Useful Notes Tennis Discussion

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07:53:33 AM Aug 5th 2013
edited by
OK I'd like to start off by saying that I love how much content there is and how people are so willing to keep it accurate and up to date. Tennis fandom represent!

But, I was wondering if anyone else feels like the page might be getting a little intimidating for people who don't spend a lot of time here in terms walls of text?

It's just that there is a lot of writing and I have been looking through trying to rephrase things or get rid of extraneous words and phrases but I feel really bad doing it because people took the time to write that.

So I did make the Sabine Lisicki edit that links here as an example of an idea I had to keep all the glorious details and information but making the page as a whole look clearer and more accessible. I.e. make the statement about how an example applies to a trope, then put the little details of dates and names and statistics that add evidence to the example but aren't necessarily crucial to understanding how the trope applies, under note. [I have no idea if this would be note abuse or something please tell me if it is]

So what I'm asking here is, is it just me who feels the need for this?

If so I'll be quiet and carry on as before and stop being whiny.

If not, do you have any ideas/views on how to make the page less texttexttexttext without losing the quality?
05:39:55 PM Nov 11th 2012
edited by ToTheEdge
Ok, so basically I think this article gets really really technical without call for it.

The bits that explain about points and rankings and especially the courts are massive walls of text with so much detail that if I was just casually reading about tennis I would not care about at all.

I propose cutting it right down to something as basic as:

- Grass: the ball bounces fast and low so players who can serve fast have an advantage. Grass tactics include moving closer to the net to hit a winner. Not used very much because it's expensive, but famously at Wimbledon.

- Clay: the ball bounces slow and high so it's harder to win points quickly because players have more time to hit the ball back. Clay tactics include hanging around the back of the court trying to force an error. Clay court season is May-ish and finishes with the French Open

for example.

BUT - I don't know who put all of the extra details in there so I wanted second opinions over whether they're appropriate.

I'll admit I did the rank system and I'd like a second opinion on whether that's needed, if its over detailed or how to cut down with it still being clear. I basically wrote a ton of that because I didn't know how much I should explain and how much I should assume people get from minimal explanation.
12:16:23 AM Nov 23rd 2012
I actually don't think this article is that bad about the technical details; I remember reading this page back when I knew next to nothing about tennis and not really minding the length of the court/ranking entries. It's nowhere near as bad as the American Football article, at least.

That said, I do agree that the court and ranking sections could use a bit of polishing and tightening up. I think it's fine for you to go ahead and try to condense the court explanations, and maybe I'll take a shot at making the ranking system clearer later on, or at least explaining why Serena Williams can be ranked just No. 3 after winning practically everything in the latter half of 2012.
04:30:21 PM Nov 24th 2012
edited by Lemia
I just tried my hand at revising the Rankings section to be more understandable to general readers. Feel free to tell me what you think about it:

In 1973 a system to rank all professional tennis players was put in place, with separate ranking lists for men and women. The system is points-based and looks only at the last 52 weeks of the calendar.

Basically, players gain points for every match they play (even if they lose), with the number of points increasing the further they progress into a tournament. The amount of points at stake varies with the tournament, with the Grand Slams giving each winner 2000 points and the smaller tournaments offering anywhere from 250 to 1000 points for a win.

Only points accumulated in the last 52 weeks are included in the rankings, however, which means that for each yearly tournament the points earned by their players from last year are erased and replaced with their newest results. This means that a low-ranked player can shoot up several ranking spots with a single exceptional performance at a major tournament, but also that the same player can crash back down the ranking list if s/he fails to "defend" their points at the same tournament next year (assuming that their performances at all other tournaments are the same as last year's).

[Insert your explanations about seeded/unseeded/wildcards/qualifiers here]

Of course, the official rankings aren't the whole story and it's important to keep in mind that Grand Slams aren't the only events that matter points-wise (in spite of what news coverage of them might imply), which means that it's perfectly possible for a player to not win a single Slam and still finish the year as No. 1 if the Slam points were really spread out among other players and the player performed exceptionally well in all other tournaments. Or for a player to win two Grand Slams and still not be ranked No. 1 if they didn't make it very far in the other Slams and skipped a lot of smaller tournaments. The ITF World Champion awards given out at the end of the year are usually more indicative of the actual stand-out players in cases like these.

As for the Courts section, I've begun recently thinking that more casual fans/readers might be more interested in a basic overview of the year-long tennis schedule and the biggest events in it than details of how fast or slow courts are. The Courts section could be changed into an "Events" one with the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open, and "Other Tournaments" as the main bullet points, and some of the more interesting details of how clay and grass courts work could be merged with more general info about the French Open and Wimbledon. Plus, I haven't seen a single mention of the year-end championships in this article and I think it's an event that deserves at least a bullet point for its unique format.
09:56:41 AM Nov 25th 2012
edited by ToTheEdge
First off: ranking re-write That reads really well, the language is much clearer and it's a far better length. The only line I might change slightly would be in the second paragraph: "awarding anywhere from 250 to 1500 points to the champion." maybe? I'm just wary of making a clear difference between winning a match and winning a tournament. Apart from that I think it's good to go.

I do think that the length is necessary for how much information is given, if that makes sense. I personally think the info given is quite interesting but the way it's written is bordering on walls of text that are so saturated with detail and semi-technical terms I was worried it might be… intimidating? boring? for a casual reader. It's good to know you didn't think there was a problem with the content as a relative beginner (that feels really patronising to type, I'm a fairly recent inductee to the world of tennis fans myself), but a complete restructure sounds like the best way to display the information attractively.

Perhaps the "Events" section could also include mentions of the Davis/Fed/Hopman Cup and their format. Are you thinking it could be in terms of a chronological overview of the tennis season, or listing the Grand Slams as the most important tournaments (with details, explanations etc), followed by Year End Champs / WT Fs, then a brief explanation of tiers etc etc?

Also, could I pick your brains about the language?

It's just that the article jumps from explaining that the ball can only bounce once inside the white lines, to using the terms volley and topspin, and expecting the reader to understand what a short ball is and why a baseliner would want one. The problem is really that there's so much content already, should these terms be defined like in the Ice Hockey article, or just cut because they're not relevant to the casual reader? I certainly think that topspin wouldn't be particularly missed.

Finally, the picture. (This has literally only just this second occurred to me after looking at the Cricket Rules article, so feel free to shoot it down.) Would it be an advantage to have a more diagram-y image? Or do you think descriptions are enough? I'm not very spatially aware so I have difficulty picturing things in my head from words, so idk. The thing about the diagram on the cricket page is that it's making a kind of funny point and the image is the only outright humorous part of this page, so maybe we don't want to lose it?

OK I'm rambling now.
03:53:41 PM Nov 25th 2012
edited by Lemia
Thanks for the suggestion; I just edited the article with the new Rankings text.

I was thinking along the lines of listing the Grand Slams first in chronological order, then a one or two bullet points summarizing the less prominent tournaments in some fashion like this:

  • Australian Open (late Jan - early Feb in Melbourne): The first major event and Grand Slam in the tennis season. It takes place on hard courts, the most recent and common type of court surface*. Also known for its swelteringly hot temperatures and its 2012 final which became the longest-ever Grand Slam final at nearly six hours.

  • French Open (late May - early June in Paris): Also known as Roland Garros, it takes place on clay courts that favor defenders due to their slowness and high bounce giving players more time to reach the ball and return it in ways difficult for their opponent to hit. Because of this, it was historically considered to be the hardest Grand Slam to win with many great players' tactics being ill-suited for the clay surface and many French Open champions being clay-court specialists who performed poorly at other Slams, until more recent times. Also known for its racuous crowds who aren't shy about booing their unfavorites, which includes 7-time champion Rafael Nadal.

  • Wimbledon (late June - early July in London): The Grand Slam that most people think of first when tennis is mentioned. It uses grass courts that favor attackers due to their speed and low bounce giving players less time to return big serves and volleys* hit by their opponents, although the courts have been slowed down recently to encourage longer rallies. At least twenty complaints are printed every year about this "slowing-down". Also known for its all-white dress code and rain showers delaying play, although a roof installed in 2009 has mitigated the latter. Roger Federer, who has won a record-tying 7 trophies here, has been dubbed Wimbledon's "Favorite Son".

  • US Open (late Aug - early Sept in New York City): The last Grand Slam of the season (but not the "true" end of the season), it has the highest attendance record of all Slams. Like the Australian Open, it's played on hard courts that fall somewhere in between the slowness of clay courts and the fastness of grass courts. Unlike all other Slams, its venue doesn't have a roof which means that gusting winds and match-delaying rains frequently affect play. It is also the only Slam that decides a 6-6 final set by a tiebreak system instead of the "win by 2 games in the final set" rule, which (un)fortunately means that there's no chance of its matches becoming a 3-day epic like Wimbledon's 2010 Isner-Mahut match.

  • Year-End Championships (Oct. for the women, Nov. for the men): The event that marks the true end of the tennis season, the YEC is ideally supposed to determine the No. 1 player with only the top eight players in the world being pitted against each other in separate tournaments for the men and women. More often, what happens instead is that there's already a runaway No. 1 who doesn't even need to win the YEC to be the clear Player of the Year, and the fun of the YEC lies more in its unique round-robin format that lets people see their favorites play for at least three guaranteed matches in the opening rounds*. Also worth watching for the dramatically-lit entrances of players and the Confetti Drop during the trophy ceremony.

  • Other tournaments (various dates/places): The smaller tournaments that don't get as much publicity as the Grand Slams but are still important to top-ranked players who are required to enter a certain number (but not all) of them, and lower-ranked players who can farm ranking points at low-profile tournaments higher-ranked players are unlikely to bother with. The tournaments usually serve as lead-ins to a Slam, such as the clay-court Madrid and Rome tournaments that precede the French Open, or mainly to ensure that the players never get a moment of rest even between Grand Slams with even the lull period between the US Open and YEC being jam-packed with multiple Asian tournaments. Suffice it to say that players can consider themselves blessed if they don't get a single cramp or injury during their 10/11-month-long season. Professional tennis is no endeavour for the faint-hearted or weak-legged.

And then there would be a bullet point about the Fed/Hopman/Davis Cups preceding or following the YEC paragraph, but I unfortunately don't know much about them other than the Czech Republic recently beating out Spain for the Davis Cup. Suggestions?

Once again, feel free to make suggestions and tell me if these bullet points would be too long or detailed for casual readers, because I am a natural rambler too. :)

ETA: As for the page image, tennis doesn't have the absurdly complicated field of cricket and I think we already have the humor of tennis's "ludicrous" scoring system. We could replace it with a picture of a player smashing a racquet, though, if we wanted even more humor about tennis being true Serious Business.
07:27:16 PM Nov 25th 2012
edited by ToTheEdge
I would say that the French doesn't have a roof, so maybe tweak the US Open entry to say "Unlike the Australian Open..." (I know Wimbledon does too, but that just makes more sense with the previous sentence).

Also in the Australian Open maybe the word "modern" instead of "recent"? Or "recently introduced"?

Right Davis Cup description, here goes nothing:
  • Team tournaments (various dates/places): There are three tournaments in which teams of players compete for their country; the Hopman Cup, the Fed Cup and the Davis Cup. The Hopman Cup takes place in December/January in Australia and follows the same round robin format as the YEC. Except three matches are played to determine the winner of an encounter (this is known as a 'tie' and the matches as 'rubbers'), teams include one male and one female player and the tie is made up of a women's singles, a men's singles and a mixed doubles match. The Fed and Davis Cups are solely women's and men's events respectively. Ties are made up of five rubbers (two singles, one doubles, two singles) following a straight knock-out format, take place on selected weekends throughout the year and are held in one of the competing countries. The finals are both held in November by which time everyone's so confused they can't remember who's playing who(m). In 2012 the Czech Republic became the first country to win all three titles in the same year. <optional

Was that at all comprehensible?

I know when I first read the rules it took me three tries to get my head around it, but I left out the confusing stuff about World Groups, group playoffs, relegations etc etc because I think its a bit unnecessary for just a basic understanding?

What I do like about the picture is that it won't become irrelevant and it also doesn't imply any kind of favouritism. However just so we have some resources/options:

Some selected racquet smashing: McEnroe Djokovic Murray Federer Baghdatis Roddick Tomic Wawrinka Zvonareva "Guys...I don't think that's how it works"
11:45:48 PM Nov 25th 2012
Oh. I didn't know that the French Open had a roof. *le embarrassed* I'll be sure to fix that in the final draft, as well as the Australian Open description.

I admittedly got a tad confused in the middle of reading your description, so maybe this would work better:
  • Team tournaments (various dates/places): There are three tournaments in which teams of players compete for their country: the Fed Cup for women, the Davis Cup for men, and the Hopman Cup for both. The Hopman Cup takes place in Dec/Jan in Australia and follows the same general "round-robin for the opening matches, knock-out for the semis and finals" format of the YEC, with every team playing matches against each of the other 3 teams in its group, except that they have to play each team not only once but thrice with a men's singles, women's singles, and mixed doubles match. The Fed and Davis Cups, in contrast, follow a much more straightforward knock-out format but take almost the entire year and globe to complete with teams having to keep track of not only which country they're supposed to be traveling to next but also five matches over three days* with their current opponent. The finals are both held in Nov., by which time everyone's so confused they can't remember who's playing whom.

04:50:31 PM Nov 26th 2012
Nonoes! It doesn't!

The sentence says "Unlike all other Slams, its venue doesn't have a roof". But RG doesn't either. So I was thinking instead of making it longwinded and saying AO and W, just say AO, because then it echoes? And the italics were because that was how I was reading it in my head:

Like the Australian Open this... Unlike the Australian Open that...

Sorry! I didn't mean to be confusing!

The description is good - very clear, you're better than I am at this ;)

We'll just have to make sure there's no references to rubbers and ties anywhere else on the page if someone's talking about the tournaments.

Looking really good now :)
09:45:20 PM Nov 26th 2012
Oh. I actually meant to phrase that as "I didn't know that the French Open didn't have a roof." *facepalms* I must have been more tired than I thought when I wrote that reply.

Great! I just updated the article. Anything else you think needs revising?
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