How has the Fall of the Berlin Wall changed Tennis? [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

How has the Fall of the Berlin Wall changed Tennis?

Stensland
06-17-2008, 01:30 AM
ok, don't get me wrong - this is not supposed to be a thread about politics.

i was talking to an acquaintance of mine the other day about the rise of eastern europe concerning all kinds of sports, football (soccer), hockey, athletics and of course tennis as well. he mentioned something interesting that got me thinking: tennis itself has been a pretty "soft" sport until 1990. competitors were less in shape, the pace was slower and the overall game was just, let's call it, "nicer" (and i don't mean the mcenroe-like bad ass kind of nastiness; that's been just a show for the tennis snobs ever since anyways).

the big bang in 1990 let a bunch of fierce competitors out, bit by bit of course, that led to a complete upgrade within the game. sadly, that guy didn't really know much about tennis and was basically just judging from the bits and pieces he watches over the course of the years - but anyways, maybe this sort of "macro perception" makes even more sense to some extent than the opinion of guys who're following tennis all the time.

i'm not old enough to be able to judge but i do think there have been massive changes in the way players approch the game over the last 15 years. what do you guys say? what did and do the eastern european guys bring to the table that challenges the rest of the pack? is it just willpower or is there something else to it?

follow-up question: is there going to be another upgrade in the making once china seriously enters the competition?

rocketassist
06-17-2008, 01:44 AM
The only way the fall of the Berlin Wall changed tennis was that all German players represented GER, and not West/East.

DDrago2
06-17-2008, 02:08 AM
Punk's taking over the place, bro'

Lillith
06-17-2008, 02:46 AM
ok, don't get me wrong - this is not supposed to be a thread about politics.

i was talking to an acquaintance of mine the other day about the rise of eastern europe concerning all kinds of sports, football (soccer), hockey, athletics and of course tennis as well. he mentioned something interesting that got me thinking: tennis itself has been a pretty "soft" sport until 1990. competitors were less in shape, the pace was slower and the overall game was just, let's call it, "nicer" (and i don't mean the mcenroe-like bad ass kind of nastiness; that's been just a show for the tennis snobs ever since anyways).

the big bang in 1990 let a bunch of fierce competitors out, bit by bit of course, that led to a complete upgrade within the game. sadly, that guy didn't really know much about tennis and was basically just judging from the bits and pieces he watches over the course of the years - but anyways, maybe this sort of "macro perception" makes even more sense to some extent than the opinion of guys who're following tennis all the time.

i'm not old enough to be able to judge but i do think there have been massive changes in the way players approch the game over the last 15 years. what do you guys say? what did and do the eastern european guys bring to the table that challenges the rest of the pack? is it just willpower or is there something else to it?

follow-up question: is there going to be another upgrade in the making once china seriously enters the competition?


The natural evolution of the sport probably had more to do with the increasing pace and power of the game, as well as improvements in equipment technologies. The freedom of more Eastern Europeans to play the sport has certianly given us a wider pool of talent from the pros come (just as the interest of Asians will in the future), but I don't think their presence alone has shifted the game in any significant way. Positive or negative, by the way.

I think the increasing prize money, the uber competitiveness of all pro sports worldwide and technologies being applied to racquets, strings, and even more awareness of nutrition and treating physical conditioning as a science have made things more fierce instead. Just my two cents.


On edit- The timing was probably just coincidental, since it seems that tennis started turning fiercer post 1990. But tennis probably really started evolving in the late 1980s when the wooden racquet was abandoned.

bjurra
06-17-2008, 08:48 AM
What you are referring to, is the fall of the iron curtain. The fall of the Berlin fall is just one (however important) part of that historic event.

shotgun
06-17-2008, 08:28 PM
Didn't change much considering that players like Lendl, Navratilova, Nastasie (sp?) and Mecir were around way before it happened.

The country that benefited the most from the fall of the Iron Curtain was undoubtfully Russia. Training facilities there were always poor, and Russian tennis was virtually inexistent until the late 1980s (except for Chesnokov). After 1989 young promising players like Safin (Spain), Andreev (Spain), Davydenko (Germany) and Tursunov (USA) were free to leave Russia in search of better conditions to develop their careers. Not to forget Kafelnikov who paved the way for this current generation.

kiwi10is
06-17-2008, 08:56 PM
The only way the fall of the Berlin Wall changed tennis was that all German players represented GER, and not West/East.
are there any East German players??? :scratch:

sanshisan
06-17-2008, 10:21 PM
It's an interesting question - particularly regarding the HUGE Russian/Slavic/Serbian influence on the WOMEN'S tour even more than the men. 6 Russian women in the top 10. 2 Serbs. If it weren't for the Williams sisters who are hanging on by their fingernails, there wouldn't be any American women in the top 10. And there are virtually no American women in sight coming up either. It's a ghost town out there on the tour for American women.

One thing really outstanding about Slavic women - they have brought SEX APPEAL back to the game. They have proven gorgeous dames can hit with the best. American women have so long been dominated by the `JOCKS', the Billie Jean Kings, the Navratilova's, etc. Now the top women are out there wearing jewlery and makeup and sexy tennis dresses and looking fantastic. No more like men in tennis dresses, (Mary Carillo eat your heart out!). Slavic women have brought feminine STYLE back into the game instead of looking like they shoot up with male hormones.

Of course that brings up the question - what happened to the West European women? Why can't they compete?

Aloimeh
06-17-2008, 10:44 PM
It's an interesting question - particularly regarding the HUGE Russian/Slavic/Serbian influence on the WOMEN'S tour even more than the men. 6 Russian women in the top 10. 2 Serbs. If it weren't for the Williams sisters who are hanging on by their fingernails, there wouldn't be any American women in the top 10. And there are virtually no American women in sight coming up either. It's a ghost town out there on the tour for American women.

One thing really outstanding about Slavic women - they have brought SEX APPEAL back to the game. They have proven gorgeous dames can hit with the best. American women have so long been dominated by the `JOCKS', the Billie Jean Kings, the Navratilova's, etc. Now the top women are out there wearing jewlery and makeup and sexy tennis dresses and looking fantastic. No more like men in tennis dresses, (Mary Carillo eat your heart out!). Slavic women have brought feminine STYLE back into the game instead of looking like they shoot up with male hormones.

Of course that brings up the question - what happened to the West European women? Why can't they compete?

Sorry, I love my Slavic beauties, but Navratilova is an ethnic Slav and she was one of the ugliest females ever on the court. Maybe it was just the lesbo thing, because she probably could have looked decent if she tried.

Aloimeh
06-17-2008, 10:51 PM
ok, don't get me wrong - this is not supposed to be a thread about politics.

i was talking to an acquaintance of mine the other day about the rise of eastern europe concerning all kinds of sports, football (soccer), hockey, athletics and of course tennis as well. he mentioned something interesting that got me thinking: tennis itself has been a pretty "soft" sport until 1990. competitors were less in shape, the pace was slower and the overall game was just, let's call it, "nicer" (and i don't mean the mcenroe-like bad ass kind of nastiness; that's been just a show for the tennis snobs ever since anyways).

the big bang in 1990 let a bunch of fierce competitors out, bit by bit of course, that led to a complete upgrade within the game. sadly, that guy didn't really know much about tennis and was basically just judging from the bits and pieces he watches over the course of the years - but anyways, maybe this sort of "macro perception" makes even more sense to some extent than the opinion of guys who're following tennis all the time.

i'm not old enough to be able to judge but i do think there have been massive changes in the way players approch the game over the last 15 years. what do you guys say? what did and do the eastern european guys bring to the table that challenges the rest of the pack? is it just willpower or is there something else to it?

follow-up question: is there going to be another upgrade in the making once china seriously enters the competition?

Eastern European players began reaching the top echelons well before the fall of the Iron Curtain, although it is true that they were rarely Russian. Some of them are actually remembered as legends of the game: Navratilova, Lendl, Seles, Nastase. Seles played primarily in the early 90s, of course, but she obviously trained in the 80s and perhaps even late 70s. We could include Ivanisevic here as well, who obviously trained many years before Communism fell.

As someone else pointed out, the big change has been the surplus of Russians at the moment, especially in women's tennis. In the past, it was the Czechs that "dominated" the Eastern European contribution, but now it's the Russians and to a lesser degree the Serbs. Many now think that the Poles and Romanians will be next.

DrJules
06-17-2008, 11:28 PM
Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles and Ivan Lendl would never have become US nationals if the wall had fallen 15 years earlier.

sanshisan
06-17-2008, 11:31 PM
Sorry, I love my Slavic beauties, but Navratilova is an ethnic Slav and she was one of the ugliest females ever on the court. Maybe it was just the lesbo thing, because she probably could have looked decent if she tried.

Navratilova defected in 1975 and took US citizenship. She won her first slam in 1978. Navratilova's many years of tennis dominance AND INFLUENCE were played as an American.

And yes it was the LESBO thing. Mauresmo eat your heart out - you are passe'!

DrJules
06-17-2008, 11:33 PM
Navratilova defected in 1975 and took US citizenship. She won her first slam in 1978. Navratilova's many years of tennis dominance AND INFLUENCE were played as an American.

And yes it was the LESBO thing. Mauresmo eat your heart out - you are passe'!

Yes. A consequence of the Iron Curtain symbolized by the Berlin Wall. She would still have dominated if she had not defected.

sanshisan
06-17-2008, 11:39 PM
Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles and Ivan Lendl would never have become US nationals if the wall had fallen 15 years earlier.

Monica Seles originally from Belgrade, became a US citizen for one simple reason - she was STABBED in the back in 1993 during a tournament in Germany. Yugoslavia was in the middle of a civil war and the Serbs were being dennounced worldwide as genocidal maniacs who should be `humanitarianly' bombed and `denazified'. It was said that the real reason Monica was stabbed was because `she refused to dennounce the Serbs'. She left and went to the US where she felt safe. Monica never did dennounce the Serbs and she never played in Germany again. Of course this stabbing allowed the GERMAN Steffi Graf the #1 slot for several years. A real travesty.

Sports IS political - Hitler proved that in the 1936 Olympics.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/30/newsid_2499000/2499161.stm

sanshisan
06-17-2008, 11:40 PM
Yes. A consequence of the Iron Curtain symbolized by the Berlin Wall. She would still have dominated if she had not defected.

Maybe Navratilova would not have become a Lesbo if she had not immigrated to the US at age 18. At that time the Lesbos were a major influence in tennis - via Billie Jean King and her proteges.

Aloimeh
06-18-2008, 12:33 AM
Monica Seles originally from Belgrade, became a US citizen for one simple reason - she was STABBED in the back in 1993 during a tournament in Germany. Yugoslavia was in the middle of a civil war and the Serbs were being dennounced worldwide as genocidal maniacs who should be `humanitarianly' bombed and `denazified'. It was said that the real reason Monica was stabbed was because `she refused to dennounce the Serbs'. She left and went to the US where she felt safe. Monica never did dennounce the Serbs and she never played in Germany again. Of course this stabbing allowed the GERMAN Steffi Graf the #1 slot for several years. A real travesty.

Sports IS political - Hitler proved that in the 1936 Olympics.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/april/30/newsid_2499000/2499161.stm

Not entirely accurate. I have no doubt that Monica's Eastern European origins and her grunt (adding to that the war situation) made it easier to hate her as a nemesis of Graf. Had she been a svelte Frenchwoman who didn't grunt she'd be easier to swallow.

The leniency of the German court no doubt in my mind was connected to 1.) the political situation, 2.) not wanting to tarnish Steffi's image further, 3.) wanting to send a message that the stabbing was "not such a big deal."

As for Monica's identity, she was clearly a Hungarian and even wore a shirt with mini Hungarian flags on it at the French 1992 open. I don't think she particularly identified with Serbs, but nor do I think she hated them. He extended family was still living in Serbia, so one could attribute her relative political neutrality to worries over their safety. On the other hand, she wasn't of Ivanisevic's ilk and didn't accept Croat citizenship (how pathetic! What did she have to do with Croatia? She was a Magyar from Serbia!) when it was offered to her. I understand her decision to become a US citizen (afterall, she had lived much of her life here and trained at Bolletieri's academy), and even after becoming one, she didn't venture too much into US politics, Yugoslav politics, or politics in general.

Jimnik
06-18-2008, 01:45 AM
Would have been interesting if Kafelnikov and Safin would have played with different nationality. But clearly the Eastern Block were already producing players before the wall came down.