ESPN Ruins Tennis (Again)

by Lynn Berenbaum | August 18th, 2006, 4:00 pm

Why is it that ESPN hates us tennis fans so much? What have we done to them? Well, whatever it is, now they’re getting their revenge. They have hired Justin Gimelstob to do sideline reporting for the Rogers Cup in Montreal. To add insult to injury, the ‘Stob has been slammed in the past for his overt criticism of the WTA Tour. So what does he do? He inaugurates his ESPN2 debut with a full endorsement of on-court coaching. Hello, ass? Meet Justin’s lips:

Yo, Gimmie: Take some word-punching tips from Mary Jo’s new co-anchor Todd Harris. Ac-cen-tu-ate, dahlink. It will help you in your new-found career. Which reminds me that it’s so nice to see the network make the smart move of moving Harris from sideline to match commentator. I feel the love, and it hurts. Not in a good way either. ((Ouch!))

And let’s not overlook the fact that ESPN2 failed to dump the tape of Srebotnik-Ivanovic to go back to live coverage of the Ferrero-Nadal match which (spoiler) ended in a second set tiebreak. Instead, fans were treated to this piece of classic ESPN2 tiebreak coverage:

Yes fans, ESPN is obviously on a directed mission to ruin the sport of tennis.

Remind me: Where’s the mute button?

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9 Comments for ESPN Ruins Tennis (Again)

Momofan Says:

ESPN2 sucks. I was just about to rant about ESPN2 on for not showing me hottie hot hot Juanqui and Rafa LIVE for a total blowout of this lame lame LAME WTA TAPED MATCH.

Go Lynn!

Off the Baseline » The Tennis Channel Sucks, Too Says:

[…] Well, my colleague Lynn has just written a bitingly sarcastic, absolutely wonderful piece on how much and why ESPN2 sucks so I will not bash ESPN2 today. However, I will bash The Tennis Channel. Right now, the match of the tournament (Hingis vs. Kuznetsova in the QF) is going on in Montreal, and The Tennis Channel is showing one of their many rerun shows, “Inside Tennis.” WTF, Tennis Channel? They should just stop calling themselves the Tennis Channel if they keep feeding us these tape-delay matches like their role models ESPN2 and NBC do. Seriously. Get a life, TTC. […]

Momofan Says:

Hi Lynn. Just wanted to say that we are being treated to Little Freakin’ League (Saudi Arabia vs. Canada) as Roddick vs. Murray is starting LIVE in Cinncinnati. The little ticker at the bottom of the window says, “Western & Southern Group Quarterfinals: (9) Roddick vs. Murray will be shown immediately after the conclusion of Little League Playoffs.”

You SUCK, ESPN2!!!

Ryan Says:

Cheers Lynn, ESPN really, really, really messed up today. And let’s not forget P-Mac and Chris Fowler forgetting to mop up their drool after the Roddick win–the custodians at the stadium weren’t too pleased.

Steve Harris Says:

How about those new ESPN camera angles where the views are as if I got a free ticket from the local grocery store. Can’t all sports directors just leave the old time views my brain is used to alone!

Maggie Says:

It is difficult to wrap my brain around the phrase “ESPN, the Grand Slam Network” when management repeatedly makes decisions that suggest tennis is low on its list of priorities.
Pariring Patrick McEnroe with Sean Whatever-his-name is was a fiasco: the man didn’t know our sport, he stated the obvious and delivered it all a tone to be used for only for “calling” a funeral.
The choice of Gimelstob as courtside reporter shows a lack of managements smarts and imagination and maybe laziness.
It is very important that we contact ESPN immediately when they committ these errors. Grousing among ourselves won’t help. I sent an email, written in strong terms (but no profanity) expressing my objections to Sean Whatever-his-name-is and was rewarded with the appearance of the lively, intelligent and knowledgeable Chris Fowler, who also has some good on-air chemistry with Patrick McEnroe.
Clearly ESPN’s bull-pen of top level tennis commentators is empty. We have to put their feet to the fire — offer constructive criticism and make suggestions. Mine included Virginia Wade (who used to call the WTA championships at Madison Square Garden — she does not talk just to hear the sound of her vvoice and is very insightful), Tony Trabert (very, very smart and articulate) and Mary Carillo (very smart and knowledgeable and has a nice dry sense of humor).

steve Says:

are they even going to show the hingis vs ivanovic final. Live championship match or are they going to show x games repeats all day

Carolyn Says:

Who is the tiresome commentator for the Mauresmo-Davenport match who talked about the wines named for Mauresmo all through one set practically! My head aches. If they just have to talk, talk tennis, please.

seema Says:

ESPN2 sucks!!!!! they never show any tennis matches preference is always for baketball,yesterday I was waiting for an hour for coverage of australian open and didn’t get to see it.Why can’t tennis channel just takeover the coverage of grandslams.

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