By Mark Bodenrader, USTA.com
When we asked readers to send in their holiday wish-lists, we encouraged them to be creative with their desired gifts. As a result we received a nice cross-section of wish-lists, from the pragmatic to the abstract to the absurd. Perfect.
Of course, we didn’t request just any wish-lists from our loyal readers; we wanted tennis-related wish-lists. And when seeking out such lists, a popular response typically is the chance to meet/play with a great pro player.
All I want for Christmas would be the opportunity to be able to hit some balls with someone that I have admired for a long time.
The player is Chris Evert. She showed us grace and a true winning style on the tennis court. This for me would be a dream come true.
Merry Christmas to all!
I would like to play popcorn with Patrick Rafter.
Ever the journalist, I was curious as to why one would choose Patrick Rafter to play with out of all the possible names, for Sandy does not go into an explanation. Not that there’s anything wrong with selecting Rafter. I was equally curious as to why one would choose to play popcorn. My associates and I could only surmise that Sandy is probably from Australia and thinks Rafter is “dreamy,” for lack of a better term. We could be wrong.
Moving on, a couple of readers took the opportunity to tackle controversial topics and wish for changes.
I wish U.S. colleges would have more U.S. players and less players from other countries!
I am very tired of paying tens of thousands of dollars a year in taxes and not seeing our own children or children in our state have a chance to play at the college level.
It’s disgusting. No wonder so many tennis programs have gone under. Who would want to continue to support this? I for one will push for college tennis to be eliminated rather than keep paying other people to play.
I wish for the development of a rating system that would be fair and equitable to all players. The current system is simply not working and this is reflected in the massive re-rating that has recently taken place. When computer-rated players are honestly using the current rating system and then are red-flagged and prevented from continuing to play during post-season, the system is failing these players.
My wish: a better rating system!
I can totally understand this approach. We all go through our idealistic phase – typically around college -- when we tell our friends and family we want all the money that would have been used for gifts to be donated to some charity for disadvantaged children in a Third World country.
Ultimately, we relent to our materialistic nature, but it’s still a noble gesture while it lasts.
Then it becomes an issue of just how high you should shoot. As you might expect, there are dreamers out there that reach for the stars without keeping their feet on the ground.
Such is the case with Beth W. of New York, who decided to go for broke in her wish-list.
- My own indoor/outdoor tennis and training facility with all court surfaces...
- All the top pro coaches as my full time staff; a general manager with an unlimited source of funds so I don't have to bother...
- All the pros of every generation who are still playing as personal hitting partners, advisors and friends...
- The top fitness trainers in the business working with me daily (and others in their spare time... I'll share)...
- A top medical staff on hand for injuries, of which I want to have none (but it is reassuring to know they are there)...
- A team of sports massage experts...
- A five star vegetarian spa cuisine chef...
- My own favorite hometown pro to be guaranteed a long healthy life so he can oversee and approve all my training and remain No. 1 among the pro coaches as well as enjoy this whole deal with me...
- A sports psych department; tech department...
- A never-ending supply of Nike Vapor S2's in my size and in every color to go with my never ending supply of fabulous tennis fashion wear (throw in hair and make-up artists?)...
- Competition at every level as I improve my game with all this help (hey, I am not asking or a perfect game -- that I want to earn)...
- Health and happiness for my entire family and friends...
- World peace; the cure for cancer...
- and Marat Safin as eye candy (Too bad my husband got to me first!)...
- After that the trophies are up to me!
Beth W., NY
Take a second to digest all that or to perhaps catch your breath. I can wait.
(doing last-minute online shopping)
Beth’s imagination and optimism are to be admired, but she obviously lives in a different reality than most of us. Historically, Santa Claus and Hannukah Harry have had problems (fiscal problems, my parents relay to me) coming through with some of the more elaborate gifts. As a result, shooting too high can have catastrophic repercussions, because if you fail to provide them with any realistic gift guidance, the next thing you know you’ll find yourself unwrapping a tennis ball signed by Ivan Ljubicic's trainer or an autographed headshot of Dick Enberg.
This has not been lost on our readers, as a good number of them asked for presents they have a solid shot of receiving.Hi my name is Erika R. and here is my tennis wish-list:
- Head Airflow 5 tennis racket
- 2007 US Open tickets
- Maria Sharapova apparel
- Andy Roddick apparel
- Pro lessons
Putting on my wish-list for the new year/holiday is a very nice pair of tickets for the 2007 US Open. Hey, it could happen right? : )
All I want for Christmas is a tennis bag that can accommodate my jacket, extra balls, water bottle and any other misc. stuff a girl can cram. I'm only using my racket cover that came with the racket and it's seriously lacking in space.
Please let Santa bring more and better Andre Agassi memorabilia. I am looking for some great shots framed larger than 8x10. Shots from this year’s US Open.
Maybe our next reader has the best approach, which is to cover all areas. You know, throw in some items you’re likely to receive, some you might get and some that offer a .01 percent chance of happening. Hey, you’ll never know unless you try.
Incidentally, either the reader has decided to remain anonymous or in a strange coincidence her name is actually Merry Christmas.
A one week all expenses paid tennis trip to South Carolina (Vandermeer)
Private lessons with Nick Bollettieri
Tickets to the US Open
A house with a tennis court
Anyway, a big thanks to all who sent in their wish-lists this year and also for keeping USTA.com's Player to Player a productive and helpful feature.
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