2014/04/24

John McEnroe Expands Role at ESPN to that of Radio Show Host

John McEnroe

(February 17, 2014) ESPN tennis analyst and Hall of Famer John McEnroe will expand his role beyond tennis to include year-round, non-tennis appearances on television and radio.  The 17-time Major winner (seven in singles, nine in doubles, one in mixed doubles) has worked the US Open for ESPN since 2009 and Wimbledon since 2012.

 

In addition to his work on tennis, McEnroe will serve as an analyst on SportsCenter discussing major topics of all sorts and handling sit-down interviews with top sports stars.  He also will make regular appearances on ESPN2’s Olbermann and on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike, also seen weekday mornings on ESPN2.  In addition, he also will also be heard on ESPN Radio New York (98.7 FM).

 

“Before John was a superstar in tennis, he was a sports fan…with sharp opinions and wit, as we’ve seen on our tennis productions,” said John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, programming and production.  “His no-holds barred insights and personality will enliven whatever program or platform he is on,”

 

John McEnroe said, “I am excited about my expanded role with ESPN.  It should be interesting and fun, as a life-long sports fan, to be able to voice my opinions on a variety of sports programs and forums, alongside some of the most talented people in the industry. The broad platform offered by ESPN makes it the perfect place for me to bring my point of view to all sports, not just tennis. ”

 

McEnroe won 77 singles titles in his career, highlighted by four US Open titles and three at Wimbledon.  He also won 10 more major championships in doubles or mixed doubles.  Although a loss, his five-set duel with Bjorn Borg in the 1980 Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Final – highlighted by McEnroe surviving an 18-16 fourth set tiebreak – is one of the most memorable events in tennis history.  An avid Davis Cup participant, he led the U.S. to five championships and later served as the team’s captain.  He also won the NCAA singles and team titles while attending Stanford.  In 2010, John founded the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in his hometown of New York City, where he is now working daily to develop the next great group of American tennis players.

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2014 Australian Open Broadcast Schedules for ESPN and Tennis Channel

 

2014 Australian Open broadcast schedules for ESPN and Tennis Channel

ESPNlogo

AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2014 on ESPN2 HD

(For these charts, all times are Eastern, and each day “begins” at 6 a.m. ET.

Therefore, the listing Sun., Jan. 20 at 3 a.m. ET is actually very late on Sunday night.)

Date Time (ET) Event Network
Sun, Jan 12 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. Early Round Action ESPN2 Live
Mon, Jan 13 9 p.m. – 7 a.m. Early Round Action ESPN2 Live
Tue, Jan 14 9 p.m. – 7 a.m. Early Round Action ESPN2 Live
Wed, Jan 15 9 p.m. – 7 a.m. Early Round Action ESPN2 Live
Thurs, Jan 16 11 p.m. – 7 a.m. Early Round Action ESPN2 Live
Fri, Jan 17 9 p.m. – 7 a.m. Early Round Action ESPN2 Live
Sat, Jan 18 9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Round of 16 ESPN2 Live
Sun, Jan 19 3 a.m – 6 a.m. Round of 16 ESPN2 Live
9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Round of 16 ESPN2 Live
Mon, Jan 20 3 a.m. – 6:30 a.m. Round of 16 ESPN2 Live
9 p.m – 2 a.m. Quarterfinals ESPN2 Live
Tue, Jan 21 3 a.m. – 5:30 a.m. Quarterfinals ESPN2 Live
9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Quarterfinals ESPN2 Live
Wed, Jan 22 3:30 a.m. – 6 a.m. Quarterfinals ESPN2 Live
9:30 p.m – 2 a.m. Women’s Semifinals ESPN2 Live
Thurs, Jan 23 3:30 a.m. – 6 a.m. Men’s Semifinal No. 1 ESPN Live
Fri, Jan 24 3:30 a.m. – 6 a.m. Men’s Semifinal No. 2 ESPN Live
Sat, Jan 25 3 a.m. – 5:30 a.m Women’s Final ESPN Live
Sun, Jan 26 3 a.m. – 6:30 a.m. Men’s Final ESPN Live

 

ESPN Interactive TV, seen on DIRECTV and ESPN3, will again present the Australian Open in a six-screen “mix channel” format.  For eight hours each evening during the first eight days of the tournament, viewers will be able to watch the ESPN2 feed or select from five other courts, all with commentary and customized graphics.   Interactive data features include the tournament draw, up-to-date scores, daily order of play, and social media interaction.  SportsCenter’s Steve Weissman will anchor the coverage, providing studio updates and news from around the tournament. Joining the announce team are former players Chanda Rubin, Jeff Tarango, Leif Shiras, Elise Burgin, Doug Adler, Nick Lester, and Christen Bartelt, along with play by play announcers Mark Donaldson and Brian Webber. New for 2014, viewers will enjoy advanced interactive features providing player bios, as well as match-specific Twitter Feeds and “bottom line” information.

 

ESPN International will deliver over 110 hours of live HD coverage to the pan-regional ESPN networks in Latin America.  Showcasing the biggest names in tennis and players of local relevance, broadcasts will air in three languages, including Spanish coverage in Mexico, Central America & South America, Portuguese coverage in Brazil, and English coverage in the Caribbean. ESPN+ Brazil will air over 60 hours of live complementary coverage throughout the early rounds, while ESPN+ in South America will air over 30 hours of additional Spanish coverage.

DIGITAL MEDIA, AT HOME AND ABROAD

WatchESPN will deliver ESPN2’s and ESPN’s live coverage of the Australian Open online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and streamed on televisions through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members, Apple TV and Roku.  Additionally, ESPN3 will once again provide coverage of up to eight live feeds from the TV courts – 500 hours.  For the first 11 days (Sun., Jan. 12 – Wed., Jan. 22), coverage will commence at 7 p.m. (11 a.m. in Melbourne, when play begins) and continue for at least seven hours.  The courts to be included are the “TV courts,” the ones most likely to have top matches:  Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena, Margaret Court Arena, plus Courts 2, 3, 6 and 8.  For the remainder of the tournament, ESPN3 will continue with select live coverage from ESPN2, including the women’s (Jan. 25) and men’s (Jan. 26) finals, plus exclusive coverage of select men’s, women’s and mixed doubles play and the boys’ and girls’ finals.  Fans can also access ESPN3 feeds from AustralianOpen.com.  Each window will be available for on-demand replay following completion.  With ESPN3’s dynamic interface, fans will be able to fast-forward, rewind and pause action – during on-demand replay and live action.

ESPNtenis.com will have the following content:  A daily webisode called “ESPiaNdo el Australian Open”; an “applet” featuring real-time, point-by-point scoring of all matches; live scores, results and brackets; columns, chats and blogs by TV commentators and other writers; polls; the “Ask ESPN” feature, prompting users to send their comments/questions via the website; video clips with highlights of daily action and analysis; TV scheduling information, and photo galleries.

 

ESPN International’s ESPN Play (Watch ESPN  in Brazil) broadband service in Latin America will provide wall-to-wall coverage of the year’s first Grand Slam, airing over 500 hours of live tennis from every available televised court, including the men’s & women’s quarterfinals, semifinals and finals, all live. This streaming action will be available in 16 million homes throughout Spanish-speaking Latin America/Caribbean plus eight million more homes in Brazil.

 

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Date Time (ET) Event Network
Mon, Jan. 13 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. First-round play Tennis Channel Live
Tues, Jan. 14 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Second-round play Tennis Channel Live
Weds, Jan. 15 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Second-round play Tennis Channel Live
Thurs, Jan. 16 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. Third-round play Tennis Channel Live
Fri, Jan. 17 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Third-round play Tennis Channel Live
Sat, Jan. 18 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Round of 16 Tennis Channel Live
Sun, Jan. 19 7 p.m – 9 p.m. Round of 16 Tennis Channel Live
Mon, Jan. 20 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Round of 16/Quarterfinals Tennis Channel Live
Tues, Jan. 21 3 a.m. – 5:30 a.m. Quarterfinals Tennis Channel Live
Weds, Jan. 22 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. Quarterfinals/Men’s doubles semis Tennis Channel Live
Thurs, Jan. 23 11 p.m. – 3 a.m. Mixed doubles semis/Women’s doubles final Tennis Channel Live
Sat, Jan. 25 5:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m Men’s doubles final Tennis Channel Live
Sun, Jan. 26 12 a.m. – 2 a.m. Mixed doubles final Tennis Channel Live
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ESPN’s 30 for 30 to Air Jimmy Connors Documentary “This is What They Want “ Premiering October 29

JimmyConnors

(October 23, 2013) ESPN Films’  30 for 30 film series continues next week with This is What They Want premiering Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. The film focuses on former tennis icon Jimmy Connors’ surprising and exciting run during the 1991 US Open in the twilight of his career.

 

When Jimmy Connors arrived in New York for the 1991 US Open, the one-time tennis superstar was 8 years removed from his last Grand Slam singles title, ranked 174th in the world and approaching his 39th birthday.  Not exactly a recipe for success.  But on the verge of a quick first-round exit, Connors suddenly and unexpectedly re-captured the magic, embarking on a stirring and extraordinary run than included an epic contest with Aaron Krickstein on his way to the semifinals.  This is What They Want not only illuminates this highly improbably march past a series of talented and youthful adversaries, it also explores how Connors became a polarizing and provocative personality who helped make tennis a high-octane spectator sport.

 

This is What They Want is directed by Brian Koppelman and David Levien, who have been writing, directing and producing movies since 1997. Among their films are Rounders, Solitary Man, Oceans Thirteen, The Illusionist, and Runner, Runner. This is What They Want features interviews from former tennis players John and Patrick McEnroe, Mary Carillo, Jim Courier and Aaron Krickstein.

 

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ESPN3 to Livestream 10 Hours of USTA Collegiate Clay Court Invitational

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(October 23, 2013) WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.,  – The USTA Collegiate Clay Court Invitational – the largest clay court event in college tennis, featuring many of the country’s top college players – will be live-streamed online on ESPN3.com this Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m. ET.

 

The event, hosted by Florida State University Thursday-Sunday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at DisneyWorld in Orlando, Fla., will feature eight of the Top 100 men in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s preseason singles rankings and five of the Top 100 women in the ITA’s preseason singles rankings. Overall, the event will feature 113 players, with 11 colleges represented: Central Florida, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Illinois, North Florida, Notre Dame, Pepperdine, South Alabama, Tennessee, Tulsa and USC on the men’s side, and Auburn, Central Florida, Florida, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Tulsa and Vanderbilt on the women’s side.

 

The Invitational, sponsored by Visit Florida and Florida Hospital, will also include a group of select junior boys and girls competing alongside the college players. The event is one of a series of three fall events the USTA stages combing juniors and collegians, with each singles champion winning a wild card entry into a future USTA Pro Circuit event. The series wraps up with the USTA Collegiate Invitational, a hard-court, women’s event in Portland, Ore., Nov. 1-3.

 

Kevin Corke will host Sunday’s live stream, which will include the men’s and women’s singles and doubles finals and the men’s singles semifinals. Additionally, USTA Player Development General Manager Patrick McEnroe will help kick off the event at Thursday night’s player reception.

 

Draws, results and schedule information can be found by visiting the Florida State men’s tennis home page on www.seminoles.com and by following @ustacollege10s and @FSU_MTennis on Twitter.

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Andy Murray, Juan Martin Del Potro and others to Participate in The Dream Cup Barbados during Thanksgiving Weekend

The Dream Cup

(October 4, 2013) Barbados Saint Peter’s Bay Resort & Residences will play host to The Dream Cup Barbados tennis exhibition featuring Andy Murray, Juan Martin del Potro, Richard Gasquet and Nicolas Almagro during Thanksgiving weekend, from November 28 to December 1. 

 

As part of a two-year agreement, ESPN will air exclusive live coverage of the event on its television and broadband networks in Australia and New Zealand, Brazil, the Caribbean and Spanish-speaking Latin America, and stream it live on its broadband network in the U.S.  ESPN’s agreement with the Dream Cup Barbados also includes exclusive live airing of the 2014 event.

“We are thrilled to have top players like Andy, Juan Martin, Richard and Nicolas come to Barbados and experience this incredible paradise,” said Kodi Lewis, Executive Director, The Dream Cup Barbados. “We are grateful for the relationships with key supporters such as the Barbados Tourism Authority, ESPN and Saint Peter’s Bay. Having this amazing tennis talent compete on the island will be a fantastic experience for the fans and sponsors and we can’t wait to kick ‘The Dream Cup’ off.”

 

“The Dream Cup from Barbados is an exceptional showcase for some of the best tennis players in the world,” Michael Walters, vice president, programming, ESPN International, said.  “It will provide ESPN International’s multi-platform services with an outstanding tennis competition from a unique venue and we are pleased to be able to bring this event live to fans around the world.”

 

The Dream Cup Barbados on ESPN

(All times Eastern)

DATE

TIME

REGION

NETWORK

Friday 29 November

6 pm – 10 pm

Australia

ESPN 2, ESPN3

 

6 pm – 10 pm

Brazil

ESPN+, WatchESPN

 

6 pm – 10 pm

Caribbean

ESPN 2, ESPN Play

 

6 pm – 10 pm

Mexico

ESPN 2, ESPN Play

 

6 pm – 10 pm

U.S.

ESPN3

Saturday 30 November

6 pm – 8 pm

Australia & New Zealand

ESPN, ESPN3

 

6 pm – 8 pm

Brazil

ESPN, WatchESPN

 

6 pm – 8 pm

Caribbean

ESPN, ESPN3

 

6 pm – 8 pm

Latin America

ESPN, ESPN Play

 

6 pm – 8 pm

U.S.

ESPN3

 

 

Barbados (October 4, 2013) – The Dream Cup Barbados will showcase four (4) of the world’s best tennis players, including Grand Slam Champions Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro along with Richard Gasquet and Nicolas Almagro.  The Caribbean island will be the center of the tennis universe this Thanksgiving weekend with four of the premiere tennis players in the world competing from November 28 to December 1.  

 

As part of a two-year agreement, ESPN will air exclusive live coverage of the event on its television and broadband networks in Australia and New Zealand, Brazil, the Caribbean and Spanish-speaking Latin America, and stream it live on its broadband network in the U.S.  ESPN’s agreement with the Dream Cup Barbados also includes exclusive live airing of the 2014 event.

 

The Dream Cup Barbados on ESPN

(All times Eastern)

DATE

TIME

REGION

NETWORK

Friday 29 November

6 pm – 10 pm

Australia

ESPN 2, ESPN3

 

6 pm – 10 pm

Brazil

ESPN+, WatchESPN

 

6 pm – 10 pm

Caribbean

ESPN 2, ESPN Play

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New ESPN, ATP World Tour TV Agreement Expands Coverage of Indian Wells, Miami & Season-Ending Championship

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New ESPN, ATP World Tour TV Agreement Expands Coverage of Indian Wells, Miami & Season-Ending Championship

TV Schedule for Miami Now includes Both Finals

ESPN3 to Deliver More Action from Every ATP World Tour Masters 1000 & 500 Event

 

From ESPN: (September 18, 2013) ESPN and the ATP World Tour have finalized a long-term agreement that will expand coverage of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif.; Sony Open Tennis in Miami; and the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals currently played in London. More than 44 hours will be aired, including, for the first time, both the women’s and men’s championships from the South Florida event.  Also, more live action from every ATP World Tour Masters 1000 and 500 tournament will be on ESPN3 – totaling up to 1,200 hours annually.

 

“ESPN is thrilled to expand coverage of three of the biggest events outside the Major Championships – Indian Wells, Miami and the ATP World Tour season finale,” said Jason Bernstein, ESPN senior director, programming & acquisitions who oversees both ESPN3 and ESPN’s tennis business.  “ESPN3 presents more live tennis action than any other U.S. outlet year-round, with multiple simultaneous matches available on broadband and via WatchESPN no matter where you are.”

 

Mark Young, CEO ATP Americas and Chief Media Officer, said, “We’re delighted to sign this extended agreement with ESPN, paving the way for even greater TV coverage and viewership in the US of our biggest events.  ESPN is a terrific broadcast partner for the ATP and, with more fans tuning into ATP World Tour events than ever before, it’s a very exciting time to be a part of the Tour.”

 

ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, a 24/7 destination that delivers thousands of global sports events annually via WatchESPN.  It is available to 85 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider.  The network is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.

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Rafael Nadal Stars in New “This is SportsCenter” Commercial

(September 10, 2013) To celebrate Rafael Nadal’s US Open victory, ESPN debuted its latest addition to the award-winning “This is SportsCenter”  franchise with a spot that features the Spanish champion.  Filmed in both English and Spanish, it is now running on both ESPN and ESPN Deportes. following Nadal’s 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Novak Djokovic to claim his 13th major title.

During the 30-second ad, named “Candy Dish,” SportsCenter anchors John Anderson and Bram Weinstein speculate about what makes the Spanish player so popular in the office.  Turns out Nadal’s exotic accent, great tan and dashing looks are not necessarily what is driving all the foot traffic to his cube. It might instead have something to do with what he keeps in the US Open Trophy on his desk.  ESPN Deportes’ SportsCenter anchors Alvaro Morales, Jorge Eduardo Sánchez and Carolina Padrón appear in the Spanish-language version.

 

This is the second spot in the campaign, following Robinson Cano’s “Handshakes,” to be released in English and in Spanish.

 

Wieden + Kennedy New York is the creative agency for the This is SportsCenter campaign. The overall initiative, a cornerstone of ESPN’s brand since 1995, gives fans an inside peek at the Bristol, Conn., campus, where athletes, mascots and anchors interact in the center of the sports universe.

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ESPN to Receive Cullman Award from International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum

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NEWPORT, R.I., September 4, 2013– On Friday, September 6, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum will gather hundreds of tennis enthusiasts and industry leaders at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City for The Legends Ball presented by BNP Paribas, an annual social event that celebrates tennis and honors some of the sport’s greatest champions and contributors. A highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Award to ESPN, in recognition of the company’s longstanding commitment to the sport. George Bodenheimer, executive chairman of ESPN, Inc. will accept the award on behalf of the organization. Bodenheimer served as ESPN president when the company first acquired rights to Wimbledon and the US Open.

 

In addition to celebrating ESPN, The Legends Ball presented by BNP Paribas will also pay tribute to a host of tennis luminaries including Rod Laver, who will receive the Eugene L. Scott Award and the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2013- former world No. 1 Martina Hingis, Australian tennis great Thelma Coyne Long, and dedicated tennis industry leaders Cliff Drysdale, Charlie Pasarell, and Ion Tiriac.

 

“ESPN’s dedicated coverage and innovative tennis programming has been integral in keeping fans engaged in tennis and helping to grow the sport around the world,” said Christopher E. Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. “They have shown a steadfast commitment to tennis, and we look forward to recognizing their dedication and support at The Legends Ball.”

On September 7, 1979 at 7 pm, the sports world was changed forever when a first-of-its-kind cable network dedicated strictly to sports burst onto the airwaves. Curious viewers tuned in to hear ESPN anchor Lee Leonard say, “If you love sports…if you really love sports, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to sports heaven.” Moments later, his co-anchor George Grande announced the first score ever reported on SportsCenter- Chris Evert’s victory over Billie Jean King at the US Open.

 

Exactly one week later, ESPN aired their first tennis telecast, a Davis Cup tie between the United States and Argentina featuring John McEnroe and Guillermo Vilas, with Cliff Drysdale on the call. In the 34 years since, the network has brought the sport’s biggest matches and most dramatic moments from tennis courts around the world into the living rooms of millions of tennis fans.

 

With each passing tennis season, ESPN has displayed its steadfast commitment to the sport, developing an astute on-air team, constantly adding more hours of coverage, creating innovative digital platforms, and celebrating tennis’ rich history through fascinating special programming.

 

The network that has done so much for tennis is showing no signs of slowing down. Already the complete rights holder for the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and a broadcaster of Roland Garros, in 2015 ESPN will add the complete US Open rights and coverage to their tennis repertoire. While tennis has undoubtedly benefited from an exceptional relationship with ESPN since the network’s birth, the new opportunities brought forth with the US Open partnership means the best may still be yet to come.

 

The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Award honors an exceptional company that shares Joe Cullman’s enthusiasm for tennis and has also made a significant contribution to society at large – both philanthropically and through outstanding generosity of spirit. Cullman served as President and Chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum from 1982-88, a tenure during which the organization was elevated to worldwide recognition. He hoped that visits to the historic site would inspire young people to play tennis, learn and appreciate its history, and honor the great players of the past.

 

The Legends Ball, held annually since 1980, brings the tennis world together to celebrate the history of the game and honor some of the sport’s great contributors all while raising money for the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum.

 

The Legends Ball presented by BNP Paribas is co-chaired by John Arnhold, chairman and CIO of First Eagle Investment Management, and his wife Jody; Claudio Del Vecchio, chairman and CEO of Brooks Brothers Group, Inc., and his wife Debra; Jim Goldman, president and CEO  of Godiva Chocolatier, Inc., and his wife Gigi; and Eric Zinterhofer, founder of Searchlight Capital Partners, LLC and chairman of the board of Charter Communications, Inc., and his wife, Aerin.

A host of Hall of Fame tennis legends are expected to participate in the evening’s festivities. Joining Laver, Hingis, Drysdale, and Pasarell will be Hall of Famers Tracy Austin, Chris Evert, Monica Seles, Gigi Fernandez, Pam Shriver, Martina Navratilova, Peachy Kellmeyer, Stan Smith, Bud Collins, Vic Seixas, Dick Savitt, Donald Dell, Jan Kodes, Russ Adams, Owen Davidson, and Butch Buchholz.

 

A silent and live auction at the event will feature once-in-a-lifetime, exclusive experiences including ticket and travel packages to Grand Slam events; luxury travel packages; and priceless items including tickets to the Grammy Awards; Owner’s Box seats for a Celtics game; autographed memorabilia; and much more.

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“On The Call” with ESPN’s Cliff Drysdale and Chris Evert

(August 20, 2013) ESPN tennis analysts and Hall of Famers Cliff Drysdale and Chris Evert spoke with media about the US Open, which starts Monday, August 26, with extensive coverage from ESPN

 

Although the obvious topics were discussed (who are the top contenders at the US Open…Serena, Azarenka; Nadal, Djokovic, Murray), much of the conversation centered  on wider issues in the sport:

  • The historical significance of the adoption of equal prize money, and its current distribution with recent emphasis on increasing paydays for players in the early rounds
  • The serve-and-volley game and its future
  • The growing internationalization of the sport and what that means for U.S. players and tournaments
  • The state of doubles in the tennis world
  • The wide-ranging  role of coaches and the precarious nature of the player-coach relationship.

 

Q. Chris, as you’re aware, the US Open is celebrating and honoring the 40th anniversary of equal prize money.  You played in the ’73 Open.  Did you appreciate back then what an achievement equal prize money was? 

CHRIS EVERT:  ’73.  Gosh, I have to think back.  I was 18.

 

You know, I had to admit, when I was a teenager, I don’t think I fully understood the whole scene of women’s liberation, equality, what impact that really would have on women and on the future of women’s tennis.    At 18, I was a little too wrapped up in maybe what makeup I’m going to wear on the court and how my two-handed backhand was going to work that day.  As an 18-year-old, I wasn’t conscious of the enormity of it.

Later on, absolutely.  But I was pretty much a protected teenager from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Until I went out into the world for a few years, I probably didn’t understand what was happening in the world, culture and society.

Had the blinders on a little bit at that point.

 

Q. Was there a point where you could appreciate what Billie Jean had been doing?

CHRIS EVERT:  Well, I was president of the WTA for nine years.  I think that speaks for itself.  Billie Jean took me under her wing, said, I’m retiring, we need a leader for the game.  Educated Martina and myself, cajoled and threatened us, too.

 

In my early 20s I had a better comprehension, understanding of women in society, also women in sports, equality.  She really spent a lot of time with me explaining everything.  In my early 20s, yes, I did appreciate.  Again, I was like 18 even during the Bobby Riggs match.  I just thought it was a woman playing a man.  I didn’t understand the implications of what it really was.  That was the beauty of Billie Jean.  She had a vision.  She could see 10 years down the road.  At 18, I didn’t.

 

Even now when I look at the players, I think Serena passed the $50 million mark in prize money.  Are you kidding me?  I think I made $9 million in my 18-year career.  Thank God for Billie Jean and that she was in our sport, not another sport, because it might have taken longer.

 

Q.  What has happened to the serve-and-volley game?  Do you see it coming back at all?  I found it interesting the other night when Li Na told Pam she was going to try to volley more against Serena.  Is this game ever going to come back or are guys like Pete and Edberg and Roger the last we’ll really see of it? 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  They’re the last that you will see of the traditional serve-and-volley game.  You will get some players who will be able to use the serve to be able to get in and use the serve and volley as a change-up play.  But the serve and volley as those players that you talked about, as they used to play, as people from my era used to play, those days are history.

 

The answer to your ‘why’ question is basically equipment and surface, but mainly equipment.  It’s racquets and it’s strings.  When you can play the kind of game that all the women play now, which is unbelievably strong serve returns, and guys like Rafael Nadal and the best players on the men’s tour, the way they return the serve, there is no prospect of your being able to serve and volley.

 

You may see a time, I think there are three categories of men players in the Open that I’m interested in, one of them are the big servers, tall guys, Isner, Anderson, Janowicz.  The answer is, in my view, you will never see the return of the Edberg serve-and-volley player.

 

CHRIS EVERT:  I agree with Cliff.  We’ll see the surprise tactics every once in a while to throw off the opponent.  It’s not going to be a consistent Martina Navratilova serve and volley.  Like Cliff said, the returns are so strong now.  Looking at the women’s game, variety in the women’s game a little bit more.

 

For Li Na to throw in a serve and volley once in a while was fine, but it becomes target practice for Serena Williams.  I don’t even know stat-wise if she won or lost more points doing it.

 

I think we’re going to see a little bit more of it as a surprise tactic, especially against players like Sharapova and Serena because now the players I think are thinking more about strategy, how can they break up Serena and Sharapova’s game.  We’re going to see more volleys taken out of the area, serve and volley as a surprise, a little more dropshots.  We’re going to see more variety and strategy.  The last 10 years it was all about baseline power.

 

Q. There seems to be a lot of good young American women in the pipeline.  We don’t seem to see a lot of good young men, other than maybe Jack Sock.  Why? 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  Ryan Harrison, maybe Jack Sock.  I had high hopes for Jack Sock two years ago particularly.  I’m surprised that he hasn’t done better.  Ryan Harrison is a feisty young player.  But I don’t see either one of them progressing to where we would like to see them go.

 

The ‘why ‘is, it’s cyclical.  Two years ago you were asking the same question about the women.  It was Serena and her sister, and that was it.  Now suddenly we do have a whole slew.  Stephens, Hampton, Keys, Mattek-Sands.

 

CHRIS EVERT:  You have 10 or 11 in the top hundred.  I think your point is two years ago we had none of these young women.  All of a sudden they were asking, What’s happening to U.S. tennis?  Now we have more women in the top 10 than any other country.

 

The men, it’s just taking a little bit longer.  What is the reason?  I don’t know.  That old saying that there’s so many more choices in sports in America, we have so many choices, our boy athletes or men athletes are going to those other sports.  I don’t know.

 

Tennis is number one in these smaller countries.  It’s more intense.  But that’s a good question.  I think maybe you have to ask Patrick about that since he’s head of the USTA.

 

Q. You watch Dimitrov and think how can Bulgaria produce a player like that, Raonic, a couple others.  You don’t see that American coming up. 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  I think there’s something in that.  I agree with the idea that men in this country have got more options.  They’re steered in different directions away from tennis.

 

Getting back to the first question on this conference, which was about women in sports.  For women in sports, where do you as a young woman go if you don’t go to tennis, because it’s by far the most successful women’s sport, period, in any athletic endeavor for women.

 

CHRIS EVERT:  Right.

 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  That might be part of the answer to it.  That may be why we have so many young women playing well.

 

CHRIS EVERT:  Look at all the sports we have in America, individual, basketball, baseball, team sports.  Then the X Game sports are coming out of the woodwork for that.  We have so many options.  Money-wise, you’re right, there’s a lot of money in these other sports also.  It’s a tough question.  It’s tough to answer.

 

Q. Is it going to change? 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  Yes.

 

CHRIS EVERT:  It changed for the women.  I guess we’ve got to go out and find these athletes.  We’ve got to do a better job at the grassroots level and finding these athletes.  They’re not finding tennis.  They’re not finding us.  What do you think, Cliff?

 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  I think it’s going to change.  It’s really cyclical.  What I’ve learnt in all of my years, there’s been too many of them already, is that things change so quickly from one generation to the next.

 

For a generation of tennis players, there’s always another tennis player around the next corner.  It’s like a bus:  you miss one, there’s a bus around the corner ready to take the place of the one you just missed.

 

Life is short.  Tennis life is even shorter.  It’s not like men’s tennis is going away.  It’s in bad shape right now, but it’s cyclical, it’s going to come back.

 

Q. Chris, I heard you wrote something about Serena for the US Open program.  Do you consider Azarenka a legit rival to Serena with two wins on hard court this year?  What is at stake for Serena going into the US Open? 

CHRIS EVERT:  Yes, I consider Azarenka legitimate, especially since she had her 5-3 in the third last year in the US Open.  I think with Serena, it’s got to make her more eager after a loss like (Cincinnati), more determined.  As she said herself, she’s a better player when she gets mad at herself.  When she gets too calm, she gets a little complacent.  If she’s winning too easily, she gets complacent.

 

I think more doubts are in her subconscious now.  Every time you lose to a player, you do have a doubt.  Even if it’s not conscious, it could be subconscious and affect her play.

 

I think Victoria Azarenka is the one player that doesn’t fear Serena.  Victoria is like a street fighter out there.  She’s hungry.  Hard courts are her best surface.  It’s a good matchup.  Azarenka, it’s a good matchup for her playing Serena.  What she does better than anybody else against Serena is the moving and court coverage.  She can run down Serena’s power and defuse it with her own power.

 

I love the fearlessness of Azarenka.  I think rivalry, it’s too soon to tell, but I think it’s going to make for a more interesting US Open, as she is challenging Serena.

 

Q. Do you feel like Serena has a lot of lose and not so much to gain? 

CHRIS EVERT:  At the US Open or just in general?

Q. Just going into the tournament. 

CHRIS EVERT:  I think there’s a little pressure on her.  She talked about winning Grand Slam titles.  You kind of wonder with a player as great and dominant as Serena, would it be a good year just to win one Grand Slam for her.  She has high expectations of herself.  It’s the last Grand Slam.  I know she’d like to get that number 17 under her belt.

 

But, yeah, there is pressure.  I think even the fact that Li Na took her to a close match, could have had that first set against her a couple weeks ago, Stosur, Kuznetsova having close matches with her, the field is stepping up, the field is playing with a little more strategy against Serena, being more thoughtful when they play her, getting used to the power with the baseline.

 

In saying that, I still would favor Serena to win the Open, a slight favorite.  I think if she needs any sort of motivation, I think losing last week is going to get her charged up.

 

Q. Cliff, could you break down the men’s draw, focusing on Djokovic, Nadal and Murray. 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  I’m looking at it as like a three-tier tournament.  It’s those three that you mentioned, to start with, and then I’m putting Federer now, since he’s going to be seeded outside the top four, I’m putting him alongside Ferrer, Berdych, Del Potro.  It’s sad to say.  But I see the four or five of them together.  Then I see the big servers, whether this is a phenomenal that has any legs.

 

The three you mentioned, Djokovic, Nadal, Murray.  Then the next tier, with Del Potro, Ferrer, Berdych and Fed.

Anderson, I like him.  Janowicz, I like him, too.  They both have the attitude that they have to give it everything they’ve got and add to their big-serve games.  If one of the three of them can develop more than just a big serve, they’re to be watched.  That’s how I see the men’s draw.

 

Q. What about Murray coming in as a first-time defending champion of a major?  This summer he hasn’t played that much. 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  Murray is an interesting character, interesting game.  Not only psychologically, because I think he’s taken care of some of those psychological devils that used to be so much a part of his makeup.

His game, I would not put on the same level with Djokovic and Nadal.  In the real big picture, I see Murray as vulnerable in the earlier rounds or in the smaller tournaments.

 

But that said, when he puts his game together, as he did last year, as he did at Wimbledon, as he did at the Olympics, then you put him eyeball to eyeball with even Djokovic and Nadal, he is 50/50 with them.

 

Two slightly different thoughts on Murray.  I’ve learned to respect his game tremendously in the last 18 months.

 

CHRIS EVERT:  I think it’s been hard for Murray to get psyched up since Wimbledon.  He really hasn’t done anything since Wimbledon.  But I think last year the same thing happened, and look what happened at the US Open.

 

I think he feels good about his game.  He can get that A game going.  It’s just like any other player that wins Wimbledon, it’s kind of rare that you win Wimbledon and the US Open back-to-back.

 

Think of anybody who has won Wimbledon.  It’s got to be 10 times more of a feeling for him to get psyched up again to play another Grand Slam.  And saying that, I think Nadal has dominated this whole season.  He’s got to be feeling really confident at this point.

 

And Djokovic, he’s had a disappointing series of losses.  I sense he has been getting a little down on himself.  We’ll see if he can get inspired.

 

Q. I’m wondering if you would talk a little bit about coaching changes that happened with some of these top players mid to late career.  I’m thinking a little bit of Sharapova, but of course Murray did it.  Serena has done it.  What are they looking for at that point?  These are accomplished players.  It seems to me it might not be that much about tennis and technical stuff but more of a sport role. 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  Chrissy, I want to hear what you say (laughter).

 

CHRIS EVERT:  I think it’s a great idea, especially if you’ve had four or five years, you start to feel a little stale.  Maybe your coach is telling you the same thing, you’re losing to the same people.  You maybe don’t feel like you’ve gotten to the next level.  Sometimes you need some new inspiration, you need a new point of view, you need some new blood.  I can understand 100%.  I had a couple of coaching changes.  Actually, I had Dennis Ralston, then I had Bob Brett, I beat Martina on grass at Wimbledon all of a sudden, which I hadn’t done before.  Sometimes you need that inspiration.  Players can get stale in their game and in their relationship with their coaches.  I don’t think it’s a bad idea.

 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  I agree with that.  It’s like getting a new racquet.  I think it’s good.  It’s sort of inspiring.  You get a different view.  I think a coaching change, probably sometimes even for the sake of the change itself, is a good thing for players.  You do get a different perspective, not only about your own mechanics, which sometimes need to be looked at, but more as Chrissy is saying on the inspirational side and strategic side as well.

 

Some coaches are strategic, some of mechanical, some are overall.  I think everybody is pretty much onboard now with being superbly fine-tuned athletes.  There are these other aspects.  There are some coaches, like Ivan Lendl, I doubt that his input for Andy Murray has been as much technical and changing any stroke as it has been a strategic change and a mental change.  I think he’s been very successful at that.

 

CHRIS EVERT:  Cliff is right.  If you have a coach that is all about technique, but really what you need is mentally to get tougher, then you need a new coach.  Again, coaches have a different point of view.

 

Also I’ve learned, since I’ve owned an academy, you can say the same thing but in different words and it will work with the player.  Oh, that’s what you mean.  Maybe an old coach had been saying that all along, but saying it differently.

 

I think it’s a good idea.  That’s not to say that everyone is going to succeed, as we’ve seen.  Like Sharapova didn’t succeed.  But with Lendl and Murray.  Stosur.  That’s an example, I don’t think she’s had a great two years since winning the open.  She hasn’t played with that form, she’s been flat.  Maybe it’s time for a change, so I think it’s great.

 

Q. As a newspaper person, I’m as guilty as anyone about not doing enough about doubles.  But the Bryan twins are about to get a big one here.  A couple thoughts on doubles, where it stands, what these guys have done for doubles.  If they go away, is that the end of doubles?  

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  No.  Tennis is bigger than any one player.  Some of the players forget that.  The game is bigger than any one team, as well, which is not to minimize what the Bryan brothers have done.  Not only are they great players, they’re great promoters of doubles and tennis in general.  They’re great individuals.  I can’t say enough about them.

 

Doubles generally, they’ve clearly helped.  The Jensens, they helped tremendously when they were at the top.  Tennis needs those guys.  They’re electrifying.  They’re probably the best doubles team that ever played.  That said, the singles players are not playing doubles anymore.  So there’s always an asterisk.

 

CHRIS EVERT:  I think doubles is at a disadvantage right away because the competition is so tough, the Masters are so grueling in singles, and the Grand Slams, it’s physically and mentally impossible for a top player to play doubles, I feel.

 

The players can complain about playing too much even during the year, so how are they going to add doubles onto their routine?  It’s unfortunate.  The years that Martina and Pam Shriver dominated, McEnroe and Peter Fleming dominated, they were having really easy singles matches until the quarters or semis.  They used that as practice.

 

But it’s just really tough for the big names, the top players, to play doubles or mixed.  It’s a shame because doubles is very, very entertaining.  The Bryan brothers, oh, my God, they’ve carried the torch for doubles for so long and I worry about what happens after they go away because doubles won’t be the same without their personalities and their style.

 

Q. Chris, looking at Sloane Stephens, how do you think she’s dealt with the spotlight as she’s risen?  She had the spat with Serena.  In Cincinnati, she admitted she’s struggled with the crush of the fans, it’s grown frustrating for her, people asking for autographs.  How do you think she’s dealing with that spotlight? 

 

CHRIS EVERT:  You know, it’s not easy for anybody.  For Sloane, who is a very out there kind of girl, wears her emotions on her sleeve, it’s even more difficult.  It’s like the way Martina had a tough time because she was always so honest and open about everything.

 

If you’re that way, you’re open to more criticism, there’s more of a downside to it.  And I think she’s on the pages of Vogue magazine.  Her emergence has been very dramatic and very quick.  Her life has changed so quickly.

I would like to do a book later on about achieving fame at a young age because there are so many more pitfalls.  As far as her tennis is concerned, she’s got all the talent in the world.  She has an all-court game.  She’s a work in progress right now.

 

The next step for her is really to put together two or three big matches instead of one big match and losing the next round.  That’s the next step for her in her development.

 

Q. Cliff, Andy Murray, seems like off the court from a business perspective, he had the world at his fingertips at winning Wimbledon.  Are you surprised we haven’t seen more of Andy Murray from a marketing perspective? 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  I think that’s going to come.  I wouldn’t worry about that.  In England, he’s a major star.  He’s going to have his face on a stamp coming up soon in England.  He’s pervasive in that country.  I’m not sure there’s an athlete better known, even in soccer, than Andy Murray is now.

 

It’s a matter of the agents getting their act in gear and you’ll see those things coming.  He’s not the kind of personality that Roger Federer is.  He’s not outgoing.  Doesn’t look as he enjoys the game as much as others.  That’s a slight negative.  But he’s a very admirable athlete.  He’s got himself into unbelievably good shape.  I guess they all have.  I’m a huge admirer of his.

 

As I said, the only downside for Andy is the fact that in the smaller tournaments and in the earlier rounds, he’s more vulnerable than the other two guys with the best chance to win the US Open.

 

Q. Lower-ranked players are doing better in terms of money at the slams this year.  From a developmental perspective, would you say it’s equally important that we see increased prize money on the challenger and future tours for our young players to invest in their games? 

CHRIS EVERT:  I’m going to say one thing about this.  This is not a quote from me.  This is Brad Gilbert.  The beauty about the first-round prize money in the Grand Slams, whether it’s 25,000 or 30,000, you lose in the first round, you make a hundred grand, that enables you to have a full-time coach.  If you’re that good that you’re in a Grand Slam tournament, you should have a full-time coach.

 

Sure, it helps with expenses.  Tennis players have a lot of expenses.  Nowadays, when you look at the way they travel with their team, it’s not about a team.  All the top players, they have their fitness trainer, they have the practice partner, their coach, their masseuse, whatever.  They have four or five people on their team.  It gets to be expensive.

 

In answer to your question, I really appreciate the fact that the prize money went to the lower rounds because that’s where the players can really use that money to further their tennis career.

 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  It’s a really interesting question, and it has a lot of facets to it that catch my imagination.

For one thing, the slams are paying the players according to what their income is, or at least closer to what their income is.  But that has another side to it, and that is that the slams are becoming even more important because of the prize money they’re offering.  This question then becomes how this affects the other tournaments.

 

If they become lesser, I don’t think that in the long run helps.  There’s no question in my mind it helps to have greater amount of prize money.  So I have some thoughts about that.

 

If I had to redo the whole thing with the ATP and their conversations with the slams to up the prize money, I might have done it differently and looked at different ways to distribute this money, rather than distribute all of it at four tournaments.

 

Q. There’s been some talk about funneling money down to the challengers and futures, which is where the development of young players happens. 

CHRIS EVERT:  Yeah.  At our academy, we’ve had some $10,000 challenger tournaments, and I’ve been to some 25s and 50s.  I can’t believe the quality of play and how good these players are.  The depth is unbelievable.

I agree, that’s where the development comes from.  We’ve got to put some prize money into them so they can continue to travel and continue to have some coaching and develop their game.  I like to see that.

 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  You’re taking it even one step further down to the challenger level.  I’m even talking about the 250s.  The 250s are dying on the vine, the 500s.  Look at how many tournaments are leaving the U.S. for example.  That’s a real problem.  I think that’s something that U.S. tennis should address.  Look at what we had a decade ago, and look at what we have now.

 

CHRIS EVERT:  There’s more tournaments in Asia now than any other country or continent.  America, 10 years ago, we had more tournaments than anyone.  Now it’s more international.  I don’t know what the answer is.  The thing is, the game is more international.  The game is growing so much.  We have to kind of look beyond our country, too.

 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  I agree with that.  But I hate that the U.S. is losing so many tournaments.  I think the USTA has to get into the middle of that, too.

 

CHRIS EVERT:  I think maybe you should have a meeting with them.

 

THE MODERATOR:  If only Cliff ran the sport, right?

 

CHRIS EVERT:  Thank heavens we have Indian Wells and Miami.  Right after the Grand Slams we still have some big ones here, which is good.  Keep those.

 

Q. Cliff, I know back in ’72 when you won the US Open doubles, it had to be a big deal for you.  Was it a big deal for the world in the ’70s when the Aussies were playing, top players were playing?  Why do you think it’s lost that luster when a team like the Bryan brothers are underappreciated? 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  That’s a question that I’ve heard a hundred times.  It’s still a really good question.

Look, the truth of the matter is, Chrissie was right on the money earlier when she said the top singles players in today’s world are just never going to become doubles players because there’s too much at stake in the singles.  You cannot change that.  The gladiator complex here that we have in the sports world, you want to see one-on-one fighting each other for the big prize.  But until the top singles players play doubles, it’s going to keep losing its panache.

 

It’s fun to watch the crowds that will watch four players they’ve never heard of before, they’re impressed with the outstanding athleticism, how quickly they are at the net.  All of us in tennis know about that.  But it’s not going to change until you see Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic out there.  I talk a lot about the fact that tennis tournaments are not just tennis tournaments, they’re sporting occasions.  No matter how much we talk about that, still the people who come to watch tennis want to know who’s playing.  If it’s a recognizable name, they will come and watch.

 

I’m not giving you a good answer, but it’s a tough one because I don’t think the singles players are going to play doubles, and until they do, doubles is always going to be the stepchild.

 

Q. It can be TV’s fault as well. 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  It’s the chicken or the egg, which comes first.  The television stations are not going to pick up doubles until the people want to see it.

 

Q. Martina Navratilova won her first two Grand Slam titles with you. 

CHRIS EVERT:  Why are you laughing at that?!

 

First of all, I’d like to say that Martina Navratilova could have won about 50 different players.  Wasn’t I happy when we got together for that one.  That was a treat.

 

But, you know what, it was so different in those days.  The way we answered the last question about doubles, we didn’t have a tough match until the quarterfinals or semifinals.  The depth wasn’t there.  It wasn’t that we were that good, there just weren’t that many good tennis players.  John McEnroe played a full season of doubles.

 

It was practice.  I got to practice my volleys and my serve.  I used that as practice.  Nowadays, you can’t do it.  Men are playing five-hour, five-set matches.  How do you expect them to go back after an hour and play a doubles match?

 

It’s so different.  There is so much emphasis, as Cliff said, the gladiator aspect of one-on-one.  But in the ’70s and ’80s, I played mixed doubles with Eric, Jimmy one year.  To play singles, doubled, mixed my early years at Wimbledon in one tournament was not a big deal because the matches were shorter.  It didn’t take as much out of us.  Now you’re never going to see it.  It’s sad.

 

Q. The top women are playing, like Venus and Serena, Azarenka, Errani. 

CHRIS EVERT:  They’re not playing every tournament.  Azarenka doesn’t play every tournament.  Serena doesn’t play at all unless it’s a Grand Slam, and won’t play with anybody but her sister.  Maria Sharapova isn’t playing.  The top players aren’t playing.

 

They play more in the men.  But Serena is the only one, if she’s playing with Venus.  The other ones don’t play, the top two or three.  I think the other thing is, again, these matches, right from the first round, players are splitting sets, you’re having tough matches.  The top players think they play too many tournaments a year.  You think they’re going to want to play doubles and add that to their schedule?  I don’t think so.

 

Q.  I was especially sorry about Marion Bartoli’s retirement.  She was criticized for not being a tall, rail-thin blonde.  I don’t hear anyone talking this way about any of the men.  What are your thoughts about that? 

CHRIS EVERT:  That was the only time there’s ever been a comment publicly about a woman.  The guy that made it apologized.  He was trying to be funny, but he was kind of an idiot.  That was uncalled for.  He obviously has his issues.  I mean, that was the first time.  Unfortunately it came at the biggest tournament in the world and got worldwide press.

 

I think that women athletes, the stronger they are, the more muscular they are, the more powerful they are, are just getting more and more respect.  Acceptance first, but now respect, admiration.  Little girls want to become tennis players, play like Serena, play like Sam Stosur, Victoria Azarenka.  Women athletes come in all shapes and sizes, but they’re all mentally strong and physically strong.  There is no downside to that.  It’s a win-win situation.  I think that’s the way women tennis players and athletes are viewed.

 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  I really don’t think what anybody said about her influenced her decision.  I think this was something she decided to do on her own.

 

Secondly, I’ll put with Chrissy a little $5 bet that we may see her back.  We may see her come back.

 

CHRIS EVERT:  I don’t think we’re going to see her back.  I just want to say one thing.  The thing about Marion, I agree, had nothing to do with the retirement.  But you just don’t know about the last 10 years.  She’s had a grueling last 10 years.  Because she’s not the best, most natural athlete out there, I think she’s had to work harder than a lot of the players.  I think her body is breaking down.  If your body starts to break down, that’s a good sign.

 

Q. For every success with like Murray and Lendl, you have Sharapova and Connors.  What would make things only last one match?  Also, with someone like Madison Keys who went to your academy, do you ever see yourself getting into the coaching game? 

CHRIS EVERT:  I think only Jimmy and Maria know what happened, what went down.  I think we could speculate all we want, but only they know what went down.  So I have nothing more to say about that.

 

As far as full-time coaching, it’s like a 35-week job.  I love coaching the kids at my academy.  I’m very lucky to have brought up women that are now playing in Grand Slams, the US Open, have been a mentor to them.

But I have three sons and they’re my first priority.  I need to be at home with them.  That’s why I can’t go on the road for 35 weeks.  Cliff, what do you think about the coaching?

 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  I wonder what Maria thought that she needed Jimmy for is what I wonder.  I’m actually quoting Chrissie from a conversation we had before we got on with you guys.  It’s a good question.

 

Jimmy is not a coach.  He’s had one stint with Andy Roddick.  That didn’t last long.  My guess is, and this is purely a guess, pure speculation, that Maria realized quickly he didn’t have much to bring to the party, and I think that’s why they split.

 

Q. Do you think he will get another chance to coach anyone else?

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  I think he has a really good chance to get somebody else to coach.  One of the questions just from a personal standpoint is why he’d want to.  You get on the tour, the job of a coach is so wide-ranging.  You have to arrange for massages, you have to get on the court, arrange for ball people.  There’s so many things you have to do as a coach.  It’s not as simple as being in the stands as shaking your head or nodding your head.

 

CHRIS EVERT:  You’re like a therapist, a baby-sitter.  It’s an emotional as well as a physical job.  It’s a tougher job than it looks.

 

Q. Do you think it’s harder for Jimmy to put his ego aside or below the player itself, as a coach should? 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  Jimmy is a loner.  Coaching by its definition, there’s somebody else at stake.  I don’t think he’s cut out to be a coach, bottom line.

 

Q. Could you have imagined the year Rafa would have had after his injury, do you think so well particularly on the hard courts?  How do you see the matchup between him and Andy Murray, particularly on the hard courts? 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  First of all, a huge surprise that Rafa was able to do so well.  If you go back to his record this year, the few matches he’s lost, including hard courts, is a huge surprise.  He comes back, gets on the clay, misses the first portion, loses one match in his first tournament back, then loses so few matches for the rest of the year that is extraordinary.

 

I think, notwithstanding the great play of Andy Murray and the fact he won Wimbledon, that he would have to in my book be No. 2 behind Rafa in the stakes for the US Open this year just based on his outstanding hard court record and the fact that he seems to be physically fit and physically able to perform.

 

I think at this point he’s the best player in the world.  I think Andy Murray is very close behind him, alongside Novak Djokovic.  That’s my feeling.

 

CHRIS EVERT:  I think that Andy matches up better against Djokovic psychologically and game-wise.  Novak hits a flatter ball.  The ball is not as high, the spins…

 

I think if Nadal plays Andy Murray, mentally and psychologically Nadal has the edge.  I think he knows it.  He feels that he can outlast him mentally out there.  And Nadal, I don’t think he’s lost a match on hard court all year.  If he rests this week, he’s got to be the favorite and really confident.

 

I think that’s what he didn’t have coming into this year being out so long, but now I think he’s got the confidence back.

 

Q. What do you think has made the difference on the hard courts?  It wasn’t so long ago we thought he could only win on clay. 

 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  I don’t think we ever really went that far.  I think what everybody said was that he was obviously the best on clay courts.  He didn’t have any opposition in that regard.  I don’t think any of us felt that he wasn’t going to be a contender on anything but clay because he won Wimbledon, et cetera.

 

He’s become more aggressive.  Look, Nadal’s vulnerability was with so much topspin, eventually he would hit a short ball.  He would be slightly behind the baseline and he was hitting with that much spin.  He’s corrected a couple of those things on the hard court.  He’s not as far back as he used to be and he’s flattened his shots out, albeit not by much, but some.  That puts more pressure on his opponent and that’s why he’s a better hard court player than he used to be.

 

Q. You touched on how much money a women’s tennis player can make now.  Chris, you were WTA president.  Billie Jean was running tournaments.  With women players today making so much money, would you like to see them invest back in the sport, what would you like to see them do after their careers that might grow the sport? 

CHRIS EVERT:  Well, I think while they’re in the sport, as I said before, in our day, I was president, Martina was president, Pam.  Nowadays the players are not as involved.  I would still like to see them involved in the decision making of the tour, voice their opinions, be involved in the tour.

 

I think giving back to the press, to the community.  I love it that when they go to a particular city, they’re visiting the hospitals, doing clinics for underprivileged kids.  Those are ways to give back while they’re currently playing.

As far as afterwards, a lot of us have remained in tennis, whether it’s commentating, coaching, academies, whatever.  I think when you look at Billie Jean, you look at McEnroe’s academy, I have an academy, I’m doing TV, all the players that are doing TV.  I feel like I’m still on the tour when you look around and see Martina, Mary Carillo, Patrick McEnroe.  I think the players of our generation are still very much involved.  It would be great for the players of this generation to be very much involved, too.  There’s a number of ways through coaching, the academies, through leadership, that the players can be involved.

 

Q. Is the game as much fun to watch without the contrast of the serve and volleyer versus the baseliner?  We remember Pete, Andre, McEnroe, Borg, Chrissie, Martina.  There isn’t that right now.  Do we regular people miss watching that kind of contrast? 

CHRIS EVERT:  I think that it is more interesting to watch contrast.  That’s why Martina and myself, whether it was McEnroe and Borg, you should bring your own set of fans to the table.  It just gets to be very personal, more intimate that way.  That’s why when Venus played Serena, aside from the fact that they were sisters, it was very uncomfortable to watch because they were sisters, but it was just a belting game, who is going to blow the other one off the court.

 

But I think now, and I touched upon this before, I think now watching, especially this summer, watching Victoria Azarenka come in more, taking the ball out of the air, approaching after a great groundstroke.  Serena is coming in more.  We saw some unbelievable dropshots.  The last two points in the match with Serena, wasn’t it a volley and dropshot?

 

I think the strategy is changing the game.  The game is changing.  I think we’re going to see more of an all-court game.  I think that’s why Maria Sharapova is having trouble.  She’s got to really open up her game a little bit more, come in more, take balls out of the air, volley more, use some touch shots.  I think we’ve seen that this year, seen variety creep back into the women’s game.

 

It’s been tougher because of the equipment.  These racquets are more about power than touch.  But I think we’re going to see that more and more.  In answer to your question, you’re going to see more interesting matches.  But it doesn’t necessarily have to be a serve-and-volleyer against a baseliner.  I think you’re going to see more variety now.

 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  Be careful what you wish for.  If you want to go back to the serve-and-volley days, you change the conditions back to how they used to be, which is grass courts where the balls were terrible, old-style racquets where you were forced to serve and volley at Forest Hills, that’s all you could do, because you couldn’t rely on two bounces being the same.  Ivanisevic vs. Sampras… there was nothing to me that was more boring than watching the big servers.  If the serve didn’t go in, that’s all she wrote.

 

It’s always a balance.  I think Wimbledon – and I never thought I’d say this –, Wimbledon probably has the most interesting now because they’ve hardened the tennis court, the ball bounces, so you can get some serve and volley, as well.  The US Open is relatively fast, so you will get some more variety.

 

I would much rather watch a tennis match in this generation of players than I would in the last generation of big servers and that’s all.  Frankly, I think going all the way back to my era, not many people can remember, but that’s all there was.  The only question during a point in my day was how quickly you could get to the net and who could get there first.

 

I don’t think it was as much fun as it is now.  I think the athletes are better, the equipment is better.  The product, sometimes it can get a little boring, ping-pong, no way to end the rally.  For the most part I think the balance is about right.  I agree with Chris that I think there’s always got to be a solution to everybody’s game.  You have to find a solution to Serena Williams’ game.  You’re going to need variety.  I thought that was a good comment from her.

 

CHRIS EVERT:  Absolutely.

 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  I think we’re on a good path.

 

CHRIS EVERT:  Did you serve and volley?

 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  You’re not old enough to remember my outstanding game.

 

CHRIS EVERT:  I thought you had great groundies.

 

CLIFF DRYSDALE:  I had good groundstrokes, but let’s not go there.  If we went back to my era, we’d have to talk about all my greatness and how many slams I won.

 

THE MODERATOR:  I think we’re all a little smarter thanks to our two friends here.

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ESPN Announces 2013 US Open Schedule

 

Live from New York, it’s the US Open
Year’s Final Major:  100 Hours on TV & WatchESPN, 400 on ESPN3; Men’s Doubles Championship Added
Serena, Murray to Defend Titles; Six Different Players Have Won a Major in 2013

 

The year’s final major event on the tennis calendar brings the stars of the sport to the bright lights and hot nights of New York where once again ESPN’s extensive, multi-platform of the US Open will include 100 hours on television and 400 on ESPN3 beginning Monday, Aug. 26.

 

  • During the first week of the tournament, ESPN2’s coverage will start at 1 p.m. ET each weekday and will continue nonstop for at least 10 hours through both the day and the 7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM sessions until 11 p.m. or when play is concluded, whichever is later.
  • The second week starts on Labor Day Monday, Sept 2, with Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM at 7 p.m. on ESPN2, followed by more day-long windows Tuesday – Thursday (the evening telecast is on ESPN on Tuesday and Thursday).  The Thursday, Sept. 5, afternoon telecast will include the Women’s Doubles Semifinals.
  • On Sunday, Sept. 8, ESPN2 will televise live for the first time the men’s doubles championship at 12:30 p.m., with American twin brothers Bob and Mike Bryan heading to New York aiming for a true Grand Slam – winning all four majors in a calendar year.  The 35-year old Californians have won 15 major doubles titles together, including the “Bryan Slam” – the last four plus the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal at Wimbledon.
  • Also on Sunday, Sept 8, a special one-hour edition of SportsCenter at the US Open on ESPN2 at 8:30 p.m. will review that day’s women’s championship and preview Monday’s men’s final.

 

All the action from the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members and on Apple TV.  Launched in April 2011, it is accessible in 55 million households to fans who receive ESPN’s linear networks as part of their video subscription via Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV, Comcast Xfinity TV, Midcontinent Communications, Cablevision, Charter, Cox or AT&T U-verse.

 

When ESPN or ESPN2 is on the air, SportsCenter  will have the right to cut-in live for updates and key moments.  SportsCenter’s daytime edition is on ESPN 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. with later editions from 6-7 p.m. and 11 p.m.-midnight.  On ESPNEWS, SportsCenter airs from 3-6 p.m. and 7-11 p.m.

 

The Contenders

The year’s final major tournament brings with it urgency for players yet to win one of the sport’s four grand prizes, and the desire by those in the running for being player of the year honors.  Interestingly, both the men and women have seen three different winners at this year’s three majors.  The leading contenders (rankings a/o Aug. 19:

 

  • Serena Williams – Ranked No. 1, the defending champion has had another fabulous year (8 titles), but “only” one major, the French Open, giving her a total of 16, including four in New York.
  • Victoria Azarenka – No. 2 and a finalist here a year ago, she has won the last two Australian Open crowns and defeated Serena in Sunday’s final of the WTA Premier Event in Cincinnati.
  • Maria Sharapova – No. 3, the 2006 winner appeared in this year’s French Open final.  With one with at each major, she holds a career Grand Slam.
  • Others:  One-time Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska at No. 4, 2011 US Open champ Sam Stosur at No. 13, two-time winner Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens who leads a group of young, rising Americans, including Jamie Hampton, Varvara Lepchenko and Madison Keys.

 

The “big four” of men’s tennis – winners of 33 of the last 34 Majors who comprise 23 of the last 24 Major finalists and 51 of the last 60 – continue to dominate the final weekends of Grand Slam events (Note: Seven players filled  the other nine slots of the 60, but only two, Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer, are playing in the US Open):

  • Novak Djokovic – Ranked No. 1 in the world, he has six major titles, including the 2011 US Open and the last three Australian Opens.  Reached the final a year ago.
  • Rafael Nadal – No. 2 but has dominated 2013 with nine titles, including rare back-to-back Montreal/Cincinnati crowns the last two weeks and his eighth French Open  His 12 major victories include the 2010 US Open.  Missed last year’s event because of injury.
  • Andy Murray – No. 3, the defending champion added a Wimbledon title to his resume this summer.
  • Roger Federer – Now ranked No. 7, but the all-time leader in major championships (17) has five US Open wins (2004-08).
  • Others:  No. 4 David Ferrer who reached his first major final in Paris this spring,  one-time Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych at No. 5, and 2009 US Open winner Juan Martin Del Potro at No. 6. Also, John Isner, the top American at No. 14 who won two events in the last month and appeared in Sunday’s final in Cincinnati.

 

The ESPN Tennis Team

  • 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, reached the US Open finals and is a two-time Wimbledon and French Open semifinalist.  He has been with ESPN since its first tennis telecast in 1979.  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.
  • Chris Evert, a Hall of Famer who joined ESPN in 2011, counts a record six US Open titles among her innumerable career highlights, including 18 major titles and the best career win-loss record in history.
  • 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 and has hosted College GameDay on football Saturdays since 1990, has hosted tennis since 2003, branching out over the years to also call matches. His diverse resume includes World Cup soccer, college basketball including the Final Four, the X Games and Triple Crown horse racing events, after first serving as host of Scholastic Sports America and then anchoring SportsCenter.
  • Brad Gilbert, whose flair 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.
  • LZ Granderson, a writer for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, will provide his perspective in reports and features.  He has also appeared on SportsCenter, Outside the Lines and ESPN First Take.  He also writes for CNN.com and has previously worked at 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 the US Open for ESPN since 2009, adding Wimbledon to his ESPN resume this year.
  • 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 is General Manager, USTA Elite Player Development.  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, serves as a host at the US Open and Australian Open for ESPN.  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 has hosted Wimbledon and the US Open.  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 this summer’s Venus Vs. 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 anchor in the studio and call matches.   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.

 

ESPN & The US Open

In May, ESPN and the USTA announced that ESPN would be the exclusive home in North and South America of the US Open from first ball through the women’s and men’s championships each summer from New York beginning in 2015.  ESPN has televised approximately100 hours of live US Open matches annually since 2009, and will air 130+  hours with the addition of day-long coverage of the “middle weekend” – Saturday, Sunday and Labor Day Monday – plus both the men’s and women’s semifinals and finals.  The 11-year agreement also includes expanded digital and international rights.

 

More US Open from ESPN, Inc.

ESPN3, the company’s live multi-screen sports network, will once again cover the action from six courts beginning at 1 p.m. the first five days.  In total, the network will carry a total of approximately 400 hours of US Open tennis.  ESPN3 carries every major global tennis event on the men’s and women’s circuit, including all four Majors, every ATP World Tour 500 and ATP Masters 1000 event, WTA Premier events and the season-ending championship of both tours.

 

ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, a 24/7 destination that delivers thousands of global sports events annually via WatchESPN.  It is available to 85 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider.  The network is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.

 

ESPN.com

  • Courtcast: A multi-tool application with live matches via ESPN/ESPN2/ESPN3 streaming, plus all-court scoring, match stats, Cover It Live conversations, poll questions, rolling Twitter feeds and scrolling bottom line.
  • Mercedes At This Minute: video updates throughout the day with host Prim Siripipat and ESPN tennis analysts discussing results.
  • Bryant’s Blog: updates with news and insights from around the grounds as warranted from ESPN.com writer Howard Bryant.
  • 5 Things We Learned: Daily video segments wrapping up the five biggest storylines of the day.
  • Digital Serve: Exclusive daily dotcom video segment previewing the next day’s action.
  • Open Notebook: An aggregation of what the latest happenings are on the grounds of Flushing Meadows. From interviews, latest results, and even vetting the food, fans will get a taste of everything.
  • ESPNewYork.com:  Columns exclusive to ESPN’s New York-focused web site from local columnists.

 

espnW

Beginning Wednesday, August 21, espnW.com will preview the US Open with several features including the players to watch and a spotlight on Bethany Mattek-Sands. Throughout the tournament, espnW.com will have daily features, columns, commentary and video recaps from Kate Fagan, Melissa Isaacson and Jane McManus.

 

ESPN Interactive TV will be presented on DIRECTV. During the ESPN2 telecast windows for the first five days, a six-screen mosaic will include the ESPN2 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 “Matches On Now,” a graphic across the bottom with scores from each of the matches currently on the court channels, with the ability to tune directly to the match, and “Results,” an instant look at real-time scores and schedule info for matches ahead – all without leaving the match the viewer is watching.

 

ESPN Deportes will present news and information coverage of the US Open across its platforms. ESPN Deportes TV and Radio will feature daily segments in a variety of news and information shows.  ESPNdeportes.com will serve U.S. Hispanic fans featuring webisodes of “ESPiaNdo” with the latest news and information every day. In addition, the site will offer special daily reports, highlights from New York and updates across social media.

 

ESPN International will again offer over 170 hours of live television coverage throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. In Latin America, coverage will be available in high definition. Coverage to Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America will be anchored from a set at the National Tennis Center in New York by Luis Alvarez and Eduardo Varela alongside analysts Javier Frana and Jose Luis Clerc. Reporters Nicolas Pereira, Martin Urruty and Carolina Guillen will also provide onsite coverage. In addition, Alejandro Ruzal will report daily for ESPN in South America and Rubens Pozzi will provide onsite reports for ESPN Brasil.

 

Online, Latin America’s broadband service, ESPN Play (Watch ESPN in Brazil) will feature over 500-hours of live streaming which will include up to eight tennis courts in separate windows. A daily recap, ESPiaNdo, hosted by Varela and Alvarez, will include highlights and analysis on ESPNdeportes.com and ESPNPlay.com.

 

ESPN Classic:  Great US Open Matches from the Past

This week, ESPN Classic will devote most of its schedule to great US Open matches from the past, starting Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 7 a.m. with the 2010 men’s final, Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic.  Other highlights include:

  • Last year’s women’s final between Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka (August 20, 4 p.m.) followed by the 2012 men’s final between Andy Murray and Djokovic at 6 p.m.,
  • A pair of Pete Sampras-Andre Agassi finals on Wednesday, Aug. 21 (1995 at noon, 2002 at 4 p.m.), plus their 2001 meeting on Thursday, Aug. 22, at 11 a.m.,
  • Agassi’s emotional US Open swan song, a third-round match vs. Benjamin Becker in 2006,
  • The 2001 final between the Williams Sisters on Thursday, Aug. 22, at 4 p.m.,
  • The US Open tribute will conclude with a pair of John McEnroe victories in 1980:  his semifinal triumph over Jimmy Connors at 3 p.m. and the final vs. Bjorn Borg at 6 p.m.

 

ESPN – All Four Slams, All In One Place

Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air and provided many memorable moments, but it has never been as important as today, with the US Open joining the lineup in 2009, giving ESPN all four Grand Slam events, something no other U.S. network has ever done, let alone in one year. ESPN has presented the Australian Open since 1984, the French Open since 2002 (plus 1986 – 1993), and Wimbledon since 2003, with exclusivity for live television with all other rights extended in a 12-year agreement starting in 2012.  Exclusivity for the US Open in an 11-year agreement begins in 2015.

 

ESPN2 2013 US Open on ESPN/ESPN2

 

Date Time (ET) Match Network
Mon, Aug 26 – Fri, Aug 30 1 – 11 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN2
     
Mon, Sept 2 7 – 11 p.m. Round of 16 ESPN2
Tue, Sept 3 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Men’s Round of 16 / Women’s QFs ESPN2
  7 – 11 p.m. Men’s Round of 16 / Women’s QFs ESPN
Wed, Sept 4 Noon – 11 p.m. Quarterfinals ESPN2
Thur, Sept 5 Noon – 6 p.m. Men’s Quarterfinals / Women’s Doubles Semifinals ESPN2
  8 – 11 p.m. Men’s Quarterfinal ESPN
Sun, Sept 8 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. Men’s Doubles Final ESPN2
  9 – 11 p.m. SportsCenter at the US Open ESPN

 

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