Australian Open: No tennis thunder down under: In comparison to the other three Grand Slams, the Australian Open is pretty pathetic.
posted by antwan to tennis at 06:18 AM - 24 comments
Time zone Issues: I know Iím going to sound like the stereotypical ďugly AmericanĒ, but in order for me to watch any of these matches live, I would have to stay up until the wee small hours of the morning. I love tennis, but Iím not pulling an all-nighter just so I can see whether David Nalbandian can make it to the Round of 16. Meh. Suck it, hater. That's what Tivo is for. And you don't "love" tennis if you're not interested in watching whomever make it to the Round of 16. Wanker. Pretty shoddily written article. Must have been a slow day at Sportingo.com, whatever the hell that is.
posted by psmealey at 06:25 AM on January 18
I'm with psmealey. For a tennis fan, this Boyce Adams character doesn't seem like much of a tennis fan. I might add, as a sportswriter, this Boyce Adams character doesn't seem like much of a sportswriter.
posted by The_Black_Hand at 06:47 AM on January 18
Amen, TBH. He's an idiot without an editor. No one particularly cares that Andre won his career slam on four different surfaces (that technically the Aussie Open is played on a different type of hard court than the US Open). What is significant is that he won all four tournaments. Similar to Connors winning the US Open on three different surfaces, this is is an interesting factoid to some, but largely seen more as a quirk of history than an actual achievement. Also, the US Open is not played on Har-Tru (though I think it was when it was played at Forest Hills). Har-Tru is synthetic (green) clay. The US Open is currently played on DecoTurf. This is a bit faster than the Rebound Ace surface used at the AO, and though DT slightly favors a guy with a huge serve like Roddick whereas RA plays more to Federer's all court game, it's not appreciably "a different surface". Lastly, no one I know in the sport calls Agassi "'Dre". He's largely know to friends and fans alike as "Andre". The Australian Open is a terrific event that has played host to some phenomenal matches over the years. Safin/Federer, Agassi/Sampras, etc. I will definitely be watching this year, and no, I don't care that I'm not watching it live.
posted by psmealey at 07:41 AM on January 18
Oy! I'd like to slap this billy right in the gob and gim him a tossa right over the Mulungagoolachuk! Bloody shameful ya Yank fairy-wanka! (The above may be more insulting to Australians than Americans. Mostly because I have no idea what I'm talking about.)
posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:29 AM on January 18
Curse the rest of the world and their crazy time zones! "There was no Aussie Open played in 1986. I know it was done because the championship was being moved back to its original January date, but, to my young mind, that still eroded almost all of its credibility." What a fool.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 08:45 AM on January 18
i think the guy makes a pretty good argument. i would think most people agree with him, unless you're a hardcore tennis fan and have tivo capabilities. Weedy McSmokey...nice one.
posted by antwan at 08:48 AM on January 18
I don't sleep much anyways, so this is a welcome change to the crappy cable movies and whatnot with which I normally nurse my insomnia. And you know, the tennis has been pretty solid. Mardy Fish has been a solid surprise, and you can see Serena getting her groove back from match to match, hell, from game to game. And James Blake, who I haven't seen play in a few months, seems to have made another leap forward. There are also people from other countries, but whatever. Yes, this character does come off as an ugly American, but not because he kvetches about time zones. The sporting landscape is always full, even when you think it's not. The tennis season is too long, true. But this is a major tournament. They only have four of these a year, and they're a big deal. I haven't heard anyone complaining about the "new" surface; everyone plays on the same one, so it's kind of moot. And just because Andre Agassi isn't there doesn't mean there isn't some compelling stories of genuinely interesting people in every corner of the bracket. (Americans, even!) All that, combined with the patronizing tone and the fifth-grade book report writing style, tells me that Boyce Adams is not the person from whom I would like to get my sporting news or opinion. And that is my comment on this article. (Also what psmealey said.)
posted by chicobangs at 08:50 AM on January 18
"i think the guy makes a pretty good argument. i would think most people agree with him, unless you're a hardcore tennis fan and have tivo capabilities." Or you're from somewhere other than BoyceAdamston and I hear that some people are. I was able to watch Andy Murray club Alberto Martin into submission the other day over my breakfast cereal. Play starts tonight at 7pm Eastern. I presume Boyce is allowed to stay up to at least midnight, meaning he can fit in a solid five hours of tennis. Ok, the men's final starts at 3.30am Eastern, but that's not too onerous is it? Once a year? There may even be an American in it. Also, he loves tennis, but for him it comes behind the NFL playoffs, College basketball, the NBA regular season and the NHL? Effectively, he's made a decision to not watch the tennis and now he's complaining about his own decision. Also what Chico said about the writing too. Boyce's other tennis article is funny. Not necessarily in the way Boyce thinks it is.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 09:30 AM on January 18
I am not a huge tennis fan, but I do watch tennis. I especially want to watch all the Majors. So, as a not huge tennis fan, I would prefer that the major tournaments come later in the season. Jumping right to a major tournament doesn't give me time to get really interested again. I don't get interested until the later rounds. I don't care about the time zone because tennis isn't one of those sports that is completely ruined if you know the outcome.
posted by bperk at 09:36 AM on January 18
I don't know what it is about some American sports fans that is so averse to staying up late (or getting up early) to watch sport. Has your country's service industry reached such a level of perfection in every other respect that you now expect everything on a plate, ready chopped - "hell, why not chew it coupla times for me too?" - the instant you sense that you might be getting hungry? I often wonder if something like the Masters would have nearly as much appeal for me if I wasn't watching it while it was dark outside (and usually cold and wet too), or if that Larry Mize holed chip in '87 would have made me leap out of my chair in surprise and despair if it had happened before midnight (as far as I was concerned). Sneaking downstairs with my dad having been quietly woken at 5 in the morning because I wanted to watch the cricket with him, or the Australian Open tennis, or begging him to let me stay up late because it was the Superbowl! Those were the things that made me fall in love with sport in the first place. In later years, I watched Britain win a curling gold in Salt Lake city (along with 6 million other British people) at a quarter past midnight. I set my alarm pretty much every day for the Sydney Olympics, and more than once for the Athens games. What is so important about the rest of your day that you can't sacrifice a few hours here and there in the middle of the night to watch some sport? What is so teribly inconvenient about the next Olympics being in China that you have to petition (successfully!) to have the schedule changed? Suck it up, America. There is a world beyond your borders and it's full of sport. If you want to watch it, get out of bed and turn the TV on. If you don't, shut up about it and go back to sleep (in every sense). Can we get music to play over our posts? I felt a bit West Wing towards the end there...
posted by JJ at 09:40 AM on January 18
Jumping right to a major tournament doesn't give me time to get really interested again. The last major ended during the second week of September. Is four months really "jumping into" the next one?
posted by psmealey at 09:47 AM on January 18
I can't see a single reason in that list that has anything to do with the tennis being played ... other than a quibble about the surface being used, which still ends up being twisted back to focus on the author's dislike for a particular American player. I second the author's own comment: ugly American indeed.
posted by Amateur at 09:50 AM on January 18
It's a big world, let's all live in it. I don't mind staying up or TIVOing to get my tennis fix. Besides the great tennis, it was worth it to hear sweet Miss Sharapova utter an obscenity at the umpire. Sounded funny coming from her.
posted by 1959Giants at 10:00 AM on January 18
The last major ended during the second week of September. Is four months really "jumping into" the next one? They haven't played much tennis in a while. There is a sprinkling of tennis in January before this major tournament. Then there isn't another major until about May. After that, they start coming quickly during the summer. That's more exciting. This one is so far removed from the rest that it seems to be missing something for this casual fan.
posted by bperk at 10:04 AM on January 18
This one is so far removed from the rest that it seems to be missing something That's the point for me. Other than the intense 4.5 month period between the Rome Masters (the warmup to Roland Garros) and the US Open, the tennis "season" kind of ebbs and flows. That's what I love about the Aussie Open. It's from out of nowhere. Nothing for months and then BOOM, high quality tennis, with all the top players, in a far-off land where it's 104 degrees while I'm freezing my nuts off in New England. There's something kind of exotic about it to me.
posted by psmealey at 10:45 AM on January 18
Has your country's service industry reached such a level of perfection in every other respect that you now expect everything on a plate, ready chopped - "hell, why not chew it coupla times for me too?" Yes. You should visit a McDonald's in the US nowadays. It's like Heaven on Earth. I guess the whole Late Nite issue comes down to preference. Personally, I know I love a sport when I adjust my own personal schedule (which I am averse to doing) in order to see a game. While I think MLB is stupid for making every World Series game start at like 9 EST, there was something special in 2004 about coming into work the days after ALCS games and seeing the other bleary-eyed Fellow Travelers. I knew I had gotten too into the EPL when I curtailed by New Year's revelry because the next day was my first chance to see Everton live. I do think the Internet has ruined the time-shifting of DVRs; if I don't see it live, I'm going to know what happened when I sit down to see it. Even if I jump through hoops to avoid finding out, it's not the same. In sum, we aren't in the business of ranking sporting event import in terms of geographic nearness to Sportingo.com authors.
posted by yerfatma at 11:21 AM on January 18
Jumping right to a major tournament doesn't give me time to get really interested again That's like people complaining that the Daytona 500 is too early in the NASCAR season.
posted by grum@work at 11:24 AM on January 18
Hmmm. that sort of piffle never bothers me. Mainly because I'm usually up in the middle of the night watching sport from Europe and Nth America anyway. I like Weedy's work, too. Just a couple of comments - the Aussie Open is promoted as "The Grand Slam of the Asia Pacific", which is a good marketing ploy given that more than half of humanity lives in this time zone, or close to it. Also the tounament is being moved to March from next year (I think) which will make the tennis season easier to schedule/manage for players, and perhaps make the weather in Melbourne more tolerable for those coming out of a northern winter. Non-Victorians will probably snicker at that last phrase.
posted by owlhouse at 05:29 PM on January 18
Any real tennis fan knows that coverage of said sport is so scarce and unpredictable that staying up late is well worth it. And if you can't stomach that, well, that's why TiVO (and those of us who are still old skool with our VCRs) was created. How many tennis fans bitched about that triple-OT basketball game a few nights ago? Each Slam is unique. Roland Garros is the endurance Slam. Wimbledon is the nostalgic-for-grass Slam. The US Open is the rowdy celeb-crammed Slam (with the "fairest" surface). The Australian is the "wacky" Slam. People come out of nowhere to score big results at this Slam more than at the others. Part of it is because of the surface (a real menace to the game if there ever was one), part of it is the heat (the only tournament in the world with a heat policy), part of it is because it's the third week of the season. This year, the play has been good, if not yet compelling, and the drama has been pretty high, between the five-setters and the heat. Darren Cahill is the best commentator since Jim Courier (now if only they'd dump Dicky Enberg...) It's been worth the lost hours of sleep to have the feeling of fandom come alive again.
posted by somethingotherthan at 07:38 PM on January 18
I haven't heard anyone complaining about the "new" surface; everyone plays on the same one, so it's kind of moot. Rebound Ace was a huge mistake. The rubberized surface not only reflects the heat back on the players fivefold (and anyone on court), but it's notorious for the foot and ankle injuries because of the "stickiness" of the court. Darren Cahill made a great point about it during last night's coverage. On what other court can you get blisters from the heat through a pair of tennis shoes and two pairs of socks?! That said, the tourney is quite progressive. The aforementioned heat policy, the way they dress all officials on court (from ballkids to the chair umpire), the sheer amount of ice they must go through is amazing. Rod Laver Arena and Vodafone Arena were the first courts of the Slams to have sliding roofs. And no matter the problems with the surface, Australia has committed to it fully: Cahill mentioned that all the state associations build their junior programs on Rebound Ace courts. The last major ended during the second week of September. Is four months really "jumping into" the next one? Well, the Masters Cup was in November. Not a Slam, but the next best thing (no matter what Miami thinks). Besides the great tennis, it was worth it to hear sweet Miss Sharapova utter an obscenity at the umpire. Sounded funny coming from her. It happens more than you know. Loved hearing the ESPN commentators sputter and backpedal when it happened, tho. he Aussie Open is promoted as "The Grand Slam of the Asia Pacific", which is a good marketing ploy given that more than half of humanity lives in this time zone, or close to it. It's a mutually good decision, for Australia and China. The next summer Olympics host has been pouring tons of money into the sport trying to develop their players; why wouldn't Australia want a piece of that pie? The tourney has also done more for the region as a whole, especially in the WC department. It's a great way to encompass the fastest-growing tennis market in the world.
posted by somethingotherthan at 07:50 PM on January 18
Can we get music to play over our posts? I felt a bit West Wing towards the end there... Is that what you felt? Suck it up, America. There is a world beyond your borders and it's full of sport. You mean like Canada? We know all about them and their crazy game they play on the ice with sticks. We like the fighting. [... goes back to sleep]
posted by smithnyiu at 11:26 AM on January 19
I don't know, I think the author made some good points with respect to the need to shorten the tennis season and the fact that it's a bit early in that season to have one of the major tournaments. I also didn't take the guy's (at least I assume it's a guy) tone to be ultra-serious. I thought a great deal of it was clearly meant to be tongue-in-cheek (come on, sensory deprivation chamber, trick question re: 1986 Australian Open question, and loss of credibility for the tournament's not being held that year, poking fun at Agassi fans and the G.O.A.T. argument, etc.) At least that's the way I read it, and if you read it that way it's actually just a light-hearted, fairly humorous piece. The author would probably laugh himself silly if he saw some of the responses it generated.
posted by oberyn at 07:30 PM on January 23
I hope our friend Boyce managed to stay awake long enough to watch possibly the most ridiculous set of tennis I've ever seen, in today's Federer-Roddick dismantling. I think Federer went from 4-4 in the first to 2-0 in the third without losing a game and Roddick managed just six points in the whole of the second set. 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 and there were moments where the BBC commentary team were just laughing in disbelief at some of the shots Federer was pulling out. After one particularly outrageous return, one of them said "Oh, just stop it Roger." Awesome stuff.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:40 AM on January 25
I hope he didn't. Mid-way through the 2nd set, I was hoping someone would shoot Roddick and put him out of his misery. That was just brutal. I give Roddick credit for being a stand-up guy in the press conference, though.
posted by oberyn at 01:34 PM on January 26
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