Perhaps looking to bring some gender balance to its roster of Grand Slam analysts, Tennis Channel has added a couple of Majors-winning men in Mats Wilander and Jim Courier for the 2011 U.S. Open.
Seven-time Slam champion Wilander, who ended Ivan Lendl’s three-year Queens reign in 1988, joined Bill Macatee and Martina Navratilova in the Tennis Channel booth on the opening day of this year’s tourney in Flushing Meadows. While noting that American up-and-comer Ryan Harrison was giving himself a chance to turn things by hanging around versus Marin Cilic, the Swede took the 19-year-old to task for his boorish behavior and ultimately his lack of coming up with the goods when it mattered most during his straight-set loss. Wilander is expected to make a return engagement for Tennis on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, sources say that Courier, the U.S. Davis Cup captain, who couldn’t have liked what he saw from his potential teenage charge, is expected to be on Tennis Channel’s air, starting Tuesday. The four-time Grand Slam winner, who like Wilander was also ranked No. 1 in the world, may also work on Thursday and Friday, according to sources. Tennis Channel officials couldn’t be reached for comment.
Wilander and Courier are stepping to the net in the absence of eight-time Slam champ and five-time Open winner Jimmy Connors, who worked for Tennis the last two years in Flushing Meadows.
Even adding up all that hardware, Tennis Channel booth’s leans to the ladies when it comes to the Slam count. Navratilova garnered 18 single Slams, four of the American variety. Tracy Austin won the Open in 1979 and 1981 and Lindsay Davenport counted three majors, including the 1998 title in New York. Tennis newcomer Mary Carillo also has a major under her belt - the 1977 mixed doubles with some dude from Douglaston.