For me, watching tennis on TV can be “interesting”; but is only occasionally “compelling.” Other TV sports, like football, can carry excitement throughout a game; so when watching tennis on TV, there are some techniques that can make it more effective for me…
Live vs. Recorded – I hardly ever watch tennis (or for that matter any sports) live, as it is broadcasted. I will use my DVR to record and either watch later in the day; or just 30-60 minutes “delayed” as the match is being played.
That allows you to control your day and saves a lot of time during commercial-break changeovers and any medical timeouts.
Fast Forwarding – And unless it is a big final or has one of my favorite players, I usually do not watch the whole match; but use the Fast Forward button – but with some logic to it.
Typically, I skip most of the pre-match blab (unless I need to learn something about one of the players). Then, I WILL watch the start of the match closely, to see how each player is opening up.
After that, I will hit Fast Forward at a moderately fast speed… fast enough to move the action very quickly; but not so quickly that I cannot actually follow the score on the screen.
On the Comcast remote, that means using “three arrows” (out of the maximum of four). And if the fast-forward “progress bar” blocks the score on the screen, hit the “Exit” button and it will disappear!
Especially if you are watching big servers (think Roddick vs. Isner), you will be able to watch the server’s score predictably move along in his favor. But if you see it get to 15-30, then it is a good time to “go live” and see if the returner can expand on that mini advantage.
If nothing dramatic happens, I would normally cruise along till it gets to something like 4-4 and then “go live” again to watch the end of the set.
Focusing on Learning – If you want to get an interesting perspective on how a match is really played, try watching JUST ONE of the players. Don’t let your eye follow the ball; but rather, just watch the one player and his footwork, movement, and shot selection. It can be very informative as to what they do right, and what they do wrong.
OK, time for me to go actually PLAY some tennis.