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Your opinions needed on the media coverage of tennis!

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To all fellow tennis nuts Smile,

For Media Studies at college, I'm currently conducting a critical research project into the relationship between Sport and the Media, in particular the representation of British Tennis Players in the UK.

My 'hypothesis' is "To what extent does media coverage of tennis encourage hero worship of British tennis players?"

I'd like people to post their comments on this subject:

As someone who knows about tennis, do you feel that media coverage does indeed encourage "hero worship" of British players and sportspeople? We all know that British tennis hasn't experienced the greatest of success in recent years. Maybe you feel that there's pressure to "play up" particular players? If so, how do you feel the media does this, and why? or perhaps you disagree, and think that the media offers a more balanced view?

Whatever your opinion, please post your comments in this thread.

Let's have a debate!

A quick ground rule...

I know that this will be a first for MW  Wink but please try to stay on topic. By all means disagree with someone else and discuss, but make sure you stay on topic for the benefit of the research.

Also - Please be aware that copies of all posts made will be included in my research project. You must agree to allowing me to use comments and quotes in an essay.

---

Ok, hope I explained that ok. If that made no sense at all then please do tell me Smile

Thanks in advance to everyone. I'm sure all your comments and opinions will be very useful!

Dan

 
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Riverman
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Hello

Re: Your opinions needed on the media coverage of tennis! « Reply #1 on: April 21, 2006, 08:56 PM »
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A quick ground rule...

I know that this will be a first for MW  Wink but please try to stay on topic. By all means disagree with someone else and discuss, but make sure you stay on topic for the benefit of the research.

You do that folks, or I'll moderate you...  whip

Wink
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murray_tmg
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Re: Your opinions needed on the media coverage of tennis! « Reply #2 on: April 21, 2006, 08:56 PM »
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I hope this is relevant but I think the British tennis situation and not the media encourages certain expectation from British players.  Being from the US, I can say that the media here has less expectation of our players, primarily because we have our own unique sports (which I don't really enjoy) like American football, baseball, and basketball which comprise most media coverage, and the fact that we have several players in the top 20 or so who have already won Slam Events and whatnot.  We don't have the same lust for success found in the UK because we've grown indifferent to it.  Naturally the media here expects players like Andy Roddick to do well, because he is in world top 5, but its not the same disappointment to be found.  For example, a low percentage of the population in the US gives a damn about tennis.  Mardy Fish wins a tournament in Houston and the media shortly praises his work, but the media has no expectation of him to kick tail in tournaments, and as a by-product the media viewing/reading populations hopeful sentiments for Fish's future and barely stirred.  I had little reaction myself, was actually a bit discouraged when I saw he had changed racquets to a Slazenger, which only Tim should be fit to wield.  Not really too serious there... But with a lack of top-ranked players, Britains tennis lineage is more like a one-man dynasty than a consistently occupying force i.e. Spain or Argentina.  I can only conjecture therefore that the tendency is to focus on those few players like Tim and Andy, and naturally the media needs exciting news to compete with the tabloids.  (I don't know how many ppl read those in the UK) Well that's my highly opinionated, slightly ignorant opinion...
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Andy and Jamie

Re: Your opinions needed on the media coverage of tennis! « Reply #3 on: April 21, 2006, 09:51 PM »
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i dont like the way the media portrays British tennis .. They never seem 2 report on it on things such as the news of the radio when they say the scores of the football or cricket. The media never seem to tell the public the good results of british tennis and only seem to mention the bad results or the fact that tim henamn has now dropped out og the top 50 in the world but they dont explain this reaosn etc . I dont think they way that the media but pressure on young players such as Murray to always perform and this age when its not really expected of them and also the way when a player doesnt do well such as tim at Wimbldoen last year they always put them donw such as "the king is dead" . Also the way they only cover Wimbleodn and Queens isnt good because it doesnt help the groth of tennis in our counrty its like if they only covered the grand prix fomr silverstone , that would never happen . It makes people "glory supporters" in a way but i think this is because they dont provide the resorces whihc tell the fane the season in aot more than these 2 events and that its also 11 moths of the year ..

hope this helps.. i aint sure if its what u wanted ,... but i liked avin a go at the media
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murray mad
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Re: Your opinions needed on the media coverage of tennis! « Reply #4 on: April 21, 2006, 10:10 PM »
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They don't encourage them atall they bring them down and put loads of pressure on them, what I don't understand is why can't they say well done you have won the match but they say example "Rusty Murray just about crept it" I don't understand are the british press really british because if they are then they are not showing it, do they want us to have no sporting hero's? because thats how it's going to end up, the more they bring our sporting hero's down then they will lose confidence in what they are doing and start losing it. BRITISH PRESS ARE SCUM I HATE THEM ranting.

that's my opinion I hope it helps.
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Re: Your opinions needed on the media coverage of tennis! « Reply #5 on: April 21, 2006, 10:22 PM »
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The problem with the press is they serve the needs of the people - they have to sell papers. Therefore with 'minority' sports such as tennis, the tendancy is to sensationalise. They have to capitalise on major British sporting events such as Wimbledon and Queens which only come around once a year - to do this they have to up the hype and this inevitably leads to them putting pressure on the top players - for much of the rest of the year they're pretty much left alone, maybe a column or two per match.
Admittedly the structure of British tennis doesn't help; even without the addition attentions of the media, just having one or two players of international standard in any sport is going to pile up the pressure. Seeing as tennis is such an intrinsically 'British' sport, the pressure and hype around Britain's players is only ever going to increase.
In addition to this, we're such a small country that whenever we get any success, the media 'vultures' in on it. The culture of failure doesn't help. There is a problem of glory supporters and of 'hero worship', but this happens in most sports - generally, however, team sports, where the focus is not concentrated solely on one individual.

I would disagree that the British Press are 'SCUM'. They can be biased and they do focus far too much on the grass season, but to be honest, the broadsheets have given Andy a pretty fair ride of it for the most part. And who wants to read the gutter press? :P
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murray mad
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Re: Your opinions needed on the media coverage of tennis! « Reply #6 on: April 22, 2006, 03:36 AM »
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overall in one paragraph they have some good points and some bad points but what do the public notice first:

"Nobody is suggesting that what Murray suffered in Monte Carlo was a fit of adolescent pique - and the same goes for his high-profile problems at the US Open last year, where the court-side doctor diagnosed an acute case of just feeling a bit, you know, whatever,why don't we all just get off his case and shut the door on the way out? Despite this Murray does appear to be undergoing what Rousseau would recognise as a disharmony of body and mind. His legs are staging their own teenage rebellion. The brain may be set on dispatching a cross-court drive volley winner, but the 19-year-old calf muscles are intent on collapsing sulkily into a beanbag. Preferably with a copy of Nuts and a tube of salt and vinegar Pringles."

there are some good points in this article and some bad points, the good points is that they said to just leave him alone, but the bad points is they talk about his calf muscles "the 19 year old calf muscles are intent on collapsing sulkily into a bean bag" that shows that they try and even it out by saying a good point but they follow that up by saying a faithless bad point, the public generaly don't focus as much on the good points but when they see something involving a critical statement they pounce on it, I don't know whether this is a plan of the media to do that or they are not aware of the publics ignorant to focus greatly on the bad statement.

overall I think the media are getting the public to see the bad point and when someone complains they back up there argument by saying some good things have been said and other are just constructive critisizm, but as you can see clearly that statement on his calf is way behond constructive.

I hope this helps Very Happy.

[ Last edit by murray mad April 22, 2006, 03:51 AM ] IP Logged
rafa
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Re: Your opinions needed on the media coverage of tennis! « Reply #7 on: April 22, 2006, 04:50 AM »
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OK im looking at this i guess from a Public Relations and advertising student viewpoint here, where i study dealing with the media at great depth.
But i think that the British press does their job very well in aiding the off-court success (social and financial) of these british players. what many people won't think about is the fact that murray, henman, rusedski....the big Brits will all have PR agents and press release officers, all of which are very savvy in manipulating the truth to encourage media use of a story. its probably more the PR agents who are to blame than the media themselves to an extent. think about the fact that these agents get a percentage of the player's sponsorship deals, etc. they are effectively trying to sell the player to the public, so that companies see how popular the player is and give them more deals/money. the players themselves benefit hugely from this, not only from sponsorships, but from the actual tournaments themselves. these tournaments advertise products, can be watched by large segments of the market and  the greater the amount of people watching, the greater the expenditure, and usually prizewinnings. you guys may all say its not about the money, but at the end of the day the players are all making a living, and if they can, why not? fair enough, people may say that press about andy's cramp was unfair, but did you ever think that many people wouldnt have understood that it was a cramp and by reporting it, the british public probably had a great deal more sympathy for their number 1. the story was undoubtedly created by PR agents, and it makes sense to. wimbledon is only 2 and a half months away, in previous years you may have also noticed that stories about our players seemed to be reported on more around this time. it happens so that the players crawl slowly back into the publics consciousness through psychological mapping. so that when wimbledon rolls around, the players are once again household names and the "hero worship" can be reborn.
equally however, the media can twist even the PR agent's story and give a different, more subjective angle and attack a player. this can damage a players rep of course, but no publicity is bad publicity. Many of the british public dislike tim henman, but they know who he is and the likes of Fred Perry and Robinsons can bank on this recognition. his name is synonomous with british tennis because of the media, not because of his 11 career singles titles, which is relatively weak to warrant "hero worship". but he has been able to comfortably support his family doing what he loves.
Andy Murray; new on the scene, young, vibrant, likeably arrogant, confident, yet humble, normal looking, yet quite handsome and relatively down to earth. this is a PR agents dream! and without alot of these attributes he may not be as successful. there is a lot to be said for the public's support helping a player's game.....without the media I doubt there would be a fraction of this support.
so like it or not about what they say about the players, the media plays an integral part in the success and career of each player, despite the relationship being often volatile. to a degree im sure this website, and most of its members, are an effect of careful marketing of a local product. they are more aware of andy's successes because of the media, join because of this, and may not know who he was if the media attention did not exist. also guys, where do you think most of ur pics, swfs, jpgs, avatars etc come from, a media photographer. the media actually aids our "hero worship"  as well as creating it, because it serves to maintain it.



i hope i didnt ramble  Wink
[ Last edit by rafa April 22, 2006, 04:55 AM ] IP Logged
arka
Re: Your opinions needed on the media coverage of tennis! « Reply #8 on: April 22, 2006, 05:30 AM »
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Best of luck for your project, Ill do my best. By the way, cool choice of project! goodjob

The best as well as the worst thing that has ever happened to British tennis is Fred Perry. Regarded as tennis' first powerhouse, Perry's domination was similar to that of Sampras or Federer. However, with his retirement he left a haunting shadow on every British male player that followed. Whenever they would see a new player with the letters 'GBR' next to their name, people say the same thing usually, "Is he good enough to match Perry?" or "Can he win Wimbledon like Perry did?" I idolise Perry and regard him as one of the greatest sportspersons of all time, but people and more specifically the media has not been faithful to Fred Perry's legacy by asking such questions to boys who are barely eighteen years of age.

The sad truth about the media is that it usually exists to sell itself. I feel very sorry to say this but the British media is filled with people who are interested in tennis for three weeks a year and try to spend the rest of the year giving us updates on how we are witnessing the rise of yet another great white hope. It’s as if people do not have a career to speak of unless they win Wimbledon. Yes winning Wimbledon is the premium achievement in the tennis world and almost every player in the world craves for a bite of this tempting apple. But the media has no right to decide if Andy Murray is going to set his sights on Wimbledon or not. Andy Murray’s decisions are taken by him and his very able think-tank; he does not need The Sun to guide him, thank you. The media should definitely praise him and make sure Andy is a superhero. British tennis needs a star like him. But the media has no right to treat him as he is being treated.

The media has not been kind to the likes of Tim Henman either; in him we have had our best Open Era player. Yes, he is less talented than a few, but he is one of the hardest workers on the tour and thus is worth of supreme praise. However the media first made sure that he was praised to the greatest possible extent. And now they regard the man as useless. This is sadly what the sports media has reduced too, a new business. They will give what people want to listen and make big money out of it. Once people wanted to believe that Tim will get them a Wimbledon, so that’s what they got. Now people want to think of Henman as a bygone and the media gives them just that. Not for a moment does the media realise that this superhero was made by them, so it is their duty to support him. This is not much short of a betrayal of trust in my opinion.

In my point of view, British tennis will have tough times unless the media changes overnight. Now that we are watching the rise of a new talent in the form of Andy Murray and a few more like Graeme Dyce, Daniel Cox and Daniel Evans to follow, it is the duty of media to take up more responsibility. From the dark days British tennis saw in the early nineties, there has been good progress. No, we don’t have a world beater like the Swiss do, but our progress has been very solid. If the media continues to befuddle teenagers and discard 32 year olds the way they have been doing it, the hard work that has been done will be lost. We will go back to the dark age where we will fail to have a single player in the top 100, let alone a number one.

Unless I am much mistaken, the media has been unfaithful to the Fred Perry legacy and if we are to become a tennis power like the USA, Spain or Argentina are, we need to improve the media alongside our tennis academies.


                                                   ***********************


Sorry if I behaved in too caustic a manner with the media, but those are my most intimate thoughts. Also sorry if that was too long.
[ Last edit by Arka Coeur de Lion April 22, 2006, 12:14 PM ] IP Logged
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Re: Your opinions needed on the media coverage of tennis! « Reply #9 on: April 22, 2006, 12:34 PM »
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There is one word to describe the media coverage of tennis, the motivations behind their actions, the constant thirst for a new hero, the building up and knocking down of out decent players and that is Wimbledon! British players have mainly suffered because of the fact that we host arguably the biggest event on the Tennis calender. Every player wants to win Wimbledon and as a result everyone wants a Brit to win Wimbledon. Wimbledon is popular and Wimbledon sells papers. Everyone in the UK wants the headlines to read one fantastic Monday morning in July, Finally we have a champion! Unfortunately this means that for our young tennis stars the press can be tough. All through the year the media follow their every move hoping to find flashes of inspiration in their game that might indicate the ability to sometime in the future conquer the grass of SW19. The whole issue is epitomised in an article in the Scotsman the week Murray won his maiden title entitled Wimbledon Yardstick for Murray. Andy Murray wins his first ATP tour title, the youngest British man to do so in the Open era and the Scotsman report that he will be judged a failure unless he wins Wimbledon. The British press do their jobs as far as British tennis is concerned, they sell papers. If people want to read that their tennis stars are progressing well or suffering setbacks but gaining experience that's what the press would report. However they don't. People want to hear how well their guys are doing and when they are likely to win Wimbledon. Whole careers are measured against a single Grand Slam win and this is the whole reason behind the Hero worshipping that takes place in the British press. Unfortunately for British Tennis the British people don't realise that tennis exists outside that 3 weeks in July (oh and perhaps the odd Davis cup home tie) and until that changes, the attitudes of the press won't either. Guys like Andy will just have to deal with that as guys like Tim have before him.
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Re: Your opinions needed on the media coverage of tennis! « Reply #10 on: April 23, 2006, 04:27 PM »
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Thanks for all the posts so far! They have all been really helpful.

Keep em coming!

Dan
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