February 15, 2023
Simon Reed is the true artist of tennis commentating.
He may well be the best commentator on the planet – in any sport.
The brother of the late, great actor, Oliver Reed knows how to deliver the perfect line.
When Reed speaks of his craft, it’s time to listen – even if your name is Roger Federer.
But there’s good news for Federer as he prepares to embark on a fresh career path.
Simon Reed believes Roger Federer will be a natural at Wimbledon 2023.
‘That’s exciting,’ Reed said. ‘Roger’s reading of the game will be unchallenged.’
But what makes a great tennis commentator? Perhaps that can be summed up in one word – economy.
And if that sounds simple, it takes years to realise and perfect.
Reed explains: ‘I used to think Dan Maskell (the legendary tennis commentator) didn’t speak enough. I wanted to engage the viewer more – and almost certainly spoke too much.
‘Someone wrote in to ask if I got paid by the word – and that helped me understand something: silence is a more powerful tool than words.’
But Reed makes every word count. And he reckons it helps if you have a feel for the players involved.
It’s also an asset to have played competitive sport to a high level – he excelled at both cricket and squash.
Simon has a beautiful, velvety voice – and that always helps. But did it also serve him well to have a famous actor as a brother?
‘I probably listed and learnt from listening,’ Simon explains. ‘He never gave me any specific advice, but he was a great supporter.’
Oliver Reed passed away in 1999 and Simon sums him up like this: ‘He was a force of nature. Life has never been the same since.’
Reed knows all about a career change – he used to run his brother Oliver’s PR. Now Federer also faces a career switch – albeit within the same sport.
And despite his unparalleled status as a former player, Simon doesn’t think Federer should be asked to do too much too soon.
Simon Reed believes it’s too early to put Roger Federer back on the Centre Court grass at Wimbledon 2023.
He doesn’t think Federer would be ready to take on a “Master of Ceremonies” role, as the recently-retired Sue Barker used to do.
‘That’s a stretch too far,’ warns Reed. ‘It’s very different from being in a commentary box.
‘To be in vision out there in front of 16,000 people, with all kinds of instructions being delivered into your ear-piece while you’re speaking? Even for Roger, that would be a stretch.’
We shall await with interest how much responsibility Roger Federer will be given at Wimbledon 2023.
There is talk of splitting his commentary duties between the BBC and ESPN.
But wherever the tennis tour is to be found in the world, you can be sure that the voice of Simon Reed will continue to make it even more magical.
He must have made thousands of people fall in love with our sport.
Will you fall in love with tennis at Wimbledon 2023?
We can help you to be there.