last call for USA


If only we could get CBS to step aside…

As great a tournament the Open has been this year, when considering the event in its entirety, you’ve got to start with the coverage (the face of the event, after all). I don’t know if it’s because of the conventions, but I’ve been more conscious of how the tournament has been delivered to me this year than ever before.

In case you haven’t heard, this is USA Network’s last year covering the Open. With its bevy of weaknesses aside — I’ll get to a few in a sec — can we just say thank god for USA’s day and weeknight coverage? CBS’ work might not be different from years past, but the grating horn section of their intro and outro, the overexposed light, Mary Joe’s pre- and post-match interviews, Dick Enberg — how much of it can one take?

Thanks for the relief, USA, but here are a few things your replacement can improve upon:

— When Mueller and Davydenko were 9-10 in the fourth set tiebreak, the producer switched over to the start of the Andreev/Federer first set tiebreak, despite McEnroe’s request to stay put. (They did show the end of the tiebreak on tape, but the piss had been taken.)

— The night-match guests invited to join Ted Robinson and John in the booth really tested our patience and sanity: the Ryder Cup captain left me yawning and Boris Becker’s visit felt bloated.

— McEnroe and Jim Courier both have good and bad: Mac offers great insight and passion until he eventually devolves into his usual self-aggrandizement, occasionally revisiting earlier top form. Courier gets major points for his latest insights, my favorite being pointing out that guys ranked in the 80s in the world could be starters on an NBA team (a sentiment I’ve been aware of for a while). On the other hand, he’s still Mr. Smug.

By the way, I’m really intrigued by all the personal bits that Courier alludes to in his commentary, so I’m asking my readers for the latest info on this man: is his Manhattan apartment a duplex? penthouse? both? What kind of art does he collect? What Rosetta Stone tape is he currently working on?

Hope you enjoyed USA’s last night of coverage, and that CBS doesn’t give you too much of a hangover.

Michael Shaw writes about tennis and other subjects for the Los Angeles Times and is also an artist. He can be reached at michaelshaw_sar AT yahoo DOT com. Read his previous posts for TSF here.


4 Responses to “last call for USA”

  1. john Says:

    I really hope they never show Jim Courier again. He really is the worst. I’d even take Brad Gilbert commentating over Jim and that’s really saying something! Mary Carillo gets so annoying also but I guess we’re stuck with her.

  2. Dane Says:

    I can totally understand why they cut away from the Muller/Davydenko tiebreak. I mean, it’s Muller and Davydenko. Unfortunately. however, after the Fed/Andreev tiebreak finished, they accidentally showed a live shot of Armstrong which had its net taken down already. Obviously this meant Muller had won the tiebreak, because otherwise they’d’ve been in the fifth set.

    Totally with you on CBS, though. They suck.

  3. t3nnisman Says:

    Network coverage in my opinion has generally been horrible, the Americans are always given the spotlight on US networks period. Very disappointing. And I’m not crazy about the new requirement for ’09: ‘All coaches called on court during televised matches will be required to wear a microphone to capture the coaching conversation for TV viewers.’ (from the tour site).
    All I care about is the ability to watch more WTA/non-american focused matches.

    By the way, fantastic blog, You’ve been added to the forum and tennis web directory. (a new tennis forum with @@@@)

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