Posted on: July 3, 2009 11:29 am

Great Wimbledon - Terrible Coverage

Has anyone else been watching this awful coverage of Week 2 of Wimbledon? Let me start off by saying that I absolutely hate not seeing a match live. Especially since during Week 1 ESPN2 did a great job and showed every match live that they possibly could. They started up at 7AM and finished up at something like 6PM, even re-showing some of the early matches for those who weren't awake. Then starting last Saturday, NBC came in and screwed everything up.

As I write this, I am forced to listen to the Murray v. Roddick semifinal on Wimbledon Radio because it's not on TV anywhere. The same thing happened with the Venus v. Safina match yesterday. Same with the quarterfinal matches. So this is what is happening here. ESPN buys the rights to cover a certain time period, and NBC buys the rights to a certain match. NBC can't cover the Murray v. Roddick match until noon today (its 11:22 AM) which is already into the second set. Since the Federer match only took 3 sets, ESPN is stuck showing last year's final set of the championship because NBC has the rights to the Murray v. Roddick match. Over the weekend, ESPN had full-day coverage and commented on the fact that they couldn't even give you score updates of the Roddick match because NBC had the rights to it.

Granted, tennis scheduling is tough to program because matches aren't based on time and the following match will start immediately following the first. Even still, they have to figure out a system to show these matches live. By the time the match is shown on NBC today, the second set will most likely be over, and the only reason I'd want to watch it is to actually see what i'm hearing on Wimbledon Radio. My reason for saying that NBC is ruining the coverage is because ESPN2 did such a great job over the first week.

All I'm asking is to see a quarterfinal and semifinal match live. For a Grand Slam that shouldn't be too much to ask, should it?

Posted on: June 8, 2009 6:45 pm

French Open Finals - A Disappointment

The French Open Finals were quite the disappointment in both the mens and womens side, in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, the performance of Roger Federer was fantastic and kudos to him for finally breaking through his French Open woes to tie Pete Sampras. I'm not going to knock on the quality of the players so much as the quality of the actual matches. 

I'm going to start over on the women's side with Dinara Safina and Svetlana Kuznetsova. This is the third grand slam final that Safina has made it to, and once again does not even show up for the final match, going down 6-4, 6-2. The match culminated on match point where Safina double-faults the title away. Now I'm not trying to take anything away from Kuznetsova, who had a great tournament, but as the world's number one player, the least you can do is win a set in a Grand Slam Final. In last year's French Open she was beaten by Ana Ivanovic (6-4, 6-3) and in this year's Australian Open she was beaten by Serena Williams (6-0, 6-3). We all know she can play, and she certainly proved it during the tournament, dropping only 5 games in her first 5 matches, but when it comes to pressure situations with a title on the line, she has just folded. The sad part to me is that by reaching the final, she maintains her number one ranking. I find this "sad" because I think she could use some time away from that ranking. Usually when players are knocked off of that pedestal they tend to find themselves and don't get complacent, as well as relieves some of that pressure of being on the top.

The men's match was pretty much what the matchup said it would be. Soderling was a real nice story throughout the Open, only reaching as far as the third round in any other Grand Slam event prior to this. He just really didn't have an answer for Federer's game, falling 6-1, 7-6 (7-1), 6-4 in the final. While this win was a feel-good story for Federer, it wasn't really a test by any means. In Federer's previous two matches against Haas and Del Potro, he had to come from behind in both matches and play his best tennis just to advance. His comeback against Tommy Haas was one of Federer's greatest performances that I've seen in recent time. How much better of a story would it have been for Roger Federer to come into Roland Garros and take the crown away from Rafael Nadal in the final? How great of a match could that have been? Whoever would have won, history would have been made. If Federer wins, he overcomes his French Open woes, he finally beats Nadal on clay on the biggest stage, and ties Pete Sampras for 14 Grand Slam titles. If Nadal wins, he becomes the first player ever to win 5 straight French Open titles, and his win streak on clay lives on. It was just not meant to be. Don't take anything away from Roger- I just think that this story, while great, could have been even greater.

The good news? Only 14 days until Wimbledon.

Posted on: June 2, 2009 12:22 am
Edited on: June 2, 2009 3:26 pm

Federer - Still Got It?

Today at the French Open was pretty interesting. It is evident that the players are feeling the round of 16 and are stepping up their game accordingly. The match that stood out to me was the Federer/Haas match today, which found the number 2 ranked player in the world down 2 sets to 0 and down 4-3 in the third set. I don't see why people think that Federer is a done deal. This guy has shown countless times that he has what it takes to be the best and today this proves it once more.

In the same type of scenario yesterday, Rafael Nadal folded under the pressure of trailing 2-1 and lost his match. Next day what does Federer do? He comes back to win the match in 5 sets after being 2 games away from losing the match. See, this is the stuff champions are made of. It's not about how you deal with the pressures of winning, its how you deal with the adversity of being almost down and out, and how you can come back from that. It's simply great stuff to watch, and if you are a tennis fan and aren't spending each day from 12-6 in front of ESPN2 at the very least, then you are certainly missing out.

Federer is the clear favorite to win on the men's side, but I'm going to be interested to see how he deals with Gael Monfils, who absolutely obliterated Roddick today in straight sets. Speaking of that match, can I tell you how annoyed I am at the favoritism of the American players by the ESPN announcing crew? Let's be honest about that match. Everything pointed to Monfils taking that match. I didn't think he'd take it straight, but I did think he would take it, as did a few of the announcers, and here we have Brad Gilbert giving the "match advantages." He gave Monfils checks for Backhand, Forehand, and he said 9 checks for speed, and gave Roddick the check for serve, and for intangibles. Let's look at the intangibles. Gael Monfils is French. They are playing on clay (Monfils is 2-0 vs. Roddick on clay). The entire crowd was chanting his name as he walked out for goodness sakes. But nope, Brad Gilbert "just has a feeling about this one" and once again proves himself wrong for picking with his nation over his brain. Yes, Roddick has been playing better, but for goodness sakes he is at the French Open and has watched Monfils play! I don't really get it.

On the women's side, Safina is absolutely crushing her way into the quarterfinals. She has played 5 matches and has only dropped 5 games. Not 5 sets, 5 games. She is just running away with this thing. I'm really excited for this weekend to see how the final matches end up.

If you're not watching this, you really are missing out. Check it out, I promise you won't be disappointed.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com