Belinda Bencic usually plays her best tennis this year, and talents like Dominic Stricker are showing strong performances. But the SRF will downsize the tennis team after the US Open. Was this a premature step?
Daniel Schmidt, Fabian Loew
Yes. Although Federer’s career is nearing its end – other Swiss tennis players also deserve to get a spot in the limelight from the SRF
For a long time Roger Federer was undoubtedly the figurehead of tennis broadcasts on Swiss television. Federer played – the SRF broadcast live. It has always been like that. But his time seems to be slowly over. And what happens? The SRF doubts whether tennis will continue to be of great interest to its audience and is restructuring its tennis program. Starting with the cult commentators Stefan Bürer and Heinz Günthardt, together since 1995 tennis broadcasts on SRF have been indispensable. They left the station. While Bürer was moving to SC Rapperswil-Jona Lakers as the person responsible for PR and communication, Günthardt was fired. Reason: The Bürer and Günthardt brand no longer exists, and Federer will soon no longer play.
Sure, Federer is and will remain the exceptional figure in Swiss tennis, but the end of his career is not a sufficient reason for tennis to lose importance for Swiss television. Other Swiss tennis players also deserve the SRF to continue to report on them in detail and broadcast their games live. The broadcaster shares responsibility when it comes to promoting Swiss tennis. Who knows – maybe one day a new Federer will appear who will ride on a similar wave of success. And then the SRF has to be present in order to put this actor in the spotlight. For example, it will be interesting to see what Dominic Stricker is capable of. In 2020 he won the Roland Garros junior tournament in singles and doubles, he was voted the best young Swiss athlete in the same year, and this year the 19-year-old caused a sensation when he made his debut at an ATP tournament in Geneva when he was only in Eliminated in the quarterfinals.
It is also worth taking an up-to-date look at the already established Swiss tennis players: Belinda Bencic is in excellent shape there this year. Gold in singles at the Olympics, silver in doubles with her play partner Viktorija Golubic, andmost recently a quarter-final at the US Open. The Eastern Swiss woman is only 24 years old. Her career now seems to be really picking up speed. It is therefore important for the SRF to stay on the ball with her so that Bencic will continue to be accompanied in the future. Such services must not lose their relevance. They are not only important for Swiss tennis, but also for Swiss sport in general. And Swiss television must never forget that. Daniel Schmidt
No, because there will never be a figure like Roger Federer again – Swiss television knows that too
The 2019 Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic ended bitterly for Roger Federer. Match points awarded, final game lost. For Swiss television, however, this tennis match was a huge success. 1,233,000 Swiss followed the demise of the maestro live on TV, which corresponded to a market share of an incredible 62.5 percent. It was the last big moment of a wonderful symbiosis. Roger Federer performed magic on the tennis courts of the world, Swiss television brought the unique pictures of the exceptional talent artfully packaged into the Swiss parlors. But since Djokovic beat Federer at Wimbledon two years ago, the Swiss has never been in a Grand Slam final. And SRF never again reached similar audience spheres with a tennis broadcast.
There are around 1,233,000 people in Switzerland who are interested in Roger Federer. But that doesn’t mean that these 1,233,000 people actually turn on the television because of tennis. This is by no means intended to devalue this sport and its representatives. Of course, Swiss sports fans are thrilled when Belinda Bencic wins Olympic gold or lets a talent like Dominic Stricker dream of a Grand Slam title. But no more than when Jolanda Neff brings her mountain bike to the finish line first or Lara Gut-Behrami the fastest down the mountain.
It was different with Roger Federer. The Basel bidder has changed his sport and brought a never-before-seen ease into tennis. He rose to become a world star, became the most famous Swiss ever and always remained humble and friendly. For years there was hardly anyone who was not inspired by his game and his appearance. The exceptional talent also captivated those who cannot distinguish a service from a return to the screen.
There will never be a figure like Federer in Switzerland again. SRF also knows this and is consequently reducing its tennis coverage now, as Federer’s appearances are becoming more and more rare. Of course, this does not mean that the felt ball will disappear completely from the range. The highlights of this sport and the great moments of the Swiss tennis players will also be on view in the future. Public service. But no longer with an all-round Halligalli program, as was appropriate for a Federer. But in the same context as other sports.
* The weekly duel: From now on, the «Basler Zeitung» will be addressing issues that move the world of sport at regular intervals – and will highlight both sides in a pro and contra. Recently published: Was that the craziest transfer summer in history?Is the time of the international Swiss sports stars over?Xhaka and Arsenal – will this marriage still be happy?With Messi, does PSG have the strongest team in football history?Does Swiss television show too much Olympics?Do we really need the Conference League?Do spectators belong in the stadium?