Originally Posted by FlashDeb
Eclectic Goddess, please explain why you understand why they don't show much doubles, because I sure don't
Well, since you asked...
The lack of doubles on television is in part a self-fulfilling prophecy.
First of all, because many of the “doubles specialists” are not among the more popular or highest-ranked players, the networks don’t think they will draw ratings. Of course, they won’t get popular or well known until they are properly promoted, which includes televising matches, but I think everyone can agree that the ATP has failed doubles in that area. (Though recent changes do show promise.)
Also, because doubles is not as popular, many early and mid round matches are scheduled on outer courts, making it difficult for networks to cover matches, even if they wanted to. (Usually, only the primary courts are set up for filming.) Often, they are even scheduled at times that run counter to “show” matches. At the tournaments that I’ve attended, doubles matches are usually treated as filler, scheduled at the end of the morning sessions so as not to interfere with singles matches, or after the marquee singles matches at night, when most people are headed home.
Finally, doubles matches are that much harder to film. As it is, television can’t even properly capture the level of skill involved in singles tennis. With most play filmed by a stationary camera at the end, the length of the court is shortened, and the angles are distorted, so you lose a sense of just how fast the players can move, how hard they can hit the ball, and how sharply they can carve up the court. Play at the net almost always has to be covered in replays, because the stationary camera gives you nothing but a shot of the player’s back and the player themselves often blocks the ball from view. When the same filming techniques are applied to a doubles match, where the players are at the net more often than not, sometimes all four at a time, you wind up with long exchanges that can’t be properly captured real-time, and even replay shots from a camera at the net are difficult because there are two, three, or four players to focus on, instead of the usual one.
Obviously, there are some easy (and some not so easy) fixes. More doubles matches scheduled for show times on show courts is a start. More promotion of the top doubles teams and more singles players playing doubles will help. Devising new ways to film matches would benefit ALL of tennis. It would be great if those things could happen, and if the names Fyrstenberg and Matkowski were just as recognizable as Roddick and Safin.
I’m just not holding my breath.