Tennis brats? Hit them where it hurts.

Posted: January 25, 2017 in Ranting
Tags: , , ,

Tennis. A few decades ago that was the Big Thing in Australia. Our cricket team was in the doldrums at the time. But our tennis still had the likes of Newk, Muscles Rosewall and Rod Laver. These were class players without all the bullshit that goes with the game today. No shouting abuse at umpires. No smashing racquets to a crumpled mess. No acting like pathetic brats.

These were also players who took part in the tennis equivalent of the Kerry Packer World Series Cricket move, more than a decade earlier. In order to make a decent quid, they went to the professional circuits and were banned from the likes of Wimbledon. But just as cricket later discovered, the tennis authorities realised their game was a much poorer for that ban and the gulf was breached.

So what has become of the legacy of Newk, Muscles etc? The money in tournaments today is more than they would have dreamed of. And make no mistake – money is what it is about today.

Why is it that the behaviour of today’s ratbags is not properly penalised. Do the authorities really think the likes of Nick Kyrgios is worried about the few grand in penalties levied against him for his repeated breaches of conduct codes? He makes plenty more than that just by agreeing to play in the tournament. Even if he spits the dummy and tanks a game, he still earns more in that loss than he loses to fines.

Then there are the equipment abusers. So they smash a racquet beyond further use. Do you think that worries them? Of course not. They don’t pay for them. Sponsors give them their bags full of racquets and other stuff. One sponsor recently announced contractual changes that will require players to cough up for replacements if they have smashed what they were given. But again, so what? Even the best tennis racquet is going to be a pretty darn small amount of what the top players are making.

Let’s put things in to the perspective of a more ordinary person. At one point in my decidedly lowly grade cricket career, I had a big chance. Not out overnight, the next day’s play we discovered the opposition’s main two bowlers were no longer playing. My eyes lit up. I had all day to make the most of a very ordinary bowling attack even by those standards. Except my first attempt to start making runs off a very ordinary alleged spin bowler, saw me just pop up a ridiculously easy catch and I was out. Furious, I kept bashing my expensive (to me) bat on the ground all the way off. And I broke it. I was read the riot act by my captain. I was ridiculed by my teammates. And I had to pay for the expensive (to me) repairs. That all meant much more to me than a couple of grand in fines does to the likes of Kyrgios. I well and truly learned my lesson and didn’t do it again.

When are our badly behaved tennis brats going to receive punishments more suited to their earnings status? It is time to hit them MUCH harder in a way that will hit home. It is time for mandatory suspensions and loss of tournament earnings.

Smash your racquet to bits so you have to replace it? Then get suspended on the spot and fined all your earnings for the tournament. Abuse the umpire? Ditto. And ditto for all other obvious code of conduct breaches. I guarantee giving them punishments that actually mean something and that pathetic behaviour will come to an end.

Colourful players are good for the game. As are passionate players. But pathetic brats doing the tennis equivalent of a two-year-old’s temper tantrums are NOT good for the game. Get rid of them or pull them properly into line.

What do you think?

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