Mary Carillo

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Mary Carillo
Country (sports) United States
ResidenceNaples, Florida
New York, New York
Born (1957-03-15) March 15, 1957 (age 65)[1]
New York, New York, U.S.
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) [2]
Turned pro1977[3]
Highest rankingNo. 33 (January 1980)[4]
Grand Slam singles results
French Open2R (1977)
Wimbledon3R (1979)
US Open1R (1977, 1979)
Grand Slam doubles results
US OpenQF (1977)
Mixed doubles
Career titles1
Grand Slam mixed doubles results
French OpenW (1977)
WimbledonQF (1977)

Mary Carillo (born March 15, 1957[1]) is an American sportscaster and former professional tennis player. She is an analyst for Tennis on NBC and a reporter for NBC Olympic broadcasts.



Carillo played on the women's professional tennis circuit from 1977 to 1980. Her highest world rank was No. 33 in the Women's Tennis Association Rankings from January through March 1980. She then retired, citing knee injuries.[5]

Carillo never won a major singles title, but did win the 1977 French Open mixed-doubles title with John McEnroe. Carillo and McEnroe made it to the quarterfinals at Wimbledon before being defeated, and later that year Carillo was a women's doubles quarterfinalist at the US Open.

WTA Tour finals[edit]

Doubles 1
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 9. August 8, 1977 U.S. Open Clay Courts (Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.) clay United States Wendy Overton South Africa Linky Boshoff
South Africa Ilana Kloss
7–5, 5–7, 3–6
Mixed doubles 1
Grand Slam 1
WTA Championships 0
Tier I 0
Tier II 0
Tier III 0
Tier IV & V 0
Titles by surface
Hard 0
Clay 1
Grass 0
Carpet 0
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1. June 5, 1977 French Open, France Clay United States John McEnroe Colombia Iván Molina
Romania Florenţa Mihai
7–6, 6–3


Tennis coverage[edit]

Carillo began her television career working for USA Network from 1980 to 1987, PBS from 1981 to 1986 and MSG from 1981 to 1988. She then worked for ESPN from 1988 to 1997 and again from 2003 to 2010. She also worked on US Open coverage for CBS Sports from 1986 to 2014. In addition, Carillo worked as both a host and analyst on HBO's Wimbledon coverage from 1996 to 1999, and on Turner Sports' Wimbledon coverage from 2000 to 2002. In May 2003, Carillo joined NBC Sports as an analyst on its French Open and Wimbledon coverage, having made her debut as an analyst on NBC for the 1996 Family Circle Cup tennis event. She also does commentary on The Tennis Channel.

Carillo's candid and insightful commentary has earned her accolades throughout the industry, including the distinction of being called "the sport's top analyst" by Sports Illustrated.[6] She is known for her deep voice, quick wit and pointed sense of humor. Like her longtime friend and fellow Douglaston, Queens, New York native John McEnroe, Carillo is known for her colorful turns of phrase, and is credited with coining "Big Babe Tennis" to describe the era in women's tennis dominated by large, powerful players such as Lindsay Davenport, Serena Williams and Venus Williams.[7][8] Carillo's unabashed and opinionated style of commentary has drawn criticism from several top players, notably Andre Agassi, Serena and Venus Williams, and Maria Sharapova.[9] Nevertheless, she was named Best Commentator by Tennis Magazine (1988–91), Best Commentator by World Tennis magazine (1986) and Broadcaster of the Year by the Women's Tennis Association (1981 and 1985).

Olympic coverage[edit]

Carillo served as Olympic tennis analyst at both the Atlanta and Sydney Summer Olympics and as the skiing reporter for CBS's coverage at the Albertville, Lillehammer and Nagano Winter Olympics.[6]

During NBC's coverage of the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics she covered bobsled, luge and skeleton competitions. Her comment that men's doubles luge is "like a bar bet gone bad" was recognized as "line of the year" in many sports television columns. In addition, Carillo's work co-hosting the 2002 Closing Ceremony alongside Dan Hicks earned her critical acclaim.

At the 2004 Athens Games, Carillo earned critical praise in her debut as a full-time Olympic host on Bravo's coverage in addition to anchoring USA Network's live, Grand Slam-style coverage of the tennis gold medal finals. She delivered a lengthy, well-received commentary on badminton during this coverage.[10]

At the 2006 Winter Games in Torino Carillo hosted Olympic Ice, a daily figure skating show on the USA Network. She co-hosted the daily figure-skating television program with Scott Hamilton, Dick Button, and Jamie Salé and David Pelletier.

Carillo served as late-night show host, closing ceremony host, and "Friend of Bob" for the 2008 Beijing Games, her ninth Olympic assignment and sixth with NBC. Her role focused on cultural commentary and "slice of life" pieces about China.[11] She repeated these duties—late-night host and human-interest reporter—for NBC's coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. She was also one of the torch bearers during the torch's tour through Canada.

Other activities[edit]

Since 1997, Carillo has been a correspondent on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, winning a Sports Emmy Award for her Real Sports feature on the Hoyt Family.

In 2009, 2013, and 2016, she co-hosted the 133rd, 137th and 140th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show broadcast on USA Networks.

Carillo is a commentator for the Hallmark Channel special Paw Star Game premiering July 12, 2015. "At best, baby cats have the barest, most rudimentary grasp of the rules and regulations of American football and baseball," said Carillo. "And that's really okay with me. Frankly, watching kittens play any sport is going to be endearing and adorable."[12] Carillo is also a commentator for Hallmark's Kitten Bowl.[13]


Carillo has written three books, all related to tennis:

  • Tennis My Way (1984), for which she is second author to Martina Navratilova[14]
  • Rick Elstein's Tennis Kinetics: With Martina Navratilova (1985), for which she is uncredited
  • Tennis Confidential II: More of Today's Greatest Players, Matches, and Controversies (2008), for which she is second author to Paul Fein


Carillo appeared as herself in the romantic-comedy film Wimbledon (2004).

Board membership[edit]

  • She is a former member of the Women's Tennis Association's Board of Directors.
  • In 2010, she was named President of USTA Serves - Foundation for Academics, Character and Excellence[15]

Awards and honors[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Carillo was born in New York City in the borough of Brooklyn. She now splits her time between Naples, Florida and New York City's Greenwich Village. She was married for 15 years to tennis instructor Bill Bowden.[24] They have two children and divorced in 1998.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Database (n.d.). "Mary Carillo". Women's Tennis Association. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  2. ^ Bostic, Stephanie, ed. (1979). USTA Player Records 1978. United States Tennis Association (USTA). p. 178.
  3. ^ "ESPN Official Bio". ESPN. Archived from the original on February 21, 2010. Retrieved September 3, 2009.
  4. ^ "Mary Carillo". Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. HBO. n.d. Archived from the original on February 14, 2009. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  5. ^ "Mary Carillo Television Sportscaster, Journalist". She Made It. Archived from the original on February 27, 2007. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  6. ^ a b "NBC Pressbox:Bios:Mary Carillo". NBC. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  7. ^ "The Biggest Babe". Inside Tennis. August 17, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  8. ^ "Exponents of Big Babe Tennis set to meet for Wimbledon women's title". Sports Illustrated. July 1, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
  9. ^ Maffei, John (June 23, 2006). "These Voices Don't Mince Words". North County Times. Retrieved September 17, 2013.
  10. ^ "Relive Mary Carillo's epic backyard badminton rant, the greatest Olympic broadcast ever". USA Today. August 2016. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  11. ^ [dead link]"Medium Well: Your NBC Olympics Lineup – A Blog on Sports Media, News and Networks". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on August 3, 2008. Retrieved September 3, 2009.
  12. ^ Gabrielle Pantera. "Hallmark Channel Paw Star Game, Kittens Play Exhibition Baseball". Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  13. ^ Gabrielle Pantera. "Hallmark Channel Kitten Bowl 2, Football Deflategate Beyond the Patriots". Retrieved July 12, 2015.
  14. ^ Martina Navratilova (1984). Tennis My Way. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-007183-2.
  15. ^ "Carillo named President of USTA Serves". USTA. April 8, 2010. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Kitten Summer Games:Host:Mary Carillo". Hallmark Channel. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  17. ^ "National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame:Mary Carillo". National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  18. ^ "Dare to Compete: The Struggle of Women in Sports". Peabody Award. 1999. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  19. ^ "HBO:Staff:Mary Carillo". HBO. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  20. ^ Ackerman, McCarton (May 21, 2015). "Former Chairwoman Carillo to be honored by ITF". USTA. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  21. ^ Goolsby, Denise (March 14, 2016). "Mary Carillo Honored for storied sportscasting career". The Desert Sun. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  22. ^ "Mary Carillo honored with Gene Scott Award". International Tennis Federation. September 14, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  23. ^ "Inductees:Mary Carillo". Retrieved June 12, 2020.
  24. ^ Reed, Susan (September 14, 1992). "Telling it Straight". People. Retrieved June 12, 2020.

External links[edit]