It’s All ESPN at Tennis’ US Open: First Ball to Last Ball, Exclusive Daily Live Action

Tennis

It’s All ESPN at Tennis’ US Open: First Ball to Last Ball, Exclusive Daily Live Action

·         130+ Hours on TV; 1,300 More from 12 Courts on ESPN3/ESPN App Starting August 28

·         Will Resurgence of Federer, Nadal and Venus and the Sport’s “Retro ‘17” Continue at Final Major?  Sharapova Returns

·         Opening Night with Shania Twain

·         Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day on ABC on Sunday, Aug. 27 hosted by Sofia Carson, Alex Aiono

The tennis storylines of 2017 – seemingly stolen from 2006 – have made it a “Retro ‘17” in the sport, and ESPN will have two weeks of exclusive live coverage from tennis’ fourth and final Major of the year, the US Open in New York, beginning Monday, Aug. 28, with 130 hours on television and 1,300 more on ESPN3 and streaming on the ESPN app.  The daily action from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will culminate with the Women’s Championship on Saturday, Sept. 9, and the Men’s Championship on Sunday, Sept. 10, both at 4 p.m. ET.

Refusing to yield ground to “Generation Next,” on the men’s side Roger Federer (turned 36 this month) and Rafael Nadal (was 31 in June) have grabbed the first three Major titles (Federer in Australia and Wimbledon for a career total of 20, Nadal with his 10th French Open and a total of 15) and the duo also each have a pair of Masters titles.  In the process, as of August 21 Nadal is the top-ranked player in the world for the first time since July 2014.  Among the women, Serena Williams won in Melbourne at age 35 (and pregnant), defeating her older sister Venus in the final; Venus, 37, also was a finalist at Wimbledon.  In addition, at the US Open five-time Major winner Maria Sharapova returns to the stage of a Major for the first time in more than 18 months.

ESPN2’s live coverage of the opening Monday night will include a performance from Arthur Ashe Stadium by Shania Twain.

Also, on Sunday, Aug. 27, ESPN2 will air SportsCenter at the US Open:  Preview Show at 1 p.m. to preview the tournament, followed by a one-hour review of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day powered by Net Generation at 2 p.m. on ABC.  The stadium show will feature live performances from Sofia Carson, star of Disney’s Descendants franchise, global pop-rap sensations Jack & Jack, singer-songwriter Alex Aiono, UK boy band New Hope Club and Epic Records’ breakout trio Saving Forever. In addition to performing their hit singles, Carson and Aiono will serve as co-hosts for the show.

Highlights

  • The television coverage starts on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET each weekday the first week (except Thursday, on ESPN2), 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.
  • On Labor Day Weekend, action starts at 11 a.m. all three days (ESPN2 on Saturday and Monday, ESPN on Sunday before transitioning to ESPN2 at 7 p.m.) and likely will continue 12 or more hours.
  • Play on Tuesday, Sept. 5, and Wednesday, Sept. 6, is on ESPN, starting at noon (to 6 p.m. or later, and resuming at 7 p.m.).
  • The women’s semifinals and championship will be played the second Thursday (at 7 p.m.) and Saturday (4 p.m.); the men’s semis and championship on the second Friday (4 p.m.) and Sunday, Sept. 10 (4 p.m.), all on ESPN. A one-hour preview show will preceed the Men’s Championship at 3 p.m.  Spanish-language ESPN Deportes will carry the men’s semis and both championships.
  • For the first time, an encore edition of the Men’s Championship will be aired that night, on ESPN2 at 8:30 p.m.
  • For the semifinals and singles championships, a separate ESPN3 Surround feed with offer three perspectives – the traditional TV angle plus cameras focused on each player.
  • ESPN will also present the three doubles championships: Men’s on Friday, Sept. 8, on ESPN2 at noon; Mixed on Saturday, Sept. 9 on ESPN3 at noon, and Women’s on Sunday, Sept. 10, on ESPN2 at 1 p.m.
  • Play will begin each day on ESPN3 and streaming on the ESPN app – at 11 a.m. through Wednesday, Sept. 6, and at noon the final four days – totaling 1,300 hours of action from up to 12 courts simultaneously. For the first five days, full coverage of the matches on TV courts for the first two hours of action are exclusive to ESPN3 and the ESPN app.
  • ESPN3 will again 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, beginning with media day Saturday, Aug. 26.

Surveying the Fields – More “Retro ‘17” or “Generation Next” Takes Over?

MEN

  • If you had said in January that Roger Federer would win two of the year’s first three Majors, with Rafael Nadal taking the other and reaching the final of another…and they would split the first four Masters events…and at this point of the year they would be No. 1-2 in the year-to-date 2017 points race and far ahead of No. 3….well, no one would’ve believed you. But that’s exactly what’s happened.
  • Even though Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka are sidelined for the remainder of the year by injury, it’s worth marveling at the longevity of the domination of the ATP’s “Big Four/Five” — of the last 50 Majors (more than 12 years), five men own every trophy but two (and they are currently ranked No. 1-5, and each is in their 30s): Federer (19 career Major wins), Nadal (15), Djokovic (12), Andy Murray and Wawrinka (3 each).  The traditional “Big Four” (all but Wawrinka) comprise 47 of the last 56 Major finalists (with Stan: 51 of 56).
  • If “Generation Next” were to break through in New York, likely candidates are Sascha Zverev (20, No. 3 for 2017, beat Djokovic for the title in Rome and recently won in Washington, D.C. and Montreal), Dominic Thiem (23, reached the semifinals at the French Open and currently ranked No. 4 for 2017) and Grigor Dimitrov (26, No. 6 for 2017 with three titles including Cincinnati last week).
  • American veterans can’t be discounted. John Isner recently won in Atlanta and Newport; the 6’11” 32-year old is ranked No. 14.  17 Jack Sock, 24, has two titles in 2017.  Sam Querrey reached the Wimbledon semifinals, his best effort at a Major; the 29-year old is ranked No. 21.

WOMEN

The contenders are many, but with Serena Williams preparing for childbirth, so are the questions…

  • Can 37-year Venus Williams reach her third Major final of 2017? She continues to defy age and is ranked No. 9 (No. 6 for 2017).
  • Can top-ranked Karolina Pliskova, 25, show the form that took her to the 2016 final? She has three titles this year and reached the semis at the French Open, Indian Wells, Miami and last week in Cincinnati.
  • Can Simona Halep, 25, knock down the doors she’s been knocking on? She’s been close to both a Major title and the No. 1 ranking.  Currently No. 2, she won in Madrid, was a finalist at the French Open, Rome and Cincinnati, and a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon.
  • Can Elena Svitolina, 22, win a Major? She is ranked No. 4 with five titles this year including Toronto recently.  She reached (or equaled) her career best finish at each of the three Majors to date in 2017.
  • Can No. 3-ranked Garbiñe Muguruza, 23, follow up her Wimbledon crown (her second Major title, having won the French Open in 2015) with her first US Open championship? Her winning run in Cincinnati gives hope.
  • Can two-time finalist Caroline Wozniacki win the final if she gets back there? The 27-year old, ranked No. 5, has reached six finals in 2017, but lost them all.
  • Can defending champion Angelique Kerber put her year-long struggles (no titles) behind her? The 29-year old is ranked No. 6, but only No. 16 for the year.
  • Can a pair of stars recapture past glories so soon after returning to action after long but very different hiatuses? Two-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova, 27, had hand surgery in December after incurring a career-threatening injury fighting off an intruder in her home. Maria Sharapova, 30, whose five Major titles include the 2006 US Open, has played a limited schedule since her suspension ended in April.
  • In addition to Serena Williams, another former Major winner remains sidelined: two-time finalist and two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka, 28, is unable to travel to New York while in a custody battle over the son she bore in December.
  • Can these young Americans use home court advantage to reach new heights? 16 Madison Keys, No. 21 CoCo Vandeweghe, No. 36 CiCi Bellis who burst into the national spotlight three years ago when she won a match at the US Open at the age of 15, and Sloane Stephens, a Cincinnati semifinalist.

The ESPN Tennis Team 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. Currently the coach of Simona Halep, this year’s French Open finalist, he will serve as an analyst for men’s matches.
  • 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, an ESPN analyst since 2000, 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.  She was the coach of the United States’ Fed Cup team for eight years, stepping down in 2016, and coached the 2012 and ’16 U.S. women’s Olympic team.
  • 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 ESPN’s Mary Joe Fernandez and Pam Shriver and the British Fed Cup team.
  • 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 tennis Majors for ESPN. She joined ESPN in 1996 as a SportsCenter anchor, and later hosted the Little League World Series and X Games before focusing on tennis beginning in 2016.  She attended Drexel University on a tennis scholarship.
  • Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams’ coach since 2012, will serve as an analyst. He helped her to unprecedented success deep into her mid-30s – 10 Major titles, an Olympic Gold Medal and a stranglehold on the WTA No. 1 ranking.  A longtime coach, including great results over seven years with Marcos Baghdatis.
  • Tom Rinaldi will serve as a reporter and will call matches. Since 2003,, 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 – 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.
  • Trey Wingo, the longtime ESPN SportsCenter and NFL anchor, will work his first US Open as a host. The last two years, he has hosted the ESPN Interactive TV six-screen presentation from Wimbledon.  Wingo, who joined ESPN in 1997, will be waking up earlier beginning Monday, Nov. 27, co-hosting the new Golic and Wingo on ESPN Radio weekdays from 6-10 a.m.

MORE TV & DIGITAL MEDIA, AT HOME AND ABROAD

ESPN.com 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, shortstop implementation, poll questions that are discussed on television, a rolling Twitter feed with the latest from the ESPN commentators and a scrolling bottom line.
  • Global roundup: The latest from the top players around the world.
  • Five Things We Learned:  Video series reviewing the top five storylines of the day
  • Digital Serve:  Daily original videos previewing the next day
  • Baseline Buzz:  Our staff weighs 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 from its distinctive perspective. With Serena Williams out, it’s anyone’s title, and W will be there for the action both on and off the court.

  • ICYMI: A recap of the day’s action through a social media lens.
  • Around the Open: Social videos including “Kids Say The Darnedest Things” from Kids Day and Voice of the Fan.
  • Video features: Daily dispatches from America’s Major.

ESPN Interactive TV (see below) will be presented on DIRECTV, ESPN3 and streaming live on the ESPN app. 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.  Match analysts include former players Jimmy Arias, Luke Jensen, Chanda Rubin, Rennae Stubbs, Virginia Wade and Mal Washington.

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’s semifinals and both the Women’s and Men’s 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 ESPNDeportes.com.  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, Oceania and Latin America including Brazil via its numerous regional media platforms.  ESPN Caribbean and ESPN PacRim will televise first ball through to the final in English, totaling more than 125 live hours. Additionally, PacRim will air two daily highlight shows as well as a 30-minute daily show totaling 50 more hours of content.  In Spanish-speaking Latin America, ESPN will televise a total of 150 hours of live action, as well as 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, Pablo Stecco 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 will have a reporter (Agostina Larocca) in New York conducting interviews and producing daily features for SportsCenter and ESPN’s complete line-up of daily news and information shows. In Brazil, ESPN will air a daily Portuguese-language wrap up show – Pelas Quadras. 

ESPN Classic:  48-Hour Marathon of Great Matches Leads into 2017 Action

ESPN Classic will allow fans to relive great US Open matches from the past in a 48-hour, 21-match marathon starting Saturday, Aug. 26 at noon and continuing to Monday, Aug. 28 at noon.  Highlights:

  • The marathon starts with two memorable women’s finals – 1989, Steffi Graf vs. Martina Navratilova, on August 26 at noon followed at 2 p.m. by Navratilova vs. Chris Evert Lloyd from 1984.
  • The oldest matches on the schedule are victories by John McEnroe in 1980 – the final against Bjorn Borg (Monday, Aug. 28, at 2 a.m. / Sunday at 11 p.m. PT) and his semifinal vs. Jimmy Connors on Monday at 6 a.m.
  • The 2005 men’s final, Roger Federer defeating Andre Agassi in four sets to win his second US Open title, will be seen Sunday, Aug. 27 at 8 p.m.

ESPN & the 2017 US Open

Date Time (ET) Event Network(s)
Sun Aug 27 1 p.m. SportsCenter at the US Open:  Preview Show ESPN2
  2 p.m. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day powered by Net Generation ABC
Mon Aug 28 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open First Round ESPN3

ESPN

  6 p.m. US Open First Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – First Round ESPN2
Tue Aug 29 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open First Round ESPN3

ESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – First Round ESPN
Wed Aug 30 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open Second Round ESPN3

ESPN

  6 p.m. US Open Second Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Second Round ESPN2
Thur Aug 31 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open Second Round ESPN3

ESPN2

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

1 p.m.

US Open Third Round ESPN3

ESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Third Round ESPN2
Sat Sep 2 11 a.m.

 

US Open Third Round ESPN2

ESPN3

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Third Round ESPN2
Sun Sep 3 11 a.m. US Open Round of 16 ESPN

ESPN3

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

 

US Open Round of 16 ESPN2

ESPN3

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

Noon

US Open – Outer Courts, Doubles and Juniors

US Open Quarterfinals

ESPN3

ESPN

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

Noon

US Open – Outer Courts, Doubles and Juniors

US Open Quarterfinals

ESPN3

ESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Quarterfinals ESPN
Thur Sept 7 7 p.m. US Open Women’s Semifinals ESPN
Fri Sept 8 Noon US Open Men’s Doubles Championship ESPN2
  4 p.m. US Open Men’s Semifinals ESPN / ESPN Deportes
Sat Sept 9 Noon US Open Mixed Doubles Championship ESPN3
  4 p.m. US Open Women’s Championship ESPN / ESPN Deportes
Sun Sept 10 1 p.m. US Open Women’s Doubles Championship ESPN2
  3 p.m. US Open Men’s Championship Preview Special ESPN
  4 p.m. US Open Men’s Championship ESPN / ESPN Deportes
  8:30 p.m. US Open Men’s Championship ESPN2 (encore)

 

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Dave Nagle

It was 32 years at ESPN for me as of November 2018 (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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