by Paul McElhinney – “Steve G Tennis” Blog
Here are a few excerpts – Read the whole post – HERE
Much less in the game is now left up to chance and fate. Hawkeye technology has improved the quality of line calls. We see fewer histrionics directed at court officials, as players can now appeal to the unequivocal justice of line technology. Umpires are no longer referred to as ‘the pits of the world’ – players now have recourse to a line of authority without our human failings .
In line with greater understanding of the physiological and technical aspects of the game, has been the wider appreciation of the mental aspects. Where so little in terms of technical and physical ability divides players at the top of the game, the focus for competitive advantage is more on mental strength – again, a trend evident across the sporting world. Given the rise of professionalism in the game, any advantages to be gleaned from psychological, attitudinal or spiritual factors are keenly focused on. More is also known now about proper diet, hydration and rest and recovery periods, highlighting the changes over the 30 years.
The rise of the media has also created a more ‘media savvy’ player, more adept at dealing with the media than in earlier eras. Press conferences can often be a minefield for the top players who require good media skills to cope. Public image is increasingly seen as crucial and with the ubiquity of the media now, players must know how to cope with it effectively. TV, You-Tube, Twitter and Facebook now dominate, whereas for most of the 1980’s public, it was limited to BBC1 and 2, a few newspaper tennis columns and a limited number of tennis magazines.
For all these changes, much about the game remains the same. Sets (non-tie break ones) still involve the winner winning six games, umpires still rule the roost from their high chairs and Wimbledon still serves strawberries and cream. Part of the strength of the game is its being able to balance tradition with evolving developments – a game secure in its past and confident about its future.