BBC Article: Wimbledon divides opinion [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

BBC Article: Wimbledon divides opinion

PerezRoldan
06-13-2004, 09:28 AM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/3050775.stm

Wimbledon divides opinion

Wimbledon officials argue that grass is unlike any other surface
The seeding system and the fast surface is not the only thing about Wimbledon that annoys some of the top tennis players.

It was Spaniard Manolo Santana who coined the phrase "grass is for cows" in the 1960s.

Since then, generations of players more used to playing on clay have made a point of criticising the surface, Wimbledon itself and anything else that gets on their nerves about England.

Whenever Czech Ivan Lendl, for example, turned up in England in June he repeated Santana's famous phrase, often complaining that he hated the softness under his feet.

But at least Lendl gave it his best, appearing 14 times and reaching the final twice.

Alberto Berasategui, by comparison, a Spaniard who reached seven in the world and the final of the French Open in 1994, never played there at all.

In 2001, then world number one Gustavo Kuerten got in on the act.

He felt there was not enough time between the French Open and Wimbledon for him to recover from a gruelling clay-court season.

However some felt his real reason was a reaction to Wimbledon's seedings policy.

Wimbledon officials argue that grass is unlike any other surface and that to seed, for example, Kuerten above Pete Sampras, which would have happened if the ATP system was followed, would be ridiculous.

Albert Costa and Alex Corretja have all previously refused to play for that reason.

Cynics might point to their poor records at the venue, none of them having ever got beyond the second round.

But it is not just the grass that winds up some people.

Andrei Medvedev made this blunt assessment of the All England Club:

"It's a snobbish English club with their own rules and their own traditions. People treat you bad there. There is practically no motivation to play Wimbledon," he moaned.

Agassi had no time for tradition during his wild years
The club issued a conciliatory statement, hoping that Medvedev would approve of new facilities, which he later did.

In 1999, Jim Courier was not happy when he was taken to hospital in a car when suffering from cramp and exhaustion.

He said the facilities were the worst at any Grand Slam. Pity he had retired by the time the new treatment rooms were opened in 2000.

Wimbledon is the last of the major tournaments to still insist that players wear predominantly white clothing.

The rule was one of the reasons Andre Agassi stayed away between 1988 and 1990, when he had a penchant for lurid fluorescent tennis gear.

Jimmy Connors, needless to say, never had much time for the traditions of Wimbledon and steered clear of a parade of former champions in 1977.

With some people, there is bound to have been an element of sour grapes.

Sampras, unsurprisingly, has a different view.

"I wouldn't change a single thing about it," he said.

Sidenote: A great Agassi mullet.

Vass
06-13-2004, 10:10 AM
I wonder what was the point of the article: the fact that it devides opinion?

PerezRoldan
06-13-2004, 10:14 AM
Well not everyone worships the whole Wimbledon tradition and their seeding system.

CarnivalCarnage
06-13-2004, 11:06 AM
I wonder what was the point of the article: the fact that it devides opinion?

No, I think it was about Albanian farmers.

*Ljubica*
06-13-2004, 11:35 AM
Thanks for the article PerezRoldan, and I have to say that although I'm English I agree totally with all the negative things that some of the players have said about it. It is certainly not a favourite tournament of mine.

PerezRoldan
06-13-2004, 11:45 AM
No, I think it was about Albanian farmers.

Albanian or Moldovan farmers? The thing is with Vass if it doesn't include Safin, then there is no point to it.

PerezRoldan
06-13-2004, 11:46 AM
Thanks for the article PerezRoldan, and I have to say that although I'm English I agree totally with all the negative things that some of the players have said about it. It is certainly not a favourite tournament of mine.

The seeding controversy and the other stuff as well didn't surprise me, good to see Medvedev state the obvious.

Action Jackson
06-13-2004, 12:40 PM
It wouldn't be a bad idea if they shortened the indoor or the hardcourt season, and if they extended the grasscourt season, then there would be more incentive to improve on grass.

Then again when people and the event bills itself as the Championships at the expense of the other Slams that shows a snobby and a condescending attitude towards them.

Personally I can't wait for Wimbledon to be over.

*Ljubica*
06-13-2004, 12:56 PM
It wouldn't be a bad idea if they shortened the indoor or the hardcourt season, and if they extended the grasscourt season, then there would be more incentive to improve on grass.

Then again when people and the event bills itself as the Championships at the expense of the other Slams that shows a snobby and a condescending attitude towards them.

Personally I can't wait for Wimbledon to be over.

As ever - I agree with you 100% GWH :) . So can you imagine how much worse it is to live in England and be surrounded by it all the time at this time of year? All my work colleagues, who know nothing abut tennis and think the tennis season is only 2 weeks long(!), are suddenly trying to be knowledgable and talk about Henman's chances of winning :devil: And they really can't understand why I travel to so many tournaments and probably won't even go near the "Championships". Luckily good old Euro 2004 has taken their attention quite a bit this year though - so

VAMOS DAVID (Beckham) :worship:

Alan
06-13-2004, 01:01 PM
Well not everyone worships the whole Wimbledon tradition and their seeding system.

i don't :)

*Ljubica*
06-13-2004, 01:02 PM
i don't :)

Nor me - bring back the red clay I say - and let the players wear anything but white!!!!

Action Jackson
06-13-2004, 01:09 PM
i don't :)

Good Alan that makes 4 of us, plus some others as well. It just reminds me of fuddy-duddys with great colonial moustaches, who are probably into fox hunting and some other stuff which I won't mention here, with their double-barelled chested names and their public school snobbery.

maratski
06-13-2004, 01:11 PM
Nor me - bring back the red clay I say - and let the players wear anything but white!!!!

I was too busy too enjoy the claycourt season and miss it already :sad:

*Ljubica*
06-13-2004, 01:11 PM
Good Alan that makes 4 of us, plus some others as well. It just reminds me of fuddy-duddys with great colonial moustaches, who are probably into fox hunting and some other stuff which I won't mention here, with their double-barelled chested names and their public school snobbery.

Of course it's even more worrying when the women have the colonial moustaches :)

Action Jackson
06-13-2004, 01:18 PM
I was too busy too enjoy the claycourt season and miss it already :sad:

I made time to enjoy the claycourt season, that's why I am needing to do the work now and get over and done with by next week.

Bring on Båstad and Kitzbhuel these are the best events coming up.

maratski
06-13-2004, 01:23 PM
I made time to enjoy the claycourt season, that's why I am needing to do the work now and get over and done with by next week.

Bring on Båstad and Kitzbhuel these are the best events coming up.

I took time to watch AO, otherwise I could have been free as a bird during RG. I did watch some nice matches so it's ok.

I might still get Stuttgart on tv when I'll be on vacation ;)

Action Jackson
06-13-2004, 01:31 PM
I took time to watch AO, otherwise I could have been free as a bird during RG. I did watch some nice matches so it's ok.

I might still get Stuttgart on tv when I'll be on vacation ;)

Stuttgart is not bad, but I prefer the other ones mainly because of past experiences plus I like Sweden and Austria much more than Germany, and it's not grass. :)

Action Jackson
06-13-2004, 03:04 PM
Of course it's even more worrying when the women have the colonial moustaches :)

Yes, when the women have the big mo's and those horrible plum voices, usch.

SanTaureau Fan
06-13-2004, 03:18 PM
Except the fact that I absolutely hate watching tennis on grass, I do like some of Wimbledon traditions.

First it's great that they are forced to wear decent, white clothes for 2 weeks. I'm not saying it should be like that all year, but it's one of the thing that makes Wimbledon special.

The ceremonies are also great. Unlike at the US Open when they insist on the money given and how NYC is the greatest city in the world, at Wimbledon it's all class and well done in general.

And I also like how center court is usually packed from day 1 to day 14. It changes from the US Open when there's 5 people on Ashe the first days.

star
06-13-2004, 04:09 PM
Good points ATAT. :)

I like the grass season perhaps not as much as the clay season, but Roland Garros is the climax to the clay season for me, and to see more matches on clay is anti-climatic. I like the way the seasons are grouped in tennis. I wouldn't like it if everything was on clay even though my top favorites are clay player. I like the anticipation of waiting for the clay season to begin. And now I like this interlude of grass and the traditions of Wimbledon before the blistering heat and rowdiness of the N.A. hardcourt season. It's all good. :)

Experimentee
06-13-2004, 05:20 PM
It wouldn't be a bad idea if they shortened the indoor or the hardcourt season, and if they extended the grasscourt season, then there would be more incentive to improve on grass.

Then again when people and the event bills itself as the Championships at the expense of the other Slams that shows a snobby and a condescending attitude towards them.

Personally I can't wait for Wimbledon to be over.

I agree that they should extend the grass season. I know there would be practical difficulties with that but it would be the fairest thing to do for the tour. It would give players more time to rest after the clay season and maybe then more of them would participate in grass tournaments.

Right now I think the Wimbledon special seeding system is fair, as grass court specialists dont have enough tournaments before Wimbledon to get their ranking up so they can be seeded, while clay players have a lot of tournaments to be ranked where they should be. But there would be no need for a special seeding if there were as many grass tournaments as there were clay.

MissPovaFan
06-13-2004, 05:28 PM
It would be very nice if Queens was somehow able to gain TMS status and I heard the ATP are looking into this - but it obviously is impossible unless Roland Garros or Wimbledon's dates are changed as you cant really have a TMS the day after the French Open Final.

tangerine_dream
06-13-2004, 07:00 PM
I like Wimbledon ok but it's a shame that players who don't do well there have to trash it. Can you imagine a fast-courter saying that clay is for play-dough? It's reeks of sour grapes.

But I wish they would abolish the all-white rule. I like looking at colors and tennis fashions and seeing a bit more individuality out there. :)

MissPovaFan
06-13-2004, 07:19 PM
I like Wimbledon ok but it's a shame that players who don't do well there have to trash it. Can you imagine a fast-courter saying that clay is for play-dough? It's reeks of sour grapes.

But I wish they would abolish the all-white rule. I like looking at colors and tennis fashions and seeing a bit more individuality out there. :)

I totally agree with all that - both points :D

Fee
06-14-2004, 02:42 AM
First off, can we stop with this 'clay season' BS. Look at the ATP calendar, there are clay tournaments 13 out of 22 weeks. It's always clay season, near as I can tell.

I love Wimbledon, it is my favorite tournament of the whole year and the one that I want most to see in person some day. Wimbledon was the first tennis I ever saw on television. I love the fact that the players have to wear white for two weeks because it looks so great within the surroundings (and I am just as glad that they don't have to do this anywhere else). I am also glad that the facilities have been improved so much in the past few years, but I know that the, shall we say, 'traditional types' at the All-England Club really do need to take a look at themselves and how they treat players.

Count me in with the people who want a longer grass season. Move RG up a week and Wimb back a week, make Halle a Masters (get rid of the Hamburg Masters), put an optional the week before (Rosmalen and Notts) and an optional the week after (Queen's Club and something new), maybe even throw Rhode Island in there. I think there are a lot of players in the top 50 or 60 that would be very interesting to watch on grass. Wouldn't hurt any of these guys to develop a 'good pair of hands' as they used to say about Johnny Mac.

In the interest of full disclosure, my mother was English and seeing Wimbledon on TV each summer is almost like a trip home, so nostalgia probably has a lot to do with my bias. I like all the Slams, for the things that make each one unique, I just like Wimbledon the most. (and calling it 'The Championships' is a very traditional holdover from when it was the championships, of England, back in the Victorian age I think. I'm sure it's not entirely plain old arrogance :lol: )

Ramble over. Thanks for listening.

YoursTruly
06-14-2004, 03:09 AM
I think since the grasscourt season is as short as the grass being played on, this might be the reason why some people dismiss Wimbledon like it's in the way or something similar to that. To some, Wimbledon is like THE grasscourt season! They might as well extend the grass season to give more opportunities, chances and for the season to become a more familiar setting.

LCeh
06-14-2004, 03:17 AM
Agree. I think the grass court season should be extended also. It's too short to be called a season right now. It would really give some grass court players some more time to gain points, instead of just either clay, or hardcourt. But seeing as there are so few grass courts, this will be very difficult. :(

alfonsojose
06-14-2004, 03:29 AM
Variety is the spice of the life. I like faster surfaces and agressive play but i'd never dismiss clay season, so i think it's unfair for clay specialist players to do so with grass. If they don't like grass courts, don't play the season and be respectful of those who like it. Every surface has its pleasures and that's one of the things i love more from the sport