Making Sport of Election

by Lynn Berenbaum | November 2nd, 2006, 1:49 pm

Election season is upon us here in the States, and coupled with the circus of seemingly never-ending frustration regarding the oversight of tennis, I thought it might be fun for fans to hold our own little election — in the spirit of Idol and Dancing with the Stars, of course!

Election: Tennis Commissioner

Position Summary

Professional tennis has an immediate opening for a dedicated professional to undertake the position of Tennis Commissioner. This individual will serve in an oversight role on all major concerns for the sport, including contract negotiations for TV and sponsorship rights, dealing with disciplinary issues, and leading discussions regarding changes to the sport and its rules.

Primary Responsibilities

  1. To establish and Chair a new Advisory Review Committee (ARC)
  2. To assist the Sports Bodies in designing a new, workable season calendar
  3. To establish and Chair pre- and post-season meetings with the Sports Bodies
  4. To attend to concerns of the ATP and WTA Player Councils
  5. To advise the Sports Bodies on technical issues
  6. To attend meetings with Principals, corporate sponsors, and media bodies, and to make necessary improvements on behalf of the sport

Additional Knowledge

The ideal candidate will be part salesperson, part cheerleader, part preacher, part politician, and part disciplinarian. A Commissioner will have to coddle — and sometimes stand up to — uncooperative star players, as well as negotiate corporate contracts. S/he will have to protect and grow the sport in an increasingly cluttered global sports marketplace. Commissioners must be available and willing to travel at least 100 days a year, to put up with bullying corporate types who demand preferential executive treatment, and to cope with large, competitive egos who think they are owed a living by the game.

Note: The candidate we seek will not be the NHL’s Gary Bettman, who has bossed his league practically out of existence; MLB’s Bud Selig, who has cemented a reputation for himself in the steroids affair as a misstepping flunky; or the NBA’s David Stern, albeit the very best of them, who seems unable to even govern his own league.

Working Environment

The ideal candidate will have experience with the delicate psychology of blended international dysfunctional families. Additionally, the candidate that will excel at this position will have the sense of humor enough to see the irony that while it may appear easier for a singular party to accomplish the goal of dealing with adversarial factions, no one can come together long enough to agree to actually create the position of the Commissioner.

Potential Candidates


John McEnroe

Age: 47
Residence: New York, NY
Occupation: Player, television commentator
On the Web: Player website, campaign website
Why should voters elect you? “It’s one of the things I put in my book that this sport needs a commissioner and in parenthesis, ‘I’m available’. You know, I’m not holding my breath because I think that in times they need a more of a political type person who says the right thing, a ‘yes’ man or something to, to the powers that be, but I think it’s absolutely imperative and I think it’d be great.”


Martina Navratilova

Age: 50
Residence: Nokomis, FL
Occupation: Retired player
On the Web: Player website, campaign website
Why should voters elect you? “If Arnold Schwarzenegger can run for governor in California, then who knows? I have the muscles.”


Andre Agassi

Age: 36
Residence: Las Vegas, NV
Occupation: Retired player, philanthropist, real estate mogul
On the Web: Player website, candidate website
Why should voters elect you? “I think that would be great for the sport. I think the sport could use somebody that has the platform to move it as a unit, as a whole sort of entirety, you know, and that would be good for our sport. I would be interested to help this game anyway I could. Certainly the more I could help the more I would be excited about it but I wouldn’t be interested in a token situation. We need a system that really allows for us to move together and I think that would be a great thing.”

Stefanie Graf

Age: 37
Residence: Las Vegas, NV
Occupation: Retired player, philanthropist
On the Web: Player website, celebrity endorsement
Why should voters elect you? The candidate has not formally declared her intentions, but had this to say: “I’ve had a lot of stalkers and crazy people in my life unfortunately. So I’ve had a lot of experience with crazy people doing crazy things in front of me.”


James Courier

Age: 36
Residence: Orlando, FL
Occupation: Retired player, television commentator, event promoter
On the Web: Player website, candidate website
Why should voters elect you? “Tennis is realizing that it’s in a dogfight. It needs to put on gloves and fight back a little bit.”

Monica Seles

Age: 32
Residence: Sarasota, FL
Occupation: Semi-retired player
On the Web: Player website, candidate website
Why should voters elect you? “My commitment is for sports. I just want to introduce kids to tennis because tennis has been such a sport of a lifetime for me. I’d like to give back. I have such passion. It’s still something I love to do. You start playing tennis because you love the sport. I was lucky to find that passion.”

voteVote Today!vote

Who should be the tennis commissioner?
  John McEnroe
  Martina Navratilova
  Andre Agassi
  Steffi Graf
  Jim Courier
  Monica Seles
  Someone else (pls specify)
  No one. That’s lame.

Rules: In true democratic form, you should only vote once. But since we’re using electronic voting, you can do what you want. If you have a write-in candidate, please use the comments area. If you would like to dispute anything in the balloting, please use the comments area. If you gots any other gripes, use the …okay, you get it.

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8 Comments for Making Sport of Election

Lilas Pratt Says:

Andre Agassi all the way.

Jon Says:

definitely andre agassi

John Messenger Says:

None of the above.

I would only want someone who refused to change the rules of the game (in order to make it more fan friendly). Roger Federer would probably be that person, but not while he’s still active. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Tennis was better before the “doubles revolution”, before on-court coaching, and the like. (IMO, the worst change is no-ad scoring.)

I’m in favor of changes like entertainment between sets, more TV coverage, more TV cameras on the court, models as ball girls, more website live-streams, etc.. These things help sell the sport while leaving the essence of the game intact.

ben Says:

Jim Courier is the best choice.

mmmm8 Says:

Jim Courier.
Or anyone but McEnroe.

不想吃猫的鱼 Says:


Justine Henin-Hardenne is the evilest player of all time

SG Says:

I think the thoughtful and well spoken Courier would make a good choice.

rc Says:

thanks for the good article


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