Advertisement

Nostalgic for city tennis, and when players didn't scream with every shot

Remembering when there was great tennis in city parks, and when players didn't scream with every shot.

Reading the obituary of Dr. Kenneth Volk Sr. (“Dr. Kenneth W. Volk Sr., longtime Towson dentist, tennis aficionado and coach,” June 4) brought back memories of some great tennis in the city's parks — Clifton and Druid Hill — years ago. My brother Bill and I played in many local tournaments in the 1950s and had the pleasure of watching Volk and his partner play doubles along with many others.

There was no dress code for these tournaments, but everyone wore white. There was no behavior code, but everyone was there to hit the ball as best as he or she could, and not to scream at the top of their lungs with each stroke. Those matches were hard-fought in the summer heat, but players did not have to grab a towel for a wipe-down after each point.

Advertisement

Watching today's major tournaments like the just-completed French Open makes one long for the old days of tennis. Many of today's players dress like they are going to mow the lawn. What about showing some respect for the game? And what's with the obsession to be handed a towel after each point to wipe their face, arms, hands, legs and who knows what else, and hand or toss it to the poor ballgirl or ballboy? And finally, the ultimate of aggravations, the screaming of some players with each hit of the ball. And let's call out some of the top players on this — Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova and this year's French Open champion, Simona Halep. To the spectator, this screaming is annoying and distracting. To the screamer's opponent, it displays extremely poor sportsmanship. For some reason, this elephant in the living room is never mentioned by tennis commentators or interviewers.

We shouldn't have to impose codes to fix the above. Players, and their coaches, need only be guided by showing respect for their opponents, the ballboys and ballgirls, the spectators, and the game of tennis. They should take a moment to review matches from the ‘50s — and dress properly, quit the point-by-point towel-downs, and, please, stop the screaming!

Donald T. Torres, Ellicott City

Advertisement
Advertisement