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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

My comments:

-Totally agree with the writer about Brad Gilbert. Smart smart commentator, but lose the smirk. It's grating.

-Johnny Mac remains my favorite tennis commentator (actually, he's my fave in any sport). But Jim Courier is probably my second fave.

-Mary Carillo is ok. She's best when she's mixing it up w/Johnny Mac in the booth.

-I actually like Ted Robinson a lot. He seems to have the proper knowledge of and reverence for the game.

-Patrick McEnroe is just kind of ... there. Don't like or dislike him.

-I did once like Cliff Drysdale, but he started to irritate about 3 years ago, and now, I just ignore him if I can.

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25,407 Posts
Thanks for the link. :)

Mary Carillo among a bunch of outstanding court commentators

By Jerry Magee
August 23, 2005

Utter silence is my idea of the most effective form of tennis commentary, but if I can't have it, give me Mary Carillo.

I should note that I consider those who analyze tennis on television to represent a pretty good lot. Among them there isn't a Vin Scully, whose baseball discourses can verge on poetry, and no one remarking on tennis is as compelling as Johnny Miller when he is talking so frankly about golf, but put all the tennis commentators together and I can't think of another game discussed more competently. My favorite is Carillo, who besides being knowledgeable, former professional player that she is, has something that is rare. She has heart. I can't forget how she closed her remarks at the French Open.

"I love this tournament," she said. She noted that strengths of character are required to succeed on clay and promised, "I'm going to bring up my children to be 'dirt ballers,'"

Tennis is going to be all over the tube after the U.S. Open gets under way Monday at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. On most days through the tournament's beginning phase, the USA Network has scheduled both morning and evening programs. Through this period, CBS Television will be offering a highlights program beginning at 9:37 p.m.

As the tournament progresses, CBS is to pick up its coverage. It is to do the men's semifinals and women's final Saturday, Sept. 10, with the women's final in prime time (from 5-7 p.m.), and the men's final Sunday, Sept. 12 (from 1-4 p.m.).

Lots of coverage. Lots of voices. Some of them:

Ted Robinson – He is the lead guy for USA's programming. Urbane and highly professional, but in a booth that includes John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Tracy Austin and even an "interviewer and essayist," Jimmy Roberts, one has to strain to remember his name.

John McEnroe – Very quick-witted. Very outspoken, too, he commands the USA booth. Some have said he has no peer as a commentator in any sport. They haven't listened to Miller.

Patrick McEnroe – The nice brother. Some would say too nice. Patrick is gentlemanly to a fault. Captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team, he views tennis from a privileged position, which likely influences his muted judgments.

Brad Gilbert – As a player, he knew how to "win ugly" and wrote a book about it. As a television figure, he doesn't hold much back. Not hesitant to offer predictions, which with his insights are welcome. I just wish he would take that smirk off his face.

Dick Enberg – "Oh my," what a good assignment this is for him. Enberg is into tennis. When he was residing in Rancho Santa Fe, he had a court on his property. It would be impossible to dislike this guy.

Getting back to Carillo, to see if there are those who share my appraisal of her work, I tapped into a Web site named Talk Tennis Warehouse, which invites persons to adjudge tennis' talking heads. I suspect I've got this right.

Said a party who identified himself as Adely: "She's OK and, ironically, she has more balls to say what she means than a lot of the dudes."

Said Monkey Pox: "She is the best commentator out there in my book. Well, as long as she never says 'Big Babe Tennis' again. She is sort of in love with some of the women players, though, and froths all over them. Smart, though."

Carillo was 3 days old when her family moved from Brooklyn to Douglaston, Queens. At 9, she got her first tennis racket, winning it in a fishing contest at the Douglaston Pier. In 1977, she got together with John McEnroe, two years her junior and then just a couple of weeks out of high school, to win the mixed doubles at the French Open. She was ranked No. 33 when she retired as a player in 1980. In my thinking, she has found her niche.

- - - - -

I love Mary's Carillo-isms but I'm starting to hate listening to her during Roger's matches because she just never shuts up about how gorgeous perfect wonderful genius Roger is. How many more times do we have to hear her refer to Roger's game as "like watching music" or some other cliche? It was great the first few times, now it's just nauseating. Find another player to bone off to, Mary.

Same with PMac. He used to go overboard on the Roddick love but he's toned it down a bit. Especially since discovering his new child bride, Nadal. :baby: I can tell that he's trying to be more level-headed when talking about "his boys" versus everyone else but he still doesn't offer much insight into the match or tennis in general, which is why...

...the best thing ESPN has done was hire CAPTAIN OBVIOUS, Brad Gilbert. :haha: Ok, he's smug, he's annoying, and sometimes he doesn't know when to shut up but he's smart as hell and he offers some of the most interesting analysis of players' tactics. I like that he's not afraid to make crazy predictions and eat it when he's wrong. Can't say the same for the MTFers here who claim to hate him. He also lets us in on some inside dirt and gossip, too. :devil: He'll always be biased towards Agassi and that's perfectly fine with me. Heh. :angel:

...Jim Courier. One of the best commentators in the US and I don't know why they don't use him enough. I've learned more about tennis and tennis history listening to him than any other commentator.

...Cliffy. I have a crush on Cliffy. :hearts: That is all.

...Tim Ryan. Somebody please shoot this drone.

...JohnnyMac. My favorite commentator. Funny as hell and calls a spade a spade. Knows when a player is bullshitting or not and will call him out on it. Sucks that we lost him to the international networks. :(

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PMac and cliffy drone on for HOURS about roddick's "great personality" and "explosive talent," and during his match with lleyton last week they gave lleyton absolutely no credit when explaining his commanding head-to-head matchup with andy. and good-for-nothing tim ryan and ted robinson can just shove it. they should get MJ fernandez to cover men's matches! and regardless of how knowledgeable BG is, he is the most irritating TV personality i've ever had the misfortune of watching.

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Thanks for the article, fun read: I wish they bring back elder statesman Bud Collins and stop using him like a flower pot who knows the history. He does, but also has a way of listening and commentating on matches that would be good. I like having Brad on court whispering, lol. Some days I love Mary Carillo, my favorite team was Wimby, last year of HBO coverage? when they had Mary, Billy Jean King, and Martina Navratilova. That was great. Mary is most fun with John. I wish they had a filter smetime where you could keep the sound of the ball and the squeek of the feet and lose the words.I love Dick Enberg's specials. I also like it when Brad is in the booth talking about strategy.
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