Since 2017, in order to watch the US Open in Australia, tennis aficionados are subject to the American ESPN coverage as they have the host rights in our country.
However, what we have been dealt is, in brutal honesty, over-hyped crap with no options of courts to watch.
As tennis fans, we have become accustomed to streaming options and actually watching the action, rather than the highly americanised ‘US Open Primetime’, in which they will cut from a live match to watch Moulin Rouge perform.
On one occasion, the first year, they cut from a fifth set in order to show Shania Twain performing. It’s ludicrous!
It would be more bearable if we could choose a selected match, but even if you have Kayo in Australia you only have access to three courts and only with a Foxtel subscription will you get a full streaming pass.
There is a mere three courts available to stream, meaning a copious amount of Australian matches have been missed, including Jordan Thompson’s first round epic against Gianluca Mager.
After the second round on Kayo, the extra courts streamed only show doubles.
The coverage is riddled with irritations, with commentators talking over the top of each other. Let’s just say thank heavens for the polish of Darren Cahill and Renee Stubbs, both of whom are brilliant and diamonds in the coverage.
But back to the annoying stuff, and how ESPN shows two matches at once is a major grievance for many.
If someone wants to watch two matches at once, that’s fine, but don’t put it on our screens forcibly. Watching the Tsitsipas Murray classic side by side with Coco Gauff’s first round was shocking and a terrible viewing experience, and it’s what we have been subjected to for five years in Australia.
What’s worse, the broadcaster CUT from the fifth set of Andy and Stefanos to broadcast the end of Gauff and Linette, that’s just not on.
Understandably the American broadcaster wanted to show their own player, but are there not other avenues to do this?
Does ESPN not have a trio of channels or more to show this in the US?
Common sense in a broadcaster shows that you keep with the big guns, which has been done for years in Australia.
Whether it has been Channel 9 or Channel 7, they always had two channels running in the early days of a major, and would never cut from a major player like Serena Williams to watch a local hope.
They will tell you to head to their other channel to continue watching a match, we get no such luxury with the US Open coverage.
The World Feed US Open broadcasts have always been the best, and the quarterfinals always allow a sigh of relief when SBS takes the coverage on free-to-air.
It’s just pure tennis, great commentary and not overdone.
In tennis broadcasts, there is such a thing as a little too much, and that’s what ESPN’s is.
It provides a lack of option and frustration, and as a Grand Slam nation here in Australia, we deserve more.
Listen to The First Serve with Brett Phillips and Sam Groth as they discuss the US Open – 6.30pm-8pm AEST this Monday on 1116AM SEN Melbourne, 1629AM SEN SA / replayed at 8pm AEST on 1170am Sydney or listen live and catch up on the SEN App.
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