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NadalAgassi 04-06-2013 03:13 PM

Why did NBC replace Russell with Evert
Looking back at some old womens matches tapes Jo Anne Russell was a MUCH better commentator than Chris Evert. It is too bad she was let go when Evert retired. Why do networks always assume the more successful players are the best commentators. History has proven this is not the case. Evert and Navratilova are both terrible commentators, despite their legendary playing status. Carillo was a journeywomen yet was employed heavily for decades, and was an outstanding commentator until recent years where in her old age she has started to go senile a bit. Shriver was a great player but not a legendary one, yet she too is, or was until recent years where has also declined, an excellent commentator, and also much superior to Martina and Chris.

Relinquis 04-06-2013 03:17 PM

star power... brand name... etc... welcome to broadcasting/media...

BTURNER 04-07-2013 11:04 AM

I can't stand Russell C-. Evert gets a C, Shriver gets a B-, Wade and Carillo get B+, BJK gets a B.

suwanee4712 04-09-2013 03:12 PM

I understood it to be an arrangement that Russell had the job until Evert wanted it. When she first started in 1984, it was probably believed that Evert would be retired in a year or two.

Tennis Magazine used to run popularity polls each year and Russell regularly polled near the bottom. However, I liked her. She's a nice person and occasionally let you in to the world of a pro without being too invasive. She did have a sore spot where Martina was concerned. Those two didn't like each other. Her on air battles with Bud were mostly good natured but intense at times.

She and Pam were great buddies and played a little doubles together.

She got into collegiate coaching which I thought was a good fit. While she was a Gator I rooted against her. Go Dawgs! :)

NadalAgassi 04-09-2013 06:53 PM

Thanks for your insight. Your comments do explain one thing I was wondering, if I was the only one who detected an anti Navratilova sentiment and always rooting for her opponents (especialy if she played Graf or Evert).

jaggy 04-10-2013 06:37 AM

Wades voice annoys me so much I have no idea what she says, F grade

Phoenix1983 04-10-2013 12:03 PM

The only great player who is a great commentator and analyst is McEnroe.

(Though I remember the BBC had Connors one year at Wimbledon and he seemed equally as insightful)

hoodjem 04-10-2013 06:12 PM

I've heard Becker at Wimbledon on the BBC, and he was very insightful.

He did a nice job of tactically breaking down what a player was thinking about at certain times in a game. It all seemed very logical and presumably accurate.

AngieB 04-12-2013 06:54 AM

Always enjoyed Virginia Wade at Wimbledon (must have been the calm demeanor and British accent), Chris Evert at the US Open, and anytime Jimmy Connors was in the booth anywhere. Evert's marketability at retirement in 1989 was such that she could have easily displaced any television commentator. However, it was obvious that her focus had turned towards starting a family.

Tracy Austin had more of a natural media IQ in comparison to Pam Shriver. Tracy defnitely knows how to turn it on for the cameras.


suwanee4712 04-12-2013 10:51 AM

Its hard for me not to love Wade. I remember at the 94 French that she thought Graf should play more "mundane " tennis. Only she could've thought to put it that way. Bad advice, but very Virginia.

Pam and Mary were better as color analysts than lead announcers. That role strays too far from their strengths. Mary was most fun in the early 80's when she commentated as a lark. Somewhere in the late 80's she started taking herself too seriously. But she's made a nice career for herself. So what do I know?

Never liked Becker but found him good in this role. Same with Novotna in that her commentating showed how smart she really is.

I've given my opinions on Evert and Connors often so no need to add to that.

The worst commentators to me have been Leif Shiras, Kathy Jordan, Zina Garrison, and Barbara Potter. All smart people, I just find them distracting.

NadalAgassi 04-12-2013 08:05 PM

I agree with you on the worst commentators, except I dont really agree Zina is a smart women. In all honesty she strikes me as somewhat dim.

magnut 04-12-2013 08:36 PM

Wilander by far is the best for the men. He takes analysis to a whole new level. Carillo for the women. Evert is an idiot and the rest are liberal nazis. Austin is cute and everything but I really dont care about fasion when I am watching a match. Pat Cash is a good one as well. He just lets it fly.

Vitas was one of my all time favorites. You could tell he just had fun in the booth and was so genuine. It was a sad day when he passed.

suwanee4712 04-14-2013 05:24 PM


Originally Posted by NadalAgassi (Post 7340924)
I agree with you on the worst commentators, except I dont really agree Zina is a smart women. In all honesty she strikes me as somewhat dim.

Communication isn't Zina's strong suit. I respect her so much for enduring what she had to in order to earn her spot on the tour. I also think she's got a good heart. But she seems to struggle with expressing herself. I hope I'm wrong.

suwanee4712 04-14-2013 05:26 PM

There were actually a few times Joanne would preface a statement about Martina with, "she'll probably get mad at me for saying this BUT ....."

3fees 04-14-2013 05:32 PM

Commentators oh ! thats what the mute button is for.

rkelley 04-14-2013 07:45 PM

I never thought Russell was very insightful. And, as someone else said, Evert had huge star power in 89 when she retired. NBC would be hard pressed to keep anyone over a just retired Evert.

borg number one 04-14-2013 08:40 PM

Chris Evert was my favorite player, so I'm biased here. I don't mind listening to her at all. She has some very on point insights. With pro tennis, I tend to focus on the match over the commentary. At that time, she was the queen so to speak. There was no female player close to her in terms of drawing power.

suwanee4712 04-15-2013 04:47 PM

For those that have never read "Hard Courts, " it covers the world of tennis in 1990 which was Evert's first year as a commentator. It's interesting to read how the Capriati people treated her. The Everts were very good to them but Chris learned very early in retirement that she wasn't going to be looked at in the same way. Must have made for some tense moments between Chris and her brother John (Jennifer's agent).

Ok, I snickered just a little while reading that part. But then I felt bad.

NadalAgassi 04-16-2013 10:45 AM

Mary Carillo is actually proof they dont always automatically go with the bigger name commentators. Carillo was a journeywomen singles player, who rode her buddy John McEnroe to a mixed doubles slam, and is far more in demand than Navratilova and Evert. If all 3 wanted a position somewhere Carillo would win out hands down. Shriver is far more in demand than Navratilova as well. Until recently she more in demand than Evert, but Shriver's declining commentary skills, accomponied by embarassments like the Blake Wimbledon fiasco, allowed an improved Evert who has toned down alot of the BS of her 90s commentary to demote her role beneath Evert at ESPN. In terms of their value as commentators:


-----huge gap-----

Evert and Shriver (about on par)

------another huge gap------


suwanee4712 04-16-2013 07:01 PM

I always loved BJK on HBO at Wimbledon. Put her and Mac together and I'm not sure we could handle it.

Also like Renae Stubbs and Todd Woodbridge.

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