NEW YORK – ESPN’s first-ball-to-last-ball coverage of the U.S. Open is headed into the semifinals on Thursday and Friday with Americans No. 6 Coco Gauff and 20-year-old rising star Ben Shelton still in the race for the Championship.
Jamie Reynolds, ESPN Vice President & Executive Producer, introduced an innovative approach to ESPN’s tennis coverage at Wimbledon earlier this year— he “Mic’d Up” players during practice sessions so they could share their perspective on their training and performance directly with fans.
Reynolds and the tennis team have now debuted Mic’d Up segments at this year’s US Open.
“The players’ insights elevate our US Open coverage significantly because it places the viewer right on the court,” said Reynolds. “In partnership with the USTA, access to players at the tournament has allowed us to increase the frequency of our ‘Mic’d Up’ segments since Wimbledon earlier this year.”
On Aug. 29, ESPN on-air talent Chris McKendry and Brad Gilbert caught up with Shelton preparing for his match with Dominic Thiem (watch video at the top of the post). Shelton would beat Thiem and advance to the Sept. 5 quarterfinals, defeating fellow American Frances Tiafoe. Shelton will face No. 2 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.
“The hidden gem in ‘mic’ing up’ players is hearing how aerobic and physical their routine, even warm-up, truly is,” McKendry said “Compare a golfer walking down a fairway to a tennis player pounding ground strokes while mic’d up.”
On Saturday, Sept. 2, ESPN analysts Patrick McEnroe and James Blake talked to American and World No. 9 Taylor Fritz about how he was handling the pressure before his match against Dominic Stricker. Fritz won the match and advanced to the quarterfinals, where he lost to Novak Djokovic.
American Chris Eubanks got mic’d up by ESPN at Wimbledon and later called his very first US Open match for ESPN last Sunday, Sept. 3, alongside on-air talent Jason Goodall.
Eubanks shares more on how commentary work helps improve his tennis game on & off the court pic.twitter.com/YCU3PEV5q4
— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) September 1, 2023
“I think Chris has enjoyed a bigger picture of the sport since being mic’d up while practicing at Wimbledon and now transitioning to commenting on his very first US Open match here in New York,” said Goodall (watch video below). “He is perfectly placed to understand what broadcasters want and how to give fans access and insight as to what it is like to be one of the very best players in the world.”