2005-07-02

Quiet, please. Players are waiting...

If it wasn’t for tradition, why would half the world eagerly follow The Championships these days? Grass is probably the worst surface for tennis. It has been abandoned almost everywhere and for good reasons. Not so in London. Tradition, you know, old chap.

Speaking of London, with its ever unpredictable weather and without a decent roof over any court. Why would anyone sponsor an event with entire days of “rain delay”, why would anyone pay a pocketful of pound notes (no Euros here, old boy!) for the opportunity to get soaking wet while waiting for nothing: “Ladies and Gentlemen, play is suspended.” Why do TV companies pay large sums each year for this? It’s tradition, Sir.

Why do almost all players forsake weeks of important training on regular surfaces for a few weeks on grass? Why would a spectator in the year 2005 interrupt whatever he’s doing because the Duchesse of Torquay is arriving: “All rise!”. Tradition seems to be a valid excuse for anything.

A generation ago there were two major grass tournaments, in Melbourne and London. The Aussies then wisely chose hard-court and built a roof over Rod Laver Arena to protect the event from the weather. Not so in London. You know why.

Like it or not, tradition does matter.
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