Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Tennis Corner

During Wimbledon, we hear a lot about "break-point opportunities" and "break-point chances."

In this land of opportunity, we love opportunities to add extraneous words. What the tennis commentators mean by "break-point opportunity" is "break point." What the hockey announcers mean by "power-play opportunity" is "power play." The "opportunity" or "chance" or "shot" is redundant at best.

To be more accurate, the extra words are just plain wrong. A break point is an opportunity to break serve, so a break-point opportunity would technically be an opportunity to get an opportunity to break serve. That's not that farfetched a reading: If 15-40 is a break point (a double break point, to be more precise), isn't 15-30 a break-point opportunity? If a penalty in hockey means a power play, isn't a referee's whistle during a scuffle a power-play opportunity?

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