Tony Jones at Wimbledon: Nine reporter arrives as Aussies flood second week


TJ also comments on the sad Nathan Brown petition and Nine’s bid for AFL rights

Nicky Kyrgios at Wimbledon was creating the biggest headlines in London this week. Until the resignation of Boris Johnson that is.

Nine’s reporter at Wimbledon this year tracking the performance of the Australians, Tony Jones, hasn’t previously reported from the Grand Slam.

He’s no stranger to the UK though having covered the London Olympics, Ashes Test Cricket and Commonwealth Games during his 36 years with the broadcaster.

Jones told Mediaweek when the opportunity was offered to go to the tennis he grabbed it. “When we heard that Ash Barty pulled out I thought it would take a little bit away from the tournament. But who could have foreseen Nick Kyrgios for the past two weeks.”

Tony Jones with Nick Kyrgios

While Barty was missed, the fact that four Australians made it through to the final 16 made up for her absence.

Part of Jones’s Wimbledon duties is to continue anchoring Nine Melbourne’s evening sporting news in the 6pm bulletin. Something he has been doing from the centre court as it precedes the start of each day’s play.

He’s also doing crosses for Nine’s Today show which goes to air at the other end of the day. “Nine is certainly getting its money-worth,” he laughed.


Nine switches its tennis coverage between Gem and the primary channel depending on the importance of the games. There’s been plenty on the primary channel this week given the success the Australians have had.

“I’m not entirely sure all the time of what we are being broadcast on. All I know is that we are on something.”

Jones is also being called on for crosses for 3AW where he is also a part-time host. He also does crosses for other Nine News bulletins across Australia when asked. “I’ll talk to anyone!” he said.

Jones with John Newcombe and Rod Laver at a Tennis Australia BBQ held during Wimbledon

While Jones has been getting good interviews with players, he’s unsure if that’s because Nine is a rights holder.

“The process is at the start of each day we put a request in for who we would like to speak to. After the players have their media conferences, they will do one-on-one interviews if they want to. You find out if your request has been granted after the matches on a screen like an airport departure board that lists which broadcaster has been accepted for an interview.”

Nine does much of its coverage from the rooftop where all the major media is based. “To my right is John McEnroe and the US broadcasters [ESPN]. Also here is Eurosport.

“Something we find hugely entertaining is some radio shows done in the evening from the rooftop. It’s fun watching McEnroe and the BBC team – it’s quite laid back very entertaining.”

One innovation that Jones thinks should be adopted in Australia for all sports is allowing only one pool camera in the media conference. “It’s good not to have maybe 25 camera people jostling for positions. It’s all very orderly and works very well.

“A few years ago I would have said, ‘No. We’d rather be in control of our own pictures. But there is simply no need to go into a media conference with your own camera. It eliminates any hurley burley that can creep in as people try to get the best position.”

Jones hasn’t come across any Nine network executives visiting the Grand Slam, apart from a short visit from Nine’s director of sport Brent Williams for a series of meetings with international tennis authorities.

Nine’s Tony Jones with Todd Woodbridge

TJ’s Wimbledon routine

“The team gets to Wimbledon about 7.30am London time each morning. We will update any news stories we need to that might have developed overnight. We might then go and shoot any pieces to camera we need on one of the courts.

“At 9am here its 6pm news time in Melbourne. Then from 10am I catch up with Todd Woodbridge and plan what we need to do for that day’s coverage. During the day I cover the matches and the news conferences.

“We then focus on Today show coverage from the early evening and go to about 10.30pm. They are fair days.”

As well as Nine duties, Woodbridge has commitments with the BBC and he’s also playing in the veteran’s doubles.

Nine’s Wimbledon team

“It’s a pretty lean outfit,” said Jones. “We have a producer, two camera people, myself and Todd Woodbridge.” Nine also has special comments from former players in the studio in Australia where the coverage is anchored by Roz Kelly.

Keep TJ at Wimbledon

Tony Jones’s colleagues at Nine’s Sunday AFL Footy Show like nothing better than to tease their host. The last wind-up was a Nathan Brown-backed petition called Keep TJ at Wimbledon. The idea being that Nine might hand hosting duties to Brown. “I wouldn’t say I’m thrilled about that,” Jones told Mediaweek. “I don’t get it. If that is actually funny then so be it. Obviously, I have a different sense of humour.

The petition bombed badly after finding only 669 supporters.

Nine’s bid for AFL rights

When asked if Nine might be a chance to get some AFL football rights when they are next awarded, Jones said: “I think so, they pitched hard.” He then added he was “straying outside of his lane” and speaking unofficially.

“Everyone has pitched hard for them. It will be [AFL CEO] Gillon McLachlan’s legacy to walk away and leave the game in good hands from a broadcasting point of view.

“It’s a terrific commodity and when we had AFL we turned it into a real event and we would again. You only have to see what Nine has done with the tennis. We have turned it into a real entertainment package.” Jones mentioned that Nine could offer a lot with all its different properties across multiple platforms. “Our numbers are all really strong across each. Nine remains the preferred option for a lot of people.”

See also:
TV Guide: Wimbledon 2022 on 9Gem and Stan Sport

Gillon McLachlan explains why the AFL is happy with Seven and Fox Sports deals.

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