Live from New York, it’s the US Open


Live from New York, it’s the US Open

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To get in the mood, a little Frank, courtesy an ESPN promo:

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Year’s Final Major:  100 Hours on TV & WatchESPN, 400 on ESPN3; Men’s Doubles Championship Added

Serena, Murray to Defend Titles; Six Different Players Have Won a Major in 2013

The year’s final major event on the tennis calendar brings the stars of the sport to the bright lights and hot nights of New York where once again ESPN’s extensive, multi-platform coverage of the US Open will include 100 hours on television and 400 on ESPN3 beginning Monday, Aug. 26.

  • During the first week of the tournament, ESPN2’s coverage will start at 1 p.m. ET each weekday and will continue nonstop for at least 10 hours through both the day and the 7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM sessions until 11 p.m. or when play is concluded, whichever is later.
  • The second week starts on Labor Day Monday, Sept 2, with Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM at 7 p.m. on ESPN2, followed by more day-long windows Tuesday – Thursday (the evening telecast is on ESPN on Tuesday and Thursday).  The Thursday, Sept. 5, afternoon telecast will include the Women’s Doubles Semifinals.
  • On Sunday, Sept. 8, ESPN2 will televise live for the first time the men’s doubles championship at 12:30 p.m., with American twin brothers Bob and Mike Bryan heading to New York aiming for a true Grand Slam – winning all four majors in a calendar year.  The 35-year old Californians have won 15 major doubles titles together, including the “Bryan Slam” – the last four plus the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal at Wimbledon.
  • Also on Sunday, Sept 8, a special one-hour edition of SportsCenter at the US Open on ESPN2 at 8:30 p.m. will review that day’s women’s championship and preview Monday’s men’s final.

All the action from the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available through WatchESPN online at, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members and on Apple TV.  Launched in April 2011, it is accessible in 55 million households to fans who receive ESPN’s linear networks as part of their video subscription via Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV, Comcast Xfinity TV, Midcontinent Communications, Cablevision, Charter, Cox or AT&T U-verse.

When ESPN or ESPN2 is on the air, SportsCenter  will have the right to cut-in live for updates and key moments.  SportsCenter’s daytime edition is on ESPN 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. with later editions from 6-7 p.m. and 11 p.m.-midnight.  On ESPNEWS, SportsCenter airs from 3-6 p.m. and 7-11 p.m.

The Contenders

The year’s final major tournament brings with it urgency for players yet to win one of the sport’s four grand prizes, and the desire by those in the running for being player of the year honors.  Interestingly, both the men and women have seen three different winners at this year’s three majors.  The leading contenders (rankings a/o Aug. 19):

  • Serena Williams – Ranked No. 1, the defending champion has had another fabulous year (8 titles), but “only” one major, the French Open, giving her a total of 16, including four in New York.
  • Victoria Azarenka – No. 2 and a finalist here a year ago, she has won the last two Australian Open crowns and defeated Serena in Sunday’s final of the WTA Premier Event in Cincinnati.
  • Maria Sharapova – No. 3, the 2006 winner appeared in this year’s French Open final.  With one with at each major, she holds a career Grand Slam.
  • Others:  One-time Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska at No. 4, 2011 US Open champ Sam Stosur at No. 13, two-time winner Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens who leads a group of young, rising Americans, including Jamie Hampton, Varvara Lepchenko and Madison Keys.

The “big four” of men’s tennis – winners of 33 of the last 34 Majors who comprise 23 of the last 24 Major finalists and 51 of the last 60 – continue to dominate the final weekends of Grand Slam events (Note: Seven players filled  the other nine slots of the 60, but only two, Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer, are playing in the US Open):

  • Novak Djokovic – Ranked No. 1 in the world, he has six major titles, including the 2011 US Open and the last three Australian Opens.  Reached the final a year ago.
  • Rafael Nadal – No. 2 but has dominated 2013 with nine titles, including rare back-to-back Montreal/Cincinnati crowns the last two weeks and his eighth French Open  His 12 major victories include the 2010 US Open.  Missed last year’s event because of injury.
  • Andy Murray – No. 3, the defending champion added a Wimbledon title to his resume this summer.
  • Roger Federer – Now ranked No. 7, but the all-time leader in major championships (17) has five US Open wins (2004-08).
  • Others:  No. 4 David Ferrer who reached his first major final in Paris this spring,  one-time Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych at No. 5, and 2009 US Open winner Juan Martin Del Potro at No. 6. Also, John Isner, the top American at No. 14 who has won two events this year and appeared in Sunday’s final in Cincinnati.

The ESPN Tennis Team

  • 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.
  • Cliff Drysdale, who was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in July, reached the US Open finals and is a two-time Wimbledon and French Open semifinalist.  He has been with ESPN since its first tennis telecast in 1979.  Drysdale was a leader on the court – a top player for many years who was one of the first to use a two-hand backhand – and off the court, as the first president of the ATP.
  • Chris Evert, a Hall of Famer who joined ESPN in 2011, counts a record six US Open titles among her innumerable career highlights, including 18 major titles and the best career win-loss record in history.
  • Mary Joe Fernandez, who played in three Major singles 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 leads the United States’ Fed Cup team and coached the 2012 U.S. women’s Olympic team.
  • Chris Fowler, who joined ESPN in 1986 and has hosted College GameDay on football Saturdays since 1990, has hosted tennis 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.
  • Brad Gilbert, whose flair 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.
  • LZ Granderson, a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine (and formerly a tennis editor) and who has covered the sport for years, will provide his perspective in reports and features.  He often appears on SportsCenter, Outside the Lines and other ESPN programs.  He also is a contributor to CNN and and has previously worked at the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
  • John McEnroe won four US Open crowns – plus three at Wimbledon – during his storied career, which included 10 more major championships in doubles or mixed doubles.  He also led the U.S. to four Davis Cup titles and won the NCAA’s while attending Stanford.  He has worked the US Open for ESPN since 2009, adding Wimbledon to his ESPN resume this year.
  • 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 is General Manager, USTA Elite Player Development.  He won the 1992 French Open doubles title and reached the 1991 Australian Open semifinals in singles.
  • Chris McKendry, a SportsCenter anchor since joining ESPN in 1996, serves as a host at the US Open and Australian Open for ESPN.  She attended Drexel University on a tennis scholarship.
  • Tom Rinaldi will serve as a reporter and will call matches.  His features and interviews have graced a wide variety of ESPN programs – including SportsCenter, Outside the Lines, E:60 and event telecasts such as Wimbledon, golf’s Majors, college football and more – since 2003, winning numerous Sports Emmy Awards.
  • 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 21 Grand Slam titles in women’s doubles (another in Mixed) including five at the US Open plus a Gold Medal in doubles at the 1988 Olympics.
  • Hannah Storm joined ESPN in 2008 as a SportsCenter anchor and has hosted Wimbledon and the US Open.  Previously, she spent five years with CBS’ The Morning Show and for NBC Sports hosted a variety of sports, including Wimbledon.  She was a producer on two ESPN Films tennis projects:  the 2010 documentary Unmatched reviewing the rivalry and friendship between Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova and this summer’s Venus Vs. about Venus Williams and her fight for gender equity in prize money.
  • Mike Tirico, the voice of ESPN’s Monday Night Football since 2006 and the network’s golf host, will anchor in the studio and call matches.   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.

ESPN & The US Open

In May, ESPN and the USTA announced that ESPN would be the exclusive home in North and South America of the US Open from first ball through the women’s and men’s championships each summer from New York beginning in 2015.  ESPN has televised approximately100 hours of live US Open matches annually since 2009, and will air 130+  hours with the addition of day-long coverage of the “middle weekend” – Saturday, Sunday and Labor Day Monday – plus both the men’s and women’s semifinals and finals.  The 11-year agreement also includes expanded digital and international rights. 

More US Open from ESPN, Inc.

ESPN3, the company’s live multi-screen sports network, will once again cover the action from six courts beginning at 1 p.m. the first five days.  In total, the network will carry a total of approximately 400 hours of US Open tennis.  ESPN3 carries every major global tennis event on the men’s and women’s circuit, including all four Majors, every ATP World Tour 500 and ATP Masters 1000 event, WTA Premier events and the season-ending championship of both tours.

ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, a 24/7 destination that delivers thousands of global sports events annually via WatchESPN.  It is available to 85 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider.  The network is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.

  • Courtcast: A multi-tool application with live matches via ESPN/ESPN2/ESPN3 streaming, plus all-court scoring, match stats, Cover It Live conversations, poll questions, rolling Twitter feeds and scrolling bottom line.
  • Mercedes At This Minute: video updates throughout the day with host Prim Siripipat and ESPN tennis analysts discussing results.
  • Bryant’s Blog: updates with news and insights from around the grounds as warranted from writer Howard Bryant.
  • 5 Things We Learned: Daily video segments wrapping up the five biggest storylines of the day.
  • Digital Serve: Exclusive daily dotcom video segment previewing the next day’s action.
  • Open Notebook: An aggregation of what the latest happenings are on the grounds of Flushing Meadows. From interviews, latest results, and even vetting the food, fans will get a taste of everything.
  •  Columns exclusive to ESPN’s New York-focused web site from local columnists.


Beginning Wednesday, August 21, will preview the US Open with several features including the players to watch and a spotlight on Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Throughout the tournament, will have daily features, columns, commentary and video recaps from Kate Fagan, Melissa Isaacson and Jane McManus.

ESPN Interactive TV will be presented on DIRECTV. During the ESPN2 telecast windows for the first five days, a six-screen mosaic will include the ESPN2 program, along with matches with commentary from five other courts. In total, viewers will have access to more than 435 hours of live tennis action and 140 extra matches.  Production will be enhanced with press conferences, interviews and features that will be added during court changeovers and between matches.  All six screens can be expanded to full screen or picture-in-picture at the touch of the remote button.  In addition, DIRECTV will offer “Matches On Now,” a graphic across the bottom with scores from each of the matches currently on the court channels, with the ability to tune directly to the match, and “Results,” an instant look at real-time scores and schedule info for matches ahead – all without leaving the match the viewer is watching.

ESPN Deportes will present news and information coverage of the US Open across its platforms. ESPN Deportes TV and Radio will feature daily segments in a variety of news and information shows. will serve U.S. Hispanic fans featuring webisodes of “ESPiaNdo” with the latest news and information every day. In addition, the site will offer special daily reports, highlights from New York and updates across social media.

ESPN International will again offer over 170 hours of live television coverage throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. In Latin America, coverage will be available in high definition. Coverage to Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America will be anchored from a set at the National Tennis Center in New York by Luis Alvarez and Eduardo Varela alongside analysts Javier Frana and Jose Luis Clerc. Reporters Nicolas Pereira, Martin Urruty and Carolina Guillen will also provide onsite coverage. In addition, Alejandro Ruzal will report daily for ESPN in South America and Rubens Pozzi will provide onsite reports for ESPN Brasil.

Online, Latin America’s broadband service, ESPN Play (Watch ESPN in Brazil) will feature over 500-hours of live streaming which will include up to eight tennis courts in separate windows. A daily recap, ESPiaNdo, hosted by Varela and Alvarez, will include highlights and analysis on and

ESPN Classic:  Great US Open Matches from the Past

This week, ESPN Classic will devote most of its schedule to great US Open matches from the past, starting Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 7 a.m. with the 2010 men’s final, Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic.  Other highlights include:

  • Last year’s women’s final between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka (August 20, 4 p.m.) followed by the 2012 men’s final between Andy Murray and Djokovic at 6 p.m.,
  • A pair of Pete Sampras-Andre Agassi finals on Wednesday, Aug. 21 (1995 at noon, 2002 at 4 p.m.), plus their 2001 meeting on Thursday, Aug. 22, at 11 a.m.,
  • Agassi’s emotional US Open swan song, a third-round match vs. Benjamin Becker in 2006,
  • The 2001 final between the Williams Sisters on Thursday, Aug. 22, at 4 p.m.,
  • The US Open tribute will conclude with a pair of John McEnroe victories in 1980:  his semifinal triumph over Jimmy Connors at 3 p.m. and the final vs. Bjorn Borg at 6 p.m.

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 in 2012.  Exclusivity for the US Open in an 11-year agreement begins in 2015.

ESPN2 2013 US Open on ESPN/ESPN2

Date Time (ET) Match Network
Mon, Aug 26 – Fri, Aug 30 1 – 11 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN2
Mon, Sept 2 7 – 11 p.m. Round of 16 ESPN2
Tue, Sept 3 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Men’s Round of 16 / Women’s QFs ESPN2
  7 – 11 p.m. Men’s Round of 16 / Women’s QFs ESPN
Wed, Sept 4 Noon – 11 p.m. Quarterfinals ESPN2
Thur, Sept 5 Noon – 6 p.m. Men’s Quarterfinals / Women’s Doubles Semifinals ESPN2
  8 – 11 p.m. Men’s Quarterfinal ESPN
Sun, Sept 8 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. Men’s Doubles Final ESPN2
  8:30 – 9:30 p.m. SportsCenter at the US Open ESPN



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, my main areas are tennis, ratings, and corporate communications documents, including ESPN’s history and growth.
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