Fault – tennis and bastardised English

The impossible dream? Roger Federer – pic courtesy of Yann Caradec

If I blogged every instance of people in professional sport talking nonsense, I would never be away from my laptop, but I refuse to let tennis off the hook for the garbage it continues to spout when discussing its four biggest titles.

Roger Federer can win another Grand Slam, says former coach Paul Annacone. Oh he can, can he? Win the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open all in the same calendar year? That would be some achievement, undoubtedly, from a 35-year-old.

Only that’s not what Annacone has in mind, of course. In reporting his opinions, the BBC is simply falling into line with the imprecision common to everyone involved with pro tennis, it seems – applying the term ‘Grand Slam’ to a mere component of a Grand Slam. Annacone simply thinks Federer has one more big-four title in him.

So why not say so? Golf has found a way of avoiding such mangled nomenclature, by referring to each of its own principal championships – Masters, US Open, The Open and USPGA Championship – as ‘a Major’ (collectively as ‘the Majors’). Why on earth couldn’t tennis adopt this same label (as occurs elsewhere in the article, ironically) and save the term ‘Grand Slam’ for when it is actually warranted?

We have grown sadly accustomed to the ‘all must have prizes’ mentality seeping into Society. This ‘all must have the ultimate prize’ presumption, however, is a distortion too far.

New words, please.


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