Wooden Tennis

Wooden Tennis

Wooden Tennis

Arts and arguments in the news.
Sept. 5 2001 10:30 PM

Wooden Tennis

Over in Flushing, Queens (where New York's gay parade should surely begin its procession one day), the tennis has been very good, but would it be even better if the players were forced to play with wooden rackets? Tennis purists (many of whom worship at the shrines of the two great Australian players Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall), have long argued that the large carbon-fiber rackets used by today's players not only give an unfair advantage to those who depend on the high-velocity shot to win a point but have also removed the art from the game. (There are no rules about the composition or size of tennis rackets, but there are, for example, strict regulations governing the weight and size of tennis balls.) One such purist is John Rubin (see second item), a TV executive and sometime comedian who, as the New York Observer reports, has gone to some trouble to get noticed at this year's U.S. Open. Rubin has held up a placard saying: "MEN'S TENNIS—BIG RACQUETS—BIG SERVES—BIG SNOOZE BRING BACK WOOD!" hoping that his strong views will get on television. Rubin tells the Observer's William Berlind: "I thought people would get a kick out of someone speaking the truth. Everyone sitting here, they're all thinking the same thing. The commentators don't say it because they want their jobs. But everyone in the stands is realizing they just paid $80 to waste their time, to watch boring tennis." For his endeavors, Rubin is known as "The Wood Man."