Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Grand Slamming the Media


I really like tennis, so it stands to reason that I would really like Grand Slam tennis. I don't like the media, that's not to say everyone in the media, but we'd surely all agree the media has a few too many people involved in it who are more intent on stirring up trouble or acting inappropriately than being accurate. Have you ever read Grand Slam interview transcripts? At this Australian Open, I've read them all. All of them.

And here's what I found...

This reporter seemingly wants to ensure Serena Williams isn't suffering from long term memory loss.


Randomly this reporter informs Novak Djokovic he has more female fans than male although I'm not sure the reporter in question performed a scientific poll to reach this conclusion.


Tennis reporters really enjoy letting players know they've had a bad day, it's not as if the players would be aware of such circumstances on their own accord. This is how Petra Kvitova's press conference began after a first round loss, she was asked to detail her despair, as if it shouldn't already be obvious to all.


Sticking with Kvitova this reporter would like to know if she ever seeks out her boyfriend and fellow tennis player Radek Stepanek for advice. Once Kvitova responds that she doesn't, it is then suggested she might want to change her current coach, presumably for Stepanek. David Kotyza must be delighted to know this.


Luksika KumKhum has just pulled off the biggest upset of her career in defeating Kvitova, so naturally her press conference resulted in her having to play the role of a geography teacher.


Sticking with Kumkhum (yes, I know how that sounds) it appears this reporter hasn't heard of the official WTA Tour site, on there you can go and check Kumkhum's results history, you could even have checked it before her match, during her match, after her match or directly before the interview. I believe they do have internet access in Melbourne.


Maybe this reporter wants Laura Robson's actual address?


Remember how reporters like to inform players of disappointment they're already aware of? This was the first question posed to Jarmila Gajdosova.


Marinko Matosevic has lost 12 Grand Slam matches in a row, in fact he's never won one at all. He knows this. His press conference opened with a very disapproving "So 12."


This reporter wants Stanislas Wawrinka to know that if he wins the tournament he can go skydiving. Wawrinka wants the reporter to know he can go skydiving whenever he feels like it, whether he wins the tournament or not.


Li Na knows how awful the media can be, she has experienced it in China.


This reporter wants Li to expand on that, no doubt because the media couldn't possibly believe anyone in their industry would do such a thing, it's not like tennis reporters are guilty of doing it on Twitter all the time.

At the end of the press conference a stunning revelation from one reporter.


Sloane Stephens didn't know who she would play in the next round, so of course, why not ask her who she might play in the round after the round she doesn't know who she will be playing.


Victoria Azarenka was talking about her grandmother so one reporter obviously decided to run with this by gathering material for an article on tennis grandmothers...


...then Casey Dellacqua's grandmother...


...then Maria Sharapova's grandmother. We're all looking forward to the article on grandmothers. And never wishing to let an opportunity pass to fan the flames, Sharapova is asked if she'd go on a double grandmother date with Azarenka, between whom we all know the relationship is frosty to say the least. For the sake of accuracy, Azarenka made it quite clear in her press conference that her grandmother had not gone to Disneyland.


This is less about the reporter and more about me finding Tomas Berdych's take on Wimbledon for their dress code policy amusing. "They are very sad."


This reporter wants Angelique Kerber to know that the only thing she has in common with the great Rafael Nadal is that they are left handed players who sign autographs right handed.


Sections of the tennis media, mostly of the US variety, can't seem to get over the fact Azarenka used a sanctioned medical time-out at last year's Australian Open. You'd think medical time-outs weren't common place the way they cry about it or that they were illegal. However, never willing to do anything other than try to stir trouble with Azarenka their quest continues.


There was a time when Richard Gasquet would be referred to as 'Baby-Fed' and since he arrived on the scene that name has been passed on to Grigor Dimitrov. Only Dimitrov wants to get away from a nickname he never had any part in encouraging but this reporter won't let him.


No reporter at fault here but interestingly enough you may be unaware that Stephane Robert was actually quite content to face Andy Murray, it's Feliciano Lopez he didn't want to play.


We're back to Stephens, this time she knows who she is playing, she's facing Azarenka. The tennis media are under the impression that if you live in the same city and have the same agent you must therefore be best friends. And if not, controversy? You sad, sad people.


Tennis players who are in relationships with other tennis players surely only ever talk about tennis together, right?


This reporter wants to know if Berdych has any problems, since he doesn't, it may well be time for the reporter to start creating some for him. After all, what else would the media do?


For this reporter there's always something with you in Melbourne, isn't there, Serena? Well, sure. As long as you discount all the times she came to Melbourne and won the title.


The reporter who is looking to stir trouble for Berdych has his or her eyes on Flavia Pennetta also.


 Exactly, Roger. I couldn't have said it better myself.


The opening question of Robert's last press conference in Melbourne was essentially, do you have a gambling problem?


Most fans of tennis will know that Simona Halep had breast reduction surgery a few years ago. In fact even some people outside of tennis know this because at the time the story broke it attracted the attention of non-tennis websites and magazines. Is it relevant to ask how that surgery has benefited her tennis career? Sure.

Is it appropriate or anyone's business how this has affected her personal life outside of tennis? No. No, no, no. What on earth was this reporter thinking? What response was he (it has been confirmed since it was a male reporter) hoping to illicit? And even if Simona had chosen to answer such a ridiculous question, what would have been its use? The fact that in all likelihood none of the other reporters in the press conference questioned their colleague on the validity of such a question once the conference was over also tells me something. Which is that the media often fail to critique their colleagues into setting higher standards.


Stephens again, this time she's putting the fire out on a story the media were happy to run with based on an assumption, something they would never ordinarily do. Has Sloane's response received as much attention in the media as their original assumptions? I don't think you need me to answer that.


This reporter wants Jelena Jankovic to know she can only beat Japanese players.


This reporter wants Berdych to know his coach isn't as famous as the other top player's coaches. In fact, this reporter wants Berdych to know his coach isn't that famous at all. Maybe this is the reporter who wanted Berdych to have a problem or two? Well now you have a big problem, Tomas! You don't have a famous coach! How on earth will you move on with your life?


Either the reporter called Justin Bieber a %$*& or the reporter called Bieber a £$/&*. Either way as much as many may agree with the sentiment, I'm not sure it's appropriate for a Grand Slam post-match press conference and clearly Genie Bouchard agrees with me.


While the tennis media will over analyse and attempt to read something into nothing of every defeat a player suffers at a Grand Slam in terms of their performance, perhaps it's long over due that the media critiqued their own Grand Slam performances? Here's a hint, you're not doing very well and you haven't for a very long time.

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