For tennis greats John McEnroe and Chris Evert, who once again will be part of ESPN's comprehensive Wimbledon coverage, the tournament is still their favorite Grand Slam event.
“There's something magical,” McEnroe said in a conference call this week. “It seems so far away when you're a kid, so beautiful when you're on TV, to see grass courts. It's certainly the one growing up that's the most talked about. I think it still continues to be.”
“It's the first one we saw on TV.” Evert said. “I remember watching Margaret Court, Billie Jean King play the finals. I don't know if it was black and white, but it pretty much was black and white. Like John said, I remember all the way across the ocean, the history of the event adds to it.”
McEnroe, a two-time Wimbledon champion, called winning a long, fourth-set tiebreaker in the 1980 finals against Bjorn Borg his favorite Wimbledon memory. McEnroe won the tiebreaker 18-16, saving five championship points, but then lost the deciding fifth set.
“People bring that up to me a hundred times more than any other match I played,” he said.
Evert, a three-time champion, said it was hard to pick a favorite Wimbledon moment.
“It's the one tournament that's bigger than the players,” she said. “Wimbledon is the star more than the players. It's the showcase.”
ESPN's live daily telecasts totaling 140 hours run from Monday to the women's and men's finals, July 6-7. An additional 800 hours are available on the Web on ESPN3's multi-screen presentation of all nine TV courts.
The competition on ESPN and ESPN2 also is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. It is accessible in 55 million households to fans who receive ESPN's linear networks as part of their video subscription, including Cox and AT&T U-verse subscribers.
Chris Fowler and Mike Tirico will call matches and serve as studio hosts, and Hannah Storm will host the “Breakfast at Wimbledon” programs. Besides McEnroe and Evert, they will be joined by returnees Darren Cahill, Cliff Drysdale, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver. Tom Rinaldi will provide reports and call matches as well.
After debuting “cross court coverage” a year ago, ESPN and ESPN2 will again both be live for three days to start the second week. From July 1-3, ESPN will focus on Centre Court while ESPN2 airs matches from Court One and elsewhere.
On the “middle Sunday,” June 30, a scheduled day off, ABC will broadcast a three-hour review of the first week at 2 p.m. ABC also will present encore presentations of the finals on the day they take place, July 6 and 7, at 2 p.m.