Channel Nine made a big move in the right direction by signing John McEnroe for their Australian Open tennis coverage.
There was always going to be some uncertainty with Channel Nine and Channel Seven switching places on the coverage of two iconic summer sporting events, the cricket and the tennis.
Would the gentle voice of Mark Nicholas be replaced by Brian Taylor screaming ‘Hashiiiimmm Ammmlaaa!”
Or would the constant teasing of My Kitchen Rules give way to even more spruiking of The Block?
Well the latter will still probably happen, but any doubts about Nine’s readiness to step into the big shoes of Seven have been quelled by the announcement of the network’s on-screen talent.
And it starts with one big name – John McEnroe.
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) August 9, 2018
The fiery former champ is recognised as one of the best – if not the best – in the business. And I mean the best in the world, not just in the way a footy news breaker is introduced on a local radio station.
McEnroe is a tennis analyst in the US and the UK and in a couple of stints at the Australian Open he proved to be intelligent, entertaining and of course, with an impeccable CV.
Nine has also brought over Jim Courier and Todd Woodbridge from Seven and while Courier’s not everyone’s cup of tea, he’s a familiar voice who not only knows tennis, he knows the Australian Open and the psyche of the Aussie tennis fan.
The network is also aiming to bring in more women viewers and to that point has hired former players Jelena Dokic and Alicia Molik.
The other big signings are Sam Groth and Dylan Alcott, both very smart and very likeable, with personalities that appeal to a younger demographic.
Not coming over from Seven are Lleyton Hewitt, who provided some very good insight and Henri Leconte, who provided, well, erm, ahh…I’m still thinking.