Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Covering international tennis

A frequent complaint of mine is how American-centric the American coverage of professional tennis remains despite the international appeal of many top players. And with the French Open coming up soon, soon, soon (I board a plane in a week for France to go see it!) I was gearing up for another post on how the American media just can't seem to do right by international players.
There's no telling what ESPN will do with its coverage. Whether we will see replay of some American's match during every rain delay (please cross your fingers that there will be no rain on the first Monday and Thursday of the tournament--thank you)--or whether we may actually get to see an interesting match with lesser-knowns. And remember that the less-knowns are only lesser known to Americans largely because of the lousy job ESPN and other outlets do in covering tennis.
But I was pleased to see the NYT do a feature on Carla Suarez-Navarro. The article focused on Suarez-Navarro as the best hope for Spanish women right now. Spanish men, of course, led by Rafael Nadal, are doing quite well. But Spain has not had a female star since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and Conchita Martinez were in their heydays.
Of course print media is very different from television. But maybe the folks at ESPN caught a glimpse of the article or even of Suarez-Navarro herself; she is a top-20 player after all and has one of the few one-handed backhands in the game (something else most television commentators fail to realize--Mauresmo is not the only one). And her game is different from the extreme power of other players. I, personally, am going to make a point of finding her in Paris in a few weeks!

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