Tennis Channel plans to announce Wednesday that the eight-time major champion will be a lead analyst for its telecasts from this year’s U.S. Open.
Aside from cameos, Connors hasn’t been a TV announcer for a U.S. network since 1991, when he was calling matches for NBC — while still entering tournaments as a player. After retiring from the circuit, Connors worked for the British Broadcasting Corp. at Wimbledon from 2005-07.
For all of his accolades — including five consecutive years finishing ranked No. 1 and a record 109 singles titles — Connors is most closely associated with the U.S. Open.
He claimed five singles championships at the American Grand Slam tournament and is the only player to have won the event on three surfaces: grass, clay and hard courts.
Footage from his stirring run to the 1991 semifinals at age 39 is often the time-filler of choice when there are rain delays at Flushing Meadows nowadays.
Connors’ deal is scheduled to be announced formally when he appears via satellite during Tennis Channel’s live coverage of the Australian Open on Wednesday.
This year marks the start of a six-year deal through 2014 for Tennis Channel and ESPN to carry the U.S. Open’s cable TV coverage. Tennis Channel, which is in about 25 million homes, will air part of all four Grand Slam tennis tournaments in 2009 for the first time.