ESPN Goes “All in” for US Open: Serena Seeks 23rd Major to Break Open Era Record; Murray and Djokovic Lead the Men…all under the New Roof


ESPN Goes “All in” for US Open: Serena Seeks 23rd Major to Break Open Era Record; Murray and Djokovic Lead the Men…all under the New Roof

·         First Ball to Last Ball, Exclusive to ESPN Starting August 29

·         130+ Hours on TV and WatchESPN; A Record 1,300 More on WatchESPN from 12 Courts

·         Phil Collins Performs Opening Night including Duet with “Hamilton” Star Leslie Odom, Jr.

Whether under the hot summer sun, the starry New York skies or – for the first time – a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, ESPN will go “all in” on its exclusive coverage of the US Open with 130 live hours on television plus a record 1,300 on WatchESPN with daylong matches from up to 12 courts (was 11 last year).  The action at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center starts Monday, Aug. 29, and continues with daily, extensive and exclusive coverage through the Women’s Championship on Saturday, Sept. 10, and the Men’s Championship on Sunday, Sept. 11.

The guest list for the annual late-summer party is headlined by top-ranked Serena Williams, who seeks her 23rd Major title, to break the Open Era record she currently shares with Steffi Graf.  The recent Wimbledon champion is also currently tied with ESPN’s Chrissie Evert with six US Open trophies.  On the men’s side No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Andy Murray have combined for five of the six slots in Major finals this year; Djokovic downed Murray in Australia and France, Murray defeated Milos Raonic at Wimbledon.

“We’re excited to showcase the US Open in our second year as the exclusive media partner in the U.S.,” said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN senior vice president, programming.  “In 2015, we saw the audience grow and get younger on TV and we expanded our coverage with more matches than ever before across all platforms on WatchESPN.  The new roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium, the new Grandstand court and the storylines coming off compelling action at the Olympics will ensure a fantastic two weeks in New York.”

Information about this year’s US Open promos with Michael Imperioli of The Sopranos:

What’s New?

Besides, of course, the roof on Ashe and the new Grandstand court….

  • WatchESPN has an additional court of coverage – now 12 – making for a record 1,300 hours offered.
  • Press Conferences on WatchESPN – Media Day is August 26, then all day everyday once play begins.
  • Expanded SportsCenter on the Road preview show, now 60 minutes Sunday, Aug. 28, on ESPN2 at 1 pm. ET.
  • ESPN Deportes now to carry the semifinals in addition to the championships.
  • Arthur Ashe Kids Day moves to ABC – Sunday, August 28, at 2 p.m. ET.

ESPN2’s live coverage of the opening Monday night will include a performance from Arthur Ashe Stadium by Phil Collins in his first major public appearance in six years.  For the ceremony, the Oscar winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer will perform his debut solo single, “In the Air Tonight,” which is the opening track on his forthcoming album, “The Singles,” to be released in October along with the publication of his autobiography, “Not Dead Yet.”  Collins will also be joined by “Hamilton” star and Tony Award winner Leslie Odom, Jr. for a duet.  The Broadway star, a native of Queens, N.Y., will sing the national anthem.

Before the action begins, WatchESPN will present live the singles brackets draw Friday, Aug. 26 at 11:30 a.m., followed by press conferences with top players from Media Day.

Also, on Sunday, Aug. 28, ESPN2 will air SportsCenter on the Road at 1 p.m. to preview the tournament, followed by a one-hour review of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess at 2 p.m. and airing for the first time on ABC.  Joey Bragg of the Disney Channel will host the telecast.  Multi-platinum hip-hop artist Flo Rida, international pop star Zara Larsson, award-winning Disney Channel actress Laura Marano, Entertainment Weekly’s “One To Watch” Jordan Fisher, breakout pop band Forever In Your Mind and Australian singer-songwriter Troye Sivan will team up with tennis icons Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at the 21st Annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Presented by Hess.

ESPN has televised the US Open since 2009. An 11-year agreement with the USTA for exclusivity starting in 2015 was announced in May 2013.  Last year’s first-ever all-ESPN US Open was a tremendous success on television and on WatchESPN.


  • The television coverage starts on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET each weekday the first week, and will continue nonstop – transitioning at 6 p.m. to ESPN2 (except Tuesday) – for at least 10 hours through both the day and the 7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM sessions until play is concluded.
  • All the action on Labor Day Weekend will be found in one place – ESPN2, starting at 11 a.m. all three days and likely to continue 12 or more hours.
  • Play on Tuesday, Sept. 6, and Wednesday, Sept. 7, will start on ESPN at noon, with prime-time matches on ESPN on Tuesday and ESPN2 on Wednesday starting at 7 p.m.
  • The women’s semifinals and championship will be played the second Thursday and Saturday; the men’s semis and championship on the second Friday and Sunday, Sept. 11, all on ESPN and Spanish-language ESPN Deportes.
  • In addition, the Mixed Doubles Championship will air live on ESPN2 on Friday, Sept. 9, at noon.
  • Play will begin each day on WatchESPN – at 11 a.m. through Wednesday, Sept. 7, and at noon the final four days – totaling a record 1,300 hours of action from up to 12 courts simultaneously (the most ever), including the Women’s and Men’s Doubles Championships. For the first five days, full coverage of the matches on TV courts for the first two hours of action are exclusive to WatchESPN.
  • Also, an additional feed, the “US Open Chase Review Multicam,” will return (see below). For the first eight days of the tournament (through Monday, Sept. 5) during the daytime action it will have three screens – the courts on Ashe, Armstrong and Grandstand (see below). Starting with the quarterfinals Tuesday, Sept. 6, the three screens will cover matches on Ashe, with iso-cams on each player and the traditional TV production.

US Open - Chase Review screenshot

  • New for 2016, WatchESPN will provide a feed dedicated to press conferences and other events in the main press conference room at the Bud Collins Media Center all day, every day.
  • WatchESPN is accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets, connected devices and smart TVs and available nationwide across all major providers through an affiliated video subscription.

Surveying the Fields


  • Is the ATP’s “Big Four” (“Big Five”?) now simply a “Big Two”? Of the last 46 Majors (more than 11 years), five players own every trophy but two:  Roger Federer (17 career Major wins), Rafael Nadal (14), Novak Djokovic (12), Andy Murray (3) and Stan Wawrinka (2).  The “Big Four” (all but Wawrinka) comprise 42 of the last 48 Major finalists and 70 of the last 84.
  • But, focusing on more recent competition….Djokovic has captured 11 of the last 24 Major titles, reaching the championship seven other times. In that span, Murray has won three, including this summer’s Wimbledon, while reaching the final on six other occasions. In total, the duo – born one week apart in May 1987 – have filled 27 of 48 Major championship slots, including five of six in 2016.  Murray also has claimed the last two Olympic Gold Medals.


  • Fresh off a resounding triumph at Wimbledon – but recently troubled by a shoulder injury – a victory would be her 23rd Major title and a new Open Era record.  Steffi Graf has 22 (Margaret Court won 24, including 13 before 1968).  It would also be her seventh victory in New York, breaking the Open Era record of six she shares with ESPN’s Chrissie Evert.
  • The Field. If someone else were to win, it could be almost anyone.  Especially with Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka sidelined.  A year ago, it was Roberta Vinci who shocked the tennis world by ousting Serena before falling in the final to Flavia Pennetta (since retired).  In Australia, it was Angelique Kerber and at Wimbledon Garbiñe Muguruza. Meanwhile, the field includes former Major winners Ana Ivanovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Petra Kvitova, Francesca Schiavone, Sam Stosur and Venus Williams and players seemingly on the brink of breaking through:  Simona Halep, Aga Radwanska, American Madison Keys (won bronze in Rio) and perhaps others….maybe surprise Olympic champion Monica Puig of Puerto Rico.  Also, after taking the trophy in Cincinnati this past weekend in a solid victory over Kerber, Karolina Pliskova is up to No. 11 in the world and must be considered.

The ESPN Tennis Team, the best 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 and 2016 U.S. Olympic women’s teams.
  • Chris Fowler – who joined ESPN in 1986, is the lead ESPN/ABC college football play caller and joined the ESPN tennis team in 2003 – will call matches. He hosted College GameDay on football Saturdays 1990-2014, and has hosted World Cup soccer, college basketball including the Final Four, the X Games and Triple Crown horse racing events.  Originally, he was the first host of Scholastic Sports America and later was a SportsCenter
  • 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 serve as a studio and match analyst. 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 and an ABC News contributor, will provide his perspective in reports and features. He often appears on SportsCenter, Outside the Lines and other ESPN programs.  He recently added to his resume, as a writer.
  • 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 returns as host, a role she has filled at all the Majors for ESPN. She joined ESPN in 1996 as a SportsCenter anchor, and later hosted the Little League World Series and X Games.  As of this Spring, she focuses on tennis.  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.

Technology Provides Camera Angles to Take Viewers around, across and above the Action

ESPN’s commitment to the US Open provides an impressive range of technologies, including

  • Voya Financial Axis replay technology freezes a moment in time and virtually spins the image in a full 360-degree rotation, using an array of 36 camera sensors installed around the Arthur Ashe Stadium.  ESPN, the only network to employ it at a Major, debuted it at last year’s US Open.
  • RailCam, a robotic camera that moves silently along the base of the wall on the southern end of Ashe Stadium, provides a superior ground-level look than the traditional static camera at a higher angle. It is particularly useful in studying a player’s footwork and seeing the action from his or her point of view.
  • SpiderCam (see below), which ESPN debuted at the US Open in 2010 and has been exclusive to ESPN (for 2016, it is added to the world feed), is suspended high above the court and fans at Ashe and is able to move in all three dimensions with a camera that can pan, tilt and zoom.

US Open - August 27, 2012

MORE TV & DIGITAL MEDIA, AT HOME AND ABROAD will have previews, reviews, analysis, the latest news, polls, videos and more:

  • Courtcast:  One-stop shopping for the fan who wants to keep up on the action while on the go, as well as get involved in the social media conversation.  As a multi-tool application with live events via the WATCHESPN syndicated player, it provides all-court scoring, match stats, NOW card implementation, poll questions that are discussed on television, a rolling Twitter feed with the latest from the ESPN commentators and a scrolling bottom line.
  • Five Things We Learned:  Video series reviewing the top five storylines of the day
  • 60-Second Slice:  The key news of the day, in a one-minute video.
  • Digital Serve:  Daily original videos previewing the next day
  • Baseline Buzz:  Greg Garber, Peter Bodo, Melissa Isaacson, Johnette Howard, Howard Bryant and Matt Wilansky weigh in on the hottest topics with a daily, written, roundtable discussion.
  • At this minute video update:  Instant analysis off an exciting match or preview into the night session.

espnW will cover the US Open as always from its distinctive perspective. With Serena Williams going for a historic 23rd major title, coverage will focus on the American legend.

  • There’s something about Serena at the US Open: You can’t talk about Arthur Ashe Stadium without Serena Williams and you can’t talk about Serena Williams without Arthur Ashe Stadium. How the US Open’s show court and one of its greatest champions grew up together.
  • Quiz of the day: From Serena Williams’ Open history to her squad in the stands, test your US Open knowledge in a daily quiz.
  • Video features: Daily dispatches from America’s Major.
  • Plus,special tributes to Serena throughout her run at Flushing Meadows.

ESPN Interactive TV (see below) will be presented on DIRECTV and WATCHESPN. During the ESPN telecast windows for the first seven days, a six-screen mosaic will include the ESPN 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 interactive social media options for fans, plus real-time scoring, draws, and on-demand highlights – all without leaving the match the viewer is watching. For the first five days of the tournament, the two-hour CrossCourt program at 11 a.m. will return, previewing the matches of the day and showcasing early play from around the grounds.  Commentators include ESPN’s Allen Bestwick, and former players Leif Shiras, Luke Jensen, Rennae Stubbs, Jeff Tarango and Mark Woodforde.

US Open - Screenshot Interactive TV






ESPN Deportes will provide more than 140 live hours of Spanish-language content on television and via ESPN3, available via WATCHESPN. ESPN3 will present select matches, including the singles quarterfinals for both men and women and the men’s doubles championship.  ESPN Deportes TV will air the Men and Women’s semifinals and finals.  In addition, the men’s final will be preceded by a special pre-match show live from National Tennis Center. The Spanish-language live coverage will be complemented by the latest highlights, news, analysis and information every day on  The web series ESPiaNdo will also return with daily recaps and analysis from the experts.

ESPN International will offer extensive high-definition US Open coverage throughout the Caribbean and Latin America including Brazil via its numerous regional media platforms.  ESPN Caribbean will televise first ball through to the final in English, totaling more than 125 hours.  In Spanish-speaking Latin America, ESPN will televise a total of 140 hours of live action, as well as a daily one-hour review of the best match of the day plus preview shows leading into the Men’s and Women’s Finals.  Veterans Luis Alfredo Alvarez and Eduardo Varela will provide the Spanish play-by-play alongside analysts Javier Frana and Jose Luis Clerc, both former US Open competitors.  That coverage will be enhanced by an anchor desk at the USTA National Tennis Center, with hosts Nicolas Pereira, Martin Urruty and Carolina Guillen.  In Brazil, ESPN will air side-by-side telecasts on two linear networks, offering over 170 hours of live tennis action combined.  Online, Latin America’s broadband service, ESPN Play (Watch ESPN in Brazil) will offer more than 1,400 hours of live streaming, which will include exclusive coverage of 12 different courts.  In addition, ESPN Argentina and ESPN Brasil will have reporters in New York conducting interviews and producing daily features for SportsCenter and ESPN’s complete line-up of daily news and information shows.  A daily Spanish-language recap, ESPiaNdo, hosted by Varela, Clerc, Frana and Alvarez, will include highlights and analysis within – and in Brazil, ESPN will air a daily Portuguese-language wrap up show – Pelas Quadras.

ESPN Classic:  Great US Open Matches from the Past

ESPN Classic will allow fans to relive great US Open matches from the past in a 68-hour, 30-match marathon starting Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 1 a.m. and continuing to Friday, Aug. 26 at 9 p.m.  Highlights:

  • The oldest matches on the schedule are victories by John McEnroe in 1980 – a semifinal vs. Jimmy Connors and the final against Bjorn Borg – on Friday, Aug. 26, at 2 and 5 p.m.
  • The marathon starts with two memorable women’s finals – 1989, Steffi Graf vs. Martina Navratilova, August 24 at 1 a.m. (August 23 at 10 p.m. PT) followed at 3 a.m. by Navratilova vs. Chris Evert Lloyd from 1984.
  • The three-set 2012 women’s final – Serena Williams vs. Victoria Azarenka – will air Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 8 p.m.
  • In a 2004 quarterfinal that included a number of questionable lines calls, Jennifer Capriati ousted Serena Williams 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, to be aired Thursday, Aug. 25, at 8 p.m.

The network will air more matches in the mornings of the second week of the tournament, notably the 1995 women’s final (Steffi Graf vs. Monica Seles) Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 8 a.m., the 1994 men’s final (Andre Agassi vs. Michael Stich) Friday, Sept. 9, at 8 a.m. and the 1995 men’s final (Pete Sampras vs. Agassi) immediately following at 10 a.m.

ESPN & the 2016 US Open

Date Time (ET) Event Network(s)
Fri Aug 26 11:30 a.m. Men’s and Womens’ Singles Draw

Media Day Press Conferences

Sun Aug 28 1 p.m. SportsCenter on the Road powered by Ford ESPN2
  2 p.m. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess ABC
Mon Aug 29 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open First Round WatchESPN


  6 p.m. US Open First Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – First Round ESPN2
Tue Aug 30 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open First Round WatchESPN


  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – First Round ESPN
Wed Aug 31 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open Second Round WatchESPN


  6 p.m. US Open Second Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Second Round ESPN2
Thur Sep 1 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open Second Round WatchESPN


  6 p.m. US Open Second Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Second Round ESPN2
Fri Sep 2 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open Third Round WatchESPN


  6 p.m. US Open Third Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Third Round ESPN2
Sat Sep 3 11 a.m.


US Open Third Round ESPN2


  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Third Round ESPN2
Sun Sep 4 11 a.m. US Open Round of 16 ESPN2


  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Round of 16 ESPN2
Mon Sept 5 11 a.m.


US Open Round of 16 ESPN2


  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Round of 16 ESPN2
Tue Sep 6 11 a.m.


US Open Quarterfinals WatchESPN


  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Quarterfinals ESPN
Wed Sep 7 11 a.m.


US Open Quarterfinals WatchESPN


  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Quarterfinals ESPN2
Thur Sept 8 Noon

7 p.m.

US Open Doubles Matches

US Open Women’s Semifinals


ESPN / ESPN Deportes

Fri Sept 9 Noon US Open Mixed Doubles Championship ESPN2
  3 p.m. US Open Men’s Semifinals ESPN / ESPN Deportes
Sat Sept 10 Noon US Open Men’s Doubles Championship WatchESPN
  4 p.m. US Open Women’s Championship ESPN / ESPN Deportes
Sun Sept 11 Noon US Open Women’s Doubles Championship WatchESPN
  3:30 p.m. US Open Men’s Championship Preview Special ESPN
  4 p.m. US Open Men’s Championship ESPN / ESPN Deportes


Dave Nagle

As I write this on 11-11-21, it's now 35 years for me at ESPN, the only real job I’ve ever had. I joined merely to help with the upcoming America’s Cup in Australia. I was told it would be for three months at all of $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, Darlington, Indy 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, Wimbledon (16 times and counting) and the “other Bristol,” the one with a race track in Tennessee. These days, my main areas are tennis, UFC, boxing, network-wide ratings (by month/quarter/year), and corporate communications documents, including fact sheets, chronologies, lists and nearly 35 of the Year in Review press releases. UPDATE EXACTLY ONE YEAR LATER: Today, November 11, 2022, I am retiring from ESPN -- 36 years to the day I began. As I ride off into the sunset – top down and E Street Radio blaring – I do so with so many wonderful memories, proud of my contributions and a heart full of gratitude for the opportunity. 
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