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Last Word on the Finals

Mary Carillo and John McEnroe analyzed the men's and women's finals of the United States Open for CBS, but they were only effective in one of them: Pete Sampras's four-set victory over Andre Agassi on Sunday. In that match, they were superb diagnosticians, maintaining a running commentary on Sampras's superiority through the first two sets, and Agassi's mysterious lethargy.

But for Serena Williams's straight-sets triumph over her sister Venus on Saturday night, Carillo and McEnroe seemed as energy-deprived as Agassi, letting opportunities for insight pass.

In fact, the best commentary of the match did not come from the booth, but from Richard Williams when he was interviewed by Pam Shriver early in the second set. "Looks like Venus's game is falling to pieces," Williams said. "Could be it's the blister in her hand, I don't know. Her feet aren't moving. She's falling back on her shots."

That was concise analysis — little of which McEnroe or Carillo noted beforehand, or followed up on. Maybe they were fatigued by a long day Saturday, which culminated in the Williams-Williams prime-time final.

The analysts did not discuss the possible reasons for Venus's many double faults or speculate on the potential effect of the blister. The comments were obvious, like Carillo's "Venus is having an off night serving," and Dick Enberg's "Venus isn't serving well; it's her Achilles' heel."

After Venus's seventh double fault, McEnroe said, "That just makes you more tentative."

More perspective was needed on their past finals, when one always seemed to outplay the other dramatically, as if these close sisters were unable to go full tilt at the same time. And more analysis was needed to pinpoint Venus's erratic play or to detail what was wrong with her misfiring serves.

With a late-afternoon start for the men's final on Sunday, Carillo and McEnroe sounded fresher, discoursing on Sampras's difficulties returning a wide forehand; the mechanics of Sampras's serve; Agassi's sluggishness; how Sampras was stepping into his backhand; and how Agassi had to slow his pace and use his legs better to get more on his second serve.

McEnroe rooted openly for Agassi to revive, looking for brief energetic moments that would presage a five-set match. "I think Agassi is the favorite to win if he wins this set," McEnroe said late in the third set. Agassi won the set as Sampras grew weary and his serve weakened. "I can assure you Agassi feels better now than at any time in the match," he said, combining analysis with wishful thinking.

Carillo and McEnroe even analyzed Sampras's slowdown tactics in the fourth set, including his walking over to the ball boys instead of having new balls tossed to him.

"He checks those balls like he's harvesting them," Carillo said.

In a surprise to those who believe that the Williams sisters are tennis's only hope, at least with regard to television ratings, consider this: the Sampras-Agassi match produced a 7.9 overnight Nielsen rating, up 44 percent from last year. It was the highest-rated men's final since 1990 — when Sampras beat Agassi. By comparison, the women's final rated a 7.2. Each overnight rating point equals 717,310 TV households.

new york times
 

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honestly i thought it was a toss-up and in a way i was surprised by the results. imagine the Old Fogeys beating out the two dominant players on the WTA tour. who woulda thunk it! :eek: :eek:
 

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well, c'mon, how many new and interesting things can you say when your watching practically the same match again. They might as well get out their FO and Wimby notes and read those. ;)

Thanks TC! :)
 

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Nobody? So I guess that means nobody watched the French Open final, for example? Since it didn't have Andre or Pete?

I have a sneaking suspicion that it was watched in Spain, for example ;)

YOu earlier asked something like "who will watch" or " who will care" about Pete and Andre in the final, well now you have your answer...

(sorry if its a misquote I don't recall exactly what you said)
 

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Lily said:
well, c'mon, how many new and interesting things can you say when your watching practically the same match again. They might as well get out their FO and Wimby notes and read those. ;)

Thanks TC! :)
you're welcome Lily. and of course you're right. i read yesterday on tennisone.com that the the women's finals ratings this year were slightly better than last year but were way, way down from 1999 when the Sisters first clashed in a finals. however, the semi-final matches ratings improved considerably this year. now that's an interesting twist, don't you think! :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
the latest numbers...

last year's Potato-Android final got a 5.5 ratings share. i guess the Potato isn't an attention-grabber is he?

this year's 7.9 rating is a whopping improvement over that. all credit to Agassi!! :p :p

meanwhile...the first all-Williams USO final got a 7.9 rating. so the men did indeed go waaaayyyy up while the women went down about 5-6%.

some hands must be seriously wringing over in Camp WTA :eek: :eek:

i wonder how much attention a Navratilova-Evert re-match would attract? ;) ;)
 

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Actually the first all williams final got a 6.9 or 6.8 (I know it was a high 6). It also went up, but not as dramatically. As said, if it wasn't Pete vs. Andre, no one would have watched. (I didn't sadly because my parents made me clean my closet :eek: . Boy was THAT a nightmare :angel: )
 

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not true. all the reports say that the first all-Williams was the highest rated ever. i'll double-check the actual statistic.

i didn't watch the fellas either. been there, saw that...:eek: :eek:
 

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As said, if it wasn't Pete vs. Andre, no one would have watched.
Mboyle both you and tennis fool say this, and I could not disagree more.

Who is nobody? You mean to tell me that if 2 Swedes, or 2 Spaniards, or 2 Argentines reached the US Open final "nobody" would watch?

I think that comment is VERy xenophobic. LOTS of people would watch. I really wish people would stop refering to 350 million people as the whole world, it is very irritating.

Would lots of Americans watch? Maybe not. And that is a problem with the USA, NOT wiith tennis.
 

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Well said, Rebecca!

This is the US network rating which indicates only the preferrence of US viewers. So everyone in the rest of the world should relax, no panicking over the end of ATP tour. Must be shocking that World Cup still exists without anyone in US watching.

Well, imagine Henman playing Rusedski in Wimbly, will the whole England watch? You bet! I also suspect that all Aussie will be watching if Hewitt played Mark P in Aussie Open, (I know, I know, Mark is not the same with that knee). How 'bout Grosjean vs little Richard Gasquet at RG, wow! How do you say it in French? Fantastique!
 

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Rebecca said:
If I totally misinterpreted both of you, I'm happy to be corrected..

I just don't understand who else one could say "nobody will watch".
Sorry, Rebecca. Since TC posted about the Nielsen ratings (which rates the number of Americans households watching on an American network) my answer was in directly reply to that.

In other words, if it weren't Americans playing (specifically Pete v Andre) the Nielsen ratings would have been down.

I don't know how the final scored with viewers outside of the States...
 

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no surprises;)
 
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