2014 US Open ESPN Coverage – A Rant

This article was provided by a media colleague and good friend from GroundsPass.net

Up until this point, my tennis coverage has featured exclusive video highlights, photos, and interviews. Editorializing is not what I am known for, however, if my goal is to entice more fans into the sport of tennis, some of my television production background expertise may be of some value.

I have yet to find anybody who is thrilled with the coverage and/or commentators for this years’ US Open Championships, here in the United States. Of course, we all know that you cannot please all of the people all of the time, but maybe, just maybe, there is a way to please most of the people, most of the time.

Despite the fact that it may adversely affect my opportunities to ever do any work for them, my criticism is of ESPN Networks, or more specifically, the channels ESPN and ESPN2. Why ESPN’s channels? Because they are on the basic tier of nearly EVERY cable system, whereas Tennis Channel is not. In fact, Tennis Channel is usually an add on, for an additional charge, and here at GroundsPass.net, we strive for the least expensive way to enjoy this sport.

Yes, there is the online streaming side, ESPN3.com, but not everyone has the luxury of high speed internet and/or handy devices to connect to it. Besides, when you are viewing a full-screen shot of the on court action, it is difficult to see the subtleties, and therefore less enjoyable to watch on a much smaller screen. You may as well just watch scores changing on a smartphone app.

Without getting into too many specifics of this past week’s coverage frustrations, I have come up with a formula for deciding what to cover during US Open television coverage on ESPN:

Criteria #1: Player popularity.
For some, it is clear that they are a popular player, for others, not so much. It is not necessarily based on their ranking. Sure Murray is #9, but instead of baseline tennis, wouldn’t you rather watch the athleticism and character of Tsonga(#10)? Monfils(#24)? Or, even Baghdatis(#86)?

Criteria #2: Nationality.
ESPN is predominantly a North American network. People in the Untied States want to see players from the United States. Featuring players from the United States inspires kids and adults from the United States to keep up with this sport. Are we getting this yet?
I commended ESPN for their decision to feature the entire second round match of upcoming junior CiCi Bellis. THAT was the correct decision. But when the evening broadcast began (continuous from day session) with talking people at the desk, instead of going straight to the Williams sister’s third set of doubles, I was left rubbing my smoothed out head in disbelief. Maybe I’m mistaken, but for North America, isn’t that a more desirable match to see than the first set of Andy Murray v. Matthias Bachinger?
Read the rest of this entry

Win a Wilson ProStaff RF 97 Autograph!

Hey folks.

First my sincerest apologies for not updating TennisThis.com as much lately. Unfortunately, life has been getting in the way of keeping up with the Joneses. Gotta keep those bills and family taken care of.

Anyway, I’m inching my way back into the tennis blogging world and starting it with a bang! Like almost every major tournament, I like to give stuff away so with the US Open just weeks away, I’m going to be giving away something really cool!

Win a Wilson ProStaff RF 97 Autograph!

Wilson ProStaff RF 97 Autograph giveaway tennis

Win this!

Also known as Roger Federer’s tennis racquet of choice. We’ve waited for over a year to find out what the blacked out weapon he carried in his bag was; now that it’s finally here, I’m giving one away! Woohoo!!!

Pre-Order your Wilson RF 97 Autograph racket here

To be clear, a Wilson ProStaff RF 97 Autograph is up for grabs, none of the other versions of the new ProStaff line will be available.
Here are the Wilson ProStaff RF 97 Autograph specs:
Head Size:
97 sq. in. / 625.81 sq. cm.
Length: 27in / 68.58cm
Strung Weight: 12.6oz / 357.2g
Balance: 12.38in / 31.45cm / 9 pts HL
Swingweight: 335
Stiffness: 68
Beam Width: 21.5mm / 21.5mm / 21.5mm /
Composition: Braided Kevlar & Graphite / Basalt Fibers
Grip Type: Wilson Premium Leather
String Pattern: 16 Mains / 19 Crosses

How excited are you at the opportunity to win  a Wilson ProStaff RF 97 Autograph??? I would be totally stoked that’s for sure. It’s really too bad I can’t enter my own giveaway. All kidding aside, this is a great opportunity for you to win this sweet Wilson ProStaff RF 97 Autograph and be the first on the courts with it.

How do I enter to win a Wilson ProStaff RF 97 Autograph?

Well, it’s super simple. Like every other contest I’ve done in the past, I have certain requirements; simply enter a comment in the comments section, share on twitter/facebook/instagram/reddit/wherever and wait patiently while the US Open starts and finishes. A single winner will be selected at random at the end of the 2014 Men’s US Open finaland that selected winner will be contacted by me. At that point, the winner has 24 hours to respond to my email confirming they are willing to accept this awesome prize. Also,since the Wilson ProStaff RF 97 Autograph will not be shipping until October 1, 2014; the winner will have to be patient and wait until the racquets are shipped!

This time, I’m going to ask for comments to tell me what’s in your tennis bag! Make a short, or long, list of what’s in your bag (racquets, strings, wristbands, dampeners, etc?). Oh and of course, I would love it if you shared on your social networks too…the more entrants the more fun!

Here’s what’s in my bag:
2 matched Mantis Pro 295’s (Currently strung with Kirschbaum Max Power Rough and YTex Square X @44lbs)
30 pack of Tourna Grip XL (get some here)
Pete Sampras Tourna dampeners (get some here)
Jump rope (get one here)
Energy gummies (get some here)
Hat (get one here)
3 Cans of Penn ATP balls (get a case here)
Towel (get one here)
Total Serve
TennisThis.com business cards
Pens

Rules for entry

This is all the very very important stuff to know for entering this contest to win a Wilson ProStaff RF 97 Autograph….

One entry per person.
No purchase necessary.
Giveaway applies to all countries in the world (unless if you live a country with no internet).
If an international winner is selected, winner is responsible for all shipping costs and any addition VAT or fees for shipping.
No exchanges or substitutes

 

That’s it! Good luck to all of you who enter and if you didn’t win you can get your own Wilson ProStaff FR 97 Autograph tennis racquet from my favorite tennis shop, Tennis-Warehouse

Murray rivalry with Djokovic blossoming

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic we are lead to believe are good friends and get on very well off the court in their own time but on it, their fierce rivalry is starting to develop at quite a rate.

The two stars of the modern game have produced some astonishing matches when they go toe-to-toe on court, with their most recent encounter coming at the Miami Masters in the quarter-finals of the competition.

It was the Serb who came out on top on that occasion with a hard-fought 7-5 6-3 victory over the Scot, who is ever so slowly get back to his best tennis having undergone back surgery at the end of last year which has hindered his tennis of late.

Although it was a straight-sets win from Djokovic, which denied Murray retaining his title down in Florida, trying to beat the world number two clearly meant a lot to the two-time Gland Slam wining Brit. Read the rest of this entry

Wilson tennis missing out on a load of money

Roger Federer WIlson tennis racquet blacked out

What is he wielding?

We all know that the king of tennis, Roger Federer, plays with a Wilson tennis racquet; but the billion dollar question is which Wilson tennis racquet is Federer actually playing with? The blacked out frame is about as majestically as a Big Foot or a Unicorn.

It’s been ages, really it’s been about 9 months, since Roger Federer announced his switch to a new larger Wilson tennis racquet. Though he left out key details about what he was using; in fact, he didn’t really give any details other than the larger head size.

Wilson tennis is taking too long to deliver

I’ve spoken with several people on this matter, “What is Roger Federer using?” Nobody seems to know! I’ve talked to quite a few insiders (Wilson tennis reps), some players on the tour, and some stringers in the 1% of stringing; literally nobody knows.

Interestingly enough, Roger Federer has vanished from the Tennis-Warehouse Wilson tennis brand page: check it out

The moment that Wilson releases anything about this Dark Knight of a tennis racquet, their stock is going to skyrocket, though they’re really taking too long already to deliver the product. The public wants it; players have hand fulls of cash ready to throw at Wilson tennis, just to emulate what one of the greatest tennis players to have ever graced a tennis court is holding as his weapon of choice. Seriously, the sheeple don’t care what it is or what it plays like, or even if it gives them the worst case of tennis elbow they’ve every had, THEY WILL BUY.

Does this mysterious Wilson tennis racquet even have a name?

All I know is that there was a meeting recently at Wilson to discuss names for the frame. I don’t know anything else, I promise!

Though if I were in that meeting, I would have to guess the following three names were at the top of the heap: Read the rest of this entry

Is Wawrinka’s AO win being tainted?

Wawrinka AO win being tainted by rafael nadal?

Nadal back treatment @ATPWorldTour.com

Ok, so we all know that Rafa lost to the new Swiss numbero uno, Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. To me, it is refreshing to see another player that’s not named Nadal, Federer, Murray, or Djokovic hoisting a major trophy over their head; Stan Wawrinka earned every single point in his final match against the world #1. But I’m starting to see that Wawrinka’s AO win is being tainted by Rafa’s “injury” already.

Rafa got beat…

…but not because he was injured. Rafa got beat because Stan outplayed him and finished points exactly when he needed. He played an amazing final match that he should remember for the rest of time; he played a “Perfect” match in Australia. Read the rest of this entry

Australian Open heat is ridiculous

Seriously, the Australian Open heat is ridiculous. It’s day 2 of the “Happy Slam” but there’s really nothing “Happy” about it if you’re competing at the beginning of a coming Australian heatwave.

On the start of Day 2 at the 2014 Australian Open, the heat started to rise, then it rose some more; during the middle of the Paire vs. Dancevic match out on Court 6, the air temperature rose to about 108 degrees Fahrenheit. That air temperature coupled with the strong sun, drove the temperature of the tennis court to closer to 146 degree Fahrenheit! It’s ridiculous to think that players were battling it out in that kind of heat without officials offering more than a few ice pack, a ball kid with an umbrella, and extra bottles of water.

Here’s a GIF of Canadian Frank Dancevic falling over and fainting from the extreme heat (courtesy of The Tennis Channel):

Australian Open heat is ridiculous

Frank Dancevic passes out

Read the rest of this entry

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