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Jimmy Connors joins Tennis Channel

January 28, 2009 |  7:30 pm

Jimmy Connors MELBOURNE, Australia -- Jimmy Connors will join the Tennis Channel's broadcast team for its U.S. Open coverage next summer.

It's been almost two decades since Connors was in a U.S. tennis broadcast booth, and it's fascinating how well former tennis players seem to do as broadcasters.

Here at the Australian Open, the local broadcast on Channel 7 features former U.S. stars Tracy Austin and Jim Courier. Austin, in particular, does an excellent job. She predicts what shots players are going to hit just before they hit them. She is not afraid to criticize -- suggesting that Serena Williams needs to move her feet better, that Svetlana Kuznetsova needs to learn to manage her nerves. And she keeps close tabs on what's happening on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

Courier, along with his analysis duties, interviews the men's players on court after Rod Laver Arena matches. He's able to put an arm around the shoulder of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and make it seems like the two are having an intimate conversation. Courier also isn't afraid to level criticism, and never sounds like a cheerleader for American players.

The excellent broadcast work by Mary Carillo and John and Patrick McEnroe is pretty well accepted. So Connors will have to work hard to be No. 1 in his peer group, something Connors always expects to be.

-- Diane Pucin

Photo: Jimmy Connors, 2006 file photo. Credit: Elise Amendola / Associated Press

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