last call for USA

If only we could get CBS to step aside…

As great a tournament the Open has been this year, when considering the event in its entirety, you’ve got to start with the coverage (the face of the event, after all). I don’t know if it’s because of the conventions, but I’ve been more conscious of how the tournament has been delivered to me this year than ever before.

In case you haven’t heard, this is USA Network’s last year covering the Open. With its bevy of weaknesses aside — I’ll get to a few in a sec — can we just say thank god for USA’s day and weeknight coverage? CBS’ work might not be different from years past, but the grating horn section of their intro and outro, the overexposed light, Mary Joe’s pre- and post-match interviews, Dick Enberg — how much of it can one take?

Thanks for the relief, USA, but here are a few things your replacement can improve upon:

— When Mueller and Davydenko were 9-10 in the fourth set tiebreak, the producer switched over to the start of the Andreev/Federer first set tiebreak, despite McEnroe’s request to stay put. (They did show the end of the tiebreak on tape, but the piss had been taken.)

— The night-match guests invited to join Ted Robinson and John in the booth really tested our patience and sanity: the Ryder Cup captain left me yawning and Boris Becker’s visit felt bloated.

— McEnroe and Jim Courier both have good and bad: Mac offers great insight and passion until he eventually devolves into his usual self-aggrandizement, occasionally revisiting earlier top form. Courier gets major points for his latest insights, my favorite being pointing out that guys ranked in the 80s in the world could be starters on an NBA team (a sentiment I’ve been aware of for a while). On the other hand, he’s still Mr. Smug.

By the way, I’m really intrigued by all the personal bits that Courier alludes to in his commentary, so I’m asking my readers for the latest info on this man: is his Manhattan apartment a duplex? penthouse? both? What kind of art does he collect? What Rosetta Stone tape is he currently working on?

Hope you enjoyed USA’s last night of coverage, and that CBS doesn’t give you too much of a hangover.

Michael Shaw writes about tennis and other subjects for the Los Angeles Times and is also an artist. He can be reached at michaelshaw_sar AT yahoo DOT com. Read his previous posts for TSF here.

tattoo watch: janko + arthur schopenhauer

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The intricate tattoos on Janko Tipsarevic‘s back are apparently courtesy of German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, or so said Ted Robinson during Janko’s 2007 U.S. Open match against Rafael Nadal.

Watch the clip (from USA’s Open coverage) here.

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short balls monday

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A Roger of superhuman proportions: The Nike Pro figures of Roger Federer, Ronaldino, and Kobe Bryant (all designed by Michael Lau) are on sale. Each set of three will set you back 3,500 euros, but all the proceeds will go to charity. Check out Sold Out to purchase. (via Hypebeast)

Le sigh: Kolya Davydenko crashes out of the first round in Croatia, his third first-round defeat in three weeks. Like Chris and I were saying, if he doesn’t rack up the points now, he’ll be out of the picture by November (since he likely won’t defend Paris)…

A blog to watch: I just ran across commentator Ted Robinson‘s blog at MediaZone. Add it to your bookmarks.

A fresh take: Los Angeles (and semifinal Saturday at the Countrywide Classic) as described to TennisWorld readers by a South Bay resident (and a Trojan). I must defend the geographic placement of UCLA (“located smack-dab in the middle of some of the most expensive real estate in LA”): the university was built even before the ‘hoods got expensive. And really, you should see what our bum situation is like — we can’t ignore grit even if we wanted to (it stares us right in the face). One more thing: it’s not like USC is one with the masses. Their whole campus is gated off, which doesn’t say much for being “connected” to the working poor. That, and all the kids who attend USC live in the Palazzo complex or those 2,500-a-month lofts downtown. /rant

I guess I’m not the only one fired up: One of Tennis.com’s summer interns, Nick McCarvel, laments the loss of tennis on YouTube and wants it back now. He even brings John Mayer into the picture.

Lindsay checks in about her hibernation: Lindsay Davenport‘s return is generating some good buzz. Read up on what she was up to while pregnant. Fun facts: she’s friends with Gwen Stefani, and she won’t put a racquet in son Jagger’s hands. (via TennisWorld)

Enrique on Anna: After months of publicity for charity, K-Swiss, and exhibition matches wherein Anna Kournikova had to answer questions about her boyfriend Enrique Iglesias, the tables have turned: the mole-less songbird talks to CNN/SI’s Richard Dietsch about his thoughts on her career. (via DTL)

SEWTA catches up: You know it’s a slow time for the tour as they finally get around to gloating about Serena and Masha making the Forbes Celebrity 100 list published a month ago. (SEWTA via DTL)

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