Monday, March 29, 2010

Better with the sound off

If Tennis TV is available, I enjoy watching it because I really like the commentators, but sometimes, I compromise and go for the big screen picture. I did that today when my regional Fox Sports Network showed a (rare) Miami match. (I'm sure FSN showed it because Venus Williams was playing.)

Lindsay Davenport, Justin Gimelstob and Ted Robinson were the commentators, only Robinson was hardly present. The very sound of Gimelstob's voice caused me to ask myself what I always ask: If Gimelstob had made horrific racial comments to the press, would he be in a broadcast booth at either Tennis Channel or FSN? I doubt it, even in the U.S., where racism is ubiquitous. (It didn't help that his public apologist was his co-commentator.)

To make matters even less appetizing, Gimelstob now goes out of his way to tell everyone how great all the women players are, as though his lock-in with Billie Jean King somehow vaporized a lifetime of bigotry.

Then there was the matter of Darren Cahill. Cahill has built his entire persona around his belief in being tough at all costs. Pam Shriver has tried, unsuccessfully, to explain to him that not all cramping is caused by poor hydration and lack of fitness. He will have none of it. Whether the problem is heat, injury or a bad day, you have to be tough, you can't be a sissy, you have to figure it out and do it.

I actually like Cahill as a commentator, but here's the rub: He is a member of the Addidas coaching team, and he was on court with Daniela Hantuchova today at every opportunity. Going on court to coach players is the very antithesis of the Cahill philosophy, but there he was, and I found it less than authentic of him to trot out and give pep talks and strategy hints to his charge.

When the feeds are in sync, my favorite thing to do is to watch a match on the television screen and use the sound on Tennis TV. When that isn't possible, a silent picture is sometimes better.


Overhead Spin said...

OMG Diane we both had the same thought bubble today. I was thinking to myself that no matter how good Hantuchova plays she will never win this match just because Venus has something that she Dani does not have, and that is belief. Does not matter if you are 5-0, 40-0 down and it is the final set unless Venus' 2 hands fell off no way was she going down without a fight. She changed tactics throughout the match. When Hantuchova was returning serve well and serving well herself, Venus changed tactics in the second set and started going for more body serves to handcuff her. When Cahill came out and changed the strategy, Venus started changing the pace of the ball, especially when Cahill told Dani to start going down the middle of the court so that Venus would have to find the angles. Then when the off-pace shots were working for Venus in the second set and she won that, then she changed tactics again and started coming to net. When nothing Cahill was saying was working the last thing he had to tell her was this gem: she does this all the time, this is what she does, you just have to believe in yourself. Then he went on to tell her that he believed in her. That one just made me shudder. This is what I used to tell my children when they were afraid of attempting new things. I told them that I believed in their abilities and that they could do it. I do not think a 28 year old woman who has been playing professional sport for over 10 years that she needs to believe in herself. Enough of this foolishness.

Sunny said...

I disagree with what you said about Pam Shriver. At the AO this year Shriver said the only excuse you had for not playing was two broken legs. She also holds it STILL against Henin for retiring at the AO '06. Being a person who has had to once take a lot of anti-inflammatories and some on an empty stomach I know what Henin was dealing with. It can be horribly painful. Shriver keeps saying it was just a tummy ache. Regarding FSN and the VEnus match. FSN was not scheduled for this match in my area. In fact yesterday they just put one on without it being scheduled. I do not like them.

Diane said...

Shriver said what she said, and more than once. I think what you're saying is that she later (or perhaps sooner) contradicted herself. It's hard to keep up :)

FSN is a regional network. If your region doesn't want to show tennis, it doesn't. Our region won't show anything but top U.S. players. Fortunately, there's Tennis Channel, CBS and Tennis TV, all showing parts of Miami.