Tennis on the Radio

This afternoon I was planning to watch Federer play in the French Open semifinal. I saw that NBC had the rights to the game, so I flipped on NBC while I was working. The game being shown was the other match, which I knew would be won by Soderling because it was on a tape delay. I was annoyed at NBC for showing a match that had finished instead of a live match. I figured they would air the Federer match on delay after the Soderling match ended. When Soderling wrapped up his win NBC went to the Ellen DeGeneres Show, which was a most unpleasant surprise.

The Federer semifinal was not on television.

I decided to go to the French Open website to get match tracker updates. I was surprised to see radio coverage of the match available on the main page. So I listened to it.

Tennis on the radio is quite interesting. The play-by-play announcer must be fast. The pop of ball strikes can be heard, and on serves in the net the ball hitting the net cord is audible. The crowd also provides clues. For this match there were two color commentators. During points they would occasionally make an exclamation (“Oh!”, or “Brilliant!”, or “Amazing!”) to let the listener know the point was well-played. My favorite moments occurred between changeovers and delays when the commentators tried to outdo each other with poetic statements. I laughed out loud several times during the broadcast.

I’m thrilled Fed recovered from a 2-1 deficit to take it in five. I hope he wins on Sunday, though I won’t get to see the match live since I’ll be at church. Maybe I could listen to a radio feed?

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