Six years ago, I tried playing padel for the very first time and as many others, I got hooked right away. Ever since then, the sport has brought many new things to my plate. This spring, a unique opportunity arose. I was asked to commentate for the World Padel Tour which was to be broadcasted for the first time on Swedish television by Viaplay.
Never mind the fact that… I’m more a woman of written words instead of spoken words, the world of sports is male-dominated, I speak broken Swedish with an American, Skånish, Gothenburg accent, I have absolutely no experience in commentary, thousands of padel nerds out there will be thinking they could do a better job. Never mind all of that. I just heard four words loud and clear over the phone… “VIAPLAY” and “WORLD PADEL TOUR” and without hesitation, I said yes.
A week later, I got on a plane towards Stockholm and the Nordic Entertainment Group. I spent one day with the friendly staff who gave some advice and a quick run-through of what would happen the next day. I was then informed that I would be in the booth commentating solo. So, it is safe to say that it felt as if I was about to embark on a deep-sea dive without much scuba gear. #andwatchoutforsharks Luckily, NENT had assigned a commentator to listen in and mentor me through this debut weekend.
The next day was a Friday, quarterfinal day of WPT Marbella Masters, which meant that my first job ever as solo commentator involved a broadcasting of six matches — helluva lot of live hours to survive. I remember as I was walking from the hotel to the studio, I was so nervous that I literally felt like throwing up. Mind you I’ve never thrown up out of being nervous, but I was very close to having my first incident that morning.
As the broadcast was about to start, the technicians gave me a countdown as my heart began beating through my shirt. “And we are going live in… 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….” I give my introduction that I had put together the night before and do my very best to inform the general audience about padel, add fun anecdotes about players and experiences, give insight on the more in-depth topics of padel, provide names of the players, give information about the tournament, take in the pro commentator’s feedback that leaked into my headset, try to use correct grammar and pronunciation, time comments with what was broadcasted on the screen, etc. #overload
After I get through the first three quarterfinals, I pat myself on the back for getting through the first half of the day. I get something to eat, try to gather myself after a mentally demanding morning and notice I had received a number of messages during the morning. I get messages from friends, aquantiances, and even strangers. I get words of encouragement, I get positive feedback, I get negative feedback and I also get burned. I get all types of input like…
✅Don’t click your pen like that.
✅Don’t breath so hard into the mic.
✅Wow! Brave of you to do this!
✅Shouldn’t you be two commentators?
✅In Swedish, you don’t use the word hungry to describe players.
✅Please blow your nose or take some nose spray at least!
✅Make sure you point out which players are which.
✅Don’t call the players by their nicknames……
Plenty of input, but like I said I was just trying to hold down my breakfast. The day before, I was warned to make sure to look at the right places and not wander too much online, but after clicking further on a positive comment in expectation of much needed encouragement, I accidentally end up reading comments… “Who is commentating?! She is the worst!” There were probably more comments similar to this one, but as soon as I read the first one, I quickly closed that window. #hatersgonnabehating
Yep, it was like a stab into my vulnerable, nervous little heart and that sensation of throwing up started to rise again from the bottom of my stomach. But somehow, I managed to pull that knife out and say to myself “I’m sorry, but you have no choice. You’re just going to have to suck it up”.
I continued to commentate for an additional six hours that day and the rest of the weekend, feeling it got better and better.
Peter Jihde and Antonette Andersson - duo even on the court.
Months later, I took on WPT Estrella Damm solo and shortly after came WPT Adeslas Open in which I was joined by one of the country’s best TV host/reporter Peter Jihde — an extreme professional with years of experience, passion for the sport, sharp sense of humor, killer instinct on the court and compassion for rookies. It was an amazing weekend of learning experience and not too mention exciting WPT performances #iheartchingottotello. Peter and I also managed to team up inside the cage — him on the backhand side and me on the forehand — for a late-night padel match after the semifinals broadcast and the most valuable lesson I learned from him during the entire weekend was that when Peter wants that bandeja in the middle of the court, you duck, take cover and you do it fast as hell. #hehe
In conclusion, let’s say I don’t regret saying yes to the crazy offer I got six months ago, because it has given me the chance to learn more about padel, an open door into a completely new profession, an opportunity to meet inspiring people and it’s also given me an extra layer of skin.
Padel continues to spice up my life and the next “dish to be served” is my first SPT for 2020 in Trelleborg. Wish me luck!b