BolliniBlog – Tennis in a Tragic Land

By Alec Bollini, member of the Sports Media Canada Board of Directors and a frequent participant in World Journalists’ Tennis Championships.

Wednesday was a day off for the media types competing in the 33rd World Tennis Championships for Journalists. A bus tour was arranged to visit Vozdovac, a borough of Belgrade, Serbia’s capital. It is an area of many monuments, part of the rich and sad history of this Balkan land. In a wooded park there lies a monument to the thousands killed by the Nazis in World War 2. Jews, Romanys and innocent citizens eliminated and their bodies left to rot in the park.

Then on to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier high on the top of a mountain not far from the new TV tower. The old tower was destroyed by NATO warplanes during the recent conflict in what was then Yugoslavia. A tragic land indeed.

But the main topic of conversation, other than tennis, was ‘whither the printed page’. Tony Doran, veteran newspaperman formerly with the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail and others too numerous to mention, believes “the first iPad began “the day of tomorrow”. He still believes newspapers will not disappear — comparing the situation to “what was chalk to the blackboard and the quill to the pen, is now the printed word to computer”.

Asked why British reporters seem so aggressive, witness the negativity of U.K. journalists at the Vancouver Olympics, Doran put it down to competition among the British press and his belief that the fight for circulation among the papers creates a tougher and therefore more aggressive approach to a story.

“If I were as aggressive on the tennis court as I am at work, maybe I might win a game”.

Tony, I know the feeling.