- First Ball to Last Ball, Now Exclusive to ESPN
- Fowler to Call Championships at Third Major of 2015
For ESPN’s first exclusive presentation of the tennis’ US Open – starting Monday, Aug. 31 – the ESPN Tennis Team will again be led by Chris Fowler, who for the first time will call three Major championships in a year. The two weeks of complete coverage from the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York will culminate with a new schedule: the Women’s Championship on Saturday, Sept. 12, at 3 p.m. ET and the Men’s Championship on Sunday, Sept. 13, at 4 p.m. following a half-hour Blue Carpet Special.
“The strength of our presentation comes from weaving together diverse voices of players and coaches from across the tennis spectrum into a cohesive team that expresses their expert analysis, well-considered opinions and distinct personalities to both educate and entertain fans,” said Jamie Reynolds, ESPN vice president, production. “Combined with hosts and reporters who know the sport – led by the singular talents of Chris Fowler – we are ready to assume our expanded role at the US Open, to document the action and follow the storylines like no one else can.”
“As a New Yorker for 20 years and a tennis fan for twice that long, I’m truly thrilled that our deep and dedicated team will present this huge event from first point to championship point,” Fowler said. “To help document six of the eight Grand Slam finals each year is a huge honor and great fun. If you’d told me that would happen when I began covering tennis for ESPN 13 years ago, I would have quoted my colleague Johnny Mac: ‘You Cannot Be Serious!’”
The ESPN Tennis Team – quite familiar to fans and the best in the business – includes former players Darren Cahill, Mary Joe Fernandez, Jason Goodall, Brad Gilbert, and Patrick McEnroe; plus Hall of Famers Cliff Drysdale, Chrissie Evert, John McEnroe and Pam Shriver. The group is joined by reporters Tom Rinaldi and LZ Granderson, hosts Chris McKendry, Hannah Storm and Mike Tirico, who also calls matches.
The ESPN Tennis Team, the best tennis team in television, at the US Open:
- 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 2013, has been with ESPN since its first tennis telecast in September 1979 (Davis Cup, U.S. vs. Argentina). He reached the US Open finals and is a two-time Wimbledon and French Open semifinalist. 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.
- Chrissie Evert, a Hall of Famer who joined ESPN in 2011, counts a record six US Opens among her 18 Major titles. She recorded the best career win-loss record in history, reached more Major singles finals than any man or woman (34), and reached the semis or better in 34 consecutive Majors (1971-83). The AP Female Athlete of the Year four times, in 1976 she was the first woman to be the sole recipient of Sports Illustrated’s Sportswoman of the Year.
- 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, hosted College GameDay on football Saturdays 1990-2014 and tennis since 2003, the year of ESPN’s first Wimbledon, branching out over the years to also call matches. His diverse resume includes hosting World Cup soccer, college basketball including the Final Four, the X Games and Triple Crown horse racing events. Originally the host of Scholastic Sports America and later a SportsCenter anchor, in 2014 he became the lead play caller on ABC’s Saturday night college football, including the new championship game.
- Brad Gilbert, whose flair and 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.
- Jason Goodall will work his first US Open for ESPN, appearing as a studio analyst and voicing features that analyze the action through statistics and computer graphics. A one-time standout among Juniors in Britain whose career was ended by injury at 21, he later coached Jennifer Capriati as well as ESPN’s Mary Joe Fernandez and Pam Shriver.
- LZ Granderson, a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine (and formerly a tennis editor) and ESPN.com 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 recently joined ABC News as a contributor and has previously worked at CNN and 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 for ESPN since 2009.
- 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 served as General Manager, USTA Elite Player Development from 2008 – 2015. 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, has hosted ESPN telecasts from all four tennis Majors. 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 will serve as a host. 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 Venus Vs. in 2013 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 again anchor telecasts and call matches, as he also does at Wimbledon. 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.