If one was to observe the tennis world this week, it wouldn’t take long to notice the deafening silence which is the tennis atmosphere at the moment.
Flagship tournaments for this week (don’t laugh), the Nordea Open and the Hall of Fame Open in Newport, offer a very worrying glimpse into the sport which is bipolar in it’s interest from the majority of the general public of the world.
Last night, the world number 9 of tennis, Felix Auger-Aliassiame, was playing against a relatively unknown, but quality journeyman prospect, Jason Kubler.
One can truly wonder the astronomically low number of people who likely tuned into that match. In terms of the general public, the utter lack of interest in watching tennis, most of the year, is the elephant in the living room, and uncomfortable truth, which nobody wants to address.
The most shocking element of this all, is that tennis likely pulls worse numbers during the regular season, than many other sport during their off-seasons.
It is almost certain that the number of people watching off-season editions of shows such as Undisputed, trump the combined viewership of any tennis tournament running this week, during its regular season.
For most of the general public, naming a single WTA player outside of perhaps Serena Williams or Naomi Osaka, would be impossible.
On the men’s side, if one was to conduct a survey of the general public, you would also be hard pressed to find anybody who could name any of the current men’s top 10, outside of Nadal or Djokovic.
The vast majority of the general public likely do not know, or care, that tennis exists outside of the majors, and this is a huge problem. It is a dire reality, and it is quite unfathomable that the general public’s interest in tennis is virtually non-existent outside of the majors. Even during the majors, over the past 2 years, there were plenty of people who wondered “when is Serena coming on”- totally unaware that she was not participating in that major. And they are not wrong, tennis is simply not watched. Some of the general public, in the midst of majors, may even ask when Nadal is playing Federer.
Tennis is heading down a dire, dire path, and for a sport which, according worldatlas.com. boasts as being the 5th most popular sport in the world, there is something that is seriously awry.