American tennis player James Blake shouted at ESPN commentator Pam Shriver during his match at Wimbledon on Tuesday because he felt the former tennis pro was talking too loudly during points.
Shriver was live on the air on ESPN when Blake yelled at her following a key unforced error on a second-set break point:
Shriver's voice is as soothing as a vuvuzela and equally as loud. She's practically shouting during the point. Watching this live, I assumed Shriver wasn't on Court 5 and was offering her commentary while watching a feed of the match elsewhere, and that was before Blake yelled anything. Golf and tennis announcers have always had to talk in a loud whisper. Did Shriver think she was in a crowded pub nearby the All England Club?
[Photos: See James Blake's moves on the court]
When Blake calls her out (with the perfectly-delivered line "I can't belive you played tennis, I can still hear you") Shriver sounds like she can't fathom why Blake would be mad. Then, to top it off, she continues to talk loudly during the next point. Blake's next line ("You wanna be an [three-letter expletive] about it and act like I'm at fault?") makes it seems as if he heard what Shriver said. She defends herself again, whereupon ESPN cut to a shot of Rafael Nadal walking onto Centre Court.
Don't blame Blake for this. He was down a set and a break, frustrated and clearly let a little noise get into his head to bother him even more. Should he have been more focused? Absolutely. But just because he was losing doesn't mean he's not entitled to a quiet atmosphere.
Blake didn't step over the line, he rightfully called out obnoxious behavior from someone who should know better.
Update: Pam Shriver later admitted that she was talking loudly during her first time broadcasting from Court 5, but stopped short of offering an apology, which she needed to do. She said she regrets telling Blake to "concentrate" though and shouldn't get involved with a player.
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