Help, I’m having tennis withdrawal

Reader’s request

Tennis pic by Evil ErinThere’s always a little bit of heartache when the Australian Open finishes.

For one, it means the end of a very short local tennis season. No sooner have we welcomed Roger, Rafa, Serena and Vika into our living rooms than they’re packing their bags and off to the airport without a by your leave.

It’s all ‘I love Australia’ when they get here, cuddling up to our koalas and waxing poetic about the ‘happy slam’ but the ardour cools distinctly when they lose a match.

Then it’s I’m-a-tennis-player-get-me-out-of-here and see-you-next-year as they jump the next plane in the perennial chase for ranking points.

The distribution of the tournament silverware also heralds the start of footy season. As if Mitchell Pearce’s Australia Day antics weren’t reminder enough.

Don’t get me wrong. I love a good game of rugby league or AFL as much as anyone. Last year’s NRL grand final was a cracker.

But the season is interminably long and you’ve got to put up with a lot of boofheads along the way.

But the worst thing about the end of the Australian Open is the crap TV that takes its place.

All tournament, Channel Seven’s tennis commentators dutifully spruik the network’s February prime time offering as if we’re in for an absolute treat. Bear in mind, this is the network that tends to win the ratings.

Post-tennis, we’re back to Home and Away, where we can find out who shot Charlotte  (and, indeed, who Charlotte is). An added extra is the soap opera standard of a leading character returning from the dead, which guarantees some acting worthy of a Golden Raspberry award.

Or we can tune in for the 51st season of My Kitchen Rules, the highlight of which seems to be an uptight carbophobe implying that co-host Manu Feildel is portly. Which he is. The man sweats butter.

And who can wait for Wanted, in which Rebecca Gibney plays a misunderstood badass on the run. In a shocking departure for Gibney, she wears bad clothes and doesn’t brush her hair!

Over on Channel 10, it’s the Aussie version of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, where a collection of forgotten household names try to jumpstart their careers by eating live cockroaches.

Shane Warne has decided it’s a good place to restore some credibility after the controversy around his charity. Which shows what a deep hole he’s in.

To get any taste of sport last night, I had to watch Four Corners’ report on match fixing allegations in tennis. My head still hurts.

The program featured very little tennis, a little bit of soccer, a lengthy segue into lots of casino footage and a whale called Paul Phua. Who’s not a whale at all. No one would push him back in the water if he washed up on the beach.

The main thing that emerged from Four Corners was that International Tennis Federation President David Haggerty has absolutely no clue what’s going on in his sport.

Seriously. This is him searching for a clue.

Embed from Getty Images

Admittedly, Haggerty’s only been in the role since September. But on last night’s performance, I reckon he’d still have trouble knowing which end of a racquet to hold.

With a stock standard answer straight out of the Colonel Klink school of media management, it made you wonder what, if any, preparation he’d done for the interview and what possible benefit he thought he could bring the sport by doing it.


As you’ve probably gathered, I’m having tennis withdrawal. Yes, it was time to get off the treadmill and I’m grateful for the return to something resembling normal sleep patterns.

But what am I to do with my evenings when the only thing resembling sport is the Republican presidential campaign?

On the bright side, it’s only six months to the Olympics.

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