Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Tirade

I like Rafael Nadal. While I don't consider myself a bona fide fan, his rise to the top of tennis after an historic run at No. 2 has been awe inspiring. So close but yet so far for so long, another wannabe king propped up by hype and circumstance and talent threatened to swat the Mallorcan aside and overthrow the Great One. Demeaned as one-dimensional by a chorus of rivals, fans, and experts alike - as though the repetition of the descriptor would make it so - Rafa went about his business, improving his game, fighting for every point. And winning.

A lesser man would not have held up.

But hold up he did. A fourth Roland Garros trophy. That coveted Wimbledon trophy of trophies. An Olympic Gold. The year-end No. 1 ranking trophy. Not to mention three Masters shields. Some smartass on a tennis forum I frequent had the nerve to say that compared to the best season of this generation's other great champion, Rafa's year was "nothing special." As I type this, the ATP website is headlining this poll on its frontpage: Federer Backed By Fans To Regain No. 1 Ranking by the end of 2009. That the ATP would even ask fans such a question before, say, next summer strikes me as a huge insult to 2008's best player.

Visceral resistance to Rafa's reign is the prevailing sentiment in many circles. To them, he's a sand nigger not worthy of such eminence. In a June 2007 GQ feature, a writer practically called him one. He tried to hide behind thinly veiled euphemisms and code words, if you can even call them that, describing Rafa as greasy, impure, brutish, and barbaric. The writer took so much heat for his racist characterization he felt compelled to make a visit to a few fan forums to defend his rhetoric as a literary exercise in irony. I didn't buy it. You see, tennis pundits and well-read analysts and bloggers refer to Rafa as a savage beast without batting an eyelash. The GQ writer simply put meat on the bone and the editor served it raw to his erudite readers. It's not called Gentlemen's Quarterly for nothing.

Any solidification of Spain as a world tennis power, with Rafa as its leader, in the wake of its Davis Cup victory is more than welcome. An embarrassment of riches, really.

And a big old Fuck You to the circle-jerking purists. Pun intended.

But I wanted Argentina to triumph. I did. Not because I'm a fan of any particular player, though I have enjoyed the best tennis that David Nalbandian and José Acasuso and Guillermo Cañas and Juan Mónaco and Agustín Calleri have to offer. They just don't offer it much. Remember Guillermo Coria? And Juan Martín del Potro could become a force if he could put some meat on his bones.

I wanted Argentina to triumph because too many of its players have been viciously smeared as dopers, scapegoated, if you will, in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary, while the high-profile dopers from predominantly white nations get to hide behind slaps on wrists, leaves of absence, and abrupt retirements. Even when one of them is caught on tape, so to speak, she retires in denial and her legacy is defended tooth and nail by those who put their trust in her lying innocence.

I wanted Argentina to triumph because when I look at these faces...

...I want Argentina to rise. The nation has produced a living legend, but never a Davis Cup victory. What better for its tennis future, for the future of all those round, brown, beautiful faces, than to win the coveted cup on home soil? What better for the sport than to have a future tennis power below the equator that isn't Australia? Argentina needs a big win. A Grand Slam. A Davis Cup. Even Chile has a pair of Olympic Golds.

I want change. I'll settle for nothing less. I'm spoiled now.


kraa said...

Honestly I don't understand all this obsession with "change", but to everyone his own... And in any case all Argentine players are white. No different from Germans or Italians...

I was also rooting for Argentina... I thought Nalby deserved to win something big in his career, but then again after hearing about his antics... Maybe not...

P.S. Can't stand Nadal. Sorry...

Helen W said...

Craig, like you I was annoyed at the ATP's lead story re their fan poll.

Someone on one of the boards characterized the fans of Raja & Rafa thus: those that worship Roger and those that love Rafa. To me that very succinctly describes the difference.

I too have had it up to here with The Worshipful denigrating Nadal, both crudely and subtlely. And, of course, they hang on every word from their Tennis God -- for example, they believe he has a point when he talks about how the pressure of being No 1 will affect Nadal. What he's really doing (like all self-absorbed narcissists) is telling us that he felt pressure in holding the No. 1 ranking. Naturally he, along with The Worshipful, do not see the difference in character between himself and Nadal, so they discount Rafa's words when he says (I'm paraphrasing) that while he definitely wants to defend his ranking, he does not obsess about it, and it hasn't changed his life or approach.

Craig Hickman said...

All Argentinean players are white and no different from Germans or Italians?

Um. No.

That denies the sociocultural and historical realities of ethnicity, region, and race (mixing), not just the gene pools from which people originate.

Honestly, kraa, I have no "obsession" with change. I simply understand its importance in the face of the status quo.

To each his own, indeed.

kraa said...

BTW nice to see Lopez have his "time in the sun" at last. I like his style of play. Too bad he is a mental midget 95% of a time...

Craig Hickman said...

Lopez played great tennis in Dubai when he almost beat Roddick in the final. He ended his year as he began it, but finally got the payoff.

If he can take the confidence from this victory into next season...

Savannah said...

Nice analysis Craig. People may disagree all they want but I'll never forget a comment made on whichever JustinTV site I watched the final on when Verdasco won. The fan said simply "The Moor won."
After the tragic incident on JustinTV the mods got more active and censored the more vile racial and ethnic slurs posted by so called fans in the chat rooms but they didn't stop altogether and some mods were more agressive than others.

Beth said...

Thanks for this piece Craig. I just can't understand what there is to NOT like about Rafa. He's polite, a wonderful example of good sportsmanship, has humility and a work ethic that is nearly supernatural. Am I simply naive in saying that those who don't like him are ones who just don't want to see Federer's supremacy challenged? I mean, if you step back and be objective, what is 'objectionable' about Rafa?? He's a wonderful example for kids of an athlete who is humble, hard working, doesn't try to put the spotlight on himself and who has a deep respect and appreciation for family life.

tangerine said...

I must be living in a cave. I did not know that "Moor" was considered a racial slur?



"Someone on one of the boards characterized the fans of Raja & Rafa thus: those that worship Roger and those that love Rafa. To me that very succinctly describes the difference."

Interesting observation. I would say that the media has also suffered from Fed worship for far too long and some are not happy about Prince Rafa taking over as world number one.

Matt Cronin actually complained about the ATP site video congratuating Rafa on his 2008 year, saying Federer never got one when he become number one. Tennis-X did the same thing. LOL.

Savannah said...

Tangerine in the context of what was going on in that chat room moor was said as a slur. The mods had been editing out the other words so they resorted to that one.

tristann said...

Craig, I appreciate your words about Nadal. He is my favorite player and, while I do not expect everyone to be a fan of his, I appreciate it when his achievements are recognized and respected.

Among all the blaming and finger-pointing going on, I feel that a point is being missed. Many of the problems that plagued the Argentine team tend to be the norm in Davis Cup. Sanchez deserves a lot more credit than he is getting for the team he has built. I think he now joins P-Mac and Tarpischev (sp?) as one of the great current DC captains. Tennis is the ultimate individual sport and those who succeed are usually endowed with healthy egos. Harnessing those egos and building a solid team, especially when there is one or two standout players can be a daunting task.

I dare say that Spain could have embarrased quite a few DC squads this weekend.

Given my roots, I wanted Spain to win, but if they were to lose, I was glad it would be to Argentina. Over the years I have liked many of their players and I hope that in the long run they come out of this stronger.

About the ATP poll..tasteless and classless. No wonder Fed thinks that 'the fans feel more sorry for him than happy for Rafa'. bleh

tristann said...

I hate the comments on JustinTV. Under the screen you can select an option for Popout, which opens a small screen by itself on your desktop.

In all fairness, in some chatrooms there were many slurs going back and forth between spanish and argentine fans. None of them were pretty.

tristann said...


In the context Savannah describes, moro is used as a slur. Kinda like Obama is ..gasp.. an Arab.

edma1022 said...

Honestly, why can't we all get along?

I fail to see the relevance of dragging Fed into this treatise. I'm a Fed fan but I drive my minivan like a Porsche trying to race back home to see him play. There is a fellow in ESPN called Maddison. I asked who he's rooting for in DC. He said Argentinia. Yet there's no more fanatical Nadal fan.

I also fail to see the relevance of dragging in white supremacy conspiracy theories (even if they're true and I agree). Why does it have to be "me vs. you", Fed vs Nadal, Fed worshipper vs Nadal lover, Argentina vs Spain. (Btw, I agree the Argentinians are "whiter" than Spaniards).

Not all countries have ethnicity, culture, or race issues like the US. Religion issues maybe.

I deeply wanted Obama to win but to me he doesn't mean any side (or ideal) finally breaching an obstacle. To me, his winning means the triumph of hope.

edma1022 said...


I'm a Fed fan but I drive my minivan like a Porsche trying to race back home to see him (NADAL) play.

sorry. :-)

Savannah said...

When the chat rooms on Justin get really bad I opt for full screen to get away from them. I'll look for the option you mention Tristann. Thanks.

As for that ATP poll? Blech.

Craig Hickman said...

I fail to see the relevance of dragging Fed into this treatise.


Of course you do. Tell it to the ATP.

Nice to see you, ed.

Firs of all, white supremacy didn't originate in North America.

As for Spain and Argentina, I don't care which country is "whiter." That wasn't the point I was making.

Nor am I assuming that every nation has the same racial issues as the US. We are unique. As the late, great James Baldwin wrote, "American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it."

But that has little, if anything, to do with this essay.

You may not see (or deny) those who don't see Rafael Nadal as worthy based upon where he comes from, and you may have ignored the difference in treatment, both by the ATP and the anti-doping agenicies, that the Argentineans got vs. that given to, say, Greg Rusedski, but I didn't.

We can't all get along if we refuse to call a spade a spade.

When one hears the phrase "Golden Boy" it simply doesn't conjure images of people who look like Juan Monaco or Fernando Verdasco.

To deny that is to admit foolishness.

oddman said...

edma1022 said: 'I fail to see the relevance of dragging Fed into this treatise.'

Fed, and more so his fans, have been the most vocal in their denigration of Rafa's talents over the years.

I'd say that's relevant.

I wanted Spain to win, especially since Rafa couldn't play. I thought the team could step up in the absence of their top player, and they did. I like the Argentine players too, but I just can't root against Spain. Vamos!

tristann said...

Golden Boy...hmmm

I remember, circa 2006, when Bodo dubbed Fed The Mighty Federer (TMF), Djokovic was referred to already back then as The Splendid Serbian. Nadal? For a long time Bodo called him Dirty Boy Rafael (DBR).

edma1022 said...

Don Quixote is also a fool, Craig.

The windmill is no longer a dragon.


edma1022 said...

oddman: I'd say that's relevant.

Of course you do, oddman. It would be odd for you not to.


For the record, I'm a Fed fan but I'm not "more so" his fan. You can ask any Nadal fan on any board.

edma1022 said...

tristann: For a long time Bodo called him Dirty Boy Rafael (DBR).

For a long time I have not given a rat's ass what Bodo thinks, Tristann. Sorry.



Craig Hickman said...

Invoking Don Quixote and windmills is quite the evasion, ed.

It's funny. When I was writing the essay, clicked onto the ATP, saw what I saw, and came back here to include it, one of the first things I wondered was whether or not you would comment after not hearing from you in awhile.

Alas, here you are.

I've dragged Fed into this because the ATP decided to front page a ridiculous poll.

You've been silent about that. Perhaps you think it's appropriate.

tangerine said...


"I remember, circa 2006, when Bodo dubbed Fed The Mighty Federer (TMF), Djokovic was referred to already back then as The Splendid Serbian. Nadal? For a long time Bodo called him Dirty Boy Rafael (DBR)."

Dirty Boy Rafa? Wow. Doesn't Bodo call Nadal "Jet Boy" nowadays? As if it were any better? It sounds dismissive of Nadal's gifts, so unlike "The Mighty Fed", which demands prostration. *rolls eyes*

edma1022 said...

Craig: You've been silent about that. Perhaps you think it's appropriate.

Nope. But my thinking is beside the point. This is your blog. This is your essay. We are but mere readers.

Y'know that I think? I believe you deliberately inserted this ATP #1 poll thing coz you know there's nothing more exciting that putting Fed fans into one side arrayed against Nadal fans on the other side. It makes for an apt preamble to your tirade, it's a tremendous DC topic (competition), and it enables you to re-examine larger non-tennis realities of race, culture, Obama, and change.

Whew!, but it's too far-out for just a simple tennis nut like me.

You've been spoiled real bad, C.


Karen said...

Ardent Roger Federer Fan but lover of tennis moreso.

As a black woman (yes Craig will tell you that I really am black) I am an ardent Roger Federer fan. I love him to death and not because I am a roast breadfruit (Jamaican term for oreo) but because I appreciate his game, love his smile and my intentions for Roger have nothing to do with his tennis playing ability but moreso his genes. That being said, I am not a fan of Nadal, never have been. Do not care too much for his style of play etc. but even I as a Fed fan have seen and heard where people denigrate him and I think I have privately mentioned it to Craig as I thought it was a pretty worrying trend. I do not appreciate that his game is described as beastly or that his physique is described as animalistic. I think it depreciates his mental agility and the fact that he has worked long and hard and deserves to be where he is right now.

I don’t know how many of you here watched the Black List on HBO 2 East this past Sunday. On it, Serena Williams stated that whenever she reads articles about a match that she has played, it is always about the fact that she has over-powered her opponent. She mentioned that at no point does it say about the strategy that she employed during the match or her mental strength. She mentioned also that she is the most underestimated 8 time Grand Slam Champion that has ever played this game. I agree.

I know this is a post about Nadal, but the parallels are similar. While, as I have stated previously I am not a fan of Rafa, I am a fan of tennis as well as a fan of true sportsmanship. Rafa defines that and more. To me he has proven that he is worthy of wearing the mantle of World No.1. He is worth of representing the sport, regardless of whether he hits the ball harder than anyone or his game is not pleasing to the purists amongst us. At the end of the day, the true winner in this is tennis.

Craig Hickman said...

ed, I didn't ask what you thought about my motives.

What are your feelings about ethnocentrism, ed? Does it exist in tennis or doesn't it? Does it exist in those who follow tennis, or doesn't it?

If you say that it doesn't, then so be it.

But if you think that it does, how does it? And is it relevant to this discussion or not?

Karen said...

OK, I admit. I had to go and look up ethnocentrism in order to determine exactly what the word meant and whether it was applicable to the discussions. Now that I know the meaning of the word, my answer to the question is yes, it does form a basis for Craig’s tirade and yes it is relevant to the discussion. Like it or not, Rafa is viewed as a black man by the tennis purists. His game is one that is overpowering, overwhelming, does not have a lot of subtlety to it and is just out there saying: hey, this is a racquet and this is a tennis ball, I am going to hit it, and hit it, and hit it and hit it. Is that a bad thing, no. It shows that this is the game that he has developed and this is the way he plays it. Rafa has shown that with a lot of hard work one can turn anything, even an overpowering type of game into a game of mental chess. Is he going cross court, is he going up the line, what is he going to do next. The overpowering game now contains a measure of subtlety and strategy never before seen in a men’s champion. That coupled with his speed, his ability to hold firm on the big points, as well as his athletic physique has thrown the tennis purists into a tailspin.

Now we come to the discussion as to whether the discussion should be from an ethnocentrist viewpoint or not. It should not, but as a result of the feelings (and who here does not comment on tennis based on feelings) we find that most people will give their opinions based on their own ethnocentric background. That is your research point. That is your learned behaviour. How can someone who is white truly know and feel what a black man has had to deal with all his life. How can a woman who was born in the Swiss Alps know or even relate to what I as a Jamaican born in the ghettoes of Kingston know about survival. All discussions, whether tennis related or not, devolve around our ethnic past, present and future. It is relevant.

There is a song done by Morgan Heritage which starts off about him showing his friend from Norway about Jamaica and the Norwegian asking why in such a beautiful country like Jamaica are the people not smiling. The answer in the song will amaze you. If I find it on you tube I will post a link.

Karen said...

here is the song

Craig Hickman said...

Karen, thanks for your thoughtful comments and video.

John said...

A lot of us wanted Roger to stay on top for a few years and become undoubtably the GOAT, as it would have raised the profile of tennis, which is in some ways losing ground to other sports.

On Argentina. Nalby is being unfairly treated. DC is an interesting dynamic, and ultimately the captain is the one who should be held accountable.

rabbit said...

I don't really have anything valuable to add to the racial question, because I don't see it. Maybe not being an American, I don't really see why Spaniards are less European/white than Swiss. There have been far, far more Spanish tennis players than Swiss tennis players, for many years, which would contradict a theory that there is some latent discrimination against Spanish people in the tennis establishment. There are huge tennis academies, both for men and women, in Spain, and people like Safin gave up their family to be there. My personal opinion is that people describe Rafa as someone with power and endurance rather than finesse, because that is the easiest way to describe his game. It is, of course, not altogether true, but it does constitute a large part of his play. Just like Serena has far more variety and intelligence in her game than any of her opponents, but the easiest way to explain her dominance is that she overpowers opponents. Partly true, but very deceptive.

Fed, and more so his fans, have been the most vocal in their denigration of Rafa's talents over the years.

I must take exception to this. I don't see where Roger has denigrated Rafa's game. He called it one-dimensional at the beginning of Rafa's career, which was true at the time. I have mentioned here before that Roger also terms Pete's game one-dimensional (but very effective). But since then, he has applauded Rafa's game so many times. He has said multiple times now that Rafa has developed a very varied and more attacking game, better suited for faster surfaces. All his compliments are overlooked because they don't fit the theory that there is some charged animosity between the two. Roger has never said anything less than Rafa truly deserves the #1 spot. He has said that he wants it back because he doesn't want to be #2. How is that denigrating Rafa?

About Roger's fans, of course, I cannot say for everyone. I like Roger's tennis much more than Rafa's, and this is not because of some racism. And I don't want to defend myself. I hate it when Roger loses, whether to Rafa or to anybody else, because I personally feel that Roger is more creative and skilled than anybody in the field. I don't worship Roger, the person. I admire his mental strength and his courage in putting out maximum effort under pressure and injury alike. I readily acknowledge that Roger has character flaws, just like anybody else.

Finally, one thought: to ascribe Roger's huge fan base worldwide to racial discrimination is blatantly disrespectful and narrow-minded.

Craig Hickman said...

There have been far, far more Spanish tennis players than Swiss tennis players, for many years, which would contradict a theory that there is some latent discrimination against Spanish people in the tennis establishment.


So much of the tennis establishment's power base is American.

Do you know why the U.S. Championships changed from clay to cement? I can't remember where I read it - Peter Bodo, maybe - but the change came because the USTA didn't want someone who spoke Spanish to win the event.

That's why I also used the word ethnocentrism.

That said, the large numbers of any group of people in any profession or place doesn't mean they can't be subjected to some kind of unequal treatment.

See South Africa during Apartheid. See any nation or region where ethnic cleansing occurs.

I'm perfectly happy to discuss uncomfortable realities that others are not. To put a sport, its institutions, its players, and its observers in context. But speaking only for myself, I have not ascribed Roger's huge fan base worldwide to racial discrimination.

I'm speaking only of those people, whether they're fans of Fed or not, who say and write the things I reported.

kraa said...

So many comments, probably just like craig wanted...

Anyway different people have different tastes. I like neither Nadal's style of play nor his personality and I would much prefer Roger winning everything. Not at all ashamed to say it...

None of that makes Nadal a lesser player or undeserving #1, of course. As for ethnic slant, I don't see it that way at all. But then again being a white European I am not as sensitive...

MMT said...

I really don't see what the harm is in the poll; it's natural to ask if the one who has taken #1 over from Federer can hold onto it, or if Federer will return to the top ranking - what's the big deal?

I also don't think Serena's game is so strategic - she definitely overpowers a majority of her opponents, and commentators give her credit for her grit all the time, but for them to start saying she a deft tactician would be non-sense.

As for Rafa, I congratulate him for his performance this year, and I too am curious to see if he is able to keep the ranking. It would be difficult to have another year like he did in 2008, but then again Federer did it for 4 years.

Federer is honest about his opponents and his opinions of other players - it's not his responsibility to appease the fans of all his opponents. Rafa's game was one-dimensional 4 years ago, but clearly it has developed since.

I really think this is much ado about nothing.

edma1022 said...

Wow, Craig, this thread has grown a life of its own! And blown to different thoughtful tangents!

I love it.

We achieved what we set out to do, eh? (wink, wink).

OK. What are my feelings on racial supremacy? Very strong. Being the small voice in the wilderness amidst a sea of overpowering know-it-alls will do that to you. Does it exist in tennis? My gullible response is - maybe, but I can't see it yet aginst the backdrop of the Fed-Nadal regime (yes, I don't!!!). I do know (and believe) that money overpowers any ethnically influential group in any sport. If you refer to the experience of the Williams sisters, then yes, I agree there is compelling evidence that it may be so (dating back to their Compton days and entering the profession). But to equate that into the general scheme of things, especially the current DC event, or Spain, or (Heavens!) Rafa himself, is maybe a bit over-reaching. Does it exist in those who follow tennis? Of course! We don't need to go out of this blogsite to see it. The fans are crazy (me included). Older fans such as us indulge in gleeful adolescent pampering to a fault. A group overpowers another group. Is it strictly ethno-centric? Now I'm a little unsure. This I do know, though. There are a multitude of Spanish-speaking fans out there who speak very highly of Federer. I've seen many youtube files showing Fed at his best with the Spanish commentator blurting out expletives you won't believe your ears ("caramba" anyone?).

At any rate, if we wrap a tarp on everything and say it's relevant to the discussion, then we'll be quibbling forever. The beauty of a blog is you can do focus discussions without bothering whether you're sounding ridiculously ambivalent or absurdly boring.

Happy Thanksgiving in advance, brother! My best regards to the family.


Pamela said...

Finally! I'm a huge Rafa fan, although I like Roger as well - just not nearly as much. I get tired of the "greasy" "monkey boy" "jungle boy" terms used to describe them. If anyone thinks that there isn't a coded meaning behind them, I've got some swamp land to sell you. I mean, he even gets critiqued for his English even though he's tried and improved.

Tennis purists will lament that it's his game that they don't like, which is fine. Then there are some who will continuously call him names despite how he plays and because he's not Roger or Roger'like.

There really is a difference between being a fan and being a fanatic. Roger tends to have more fanatics from what I've seen.

The poll on the ATP site needs to be taken down. Can he enjoy his year end ranking without them predicting it's end so soon?

Karen said...

Craig, see what the off season does. It allows folks who view your blog to think long and hard and do some amount of research before putting fingers to keyboard. Coming back and reading the posts you get the feeling that while most of us will never admit to the fact that there is some amount of latent racism in the comments that we have seen on certain sites, or there is an element of "dont care too much about this dude but he is No.1" way in which certain writers speak of Rafa. I agree with John who posted here earlier in relation to his comments about Roger. As a fan of his I am the first to say that sometimes he needs to put a sock in it and not say anything, but at the same time he speaks from the heart. Who here thinks that Rafa was happy being NO. 1? Who here thinks that Rafa was being disingenious all those years prior to the FO when he would say that Roger is NO. 1, no so he should be the favourite to win the FO? Yeah right, like that was going to happen. The fact is that all these players are human beings who are well versed in that little thing called "public relations". Some are better at it than others.
As to the Serena comment - she may never be described as having a subtle game, but please go back and watch Miami 2008. She made Justine Henin, the NO. 1 player at the time throw up her hands in frustration because she not only refused to play the game that Justine had become accustomed to, but she basically frustrated the bejesus out of her, and she did it by slicing, volleying, lobbing, top spin, she barely flattened out the ball during the rallies. She gave Justine mid court balls that had so much spin on them that they literally died on the court.

Craig Hickman said...

I'm a social critic and cultural activist. Always have been, always will be.

I see what I see.

That's true for all of us, no?

Life is an abstract painting.

Thanks to everyone for such a civil discussion about charged issues.

tristann said...

Karen, I like your posts and your video.

Since this seems to be devolving into yet another Fed-Nadal war, I thought I would post a quote of Bodo's that I found when I went to the archives to confirm the DirtyBoy Rafa moniker. He is refering to another player and this is how he describes his actions at the end of the match:

Speaking of Monfils/Djokovic, though, I never got to post some second thoughts I had about Monfils, following his win over Blake. He did a few things here at Roland Garros that makes me wonder what he's going to be like if he ever really gets good.

"On match point, when Blake’s shot landed long, Monfils did this quick routine, kind of like a cross between an NFL end zone dance and a frame from a gangsta rap video. He went very still (instead of jumping for joy), put his hands on his hips, and nodded at the mark.

Wow. Word up. I’m surprised he didn’t follow it up by folding his arms and giving a peace sign, or doing one of those infantile Sammy Sosa “from the heart” gestures. So what do you think, are we ready for NFL-grade celebrations in tennis? I could go either way on it. But I did fall to my knees in thanks as we came to the end of the era when guys like John McEnroe and Mats Wilander began to confuse themselves with rocks stars and guitar wizards. That all was kind of pathetic."


Gangsta rap? NFL end-zone dance? I'm sure I'm not the only one sensing the imagery he is trying to convey, the associations he is trying to make in readers' minds.

One can dismiss Bodo as an idiot, but the thing is that he is considered a mainstream journalist with many readers, yet no one calls him out on stuff like this. I do not speak for Craig, but I did not think he implied that there is a vast racist conspiracy in tennis. But there is a lot of tolerance for those with racist views within the tennis establishment.

rabbit said...

Craig, I frequent your blog because I respect your opinions and admire your writing style. I disagree with you too often, but that does not take away from my admiration for you as a blogger.

And as for Bodo, I do not consider him a journalist at all.

tristann said...

The above link got truncated. Here is another


Rabbit, I do not consider him a journalist either. But many others do, unfortunately. And he is he easiest example since it is easy to access his archives, but there are others.

MMT said...

Tristann: I'm no fan of Bodo, but have you seen this little dance that Monfils does? It IS eerily reminiscent of end-zone dances, and personally I can do without it. I really hope tennis doesn't go in that direction because we don't need it. Ugh...

I've never been much of a fan of Monfils anyway, he's a bit of a deadhead tactically/strategically and I don't think we'll see him winning anything important and then embarrassing himself with his dances anyway.

If I were his opponent and he did that before shaking my hand, I'd walk right off the court.

stocksmd said...

What is the big deal? Even with a mixture of African blood, as a country, Spaniards are blatantly racist toward other nations and persons of color! Perhaps Spaniards should clean up their own back yard before getting up set when one of their own is denigrated because the color of their skin is of the darker hue!!!