| By Steven Kaplan

While switching channels between NFL playoff football and the Australian Open, I could not help but notice the difference in the production value of each broadcast. The NFL telecast is polished like a Broadway show. Their graphic technology is cutting-edge, and the announcers are polished journalists, likeable, interactive, knowledgeable and aware of when to let the action speak for itself.

No one would expect a tennis telecast to have the resources of the NFL, but with a cast of mostly former players, some who are more comfortable with a racket than a microphone, I think many people turn down the volume. John McEnroe's insightful brashness is always entertaining, but like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, he might have more appeal in New York than in Iowa.

Patrick McEnroe is highly qualified, but his insistence on constantly talking about "The Young Americans" is perhaps a conflict of interest and contrived. The Olympics are defined by nationalism as is Davis Cup and Fed Cup. Competitors in an individual tournament like the Australian Open represent themselves and their team of family members and coaches, as well as their country.

I also like the two Marys, Mary Carillo and Mary Jo Fernandez, and I wish we could see and hear more of them. As for the rest of the announcers, the less we all say the better.

While football interviews are dynamic, the pre- and post-match on-court interviews usually underachieve. Seattle Seahawk Richard Sherman might be a little over the top, but he is highly intelligent and well-spoken. Tennis interviews without Novak Djokovic and a few others are just plain boring. I like to think that tennis is an intellectual sport that challenges the mind and body, and Football is a sport of mostly just the physical realm, but at the professional level one thing is clear ... almost all of the players in the NFL have gone to college and nearly all the tennis players have a more limited formal education and the interviews reflect this.

Steven Kaplan

Steve Kaplan is the owner and managing director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, as well as director emeritus of Lacoste Academy for New York City Parks Foundation, and executive director and founder of Serve &Return Inc. Steve has coached more than 1,100 nationally- ranked junior players, 16 New York State high school champions, two NCAA Division 1 Singles Champions, and numerous highly-ranked touring professionals. Many of the students Steve has closely mentored have gone to achieve great success as prominent members of the New York financial community, and in other prestigious professions. In 2017, Steve was awarded the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award by the USTA. He may be reached by e-mail at StevenJKaplan@aol.com.