Australian Open – the Hooligan’s Grand Slam

2 minutes

The Australian Open Grand Slam event in tennis is regarded as one of the four hallowed grounds for all Tennis players, professional or amateur. Is the appellation founded? The others being the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Each, as I wrote once before, are characterized by unique traits, both in the surface, and in the spectators. The French Open played on clay, is an event where the crowds are discerning, and cheer their favorite enthusiastically, be that a country-person or a foreigner. Wimbledon, played on grass, is the classiest and the most prestigious of the Slams, and attracts a very cultured and well-behaved crowd, known for its indulgence of Strawberries and cream. The US open, played on hard courts is a fast-paced tournament, with crowds that match, always on the move – the atmosphere of an amphitheater. Which brings me to the Australian Open, played on rebound ace. The fans there have been raucous and brash, always. And now this tournament is synonymous with rioters and ethnic violence, exemplified by the fisticuffs and fights breaking out between Balkan supporters during the games in the last few years.

This is just an example. This tournament seems to attract the lowest denominator of spectators. Un-sportsmanlike, and rowdy. Not surprising for a tournament which tries to pass off as a Grand Slam, but is, in all shapes and forms a glorified Master’s cup, with hardly any history or charm behind it. I remember when I watched Sampras play Phillipousis back in the day. Sampras was booed every time he won a point, and the noise levels were deafening when Mark did. Even our puny little TV conveyed the noise levels in that place. No, the tennis wasn’t spectacular. It was an error-ridden match made worse by the roudy raucous crowd. Another example just yesterday. Match between Dinara Safina and a Frenchwoman. Somewhere during a crucial point, as Safina was about to take a smash shot, someone in the crowd yelled out "Out", causing Safina’s concentration to break and her to net the smash. The look of pure disgust on her face was mirrored by mine. Tennis is a gentleman’s game: we don’t need football style hooligans and rowdy, raucous crowds here. Take it to rugby.


One thought on “Australian Open – the Hooligan’s Grand Slam

  1. Hi Tim,

    A very nice blog! I miss our tennis sessions of hours :) If you remember, I bought a Wilson racket from Siri Fort sports complex after playing with you regularly and that really helped me. I loved sports and even joined Phys. Ed. during high school but couldn’t get training on it. Those were great days regardless meeting very difficult kind of people the sports people and the athletes. I had the racket until I met you last in Delhi few years ago but then it broke after I gave it to someone. It would be great to play with you again.

    Regarding this blog entry, I’ve a related view. I don’t think stars do it for the many planets and other cosmic bodies. However, there’s a relationship. They share the universe and that the many outcomes depend on what each does for others by doing for oneself. From current events, the economy might be suffering due to top (probably most) companies in many places doing for themselves what doesn’t really do anything for others. When trillions of dollars get redistributed, there must be wrong overall. I wish the companies were even richer building the world and doing creative work for helping others realize their potential. With large numbers, things can appear great but only momentarily which is a relative concept but is relevant generally. In your described event, the star just needed to do for herself and then let others decide for themselves whether they enjoyed it or gained values from it. I don’t know whether she could restart the point or even speak with this person. Regardless for herself and her supporters, I think she should just keep doing for herself and then wish for better. Of course, this is sad for her. Even our planetary system wouldn’t exist sometime and that would be a moment. Could we advance ourselves to do something for that event? Most are busy doing far simpler things which even if aggregated wouldn’t contribute to such problems. Most don’t even have basic health care, and education. Most don’t even have food, drinking water, and proper sanitation. Does this even matter? The stars shine but they end too. I look at stars too. Could we build stars which last forever? I guess what matters is that at what level we find problems to do something for ourselves and hence for it. But then a lot matters including everything from person to person. I guess regardless of her passion for Tennis, she cared for a lot. I think every sport would’ve such people. I just miss the great days in school or college playing and that with international sports or even national leagues there I always supported the sportsmanship and a great event organized by so many contributors. I probably experienced sports and its diversity from very young. I’m sure many people do what spoils its very nature and that’s unfortunate. I’ve looked at many sports over the years and love them. It’s very nice to read your blog entry.


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