Commentators at the Aus Open

Last night while Nadal was clinically demolishing Fernando Gonzalez, on the other court Murray was playing Verdasco. The first set was rather routine with Verdasco losing 6-2 which prompted the commentators to talk about Murray's further progress, as if his win was a given. Verdasco came back to win the second, and finally upset Murray by winning the match in five sets. In the featured match, Gonzalez was given somewhat of a chance against Nadal. But, Nadal prevailed in straight sets, not looking troubled at all. Nadal is a monster and shows no signs of any weakness. He is simply a ball-fetching machine on defense, and devastating on the offense. Earlier, Victoria Azarenka wasn't given much of a chance against Serena, but she won the first set and then retired in tears because she felt dizzy due to a virus.

I really wonder if anyone really analyzes the commentators pronouncements and predictions. I think they are just as clueless as the average viewer regarding who will win. The only advantage they have over an average viewer is that they know how to watch a player, and they have deeper knowledge of the history and stats. However, I don't think they are any better at predicting a winner, and even when the score looks lopsided.

There isn't much separating a player in the single digits from someone tens of places below. All it takes is a couple of erratic shots, or a double fault or two, and the player could be a break down and lose the set, and then the match. This is highly unpredictable, so I doubt that even immediate performance in the previous game is any indicator if the player is going to over-hit the ball, or double fault.

I am curious to see if people would be able to identify the better player in a blind study (i.e. the faces of the players were obscured) just by watching a couple of games. I am sure that commentators would be better at identifying, but at predicting who will win - I am not so sure.

3 comments:

Ramanand said...

Agree. At least, you don't have to hear Vijay Arbit-raj say "Oh, I say!" every 5 minutes. I don't mind hearing the on-court commentators though - when there are things happening off and on court that we can't see on TV.

Hirak said...

Man! Hasn't someone taken care of that geriatric?

Ashutosh said...

Commentators sometimes remind me of financial analysts. When it comes to both financial and sports predictions, it seems that the "experts" are not really much better than the average layman...