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appearance

I want to hear about tennis – not the fluffy stuff

It’s great when you’ve got a long drive home from the office to listen to the radio – Five Live is my choice – and enjoy the ride.

tennis ball to left of frame resting on grass

All I'm interested in is the tennis.....

I’m sure it’s the same for you if you have a long commute (mum or not).

 

So Wimbledon is good for me as it’s gentle entertainment and it’s a sport I can watch or listen to easily – which is saying something as I’m not good at sustaining interest in long drawn-out matches. I always feel there should be something else that would be more productive. But stuck in car, it has its place in my life. I also think there’s something about the sound of the ball which is comforting, like a loud ticking clock.

 

However I did get a bit frustrated yesterday when listening to the commentary on the match between Andy Murray and his opponent Feliciano Lopez.

Now commentating on a sport is a special skill if you give it some thought. You have to describe in detail what’s happening so that the listener can visualise and you have to keep talking, as naturally, as possible almost continuously.

 

Give it a try….look at a sport you love and commentate on it for an hour. It’s exhausting. I’ve tried it once or twice and it’s difficult.


For those who love sport, the most awkward time for chatting is often when there are breaks in play. So you get a lot of repetition, cliches and idle chit-chat.

However, I’ve generally found that the Wimbledon tv teams stick very much to the play and players’ form and rarely digress.

That’s what I expect. So I was rather surprised to hear a male commentator talking about Lopez rather personally. Something about him being so proud of his appearance that he spends ages looking at himself in the mirror. Did anyone care about that? Not me.

He went on to say that Lopez wouldn’t like the way that he looked right now if he could see it. Well as I’m listening to the radio – I can’t. Was he sweaty? Was his hair untidy? Was his make-up running? What irrelevant twaddle. I don’t think Lopez gave a stuff what he looked like as he was desperately trying to hold his own (and failing) against Murray.

These comments gave the strong impression that Lopez’s tennis was so mediocre, even poor, that the only thing worth talking about was what he looked like. Then the speaker started referring to what Murray’s mum thought about Lopez, calling him Deliciano! And Murray didn’t really like that. Okay. But what’s that got to do with the match in hand?

How does Lopez want us to think about him? Good looking guy who dresses up to play reasonable tennis or damn good tennis player? I wonder.

Also, let’s try to avoid the personal. I didn’t hear the commentator talk about Murray’s looks, ugly or goodlooking? Handsome or not? Great hair or unruly locks? Big nose or lips? No comments on how often he looks in the mirror or how much he considers his appearance when he’s been running a marathon around a tennis court trying to return serves of 130mph. Does Murray care about any of that during a tennis match? I think not – I certainly don’t.

There’s so much to say at Wimbledon, particularly on a day when the sublime Roger Federer got beaten by the courageous Tsonga, that there’s no need to pick up on tabloid obsession.

Let’s give all of that rest and enjoy the tennis!

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