Once again those who watched this year’s Wimbledon tournament on television here in the U.S. were treated to only a smattering of doubles matches. And once again the announcers, rather than discuss the match itself, spent most of the time talking about the lack of doubles coverage, the (failed) efforts to get more top singles players to play doubles events, and whether changes in the doubles format will help promote the sport and get more top singles players to play in the future.
Want to make doubles more popular? Here’s a suggestion for ya – talk about the doubles players. It ain’t rocket science.
As it stands, most tennis fans never see them play and even when they do, little is shared about the players. Tell us about them. What are their strengths? Their weaknesses? How did they become partners? What do they do in their spare time?
One of the most interesting things I heard during one of the rare televised doubles matches was a brief and never followed up upon allusion to a messy breakup of one of the men’s doubles teams. That’s the kind of thing I want to hear more about, and the kind of thing that would definitely draw interest to doubles. Tell us about the messy breakups, the in fighting, the affairs and rumors – we want to know this stuff.
And don’t stop there. Hype matches that feature former partners playing against one another – especially if they had a messy breakup.
In short, highlight the human drama in doubles and help us get to know the personalities and I guarantee you doubles will become more popular. Forget about getting singles players to play doubles. Hype the doubles players instead and build an entirely new breed of tennis stars.