Every year, as the first of the Masters series approaches, it’s the same marketing chat. Indian Wells is the 5th Grand Slam we hear. But for whatever reason – more on this later – the TV cameras aren’t turned on until the Saturday, once a whole week has passed. That’s 3 qualifying rounds for some, Round 1 and Round 2.
The big names of course get byes into Round 2 so no big deal for viewers only interested in watching the stars, but what about the rest of us? Is it really fair to expect people to maintain the interest that the sport at this level deserves with scoreboards and Twitter updates alone?
The coverage finally starts and, we get the fix we have bee looking for. Fantastic tennis played in front of huge crowds. Perfect.
Then a week later the Miami Masters begins. The world’s greatest players from both the men and women’s games all gather in Florida to battle it out for ‘the 5th Grand Slam’. And once again it seems that the camera crews are stuck in transit from California, only to show up on Saturday, after a lot of the drama we tune in for has been and gone.
I simply can’t get my head round why this happens. I don’t believe for a second that the demand isn’t there, when broadcasters will stump up the cash for a measly ATP250 event or a WTA International tournament. The Tennis Channel surely should be jumping at this opportunity to fill a huge hole in the market, shouldn’t they?
Whatever the reason is, and the cynic and realist in me suspects it is money related, and until this is sorted out, either tournament calling itself the 5th Grand Slam can f**k right off, I don’t care how much prize money is on offer.
I’m off to watch repeats of the Aus Open final until they switch the cameras on. Bastards.