So probably the greatest thing in the world to me besides my family and friends is tennis. It's been that way ever since I started playing seriously as a teen more than 20 years ago. I mean, really, I can find absolutely no fault (pun not intended) with it. From going out to hit with a buddy, playing a USTA tournament or watching a Wimbledon final, there's almost nothing like it.
If I'm obsessed with it and hundreds of thousands of people around the world are, too, then why, why, WHY doesn't it get any respect in regard to mainstream coverage or appreciation for what's necessary to play, both from the amateur standpoint or at the professional level?
This is probably an example of "preaching to the choir" because if you're reading this blog, then you obviously care about tennis. I just felt the urge to post something here because today, a pretty decent bit of sports news happened--Caroline Wozniacki clinched the year-end number-one ranking. However, as of this posting, three of the main sports websites--ESPN.com, SI.com or Yahoo sports--don't have a mention of this on their front page. Granted, Wozniacki's not American, but that shouldn't matter: She's the best in the world as far as the rankings go, playing a singular sport.
And yet, on all three of those websites I mentioned, there is a story about the merging of two mixed martial arts leagues. Mixed martial arts is a bigger sport than professional tennis. Does that even begin to make sense to you?
I don't think this is strictly a U.S. problem, either: How many times have you seen stories about Stefan Edberg or Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal ranking behind skiers or handball players or footballers in popularity, despite the heights of worldwide success they've reached?
And in case you didn't know this about me, aside from blogging and being an all-around bon vivant, I've worked in journalism my entire professional career, and I just had an experience with a New York-based newspaper this summer where I was essentially told they didn't care about the U.S. Open. Can you imagine that? I had a similar experience in college, too, when the sports editor for the local paper spoke to one of my journalism classes. It's a longstanding problem.
I'm not expecting any answers to this issue; I guess I just had to vent. Like I said, I think tennis is amazing and shouldn't only be noticed by the people that care about it. It's part of me, it's part of you and should be out there for everyone to see.