Evert, John McEnroe Preview US Open, Discuss Serena, Big Three & Potential of Young Players including Gauff


Evert, John McEnroe Preview US Open, Discuss Serena, Big Three & Potential of Young Players including Gauff

  • ESPN’s First Ball to Last Ball Live Coverage Begins Monday, August 26

ESPN tennis analysts Chrissie Evert and John McEnroe spoke with media today, previewing the US Open.  ESPN’s usual first ball to last ball coverage begins Monday, August 26.  Here is the transcript.

We’re now 16 years past Andy Roddick’s title. Not to trot out a perennial theme, we have one male ranked in the top 25. Do you see that changing any time soon? In the bigger picture of the tournament, does it really matter?
: Well, I think it certainly would be helpful if we had an American player that was competing with the likes of the top dogs. There’s no question about that. Moving forward, when we’re talking about Tsitsipas, Medvedev, Felix Auger-Aliassime or Shapovalov, you like to be hopefully including Opelka. I think he’s going to be a top-10 player eventually. Tiafoe has made headway. Struggled a bit recently, but he seems to be getting his act together, likes to play on hard courts. I believe he’ll be a top-10 player.

They still need to add something to their games to make that jump where they could potentially be a Grand Slam winner. So at the moment they’re lagging behind some of the other players, couple of the other Russian guys, some youngsters appearing. Then you have to see what’s left in the tank.

I mean, John has been struggling, Isner, with injury. I don’t know if he’s 100% yet. Some of these big guys have been struggling. It’s hard to say how well they’ll do. As far as winning majors, I wouldn’t see at this particular point. They’re dangerous, but I don’t think they could be winning majors.  We’re in a frustrating period that’s continuing. Hopefully that will change sooner rather than later.

Is there anyone outside the big three who you think could pull off an upset? Is there anything about the US Open, the energy of this tournament, that helps an underdog kind of get over that hump, use that energy to their advantage, or is it going to be one of the big three?
: I mean, I do think it will be one of the three at this present time. To answer your question, it definitely could help. They suddenly start to feel some energy coming from one of these youngsters or someone who’s been struggling and has never gotten over the hump, certainly they will get behind them, as well. They love an underdog.  I think it’s time for some fresh blood to break through. These guys are the three greatest guys that ever played the game. We have to enjoy that, appreciate that. These guys are even more difficult to beat when the chips are down, when it’s best-of-five. They just understand what it takes better than these other players. They’ve got the talent to back it up. It’s a tall order for any of these guys.

You have to beat potentially at least two of them, in some cases three of them. That’s seemingly almost impossible to do. Perhaps with a little bit of luck something happens where a draw opens up. They’re human. At some stage they’re going to start losing more. You’ve seen that. Roger was out for six months. Rafa has been in and out. He defaulted in the semis last year. Novak had a couple years where he didn’t seem like the same guy. Now he’s back with a vengeance.

There’s a couple guys that at least look like they’ve got plans. Medvedev is the guy to me that best looks like he’s awkward, people don’t like playing him. He understands strategy and subtleties of the game better than almost any of the other younger players. I find him the most interesting sort of mentally right now. I think there’s some young guys catching up. Hopefully we’ll see some breakthroughs this year.

I wanted to ask about Serena Williams, whether you think based on what you’ve seen, what you know about her injuries recently, whether you think she can win the 24th Grand Slam or more?
: I never think that she can’t win. I’m not sure to what extent, how injured she was in the first place, how much she’s recovered given the injury she did have with the back. The back spasmed up at the time. I believe in Toronto she said that it was something that usually only takes a day or two and it’s fine. It turned out she wasn’t ready for Cincinnati. Obviously at her stage, she’s focusing on the majors, trying to break all records. It’s hard for me even now, even though I know she hasn’t won an event since she had her kid, for me to think she’s not the favorite going in.

Of course, there’s 15 players on the women’s side I believe that could win it. The way that she plays, the progress that I’ve seen, she seems closer and closer. Obviously you saw Halep, she played the match of her life.

Again, she’s healing also. She has a taller order to try to pull it off because of having a kid, having the time she missed, that makes it more difficult than perhaps the guys. Roger and Serena are about the same age. None of these guys or girls are young. It’s remarkable what they’re doing. I think Serena has done pretty darn well. You get to three finals in a row. I’m sure she’d want to put behind her what happened here last year at the end.

John, wondering if you think the younger players’ on the men’s side inability to take on the big three at the slams, when they have had some success in other tournaments in best-of-three, do you think the best-of-five challenge in dealing with Djokovic, Rafa and Roger is more of a physical obstacle or mental obstacle?
: I mean, it’s difficult to pinpoint. It depends which player you’re talking about. With Kyrgios, it’s physical. I think he’s had a difficult time getting himself in the type of condition where he could go the distance. He’s talked about it. He doesn’t train hard. I think he’s training harder. You have to take it to the stratospheric level. Physical part is a big part.

Look how calm Roger keeps himself in think situation. That’s a talent, you save energy, don’t waste energy. Rafa seems to have boundless energy. Guess what, he’s training as hard or harder than anyone. Novak has a combination of what the two have. On the court, the stress that can cause fatigue. That’s a thing that a lot of kids find out when they’re faced with difficult situations. All of a sudden they can’t figure out why they’re tired. They have to understand the mental part of it. This is a big part of what you need to do in order to get over the hump.
These young players are making some pretty good progress. Some guys have stalled. Tsitsipas, he struggled recently. He’s had some trouble dealing with people close to his own age. He doesn’t really understand, I don’t think, what he needs to do on a quicker hard court or grass court. Depends on each person.

Some of these guys, Felix Auger-Aliassime from Canada, Shapovalov, if you look at them physically, they’re pretty darn mature. One is 20, the other is 19. They both look like they’re 25. They look ready to go.  Last year Felix had some issues with his heart. It seems to be behind him, which is great. You think that he’d be capable of doing it. Denis physically, I think in his case could be more mental, with the strength you need mentally to deal with these guys.

They’re making progress. It’s the guys mid to late 20s, 30s that have had a tougher time dealing with the mental part of it, understanding what it takes to get over the hump with the top guys. That’s what separates them.

Young players, the pressure like a young American, Coco, might feel playing at the US Open, maybe your opinion about the best way to protect her.
: That’s a very, very difficult question to know the answer to. Her parents seem to be in charge of everything. They are obviously and understandably excited as she brought an incredible shot of adrenaline, shot in the arm to Wimbledon. There’s a lot of people, myself included, that hope she’s handled in the right way so she can enjoy her career the next 15, 20 years, not burn out at a young age.

Clearly when you’re that young, you have to really try to think this through. To me, less is more. Let’s try to keep this where it doesn’t get crazy too soon. That’s a dilemma that a lot of younger players face as they work their way up the ladder. It’s a key to understanding success.

Part of why I’ve advocated going to college, for example, or not rushing into things too early, is because I think it allows the kids to mature mentally, grow up a little bit, so they can appreciate what comes their way. How can you expect a 15-year-old to understand and be able to handle what is being thrust at her?  I’m praying for them because I think she’s a tremendous — I only met her a couple times, seems like a tremendous girl. She obviously could be the best player in the world if things go right.

As an observer of the game, do you enjoy when the old guard makes their runs? You talk so well about the young people, the wish for them to kind of challenge. Do you still enjoy it or are you tired of seeing some of the same people win over and over again on both the men’s and women’s side?
: I admire it. I understand to some degree what it takes to win at an event like this. I have a lot of respect for those guys is what I do. When you’re watching the three arguably to me best players that ever played, if you can’t enjoy it till they retire, you should have your head examined.  But I would like to see some of these kids make more of an impact. They have to want it more, be hungrier, battle. That’s what these top guys teach you. You got to dig in deeper, do more whatever it takes. You can’t allow yourself to get psyched out.  They’re going to do that to you in different ways, as they should. They have the experience, the wherewithal to take advantage of it. I admire them for that.

Personally, look at the success, what is it 20, 18 and 16. Would I like to see someone who has never won it before? Yeah, I would. I think it would be good for the game. However, watching these guys, for me even, I feel like I learn something. Sometimes you think of your own career, you think of things that other players have tried to do better, what I did. You say, Wow, it’s extremely impressive to see them be able to continue to improve in a way. In our day, we thought at 25 or late 20s, that was the best you’re going to get. To see the level they’re playing at in their 30s is amazing.

(Evert joins the call.)

What do you think of Kyrgios’ prospects this week? Must be a nightmare to place a bet on one way or the other.

JOHN McENROE: I think you might know the answer to that. As far as his prospects, also that’s almost equally as unpredictable. He’s talking more and saying more of the right things. We all saw the meltdown in Cincy. You also saw him win the tournament in Washington. Sort of the full rollercoaster ride in a way.  Obviously with Nick, this isn’t something that everyone doesn’t know, he’s had difficulty rising to the occasion against the guys that he should beat as opposed to the top guys. His record against the top guys is as good as anyone’s pretty much.

It’s getting there to get to the point to have the opportunity. Obviously in best-of-five, fitness becomes more of a factor. You can’t get away with that the way you could potentially. Look, the guy has one of the best serves in the game. To me he’s the most talented player in terms of tennis talent in 10 years. He exhibited that when he wanted to. Hopefully he’s going to want to do it here.

Chrissie, I’d like you to just talk about the young generation, Osaka, Barty, Andreescu, Coco. Who do you think is going to have the longest and most successful career?
: Wow, I don’t have a crystal ball. I mean, that depends on so many things, so many factors. As you know, when you’re young…

Coco Gauff had one fantastic tournament, at Wimbledon. I hope we’re not putting too much pressure on her. It’s we, the press and the media, the expectations. But looking at her game, the way she played at Wimbledon, she has everything skill set-wise as far as power and touch and variety of shots. She seems to have everything composure-wise, emotionally and mentally. She’s very focused, she hungry. She kind of has that competitiveness that she’s not going to choke, get that tight. I think she’s going to be very, very composed in the future.

At 15 years old to have all those components in tennis is quite remarkable, unforeseen. I think the last time I saw it was in Martina Hingis. She seemed to have it all also. I give her a lot of longevity.

The one thing I worry about Andreescu is the injuries. She played a great Indian Wells, then we didn’t see her for three months. All of a sudden she wins her last tournament, the Canada Open. I’m just a little worried about her fitness, if she’s going to keep getting injured. But I love her game. Again, she plays in-your-face tennis. I love that aggressiveness.

Anisimova, a lot of things in her again. Beautiful, beautiful strokes, beautiful composure. I like her chances.
Kenin has come out of the blue as far as the last couple years. You know her as well as I know her. She’s just hungry, hungrier probably than anybody out there. She wants it. She’s been having some great results.

I mean, it’s a great generation. It’s almost like Serena and Venus we skipped a generation of Americans. Now we’re getting to a lot of depth, a generation that all of a sudden players are popping out of nowhere.

I think women’s tennis looks very healthy. It’s coming at a good time because in the next couple years we may lose some of our biggest names.

How do you see Felix Auger-Aliassime doing in the US Open? Do you think how the opponents know him a little bit more? Does he have to adjust a little bit or change his style? Might be a bit tougher for him?
: I think Felix is doing great. To me he could be the heir apparent. It’s too bad that him and Denis are playing first round. Those two grew up together. It’s sort of a shame that we’re going to lose one in the first round. Having said that, both guys have the ability to be top-five players. Obviously you have to learn some stuff. Felix, he’s one of those guys, I just was with him yesterday, he’s very mature for his age. He’s wise beyond his years. He seems to be doing incredible. Denis has been struggling for a while, but he’s down in Winston-Salem, winning some matches. That could help him. I mean, after that it’s more difficult to say. I mean, Felix is seeded. His first seed is Monfils. He’s unpredictable. That’s not like a match he couldn’t win, hypothetically. I mean, I think he’s not looking too far ahead right now. Having said that, I think in the next few years, you’re going to see some really big things from him.

About Bianca, how do you see her compete in the US Open? She leaves a lot on the court, somebody said maybe she was too intense for an exhibition game. Do you think she will have to adjust or that’s the way she is?
: I’ll answer that really quickly and let Chrissie finish.  I think she’s tremendous for the game. Her personality, she expresses herself. It comes out in her play. She’s one of the best young competitors I’ve seen in 10 years. I would sort of hope she stays healthy. If she does, I think she’s going to win Grand Slam events. I really like her personality, the way she plays on the court, the effort she gives. I think she’s great for the game.

CHRISSIE EVERT: I think as far as the Aurora games, you need to be competitive. I don’t know if they’re necessarily all exhibition. I think players really want to test themselves against other players the week before the US Open. I think to play their best tennis, they have to take it seriously.

I didn’t see the match, but the thing with her is she has such passion in every point. I think that’s why she’s successful. That’s why she’s winning tournaments, because she’s in the moment every point. With that enthusiasm, she’s winning a lot of fans, a lot of popularity. I love that about her.

It will probably burn her out sooner than most players because she gives so much physically and emotionally when she plays. That’s why she needs to really look at her schedule and take the breaks that she needs, manage her schedule appropriately.

It’s been five years since Nishikori beat Novak to make his only slam final. Do you think he’s any closer to getting over the hump or has the window pretty much closed?
: Well, I mean, you never want to close anyone’s window. Look, you just have to take a look at what he’s up against. I think it was unexpected and tremendous that he was able to get to the finals in the first place. That should be looked at in a very positive manner.

To be able to, as I said earlier in this conference call, beat two or three of these guys, I mean, he’s not a particularly big guy. I think he played great against Roger in Wimbledon. He’s outmatched is what it boils down to. There would have to be a number of things that would fall his way in order for him to make that type of run again. I think he’s done as well as he possibly could. He brought in Michael Chang a number of years ago. I think that helped him mentally. It’s asking a lot to expect him to be able to go and win a slam when you’ve got the three greatest guys that ever played. You have some veterans still around. You have these younger guys which I certainly hope are hungry.

I still think he’s remaining a factor. He’s the only non-European right now in the top 10, period. I think he’s had a great career for what he’s brought to the table. He should be proud of himself. I don’t think he needs to put extra pressure on himself in order to prove himself.

His draw is about as favorable as it can be early on for him. He’s got a fairly good-looking draw that could allow him to make a run to the quarters, then you never know. You just got to hope things fall your way.

Is there anything strategically you’d like to see him do in the matches against the big three?
: I’m not sure there’s a whole lot he can do. It’s hard for him to dictate against those guys. They dictate to him. He has to react. Hard to do that. He tries to be proactive, use his speed to his advantage. He tried to do it against Federer, Federer took it up another notch. You have players that have more to offer. They’re all-time greats for a reason. They have options and they use them when they need to.

I think Kei has worked hard on his serve, he’s become a better volleyer, he occasionally — probably serves and volleys more than people would expect for a guy that doesn’t have a big serve compared to a lot of the others.
He’s absolutely, in my book, tried everything he could to hang with these guys. I think he should be very proud of that.

Someone pointed out to me recently that 40 years ago there were 26 American men in the top 50, which I had to double-check. I found that fascinating. Now there are only four. Could you give your thoughts that American men’s tennis has experienced in the last few years. Chrissie, on the women’s side it seems to be good at the moment, a battle coming up for the Olympic spots.
: As far as the men go, I think one of the things, factors, there’s a number of them, but having tennis in the Olympics as an example. Federations putting more money into the sport of tennis in Europe in particular. Countries that didn’t have much of a history of tennis in the past have been able to use to their advantage. Others that have had a history, the Czech Republic, Russia, more countries that have put an emphasis on tennis. You’ve seen some of their top athletes play the sport.

In America, over the course of the last 40 years, unfortunately I don’t think our sport has grown. In the women’s, for a young girl, the playing field is more level than anything else. I think you’re seeing the best athletes play tennis. In the men, it’s not quite the same. Basketball has grown quite a bit, become a bigger sport. You see the young kids, particularly a lot of the kids that can’t afford to play tennis, play basketball or American football. Soccer has become more of a viable option.

We have some very good athletes. Tiafoe is a great athlete. I think that’s a big part of his success. But you need to get more and more of them. Give the kids a chance to do it. I think that would be the number one thing.
There’s a lot of other things. We could talk for hours. Are they spoiled? Do they get too much too soon? Do they not go to college and develop as people? There’s a lot of things that go into this that we don’t know exactly the answer to.

It should be looked at. I think people are looking at it. Hopefully over the course of the next 10 years that will change, we’ll have some breakthroughs in the men’s game. I think that would be the type of shot in the arm. You have to get a cool factor, something that people want to do.

I was lucky coming in at a time, ’70s and ’80s, seems like more and more people were playing tennis. At the moment we’ve lost some of that. It would be awesome if we could get it back. To me it’s a great sport, a sport that you have to show a lot of skills, you have to show endurance, speed, toughness mentally. You’re out there on your own. There’s a lot of things that to me make this a great sport. We have to be able to point that out to the parents and kids better so more people want to do it.

CHRISSIE EVERT: I think that men’s tennis, it’s an uphill battle. It ranks low, eight, nine, ten, as far as popularity in men’s sports. I think therefore we don’t get the best athletes.

I think women, tennis is number one in the world globally. When you look at the prize money, the exposure, the role models, the sponsorship. Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, they’re just known all over the world. I think every girl aspires to be a tennis player probably more than any or sport. Although women’s soccer is quickly catching up.

I think the women have it a little bit easier in trying to get the best athletes. The men, it’s been tough. A lot of kids at a young age still enjoy team sports. They like that camaraderie. They don’t like the pressure of being one-on-one against somebody. So hopefully something can be done.

I think John said something very interesting. Let’s just get a Kyrgios who doesn’t lose his temper so much, get a guy like him to really enhance and promote the sport even more for the younger kids.

You mentioned earlier about what happened with Serena at the end of last year’s tournament. Chrissie, you were down on court at the time. It’s been announced today that Carlos Ramos won’t referee any of Williams’ matches this tournament. Serena’s coach told ESPN that he thought it was the best moment in tennis because of the drama. How much or how little do you agree with that sentiment and your memories of that?
: I don’t agree with that at all. Yes, it got a lot of exposure. I mean, so do other bad things that happen in the world. I don’t think it was good for the sport of tennis, the integrity of the game.
I think the rules were the culprit. I don’t point my finger at Carlos or Serena at this point because the rules are so vague. There’s such a gray area that there needs to be more black and white in the game.

I don’t think it was good. I was down at the level presenting the trophy, as John was the next day in the men’s. It was thundering, it was vibrating, the floor was vibrating, the boos were deafening. I looked over and saw Naomi Osaka sobbing. To me, that isn’t the greatest thing that’s ever happened in the sport, period.

JOHN McENROE: My quick two cents is generally, I mean, I pretty much agree with what Chrissie said actually, unless you believe any press is good press, which I’m not sure is the case. It certainly brought some attention obviously. They’re still talking about it now. They just did some type of documentary. That speaks for itself.
Hopefully something good can come out of it ultimately because it was a lose-lose to me for the ref, Serena, tennis. Naomi was obviously extremely upset. That was like a bit of a train wreck.

Andy Murray, I know he’s not going to be competing here, how do you think he’s looked since he came back in the singles? What level do you think he can get back to? Was he right to miss the US Open?
: That’s obviously his decision. If he thought he was ready to play and compete and challenge, he would have played. He doesn’t, so…

I only saw him play the one match, singles match, against Gasquet. I mean, not surprisingly he looked tentative, not sure of his movement, play, et cetera. It’s getting sort of the cobwebs out. Not everyone can take six months off, have a surgery like Roger did, go win a major. That was sort of superhuman.

Andy’s injury is more serious I think. I’m not exactly sure. He talked about being in pain all the time. I mean, listen, if the guy’s healthy, he’ll be back in the top 10. If he’s not able to move, a lot of his game relied on movement. If he’s not going to be able to move very close to what he was, I don’t think he’s going to be able to keep playing. That’s my personal opinion.

I don’t think he’d want to keep playing if he was 50 in the world, whatever. If he did feel like he could move and he wasn’t in pain, whether he could win majors, that’s a different thing. He definitely could get back to the top 10. The guy knows how to win.

Chrissie, the women’s side of the draw, to me it feels very open. Do you see it that way this year? Who do you think are favorites, the dark horses, the biggest question marks?
: It is very open, you are correct. When I’ve been asked to pick anybody the last two years at a Grand Slam, I say the name without conviction. We’re forced as commentators to pick somebody, which I hate. I like to see how they’re playing the first few rounds.

Serena always comes to mind first because I always feel if it’s a healthy Serena, she’s still going to beat everybody. The matches are almost only on her racquet. She looks like she’s as fit as she has been since she’s come back in the last year and a half. She did reach the finals of Cincinnati [sic], then she pulled out because of back spasms. She’s still getting to the finals of all these tournaments. Nobody else is as consistently reaching the finals like Serena.

I’m wondering if this US Open crowd can really embrace her and sort of inspire her to come out and play her best tennis. I think she’s going to get that 24 somehow. I really have faith in her.

At the other end of the coin, as time goes on, there are more and more great women that are coming out of the woodwork and playing really well, as we saw Andreescu. Madison Keys, she’s a dark horse. She won the tournament in Cincinnati, playing with a little more patience and much better moving. Simona Halep I think is the most solid of all of them and dependable. Naomi could be like Serena, just feel inspired playing her again. She hasn’t had a great hard court season.

There are probably eight to ten women, but we’ve said this the last two years. Women’s tennis is not dominated any more by anybody. The story is just the depth of the game. You have to admire that and celebrate it.

Chris, you just said Serena will win the 24. Do you believe it will be at the US Open? Talking about the injury she’s had, does that give you any pause? Back spasm, pectoral muscles, knee problems. Does that give you any reason to think this could be a tough go?
: I don’t know. I just have a lot of belief in Serena. I’ve just seen her come back from adversity so many times in the last 20 years. The one added component that she has now that I probably overlook is what you said, is age and injuries. Even though she looks unbelievable when she plays, to play like that for seven matches is a tough task to ask a 38-year-old, very much like a Roger Federer. It’s tough to ask of him.
I still feel, though, she has the highest ceiling of all the players. At her best, she’s better than everyone. Can she do that for seven matches? That’s the real question. I think her opportunities are running out. I think this and maybe the Australian Open could be the last two.

Chrissie, you mentioned that tennis is still the sport that is pretty much number one with girls. I think a big part of that is they have been so beyond everyone else as far as paying women equally to men. Everyone wants to know why don’t they play the same number of sets. Would you like to see that happen in big tournaments, whether it be five or three, with men and women?
: No, I wouldn’t like to see women play three-out-of-five. As the era is changing, the rules are changing, everything seems to be changing. Everyone is looking for changes in tennis.

If it came down to semis and finals for women, I wouldn’t be opposed to that, if it came down to the last two. I don’t know how you can go two-out-of-three sets and then semis and finals. That doesn’t make sense as I talk myself into this.

I’m a traditionalist. I like the three-out-of-five sets for the men. I think the greatest matches, John McEnroe matches, Bjorn Borg matches, Rafael Nadal, the greatest matches we remember are three-out-of-five sets, and come down to four or five sets. I just think two-out-of-three sets, that is too much of a stretch for me to think about that. I’d like to keep it the way it is, two-out-of-three for the women, three-out-of-five for the men. We can change other things in tennis but maybe keep that.

John, do you have an opinion on that?
: People’s attention spans in general are so much shorter than they used to be. I think, if anything, they’re looking for ways to shorten men’s matches in a way because of the issues with the amount of time you’re out there, just two people. If anything, I would probably go the other way.

To me, I’ve always wanted tiebreakers at all the majors. 6-All, I would maybe propose sooner than that, 3-All. I think after three, four hours… There’s expectations. The match at Wimbledon, when it went to 12-All, amazing. You’re talking about these two greats that could stay with it for five hours. Most human beings can’t do that. The level of play starts dropping pretty steadily at a certain time. It’s a tough call. If anything, I’d go the other way, like with the men playing a little bit shorter.

John, I love what you were saying about respecting the old guard, but maybe seeing some new blood. As someone who appears to be a big sportsfan in general, what do you think of when seeing Tom Brady win the Super Bowl?
: You get to a point where you obviously — I mean, I’m a Jet fan. Oh, my gosh. I want the Giants to do well. You see Brady winning everything. You admire that. This guy is so driven, he makes players around him better. You’d be an idiot if you didn’t respect what he’s done, say that’s one of the most incredible feats in history. But you do want to see other people. You want to see the young players, Mahomes. You want to see other guys. That’s me. Spread the wealth a bit, I suppose, to make a long story short.

Almost everyone else in tennis has one Grand Slam or none. Wawrinka has three. Murray is not playing. It’s just slim pickings. You’d like to see people. Listen, these guys have been out here in a lot of cases for 10 years or more also. Then you got these young guys that are going to be our future in a way.

I think it would be better for tennis if some of these young guys actually beat Novak, Rafa or Roger before they actually quit. It’s not like they finally win because they’ve stopped. You would like to actually see them compete against them. To me that would be more interesting.


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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