Friday, September 14, 2012

U.S. Open: Was Skycam too low during matches?

Above: Juan Martin Del Potro does his best to return a shot without hitting the low-hanging Skycam.

Above: Roberta Vinci is forced to serve the ball between the support cables of Skycam during an early-round match.

Queens, N.Y.C.--The U.S. Open ended on Monday; however, the controversy surrounding the tournament has yet to subside. This year, the U.S.T.A. decided to use Skycam--the cable-suspended, remotely-controlled overhead, zigging and zagging camera--for the first time in history in order to provide home viewers with "unprecedented views" of the association's premier event. The N.F.L. uses the same technology during their television broadcasts. So eager was the group to give these views that the camera often hovered inches above players heads or, much to the confusion and frustration of everyone, centimeters above the net. In the first three days alone, the camera was struck 376 times by the ball. "I have to say that the angles were spectacular," said former player and current tv commentator John McEnroe. "But it really has interfered with the game. I think we have to ask who tennis is catering to: the home viewers or the players?" Two were struck in the head by the fast-moving, unmanned camera and forced to withdraw. Because of the egregious mismanagement of the device, nearly half of the players that competed in the 2012 U.S. Open have filed a class action to play the entire competition over.

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