Three-time Champ John McEnroe Bolsters TV’s Best Tennis Team for ESPN at Wimbledon

Tennis

Three-time Champ John McEnroe Bolsters TV’s Best Tennis Team for ESPN at Wimbledon

When ESPN takes the court for The Championships, Wimbledon starting Monday, June 25, it will be with the best tennis team in television bolstered by the addition of tennis Hall of Famer John McEnroe.  McEnroe, a three-time Wimbledon champion, has worked for ESPN at the US Open since 2009.  He joins his colleagues:

Analysts, Sideline Reporters, Play-by-Play

  • Chris Evert, who joined ESPN at the 2011 Championships and also counts three Wimbledon titles among her numerous career highlights, including 18 major titles and the best career win-loss record in history.
  • Cliff Drysdale, a two-time Wimbledon and French Open semifinalist and a US Open finalist who has been with ESPN since its first tennis telecast in 1979, Drysdale was a leader on the court – as one of the first to use a two-hand backhand – and off the court, as the first president of the ATP.
  • Darren Cahill, who once reached the US Open semifinals and the Australian Open doubles finals and went on to coach fellow Australian Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi, has worked for ESPN since 2007.
  • Mary Joe Fernandez, who played in three Major finals and won two Majors in doubles, won a Gold Medal in doubles at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics and a Bronze in singles in 1992.  An ESPN analyst since 2000, she has leads the United States’ Fed Cup team and returns to Wimbledon in July as coach of the U.S. women’s team.
  • Brad Gilbert, whose flair and penchant for unique nicknames for players has enlivened ESPN’s tennis telecasts since 2004, parlayed his playing career – once reaching the quarterfinals of the US Open and at Wimbledon – into coaching Andre Agassi (six Major titles with Brad), Andy Roddick (US Open victory) and Andy Murray.
  • Patrick McEnroe, who has worked for ESPN since 1995, was the U.S. Davis Cup captain 2001-2010 and in 2007 the team won its first championship since 1995.  A three-time singles All-American at Stanford – where the team won NCAA titles in 1986 and 1988 – he serves as General Manager, USTA Elite Player Development.  He  won the 1992 French Open doubles title and reached the 1991 Australian Open semifinals in singles. 
  • Pam Shriver, who started working for ESPN in 1990, long before her Hall of Fame career ended, played in the US Open finals at age 16 (losing to Evert) and won 23 Grand Slam titles in doubles including five at Wimbledon plus a Gold Medal in doubles at the 1988 Olympics.

Hosts / Reporter

  • Chris Fowler, who joined ESPN in 1986 and has hosted College GameDay on football Saturdays since 1990, has hosted tennis coverage since 2003, branching out over the years to also call matches. His diverse resume includes World Cup soccer, college basketball including the Final Four, the X Games and Triple Crown horse racing events, after first serving as host of Scholastic Sports America and then anchoring SportsCenter.
  • Mike Tirico, the voice of ESPN’s Monday Night Football since 2006 and the network’s golf host, will both anchor in the studio and call matches, as he has done at the US Open.  After joining ESPN as a SportsCenter anchor in 1991, Tirico has handled a wide variety of assignments in the studio and in play-by-play, on TV and on ESPN Radio, including the NFL, NBA, World Cup Soccer plus college football and basketball.
  • Hannah Storm, who hosted numerous Wimbledon tournaments over the years working with Evert at NBC, has hosted Wimbledon and the US Open in recent years with ESPN.  She joined ESPN as a SportsCenter anchor in 2008 after five years with CBS News’ The Morning Show.  She produced the 2010 documentary Unmatched, a “30 for 30” film that reviewed the rivalry and friendship between Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.
  • Tom Rinaldi, whose reports, features and interviews have graced a wide variety of ESPN programs – including SportsCenter, Outside the Lines, E:60 and event telecasts such as Wimbledon, tennis’ US Open, golf’s Majors, college football and more – since 2003, winning numerous Sports Emmy Awards along the way.

Wimbledon on ESPN

ESPN’s 10th Wimbledon will be unprecedented for U.S. fans, with complete and exclusive live coverage across its networks, climaxing with the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Finals, Saturday, July 7, and Sunday, July 8, respectively.  ESPN3 will present more than 800 hours with up to nine screens of action while ABC will have a highlights show on the “middle Sunday” – traditionally a scheduled day off at Wimbledon – and a same-day reairs of both Finals.  All the action on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app.  In addition, as previously announced, ESPN 3D, will televise live the final five days of action from Centre Court beginning with the Gentlemen’s quarterfinals Wednesday, July 4.  Full details about ESPN’s Wimbledon plans will be announced tomorrow. 

ESPN – All Four Slams, All In One Place

Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air and provided many memorable moments, but it has never been as important as today, with the US Open joining the lineup in 2009, giving ESPN all four Grand Slam events, something no other U.S. network has ever done, let alone in one year. ESPN has presented the Australian Open since 1984, the French Open since 2002 (plus 1986 – 1993), and Wimbledon since 2003, with exclusivity for live television with all other rights extended in a 12-year agreement starting this year.

ESPN debuted September 7, 1979, and the first tennis telecast was exactly one week later, September 14, a Davis Cup tie, Argentina at U.S. from Memphis with Cliff Drysdale on the call and John McEnroe playing.

In addition, broadband network ESPN3, now in nearly 72 million homes, carries thousands of hours of tennis annually, including all four Grand Slam events, plus ATP 1000 and 500 tournaments and WTA Premier Events, and season-ending championships for both tours.  Also, ESPN Classic shows great matches from the past and the sport receives extensive coverage on SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, Spanish-language ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine.  ESPN 3D aired its first tennis at Wimbledon in 2011. 

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Dave Nagle

It was 33 years at ESPN for me as of November 2019 (the only job I’ve ever had) after joining merely to help with the America’s Cup for three months at a robust $5.50 per hour. I like to say I simply kept showing up. I’ve worked on almost every sport, plus answered viewer calls and letters (people used to write!), given tours, written the company newsletter and once drove NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon to the local airport. My travels have been varied…I’ve been to Martinsville and Super Bowls; the America’s Cup (all 3) in San Diego and College GameDay in the sport’s meccas such as Eugene, Auburn, Lubbock, Stillwater and more; the NBA Finals and Indy 500; Wimbledon (16 times and counting) and the “other Bristol,” the one with a race track in Tennessee. These days, in addition to overseeing the Fan Relations, Archives and ESPNPressRoom.com, my main areas are tennis, ratings, and corporate communications documents, including ESPN’s history and growth.
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