French Open 2008 First Week

French Open 2008 - NBC HD - Nadal There’s not much to love about this year’s French Open – so far. There wasn’t one memorable match in the first week.

Two of my favourites, Davenport (not playing for ‘personal reasons’) and Roddick (out for a rotator cuff injury) are not participating. Three time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten, one of my all-time favourites, formally retired from professional tennis this week after an early round loss (I’ll miss Guga). Clijsters’, Henin’s, & Agassi’s retirements have left big holes in the sport. Hingis was forced out of professional tennis due to a cocaine scandal. Baghdatis, Fish, Mauresmo, Safin, Blake, and V. Williams’ were all early round losers. Significant rain delays resulted in the poor already Super Signal coverage (see below) being even worse than usual.

On a happier note, it was a pleasure to see Hewitt go down to Ferrer and Serena Williams go down (once again with little grace or class) to Srebotnik. I was a Hewitt fan in his earlier years. But his success made him too cocky and arrogant for my tastes. Serena’s always been in my bad books with rarely a kind word for anyone.

French Open 2008 - NBC HD - FedererPerhaps I was spoiled with the terrific first week of tennis at the 2008 Aussie Open. The early round Roddick-Kohlschreiber and FedererTipsarevic matches there were probably some of the best matches I have seen in years.

Canadians at the French Open

Seeing any Canadian make it into any grand-slam tennis event is a rarity! This year there were three: 112th ranked Frank Dancevic (whose had some minor successes recently), Stephanie Dubois and Aleksandra Wozniak. Dancevic and Dubois were predictably defeated in the first round by qualifiers. Wozniak was defeated in the third round.

Rogers – TSN – Super Signal Broadcasting

French Open 2008 - NBC HD - Federer - Ancic Martch I’m generally delighted with how much coverage Canada’s The Sport’s Network (TSN) gives to all four tennis grand slams on Rogers Cable. But TSN’s weekday coverage of the French Open is always worse than the other three. For the second year in a row they opted to take the ridiculously poor Super Signal feed (its no doubt cheaper) over the far superior USA Network or ESPN 2 weekday feeds that TSN carries for the other three slams. Super Signal can’t seem to find commentators that are either knowledgeable about tennis or that can speak proper English? I’m not sure if it’s an improvement over last year where they provided no commentators – at all – for most matches.

USA and ESPN 2 must have the exclusive rights to carry weekday matches with U.S. players because Super Signal did not cover a single match with U.S. players this week. They did provide a few minutes of Blake’s early round loss to Ernests Gulbis of Latvia – but only when they had exhausted their other rain-delay backup programming.

I so look forward to the day when we are not reliant on network coverage – when we can use our TiVos, Xbox’s, PS3s or Apple TVs to order up the matches we want to see over the Internet. 

NBC’s First-Ever French Open HD Coverage

French Open 2008 - NBC HD Commentators - McEnroe, Robinson, Carillos,Prior to this last weekend, the only slam available in HD was the U.S. Open. I was delighted to see NBC provide weekend HD coverage of the French Open for the first time (click the pictures in this post). My TiVo Series 3 provided me with beautiful HD coverage of the Federer, Nadal and Djokovic matches. I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’ll get first time HD coverage of Wimbledon in a few weeks.

Looking Forward to Week 2

French Open 2008 - NBC HD - IvanovicWith all my favourite women either retired, not playing or eliminated, I have almost no interest on the woman’s side. Ana Ivanovic is the only women’s player that holds any interest for me. She, along with Jankovic, has been too inconsistent to gain my admiration – despite being a cutie. With most of the competition gone (except Sharapova and the Russians) they stand a good chance of winning.

[June 2 Update: Week 2 just got more exciting on the women’s side with Marat Safin’s younger sister, Safina, taking out Sharipova! I didn’ expect that. Safina recently won her first title in Berlin defeating the now retired Henin.]

If Robby Ginepri (the only American left) makes it past the round of 16, it will be a minor miracle. [June 2 Update: Ginepri was routed by Gonzalez.]

French Open 2008 - NBC HD - DjokovicA final with any two of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal would be terrific. (Djokovic would meet Nadal in the semis if they both make it that far). Witnessing Nadal tie Borg’s record of four straight French Open titles or watching Federer win the only slam that alludes him would be gratifying.

Let’s hope Roland Garros come alive in the second week.


  1. // Reply

    I have only watched the odd game here and there, but I agree that the announcers on TSN have been very dry and subdued – certainly not adding much interest and excitement.

    Looks like Sharapova has been watching some of Serena’s tantrums.

    I’d say the door is wide open for Ivanovic to walk in and become one, if not the dominant player in women’s tennis (Sharapova is still around despite her inconsistency). She is young, more than cute, powerful, and conducts her self well. This French Open may be Ivanovic’s first chance to make a real statement.

    Given his difficulties this year, I would be very surprised, albeit pleasantly, if Federer wins this event. Nadal is still the one to beat on clay. The more successful Djokovic becomes, the less I like his personality and style. Roger is still my man.

  2. // Reply

    I agree with everything you say Herold!

    Since I watched Safina’s feisty play against Sharapova, I think Safina has a better chance of winning thant Ivanovic at the moment. I hadn’t realized that Safina was Marat’s sister until this week. I may actually cheer for Safina over Ivanovic as a result. Heck, I need a new woman player to get behind. There are so few left.


  3. // Reply

    Ok, the person on the right in the pic under the title NBC’s First-Ever French Open HD Coverage, who is that? Does anyone know…

  4. // Reply

    Who is the Peter Sellers impersonater that they are using on TSN Canada? He is sooooo! annoying. Best Perry

  5. // Reply

    Sorry, I’m not watching this year. Wish I was. I canceled cable. Can’t justify the $1,200 a year I was paying for cable when 90% of what I want I can get free over the air in HD now. Tennis and a few news channels are the only thing I miss.

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