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At Wimbledon, When it Rains, Opinions Pour from the ESPN Tennis Team


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Annus Horribilis for Tennis?  From Match Fixing to Meldonium to Headline-Making and Head-Shaking Comments…ESPN’s Experts Weigh In

Despite a roof on Wimbledon’s Centre Court, Tuesday’s rain left time between matches for a frank and sincere discussion featuring strong opinions and suggestions from ESPN tennis team about the many concerning off-court issues that have plagued the tennis world in 2016 – allegations of match fixing, Maria Sharapova’s suspension for use of Meldonium and the comments by then-Indian Wells tournament director Raymond Moore.

The conversation was teed up by a piece by Tom Rinaldi ( on what Pam Shriver called a few moments later “the most disappointing, devastating year” she’s ever seen in tennis.

Some of the comments in a discussion of the controversies (full 4:55 segment:

  • The two competitive bedrocks of any sport to have it believed in are: is it clean in terms of doping and can I believe in the integrity of the competition.” – Tom Rinaldi
  • I doubt seriously that there has been any single match that I’ve spoken about that has been subject to the kinds of things that we’re talking about. Doping maybe, but certainly not match fixing.” – Cliff Drysdale
  • “There are seven entities in the sport and this completely proves to me that the sevementities need to work together way more because the gambling at the start of the year is the root of all evil….It needs to be looked at 1000 percent along with drugs. Ray Moore was despicable what he did. But to me, we need a commissioner.  We don’t have that but the entities must work together and prevent things like this from happening and have a plan for moving forward.” – Brad Gilbert
  • “(Citing FIFA and the IOC) Assuming that once you put together one governing body that you’re going to be able to eliminate all these troubles I think is a bit naïve. The fact is everyone’s not playing by the same rules. You have to except that fact and be vigilant about it.” – LZ Granderson

The group also discussed the need for a more centralized governing body in the sport.  Comments follow (full 3:02 segment:

  • If we had someone on top and being more proactive maybe we would have more transparency. But I think we’re heading in the right direction because now it’s out there…We can’t have secrecy.  We need to know what’s happening, and we need to avoid corruption because tennis has been a clean sport and we need to keep it clean” – Mary Joe Fernandez on Maria Sharapova positive drug test
  • In my 35 years of being involved one way or the other with professional tennis this has been the most disappointing, devastating year off court….The leaders in the game have to stop enabling corruption to happen – whether it’s doping or whether it’s match fixing. There’s going to have to be some organization and leaderships that are really brave and give up some money in order to regain the integrity of the sport.” – Pam Shriver
  • We’ve all been around this game long enough to know there’s not going to be one governing body. It’s not going to happen.  But what is hopefully prompting the situation to move forward is that they’re going to get together and talk more often and actually think about the future of the game” – Patrick McEnroe

ESPN at Wimbledon

ESPN’s exclusive presentation of the Wimbledon fortnight – through the Championships July 9 and 10 – totals 140 hours on TV and 1,500 from all 15 televised courts on WatchESPN.  Highlights through Monday, July 4:

  • Through Friday, July 1, ESPN begins at 7 a.m. ET for daylong coverage (scheduled to end at 4:30 p.m.). WatchESPN gets started at 6:30 a.m. with all televised courts (up to 15 at a time).
  • On Saturday, July 2, ESPN again begins at 7 a.m., but with the one-hour Breakfast at Wimbledon before another day full of action (scheduled to end at 5 p.m.).
  • On the “middle Sunday,” July 3 – Wimbledon’s traditional annual day of rest – ABC will broadcast a three-hour review of the first week at 3 p.m. ABC will also present encore presentations of the finals on the day they take place, July 9 and 10, at 3 p.m.

ESPN’s Wimbledon schedule through Monday, July 4, called “Manic Monday” and “The Greatest Day in Tennis” as all eight Ladies’ and eight Gentlemen’s Round of 16 matches are played.  For more information.

Date Time (ET) Event Network(s)  
Wed, June 29 – Sun, July 10

(no play Sun, 7/3)

6:30 a.m. All TV Courts (up to 15), all day; [email protected] WatchESPN Live
Wed, June 29 – Fri, July 1 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN Live
Sat, July 2 7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN Live
  8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN Live
Sun, July 3 3 – 6 p.m. Highlights of Week One ABC Tape
Mon, July 4 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Round of 16, No.1 Court & others ESPN2 Live
  8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Round of 16, Centre Court ESPN Live