White Hat Sports Headlines

Monday, July 7, 2008

Dead? No, I Think It's Just A Flesh Wound.

Tennis. A sport most have considered dead in the U.S. due to a lack of great American players and a lack of good ratings.

I'm here to tell you that's not the case. Sure, tennis may be struggling right now, at least here. But that doesn't mean it's not still exciting; if you watched either Wimbledon final this weekend you would know that. Both matches were full of story lines, and both matches lived up to them. That's something you rarely see. Take the NBA finals for example. That series was hyped because of it's story lines and it's past, and it failed to be anywhere near the series people thought it would be.

First we had Venus Williams against her sister Serena Williams. For fans that only enjoy watching players from their own country this was a match made in heaven, as you rarely see two Americans in the same final in tennis. Plus you have the sibling rivalry...ok, well maybe they aren't rivals and live together, but still. It definitely brought the final to another level.

Then we had potentially the best tennis match in the history of the sport. It took defending Wimbledon champ Roger Federer and matched him up against the up and coming Rafael Nadal. It took the dominant force on grass courts that hadn't lost at Wimbledon for years and matched him up against a player that dominated him in their last matchup. And for almost five hours (the longest match in Wimbledon history) they battled, with Nadal squeaking away with the win in a 5th set tiebreak. There are no words to describe how amazing this match was.

I'll admit I'm biased. I played tennis in high school, and actually went out yesterday to play for about two hours during the men's final (during one of the rain delayed sections). But this weekend produced two unbelievable finals, and definitely lived up to the hype. Hopefully it will allow the sport to get more coverage, and by getting more coverage by default it gets more fans. That is one of the main reasons sports die; a lack of media coverage. If the media wants a sport to die, they stop covering it, and then the ratings go down. Now, obviously different media sources stop covering sports normally for good reason, but once the media stops covering your sport you'll have a tough time getting back. Just look at the NHL.

Tennis was on the ground in the U.S. It wasn't moving, we weren't sure it was still alive. But I'm checking for a pulse and I can feel one, ever so faint, beating steadily. And after this weekend I think it got just a little bit stronger.

~Aaron Jackson

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