Friday, August 27, 2010

Another reason to dislike John McEnroe*

In case you needed another--I don't personally--but here's one for the holdouts**:
John McEnroe thinks that the women just are not capable of enduring the 10-month season so changes need to be made. Note that he also thinks the men's season needs to be shortened as well but he didn't apply the same incapability rationale.
"I think that it's asking too much of the women. They shouldn't be playing as many events as the men. . . . The women have it better in tennis than in any other sport, thanks to Billie Jean King [a founder of the Women's Tennis Association and pioneer for equal prize money for women]. But you shouldn't push them to play more than they're capable of."
This pedantic statement illustrates how either absolutely clueless or especially nefarious McEnroe is. To invoke BJK in a statement that says how inferior female tennis players are is just--well clueless or nefarious.
Mary Carillo, who will now have to refrain from slapping McEnroe upside the head as she sits next to him in the booth for the next two weeks, thinks it's not about the physical--it's the mental. She believes that champions in the past were tougher mentally.
I don't think it's so easy to pinpoint a reason. There isn't, actually, just one reason. (There never is, you know.) But I have to believe that a large part of it is the increase in physicality. Might make it more fun and exciting to watch but not so fun to play, I would imagine. It's tough on the body--even for us recreational players. But we're not hitting 85+ mph serves or blasting backhand after backhand in practice every day of the week. Plus there's the racket and string technology--and don't forget coaching philosophies combined with the predominant boom-boom style of today's game. It just might not be possible to play for as long as someone like Chris Evert did (note that she took mini-breaks). And maybe the desire isn't there either. I mean it seems exciting to travel the world and play tennis everywhere. But there are clear downsides. Why would you want to do it year after year after year?
I don't think it's wrong not to have that desire for 10 plus years. I don't think it's wrong to lose that desire and then get it back and make another go.

So all this is in light of the draw for next week's US Open which is missing star Serena Williams (foot surgery) and has more than a few top players with injuries or in various states of recovery from earlier summer injuries. Let's note though that defending men's champion, Juan Martin del Potro is out--and has been out for some time--recovering from wrist surgery. And that last year (2009) Nadal couldn't defend his Wimbledon title because of injury. I would be surprised if Nadal's career lasts as long as Federer has--desire or no. Former #1 Leyton Hewitt has had chronic hip problems. Andre Agassi--even with his few hiatuses--had some pretty bad injuries throughout his career.
I'm just a little bit tired of all this weak women stuff--weak knees, weak bodies, weak skulls, weak minds--as if it has nothing to do with training and learned behaviors.

* I was going to title this "You cannot be serious, John McEnroe!" but I thought it might be a little hackneyed and I don't like giving his bad-boy catch phrase more credibility.
** Please do not call me or leave me a message about why McEnroe might possibly be redeemable.


Diane said...

I think it is much less fun and exciting to watch today's tennis, which is often devoid of artistry and cleverness.

McEnroe has done a good job of showing his true colors (for those who keep forgetting what they are) this year. During Wimbledon, he was pushed by Tim Henman and a caller (who was openly contemptuous of the WTA) to say how the world's top female player would rank in the ATP--as if that comparison has even the slightest bit of relevance to the two sports.

At first, he declined to do so, even explaining that the comparison is faulty--then changed his mind and jumped right into the game. That put him on the same level with players like Henman and John Isner, who like to take the bait about how women would rank in the ATP, which is relevant to absolutely nothing.

Anonymous said...

"You cannot be serious" about anything Johnny Mc says---he's so full of himself that he loses credibility!!