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  1. #1
    Been playing a long while Deuce*'s Avatar
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    How Many of You Know About This Oddly Lovable Tennis Fan?

    Lou Noritz - tennis' 'superfan' from a few years ago.
    I met and talked with Lou several times. He was a genuine character - kooky in the most sincere and admirable sense. The words 'eccentric' and 'bizarre' don't even begin to describe him.
    Some players loved him, others hated him. The ATP brass generally hated him. But he was really a harmless novelty.

    I haven't seen him or heard anything about him from anyone for many years now (and I've asked).
    Have any of you ever met him?

    Here's a wonderful article about him that Wertheim wrote for SI some years ago...

    Eccentric world of fandom
    Meet Dr. Lou, one of the most committed sports fans you'll ever find
    Posted: Tuesday August 3, 2004 11:31AM; Updated: Tuesday August 3, 2004 12:28PM

    Jon Wertheim

    The Blog recently read a terrific sports book that has little to do with specific teams and athletes. Michael Mandelbaum, a prominent professor of foreign policy at Johns Hopkins is the author of The Meaning of Sports, a smart and perceptive book that plumbs the mystery of "what it means to be fan." Which is to say, why do reasonable, well-adjusted people -- you know, like us -- invest so much time and emotion and passion watching the sweaty and genetically gifted play games?

    The Blog was thinking about Mandelbaum's book while watching Lou Noritz in action last week at the Tennis Masters event in Toronto. "Dr. Lou," as he's known on the tennis firmament, is about as committed a sports fan as you'll find. A retired Manhattan postal worker, Noritz, 59, was left what he calls "a substantial inheritance" by his late mother. For 10 years now, he has chosen to exhaust some of it by traveling the tennis tour. "I never played tennis growing up," he says. "I was a softball pitcher. My career record was 1,422-780. But I have an uncanny ability to understand the tennis mind, the psychology. That's why the players like me."

    As you have likely gathered by now, there are a lot of, um, eccentricities, to Dr. Lou. He lives in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn with 40 animals, including rabbits, guinea pigs, lizards and chinchillas. (Since you asked, neighbors tend to the menagerie when he's in Melbourne or Memphis or Miami.) He carries with him a laminated card that looks like a bad frat house fake I.D. claiming he works for the ATP. No, not the Association of Tennis Professionals, a.k.a. the men's tour. Noritz's affiliation is with the American Tennis Psychologists, an organization with a membership of one. "I just got a promotion," he says. "My new title is Doubles Support Specialist."

    What is perhaps Noritz's most unusual trait is also his most endearing: He roots like hell for the guys who need it most. It's not that he doesn't like Roger Federer or Andy Roddick. "It's that those guys ... well, what do they need me for? They always win." So, if you're looking for the biggest men's tennis fan, avoid the stadium courts and the tournament finals. You'll find him instead in the hinterlands -- on those back courts where guys outside the top 50 grind it out in obscurity -- supporting players with rankings in the triple digits. Last week, Noritz left Toronto on Friday morning so he could make it to the next tour stop in Cincinnati in time for the qualifying rounds.

    Noritz's fandom comes with terms and conditions. He promises to be there for any player who plies him with a guest pass. (In Toronto, his badge indicated he was a guest of Austrian doubles specialist, Julian Knowle.) Otherwise, he trolls the back courts for players who have been nice to him in the past or whom he thinks need their spirits bolstered. Xavier Malisse, a lavishly talented but emotionally fragile Belgian, is currently high on Noritz's list. So are the Israeli players, "my Jewish boys," he calls them.

    Noritz estimates his fandom is good for a "five to nine percent" boost. If true, his going rate of a smile or some other form of acknowledgement and the odd guest pass is a bargain. "I can only do so much, but I keep them from getting down," he says. "I don't do grips or techniques. I don't want to be a coach. But I have an uncanny ability to read the players' minds and say the right thing at the right time. Even if they don't hear me, just knowing I'm there is a help."

    On the first day of action in Toronto, Dr. Lou clutched the court-side rail tightly while cheering on Alex Bogomolov, Jr., a feisty American who has yet to gain much traction on the ATP -- the real one, that is. Noritz clapped. He pumped his fist when Bogomolov won critical points. He shouted prosaic lines of encouragement like, "Way to bang 'em, baby." When Bogomolov prevailed over Croatia's Ivo Karlovic in a tight match, Noritz unfurled an American flag and brandished it for all to see. Bogomolov flashed Noritz a double thumbs-up as he left the court. A smile formed above Noritz's goatee.

    The flags, by the way, are another Noritz hallmark. In the backpack he totes, he keeps a collection of flags from various players' countries of origins. He figures, not unreasonably, that the players are often thousand of miles away from home and appreciate the gesture. It gives them a small sense of connection and place and meaning.

    And in the end, isn't that what all fans want at some level, to feel as though they are part of something bigger? Noritz started in on this point, explaining how kindly most players treat him and, how from his perch on the back courts he feels he is not just in the tennis world but of the tennis world. He stopped abruptly when he realized that the doubles team of Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich had been moved to another court and were midway through their match. "Find me later," he yelled, walking away briskly while rifling through his backpack for the Israeli flag.


    [/FONT]Lou.jpg

    Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Wertheim covers tennis for the magazine and is a regular contributor to SI.com.

    More here, for those interested/intrigued...

    https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2.../02/a-no-1-fan

    And here (if it works)...

    https://web.archive.org/web/20081020...:80/story2.htm

    .
    Last edited by Deuce*; 10-01-2020 at 01:35 AM.
    * Yes, it's me (last seen on TW boards in 2009).

  2. #2
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    Re: How Many of You Knew This Oddly Lovable Tennis Fan?

    Reminds me of, but I think is a different guy, who was at the US Open 2019, who seems to pick the most obscure player to cheer for LOUDLY.

    Moose and I encountered him at a doubles match where he supported noted doubles player <\s>, Radu Albot. “Who is de best? Radu is de best!” After pretty much every point Albot’s team won (whether or not Radu had even touched the ball that point). We assumed the fan was Moldovan, but later found an article about him (maybe by Ben?) that explained he was just looking for players who seemed to need support.

  3. #3

    Re: How Many of You Knew This Oddly Lovable Tennis Fan?

    Interesting story. Am I the only one who thought for a minute that this might be Deuce?
    A Canadian Slam winner? Inconceivable!

  4. #4
    Been playing a long while Deuce*'s Avatar
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    Re: How Many of You Knew This Oddly Lovable Tennis Fan?

    That's the second silly thing you've written in attempted sarcastic response to one of my posts in about a week.

    Time to up your game - or to grow up.
    * Yes, it's me (last seen on TW boards in 2009).

  5. #5

    Re: How Many of You Knew This Oddly Lovable Tennis Fan?

    No this time it was a legit thought, I don't think you'll disagree that we find you eccentric? Also because it mentions the Toronto tournament. Didn't at first realize that the first couple lines was you saying you met him.

    As for sarcastic responses if you only saw one other this week you might have missed a couple.
    A Canadian Slam winner? Inconceivable!

  6. #6
    Been playing a long while Deuce*'s Avatar
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    Re: How Many of You Knew This Oddly Lovable Tennis Fan?

    Thanks for trying to make this thread about you - or about me.
    It's not.

    I hope others will be mature enough to ignore, and just focus on the actual topic of the thread.
    * Yes, it's me (last seen on TW boards in 2009).

  7. #7

    Re: How Many of You Know About This Oddly Lovable Tennis Fan

    I hadn't heard of him, but I googled him to see if there was an obit. I didn't find one. Really weird that he has just disappeared. But one of the first results was a similar post in the Tennis Warehouse forum from 2004 where a guy named Deuce posted the same thing and someone asked, "Deuce - tell the truth - are YOU Lou?" So, natural impulse.

    Usually these stories get recycled every 5 years or so. Usually someone else would have noticed him and decided there were plenty of fans who didn't see the original story and do another one. But looks like not. Why don't you write in to Wertheim's Mailbag and ask if Dr. Lou is still around?

    Why did the ATP brass hate him? (I think that was in your 2004 TW post.)
    Last edited by MeganFernandez; 10-01-2020 at 06:03 AM.
    Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug.

  8. #8
    Been playing a long while Deuce*'s Avatar
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    Re: How Many of You Know About This Oddly Lovable Tennis Fan

    Quote Originally Posted by MeganFernandez View Post
    I hadn't heard of him, but I googled him to see if there was an obit. I didn't find one. Really weird that he has just disappeared. But one of the first results was a similar post in the Tennis Warehouse forum from 2004 where a guy named Deuce posted the same thing and someone asked, "Deuce - tell the truth - are YOU Lou?" So, natural impulse.
    ^ It was done in a different context on the TW board - a friendly context by someone I got along well with, not by someone who holds a silly grudge because I don't worship Andreescu.
    The TW board is a mess now. Sadly, the people who run it have chosen quantity over quality. It was a really enjoyable place for close to 10 years, though.
    (BTW, several of us got 'banned' from that board at around the time it was changing from quality to quantity - we essentially were banned for repeatedly saying that older graphite based racquets were much better than the newer ones - and TW's business was to sell the newer ones, of course.)

    Quote Originally Posted by MeganFernandez View Post
    Usually these stories get recycled every 5 years or so. Usually someone else would have noticed him and decided there were plenty of fans who didn't see the original story and do another one. But looks like not. Why don't you write in to Wertheim's Mailbag and ask if Dr. Lou is still around?
    ^ I've asked players and coaches over the past few years - nobody knows. I doubt Wertheim would know, as I think Lou was simply article fodder for him - I doubt he had any ongoing contact with Lou.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeganFernandez View Post
    Why did the ATP brass hate him? (I think that was in your 2004 TW post.)
    ^ Because he marched to the beat of his own drummer, and didn't conform. Since about the beginning of the 1990s, the ATP has made significant efforts to discourage creativity and individuality in favour of a more homogenized circuit. Lou obviously doesn't fit in to that.

    Weller Evans was part of the ATP brass at the time Lou was around, and he came to the TW board to do a Q&A session. I submitted my question about Lou - and this is how Weller addressed my question, right at the beginning of the session, to nip any discussion about Lou in the bud...
    Weller: I want to thank DEUCE and all the other TW readers for their patience during this busy US Open Series Summer of Tennis. By the way, if DEUCE wants to discuss the "contributions" of a certain Lou Noritz to the men's tennis circuit, I would be happy to do that off-line, as I would not want to waste the other readers' time.

    I think Gayle Bradshaw also told me that the ATP administration were not big fans of Lou.
    But, really, Lou was harmless. The ATP brass simply took themselves far too seriously.
    Last edited by Deuce*; 10-01-2020 at 06:31 AM.
    * Yes, it's me (last seen on TW boards in 2009).

  9. #9

    Re: How Many of You Knew This Oddly Lovable Tennis Fan?

    C'mon, Deuce, PT was joking. He even put the smiley next to his comment
    Good story. it reminds be of the guy that follows Kukushkin and yells, in a heavy Russian accent: "Kukushkin is best!"
    Good to have those fans.
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  10. #10

    Re: How Many of You Knew This Oddly Lovable Tennis Fan?

    Yeah, see smiley immunity! The fact that someone else thought the same thing 16 years ago means I'm not that far off base though right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce* View Post
    ^ It was done in a different context on the TW board - a friendly context by someone I got along well with, not by someone who holds a silly grudge because I don't worship Andreescu.
    Naw, I don't care that you don't worship Andreescu. I'm not even that much of a fan...it's more just being nice to get to see a Canadian finally win a slam honestly. I did chuckle at your post last year when you thought you affected her by giving her a look (forget full context of it so I won't misquote what you said) though.

    I'm teasing you for constantly talking about how awful "social media" is... on what is more or less a social media site. Just with way less people. It can be a little tiring to blame everything that happens because of it. The world didn't suddenly go from a perfect place to a horrible one because of it...although it certainly didn't help.

    In general seems like on TAT we trend towards older and slightly curmedongly (not just me and you but lots of others too) anyways - I'm not young, but may be on the younger half of the regulars here Like you I was expressing my opinion and don't think I said anything that awful. If I need to grow up you need to get thicker skin then. Until then feel free to use the ignore option for me...I've used it a couple times for people here myself. Usually after a day or two I find I'm not thinking about it anymore and take it off.
    Last edited by ptmcmahon; 10-01-2020 at 08:24 AM.
    A Canadian Slam winner? Inconceivable!

  11. #11
    Been playing a long while Deuce*'s Avatar
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    Re: How Many of You Knew This Oddly Lovable Tennis Fan?

    Quote Originally Posted by ptmcmahon View Post
    Naw, I don't care that you don't worship Andreescu. I'm not even that much of a fan...it's more just being nice to get to see a Canadian finally win a slam honestly. I did chuckle at your post last year when you thought you affected her by giving her a look (forget full context of it so I won't misquote what you said) though.
    ^ The context was simply that I was at a Junior tournament a couple of weeks after her US Open win, and Bianca was training at the Junior tournament site. At one point, she walked right past me - she was alone, walking from the weight room to the locker room, while I was standing still - and I did nothing to acknowledge her. At a time when everyone who saw her was behaving as if they were in the presence of Jesus Christ himself, congratulating her, wanting photos and autographs, etc., I thought that, just maybe, someone treating her as being no big deal might help slightly to bring her back down to Earth a little - because she was getting rather full of herself, telling everyone that her US Open win was "only the beginning", etc. (we're still waiting for the continuation of that beginning).
    The main reason I didn't acknowledge Bianca on that day wasn't because I had planned to 'send her a message', or to teach her some humility - it wasn't a predetermined action on my part - it was simply because I felt that if I couldn't talk with her one-on-one for at least 5 minutes - which wasn't feasible, but which would have allowed for a certain depth of conversation not possible within the typical 5 to 15 second period, then it was best for me to say nothing at all. Only afterward did I sort of hope that she might come back down to Earth a little if a few people treat her like she's no big deal.
    If I would have seen her, say, sitting alone outside or similar, I would have congratulated her on the US Open, and then encouraged her to remain humble in the face of all the attention.

    On that same day, I talked with Louis Borfiga, who most say is the person most responsible for the surge of Canadians among the pros over the past few years, and he and I amicably disagreed on where both Andreescu and Fernandez would be in 3 years from then (2 years from now). He said Bianca would be #1 or #2, and Leylah would peak at around #50. I said Bianca would be around #30, and Leylah would be somewhere ahead of Bianca. If you look at what both Leylah and Bianca have accomplished since that conversation, it's closer to my predicted trajectory than to his.

    Quote Originally Posted by ptmcmahon View Post
    I'm teasing you for constantly talking about how awful "social media" is... on what is more or less a social media site. Just with way less people. It can be a little tiring to blame everything that happens because of it. The world didn't suddenly go from a perfect place to a horrible one because of it...although it certainly didn't help.
    ^ I don't "constantly talk about how awful 'social media' is". But I do mention it often enough. Simply because I firmly believe that it has done considerably more harm than good.
    My last post in the 'Bye ATP PC Hello PTPA' thread points out why, with examples given. You've probably seen that post - but if not, I suggest you go and read it.
    (If you're going to respond with a comment about 'social media', please do it in that thread, not in this one.)

    Quote Originally Posted by ptmcmahon View Post
    In general seems like on TAT we trend towards older and slightly curmedongly (not just me and you but lots of others too) anyways - I'm not young, but may be on the younger half of the regulars here Like you I was expressing my opinion and don't think I said anything that awful. If I need to grow up you need to get thicker skin then. Until then feel free to use the ignore option for me...I've used it a couple times for people here myself. Usually after a day or two I find I'm not thinking about it anymore and take it off.
    ^ I've never used an ignore function in my life, and I never will. To me, it's the equivalent of burying one's head in the sand just because you don't like something/someone.
    I feel it's much more healthy and productive to reach the point where one can ignore what one views as being nonsense without the artificial aid of an 'ignore function'. Sometimes I succeed in doing that, and sometimes I don't. It's a work in progress.
    Last edited by Deuce*; 10-01-2020 at 11:45 PM.
    * Yes, it's me (last seen on TW boards in 2009).

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