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View Full Version : What makes a good tennis commentator?


Jakeev
Oct 23rd, 2006, 06:17 AM
You know as I have been listening to tennis commentators on the Tennis Channel lately and I have been really enjoying Katrina Adams, Anne Smith and Elise Burgin.

What makes there style so different from Tracy Austin, Pam Shriver and Mary Jo Fernandez that in their commentary, they tend to stick to the tennis and the matter at hand. I think because of that, some might find their delivery a tad bit boring or mechanical.

Meanwhile the others, which is so frequently noted on this board, tend to talk alot about their off-court behavior and antics. Often being over opinionated, animated and for what many feel, biased about certain players.

Yet I think all six women are great commentators. They all in my mind are qualified to be covering tennis considering they have been around the block in the game.

So what makes a good commentator to you?

jayzbee
Oct 23rd, 2006, 06:38 AM
A good tennis commentator, first of all should do research on the players that's playing. Results, head to head etc. They should talk about both players groundstrokes. And they should just stick to tennis . Because I noticed commentators intend to just talk about one player thru out the match.Not good.

Sharakim
Oct 23rd, 2006, 07:08 AM
I agree that a good commentator should stick to the tennis for most of the match. Plus I like to listen to a commentator who can make me laugh, John McEnroe being one of the best in the business (imo).

WhatTheDeuce
Oct 23rd, 2006, 07:13 AM
Incorporate humor into the commentating if possible, display an understanding of both players' games on the court (strengths, weaknesses, strategy, etc), stick to talking about the match at hand for the most part and analyze the unfolding of the match as it goes with a good level of knowledge and information that the average viewer might not notice/understand themselves.

go hingis
Oct 23rd, 2006, 07:52 AM
IMO - A good commentator knows how to bring up Martina Hingis into any match.

Also knows how to keep neutral and not pick sides or have a fave, if they do more reason to just stick to the match being played and to remember they're players and not machines.

Brian Stewart
Oct 23rd, 2006, 08:42 AM
I agree with the points mentioned.

Objectivity. With a good announcer, in any sport, it should be very difficult to ascertain their personal feelings about the competitors. This is also connected to consistency. What's good or bad for one player/team, should be considered good/bad for all.

Background. The announcer should know the players well. Not personally, but at least in tennis terms. Even with a 128-draw slam, the announcer should know everyone in the field. S/he should follow the sport year-round, and thus be familiar with everyone in the top 100-plus, and thus only need to study up on a couple of players at most. No chortling goofily to yourself about how you've "never heard of" someone in the top 50-60. (I'm talking to you, Carillo.) If the announcers don't respect the sport, how do we expect the general public to?

A positive attitude. There are a lot of good things in the sport, and in each match. Bring them out. You don't have to be Pollyanna and pretend everything is great, but likewise you don't have to harp on only negatives. Promote the sport. Convince the viewers why we should be watching the match, not why we shouldn't. No droning on in a tone that makes it obvious you would rather be doing another match. You can still discuss issues and problems facing the sport, but let viewers know it's a good sport that is worth watching. You don't have to turn into Dick Vitale (please God, don't), but show some enthusiasm. For all the complaints about Barry MacKay, whenever you watched a match he did, you got the feeling that he's happy to be there, and happy to share the experience with us.

Don't say something unless you've got something to say. The time between points and games is an opportunity to say something, not an obligation. Make sure what you say adds to the telecast.

Analyze the match. Don't just report what happened, tell us why. When a stat panel says a player's first serve % is in the 40's, and they have 12 double faults, we can guess that they're not serving well. Tell us why.

Be judicious with annecdotes. They are like the seasonings on a meal. When sprinkled carefully, they can add just the right enhancement. When overdone, they can ruin the experience. (Who wants to eat a plateful of salt?) And if you spend too much time on silliness, it sends the message that the match isn't worth watching. If you want to work on your comedy routine, hit the nightclubs.

Each match should be a free tennis lesson. Analyze the players' strokes and strategies, and show us what they're doing right and wrong. In this instance, even a bad match can be useful, as it can serve as a teaching tool to analyze common mistakes. For example, someone watching at home might be about to give up the game because they're repeatedly driving their forehand into the net. If you show them what happens when a pro covers the ball, they might recognize their own mistakes and correct them, instead of quitting.

Bottom line is, respect the sport. By respecting the sport, they respect us, the fans. If someone is unwilling to show the dedication to follow the sport year-round, and promote it by bringing out its many positives, and present it in an impartial, professional manner, then they should step aside for someone who will.

Shonami Slam
Oct 23rd, 2006, 08:53 AM
a good, solid and fluent british accent.
so you can at least enjoy the soothing voice while your fave is losing and the opponent praised.
:D

Dawn Marie
Oct 23rd, 2006, 09:11 AM
Jakeev I agree with you. The commentators for the Tennis Channel are quite good. They stick to tennis and what is going on in the match.


There is this I think British older guy who comments on alot of the ATP matches. He is quite good.

Jakeev
Oct 24th, 2006, 10:29 AM
[QUOTE=Brian Stewart]

Background. The announcer should know the players well. Not personally, but at least in tennis terms. Even with a 128-draw slam, the announcer should know everyone in the field. S/he should follow the sport year-round, and thus be familiar with everyone in the top 100-plus, and thus only need to study up on a couple of players at most. No chortling goofily to yourself about how you've "never heard of" someone in the top 50-60. (I'm talking to you, Carillo.) If the announcers don't respect the sport, how do we expect the general QUOTE]

That is what I was liking about Anne Smith at Luxemborg. First, I didn't really know how in touch she was with the current game even though she had comeback on tour last year.

But in the Schiavone/Radwanska match I was actually surprised how well she seemed to know about the young Polish player's game.

Anne also did a great job in Zurich. She seemed a lot more confident in her commentary this past weekend and it showed in how articulate she was.

Hope to hear more commentary from her next year.

MrSerenaWilliams
Oct 24th, 2006, 12:14 PM
BRIAN.STEWART.IS.A.GENIUS.

I agree 100% if they respect the sport and have a passion for it, as well as some credibility, that makes a great commentator. Also, not overly antagonistic too. People hate bitchy commentators, the come jealous of the players.

Craigy
Oct 24th, 2006, 12:31 PM
They don't talk when a point is being played :p

frenchie
Oct 24th, 2006, 12:34 PM
A good commentator for me is someone who likes and hates the same players as me :tape:

for example, the french ES commentators always have something not very nice to say about Sharapova :devil: I like it :lol:

Veenut
Oct 24th, 2006, 06:55 PM
I agree with the points mentioned.

Objectivity. With a good announcer, in any sport, it should be very difficult to ascertain their personal feelings about the competitors. This is also connected to consistency. What's good or bad for one player/team, should be considered good/bad for all.

Background. The announcer should know the players well. Not personally, but at least in tennis terms. Even with a 128-draw slam, the announcer should know everyone in the field. S/he should follow the sport year-round, and thus be familiar with everyone in the top 100-plus, and thus only need to study up on a couple of players at most. No chortling goofily to yourself about how you've "never heard of" someone in the top 50-60. (I'm talking to you, Carillo.) If the announcers don't respect the sport, how do we expect the general public to?

A positive attitude. There are a lot of good things in the sport, and in each match. Bring them out. You don't have to be Pollyanna and pretend everything is great, but likewise you don't have to harp on only negatives. Promote the sport. Convince the viewers why we should be watching the match, not why we shouldn't. No droning on in a tone that makes it obvious you would rather be doing another match. You can still discuss issues and problems facing the sport, but let viewers know it's a good sport that is worth watching. You don't have to turn into Dick Vitale (please God, don't), but show some enthusiasm. For all the complaints about Barry MacKay, whenever you watched a match he did, you got the feeling that he's happy to be there, and happy to share the experience with us.

Don't say something unless you've got something to say. The time between points and games is an opportunity to say something, not an obligation. Make sure what you say adds to the telecast.

Analyze the match. Don't just report what happened, tell us why. When a stat panel says a player's first serve % is in the 40's, and they have 12 double faults, we can guess that they're not serving well. Tell us why.

Be judicious with annecdotes. They are like the seasonings on a meal. When sprinkled carefully, they can add just the right enhancement. When overdone, they can ruin the experience. (Who wants to eat a plateful of salt?) And if you spend too much time on silliness, it sends the message that the match isn't worth watching. If you want to work on your comedy routine, hit the nightclubs.

Each match should be a free tennis lesson. Analyze the players' strokes and strategies, and show us what they're doing right and wrong. In this instance, even a bad match can be useful, as it can serve as a teaching tool to analyze common mistakes. For example, someone watching at home might be about to give up the game because they're repeatedly driving their forehand into the net. If you show them what happens when a pro covers the ball, they might recognize their own mistakes and correct them, instead of quitting.

Bottom line is, respect the sport. By respecting the sport, they respect us, the fans. If someone is unwilling to show the dedication to follow the sport year-round, and promote it by bringing out its many positives, and present it in an impartial, professional manner, then they should step aside for someone who will.

Well articulated!! :worship: I think you should get this to the US commentators because I'm convinced they are unaware of what they should actually be doing. It seem like they are happy to have the microphone to laud their preferences and make their displeasures known.

I think their attitude also contribute to the decline of viewership. Unfortunately I don't get the TC so I can't judge their commentators.

V-MAC
Oct 24th, 2006, 07:05 PM
I love the pairing of Sam Smith and Chris Bradnam ( or is it Simon Reed:scratch: ) on Eurosport. They show great knowledge of the game and players while also indulging in a bit of banter with each other. Sam always mocks Chris over his obsession with what the players are wearing :lol: :o