Who Wants To Watch Federer When Flipkens Is On?

TennisMasta1Contributor IJanuary 21, 2009

I didn't think that I would write my first article in frustration. I have been researching a few of topics to make my first one on Bleacher Report a worthy one.


But here I am today, waiting all evening to watch Federer's second-round match on ESPN2. I am filling in time switching between Djokovic's match, and the inauguration coverage on MSNBC, PBS, ABC, and CSPAN during commercials.

I also have the AO live scores on my laptop. I see that Djokovic's match is over. So the Federer match should start anytime now. ESPN2 is showing Jankovic vs. Flipkens match.

They have this beautiful map view on the AO web site. You can see which courts have matches going on. Suddenly there is a dot on the Laver Arena on my laptop which means that the match has begun.

I quickly turn the live scores view to that court. Federer’s match has started. But to my disappointment ESPN continues to show the Jankovic match.

On the live score window Federer wins the first game. His opponent Korolev also wins his first game. Unbelievably, ESPN continues to broadcast Jankovic-Flipkens match. I don’t understand what is preventing ESPN from switching over to the Federer match on Laver arena?

As Flipkens breaks Jankovic to get back on serve at 4-5 in the second set Mary Carrillo erupts in excitement. She promises to come back after the commercial break to see if Flipkens will win the second set.

Since when did Mary Carrillo realize that ESPN viewers would rather watch Flipkens than Federer? It wasn't like Flipkens was about to upset Jankovic (Flipkens is a set down–expectedly–and on serve in the second).

Finally at 10.32 PM central time with Korolov 1-4, 15-40 ESPN picks up coverage of the Federer match. Very soon the first set is over.

At 2-2 in the tight second set so far, Federer gets his first break point. Suddenly ESPN breaks away to show Delic v Mathieu match. Turns out Delic has a match point. Delic is American. But Flipkens is not.

So what is the rationale here for ESPN to preempt a Federer match with much lesser matches? Delic misses his match points, so the match is even at 7-7 in the fifth, but ESPN continues on this match. Meanwhile, Federer must have missed his break chance and the score is 3-3...and soon 4-3 Federer.

Chris Fowler declares that there is great drama in the fifth set of this Delic match. So I guess one should not mind missing one of the greatest players ever in action. Meanwhile, Roger is up a break at 5-3 and serving for the second set. The match I really want to watch is simply being wasted away.

To my relief, Delic wins shortly. But still no Federer match yet. Viewers have to first review the men’s bottom half of the draw while listening to the inconsequential prattle of Fowler and Gilbert. Don’t these idiots know that many tennis fans want to watch the Federer match?

As if to further test viewers' patience, the ESPN talking heads had to review all the Americans in the draw. For some reason that could not wait. Then there is the interview with Delic.

Then ESPN decides it is time for Fowler to interview Safin. Why now in the middle of a Federer match? What is the urgency? At least Delic was interviewed on the court right after his win. Safin is in the studio.

Can’t we wait for a recorded Safin interview after the Federer match? Who would know the difference? Meanwhile Federer’s second set is already over.

Fowler keeps frivolously yapping away. He is pumping Safin up that he should be much more comfortable at AO playing Roger, reminding him of his win in 2005. Safin talks as though he won that match convincingly.

Fowler seems satisfied. They start showing Federer match in a window, but Fowler drowns out the play with his incessant chatter.  You could even see Safin wondering why Fowler is prolonging this nonsensical chat while an important match is going on.

Finally, ESPN decides to show Federer’s match. Why? Perhaps because it is almost over. Federer is almost at 4-0 in the third. Very soon it is over. The match duration was less than one and a half hours. All I could see were late parts of first and third sets.

I wonder how the powers to be at ESPN think this serves its audience well—absolutely needlessly denying viewers most of an already short Roger Federer tennis match.

Flipkens photo is from her Web site.