Painting The Lines: 2nd Edition
May 31, 2010 · Print This Article
Painting the Lines
– A tennis media blog by Chris Oddo
Tennis Channel’s Bill Macatee: Unsung Hero of Roland Garros
Everywhere you look, there is inspirational tennis taking place on the red clay courts of Roland Garros. As the whittled down field turns the corner and begins second week of the French Open, Rafa and Roger are playing at such a high level that it’s difficult not to be awestruck. Additionally, there is also an alluring cast of characters who have battled their way through the draw and into the second week – dark horses like Robbie Ginepri, Teimuraz Gabashvili, and Yaroslava Shvedova have been inspiring, and the play of veterans like Elena Dementieva, Robin Soderling, Mikhail Youzhny, and Nadia Petrova has exceeded even our wildest expectations.
While it’s easy to appreciate the players, for it is their on-court exploits that we admire most, we tend to take for granted the hard work that gets done behind the scenes of a huge event like the French Open.
Enter Bill Macatee and his microphone.
All tournament long, the polished television veteran has been camped out on the Tennis Channel set, which is located just off the Place Des Mousquetaires on the Roland Garros grounds. Immaculately dressed in a sports coat and open collar dress shirt (though sometimes he sports a necktie), Macatee has played host to a revolving door of A-list tennis celebrities throughout the first week of the tournament.
Thanks to his polished yet laid back interviewing style, tennis viewers are getting the chance to experience the game’s elite players in an up close and personal interviewing environment – one in which insight into their play is as readily divulged as insight into their personalities.
Macatee, a Rome, New York native, has a casual air about him that naturally facilitates an intimate conversation. Even with tennis dignitaries such as Roger Federer, Serena Williams, and John McEnroe, he is loose, confident, and improvisational. His interviews – sometimes three minutes long and sometimes twelve or more, depending on the subject – move at a nice tempo, and they are colored with questions that exhibit his knowledge of the sport, of the players, and of his craft.
He can go from asking Bob Brett and Roger Rasheed about the greatest clay players of all time to asking Jo-Wilfried Tsonga if he really is enjoying himself as much as he appears to be when he is playing.
He can go from asking Lindsay Davenport and Rennae Stubbs about what the girls talk about in the locker room to asking Marin Cilic if he is happy with his progress at the moment.
Macatee has the ability to elicit interesting responses from his subjects, and he does it in a way that puts himself in the background and the player in the spotlight – a key ingredient to any good interview.
Go here for a collection of Macatee’s interviews for Tennis Channel.
The Tennis Twitterverse:
Eurosport commentator Miguel Seabra, on Sharapova
“Though Sharapova lost to Henin, I was really impressed by her level of commitment, motivation, and even technical progress; she’s a champ.”
“Practicing with Roger today and again tomorrow. He is the king!”
“Having dinner at the players restaurant. Great day today. This one was big for me!!!!”
“Bellucci has shown some great stuff, just not consistently enough.”
Novak Djokovic, after defeating Robby Ginepri
“I’m not really a morning person, so it took me a lot of time to get into the rhythm and basically warm up for the match.”
Jurgen Melzer, on reaching a Grand Slam quarter final for the first time
“Well, to be the oldest player is not a special feeling. Reaching the quarter finals for the first time, that’s a special feeling.”
200 The number of clay court victories that Rafael Nadal has won after his 4th round victory over Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci.
12 The number of consecutive victories that Roger Federer has won over his quarter final opponent Robin Soderling (not counting exhibitions)
97 Number of points won at the net by Jurgen Melzer in his first four matches.
From the Video Vault
Novak Djokovic is still funny, in case you were wondering.