Connors To Cover US Open
By Tennis Week
1/28/2009 4:18:00 PM
He is the only man to win the US Open on three different surfaces and now five-time US Open champion Jimmy Connors will make a comeback to the Flushing Meadows major.
Former World No. 1 Jimmy Connors will serve as Tennis Channel's lead analyst for TC's inaugural coverage of the 2009 US Open, the Tennis Channel announced today.
Connors, who worked as an analyst for the BBC's coverage of Wimbledon from 2005 to 2007, has not served as an analyst on American television since 1991 when he covered Roland Garros for NBC.
The 56-year-old Connors joins Martina Navratilova on Tennis Channel's broadcast team. Navratilova is currently covering the Australian Open for Tennis Channel.
Connors will team with other lead analyst Navratilova, primary commentator for all Tennis Channel Grand Slam telecasts, as well as veteran sportscaster and 19-year US Open anchor Bill Macatee.
In bringing Connors into the mix for the US Open, Tennis Channel will have the all-time men’s and women’s singles title holders in the same broadcast booth, breaking down the on-court action and offering their respective insights to this year’s US Open hopefuls. The Navratilova-Macatee team has appeared during all network telecasts at the other three tennis majors: the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon.
"I’m very happy to join Tennis Channel’s on-air team during its first US Open coverage, and to work with Bill Macatee, Martina Navratilova and the rest of the team," said Connors. "The US Open has a special place in my heart and in the hearts of American tennis fans, and no other tournament in the world can match its drama and the electricity. In a short amount of time Tennis Channel has shaken up the way the sport is televised, and I’m excited to be a part of the effort to take US Open coverage to the next level."
Tennis Channel’s US Open coverage begins Monday, Sept. 1, at 11 a.m. and continues throughout the two-week tournament. In addition to more than 60 hours of live matches, including those in exclusive prime time over Labor Day weekend, the network will feature the official US Open highlights show for an hour each evening at 11 p.m. ET, before alternating throughout the late and early morning hours between US Open highlight and interview shows and best match replays, under an umbrella tentatively named US Open Tonight. Like the Tennis Channel’s Wimbledon Primetime, French Open Tonight and Australian Open Today, the programming will focus on the best of the day’s action on the courts, in the press room and around the tournament grounds. In all, Tennis Channel’s round-the-clock US Open schedule accounts for more than 200 hours during the event.
With the US Open in 2009, Tennis Channel will plant its studio flag at each of tennis’ four Grand Slams. The network has been covering the French Open since 2007, and added both the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2008.
Beyond the booth, Connors will also have a presence on the network’s web site, www.tennischannel.com, and assist with promotional efforts for the inaugural US Open coverage.
The hiring means Connors will be on the grounds with archrival John McEnroe, who works for CBS and formerly served as an analyst for USTA Network. Together, they helped carry American tennis out of the country clubs and into the public arena. They treated tennis fans to tremendous — and often tempestuous — battles on courts across the world. Together, they helped the game grow to a new level of popularity and their passion for competition created memorable clashes both on and off the court.
"There were times on the court I wanted to beat him so bad I felt like I wanted to strangle him and I'm sure he felt the same way about me," McEnroe told Tennis Week.com in a past interview. "Jimmy is the ultimate battler, the ultimate hustler, the ultimate fighter. He is the only guy I ever played who, I would be trying as hard as I possibly could and I'd look across the net and he would be trying even harder. He hated losing."
Connors co-founded the Champions Tour, commonly known as the Senior Tour, with Ray Benton in 1993 and dominated the senior circuit for years winning a senior-record 38 titles. When he sold his share of the tour he reduced the number of events he played each year until he eventually stopped playing completely shortly after McEnroe began dominating their senior rivalry. McEnroe leads Connors in their the ATP and Champions Tour 26-19.
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