I have toyed with becoming a blogger for a couple of years now. But two things always stopped me. First, I saw how narcissistic most blogs are and I resolved not to join the community of navel-gazers gabbing about their breakfast cereal. I'm self-centered enough as it is - I don't need a blog to further inflate my importance to the human race.
Second, although I always have plenty to say, I was conflicted about whether my opinions, in all their impassioned, rational glory, were important enough to be heard. Over the years I've tended to rely on the rule of thumb I developed back in law school, when I was forced to listen to law students who loved nothing more than the sound of their own voice: In those days of total agony punctuated by tennis and the occasional donut, I resolved to volunteer in class only when I had something new to offer, or when the entire class was missing the point.
Blogs can be annoying, but they have also proved immensely useful as counterpoints to the mainstream media, as well as outlets for discussion and debate. Sports blogs are just now coming into their own. They are needed for the same reason we need them in politics, to challenge media insiders by providing a perspective that isn't tainted by journalists who need access or have an axe to grind.
Tennis is woefully under-covered in the US. Few American newspapers have regular tennis writers anymore. The AP's tennis articles are pathetic recitations of scores and boring quotes. Sports news here is dominated by one entity, ESPN, and that makes things even worse because tennis is often bashed by the four-letter even while the network tries to be the place for tennis on tv. Tennis journalism is dominated by a few personalities. Some are good, some are bad (and you'll be hearing about them soon), but it concerned me to see the four-letter merge with Tennis magazine late last year. Every time a deal like that gets done it's negative for the tennis fan. Do we really need another outlet for Peter (B)dodo?
When necessary, I will be this sport's biggest cheerleader. When it is wronged by the media I will bash the bashers. When something sensational happens you'll hear about it. But I won't sugarcoat things either. When women's tennis is sucking rotten eggs, I'll be talking about it. We're going to dish it up raw.
So tennis fans, this blog's for you. I've followed and played tennis for as long as you have and you deserve a critical analysis of matches, news and hot-button issues. That's what this blog will be. And all served up with a wicked slice of gossip.
First set. Muze to serve.