“The Changeover” tennis blog has compiled a list of what they think is the 20 top written tennis stories of 2012 plus a list of 10 tennis blogs they can’t live without. It’s a pair of great lists and a lot of great reading for any tennis fan.
and the Top Story:
Philippe Bouin was 27 years old in 1979, when he left his job as an engineer to work as a rewrite man on the tennis desk of L’Équipe, a daily sports newspaper in Paris. Four years later, he sat in the press box at Roland Garros and watched Yannick Noah become the first Frenchman in 37 years to win the nation’s tennis championship. “I was doing statistics and had to take notes on each point,” Bouin said last week, smoking a cigarette in a café in the French Open press center. “It was very exciting, and if you look at the picture in L’Équipe, I’m the only one at match point who is not jumping out of his seat. I was still putting my little tick on the paper.” That photo ran the following day along with a front-page ad, paid for by FILA, that read, “Bravo Yannick, et Merci!”
It’s been almost 30 years since that day, and Bouin is now retired and still waiting for another chance to leap from his chair. France has not produced another men’s champion at its Grand Slam championship, let alone at any of the other three. Only two French women, Amélie Mauresmo and Mary Pierce (who was born in Canada and raised in the United States, but has a French father), have since won Grand Slams. Women’s tennis also matters significantly less in France. (“Maybe because we’re all chauvinists,” one French tennis fan suggested to me.) The tournament media guide has a page listing “Best Years for French Tennis,” and only one of them, Noah’s 1983 victory, occurred after 1950.
Through this, France has managed, however, to produce some of the more entertaining players in the game. Bouin recalled one player who, for no apparent reason, occasionally hit volleys with the side of his racket. Noah looked nothing like an average Frenchman, or the average tennis player, with his caramel skin and dreadlocks, and he has since become more famous as a singer than an athlete. The current generation has produced a particularly strong cast of characters. One of them has said, of his persistent mental fluctuations, “I want to keep my craziness.” Another never misses an opportunity to turn an easy shot into a difficult, acrobatic one. A third, considered the most gifted, was once suspended for testing positive for cocaine, which he said must have gotten into his system through kissing.
Read the rest of the story – HERE