Some people prefer life second-hand


Some people prefer life second-hand

Watching French Open tennis on your smartphone is just not cricket, and neither is the easy money female tennis players earn in the Grand Slams, LOUIS DE VILLIERS reckons.


THE other day I found myself gawping at a fellow watching tennis on his smartphone as Novak Djokovic eliminated the Argentine Francisco Cerúndolo in the fourth round at the French Open.

Why would you want to experience such an event on a phone?

Years ago, a chum and I ended up at a hotel in Salvador, Brazil, one with a dumpy vibe, all we could afford during carnival. The other residents were permanent, sour sorts, mostly huddled in front of the living room TV in vests and underpants.

The carpet was suitably musty.

One morning we woke up to the noise of a helicopter outside the hotel. It belonged to a TV station which every day broadcast carnival celebrations across the country. The helicopter hung right in front of the hotel in Rua Chile, filming the dancers.

And the guys in their vests and underpants kept watching on TV exactly what was happening outside the hotel. If they had got up and walked 10 steps to the balcony, they would have experienced the same scene bodily and live. In colour and widescreen.

As they did at other times, they glared at us in deep distrust when we did so. If it's not on TV, it's not happening.

Back in the day, they seemed like the most useless lunatics we would ever encounter, but they were a warning about the future.

Some people prefer life second-hand.

Lees hierdie artikel in Afrikaans:

Djokovic had played two consecutive five-set matches when he had to withdraw from Wednesday's quarterfinals due to a knee injury.

Time is not your friend, and less than 36 hours earlier the poor man had only been able to pack away his racquets at 3am and take a break. Two tough five-set matches in a row are practically nobody's cup of tea.

Now see, while I feel strongly about equal rights for women, it's about time someone got a little squeamish about women players in Grand Slam tennis tournaments earning as much as men.

Men do not play best-of-five sets in regular ATP tournaments but they do in the Grand Slams. Women consistently play best-of-three.

However outstanding Iga Świątek may be — and her match against Naomi Osaka was still my favourite of this French Open at the time of writing — she never plays more than three sets. And three sets are quite exceptional, since most female players can't make a dent in a castor oil turd.

By the time Djokovic had to give up, he had played 10 sets in fewer than 40 hours. Had he won the tournament, he would have had to play at least twice as much tennis as Świątek, for the same amount of money.

So, equal pay for women? Then play best out of five.

Because, gracious me, after all these years as a spectacle, women's tennis is already behind women's soccer, which needed decades to get an official foothold. The exposure tennis offers is more merciless, true, but the women's draw still contains too many poorly performing rich men's kids. Their counterparts in football were filtered out long ago.


There's World Cup Cricket going on. There is almost always World Cup cricket taking place, soon to take place, or having just taken place, the latter being the mode with which Proteas supporters are best acquainted.

There was World Cup cricket last year and the year before and we make it a matter of national humiliation round the clock.

Cricket, being a fairly eccentric sport, is slightly handicapped when it comes to global possibilities, but big enough. Who on earth wants to see what Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Canada and the USA can do in this sport?

Well, clearly not the Americans; the brand-new cricket ground in New York will not make any difference. As far as I know, South African-born Americans mostly live in the south and west of the country, with accompanying comforts like golf courses and racism.

Yeah, yeah, I know, cheap joke. I have good friends and all that stuff blah blah blah.

But New York clearly doesn't have many South African cricket-heads. The 34,000 seats at Nassau County International Cricket Stadium on Long Island were almost empty when South Africa beat Sri Lanka.

There are matches in Dallas and Fort Lauderdale as well, but these are not going to tickle the Yanks. Why is everyone always trying to convert the Americans to their sport?

They have their own interesting, watchable sports. The only problem with their sports is that the whistle blows all the bloody time. They prefer frequent breaks in the action so they can turn the chicken wings on the coals, top up their mugs or go to the lavvie while the ads go crazy in the background.


Here's an unpopular opinion: I more or less enjoyed the Proteas' showdown with Sri Lanka on Monday. Not even 200 runs were scored, but I preferred that to the relentless walloping of sixes in the just-concluded IPL.

OK, maybe just as a corrective.

In my opinion, pitches prepared for six-hitters are as silly as those dished up in New York on Monday. Pale, with green specks, as if the bloody thing had measles.

Well, tomorrow our men will be playing on it again, this time against the Netherlands. The Cheeses regularly thrash us in white-ball cricket.

Bangladesh await on Monday, and at least it is a Commonwealth country with cricket history, but currently troubled enough for a defeat to qualify as a certain scandal.

This World Cup does accommodate almost a quarter of the world and hands over a cup at the end of it, but the tournament only really starts on the 19th of this month when all the jokers are put back in the pack and flown home.

By that time, the entire cricket world will have tired of it and I'm guessing not a single American will have learnt to appreciate the sport.


The dollar is powerful, so it's understandable that the British and their colonies try to sell their games to the Yanks, but the Yanks already have their own pretty good games, and what the rest of the world does bothers them far less in sport than in politics.

They can't even play watchable soccer; how long will it take them to get the hang of rugby or cricket?

Music is more of a world language, so here are some Yanks for Friday afternoon, just to underline that they can come up with this type of stuff:

Like jazz:

And rock:

And hip hop:

♦ VWB ♦

BE PART OF THE CONVERSATION: Go to the bottom of this page to share your opinion. We look forward to hearing from you.

Speech Bubbles

To comment on this article, register (it's fast and free) or log in.

First read Vrye Weekblad's Comment Policy before commenting.