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My New Year’s tennis resolutions

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David Ferrer

Hereby resolved: David Ferrer is not underrated and this space will no longer call him so. (Kamran Jebreili/AP)

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.

  • Published On Dec 31, 2012
  • 9 comments
    KeithJacobson
    KeithJacobson

    Here's a resolution: for people who continually complain and rant about grunting to give it a rest already. Enough said. No one likes people who whine non-stop.

    MichaelJ
    MichaelJ

    Let's hope that Ryan Harrison develops into at least a contender who can go far into tournaments.  I watched him play live at the U.S. Open in 2012 -- he needs to work on his return, and needs to develop a more aggressive shot, off of any wing.  His game might be good for clay, if he ever develops the patience, but he's not much a threat on faster surfaces.  As for Sloane and Tomic, I think they have more promising futures.

    Brioc
    Brioc

    Courtney, I really enjoy your writing - it's smart, incisive, and funny - and your blog is my go-to place for tennis news. I also admire your willingness to improve and think your resolutions are great! Keep up the excellent work in 2013!

    divnadagmo
    divnadagmo

    Maybe add writing about tennis politics to your list. Since you know some German, there is a term in German sportswriting called "Sportpolitik", which looks behind the scenes of glossy sports and dares to differ. One highly recommendable writer for example from that "school of journalism" is Thomas Kistner, from Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Also, FAZ has its own section - maybe check it out for inspiration and  sports writing, that does not shy away and prides itself in its critical distance to the subject being covered - something which I sometimes find utterly lacking here...

     

    It is my impression that this blog could present serious journalistic pieces from time to time, investigating certain matters more in depth and not just buying into coporate rhetorics and pr-sprech. Fluff pieces are okay, occasionally, yet tennis is more - it has deciders, people who move the game and change it, people who run it and make decisions f.e. regarding selling certain tournaments off to some rather intransparent group of investors or regarding appearance fees for certain top players which are borderline obscene, like prize money, or management contracts. Or regarding hosting tennis in countries that don't allow their female members to have the same rights as men. Tennis is a close-knit community and allows for little dissent when it comes to critique, especially of the ITF and their loophole of an anti-doping program. More background on, say, the ITF and who are the people in charge there would be good. What fees do they get and on what basis do they get elected? Also, are all tennis commentators knowledgeable and add to the game?  (Duh, they are not!) If not, call them out!

     

    Also, debunk players silly whining about early-hour anti-doping controls. Instead talk about how these procedures are conducted, that the spots are self-chosen,  and not just leave that uncommented. Remember, whereabouts let's THEM chose the slot for those controls. Also, call them out on their disregard for anti-doping. It means they are opposed to a level playing field and fair play, the most universal ethics of any sports game. Also, know your stats intimately when it comes to the ACTUAL amount of tests players faced in a year - as opposed to their grossly exaggerated numbers ( see Serena Williams, just one example) and have the heart to correct them or debunk their lies.

     

    Also, do catch up on your knowledeg of HOW doping actually works and what kind of tests catch cheats and which don't. And be more critical about certain players claims. Here is a little example of how it COULD be done - my personal highlight piece of the year, btw, from Blair Henley.

    http://www.tennisnow.com/News/Doping,-Tennis,-Nadal---Connection-.aspx

     

    Anyway, I intend this a little poke in good spirits and would like you to consider this a bit over the year if you are inclined and not offended by it, that is. Which was not the intentions for oftentimes you are enjoyable and fun to read, no denying - but sometimes too much candy is not good for you ... ;) I  will be in Halle this year and was going to encourage you to come to that neck-of-the-woods - you simply should not miss that now with (hopefully) both Nadal and Federer showing up  it will be worth seeing. Also: great waffles!

     

     

     

    demerith
    demerith

    Courtney, I'm usually more of a lurker than a commenter but I just wanted to take this opportunity to let you know how much I enjoy your writing. As much as I've enjoyed other tennis journalists over the years (including the ones on this site), having someone around who approaches their job with such immense passion and wit is definitely one of the highlights of my tennis-following habit. It also helps that you're of the young female demographic who posts cute pictures of my favorite players from time to time. :) I'm looking forward to many more of your reports and wish you a great 2013.

    ChrisM
    ChrisM

    Courtney...if you could throw in a resolution to have a reunion Forty Deuce Podcast with "Love all", Curtis, Victoria, etc...I'll resolve to stop calling BTB the second best tennis blog of all time! (Behind Forty of course). Keep up the great work.

    Curtos07
    Curtos07

    I've never attended a tennis tournament, believe it or not, so my New Year's resolution is to get down to Cincinnati this summer.I would love to experience what it is like to watch actual live tennis, and of course, to see Ana up close.

    Brioc
    Brioc

     @Curtos07 You won't regret a trip to Cincy. I've gone each the last four years and you wouldn't believe how much world-class tennis you can see in a single day there, especially if you go early in the week.

    ChrisM
    ChrisM

     @Curtos07 Curtis...when you go live it is amazing...they have summers worth of quality rallies for us mere mortals in their warm ups!  Caution..."Ana up Close" has been known to cause racing heart beat and feeling of faint!