Thanks to Movies and Video Games, Tennis is Becoming Hot Again
While football remains as popular as ever despite the ongoing concussion scandal, severe mediocrity around the league, and a number of other issues, other sports like basketball and baseball have ebbs and flows. A sport that seems to have been on the decline in recent years, however, is tennis.
Tennis was very popular in the U.S. a decade or so ago when players like Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, and Steffi Graff were at the top of their games. And while the Williams sisters and several superb foreign players are still going strong, the general American public for the most part does not seem terribly interested. However, thanks to some lobs from pop culture, that could be beginning to change.
If the number of tennis fans does start spiking, the genesis could be traced back to an HBO movie that came out last summer. In 7 Days in Hell, Andy Samberg and Kit Harington (Mr. Jon Snow to you) play two pros embroiled in the longest tennis match in history. With cameos from several notable folks, including Will Forte, Michael Sheen, and John McEnroe, the movie packs a lot of comedy into a short film. You can see the trailer here:
Another reason why tennis could soon be getting more attention is because the video games just seem to be getting better, as noted in this post. The Top Spin series lets you play as and against some of the best in the game, including Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, and the graphics are excellent. Plus, you can play it on Wii. If there ever was a sport perfect for playing a game while moving around, tennis is certainly it. But if you do not want to risk smashing your TV with your racket/controller, you will find a less exhausting game on this gaming hub. Their title, Tennis Stars, is a 40-line slots game that lets players feel like they are on center court at Wimbledon, just with a lot less pressure.
An event that took place over 40 years ago could also be instrumental in bringing fans back to tennis. For decades, people have been endlessly fascinated with the Billy Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs “Battle of the Sexes” match from 1973. And now three—count ’em, three—movies about that match are in the works. Perhaps spurred on by the Samberg flick, HBO is working on its own version, which would star Paul Giamatti and Elizabeth Banks.
In a film set for the big screen, Steve Carell will play Riggs while Emma Stone, his former co-star from Crazy, Stupid, Love, will play King. And if that isn’t enough, Will Ferrell will play Riggs in his own movie called Match Maker. This one is expected to be a little different, however, as Ferrell’s film will center on an ESPN article from 2013 that claimed Riggs threw his match with King to settle several gambling debts with the mob.
Although no dates have yet been released for any of these movies, tennis (and movie!) fans definitely have plenty to look forward to in the coming years.