Friday, June 26, 2009

Wimbledon and the media

I have already discussed the extreme sexism of the British press with regard to Wimbledon (and everything else, for that matter). In the U.S., on both ESPN and Tennis Channel--and I'm sure NBC will be no exception--the mispronunciation of players' names continues, with Pam Shriver taking this offense to new depths. And I also continue to hear those lazy, tennis-demeaning other-sports pseudo-metaphors almost all the time.

Today, describing himself, Darren Cahill used a pseudonym for a word that--in the context in which he was speaking--meant that he was weak and scared--like a woman. Since I hear people more intelligent than Cahill using the same term frequently, I certainly wasn't surprised, but doesn't anyone ever stop and think about what s/he is actually saying? (And yes, I realize that many people actually believe that weak and scared = woman.)

Among the mispronunciations, sloppy tennis-insulting metaphors and the sexism, there often isn't a lot to like about television commentary. But I would be willing to tolerate at least some of the nonsense if ESPN could just remember that women are playing tennis at Wimbledon. I no longer have access to Wimbledon Live--the U.S. is now excluded from using the service--so if a match isn't on ESPN (or NBC on the weekends), I cannot watch it. And women's matches have been few and far between on ESPN so far. If we're lucky, we get to see a segment of a women's match. The exception, of course, involves matches in which Venus and Serena Williams play.

The Williams sisters are very important people at Wimbledon, and one can understand ESPN's preoccupation with showing their matches. But who wants to watch an entire match consisting of Serena plowing over an opponent when there is a really interesting WTA match going on at the same time? I don't. But for now, it's lots of Williams sisters and only snippets--if we're lucky (not a moment of the Vesnina-Cibulkova match)--of other women's matches.


Anonymous said...

Yes, espn should show more of the womens side of the draw. Yes, they shown the William sisters and No they haven't shown their "whole" matches. I love watching the William sisters play, so I'm happy when their on, "plowing" through the field with their shovels in hand.

Diane said...

This time around, they haven't shown a match from absolute beginning to end of any players, I don't think. They do take breaks to show snippets of other matches. But they have shown--as far as I can tell--as close to "all" as possible of Venus's and Serena's matches. I watched them, too, but I would like more variety.

And I don't want to see anyone--Williams, Roddick, whoever--destroying a much lower ranked opponent when I could be watching a competitive match. Just my viewing preference.

Anonymous said...

I'm also disappointed in the Wimbledon coverage this year. I think I prefer the Tennis Channel (for early matches), followed by ESPN. I've taken to watching Wimbledon Primetime on Tennis Channel rather than live matches on ESPN. And thank goodness the Williams sisters are playing doubles, otherwise we'd never see any on ESPN. I also wonder why no one at least shows a set of juniors or wheelchair tennis? I'm not even bothering with NBC until finals weekend when I'll have no alternative.

Strange thing I've noticed this year...longer rallies on the grass than at Roland Garros.


Diane said...

I don't think we'll ever see a set of juniors or wheelchair tennis, Mel, and I would really like to watch Esther Vergeer.

Those are long rallies. Bartoli said the court played painfully slow for her.