Posted by highhurdler on July 8, 2012
It was over 5 years ago that I wrote on these pages about my other passion and its relation to this one, and referred to an ‘essay’ that I’d written on the topic for my site. (The article is really just a compilation of movies that contain at least one scene – or even a glimpse – of my favorite sport “in action”). Since then, I’ve added dozens of additional “tennis-related” films – some foreign but mostly domestic – the most recent being the seventieth title added to the list: last year’s Academy Award winning Best Picture The Artist (2011), which has a brief scene featuring Bérénice Bejo on a tennis court, coming to the net to shake hands after a mixed doubles match.
So again, I have to wonder, given the mano-a-mano nature of the sport, akin to boxing – an Oscar favorite – which has had more than its share of true, fictionalized truth, or outright original stories produced by Hollywood (annually it seems), why hasn’t a really good tennis biography been made? Is the sport not “blue collar” enough, or is it the lack of violence? The storylines can certainly be as compelling, just look at today’s athletes … look no further than this morning’s Wimbledon finalists (both of whom are making history today):
Another current player with a tantalizing childhood, who ironically was born exactly one week after Murray in 1987, is Novak Djokovic, the number one player in the world (depending upon the result of today’s men’s final); he survived the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia while growing up in Belgrade and has gone on to become a five time (thus far) Grand Slam champion.
On the ladies’ side, obviously there are the Williams sisters (Venus and Serena, who yesterday at Wimbledon won her 14th Grand Slam singles title); they survived a humble (and dangerous) Compton, CA upbringing and were trained by an unconventional “tennis novice” father Richard to become two of the most successful champions in the history of women’s tennis. But also Billie Jean King (O.K., been there, kind of with a TV movie When Billie Beat Bobby (2001)) and Martina Navratilova. Surely one of these stories has a wide enough appeal for a movie-going audience.
So where is the tennis biography movie (that’s not a documentary or just an ESPN special)?
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