A commentator’s life can be a great one, getting a free ticket (better still, being paid for the pleasure) to watch some of the best moments in the sport, in some of the greatest cities in the world. It’s difficult to be brilliant at it – John McEnroe remains the best around and has made the transition from great player seamlessly – but it’s not that difficult to be average at it.
As long as you are well prepared and have done your research and don’t swear, you will generally be fine. But having a microphone can also be a dangerous thing, for any slip-ups or faux pas is not only heard around the world but then also broadcast to those people who may have missed it first time. And some get a rougher end of the stick than others.
As happened at the Australian Open, Chris Evert is getting the treatment from fans who feel some of her comments, err, border on the inane. Yes, let’s put it that way. The Twitter world can be cruel and so it’s no surprise to see the return of #shitchrissiesays. A couple of examples – “you sense that Gajdosova’s doing all the right things, and “Caroline likes to play back there and almost play defensive tennis” were treated with particular disdain.
My recent favourite is this gem, though: “Good of her to get an ace in her first main Tour match”, which seems fine until you realise that it was actually a second-round match.
Fabio Fognini is one of the more stylish players on tour, his game well suited to his personality it seems. The Italian was a contemporary of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic in the junior ranks but I think it is fair to say that he did not work as hard as those two off the court. It is only in recent years that he has done some physical work to match his undoubted natural talent.
The Italian was a good enough sport to pop into the France 4 car to answer a few questions and he explained to the driver (and the viewers) that he used to cry a lot as a child and be a bit lazy. The driver suggested that not much has changed, which Fognini took pretty well actually. Then Fognini was asked what it was like to play Roger Federer and said: “it’s hard because he’s just too stylish”.