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ESPN Adds John McEnroe to Tennis Broadcast Team

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 8:16 PM, under , , ,

Athens, GA (Apr 1, 2009) - ESPN has added another big personality to its talent pool. No, not Barack Obama. ESPN has announced that tennis Hall of Famer John McEnroe will serve as an analyst when ESPN makes its debut at the US Open beginning in late August.

This year, ESPN will cover all four of tennis’ Grand Slam events, largely on ESPN2 and McEnroe will sometimes be paired with his younger brother Patrick, a former player, an ESPN analyst since 1995 and the U.S. Davis Cup captain since 2000. John will also appear on SportsCenter, ESPNEWS and ESPN Radio.

The elder McEnroe won 77 singles titles in his legendary career, highlighted by seven Grand Slam singles titles, including the US Open four times. He also won 10 more major championships in doubles or mixed doubles. An avid Davis Cup participant, he led the U.S. to five championships. He also won the NCAA title while attending Stanford.

“The best team in tennis just got better, and we’re thrilled to have John join us for our first US Open, where he enjoyed so much success,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production. “The only thing better than having one McEnroe is having two.”

John McEnroe said, “Almost thirty years ago I played in ESPN's first tennis match and was interviewed by Cliff Drysdale, so it's going to be great teaming with him, my brother Patrick, my doubles partner Mary Carillo, and the ESPN team. The US Open is very special to me because I love New York City and I have so many fond memories from playing and commentating at the tournament for so many years. I look forward to working with the ESPN team to bring excitement and passion to what will certainly be two great weeks of tennis on ESPN2."

For many years, McEnroe has worked as an analyst for CBS, NBC and USA – John will continue his duties relative to CBS during the US Open. Well-known for his brash on-court behavior, he has earned a reputation for insightful and outspoken commentary on television. He worked for ESPN once previously – the U.S. vs. Croatia in Davis Cup action in March 2005 from Carson, Calif.

According to the six-year agreement announced last year, ESPN2 will carry approximately 100 hours of live action from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center annually. In addition, it includes an expansive array of digital rights for, ESPN’s signature broadband network, and other outlets and international coverage. The US Open will follow ESPN’s summer-long coverage of the Olympus US Open Series, the first time one cable provider has covered both the OUSOS and the US Open.

John McEnroe's Connections to ESPN

Although new to ESPN, John McEnroe has many connections to ESPN and its tennis team:

  • He played in ESPN’s first tennis telecast, just one week after the network debuted almost 30 years ago on September 7, 1979. It was a Davis Cup tie against Argentina in Memphis on September 14. ESPN’s Cliff Drysdale was on the call.

  • He played in two memorable Davis Cup marathons on ESPN – the decisive quarterfinal victory over Sweden’s Mats Wilander in 1982 in St. Louis and a loss to Germany’s Boris Becker in 1987 in Hartford, Conn. Each match lasted over six hours.

  • He teamed with ESPN’s Mary Carillo to win the 1977 French Open mixed doubles title.

  • His younger brother, Patrick, has worked for ESPN since 1995. John defeated Patrick in the finals for his 77th and final singles title in Chicago in 1991 – 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
McEnroe photograph courtesy of CBS Sports.

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