ESPN Tennis Team Update: Eight Sign New Agreements, James Blake Joins

Tennis

ESPN Tennis Team Update: Eight Sign New Agreements, James Blake Joins

ESPN’s tennis team will continue to feature many faces long familiar to tennis fans with one notable addition – James Blake has joined ESPN for Wimbledon and the US Open.  No fewer than eight returning commentators have signed new agreements.

Longtime ESPN tennis stalwarts with new contracts (year joined ESPN):  Darren Cahill (2007), Chrissie Evert (2011), Mary Joe Fernandez (2000), Brad Gilbert (2004), John McEnroe (2009), Patrick McEnroe (1995), Chris McKendry (1996) and Pam Shriver (1990).

Blake, once ranked no. 4 in the world, won 10 titles during his playing career (1999-2013) and seven additional in doubles.  He was part of the 2007 victorious U.S. Davis Cup team and placed fourth at the 2008 Olympics.

Since his playing days, he has been involved in philanthropy, including founding the Thomas Blake Sr. Memorial Cancer Research Fund at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in memory of his father.  He also has done tennis commentary for Tennis Channel, NBC and CNN; and since January 2018 serves as tournament director for the Miami Open where he heads player relations, media, broadcast and tournament improvements and innovations.  His memoir, Breaking Back, was a New York Times Best Seller.

“ESPN is proud of the chemistry, experience and broad perspective, both generationally and historically, our roster represents, and we are thrilled the unmatched team will continue intact to provide the best in analysis, insights, opinions and storytelling,” said Jamie Reynolds, ESPN vice president, production.  “When we add someone of the caliber of James Blake, a recognized voice in the sport, to the mix, we’ll be all the stronger, with his intelligence, close ties to the sport and fresh perspective.  He will join us for Wimbledon and the US Open, reflecting the number of hours and volume of content ESPN commits to those events.”

ESPN’s industry-leading schedule of top events begins for 2020 with the Australian Open, starting Sunday, January 19, and continuing through February 2.  The returning commentators will all be there, working alongside teammates Cliff Drysdale, Chris Fowler, Jason Goodall and Rennae Stubbs plus guest analysts Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Patrick Mouratoglou.

 

ESPN and Tennis

Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air, providing numerous memorable moments from around the world, but it has never been as important as today, with the unprecedented position of presenting three of the sports Major events from start to finish (Australian Open, Wimbledon, US Open, with exclusivity at the latter two.

 

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