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ESPN, Collins a match for tennis coverage

BUD COLLINS Reuniting with Dick Enberg BUD COLLINS Reuniting with Dick Enberg

It didn't take long for Bud Collins to get back into the tennis broadcast scene after being dropped by NBC last month.

Collins will join ESPN and will appear on ESPN2's coverage of three Grand Slam tournaments -- Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon -- beginning in 2008. He also will report on tennis news for "SportsCenter," ESPNews, and ESPN Radio, starting next month at the US Open.

Although his departure from NBC seemed abrupt for a man who had become a staple on the tennis courts, Collins said he harbors no hard feelings.

"I had a great 35-year run with NBC," he said yesterday from New Mexico, where he is vacationing.

Collins, also a correspondent for the Globe, began his TV career broadcasting the now-defunct Longwood tournament for Boston's WGBH in the early 1960s.

In 1994, Collins was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, and in 1999, he received the Red Smith Award for sports journalism. He has worked for the Globe since 1963.

His flamboyant wardrobe and the nicknames he gives players ("Lord of the Swings" for Roger Federer, "Sisters Sledgehammer" for the Williamses), helped enliven the sport and popularize it on television, said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president.

"Bud Collins is tennis, and ESPN is proud to add his insight, wit, and wisdom to our coverage," said Williamson.

Collins said he will be delighted to be reunited with longtime partner Dick Enberg, with whom he worked for 20 years at NBC, including the "Breakfast at Wimbledon" broadcasts starting in 1979. Enberg has been calling matches on ESPN's Grand Slam coverage since 2004.

"No one through the decades has been more important to the coverage of tennis than Bud," Enberg said in a statement. "He is not just a historian -- literally and figuratively the encyclopedia of tennis -- but he has served as a docent. He has been immensely generous sharing his incredible knowledge with anyone who has an interest in the sport."

Collins will also be teamed with ESPN commentator Cliff Drysdale.

"I remember his first appearance on American television," said Collins. "He was a player at Longwood and I was the first one to interview him."

Collins, who also will host a morning show on XM Radio during the US Open, said he was ebullient about his new job, even adding, "I have a new pair of trousers" to show off.

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