Does doubles receive enough coverage on television and in the media? Considering the widespread coverage of singles, it does not. As the television and media outlets do not broadcast a lot of doubles, it is hardly the fans’ fault that they see more singles. Unlike the top players on the men’s and ladies’ tours, the top doubles teams are less well-known.
Ask the average tennis fan to name the top singles players and you will hear the usual names of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and a few others on the ATP side. On the WTA side you’ll hear names like Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep.
Ask the same question in relation to the doubles tour and you will probably only hear a couple. On the ATP side you’ll probably hear Bryan Brothers and possibly Jamie Murray and Marcelo Melo. All are or have been number one in the ATP doubles rankings. The WTA answer would be Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza.
If you then ask those who avidly follow the sport, or report on tennis, you will hear a lot more names. On the doubles side, you will hear lots of other names and pairings, from Dom Inglot (part of the British Davis Cup winning team), Nicolas Mahut, Pierre-hughes Herbert, Ivan Dodig, Bruno Soars and Horia Tecau. The WTA side will give you names like Bethanie Mattek-sands, Lucie Safarova and Timea Babos.
Doubles is always fun to watch, with amazing net rallys and points. With more coverage on television, more fans would see shots like these.
In competitive matches the tennis is amazing, although the prize money is not as lucrative. Organizers seem to believe that doubles is not as popular, so television outlets don’t show as many doubles matches. The exception is Wimbledon. The BBC has the rights to the whole championship and with the red button coverage, viewers are able to select doubles matches from the offerings.
As many hobby players actually play doubles, there should be more on television for people to watch. Tickets would sell more; revenue would go up. Showing more doubles in the mainstream may even encourage the top singles players to play more doubles. With revenue up for showing more matches, the prize money could then be increased for the specialists.
Getting more matches shown on television would also make the doubles players more household names, thereby increasing the number of people wanting to watch and allowing every aspect of the game to improve. Once doubles receives more coverage the cycle can start, and before long there will be no difference between how many players on the tours the average fan can name.