By Richard Deitsch, SI.com
It was a rough day for American tennis fans. As the rest of the world watched Roger Federer edge closer to his first French Open title -- the Swiss star survived a tough five-set tussle against Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina -- here in the States tennis aficionados were left searching for (pirated) streaming international video feeds or radio coverage (quite good, actually) from the Roland Garros official site.
Why wasn't the match shown in the States? NBC's contract with the tournament allows them to air one of the semifinals. On Thursday the network opted to air the first semifinal, giving them an exclusive time window between 10 a.m.- 1 p.m. EST. (The network does not own the cable or digital rights to the tournament.) NBC then aired the match featuring 23rd-ranked Robin Soderling defeating No. 12 Fernando Gonzalez.
An NBC Sports spokesperson said that if the Soderling-Gonzalez match had ended before they came on the air, they would have aired the Federer match because the Tennis Channel had agreed to let them broadcast the match live. The Tennis Channel owns tape-delayed rights to that semifinal beginning at 4 p.m. (you can watch the Federer-del Potro match there.) "I think we'll look at ways to make this work next year," said an NBC spokesperson.
What do you think? Did tennis get a raw deal today?