Now that I've watched The Tennis Channel a bit more, there are a few things that it does all right.
Unlike Tennis magazine, which used to have problems covering the stars, and so devoted its time covering places to go vacation and tennis instruction, which appeals to some, but not all tennis fans, TTC (The Tennis Channel) focuses more on tennis's stars, admittedly, leaning a bit to number 1's and the American stars of yesteryear (meaning, ten years ago).
There are interview shows where guys like Chris Meyers talks to Pete Sampras and tributes to Andre Agassi, so at least, it takes care of one segment of the tennis population, which are tennis fans that like to watch tennis stars, and learn something more about them. They recently had a special about Federer that was decent.
One thing that's sorely missing, and you know money has something to do with it, is a regular "this week in tennis" show. Right now, there's a one minute summary covering the US Open, which is crucial, if a kind of week substitute. Honestly, what's really needed is a SportsCenter just for tennis. The problem?
The biggest problem with a tennis channel, and it hurt the magazine as well, is that tennis is expensive. Players who run across the world have to spend a lot of money flying to and fro. The second problem is too many matches. Let's say, for example, there's a first round match at a typical tournament. There are 32 players, so maybe 16 opening round matches.
Now, is anyone going to assign 16, well, even 5-6 people to watch all the matches, take notes, and report on it? Probably not. Many of these are matches between two people no one's heard of. And that's no one from the perspective of those who watch tennis regularly. These are people that have heard of Davydenko, Djokovic, Kuznetsova, and so forth.
Even so, a regular show talking about the game now is important. You want to spot new players coming up. You want to see how the best players have done the last few weeks. You want people to understand who they are good against and bad against. Why does Davydenko have a zero for record against Federer even as Davydenko is like fourth in the world?
So while there are several shows that are pretty good, having something that's truly timely is also key.
There should be shows about tennis equipment (a touch subject to be sure, as it's commercial). There should be shows about how to improve your tennis, how to stay in shape. There should be a commentary show each morning about the matches played the previous day, which means there needs to be access to the world's tennis matches, somehow, or a world roving reporter at the very least.
Given all its shortcomings, what the channel has done does show glimmers of being watchable, at the very least.
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