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Fault!: Network Tennis Coverage


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#31

sirhcmeister

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Posted May 31, 2004 @ 9:02 AM

LOL, today ESPN has no choice but to show men's matches hee hee

So, hopefully they'll show much of Safin/Nalbandian
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#32

TonyBoy123

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Posted May 31, 2004 @ 9:02 PM

LOL, today ESPN has no choice but to show men's matches hee hee

So, hopefully they'll show much of Safin/Nalbandian


They did show the Safin vs. Nalbandian match. In fact, they showed portions of 3 men's matches. I thought, however, since no women's matches were being played at all today, that no women's matches would be shown. However, ESPN, never one to disappoint, thankfully came through in the end and showed taped coverage of matches already shown yesterday. Taped coverage, thanks ESPN, you really know what we like.
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#33

Jer2002

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Posted May 31, 2004 @ 10:37 PM

They did show the Safin vs. Nalbandian match.


Just fucking barely. Which really disappointed me cause I like both those players. I'm so sick of Serena and Jennifer. Too bad I'll still be left with one of them after their match.
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#34

Tartlet

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Posted Jun 1, 2004 @ 9:58 AM

I'm sooo glad that I taped the coverage yesterday and rushed home from work to watch what I thought would be close to 4 hours of men's coverage.

I just love how ESPN opts to show only 11 points of the tiebreak between Hewitt/Malisse and portions of the 3rd and 4th set of Safin/Nalbandian, just in case we haven't yet enough the Williams sisters. Why not just drag out the Conners/Krickstein match from the US Open, because I don't think I've seen THAT enough times?

How many times do you think they will re-air the sisters' matches of today during tomorrow's coverage, especially given the results?
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#35

LT

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Posted Jun 1, 2004 @ 11:04 AM

Wow, I finally found this thread and I'm so happy that I agree with all of you. I wanna see a good close match with great shot-making and I don't care who is playing. I did not want to get stuck watching Serena and Venus over and over and over. Did they ever show Guga beating Federer (besides highlights)? I gave up looking. I'll bet it was a beautiful match though.

That being said, does Patrick McEnroe bug anyone else? I find him annoying and arrogant. He seems totally bias in favor of all the American players. I know he is the Davis Cup captain, but I think he should dial it down while he is commentating.

He makes me see red. I was in Houston for the year-end Championships and as bad as it was seeing Patrick sitting with the Bryan camp during one of their (untelevised) doubles matches--what made me really livid was listening to him screaming "USA USA" during the match. Hey buddy, at least pretend to be objective, okay?
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#36

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Posted Jun 1, 2004 @ 4:19 PM

Is anyone else distracted by ESPN's new on-screen scoreboard? It's bugging me. I am finding it distracting and hard to follow. Why they just don't go with the flow and keep it in the bottom left corner (instead of top left) like the rest of sports, I don't know. Also don't like the columns instead of rows. I think these TV types need to realize we don't ALL have big screen HI-def TVs. My little 19-inch TV is rolling that scoreboard off the screen. Lovely.
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#37

Bungalow Joy

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Posted Jun 1, 2004 @ 4:30 PM

Also don't like the columns instead of rows.

Yeah, that totally confused me.

Patrick McEnroe doesn't bug me toooooo much, but getting him to offer any analysis of a non-American player's game seems way too much to expect. Maybe it's his familiarity as Davis Cup coach, but he should know enough about all the players' games to offer astute commentary. Notice that when a non-American or non-marquee name loses a point, little about the quality of the winner's shot is said. Just the agony of the lost point.
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#38

LT

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Posted Jun 1, 2004 @ 5:06 PM

I don't like those columns either.

I just read the post-match article about Capriati and Myskina winning and I have a question: why do both the Williams insist upon always saying they played badly instead of giving credit to their competitor? Do they think they will be somehow diminished by saying "Boy, [insert name here] played really well today. I just couldn't play my best against that."? I hate that.
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#39

Bungalow Joy

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Posted Jun 1, 2004 @ 5:28 PM

why do both the Williams insist upon always saying they played badly instead of giving credit to their competitor?

They've always done this and that's why though I love watching their game I dislike them as players, talent notwithstanding. Many of the commentators have given them a pass on the attitude because they're so dominant and their dominance silences critics, but the arrogance is still a problem for me. John McEnroe loves it. He'd like tennis players to act more like major league trash-talkers.

Add the fact that criticism of the Williams sisters is often shouted down as racist and it just becomes infuriating. On Oprah (I think) a few years ago, an "expert" complained that Chris Evert, CBS commentator describing a Venus/Hingis match-up being athleticism vs. court smarts, was a racist(!). "Like Venus couldn't be smart on the court, too?" Well, Venus is 6'2" and Martina is 5'4". Venus at the time was powerful but was also a wild hitter. Martina, so much smaller than every other player, was #1 for several years because she played smart. The comparison was obvious to someone who knows about tennis as opposed to a media commentator like this one on Oprah who's never picked up a racket. The Williams Sisters as unassailable icons drives me nuts, but you'll always hear them commented on with kid gloves.
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#40

jl89

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Posted Jun 2, 2004 @ 10:24 AM

Nevermind.

Edited by jl89, Dec 11, 2005 @ 4:47 PM.

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#41

silentbob

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Posted Jun 2, 2004 @ 11:47 AM

They've always done this and that's why though I love watching their game I dislike them as players, talent notwithstanding. Many of the commentators have given them a pass on the attitude because they're so dominant and their dominance silences critics, but the arrogance is still a problem for me.

The ESPN/CBS/NBC commentators are right to give them a pass, and it's not a fear of being called racists IMO. I don't think it's so much "arrogance" as brutal honesty. Let's face it -- the Williams sisters are so superior to the other players on the women's tour that when they bring anything better than their "B" game, they'll win 99% of the time. When they lose, it's because they committed a ton of unforced errors, not because the other player hit a bunch of winners or caused errors.
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#42

LT

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Posted Jun 2, 2004 @ 4:37 PM

The ESPN/CBS/NBC commentators are right to give them a pass, and it's not a fear of being called racists IMO.

Once upon a time the commentators/magazines were commenting on the attitude and they were called racists. The scenario I most remember were those damn beads. When the sisters were first playing the professional circuit they wore a lot of beads in their hair that their opponents called distracting because they kept coming off and going all over the court. Venus and Serena said they were wearing the beads as a fashion statement and not as a gamesmanship tool. Lo and behold, as soon as the sisters started getting a feel for the matches and started playing really well (and boy, they played really well) the beads were gone. Anyway, when the commentators/magazines (rightly, IMO) cried gamesmanship, racism was shouted right back at them. Now, of course, we've seen that Venus and Serena like to change up their style all the time--but the timing on that one was a little too convenient.

I don't think of their comments about the other players as being "honest." I think of those comments as being rude. We see how good they are--being gracious winners and losers won't hurt them. Of course, the quality of the Women's Tour takes a really steep drop after the top 5,6. I've had to sit through Myskina play lower-ranked women--no serve over 59 mph and all defensive lobs. Lulled everyone right to sleep. So yes, it would be that Venus didn't play well to lose to her--but my point is that it doesn't hurt Venus to give a little credit to her opponent.

ETA: As for today's matches: I was sorry to see Guga lose, but I love Nalbandian so I'm okay with that. As much as I really don't like Hewitt (or "cheeky little monkey" as my friend calls him) I do wish he could get back to really great playing form.

Edited by LT, Jun 2, 2004 @ 4:42 PM.

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#43

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Posted Jun 2, 2004 @ 5:52 PM

Yeah, I've also noticed how the Williams' sisters will sometimes chalk up losing to playing badly. But I have seen them give credit to their opponents sometimes. I remember last year after the repulsive treatment Serena got in her semi-final with Henin-Hardene, she said in her post match interview that Justine was the better player that day.

I don't necessarily view this as arrogance, I view it as competitiveness. No athlete wants to admit that another person is better than them.

And though I risk getting flak for this, I'll say it anyway. If the Americans get knocked out in the slams, as the men did, or if the Williams' sisters lose before the final, I usually quit watching, especially when it's the French Open. I don't watch football games where I don't care about the teams playing, I don't watch baseball games if I know nothing about the teams that are on, and I don't watch tennis matches if I don't give a hoot about either player.

Edited by SpchProf, Jun 2, 2004 @ 5:54 PM.

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#44

Jer2002

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Posted Jun 2, 2004 @ 5:52 PM

As for today's matches: I was sorry to see Guga lose, but I love Nalbandian so I'm okay with that. As much as I really don't like Hewitt (or "cheeky little monkey" as my friend calls him) I do wish he could get back to really great playing form.


You know, today's coverage still pissed me off. It may be because I can't stand him, but I was quite pissed that the Hewitt/That Other Guy's match was shown in its entirety, while the Kuerten/Nalbandian match was not. I mean, Kuerten has won The French Open 3 times & Nalbandian is in the top 10 in the rankings and has made the semis of now the last 3 Grand Slams and was a Wimbledon finalist. Meanwhile, Hewitt is out of the top 10 and is in a Grand Slam slump and I bareley know who the other guy is and it was all straight sets, yet it got full coverage? ESPN is so stupid. Hey, where's the freaking Henman coverage too?

Edited by Jer2002, Jun 2, 2004 @ 6:00 PM.

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#45

LT

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Posted Jun 2, 2004 @ 6:16 PM

I mean, Kuerten has won The French Open 3 times & Nalbandian is in the top 10 in the rankings and has made the semis of now the last 3 Grand Slams and was a Wimbledon finalist.

And they are fun players to watch. That is how I'd like TV coverage to go: consistently entertaining players playing each other--show that. Of course, Hewitt and Gaudio could have been a good show but with the way Hewitt is playing it is a much safer bet that Guga will put more into it. And hey, where is the Henman coverage? Did they show him beat Chela yesterday? Henman vs. Coria should be interesting. Coria races around the court like a madman and Henman will be all stoic-like.
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#46

Tartlet

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Posted Jun 3, 2004 @ 9:18 AM

The coverage choices makes no sense. The Guga/Nalbandian match deserved full coverage. Even though I'm a Hewitt fan, I'll admit that the decision to show his match with Gaudio in its entirety makes no sense given the absence of any drama. It was simply a cakewalk and was unlikely to turn the casual viewer into a fan. The Malisse/Hewitt match from the 4th round, however, was more even, tightly fought and had some beautiful play by both players (according to the live audio feed on radio Roland Garros). Of course, we didn't get to see it due to the all-Williams, all-the-time programming.

On a side note, when did "David" Nalbandian become "Davide"?
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#47

LT

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Posted Jun 3, 2004 @ 10:22 AM

It's always been correctly pronounced "Davide." I don't know when the commentators started doing so.

Are they only showing Capriati/Myskina on ESPN today? I want to see the Mirnyi/Bhupathi vs. Malisse/Rochus semi-final. I love that Max and, without giving anything away and only judging by the live scoreboard, it looks like that match is a lot better than the women's semi.
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#48

silentbob

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Posted Jun 3, 2004 @ 10:25 AM

I don't think of their comments about the other players as being "honest." I think of those comments as being rude. We see how good they are--being gracious winners and losers won't hurt them.

Why give credit to your opponent if she hasn't done anything to deserve it? As SpchProf noted, the Williams sisters do so when it's warranted. If they did when it wasn't, that would be dishonest and I would respect them even less. False modesty (which commentators NEVER seem to criticize) from athletes is just as annoying as unbridled arrogance.

Meanwhile, Hewitt is out of the top 10 and is in a Grand Slam slump and I bareley know who the other guy is and it was all straight sets, yet it got full coverage? ESPN is so stupid.

Maybe so, but IMO it's never a bad thing for ESPN to show that whiny punk getting his ass kicked all over the court.
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#49

Bungalow Joy

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Posted Jun 3, 2004 @ 11:39 AM

As SpchProf noted, the Williams sisters do so when it's warranted.

That's not true. They've often acted as if they've been hobbled by disease rather than admit to being beaten fairly.

OT: (And I haven't checked the news so I hope it's still on) The Tim Henman run at the championships. The only "feel-good" story left.
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#50

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Posted Jun 3, 2004 @ 11:42 AM

I was so pissed Tuesday, when I returned home to watch my four hour 8am-noon ESPN coverage. I discovered they held the Serena/Capriati match until 3pm. Those bastards! It was over before 9am eastern time (I think). Why not show it live?

I hadn't heard who won Guga/Nalbandian, so I was happy to sit down and watch it last night. But fucking ESPN showed the results of the match in their crawl underneath coverage of the match! Bastards!
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#51

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Posted Jun 3, 2004 @ 11:49 AM

I hadn't heard who won Guga/Nalbandian, so I was happy to sit down and watch it last night. But fucking ESPN showed the results of the match in their crawl underneath coverage of the match! Bastards!

Oh, I hate when they do that! If a match is on ESPN I hold my hand up to cover the crawl (but it's so hard not to look). . . if it's ESPN2 you're just screwed.
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#52

sirhcmeister

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Posted Jun 3, 2004 @ 12:05 PM

Well, we have Myskina and Dementieva in the final. I think American TV overall shot themselves in the foot with this one - from what I've seen in the past year, they showed pretty much NIL of Myskina during any of the grand slam tournaments, and very little of Dementieva .

It comes as no surprise when the casual fan goes "Who on earth are these gals?" when they tune in to the final, because American TV makes no effort to show these athletes during the earlier rounds. If American TV continues to put its nose up in the air with regard to the internationalism that is Tennis today, all tennis coverage will be regulated to ESPN2 or even more exclusive Cable access, due to poor ratings and cutbacks. American Broadcasters seem to still be in denial about the fact that there are only 4 American male players in the top 30 - and continue to hype Mardy Fish, James Blake, Taylor Dent, Robby Ginepri etc. as if they're actually "stars". Puh-lease


Personally, I think it's pathetic, because US Coverage for other individual sports like Golf and Auto Racing don't for a moment care that much about the nationality of its athletes.

Edited by sirhcmeister, Jun 3, 2004 @ 12:08 PM.

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#53

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Posted Jun 3, 2004 @ 1:12 PM

As SpchProf noted, the Williams sisters do so when it's warranted. 

That's not true. They've often acted as if they've been hobbled by disease rather than admit to being beaten fairly.

Total and utter word, Bungalow Joy. The Williams sisters are two of the most arrogant sulks in the game today, IMO, and they almost never give credit where credit is due. All they give are excuses for why they sucked, as though the other player just got lucky to play them on an off day. And, I'm sorry, but I refuse to accept that Venus and Serena, while great players, are so much better than everyone else that the only possible way they'll lose is when they play badly. Although it might've been true a couple of years back, the competition is catching up, and people are outplaying them and beating their asses fair and square.

It comes as no surprise when the casual fan goes "Who on earth are these gals?" when they tune in to the final, because American TV makes no effort to show these athletes during the earlier rounds.

Exactly. The networks, with their "USA, all the way!" attitude are shooting themselves in the foot. There are lots of great non-American players in the game now, and by basically focusing only on Americans while neglecting everyone else (except Federer and any skinny blonde tennis player/model), fans never really get familiar with the other players. So, when a situation like this arises with all the Americans out, a lot of people feel there's no reason to watch a bunch of "nobodies" play. If the coverage were more balanced instead of trying to create American superstars, ratings might actually increase.
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#54

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Posted Jun 3, 2004 @ 1:35 PM

I have never been more happy to find a forum here than I was when I saw this one. My family and I constantly complain about ESPN's awful coverage and the fact that everyone here also hates it makes me very satisfied.

The thing that bugged me the most (besides the Williams sisters over anything) was how they completely ignored Ferrero. I may be biased because he's been my favorite player since he came on the tour (imagine me, an American, not having an American favorite player), but not showing last year's winner because Capriati's taped match can be showed really sucks.

It is very unfortunate that ESPN's coverage is catered to the casual tennis fan. I just saw a poll that said 61% of Americans aren't going to watch the French Open anymore now that there are no Americans left. Things like that only reinforce ESPN's stupid coverage choices.
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#55

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Posted Jun 3, 2004 @ 3:39 PM

All they give are excuses for why they sucked, as though the other player just got lucky to play them on an off day. And, I'm sorry, but I refuse to accept that Venus and Serena, while great players, are so much better than everyone else that the only possible way they'll lose is when they play badly.

It is extremely rare to find instances where either of the Williams sisters credited an opponent's good play for their defeat but they are hardly the only tennis champions to have had that attitude. I was a huge Graf fan but I'll be the first to admit that she was not always gracious about opponents who defeated her particularly when it was a much lower ranked player. Same with Navratilova and Evert. And don't even get me started on guys like Connors and McEnroe when it comes to poor losers. A belief that you are always the best player on the court and the only thing that can stop you is your own poor play seems to be fairly common among tennis champions.

I do think that this attitude is now starting to backfire on Venus and Serena. They seem to feel that they are so superior that they can go out and play their best at any time without playing a lot of tournaments. Yes, they can walk on a court and beat the majority of players at any time but they have to get it through their heads that talented players like Clijsters and Henin-Hardenne have vastly improved over the last year or so (when they're healthy) and Venus and Serena can't consistently beat them unless they get out there and play more tournaments and keep their match toughness.

Veering back on topic - I totally agree that the American networks are killing themselves by not promoting non-American players. They got so spoiled with the Sampras/Agassi era and now with Roddick and the Williams sisters that they seem to have completely forgotten that a few years ago some of the most well-known and popular players in America were foreign-born: Navratilova, Borg, Graf, Becker, Seles, Edberg, Lendl, Laver. Some of these players were just as popular in America, or even more so, than players like Evert, Connors, Austin and McEnroe. There isn't any reason that Federer, Clijsters, Henin-Hardenne and others can't be stars here.

American Broadcasters seem to still be in denial about the fact that there are only 4 American male players in the top 30 - and continue to hype Mardy Fish, James Blake, Taylor Dent, Robby Ginepri etc. as if they're actually "stars". Puh-lease

Yeah, these guys are middle of the pack also-rans and probably always will be. The worse news for American Broadcasters is that their boy Roddick is not as good as they are hyping him up to be either. He is definitely a top-ten caliber player but he's not going to dominate the game.
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#56

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Posted Jun 3, 2004 @ 4:46 PM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
As SpchProf noted, the Williams sisters do so when it's warranted.

That's not true. They've often acted as if they've been hobbled by disease rather than admit to being beaten fairly.

Total and utter word, Bungalow Joy. The Williams sisters are two of the most arrogant sulks in the game today, IMO, and they almost never give credit where credit is due.


When it comes to the Williams sisters, people either love them or hate them. All I can say is I've seen these two give credit to their opponents at times. Not a lot, but when it's due they give it. Just because you don't go out and give your opponent credit every time you lose a match does not make you arrogant. It all goes back to competitiveness. You don't want to concede anything to your opponent if it's not deserved. When Serena and Venus are on their game, they win. I have never seen Serena and Venus play extremely well and lose a match.

Back to topic, ESPN is going to cover the games that they think most people will want to see, not necessarily which is the best match. I am happy to read on this board that there are posters who enjoy watching all players on the ATP/WTA tour. I am not, however, naive enough to believe that a majority of the American audience that watches tennis believes this also.
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#57

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Posted Jun 3, 2004 @ 6:03 PM

they seem to have completely forgotten that a few years ago some of the most well-known and popular players in America were foreign-born: Navratilova, Borg, Graf, Becker, Seles, Edberg, Lendl, Laver. Some of these players were just as popular in America, or even more so, than players like Evert, Connors, Austin and McEnroe.

Boy, ain't that the truth. When I was a teenager in the 80's it never even crossed my mind to not have that huge crush on Becker--who cared that he wasn't American? They showed him all the time and I loved it. Of course, it turns out now that those mid-80s days were horrible for ratings but I was too busy watching great tennis to know, or care, about that.

American TV should have used the Agassi/Sampras years to really showcase international players so the sport could sustain itself on American TV after they weren't playing. Golf is huge because (in recent years) they used Woods transcending the sport to show the other players--of course people, like my dad, are sick of having the commentators always talking about Woods no matter how he is doing.

The other thing I wish they would show on TV is doubles. Those are the best matches to watch. Fast and exciting.
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#58

Reese9879

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Posted Jun 3, 2004 @ 7:39 PM

Here is an article ranting about the unnecessary tape delays and the hard-to-follow scoring box.

To make matters worse, ESPN2 then replayed that -- let's be honest, here -- mediocre JCap-Serena match the next day rather than run live coverage of Gustavo Kuerten vs. David Nalbandian, which was saved for big brother ESPN at 1 p.m. Sure, the women's match may have had more cache for an American audience, but that begs the question: Why not show it live in the first place?


With all of the ESPN channels available, why not pick one to show live coverage? Do they really have to show Extreme Table Tennis Championships?
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#59

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Posted Jun 3, 2004 @ 7:57 PM

American TV should have used the Agassi/Sampras years to really showcase international players so the sport could sustain itself on American TV after they weren't playing. Golf is huge because (in recent years) they used Woods transcending the sport to show the other players--of course people, like my dad, are sick of having the commentators always talking about Woods no matter how he is doing.


The U.S. networks were ridiculously spoiled with respect to American men's tennis in the 90s. Agassi and Sampras (with supporting cast members Courier, Chang, Washington, Martin, etc.) meant that American men could be featured whenever they wanted to - no questions asked. That is just is no longer the case anymore.

Unfortunately, the international players themselves didn't do themselves a favour either for gaining recognition on U.S. Networks by getting eliminated early in Grand Slam tournaments (Marcelo Rios, Goran Ivanesevic, Thomas Muster, Petr Korda, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Richard Kraijeck among them).

I think U.S. network's embracing of Golf's international flavour is a byproduct of the fact that for each Ernie Els, K.J. Choi, Stuart Appleby, Sergio Garcia, Darren Clarke etc. that is shown, there can also be a Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, etc. that can be shown to "compliment" a non-U.S. player in terms of broadcast time.
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#60

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Posted Jun 5, 2004 @ 5:49 AM

Tangent: I've seen highlights of this Myskina girl, and geez, doesn't she seem really skinny? From now on I'm calling her Myskinny.
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