Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?

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Lotus
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PostIs tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by Lotus » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:41 am

Talk this morning of Sport England saying that the LTA must have a good summer or risk being stripped of its funding: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/tennis/22902803

I don't really care either way about the funding, but it's the comments on the story that interest me; a lot of talk of tennis being snobbish, elitist, and too expensive or niche.

Anyone have experience of this? Is it the reason we're so lacking in good British players? Or are there other reasons perhaps - the weather, the price of indoor courts, the sport itself just not being able to compete with other, more popular sports.

Thoughts?

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by Xeno » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:47 am

It's far from elitist, you just need to have a racket, ball and somewhere to play, it's the same with most sports. I think the reason they have such a hard time getting people in to it is due to it being uber dull (now to wait for Cutty, Kil and Smurphy to tell me I'm wrong).

It's down to the sports governing body to try and combat the perceptions people have of the sport.

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by DML » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:04 am

I would hardly say the 'perception' of the sport is why the sport is suffering - we champion and make tennis exciting more then any other country.

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by Return_of_the_STAR » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:07 am

Xeno wrote:It's far from elitist, you just need to have a racket, ball and somewhere to play, it's the same with most sports. I think the reason they have such a hard time getting people in to it is due to it being uber dull (now to wait for Cutty, Kil and Smurphy to tell me I'm wrong).

It's down to the sports governing body to try and combat the perceptions people have of the sport.


If you don't know how to play or don't have the patience to learn then tennis is extremely dull because the ball keeps going out and u spend all your time going to pick a ball up. I played for my school so I can play as long as its against someone who can hit the ball back. If not then it's as boring as strawberry float.

Tv viewing figures for Wimbledon clearly show that there is great public interest in watching transport on tv but as I say of u r a novice and don't want to put the effort into learning then it's no fun at all.

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by Skarjo » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:18 am

I think the mechanics of the sport itself are what makes it 'elitest' (if that's the right word).

For one thing, it demands a lot of space given how many people get to play. You can trace a lot of sports that England traditionally does well in back to how easy they to play at school and for a class of thirty, having enough courts for them all to be playing at once is unfeasible for most schools, not to mention the equipment needed like nets/rackets etc. Compare that to one football field with one ball and a couple of goal markers and it's easy to see why schools might not be able to offer tennis as an option.

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by That's not a growth » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:21 am

Skarjo wrote:I think the mechanics of the sport itself are what makes it 'elitest' (if that's the right word).

For one thing, it demands a lot of space given how many people get to play. You can trace a lot of sports that England traditionally does well in back to how easy they to play at school and for a class of thirty, having enough courts for them all to be playing at once is unfeasible for most schools, not to mention the equipment needed like nets/rackets etc. Compare that to one football field with one ball and a couple of goal markers and it's easy to see why schools might not be able to offer tennis as an option.


I agree completely. Hell, for football at school during dinner we just used our bags as posts.

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by Octoroc » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:27 am

If I'm desperate for entertainment, I might watch Wimbledon. I like the scoring system in tennis- it allows for great comebacks. Not unlike darts in that respect.

Where are the tennis courts now though? Round our way they've all had houses built on them.

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by KK » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:41 am

I've been to Wimbledon many times over the years, and in terms of people who frequent the place, it can certainly feel somewhat elitist at times. Don't get me wrong, it's a very nice atmosphere. But to boil it right down, I'd rather a beer, in contrast to the majority who are knocking back the champagne and Pimms.

I usually have tickets, but when I have queued up there's not many other places in my experience where, with the Mirror, Sun and Daily Mail on offer, you see men in their 20s choosing to go with the Daily Mail.

In terms of kids taking it up, there aren't exactly many public school with a tennis court attached. And most parks would rather go with a concrete basketball court or skate park. Where are the facilities?

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by Fatal Exception » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:42 am

I'd say not really, there are much more snobby sports, such as anything equestrian, #POLO, rowing or
Golf. They just get bumpain because we suck at Tennis and the British poster boy is now a sour faced personality void of a Scot who hates the biggest part of the UK.

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by Errkal » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:47 am

KKLEIN wrote:
In terms of kids taking it up, there aren't exactly many public school with a tennis court attached. And most parks would rather go with a concrete basketball court or skate park. Where are the facilities?


We are quite lucky where i live that around the town there are 4 places with courts to hire / free to use. Most people dont use them though as the schools don't bother with it I assume because its easier to run football / rugby etc. as they ahve larger teams which is easier to sort with larger classes, as well as schools not having the facilities as what was once fields is covered by new class rooms.

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by Fatal Exception » Tue Jun 18, 2013 11:48 am

Errkal wrote:
KKLEIN wrote:
In terms of kids taking it up, there aren't exactly many public school with a tennis court attached. And most parks would rather go with a concrete basketball court or skate park. Where are the facilities?


We are quite lucky where i live that around the town there are 4 places with courts to hire / free to use. Most people dont use them though as the schools don't bother with it I assume because its easier to run football / rugby etc. as they ahve larger teams which is easier to sort with larger classes, as well as schools not having the facilities as what was once fields is covered by new build homes.


Fixed that last part for you.

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by Errkal » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:02 pm

Not so much round here, I cant think of any school in the area I am that has had houses built where there was once fields. Just new school buildings.

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by Fatal Exception » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:05 pm

Errkal wrote:Not so much round here, I cant think of any school in the area I am that has had houses built where there was once fields. Just new school buildings.

Must just be my home town :dread: Lots of them sold off their playing fields to housing developments.

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by Errkal » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:15 pm

Most of ours didn't have the fields to start with so didn't have them to spare, the one I went to has masses of land but are a sports college so use it all. I was lucky really as most schools had 2 fields and a few flats we had 6 Rugby Pitches, 6 Football fields, 2 cricket pitches full running track with all the track and field stuff and 6 gyms.

Oddly though now I dont do much sport ...

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by Slartibartfast » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:22 pm

The institutions and many clubs are elitist, but the sport itself (accessibility to facilities, how widespread it is (facking everywhere) and so on) is not.

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by Lotus » Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:33 pm

Tennis Europe's 2012-13 report shows that, despite similar populations, France has three times more clubs than Britain, 11,000 more courts, five times the number of indoor courts and 7,000 more coaches.


We had courts at my secondary school and sixth form, but we rarely used them. Nobody gave a gooseberry fool about tennis unless you were one of the few who got selected to take part in after-school clubs.

There are plenty of stories of clubs refusing membership on questionable grounds. I don't know..for me I've just never found tennis that interesting, and it's certainly not as popular with young people compared to some other sports (football, rugby, cricket).

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by zXe » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:07 pm

It's better than cricket, a lot better.

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by Xeno » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:15 pm

zXe wrote:It's better than cricket, a lot better.


Not even close to being right.

Falsey wrote:
Xeno wrote:Chewing takes effort. What he needs is Emma Watson to chew his food then transfer it to him for him to swallow.

I dont know why, but that sounds strawberry floating incredible.

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by ~Earl Grey~ » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:46 pm

It's about a million times harder than it looks on TV, that's all I can say....

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PostRe: Is tennis a niche and/or elitist sport?
by 1cmanny1 » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:48 pm

Kind of. Anyone can play it, but it is perceived as a rich thing.

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