Abu Dhabi Day One, Ideas for Improving Your Tennis Commentary in 2010
Capitala World Tennis Championship: The 2010 tennis season is finally underway and even though two exhibition matches have been played, we already have a surprising result. David Ferrer beat Nikolay Davydenko 2-6 6-2 6-4 in Abu Dhabi to set up a meeting with compatriot Rafael Nadal. This is absolutely shocking to be because Ferrer was extremely close to losing to Radek Stepanek on clay courts in Spain whereas Davydenko is coming off a phenomenal run in London. They’ve been replaying his final against Del Potro on Tennis Channel and I just can’t wrap my head around this result. But it’ll be particularly interesting to see how Ferrer and Nadal play each other, considering Ferrer has had good results against Nadal on hard courts.
On the other side of the draw, Robin Soderling edged out Stanislas Wawrinka to set up his 13th counter with the better Swiss, Roger Federer. This result was expected but Soderling blew a 5-1 lead in the first set and a 5-4 lead in the second before securing a 7-6 7-6 victory. Perhaps he is feeling some pressure but not enough to lose. Nonetheless, I’m going with Soderling upsetting Federer and then taking out Nadal in the final.
Commentators: Now with every tennis match played there is commentating to be done. I’ve read so many comments and articles about how people prefer to watch tennis with the mute button on but they still miss the sound of the ball. Unfortunately, if you’re watching tennis on TV, you either hear everything or nothing. So I want to give the commentators a couple of tips before the year really takes off.
Mary Carillo, Ted Robinson, Dick Enberg, Jimmy Arias, and Leif Shiras need to learn a thing or two about the sport. They spew so much nonsense and dribble it turns off too many fans. Enberg and Robinson should not be allowed to commentate for tennis in the first place since they have absolutely no prior knowledge of the game.
Listening to Arias and Shiras commentate on the Davydenko-del Potro match was a real eye opener; both former pros have almost NOTHING interesting to say. They just state the obvious like “Davydenko just hit a forehand winner inside the sideline.” I never would’ve guessed that on my own even while watching the match. As for Carillo, she’s like a female John McEnroe only 10 times worse because she doesn’t even remotely know about the men’s OR women’s game.
As for the better commentators; John McEnroe, Pat McEnroe, Chris Fowler, Cliff Drysdale, Darren Cahill, Mary-Joe Fernandez, and Brad Gilbert. When I say better, I don’t mean they’re good, they’re just better than the aforementioned bunch. Johnny Mac is easily the most insightful guy on NBC (do they still show tennis?) but he needs to learn to shut up. It gets to the point where you don’t even realize he’s talking anymore because he has talked through an entire set nonstop. When does the guy breathe?
Pat McEnroe, Drysdale, and Fowler are like the Three Amigos, a couple of knuckleheads trying to figure out the game that is tennis. Patrick and Drysdale help each other but they are still lacking in a lot of insight that John can muster up on his own. And they play favorites a bit too much for my liking because they don’t give enough credit to the guys they don’t like. Fowler doesn’t know anything about tennis but I think he’s got an encyclopedia of stats and figures because that’s all he ever contributes (I’m a stat guy myself so I don’t mind). But overall, these three need to learn more about the actual game.
Fernandez, Gilbert, and Cahill are superb. Gilbert and Cahill genuinely know today’s game and the way it’s played and they can provide some very specific information on player’s they’ve coached. I have heard a lot of complaints about these guys but I never understood why, they’re awesome. Only thing I’d change is to give these guys more matches to cover, they can never say too much. Fernandez is their female counterpart; she seems to have a lot of insight into today’s women’s game. She’s a real breath of fresh air compared to nonsense-spewing Carillo.
I know I only mentioned American commentators and I apologize to the international guys here but I live in America. As for the other commentators I didn’t mention, it’s simply because I haven’t really heard them much so I have nothing to criticize them for. The point is, I hope the commentators start listening to the fans and learn to shut up and say only things that matter. Dick Enberg, stop calling the score, you’re not the scoreboard!
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