ESPN HistoryTennisThrowback

#TBT: As ESPN Celebrates 40 Years, Cliff Drysdale’s 40th Anniversary Approaches

ESPN's longest-serving commentator, covering US Open this week, reflects on joining the Bristol, Conn., startup decades ago

After Bob Ley’s retirement, Cliff Drysdale is ESPN’s longest-serving commentator, having worked the first tennis telecast on Sept. 14, 1979.

Here, from a year ago, Drysdale recalls his transition from the court to the TV booth – where the Hall of Famer can still be found – such as this week at the US Open.

In this video, he recalls joining the fledgling ESPN and the skepticism he encountered regarding cable television’s future.

The daily action from the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center will culminate with the Women’s Championship on Saturday, Sept. 7, and the Men’s Championship on Sunday, Sept. 8, both at 4 p.m. ET.

Dave Nagle and Shelby L. Lacy produced the video.

During the 1982 Davis Cup telecasts on ESPN, Cliff Drysdale (R) interviews John McEnroe (L) and Peter Fleming. Today, Drysdale and McEnroe are colleagues on ESPN’s US Open coverage. (Steven Goldstein/ESPN Images)
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