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New Orleans Tennis Fan Becomes Sports Announcer at US OPEN - Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Opportunity of A Lifetime

Not many tennis fans get to sit in the official US OPEN radio booth in New York, but this year one Louisiana man, Jeff Scurlock of New Orleans, got a chance of a lifetime to be a commentator with the pros for five hours during the 2012 US Open.

54 year old Scurlock heard about an auction at the USTA website that would allow the highest bidder not only access to the official radio booth but the ability to participate in the coverage of the world class event for five hours. This would be daunting to the average USTA fan, but even his friends admit Jeff Scurlock knows his tennis facts to the point of being a walking encyclopedia.

"It was very easy doing the commentary. I did the Azarenka-Flipkens match, Isner-Malisse match and a little bit of the Clijsters-Robson match. I tried to talk about things besides the match.” Jeff recalled recently after his weekly game of tennis.

"For example three of the players were from Belgium, so I suggested we call it "National Waffle Day.” " He smiled. "I was asked who my favorite player was, instead of saying Roger Federer or Nadal, I said Ryan Harrison because he is from Shreveport. I also mentioned Caroline Brinson being one of Louisiana’s best Junior players.”

Instead of relying on copious notes, Jeff was able to wing it with three professional announcers. "You have to have your own style. There were actually three main announcers that I alternated with. One would talk about the matches on the outside courts while the other two would talk about the main match in Arthur Ashe Stadium. I prefer to talk about matches involving lesser known players. Or a match I saw the previous day with the Harrison brothers (Ryan and Christian) upsetting the fourth seeds in doubles.”

During his radio stint, Scurlock fielded calls from listeners across the United States, even though some of his friends couldn’t call in because lines were down during Hurricane Isaac. But Jeff persevered and some of his friends made it on air from other states.

Is he ready to do it again at the 2013 US OPEN? "I would love to do it again. If you really think about it, it’s just being relaxed and talking about tennis. I’ve been around tennis for 45 years. I enjoy playing but I really enjoy the environment of tennis. It has offered me lifelong friends.” And, apparently, one more experience worth talking about.

left, Jeff Scurlock of New Orleans, Kathryn Scurlock his wife , and Mark Ernay US OPEN radio sports commentator.


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