AN ANNOUNCER’S JOURNEY MEETING WITH MARC MAURY

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The TECNIMAG met Marc Maury, iconic announcer in sport and tennis world. He talked to us about his path to tennis and the image of his job nowadays.

 

Marc Maury Athlétisme

Hello Marc, can you introduce yourself in a few words? If I remember correctly, you are a former high-level athlete?

Yes, I practiced decathlon at a national level; I was 6th in the French championships. Thanks to that I was substitute on Team France but never had a chance to compete. 

Comment es-tu devenu speaker ? Grâce à des études de journalisme ?

Non, sur ce point je suis totalement autodidacte. Un jour l'entraîneur national des équipes de décathlon m’a sollicité alors que j’étais blessé. Ma mission était d’expliquer ce sport aux personnes présentes dans le public . On m’a mis en relation avec un journaliste qui n’avait aucune connaissance en décathlon. Je me devais de faire un peu de pédagogie afin de lui expliquer les grandes lignes. Tout s’est très bien déroulé. Je me suis donc mis à effectuer de nouveaux commentaires de ce type, majoritairement l’été puisque la saison de décathlon se déroulait de Juin à Septembre. A l’époque, je faisais uniquement cela par plaisir et n’avais pas encore à l’esprit que ceci deviendrait un métier.
Tout s’est accéléré ensuite. Pour l’athlétisme, je me suis retrouvé au micro de tout types de compétitions. Du Championnat de France aux Championnats du monde en passant par les grands meetings internationaux, j’ai effectué un grand nombre de piges au micro. Concernant les championnats du monde, je les aie tous effectués en tant que speaker à partir de 1987.

In 1993, Gilles told me that the ATP was beginning to allow music, on-court interviews and players’ presentation
Marc Maury
Announcer

How did you made your way to tennis? 

Track and Field allowed me to be introduced to Mr. Gilles Moretton, a former tennis player, and at the time the tournament director at the Grand Prix de Lyon. We worked together on an track and field event. He was passionate by the atmosphere in my sport and he dreamed of doing the same in tennis.
In 1993, Gilles told me that the ATP was beginning to allow music, on-court interviews and players’ presentation. We quickly teamed up again to create a standard format to use at his tournament. In 1994, the Grand Prix de Lyon became the first tournament outside of the US to set this system up. We could do whatever we want till the beginning of the match.

So it's a very new concept?

Yes it is. We have been pioneers on this point. I should have trademarked the format since it is the format used at every tournament today! 



What has been the following steps after this experience?
 

During the tournament in Lyon, the organizers of the BNP Paribas Maters came to talk with Gilles and asked him if I could be the speaker for their tournament as well. Then came Mr. Jean-François Caujolle from the Open 13 in Marseille and the tournament director of Monte-Carlo. After the experiences at those four French tournaments, Charles Biétry, who was the sports programs director for Canal+ asked me to join their team. I was already doing some commentaries for Eurosport about track and field, and I accepted the offer and from there, things took off. 

 

Maury


How long have you been the announcer for the French Open ? 

I have been at the French Open since 2004. 

 

Besides tennis what others activities are you doing ?

I’m doing all kinds of announcing, from press conferences to event announcing. Each event is very unique.. 


We know your voice is easily identifiable. Do you work on it ?

My first real job was physical education teacher. After that, I wanted a change. Before I quit that job, I took some drama lessons. They gave some tips to change the position and sound of my voice. As an announcer, people must be able to easily understand what you are saying. You must use simple words to describe a complex situation. 

I have about 620 note cards in total !
Marc Maury
Announcer

How do you remember everything while you are announcing players?

I have a lot of note cards. I have about 620 in total between the men’s and women’s players. For top players, 2 or 3 can be used. For example, I have 3 for Federer. They wanted me to start using a tablet, but it just wasn’t the same.  Paper is still the best way to work in my opinion. Among all those notes, I have “old” and new ones. I have to create new notes almost every tournament to keep things relevant.. For example, here in Monte-Carlo, I updated the Renzo Olivo’s because I didn’t see him for a long time. At each tournament, I make on average 2 or 3 new notes. 


How do you make them?

First with basics information: first name, last name, nationality, date of birth, place of birth if there is an interest. Then, I go to things related to tennis: coach, current ranking, highest ranking, year they turned pro. 

 

Fiches Marc Maury


 When you are presenting top players for example Rafael Nadal is going through rounds a lot in Roland - Garros. You introduction is always the same ?   

No. I try to add something new each year. One year, I highlighted on his ranking, saying that he stayed during 141  weeks at the top of world tennis. The next year, he won 11 tournaments, therefore I choose to highlight this stat. Most  of the time, I first look last year’s results if they were good. If not, I highlight the whole record. For example the 69  titles of Nadal and his 14 Grand Slams titles are here. 

 AMONG ALL THE PLAYERS, ARE THERE ANY YOU REALLY LIKE TO INTRODUCE?

I, of course, love introducing the big players. In this job, you love getting the crowd on their feet. So when you introduce guys like Nadal or Federer, of course it is a lot of fun. On the other side, making an introduction on a Monday morning at a 250 level tournament, you have more freedom because there is not a big crowd, but it’s obviously less exciting. Along with the top players, the French ones are also a joy to announce since I am French. 

What we are doing is very small compared to guys like Marc who are doing so much. Fortunately, he is here, and I would like you give him a round of applause!
John McEnroe
Former pro-player

AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, WHAT ARE THE GREATEST MEMORIES YOU HAVE?

There are so many… One time, John McEnroe and I met each other during the 10th year anniversary of Canal+ in Lyon. Afterwards, we kept in touch. Then came the French Open. After an interview on the court, he took the microphone and said “What we are doing is very small compared to guys like Marc who are doing so much. Fortunately, he is here, and I would like you give him a round of applause!” Making an entrance with the Center Court crowd cheering for you is always fun. 

In 2012 also at the French during the match between Federer and David Goffin, David had to come through qualifying and ended up winning one set. I asked Roger if he was ok to do the interview with David, he accepted, and he was also a lot of fun. David was stressed like never before, though. He announced in front of everybody that he had posters of Roger in his bedroom growing up (laugh ndlr).
So, most importantly, it’s the human side of the players that I like to show on the court. 

LAST QUESTION, IS IT EASY TO HAVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE PLAYERS? 

Yes, it’s our role. I can’t be a fan or be controversial. If I ask them a question that could possibly hurt them, they will blame me in the future for it. The next interview won’t be fun if that happens. What you need to know is that my role can never anything like a journalist. I’m here to highlight the athlete, not put him in a difficult position. If I ask him a “bad” question and the crowd overreacts, he will feel uncomfortable. Some people want me to ask questions that would put the players in difficult decisions, but I try to defuse those situations as much as possible. If I can’t, we avoid the subject instead of causing a bad reaction from the crowd. 
The only situation where I can act like a journalist is when we speak about the tactics the player used during the match, or his feelings while he was going through some tough moments. It never goes further than that. When I first started, it was the Becker, Sampras, Ivanisevic era, and the players were surprised when I first came in because their relationship with the press wasn’t the same. I remember, Boris (Becker) made sure that I didn’t say anything wrong. He didn’t hesitate to remind me if I did. The first time I interviewed Ivanisevic, I felt like he was going to throw the racquet in my face because he didn’t like journalists. Slowly but surely, they began to understand. I had the privilege to talk with them in the locker room about my role. Now, it’s a really easy relationship that I have with all the players on Tour.