pictures made the rounds- American Mardy Fish stroking Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis' newly shorn locks as they met at the net, the latest overblown mauling by the indiscriminate Novak Djokovic, who gave Bosnian-born American Amer Delic quite a bear hug after their third-round meeting, and an extended, face-touching embrace between Roger Federer and Marat Safin after the Swiss sent the Russian packing in the round of 32.

    Feeling overwhelmed by the crush of this seemingly endless ATP flesh trade, I decided to consult Tennis Talk's superstar scribe, Ms. Cheryl Murray, an expert on all things Federer/Nadal.

    CM: For his part, Nadal- one of the most blatant, serial offenders- has a habit of placing his hand on an opponent's mid-section during the time normally allotted for a cursory handshake. When exactly did mock belly-rubbing become the norm? Did Federer spontaneously morph into a poor man's Buddha at some point? Who knows. Maybe the Mighty Morphin' Buddha Man inspired him, because Federer has also spent a disturbing amount of time with his hands on Nadal's abdomen.  I mean, seriously now. This is how you end a brutal five hour match? By giving each other a rub down in front of thousands of people? There's just a point where gentlemanly behavior veers wildly into the bizarre. Call me crazy, but I don't think they need to feel each other up to be polite.  And people wonder why tennis is considered a sissy sport.

    Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer If you have some time to kill, steal a look at some of the shots photographers snagged of Nadal and Frenchman Gilles Simon during their quarterfinal run-in at the Aussie Open. They appeared to be giggling about something, walking arm-in-arm toward the chair umpire.

    Players competing in team sports may always hug at will, in celebration. The same cannot be said for their individual sports counterparts. For example, when Fernando Torres blasted the winning goal for Spain to seal their 2008 Euro Cup championship against Germany, his teammates went crazy. They screamed and yelled, carried on, and yes, they hugged. Their extreme emotional reactions, displayed in front of an international audience of millions, made perfect sense. Rafael Nadal on the other hand, needing to console a despondent Roger Federer at the Australian Open, did not. For the purposes of an individual sport, any garish swapping affection must be avoided, rather than encouraged.

    We have become a society of huggers.  We hug family and friends ad nauseum, we hug coworkers, acquaintances, strangers and everyone in between. We hug when we're happy, sad, intoxicated, partying, sexing, or for no reason at all.

    I am not suggesting a return to the boring, yawnfest of robotic dominance when Sampras was at the pinnacle of his career, don't get me wrong. A few minor adjustments in conduct would make a world of difference- an immediate cease and desist from excessive hugging, smooching, canoodling or patting below the waist will do nicely, thank you.

    In 2009, tennis has clearly fostered an atmosphere of faux-courtesy. Not a great idea for a company yet to crawl out of its seven-figure, financial K-hole. This type of sugary on-court pablum usually appeals to a narrow, gender-specific demographic of women. The average female, rarely able to fashion herself into proper fan (unless trained to comprehend the dynamic between professional sports as both entertainment and business), becomes nothing more than affable window dressing. Most women live life frugally to a fault, clutching their cash more tightly than Nadal's unmentionables cradle his most famous asset.

    Tennis needs the feverish support of the beer-swilling frat boys and aggro chav set. I know, I know- they're not my cup of tea either, please save your emails. Tennis needs to enlist the help of the demos that spend money- the failed athletes, the weekend warriors, the socially stunted, the bean counters and the henpecked husbands. At the close of a long work week, male sports fans pack stadiums and arenas, pubs and assorted local watering holes, intent on enjoying the thrill of competition, the heat of battle and the intense rivalries existing among opposing factions. They are the people the ATP suits need to chase down, court and woo away from other sports far more successful than tennis is right now. If marketed correctly, tennis can and will separate them from their money just as easily as professional football, basketball and baseball do in 2009.

    Growing up, I loved watching former top-gun Marcelo Rios snarl and sneer his way through the tour in the 1990's. I admired his talent, his dangerously and strategically placed ink and most importantly, his attitude. Rios never found himself in need or want of "friends." His opponents barely received a nod of acknowledgment from the surly Chilean, no matter the situation. Rios was comprehensively disliked by many who crossed paths with him, and he couldn't have cared less. Shame he's a bit too long in the tooth to mount a comeback- tennis could use a little more of his piss and vinegar, a little less of the current crop's sugar, spice and everything far-too-nice.

    Marcelo Rios I wonder what old-timers like John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl think about young players showcasing buckets of warm fuzzies for all the world to see. Unless I'm mistaken, none of them hugged, kissed or caressed at net after a hard-fought match was won or lost. Battle-weary warriors of their generation knew how to behave, expertly crafting the drama that kept tennis fans entertained for seasons on end. They knew how to deftly close a show with a dirty look, a terse handshake and a healthy dose of seething contempt.

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OMG!!! If some of these guys turn out to be gay it's going to be very disappointing. I've gotten used to the masculine-looking lesbians like Mauresmo on the WTA but I don't know how I'd feel about the men. Maybe that's why Nadal and Murray don't want the drug-testers after them on a daily basis. Maybe that's what they're hiding. If any of the are, I hope they keep that in the closet. I'd seriously rather not know.

chr18 , 2/16/09 1:41 PM

Kelli stirring up trouble again :D

JohnnyM , 2/16/09 2:51 PM

Hysterical. thank you.

tracytrace , 2/16/09 3:31 PM

I hate to tell you, Kelli, but the beer-swilling frat boy or weekend warrior as the financial base of tennis is a total fantasy. Ticket prices and the nature of the sport mean that tennis has to appeal to a broader range of people -- women and men, players and non-players, hairy-chested men and metrosexuals -- from around the world. In most cultures, affection between men is nothing to be ashamed of. Actually, after 4 hours of grueling competition, it seems appropriate to me (but, then, I'm a woman). Also, holding it in and being macho is bad for your physical health; having friends and being affectionate is healthier. So, to avoid a heart attack at 50 (especially you guys) the next time your opponent beats your, uh, socks off, give him a big hug at the net.

adin8 , 2/16/09 3:55 PM

some of you need to grow up and get yourselves anger management help. this is a blog that is for you to comment on and state your opinions - not indulge in name calling (of the writer or each other) as if this is the gaza strip!!!

jean , 2/16/09 3:58 PM

Kell *scratching the top of the head* I don't know what to do with this....
Personally I don't mind either way. But I should start worry only when I'll see Nole and Roger mating at the net or Soderling rubbing Nadal's belly. Without a knife, that is...

acionescu , 2/16/09 5:09 PM

It would be interesting to see a tennis version of Dennis Rodman on the court these days.

milivice , 2/16/09 5:17 PM

Hi there A- thank you for stopping by to read. Lots of people agree with you, all affection is good affection. I hope to never see the day of any display of tenderness between Nadal and the Sod, thank you.

I grew up watching the juiced up clowns bash each other in the ring with chairs, barbed wire bats and assorted power tools. I guess you can take the girl out of the circus, but you can't take the circus out of the girl. ;)

Kelli , 2/16/09 5:20 PM

ain't about to happen ever in case you didin't know. all the sports you said are beating tennis by huge numbers of fans soccer, football, baseball, hockey even. guys think its a sissy sport for a reason now more than they did before considering punks like cheaterbitch.

trixxyfest , 2/16/09 5:53 PM

I think it's pretty clear that this entry is not about having a problem with men showing commiseration/celebreation/affection with each other physically, but more with opponents doing so. We'd all be scratching our heads if Torres had scored the game-winning goal and grabbed Ballack in celebration.

cherylmurray , 2/16/09 6:45 PM

I love it when players express their emotions and feelings on the court. It made my flesh creep when I saw that hug between Rafa and Verdasco, after five hours of great tennis. That?s what makes tennis so beautiful and yeah some people are saying tennis is a sissy sport, but we all know it isn?t. I mean, do you really believe Nadal has a love affaire with Verdasco or Simon? That?s ridiculous makes me laugh.

Dema753 , 2/16/09 6:49 PM

I think embraces after epic matches are both appropriate and good to see. Nadal and Verdasco is just one example.

Djokovic bear-hugging people after beating them 6-0, 6-2, 6-3 is uncalled for.... Although his soccer-style shirt exchange with Stoppini was pretty cool.

RickyDimon , 2/16/09 6:58 PM

I'd rather see opponents respect each other and show affection after a match than see a bunch of macho, Alpha-male type of behaviors. Also, the fact that cultural differences play a part in how men show affection to each other is being totally missed here.

Let the macho sports have their frat boys. I want tennis to be what it is, and I hope that means it has players who reflect the notion that it's OK to show affection and respect for an opponent, even after a tough match. They're just people doing their jobs within the realm of sports/entertainment; they're not soldiers fighting in a war zone against each other. There's no reason they shouldn't hug. Many of them are friends, or at least respected acquaintances. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't punch my friend in the face (exaggerating, or growl at her (not exaggerating) after she beats me in a grueling tennis match.

Oh, and one more thing. What's with American football players, basketball players, baseball players and the like smacking each other on the bums during games? I've always thought this behavior a bit strange considering the setting. Anyone care to comment about it? Since we're discussing showing affection in sport and all.

tennisgirl , 2/16/09 7:26 PM

i'm not surprised coming from this clown. get a clue it's not good to see or appropriate after any kinda match. cheaterbitches scene with stoppini was a joke and any dude who likes it no doubt has some indentity problems.

trixxyfest , 2/16/09 7:30 PM

You shouldn't worry if not everybody appreciates some shades and subleties of humor. Reading is not a massive hobby, nowadays.
For instance, I wonder how many tennis fans have books by G. K. Chesterton in their shelves...
(Please, believe me!, this is not a personal criticism of anybody here. Just casual speculation.)

firstwanderer , 2/16/09 8:02 PM

Oscar Wilde, George Orwell, Allen Ginsberg, Dorothy Parker, Jamse Joyce among others. So, do I qualify?

milivice , 2/16/09 9:24 PM

omg ur so unromantic!!! to me like any guy who shows a soft & sensitive side embracing or whatever is good. :D women like it & no offense but i am a loyal fan for this sport & a bunch of others k thx.

DejaBlue , 2/16/09 9:55 PM

Kelli, sorry for misunderstanding, but Rodman is my idea of fun & charismatic & not so politically correct athlete. All affection is good affection, as you said.
I did enjoy your blog. :D

Dandy or not, typing error stays.

milivice , 2/16/09 10:23 PM

"I think it's pretty clear that this entry is not about having a problem with men showing commiseration/celebreation/affection with each other physically"

Um, yes, Cheryl - yes, it is. Because this is what Kelli said:

"We have become a society of huggers, and I don't like it."

Last I looked, European footballers rolled around on the ground in each others' arms lots more than the tennis boys. (Except, perhaps, for Davis Cup. :D) And you all don't seem to have a lot of trouble getting the "aggro chavs", as you put it -- gee, not a patronizing phrase at all -- to those games.

Also, if you don't think tennis fans can be "aggro", you haven't seen some of the arguments on other boards. Shame especially on you for missing that detail, Ms. Cheryl, apparent/alleged expert on "all things Nadal-Federer". *smirk* Some of those guys fight like rabid dogs.

Also, I don't know if either of you have noticed, but the domestic abuse incident statistics are much higher post-Super Bowl and World Cup than for, say, Wimbledon.

But what do I know? I'm just a U.S. Open-season-ticket-holding, tennis-watching girl.
*rolls eyes*

mara2 , 2/16/09 10:26 PM

i don't like sissy behavior anywhere so the part about the european trash football players isn't good either. no guy has any reason to hug another guy no matter what's going on period end. i do agree with the part about women being basically no use though. football tennis doesn't matter, all they do is drool and chat. see the crap post from the chick above, case in point. worthless pointless point that goes nowhere until she talks about herself and whines. if it was up to me i'd have all women banned from sports, they don't have the guts or the brains to handle a man's game.

trixxyfest , 2/16/09 10:43 PM

that is a troll post & know it!! why would you ban women from sports & what does that have to do with any of the blog in the first place? trixxy i think you sometimes post stupid things because you have no friends. women who are fans of tennis or other types of sports can be more than one thing. you can like how people look and still have love for the game. :D

DejaBlue , 2/16/09 10:52 PM

We'd all be scratching our heads if Torres had scored the game-winning goal and grabbed Ballack in celebration.

Cheryl- Torres doesnt grab ballack after scoring, but dont you think they congratulate each other after the match? You have never seen footballers or basketballers hug each other after the match ended? Opponents do congratulate each other in other sports as well, sometimes formally sometimes more sincere- just like tennis.
PS: Im sorry my previous comment was considered offensive, it wasnt my intention

orion , 2/16/09 11:00 PM

dejaboohoo you are the fangirl the author talks about and you can't even see it heh! how much money do you and the other hens put into sports? none probably. do you and your hen friends buy tickets or gear or anything? none probably again. you are the type who sits around at work or school talking about how nice nadal's ass is, or how cute safin is. i stand by what i said before that women have no place in sport. figure skating and knitting maybe, but not combat sports so go drool on your nadal posters some more.

trixxyfest , 2/16/09 11:06 PM

Johnny- How can you say its right to its core? The core I understand is the sport is more feminine in 21st century, correct me if Im wrong. Tennis was always considered a feminine sport nothing changed in 21st century. Even if the whole top 10 was full of guys of rios kind it would still be called a feminine sport.

orion , 2/16/09 11:10 PM

go say that to rios face if you think anything he did was feminine. somebody like nastasie was feminine or connors or becker? your're on too much bunk shit dude, none of that is true. you gotta be a djokovic fan right? if you called that punk femminine i'd agree with you.

trixxyfest , 2/16/09 11:15 PM

Kelli, I liked this article in its premise, but the implementation here was a bit off.

For instance, when you include "beer-swilling frat boys and aggro chav set" along with that catchy title of yours, misinterpretation or tension is a possibility and your point may be missed.

This seems like more of an expository article with a bit of venting on the side as opposed to a persuasive piece.

Good stuff as always, Miss DeMario, molto buono fatto.

JohnnyM , 2/16/09 11:16 PM

i love how i get no answer to a serious question. :D:D

DejaBlue , 2/16/09 11:18 PM

boohoo how many comments you put in the gaudio thread that have nothing to do with his tennis? if i didn't answer your question right there, you are too dumb too live. put your ear up to the screen if you can't hear me. WOMEN HAVE NO PLACE IN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS.

trixxyfest , 2/16/09 11:23 PM

The reason tennis is considered feminine is because it isn't the rough contact sport Rugby or Football is. What the macho-wacks think is that you don't require physical strength to play this game. On the contrary, tennis is the sport with extensive use of all muscles in the body, and this game requires a lot of skill. All this; and the fact that it could be one of the toughest sports mentally, especially the singles game.

Having said this, I'm not a fan of embracing when the occasion doesn't call for it. Djokovic is excessive in this regard ( And yes, I am a fan of Novak) because I'm sure he barely knew Stoppini. A firm handshake with a word or two will easily suffice.

I never liked the embrace gesture, especially considering that most of the time, it isn't genuine. But I didn't realise how bad it was until I saw the photos above.

samprallica , 2/16/09 11:27 PM

why is this a woman thing now? you have no clue why & won't come up with any reason why you needed to say that in the first place. it doesn't matter how many comments i left in the other thread, i can leave 300 comments about what gato looks like & it doesn't take away the fact that i can love tennis as much as you can. women are not like less important or something, just because they like what a player looks like?!!!!!!

DejaBlue , 2/16/09 11:32 PM

trixxy my point was tennis was called a feminine sport even when rios was playing at his peak

orion , 2/16/09 11:37 PM

wussy crying federer and wussy quitter djerkovic are responsible for turning tennis in a sport for sissies. its rank because guys who played before were hardasses like the poster two posts up said. the sport is way more difficult to play than most people know, but when they have to look at wimps play it what else are they supposed to think? my gramma could beat the hell out of federer if the old bat remembers to take her heart pills.

trixxyfest , 2/16/09 11:38 PM

don't bother orion & i'm sure everybody understood your post.. :D you can't talk sense into trixxy if you have a good comment to share with people. trixxy is a hater in general. :D

DejaBlue , 2/16/09 11:45 PM

cant blame a guy for trying deja :p

orion , 2/16/09 11:49 PM

I dunno. I certainly don't think the following have helped promote tennis as a masculine sport:

1. The guy's are becoming looks conscious. So many players have gone public of their use of cosmetics and similar things.
2. Certain outfits worn over the years are just ridiculous. Hrbaty's US Open shirt in 2005/06 comes to mind.
3. The fabricated stuff. Federer's jacket/purse etc. I'm not saying its wrong, but in the eyes of anyone who remotely thinks macho, such things are utter bs.
4. The embraces. I can understand a brief embrace between rivals at the end of their last match, but what we are seeing is total strangers hugging, a gesture that cannot possibly be genuine. This is just a media stunt.

All this when the women are barely touching hands at the net.

samprallica , 2/16/09 11:51 PM

neither of you two clowns thinks that tennis has a bad rep with people who watch other sports? neither of you two clowns thinks that tennis is viewed as wimpy or weaker than other sports? neither of you two clowns thinks that most guys laugh their asses off that tennis players have to wear all white at wimby still? okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

trixxyfest , 2/16/09 11:52 PM

many peoples say tennis is sports for weakling people. this is big shame for athletes playing tennis.

hihihhi beutiful kitty kdm angelina sanchez miss you much. i have question answer for me pls. why you like short tennis player first liking gaudio then now liking shrimp rios. why kitty you not like company of normal size mens?

dirtysanchez , 2/17/09 12:00 AM

We don't have to agree with guys who say tennis is wimpy; they clearly do not know what it takes to play the game at the highest level. But I don't think we should encourage feminine activity within men's tennis either.

samprallica , 2/17/09 12:03 AM

lololol @ dirtysanchez post. gato and creepy rios aren't normal sized :D what the hell are you even talking @ this time? whatever trixxy wearing white is a dress code & the players have nothing to do with it. i have no idea what sampy means by 'encourage feminine activity' what does that even mean like no touching ever, hrbaty can't wear a cool shirt that's different? jesus people have no romance or creative bones in their whole body. :(:(

DejaBlue , 2/17/09 12:18 AM

Im going a little off-topic but Hrbaty's shirt really was the worst thing anybody ever wore willingly

orion , 2/17/09 12:49 AM

typical reponse from boohoo ..the shirt was disgusting and hrbaty looked gayer than the cabana boys in south beach. he got the slamming he deserved after having no brains to wear that piece of trash. i hope he burned it as much as tennis got burned that day.

trixxyfest , 2/17/09 12:54 AM

trixxyfest, you seem waaaaay overinvested in this topic. We're gonna sic Amelie and Shriekapova on you.

And plus - with a handle like "trixxyfest"?? I'm going to go out on a limb here and perhaps posit that the gentleman, in the immortal words of Shakespeare, perhaps ... maybe ... "doth protest too much" ??

mara2 , 2/17/09 1:17 AM

see there goes a chick thinking too much, she never has a point but she yaps and yaps and yaps. trixxy is slang for skank and fest mean a lot of them. keep amelie in france, she could beat me to a pulp and shriekapova ain't much to look at in the light of day.

trixxyfest , 2/17/09 1:21 AM

goodnight trixxy & don't forget to pray for some brains. :D i don't care what you or anyone else says, hrbaty's shirt was way cool & different & your bad you have no imagination. :D

DejaBlue , 2/17/09 2:17 AM

Everyone has a feminine and masculine side. Masculine sports like rugby has it's fans and feminine sports like ballet and ice-skating has it's fans. I think it's great that tennis is a balance of both feminine and masculine side of a human being. I think there should be an article of the masculinization of women's tennis too you know. Ever since Hingis is out, we have never seen a totally-feminine woman champion.

torres9 , 2/17/09 8:14 AM

I've read all the posts, but trixxy is real skunk, an isolated heretic, mentally disordered creature, who's against whole world, as a matter of fact, he's not interested in sport at all, just showing up over here to cure his illness, such an mental cripple, dangerous for his surroundings, so I'll never pay attention on that creature again, cause there is no sense, God forgive him and take care about him, most probably, he would like to be normal person as everyone else...
Novak say hello to you, bustard...

gordana , 2/17/09 9:28 AM

Interesting article, Kelli. To be fair Rafa and Roger get on pretty well, so hugging after a match seems quite appropriate to me. Agassi-Sampras were different because they were compatriots as well as rivals. Connors-McEnroe were a more extreme case obviously :)
Marat and Roger have known each other since they were juniors, so I don't see the problem with physical contact. Djokovic does like hugging his opponents doesn't he? I could understand it when he hugged Safin. They know each other quite well and, by his own admission, Novak considered Marat his idol growing up. But hugging complete strangers seems kind of weird to me. Maybe it's because I'm British :)
I thought Rios was talented but obnoxious (all that prize money couldn't buy you some manners, Marcelo?) Having said that, Marat said a few years ago that the ATP should "let players be themselves", and I agree. Whenever players express an opinion about something, they seem to get slated for it. Like Marat and his Wimbledon comments, heh heh. I liked the fact he later emphasised that he disliked Wimbledon, but liked British people.
trixxyfest - I do appreciate Safin's good looks (what woman doesn't?) but I also enjoy his style of tennis. I've never found Federer attractive, but love watching him play tennis. I was a Sampras fan for 10 years, and it wasn't because I fancied him. As for your comment "there goes a chick thinking too much", maybe your posts would benefit from a little thought sometimes.

tennisfan76 , 2/17/09 10:28 AM

If they are confident of their sexuality, there's no question even if they kiss after a game.
People can interpret what they see all they want... the players know themselves better. What matters is how they play in the court... it's what we're paying for.

agf25agf , 2/17/09 11:53 AM

What on earth? LOL. I leave for one week and I return from holiday to this. Very well dear, let's examine your latest offer. LOL.

Cheers to Cheryl, hello dear, I see you have a passage included. I do love your contributions about one Mr. Roger Federer, they are quite sharp. LOL.

I agree in earnest with most of what you have written here Kitty Angelina [sincere apologies, but I cannot stop the tickle of that one]. A midge too much contact between the opponents grows tiresome for me, admittedly so. As you know, I am not much of a support beam for young Novak, and his antics are not pleasing to me.

Dear, I completely disagree with the notion that the gentleman who play individually cannot express themselves as team gentleman are apt to do. I shall never draw a line between the two, what one sportsman does, another shall do in kind. The very second you places quasi invisible rules upon these men, more harm than good shall come.

It is beyond my grey why you are attracted to a grumpy little snipe such as Marcelo Rios. Certainly he did nothing to help promote [your main objective, per usual] the sport you adore? Granted, Pete Sampras turned rather dull in a hurry, but Rios.. dear, I request an explanation about that choice. LOL.

RocketQueen , 2/17/09 5:07 PM

Sampras turned dull in a hurry? Obviously you don't think much of the tennis he played.

By saying encouraging feminine activity, I don't mind the odd embrace, but doing it all the time is a bit too much for me to consider it genuine. And Hrbaty's outfit doesn't appeal to me, but I think there is a considerable difference in tastes here. Similar to the difference between a person who listens to metal and another who listens to boy bands (I can't think of a genre that is more gay).

samprallica , 2/17/09 5:56 PM

Pete Sampras was detrimental to tennis viewership, dear. The only reason he wasn't run out of town on a rail is because of one Mr. Andre Agassi. Without Andre, tennis would have died a quick and severe death. He was scarcely more than an unattractive, emotionally stunted, hirsute ball machine.

RocketQueen , 2/17/09 6:56 PM

Pete Sampras was detrimental to one unfortunate section of tennis viewership that includes you. Granted, Agassi's tennis was a joy to watch, but Sampras owned him time and time again.

To say that the media's portrayal of Sampras was just is be bordering on stupid. He wanted to win, put in the effort, and gave back to his fans under the radar. Agassi on the other hand, was about "Image is Everything". We live in a day and age where the media glorifies this concept, but Sampras couldn't care less. He had more game and substance than Agassi, and if people fail to see that, it's their loss.

samprallica , 2/17/09 7:43 PM

No dear, it was tennis' loss. Sampras did an equal amount of harm as he did good. He was talented, I grant, but nothing more than that. He made it quite clear he cared solely for self and not a jot for any viewer. His attire was boring, his press conferences were boring, and his tennis was boring.

I'd venture to say players like Sampras had an unknowing hand in slowing down the grass in London. Serving contests between the gentlemen made for poor viewership outside of the long standing ticket holders at Wimbledon.

RocketQueen , 2/17/09 7:51 PM

Oh give me a break. If you say Sampras cared solely for self, you're contradicting a lot of fans who have actually met and spoken to him. If you say this guy - who made running forehands, slam dunk smashes, and a generally relentless attacking style of tennis a regularity - boring, you are pitifully wrong. Tennis is not about attire and press conferences, you obviously have never worked hard at playing it.

If Sampras, Ivanisevic, Becker, Edberg, Krajicek and the likes had great serves and/or volleys, then it was because they honed their games to win tournaments like Wimbledon on the grass it originally was.

That you think Sampras was a boring player and personality is purely your perception, which doesn't agree with his fans. If we go on your bit of reasoning, then Edberg had a boring personality; Edberg, Becker, Lendl all had boring games and so on and so forth etc... Why haven't they been treated similarly by the media?

No, the issue is that Sampras was the first stoic, low key American champion. With a guy like Agassi around, Americans and the general media couldn't deal with it.

samprallica , 2/17/09 8:04 PM

He was talented, I grant, but nothing more than that.

RocketQueen- then how come a lot of kids accepted him as their idol and loved this sport because of him? I think the big percentage of top players today, ranging from a broad age group from federer to del potro, speaks for itself of how much he contributed to tennis.

orion , 2/17/09 8:13 PM

Excellent point Orion. I can personally relate to what you said.

Del Potro and Djokovic have publicly stated he was their idol. Federer stated after the US Open 05 that he never looked up to Agassi, rather to Sampras, Becker and Edberg. The vast majority of the non- American junior tennis players I have met idolise Sampras, not Agassi.

samprallica , 2/17/09 8:28 PM

Sampras benefited from the cast off approval of Andre Agassi, he was not a favourite of children. Unless you have spoken to Juan directly as many in our circle have, you are unclear about his concept of sound bites. He is a very genial young man with a special sense of humour.

You must realize your experience is different. Some of us have been in direct contact and know a great deal more than the average, casual fan who never ventured beyond a stadium seat.

You are among the masses, and I don't intend that as an insult, but your scope is limited unless you know certain people on a personal level. We are traveling in entirely different circles, so I can't really discuss the matter further with you. Perhaps a debate amongst the like minded would be best in your case, dear.

RocketQueen , 2/17/09 8:44 PM

I dunno. I've met Sampras more than once by virtue of being in a section of his fans, and he never seemed boring to me as a person.

Just because you know Juan Martin doesn't mean we shouldn't know other players, better yet play against them.

samprallica , 2/17/09 8:58 PM

The fact that most of us are commenting on pages in this site shows that we are more than the average fan. What you need to realise is that by making statements such as yours, based on pure perception, you are showing us what you and your like minded bunch of friends are.

samprallica , 2/17/09 9:08 PM

Welcome back RQ, you were missed more than you know. :)

Hmmm....I'll just stick to the questions you asked. Btw, I am ignoring your lame attempt to be funny...I have received some emails about that one.

I stand by what I said about individual sports. It looks bizarre when opponents engage in over-extended love-ins at the net. There is a line between good sportsmanship and uncomfortable, odd behavior.

Djokovic isn't the sole culprit either- although the shirt exchange with the world-famous Stoppini was just ridiculous. Nadal does it constantly, Federer less so. After a long match, I understand a quick hug/pat on the shoulder, but many players have crossed way over the line.

As for Rios- okay, okay I will admit to a slight bias- think about it for a second. Rios is the stereotypical bad-boy type. Brooding, slightly rude and full of ink. We go way back, you and I- I'm not drawing a road map for you. Considering...;)

I hope you survive the match later tonight. Make sure you get some sleep before it starts. I don't want to hear any malarkey about it if it doesn't go well.

Kelli , 2/17/09 10:10 PM

Well I suppose that's me told, isn't it? LOL. Very well dear, we shall agree to disagree.

Oh certainly, you have a SLIGHT bias with regard to Rios. Your inexplicably SLIGHT bias wouldn't have anything to do with how his behaviour towards you veered SLIGHTLY off usual course? Aye, silly me.

None of us right well expects Gaston to win this evening, he may very well not see the match to its completion. Cheers dear, I will be right as rain.

RocketQueen , 2/17/09 10:24 PM

gordana called me a skunk haha typical response from djerkovic fanboi.

trixxyfest , 2/17/09 11:22 PM

At one point, Mr.Fed was called boring by the US media because he was too perfect. Now they say Nadal is boring because he never talk much in press and never gives controversial comments to other players. Sampras was also labelled boring because he does less media works and doesn't show emotion during tennis matches. Bjorn Borg was also 'boring' because he is ice-cool during matches.

I guess all leading men in tennis got labelled 'boring' at some point in their career. maybe people got sick of them winning too much. But Andre is definitely the most colourful character ever to grace the tennis courts.

torres9 , 2/18/09 6:09 AM

Jeez, guys, please give it a rest, i mean, tennis is a fantastic sport..nobody here is competing for oscars. these players are not hollywood actors, they are professional players, they need to concentrate only on the game and how to win it. if u r really interested in the game, u will not worry about their press conferences or their dresses or how they show public affection. i think all the guys on this blog just want some lame topic to debate but not the actual game. if u really want to discuss something why not something related to the 'actual' sport. personally, i think that there is nothing wrong in showing a little appreciation to ur opponent (as long as it is not just a show off like djokovic did). most of these players show genuine respect towards their opponents which i consider very mature.

tennisfanatic , 2/18/09 8:55 AM

samprallica - i wudnt bother with rocket queen. she obviously thinks she is too cool, (and yet still comments constantly on this site) for us of the ' masses'. You are not the only one insulted by that rather patronising comment. The funny thing is, she has absolutely no idea the experiances some of us 'average fans' may have had with some of the players, and I guarentee some of them were far more exciting than she will ever have ;)

btw - juan, genial? don't make me laugh!!!

kaitepai , 2/18/09 2:20 PM

kaitepai, thanks for that. I'm sure many of us have had great experiences; in any case, that comment was a rebuke to most of us.

torres you have a good point, but eventually Sampras, Federer, and Nadal would have won more then Agassi did. Their commitment to this sport is greater than all the colour Agassi brought in during the early stages of his career. I'm not putting down Agassi in any way, he was one of my favourites during the 90s, but people should value the right things in tennis. This sport is not about the money and the media.

samprallica , 2/18/09 10:28 PM

As it should have been, dear. If you took offence to the comment, it's because there is a substantial grain of truth to it. My purpose was to draw a line between our worlds, not as a rebuke, but as a statement of fact.

There is no shame in being average, some individuals are destined to set the other side of the curve. Fans are fans kept at a distance but there is nothing preventing you from rejoicing and reveling in that.

You have never been in the company of Juan dear, your comment proves that. Either you annoyed him or made a nuisance of yourself somehow, and he rebuffed you, because he fits the moniker I gave him to the letter.

RocketQueen , 2/18/09 11:42 PM

Oh, my. No wonder why athletes have such big egos; look at what happens to people that are in their company. Shows how wonderful she is by addressing masses directly. I believe nobody can have a better opinion than another person about being boring; as two people can be around the same person for the same amount of time and come to different conclusions about how boring the person is which would make it irrelevant of how much time you spend with sampras. What I think is useless ofc as Im one of the average plebs.

orion , 2/19/09 12:54 AM


I have no idea about JDMP, but I'm open to a lesson if anyone wants to educate me. Sampras is another story. :)

Here is something I do know- when in doubt, consult Meriam-Webster:

Satire- biting wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose vice or folly; (also) a literary work having these qualities.

Kelli , 2/19/09 2:15 AM

Rather ridiculous needing to spoon feed those with fewer functioning grey cells, no? LOL. Hysterical and lovely both, dear. Some here are incredibly tiresome, although I realize they are challenged to ever change their station in life. My earnest apologies, but I can't relate.

Dear, Juan is a lovely person. I shall send over a chapter and one half to cover the Happy Gams and my tete-a-tete with him.

RocketQueen , 2/19/09 2:36 AM

Cheers, dear. Be well rested and brave this Friday, I shall see you four days from now.

RocketQueen , 2/19/09 2:41 AM

tete-a-tete? Did you seriously use that in a sentence? Who uses that in every day conversation? You must've wrote put in "conversation" in MS Word and brought up the dictionary to see synonyms for it. No one uses that in a sentence and actually knows what it means.

You are not better than us just because you have had a conversation with Juan. And you couldn't be more wrong about me being in the company of him- I assure you I have, and I imagine I know far far more about him than you could possibly dream.
Despite this, I do not think I am any better than anyone posting here. And I am not foolish enough to think he is genial, or, oh my god, well mannered. This doesn't mean I don't like him, I'm just not blinded by his fame.

kaitepai , 2/19/09 9:14 AM

People are posting comments to "change their station in life". What a full life one must have to put such importance to knowledge about tennis . Maybe she is just being sarcastic like kelli said; Im not really good at spotting sarcasm :|

orion , 2/19/09 4:19 PM

Fewer grey cells? The fact that you post such comments that make you look like an egohog shows the state of your brains.

samprallica , 2/19/09 9:23 PM

What happened to my post?! I like to see hugs between the players - only however if they have played a slugfest of a match which has seen guts laid on the floor to win. Verdasco and Rafa are friends, and Rafa knew how much Nando had invested in the match. So in my view its ok. As for Andreev and Tursunov [?] kissing - surely a camera angle. I mean it looks like it was meant to be a peck on the cheek which got dangerously close to the lips. However tennis is not a contact sport but I do think it depends very much on the protagonists how much emotion is showed. I mean, I never see Roddick displaying that much emotion after a match! The European men defo show a lot more emotion. Very strange that the females generally do not. Some of them kiss on the cheeks and that's it. Mind you they probably leave so much emotion on court during the match there's not much left for the finish. Remember that in the 80s & 90s there were a lot more American men in the finals. I generally don't find it a bother. Part of the game - better than gritted words and threats to get even!

manzi , 2/23/09 10:36 AM

Does Rafa do that stomach stuff when he loses. I almost think it's a bit of a winner's thing, body language putting someone else in their place. All I know, if I lose a match, the last thing I want is a hug! I feel it's patronising.

deuce , 2/23/09 7:19 PM

So far I was able to notice only Fed's and Rafa's darling embraces at the end of their 'historical' matches. The photos of the two are always very 'worm' : ))

yet, somehow, Djokovic seems to be the gays favourite?!

danijela , 2/24/09 5:42 PM

Lol, is he really?

samprallica , 2/24/09 9:37 PM

hi kelly
actually I was shocked with what I saw now
the pic of tursanoov and andreeve
but I went on reading about it , and they said , its coomon behaviour in russia. I felt relieved actually . I can not imagine anything else about them :)

Noody , 3/6/09 6:34 AM

I love the affection they show each other at the end of a match. Whilst Nadal was very happy to win, he genuinely felt sorry for Verdasco who played a great match and deserved to win as well.

Men should be able to show their feelings, and in many cultures they are able to do so. It shouldn't be the preserve of women to hug etc. In fact the women in tennis hardly ever show any affection for each other after a match.

livingdoll , 3/16/09 11:20 AM

deuce, you bring up a really interesting point.

I've been a fan of Rafa's for awhile, and I've noticed the more he wins, the more he does it. (The tummy thing, I mean.)
That said, I've been a Roger fan for a long time, too, and I've noticed he *always* did it -- whenever he won.

I agree with you that it's some sort of "winner's body language" thing.
It's frequently accompanied by the winner's arm sitting *over* the opponent's arm with the other player's underneath; a kind of dominance thing (although some will of course say we overanalyze).

(I also wonder if it's yet another layer Rafa adds to his burgeoning #1 aura -- maybe even picked up, consciously or unconsciously, from Roger? -- to go along with the sleeves, the shorter hair, the polo collars, the absence of piratas, but that's a segue into another discussion altogether.)

mara2 , 4/1/09 12:17 PM

I cant beleive how you guys are over-analysing this!!! So what is worng with a hug?!! These guys give out ther guts on the court and we love it!!! We ourselves get emotional when they play, epecially when our fav tennis player wins!! Tennis is physical, psychological and also a matter of fact sports on the whole is!!! When we care about something....this is how we react when we gain satisfaction from it! Its perfectly normal and there is certainly nothing gay or corny about it!!

Its just perfectly human......

I think what is really shocking is that most of us are not used to men showing affecting particularly in public and it makes us feel uneasy when they do.......its like when Federer cried......but these tennis palyers are not doing anything wrong......they are only being human, perfectly in touch with their inner selves and feel totaly confident about who they are!!!......and that is something we should be seeing a lot more of in the respect, affection through gamemanship. Afterall, that is the whole point of sports!!!

MonaLisa , 4/7/09 12:06 AM

New rumour in the tennis world is that Nadal is a bisexual. He is emotionally attracted to swashbuckling Spanish metrosexual driving a yellow Lamborghini but physically attracted to hot Serbian woman who likes playing golf.

torres9 , 4/7/09 7:03 AM

mara2: analyzing is fun!
MonaLisa: it's not quite so simple as giving each other a hug. How many of your friends do you give a stomach pat to? It's zero in my case.

deuce , 4/7/09 10:22 AM

Geez, are these guys gay or what:) The footballers have been at it for years, vitually engaging in coitus after scoring goals. You wouldn't get rugby players, real men, behaving that way:)

alex , 4/7/09 1:23 PM

The "after the conflict" male hug is worth a lengthy anthropological study. Boxers, UFC fighters, and other gladiators of fierce one-vs-one sports are also prone to hugging (or were you not aware of that?).
During the match the contender gives his all to crush, demolish and otherwise destroy the opponent. After the victory, the embrace is a mode of unspoken language to express the following sentiments:
"I was trying to reduce you to mince meat during the match, but it wasn't personal"
"Boy am I happy you turned out to be no match for me... you made me quite a bit richer today".
"You tried, but failed miserably, you are a loser, but I will still tolerate your presence, for a few seconds with this (now customary) hug"
"I'm totally exhausted... let me lean on you for a second"

And so on... It will remain a mystery which one of these is in the head of each contender, but I do agree with one thought: Rafa has been a bit of a disappointment to many who were hoping for an anti-Federer: A young, brash rebel like Andre in his youth, someone who defied not only the Master of finesse but the status-quo. They wanted him to be fierce in and out of the court, and he's turned out to be a true gentleman. That's what happens when we let reality-TV overflow into real life. We have come to believe that entertainment=conflict in and outside the arena. Time for a change.

grafight , 5/4/09 4:12 PM

grafight you right.... always after a tough battle we tend to hug the contrincant.. to show respect normally... i dont understand what's the deal.. i think the people dont watch any sports at all and dont see always man hug each other after matches in all the kind of sports.... in spanish we got one senternce or refran i dont know how would be in english, LO CORTES NO QUITA LO VALIENTE... the polite dont rest the brave.. ill wait till someone translate better this "refran"

omardenia , 5/5/09 4:55 AM

omardenia, I think a closer translation might be ... Being polite (or showing respect) doesn't take anything from our strength or braveness ...

and speaking of male contact ... Keli didn't you 'work' with the wrestlers?
I used to catch my grandmother up late at night (after midnight !) watching WWF(E?
). She said she liked to see the big strong bodies. Hmmm .
I guess in tennis we have to wait until the end of the match for the the players to
initiate contact. Too bad we can't oil them up and have them throw each other at the net.

smr , 5/5/09 3:26 PM

I did, still do sometimes. My grandmother did the same thing- how funny. :)

Kelli , 5/5/09 4:37 PM

You're missing the point, it's not the hugging but the nature of the hugging that's intriguing - the hug accompanied by that old stomach pat. Yes, I do watch a lot of sport and I just don't see it happening elsewhere.

deuce , 5/5/09 6:43 PM

It is wonderful to see the respect and the affection. The world needs more of it. You see this in American Football too.

Vitality , 5/6/09 1:18 PM

Torres9, 4/7/09 7.03 am

I rarely find anything you have to say funny but your last comment about Rafa was hilarious!! And I am a huge Rafanatic ! ! That was pretty funny.

Nam1 , 5/7/09 4:06 AM

Among a list of innumberable other things, I think it's ridiculous that you should hold double standards between football and tennis. Because in tennis, you play alone, you shouldn't hug your opponent as they are the enemy? Tennis is regarded as a sissy sport when its playing football that the players trip over imaginary boxes, roll around in apparent unspeakable agony, and thats after crying durin the national anthem... Tennis is a sissy sport? Its alright for football teammates to hug each other, but not for davis cup teams? A bit of a double standard I think, no? I could go on, but I'd be here all day.

Nilhenwen , 7/15/09 5:15 PM

A compelling argument, but I don't know if that's really what's necessary to attract the weekend frat boys. Ultimate fighting has become quite popular in the states recently, the epitome of the alpha male's desire for competition and blood. But even those fighters occasionally embrace each other after brutal matches.

ts38 , 4/22/10 9:31 PM

deuce: The "pat in the tummy" unique to tennis happens because the one delivering the pat would normally offer a pat in the back instead, but he happens to be holding a racket in the other hand, which means the pat in the back could turn into a racket to the back of the head. Basic safety.

grafight , 4/23/10 2:20 AM

Oh come on! Now people can't hug without being criticized or talked about like it's not normal! Let them do what they want once the game is over!

leila28 , 4/23/10 6:31 AM

oi princess this is rich bc of your bent for poofter porno! ain't all of your friends gay?

whatever mook said rafa's bi stfu!!!!!!!!! stupid cracks like that got no place on a board. take it someplace else fanboi wannahack.

trixxyfest , 4/23/10 8:37 AM

Kelli, you and Sandra Bullock should start a club together. You could call it:
"Women who find disgusting, violent, cheating, woman-beating men sexy".
Plus, if you think hugging is a "2009" thing, check out Agassi and Goran almost
20 years ago: 2&d=77BFBA49EF8789215ABF3343C02EA5482B86A91B1347F805CF0AC6FA62386CD037 ACE9E67F0E0ED4

grafight , 4/24/10 6:38 AM

sorry bad link, try this:

grafight , 4/24/10 6:43 AM

great article... of late i have read a lot of funny articles on cricket and football, but it is after a long time that i have read anything funny about tennis..
on a side note, since you like players like rios who are not the most courteous at end, i am sure your favourite has to be gonzales.. man , every fellow player hate him.. (but i'm a big fan of his, his game that is.. not his behaviour)
i have father brown with me.. :D
your name tells me you are my fellow sampras fan.. now to the main point.. you said that
"The reason tennis is considered feminine is because it isn't the rough contact sport Rugby or Football is."
IS THAT SO?? oh well then let me tell you about cricket.. it is the world's 2nd most popular sport with a following of around 3 billion.. it is a non-contact sport and slightest form of contact with malice intended is punished with fines.. however there is no sports fan who will say cricket is considered feminine.. actually it is called the gentleman's game.. so when you are saying tennis is considered feminine, i believe it your personal opinion.. i'm sure even sampras would disagree..

clayking , 4/24/10 8:37 AM

just finished reading trixxy's comments.. so what do we have here?? a new gomuzza?? certainly if she hangs around long, sparks are gonna fly.. n tt is gonna be interesting..
just so you know, the only reason i fell in love with tennis was SAMPRAS, SAMPRAS, SAMPRAS..

clayking , 4/24/10 8:55 AM

oops!! this is an article 1 year old!!! n i thought trixxy was a new tt fan.. there really were a lot of gomuuza types on tt..

clayking , 4/24/10 9:08 AM

clayking: trxxyfest has been on this site for yoinks, but posts intermittently. Actually I disagree I love his/her posts. Trixxy has astonishing punning skills, can be offensive yes but in a very funny way, completely opposite of GoMuzza ho was merely offensive. Wanted to ask you, how come you loved Sampras when your blog name is "clayking" and you love JCF's play now? Another opposite. Also, what's the main surface in India, think you said you were from there, sorry if I'm wrong.

deuce , 4/24/10 9:14 AM

no answer, i'm taking that as yes. you got no credibility if youre a poofter porn addict lady. i can see thru you like a pane o glass!!! :D :D :D

@grafight i say what i say to her outta love. she knows that, but won't change that she likes that scuzzbag type. porn & tattoos & bumpin uglies w the roster of wwe. you need a real man to put you in line, sister.

trixxyfest , 4/24/10 9:21 AM

yes i'm from India.. here the main courts are hard courts, though there are a good number of clay courts too..
well the 1st time i fell in love with tennis was in 1996 u.s. open final when sampras defeated an asian player (it was later i knew the guy was chang and that he was a chinese american).. well, at that time i was just about 5 years old and had no knowledge of tennis courts.. it was just that i loved the guy who won..
the 1st time i came to know about tennis courts was in 99 french open when agassi won in french open and also bhupati paes( world no.1 doubles players from India) won in doubles..there was a lot of coverage for tennis news and along with paes-bhupati's win, agassi winning on all types of courts was discussed too.. i asked my uncle what it was all about and he explained to me about tennis courts and also how sampras never won on clay.. so initially i disliked clay because i was of belief that some jealous people created clay courts to prevent sampras from winning (LOL).. but slowly i started liking clay.. and other than sampras all my favourite players from then on were clay specialists.. kuerten, moya, kafelnikov,ferrero (my current fav), nadal, corretja, ferrer, robredo, nalby and gonzo (ok both of them are good on hards too).. the only exceptions during all this time was safin, whom i liked well..

p.s. sorry if i bored you with a rather long story.. but often i have been asked this clayking sampras thing..

p.p.s. you may find it surprising that i have never played tennis my whole life, but still love the game the most, even more than cricket, which is a rage in India.. and only players i ever met were paes, bhupati, moya n srichapan.. (2005 chennai open).

clayking , 4/24/10 9:43 AM

clayking: wasn't boring at all, v. interesting, cheers. Never too late to pick up a raquet you know, but get some coaching so you can play half decently.

deuce , 4/24/10 1:40 PM

OMG...we got another gomuzza here... a big macho american guy... with nick: trixxy...
And you are speaking about european foobal players... trash players as he said...
Go back to your baseball!
...and another stupid american sports...nobody in the world even want to learn the rules.
...or better go back to school and learn to read and write... or that's also too feminine for you

zare , 4/24/10 6:41 PM


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