I’m convinced being a tennis analyst is the easiest job in the world.
~ Andy Roddick
With the Ashes done and Cricket Australia more likely to sell the replica Waterford Crystal urn on the Sale of the Century gift shop than an ODI ticket, it’s time to swap the meat of the bat for the sweet spot on the racquet. For those of us lacking the means or motivation to make it to Melbourne Park, it means one thing: Seven’s Summer of Tennis.
I know. Still in recovery from the sphincter-busting introduction of James Brayshaw to Test cricket commentary and the very existence of ‘The Cricket Show’, we millions, we lazy bunch of remote hogs, are all bound for Bruceyville. Ian Healy’s on the rack, elongated and speaking with an American accent. Spin the lazy Susan of hosts and experts from Warnie, Tubs and Chappelli to Fitzy, Stubbs and Bradtke. All tied in a bow by Eddie Everywhere Johanna Griggs. If the following don’t have you thumping seven shades of shit through the swingball set by week two, you should consider supplements.
1. My Nemesis™
A picture of the lesser of the Two Woodies should be on the cover of every ‘Introduction to Philosophy’ class in the land.* I don’t know why Todd Woodbridge annoys me so much. He’s a bit shit? Yes, that’s it. How shit? Put it this way: I look forward to Lleyton Hewitt getting knocked out early for the perspective he brings to the box. Hewitt’s impending retirement must keep My Nemesis™ awake at night. Bwahahahahahahahahaha.
* Read some Aristotle, philistines.
Ranked 639 in the world? Got a wildcard after finishing runner-up at the Dandenong Invitational? No wuckers, mate! You might be playing on an outside court at Melbourne Park, but you are guaranteed to feature on Seven’s Summer of Tennis, especially if the laydeez are on Rod Laver Arena. I call it McAvaney’s Law: if there’s a ‘Strayan playin’ to the strains of ‘let’s go Aussie, let’s go!’ then that ‘Strayan will be playin’ on Seven (or 7Two). Then there is the not inconsiderable issue of The Fanatics. One chant in 15 years? World’s shittest supporter group/people too stupid to get to Oktoberfest by themselves. Case closed.
3. The ‘Laydeez’
If you remain in any doubt as to where Channel Seven ranks the WTA, check out the Yahoo!7 Sport tennis galleries. ‘Hottest WAGs of the Australian Open’ takes top spot, just edging out ‘The Sexiest Women’s Players of All Time’. No, ‘Terrible Tennis Dads’ doesn’t even the score. The flipside is the commentary team includes women who know what they’re talking about. Wait. Why is <INSERT LITTLE MALE AUSSIE BATTLER> on TV? Never mind, pet: there’s always Rachael Finch to interview <INSERT TEENAGE SOAP STAR> about their outfit. The Herald-Sun
printed an Australian Open media release reports that Brad & Angie Jo could grace Melbourne Park with their presence this year. Prepare to shit yourselves twice & die, people.
The Australian Open has one of the best Twitter accounts going in world sport, IMHO. Informative, engaging and fun. The players tweet. The fans tweet. We all tweet. Where is Channel 7? Polling the 14 people who use Fango about Rachael Finch’s interview with <INSERT TEENAGE SOAP STAR> about their outfit.
5. The Curious Case of Henri Leconte
Leconte has delivered his special brand of semi-orgasmic Gallic cray to the commentary box since 2010. Bruce must have got the hump, because Henri now calls the ‘no way the French player wins even if he’s playing another cheese-eating surrender monkey’ match and pretty much disappears to the Siberia of mixed doubles after that.
6. The Megawall
Fuck off. Just fuck off already. A four-way split screen is for flies and forex traders, not tennis.
7. Cross promotions
Seven are the masters of this teeth-grinding blight on televised sport. Winners and Losers is not a doco about great tennis rivalries. My Kitchen Rules’ story arc will be sketched out. Every ad break will feature two promos for Today Tonightmare. Every return from an ad break will feature a ‘who shot Emily?’ banner ad. You will want to watch none of it and curse yourself for doing so in the dark weeks between tennis and football.
The draw takes place on 10 January, after which I will make up some bullshit about who will win. And remember, tennis lovers: it can always be worse. Tennis could be pay TV-only. (like the actually interesting upcoming cricket tour of South Africa). Worse: Channel 9 has the rights to the Tour Down Under. Quelle horreur.