Wait. Patrick thinks fans are turned off by dull athletes. Jake thinks the problem isn't dull players per se, just that the bores aren't American. As a wise man once said "You cannot be serious!"
Puh-lease. Every fan of a second-tier sport in this country trots out the old "Americans-only-like-sports-we-win" excuse. It's weak. Let me guess: Tennis just needs, wait for it, a Tiger Woods. With a dynamic American performer TV ratings would surely soar, right? You mean the way swimming took off after Michael Phelps? Both of you are saying, in essence, blame the fan. And you both seem to put the cart before the horse. Or, rather, the volley before the serve. At least you would, if volleys still existed.
Patrick was so right when he noted how changes in rules and equipment destroyed the serve-and-volley game. He was wrong to be sanguine about it. MLB has no problem telling players to use wood bats. The NHL regulates sticks to the millimeter. But the lords of tennis let equipment-makers run roughshod over the sport, changing it from a game of creativity and finesse into a baseline-bashing contest.
Well, create a sport where only grinders can win, you get a sport full of grinders, American or not.
The sport's leadership seems determined to crush whatever personality the players have, too. With laser-like focus on the issues facing his game, Wimbledon's chief executive Ian Ritchie last week declared that he would "prefer to see less grunting" in the tournament.
Emma, where do you stand on the all-important grunting question?