Another year has come and gone and I don’t know about you, but 2012 flew right on by. It was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it year, thanks in large part to the London Olympics, which led to a compacted and hurried tennis schedule that was just as much a grind for fans as it was for players. In the rush to try to cover and react to a sport taking place — often — on two continents at once for near-on 46 weeks, it’s easy to develop some bad habits. Some of those habits are born out of sheer laziness, while others are simply a result of ignorance, where you’re completely unaware of what you’re doing because you just don’t have time to actually stop and think about it.
With that in mind, here are my 10 tennis-related New Year’s Resolutions for 2013. Some address some of my bad habits, others are designed simply for me to strive to be better. But hey, I’m throwing them out there and fully expect to be held accountable.
No commenting on a match I didn’t watch: This is more of a policy than a resolution, though I feel the need to remind myself of it every year. If I didn’t see a match, you’re probably not going hear about it too much in this space. Because, really, how can I comment on the significance or insignificance of a result if I didn’t watch it go down?
Be kind to the young ‘uns: I like shiny new things. I like them in part because they are shiny, but mainly because they are new. I like them so much I’ve been known to pull a Lenny from time to time by suffocating that shiny new thing with attention. As both the men’s and women’s tours move towards transition, I resolve to keep perspective when it comes to the under-21 set of players. From Sloane Stephens, to Ryan Harrison, from Bernard Tomic to Laura Robson, patience is a virtue. Let’s let them develop at their own pace as opposed to crushing them with the weight of expectation.
No more complaining about roofs — or the lack thereof: The U.S. Open will not have a roof in the foreseeable future and no amount of whining, mocking, or inquisition is going to change that. Complaining can be exhausting. Consider me spent.
Stop saying David Ferrer is underrated or overlooked: I’m stealing this one from Steve Tignor at Tennis.com. No more of this talk of Ferrer as an underdog. Listen to any ESPN or Tennis Channel broadcast and it’s clear how highly pundits and commentators think of him. So I’m dropping this tired trope.
Learn at least two more foreign languages: When it comes to an international sport like tennis, it doesn’t do me much good to only speak English and serviceable German. Spanish seems to be the obvious choice as my third language, but for my elective I’m leaning towards Polish. Between Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki, Angelique Kerber, and Jerzy Janowicz, I think that’s a darn good investment. There have to be some comedic gems in all the coaching timeouts from Piotr Wozniacki.
Fewer Cheez-Its. More apples: When you’re constantly burning the midnight oil watching tennis at all hours, your snack options can get pretty dire. Just last night I pounded a quarter of a container of spicy salsa at 3:00 a.m. while watching Sam Stosur lose in Brisbane. It wasn’t pretty — the match or my haphazard and generally unsuccessful attempts to get salsa into my mouth and not on my desk. So yes, let’s move to the healthy snacks in 2013.*
No retirement speculation: Players will call it a day when they decide to call it a day. No need to take bets on it or shove them in any particular direction.
Demand more tennis in my pop culture: I often lament the fact that there aren’t as many great movies, television shows, or books about tennis as there seems to be for other sports. So in 2013 I resolve to do my part to show that there’s a market for tennis in pop culture. If there’s a tennis movie, I’ll watch it. Tennis reference in a TV show? I’ll DVR it. Tennis books that aren’t just autobiographies? I’ll put them on my Kindle.
Go to at least two tournaments I’ve never attended: My tennis travel schedule is well-settled at this point, which means I go to the same tournaments every year. So here’s hoping I can get myself to some new destinations. Monte Carlo? Stuttgart? Halle? Montreal? Beijing? They’re all candidates.
Give the WTA equal airtime: Much like my first resolution, this one is more a reminder to myself than an attempt to change a bad habit. It pays to be conscious of it.
* Resolution I will most likely break by the end of the week.
Have you made any tennis-related New Year’s Resolutions? Share them in the comments.