Rantings of a Federer fan: give us more sports coverage!

14 Nov,2011

By Ranjona Banerji


I have to confess that my weekend was consumed by tennis – the last ATP tournament of the year before the finals in London, where of course only the top 8 men in the world compete. Roger Federer’s amazing run was my focus and Sunday night was a wonderful triumph as he defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for his first title at the indoor tournament in Paris.

Which led to Monday morning’s papers with great excitement. Yet, hardly to my surprise, the Mumbai edition of the Times of India was happy to reduce the news to a brief. Over the past few years, sports coverage in TOI has become rather pedestrian and predictable. It sticks to cricket and then willy-nilly fits in whatever other sport it thinks is the flavour of the week – again predictably, football and Formula 1. This is a far cry from the early 2000s when the TOI was lively and dynamic in its sports coverage. Even more strangely, in these jingoistic times, peppered with aman ki asha, the victory of the Indo-Pak tennis duo of Rohan Bopanna and Aisan ul-Haq Qureshi was also given short shrift.

The Hindustan Times when it launched in Mumbai had an excellent sports section – good writing, mixed coverage, giving ample space to all the sports which people are interested in these days. Of course, they carried the Federer and Bopanna-Qureshi stories.

Mid-Day has always had an excellent and comprehensive sports section and a good understanding of news.

But my vote has to go to DNA’s Mumbai edition which had held firm against the falling standards in other sections of the paper by providing, for my money, the best sports mix in the country. Pictures are given importance as are stats and facts and there is an attempt to cover every sport. Hat’s off.

I have to make it clear that I have worked for DNA, TOI and Mid-Day and enjoyed my time at all of them and have never worked at Hindustan Times.

TV news channels are very fair to all sports in their sports bulletins. I might suggest to TOI that someone in their sports section might check exactly which events are shown by the sports channels to try and increase the scope of their coverage. Of course, then it might be all about golf and pro-wrestling!




The unfortunate death of former player and cricket writer extraordinaire Peter Roebuck was covered extensively in Indian papers and on TV. It took some time about his suicide and alleged sexual harassment/assault charges to emerge but the tributes certainly have poured in and continue to do so. Again, Mid-Day’s sports pages have a good package – a well-considered tribute by Clayton Morzello, details about his last moments and a gem of a Roebuck piece from the past.

Ayaz Memon’s piece in Deccan Chronicle (and perhaps Asian Age as well?) on Roebuck is not just expectedly well-written but also insightful and moving.



The appalling attack on journalists by apparent henchmen of the sacked and perhaps disgraced Rajasthan minister Mahipal Maderna was covered by everyone. It should be noted by all such feudal Indians that this kind of behaviour will no longer be tolerated. Henchmen and goondas have to be either retrained to be acceptable bodyguards or vanish. Just like “public sentiment” is an unacceptable excuse for violence so is “love” for some invariably shady politician or fixer.



The imminent collapse of Kingfisher Airlines has taken up much air time and newsprint but perhaps no one has had as much fun as tweeters. It’s worth taking a trip there to check the jokes as well as the support!

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One response to “Rantings of a Federer fan: give us more sports coverage!”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I am a Federer fan. But given that he didn’t have to face Nadal, Djokovic or even Murray on his way to winning the Paris Masters it wasn’t a huge victory (no offense to Tsonga). At this time of the year, with most players regrouping for 2012, these victories are not given the same value as Masters that happen earlier in the year (seen as lead up to the Grand Slams). And the ATP Finals never has managed to gain the kind of importance mainly because players don’t take it as seriously as a Grand Slam.
    But yes, Bopanna-Qureshi deserved more coverage. They did beat the Bryan brothers during the week.