Saturday, February 19, 2011

"By the end of the year, we'll know how to pronounce his name."

That alone is a pitiful admission of one's professional competence, but John McEnroe--referring to  Milos Raonic--seemed to think it was a shameless one.

But is even this poor excuse for commentary skills unrealistic? In all the years she played, Elena Dementieva's name was very rarely pronounced correctly--Ted Robinson usually got it right, and that was about it. Martina Navratilova played for decades, and commentators (with the exception, of course, of Bud Collins) didn't bother to pronounce her name correctly. McEnroe never got Justine Henin's right, and she won seven majors. He also struggled to pronounce Jennifer Capriati's name, and she wasn't even "foreign."


Anonymous said...

The most frustrating blatant mispronunciation of a name is Dinara Safina's. I remember her asking in 2009 that people say her family name correctly which is SAF-in-a, not Saf-ee-na. I thought for someone who seems as shy as she does that was a nice thing to see. So I was rather frustrated to tune into an American stream in the next round where the commentators were saying that regardless of how she wants her name to be said, we will just call her Safeena anyway. Appalling commentating.

Diane said...

They don't care. Few players bother to correct them, and on those rare occasions when players say something, the commentators reply, "Oh, well, we've been saying it the other way for so long...." (I wonder what it's like to have a job for which you get paid a whole lot of money to be marginally competent and rude.)

Anonymous said...

I just sympathize with her because here is a player who has had to fight harder than anyone else to be recognized for her achievements and not those of her brother. And then something as simple as her name (which really, is not that hard to say) is ignored.
But to be fair, the Eurosport commentators quickly adopted the proper way of pronouncing her name which says a lot about the difference the quality of commentating in my opinion.

Christina said...

No one, but no one, in the English speaking commentary world pronounces Vera Zvonareva's name correctly. To be fair, she doesn't insist on it. But it's still jarring.

(Should be zvon-ar-YO-va)