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Greg is a national columnist for FoxSports.com. His personal tennis blog, gregcouch.com, appears on the Yardbarker.com network
I can talk tennis all day long, and often do. And yet some of the people I talk to about it might rather I talk about something else.
Or with someone else.
That’s how it is with tennis, right? Sort of an addiction. Sort of a high.
I am a national college football and tennis insider for FoxSports1 TV, and a columnist for FoxSports.com. My passion is tennis. I play a lot, and I’ve been able cover a lot of it for the past few years. Before coming to Fox, I was a national general sports columnist at Sportingnews.com, and AOL Fanhouse. My longest stop was as a sports columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times.
I’m pretty sure that in 2010, I was the only American sports writer to cover the full two weeks of all four majors, and also to cover each of the U.S. Masters series events. So I’ve seen a lot of tennis, talked with a lot of players, coaches, agents, executives.
I watched from a few rows behind the line judge as Serena rolled that foot onto the baseline for the footfault, a good call, at the 2009 U.S. Open. I sat forever watching a John Isner marathon, leaving for Wimbledon village to watch an England World Cup soccer game at a pub and then returning for hours of Isner, sitting a few feet from his wrecked coach.
I got to see Novak Djokovic and Robin Soderling joke around on a practice court on the middle Sunday at Wimbledon, placing a small wager on a tiebreaker. Djokovic won, and Soderling pulled a bill out of his wallet, crumpled it into his fist and threw it at Djokovic, who unwadded it, kissed it, and told me, “My work is done here.’’
And when Rafael Nadal won the French Open in 2010, I finished my column, walked back out onto the court, and filled an empty tic tac container with the red clay. I’m looking at it right now.
So I love the game. But I don’t always see it the same way others do. I think too many members of the tennis media don’t show respect for the game. They try to by gushing over all things tennis. But tennis fans like a good argument about their game just as much as football fans like one about theirs. And I think my background as a player and also as a columnist in the tough sports town of Chicago give me a different view, a different approach.
I can be hard on tennis, particularly on the characters in suits running it. Tennis has no less scandal and dirt than any other game. Yet somehow, it seems to be covered up, usually from an incredible web of conflicts of interest.
I promise to always tell the truth as I see it. Of course, I would appreciate it if you’d let me know when I’m wrong. I love sports arguments and hope to be in a few of them with you here.
Personal info: One-handed backhand, serve-and-volleyer.