I don’t watch many sports on the teevee. I love college basketball, especially the ACC–any Duke game and any tournament game (any team) is a must. I couldn’t care less about the NBA most of the time. I’ll watch some NFL games here and there, though living in Southern California made me lose my appetite for football on television. I need cold weather to feel like watching it.
I will also brake in channel cruising for tennis. Something about it is mesmerizing. I love watching Wimbledon, and feel pretty good about the U.S. Open too.
All that silly prologue is to say I read this article, in which the writer gives advice to somebody attending the U.S. Open for the first time, and found it enjoyable. (But part of that might be the fact that I used to take the 7 train every day when I lived in Queens; it’s nice to see a touchstone like that). Thought somebody here might like it.
“I don’t know Jim. There’s obviously something wrong with him. He’s taken off his shoes and one of his socks…and, actually, I think he’s crying.”
I think this is a good time to be watching tennis, since Federer is on track to be one of the all time greats. His 2004 season was up there with Laver '69, Connors '74, McEnroe '84, and Wilander '88 as one of the most dominant seasons in the open era.
I wish CBS didn’t broadcast the Open, though. I get terrible CBS reception…
Anyway, a Federer/Nadal final, should it happen, would be the perfect cap to the year.
Do you really need to track the ball that closely though? The beauty in the game is the movement, choice and placement of shots. Perhaps Fox can get the rights and we’ll be able to enjoy glowing tennis balls that show a swooshy tail effect anytime the ball exceeds a certain speed.
I think it would help – you’d get a better feel for the power and spin than you do in standard def. If you’ve ever seen these guys live, it’s a bit shocking just how hard they are really hitting it. You can’t quite grasp the movement on the ball on tv (but maybe you could on HD, though I don’t know).
I think a big factor in this is that the camera angle is too high. I’ve seen some crap tournaments broadcast from a much lower angle, and you can see the ‘rip’ in the shots a whole lot easier. It feels a whole lot different. I’ve never seen a grandslam do that though, except in instant replay in slowmo.
Usually they will alternate between the usual “master” shot (from overhead at a slight angle) and occasional shots from behind the player at the near end. I’ve seen grand slam coverage using these behind angles as far back as the 1981 Wimbledon. The “behind” shots can give a better impression of the immediacy of the game, but they also obscure the court position and actions of the far player.
I prefer the overhead master shot most of the time, because I want to see every aspect of the point and both players’ positions. But yeah, it doesn’t come close to conveying the real thing. Few weeks back I attended the qualifying matches for the Mercedes Benz Cup at UCLA – free admission and you could easily mosey up to the front row. I was about 10 feet behind Jonas Bjorkman (top 100 pro who has made the Wimbledon quarters) as he played his match. Wow.
During its coverage of the French Open a couple years back, ESPN used a very wide-angle lens on some of the side court matches, presumably because on those courts the rigging wasn’t available for a normal high angle. It was unwatchable; you couldn’t see anything from the far side. Perhaps they’re still using those wide angles but I haven’t seen much tennis coverage lately apart from NBC.