2015/03/02

2015 Australian Open TV Schedules for ESPN and Tennis Channel

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Australian Open TV Schedule (All times ET)

Sunday, Jan. 18, 6 p.m.-7 p.m.
Pre-Tournament Tennis Channel

Sunday, Jan. 18, 7 p.m.–7 a.m.
Early round play, ESPN2

Monday, Jan. 19, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
First Round, Tennis Channel

Monday, Jan. 19, 9 p.m.–7 a.m.
Early round play, ESPN2

Tuesday, Jan. 20, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Second Round, Tennis Channel

Tuesday, Jan. 20, 9 p.m.–7 a.m.
Early round play, ESPN2

Wednesday, Jan. 21, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Second Round, Tennis Channel

Wednesday, Jan. 21, 9 p.m.–7 a.m.
Early round play, ESPN2

Thursday, Jan. 22, 6 p.m.-11 p.m.
Third Round, Tennis Channel

Thursday, Jan. 22, 11 p.m.–7 a.m.
Early round play, ESPN2

Friday, Jan. 23, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Third Round, Tennis Channel

Friday, Jan. 23, 9 p.m.–7 a.m.
Early round play, ESPN2

Saturday, Jan. 24, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Round of 16, Tennis Channel

Saturday, Jan. 24, 9 p.m.–7 a.m.
Round of 16, ESPN2

Sunday, Jan. 25, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Round of 16, Tennis Channel

Sunday, Jan. 25, 9 p.m.–2 a.m., 3 a.m.-6:30 a.m.,
Round of 16, ESPN2

Monday, Jan. 26, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Men’s and Women’s Quarterfinals, Tennis Channel

Monday, Jan. 26, 9 p.m.–2 a.m., 3 a.m.-6 a.m.
Quarterfinals, ESPN2

Tuesday, Jan. 27, 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
Men’s and Women’s Quarterfinals, Tennis Channel

Tuesday, Jan. 27, 9 p.m.–2 a.m., 3:30 a.m.-6 a.m.
Quarterfinals, ESPN2

Wednesday, Jan. 28, 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m. TBA
Tennis Channel

Wednesday, Jan. 28, 9:30 p.m.–2 a.m., 3:30 a.m.-6 a.m.
Semifinals, ESPN2

Thursday, Jan. 29, 10 p.m.-3:30 a.m.
Mixed Doubles Semifinal/Women’s Doubles Final, Tennis Channel

Thursday, Jan. 29, 3:30 a.m.-6 a.m.
Semifinals, ESPN2

Friday, Jan. 30, 3:30 a.m.-6 a.m.
Semifinals, ESPN2

Saturday, Jan. 31, 3 a.m.-5:30 a.m.
Women’s Final, ESPN2

Saturday, Jan. 31, 5:30 a.m.-8 a.m.
Men’s Doubles Final, Tennis Channel

Sunday, Feb. 1, 3 a.m.-6 a.m.
Men’s Final, ESPN2

Sunday, Feb. 1, 12 a.m.-2 a.m.
Mixed Doubles Final, TennisChannel

ESPN

ESPN2 will present daily, marathon, overnight telecasts from Melbourne (primarily starting at 9 p.m.) through the women’s semifinals, when the action switches to ESPN.

Approximately 40 additional hours will be aired on ESPN2 during the afternoon with action from the overnight telecasts.

ESPN3 will offer nearly 800 hours from up to 13 courts, both the most ever for an ESPN tennis event, adding nearly more than 300 hours and from six additional courts than in 2013.  ESPN3’s coverage starts at 7 p.m. over the first 11 days of the tournament with the first ball each day of all TV court matches.  Additionally, ESPN3 will offer live the men’s, women’s and mixed doubles championships and the finals of the boys and girls divisions.

All the action on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the award-winning WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One to more than 75 million households nationwide via an affiliated video or internet provider.

Tennis Channel

Since its coverage of last year’s Australian Open, Tennis Channel has introduced a new digital subscription service – Tennis Channel Plus – that allows fans to access even more content than the network is capable of fitting on air. Available on the free Tennis Channel Everywhere app to all Apple and Android users, regardless of whether or not they subscribe to Tennis Channel, the service will supplement the network’s televised Australian Open coverage this year with daily highlights, interviews and other segments from Australian Open Today. Tennis Channel Plus also provides access to archived matches from other major events like Wimbledon and the French Open, as well as thousands of hours of on-demand programming.

 

Beyond Tennis Channel Plus, most viewers who get Tennis Channel at home are able to take the Australian Open with them live on their mobile devices through the Tennis Channel Everywhere app at no additional cost. Simple subscription authentication with select distribution partners enables the app’s TV Everywhere function, and lets fans tune into the network’s round-the-clock coverage from Melbourne throughout the workday back in the United States.

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“On The Call” – ESPN Australian Open Conference Call with Darren Cahill and Pam Shriver

Darren Cahill

Darren Cahill

(January 17, 2015) ESPN tennis analysts Darren Cahill and Pam Shriver spoke with media on Friday evening about the Australian Open, which starts Sunday, Jan. 18 (Monday in Melbourne), with 100 live hours on ESPN television and 800 from a record 13 courts on ESPN3.

 

Soundbites:

Where Roger Federer is now, explaining his longevity:

  • This one is not so much the fact that he’s playing at this level at this stage of his career because it’s actually territory that other players have traveled down before….  I think really the remarkable thing for him is his love and enthusiasm for the sport still.  It never wavers.  The moment he steps on the practice court, from the moment he steps onto every single match, you see a dedicated guy that is loving exactly what he’s doing, and he’s a little more forthright in the way he’s playing now.” – Cahill
  • The new racquet played a big role.  He’s finally getting totally committed to a bigger frame.  It gave him a little more, especially on the backhand side… I think Stefan Edberg…can help things, not just little tactical things moving forward, shortening the points, the way Edberg used the serve, attacking weak second serves and the volley, but also the way Edberg managed great rivalries of his time psychologically.” – Shriver

 

From who knows, a mother of twins, what to watch for concerning Federer’s creaky back:

  • His back getting more healthy (was key in 2014).  How long that remains with his set of boy twins starting to become more mobile, and as he starts to get down on the ground again with another set of twins, we’ll see how his back goes in the next year or two.” – Shriver

 

Venus…rising?

  • First off, Venus one of the class athletes in this sports generation.  I thought, when she won in Auckland over Wozniacki, just her style and her sportsmanship, and she just shown through.  Whether she wins or she loses ‑‑ and I love that about Venus…slowly but surely, she’s gotten some belief again that she can contend.  She’s got to get through the early rounds.  She’s got to win three‑set matches, and she’s got to be smart.  The weather’s got to break her way.  But you know what, I love it.  I love her fight.  I love everything about Venus Williams.  We should feel really lucky that we’ve got some great athletes, great champions of the last 15 years in their mid‑30s still contending to win majors, in the case of Venus, still somebody to keep an eye on, and she’s my outsider pick on ESPN.com to win the Australian.” – Shriver

 

Is Nadal ready to contend for the title, coming back from health issues?

  • “He’s very, very underdone coming into the Aussie Open.  The first two or three matches, obviously, all eyes will be on Rafa to see how his game is…His game is rusty.  Obviously, he needs miles in his legs to feel his game.  That’s what he’s been desperately trying to do.  He’s been practicing incredibly hard.  I watched him play a couple of practice sets as well, and he’s struggling a bit with his game.  He’ll be vulnerable in the early rounds.  But you know Nadal, if he can find his legs and find his way into the second week, he becomes more and more difficult to beat as the time goes on.  If he makes the second week, he’s going to be a threat.” – Cahill

 

I would just like to ask both of you about Roger Federer.  He really came close last year to getting his 18th slam, and 33 years old, father of three (stet), he continues to surprise everyone and doesn’t seem like he’s going anywhere, beating Raonic and Dimitrov, both young guys.  What do you see for this Australian Open, and how remarkable is it what he’s doing? 

PAM SHRIVER:  I’ll step up.  I want to reflect quickly on a year ago, where we were with Federer because (there were) a lot of question marks a year ago.  He entered the Australian Open, having really not done that well in the majors a year before.  I think that win over Tsonga right at the end of week 1 really kind of started to set the table for a really good year for Roger.  Then he followed it up with a really good win over Murray even though Murray didn’t have a great year in the majors, and got to the semis of the Australian.  Even though he didn’t get the finals or win it, I thought last year’s Australian Open was really important for Roger’s year.  I think the Wimbledon final was the match of the year in tennis.  It was historic either way, Novak finally ending the string of disappointing losses.  For Roger, obviously, it would have been an extraordinary win.  Personally, to think that this great athlete at the top still of the men’s game has two sets of twins and is juggling it all with his usual incredible class just means that we’re lucky to have him, and we’re lucky to still have him as a great force.  He’s entering the year as a 2 seed, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was able to win another Australian Open.  He’s not my pick, but it’s certainly possible.

DARREN CAHILL:  I agree with everything Pam has got to say there.  Everything has been remarkable about Roger’s career.  This one is not so much the fact that he’s playing at this level at this stage of his career because it’s actually territory that other players have traveled down before.  We’ve seen guys like Connors, Agassi at 33, 34 years of age, even 35, do remarkable things on the tennis courts.  I think it also gives Roger a lot of confidence that age doesn’t really play a part at this stage of his career.  I think really the remarkable thing for him is his love and enthusiasm for the sport still.  It never wavers.  The moment he steps on the practice court, from the moment he steps onto every single match, you see a dedicated guy that is loving exactly what he’s doing, and he’s a little more forthright in the way he’s playing now.  I think a couple of things add to that.  You have a few less options the older you get.  The edge starts to come off of you physically, slightly, ever so slightly when we talk about Roger.  So he’s a little more forthright in what needs to be done on the court, game plans and tactics to get it done.  And we’re seeing someone who’s totally committed to that.  He’s got a great team around him.  He’s got Stefan, who’s been there before and certainly played some great tennis around these years as well.  He’s going out there, and he’s executing a strong, attacking game plan, which is also helping him physically to cut a few corners and make a few matches shorter than they normally would be, and I still think he’s capable, for the next couple of years, of winning any Major.  He just needs to continue to put himself in a position.  Obviously, for anybody to win a Major these days, you need a little bit of luck and need a few things going your way, and he’s certainly still capable of doing that.

 

Last year, the improvement from Roger, what part coaching and tactics and what part health, his back? 

PAM SHRIVER:  I think we all thought the three adjustments.  The new racquet played a big role.  He’s finally getting totally committed to a bigger frame.  It gave him a little more, especially on the backhand side.  His back getting more healthy.  How long that remains with his set of boy twins starting to become more mobile, and as he starts to get down on the ground again with another set of twins, we’ll see how his back goes in the next year or two.  But the back being healthy, and I think Stefan Edberg, those little subtle things that a great champion ‑‑ Edberg can help things, not just little tactical things moving forward, shortening the points, the way Edberg used the serve, attacking weak second serves and the volley, but also the way Edberg managed great rivalries of his time psychologically.  Of the four, the big four is just getting a little edge on how to manage these incredible matchups.  So I think all of those things have helped Roger a lot.  Actually, helped Roger a little, but all you need is a little bit of a help, and it makes a huge difference.

DARREN CAHILL:  I think that was well said, Pammy.  I think that Roger’s got such a great sense of the history of the game as well.  He spoke last week about when he first came up with the likes of Safin and Hewitt and those types of guys, that they were pushing the Agassi and Sampras’s out of the game, but that rivalry to take on the best in the sport at that time was enthusiastic for all the young kids, and they pushed each other.  He got to see Hewitt winning major championships and doing well from an early age, and that spurred him on to be better and work harder and be more professional.  Now he’s at the other end of the spectrum where he’s one of the older guys, and we have the younger guys coming through and trying to push him out of the game.  It’s remarkable how he can sort of look through the years and see those rivalries and have great respect for them and know that he’s part of something pretty special now.  I think that’s also what keeps his enthusiasm so high for the game and the love of the game is that he doesn’t want these young guys to come along and push him out of the game.  He wants to continue to try to get better and hold his place for as long as possible and for as long as he enjoys getting onto the tennis court.

DAVE NAGLE:  We’ll move on, but let me just add Patrick McEnroe’s voice from a press release I did about 10 days ago, looking ahead to this year.  He said, “I’ll say it again.  This is Roger Federer’s last year to win a Major.”  I think that expresses Patrick’s ‑‑ how he was impressed with Roger’s 2014.

 

Hi, Darren.  I was wondering about Milos Raonic and John Isner.  Two players with a big serve and a big forehand.  I was wondering what it is about Raonic that has allowed him make the next step that Isner hasn’t quite been able to take quite yet. 

DARREN CAHILL:  We can only speak to what happened last year, and I feel like he made major steps forward in feeling like he belonged in the big stage, in the big situation.  We saw him move to his first ever major semifinal at Wimbledon.  Obviously, he got blown away by a pretty tough matchup against Roger.  Even since that particular tournament, he’s made several adjustments to his game to counter that, and he’s played better against Roger the last couple of times.  So you’re seeing constant improvement in Milos’ game.  And some of that comes from those around him as well.  They know what it takes to get to the top and to get the most out of him.  I think from a logic sense, for the first couple of years on tour, he was not one‑dimensional, but he was able ‑‑ his weaknesses were attackable for the better players in the game.  Once you got his serve back and once you got a pretty decent read on his serve, you felt like you were in the point with an extremely good chance of winning it, and you could cause a bit of panic into his game, but you don’t see that now.  Even in that final that Federer played against Milos in Brisbane, and Milos was right up against it.  And he was up against a guy who played pretty incredible tennis at the start of the match, and Milos was able to claw his way back into that match and put himself into a pretty good position late in that first set.

 

So I feel like you can’t rush these things.  We’re up against a generation and an era of player that has been so dominant in these top four guys that it’s nearly impossible to say that anybody can come through and just join the top four.  It’s been a slow process for most of these players.  And Milos has had a couple of injury concerns over the last few years, which he’s been able to shake off.  He’s maybe one of the most professional players both on and off the court.  He works just as hard as anyone, if not harder than anyone on and off the court.  And this guy has more of a desire than anyone I’ve seen to win a major than most of that generation of player coming through.  I think you just have to be patient.  With the taller athletes, it takes a little longer for that strength to kick in and for them to really become great athletes, but he’s well on the way.  I think for John also, it’s a little bit of the same thing.  John’s also been given a greater appreciation for what needs to be done the last three or four years.  You’ve seen much more consistent results for John.  Being 6’10” is not an easy thing for anybody to find their way around the tennis court.  He’s taken on a new coach this year.  He’s going to be more forthright with the way he approaches these tennis matches.  For him to have a chance in the majors, he has to find a way to try to shorten some of the long matches he gets into, and to be point blank, he really just has to improve his return game and find a way to break serve.  If you do that, it’s going to make life much easier for him.

PAM SHRIVER:  From what Darren said, not a lot left unsaid about Raonic.  From what Darren said, 100 percent professional in his attitude.  Darren pretty much covered it.  I think we all feel that way.  When Raonic sort of burst onto the big time Major scene, it was at the Australian Open four or five years ago.  When he visited us on the ESPN set, he just came with an aura of total professionalism.  Even though he was very young, he was extremely serious.  You could just tell every day he was ready to work in order to get better.  That kind of hunger and preparation, day in, day out, year in, year out, and when you have the kind of size and weapons he has, one of the great serves of this current era in men’s tennis, it’s going to make you a force.  So it’s physical weapons.  It’s his mental approach.  It’s his desire to get better and the team around him.  It’s a pretty awesome package.  Isner, to me, a generation older and five inches taller.  That’s a big five inches in tennis.  It’s an awkward size to stay injury free and to have the kind of movement that’s necessary on tennis court with a quick change of directions.  I think Isner’s done incredibly well, and he’s actually my outsider, my dark horse.  I tend to put my ESPN hat aside, and I tend to want to cheer for him.  I want to see him have more break‑throughs at majors because he is such a compelling figure.  We’ll see what the influence of a new coach, and I think Justin has some good ideas about Isner shortening up, not trying to be a baseline player at 6’10”, but using the big serve, the big forehand, and moving forward and having that target at net where it can really be intimidating.

DAVE NAGLE:  Sounds like the insights about Isner come from personal experience, learning the game.

PAM SHRIVER:  Also, at 6’1″ was my height in the women’s game, I don’t know what that equals to in women’s terms, but Venus Williams is an example of a phenomenal mover at a height for women that tends to be awkward, but for Isner, it’s just tough to move quickly and nimbly.

 

Hello, guys.  I’m nothing if not predictable.  I’m going to talk about Andy Murray again.  Darren, I guess, in the first instance, changes to his kind of back room setup again with Dani leaving.  Amelie is still there.  He seems from afar to be in pretty good place and pretty content and happy with life.  What do you make of his chances going into the Aussie Open? 

DARREN CAHILL:  I got to see him play all of his matches at the Hopman Cup.  I spoke to him at length, and he’s very happy with the way he feels leading into the 2015 season.  He’s changed a little of his preseason program.  He’s added some sprint work and power work into his program.  He’s feeling great on the court.  He was playing very good tennis.  A lot of stuff in his game that can normally get him in trouble against some of the players, it looks like he’s becoming more forthright in the way he’s approaching his baseline rallies.  Certainly his serve is a constant thing he continues to work on.  Hopefully, we’ll see some improvement, especially in the second serve, in 2015.  He looks great.  He looks happy.  This is a new year for him.  He’s got new challenges ahead of him.  As you said, he’s got a couple of members, a bit of a new looking team, and that can only create new challenges for him to find a way to get it done this year.  I think the form that we saw him at the end of the year was very encouraging, to see him fight so hard to get back in the top eight and become part of that London Masters was great for him.  I think you can take every loss and learn a lot from it, and that loss that he had to Federer, I think he took that in the right way, the right fashion, and it was remarkable that a couple of days later sitting on the couch, he got the phone call from the tournament to come and play an exhibition match and fill in, and he went down there.  That shows you the quality of the guy.  I’m expecting a big year for him.  He’s going to put himself back into the mix.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins another Major this year.  He’s got a bit to prove.  He likes being the underdog.  He likes proving to people.  When you tell him, listen, you can’t get it done, he likes to go out there and show people he can get it done.  I suspect Andy will have a great start to the year.  To be honest, he may be playing the best tennis of all of the players just at the moment.  We’ve probably seen him more than anyone else, he’s played quite a bit of tennis coming into the Australian Open, but he’s been pretty faultless so far.

PAM SHRIVER:  Just quickly, I don’t have a whole lot to add to that, but I think it’s interesting when you think about what Andy Murray did as far as starting this new trend of hiring ‑‑ and I guess Roddick did a little bit with Connors a few years ago, but really this move towards a top player hiring a former great.  And what he got out of the Lendl relationship.  Obviously, he’s moved on to Mauresmo.  Could that start another trend?  I don’t know.  Very seldom do top players have so many changes.  He got engaged.  He’s got a new clothing line.  He’s got new people on his team.  But I think someone like Andy, who’s grinded so long and tried to chase down Federer and Nadal, probably having some changes on court and off court is probably going to be a good thing, and I agree with Darren.  He’s going to have a good year.

 

I want to ask about Venus.  Talk about someone that we have made ‑‑ I don’t want to speak for others, but had sort of written off, and now she’s back in the top 20, number 18, won a tournament, beat Wozniacki.  Can you just talk about her sort of resurgence here. 

PAM SHRIVER:  First off, Venus one of the class athletes in this sports generation.  I thought, when she won in Auckland over Wozniacki, just her style and her sportsmanship, and she just shown through.  Whether she wins or she loses ‑‑ and I love that about Venus.  She’s had a lot of adversity in her life.  She’s also had a lot of incredible ups, winning seven majors, but it’s been a long time.  She’s had to deal with quite a bit.

 

I think about last year, the very first match we had on the Australian Open was on the Margaret Court Arena, and it was Venus playing Makarova.  And Venus was up a set and a break, and it was a really tight match.  She ended up losing in three sets.  She lost early at the French, and I thought she played one of the women’s matches of the year when she only lost serve once, lost to Kvitova in a tough draw in the first round.  Kvitova goes on to easily win Wimbledon after that.  That match was a match that I’ll always remember in women’s tennis because it was only one break for each player.  That just seldom happens.  So I actually thought Venus, if she could have snuck out of that Kvitova match, I thought she had a chance to win Wimbledon, and I think Venus believes that, slowly but surely, she’s gotten some belief again that she can contend.  She’s got to get through the early rounds.  She’s got to win three‑set matches, and she’s got to be smart.  The weather’s got to break her way.  But you know what, I love it.  I love her fight.  I love everything about Venus Williams.  We should feel really lucky that we’ve got some great athletes, great champions of the last 15 years in their mid‑30s still contending to win majors, in the case of Venus, still somebody to keep an eye on, and she’s my outsider pick on ESPN.com to win the Australian.

DARREN CAHILL:  Pammy, you picked Venus?  I like that.  I did as well.  A couple years ago, I didn’t think there would be a chance that I would be doing that.  I was one of those people who felt that tennis was beyond her and a couple of years ago, thought she wasn’t going to be able to put herself back into a position.  But I fully agree with everything Pam said there.  I felt Wimbledon was going to be very interesting.  A couple of matches she played at Wimbledon were some of the best matches we’ve seen from her in five or six years.  She’s had a great start to the season.  I saw her final against Ana Ivanovic in New Zealand, and she did great to come back and win that match.  No doubt she’s coming into the Aussie Open confident, and she’ll be very tough to beat.  She’s got a little bit of what Federer has in the sense that, every time she steps onto the court, be it practice or be it a match, she’s just loving being there at the moment, and that says a lot about these athletes.

 

So given the way that Federer and Nadal have both been playing lately.  Nadal won in Doha.  Federer was pretty hot last year.  We don’t want to look too far ahead in these tournaments, but if they were to meet in a potential semifinal, how would you guys project that going? 

DARREN CAHILL:  So I think the thing with Nadal is he’s very, very underdone coming into the Aussie Open.  The first two or three matches, obviously, all eyes will be on Rafa to see how his game is.  We had a chance to see him play one tournament and then a couple of practice matches he played on Wednesday night in a big charity match here in the tennis launch.  His game is rusty.  Obviously, he needs miles in his legs to feel his game.  That’s what he’s been desperately trying to do.  He’s been practicing incredibly hard.  I watched him play a couple of practice sets as well, and he’s struggling a bit with his game.  He’ll be vulnerable in the early round.  But you know Nadal, if he can find his legs and find his way into the second week, he becomes more and more difficult to beat as the time goes on.  If he makes the second week, he’s going to be a threat.  I’ve taken him as my ESPN.com tips as the hardest road on the men’s side.  He’s got a couple of tough guys in Youzhny and a couple of floaters in his section that have been very difficult.  But if he gets to the semifinal and plays Federer, there’s a head‑to‑head matchup issue there that Roger struggles with, and that’s a different ball game all together.  We’ve got to wait to see what happens with that.  If you have to look through the draw, I think the most interesting section of the draw is that Dimitrov ‑‑ sort of the Murray section, to be honest.  He’s got Dimitrov possibly in the fourth round, to play Federer, to play Nadal, to play Djokovic.  That’s how difficult it is these days.  Even if you’re ranked sixth in the world or seeded sixth, the draw to win one of these majors can be incredibly difficult.

PAM SHRIVER:  The only thing I’d like to stress really about Rafa, November 3rd he had an appendectomy.  Even though they are so good at doing arthroscopic stuff, that’s still your abdominal part, that’s your core part of an elite athlete.  November 3rd, sure, he’s had some time to heal, but you know what, it only takes a fraction to be off.  I think, as Darren stated, he likes to have the matches.  He likes to kind of work his way into form.  He doesn’t have that confidence.  Can he get it in the first week of a Major, the way we’ve seen Serena so many times through the years?  Sure, he can.  But he hasn’t shown through the years that he’s as comfortable being underdone and playing at the usual great level that he can play.  He’s had a rough six months.  So I think Darren’s pick, even though he’s not my early upset pick, that’s probably a good one, but you can never underestimate one of the greats of all time.

DARREN CAHILL:  Remember also, Pam, we were speaking at the same time last year when he was out for that period of time, about the fact that missing the Australian Open was probably a blessing in disguise for him because it is difficult to come back after a long layoff ‑‑

PAM SHRIVER:  You mean two years ago.

DARREN CAHILL:  Two years ago, exactly.  And to play best of five.  We saw the year that he had two years ago when he did come back and played those smaller clay court tournaments and found his legs and then launched himself into the bigger tournaments.  So it’s a little bit of a different challenge for him this year.  Any challenge that he has, he’s more than capable of stepping up to the plate and making it happen, but the first week definitely going to be interesting, and I think a lot of eyes are going to be on Rafa’s form.

PAM SHRIVER:  And also you think through the years he’s had quite a few little niggling injuries that crop up second week of the Aussie.  So there’s no indication that he’s not going to physically feel at his best.

 

Just a quick followup, I guess.  You said Andy may be playing as well as anyone, and I guess another guy we haven’t really spoken about is Novak Djokovic.  Is he still the man to beat?  If I can throw in an extra one, what did you think about the Aussie challengers with Kyrgios and Kokkinakis and Saville and those guys? 

PAM SHRIVER:  Let me put in a little tiny bit.  Then, Darren, I’m going to hang up and go get my kids, and you can finish up on Novak and what you saw down there with the fundraiser.  I just think Novak, this is the tournament that Novak fell in love with first when he won down here in ’08.  He’s won it more than any of his other Majors.  I know it was disappointing, his loss to Wawrinka last year, but I expect he’s going to be right in there.  Most people have him as the favorite.  I would have gone with him, but I felt like making an unusual pick, Nishikori, at least unusual with Nishikori outside the big four we usually always go to the last five years.  So Novak, one of the great athletes we’ll ever see on a tennis court.  Dave Nagle, thanks so much for hosting.  Darren, continue.  I’ll see you in a day.

DARREN CAHILL:  Three wins in the last four years down here for Novak.  It’s been a remarkable love affair that he’s had with the Australian Open, and his game suits the conditions down here incredibly well.  He’s been able to overcome obstacles with the Heat in the last six or seven years to become one of the greatest athletes the game has ever seen.  He doesn’t have any weaknesses in his game.  He’s so difficult to beat.  We haven’t seen a great deal of him.  Obviously, he didn’t play the final in the exhibition event against Andy.  I didn’t get to see that particular head‑to‑head matchup.  I don’t think it matters.  Coming into this, he finished the year incredibly well again, winning the London World Finals.  He is the man to beat until it’s a little bit like ‑‑ not quite as strong, but a little bit like the French Open when we talk about Rafa.  Until somebody can prove they can beat him here, he is the man to beat in my eyes.  Even though he did lose in the last quarterfinal match to Wawrinka, but it was an incredible match.  He’s my pick to win.  I feel he’s got a pretty decent section of the draw to play into the tournament, and it’s going to take a pretty outstanding performance by anyone to beat Novak Djokovic.

 

And on the Aussies coming through, any hope at all?  What, ’76 was the last home winner, you think? 

DARREN CAHILL:  That’s right with Mark Edmundsen.  I think that Nick Kyrgios is a little bit injured at the moment with the back issue.  He didn’t play the Hopman Cup.  I watched him play last week, and it looked like his knee and cramps set in into his match.  Coming into the Australian Open, I feel like physically he’s improved a ton over the last 12 months physically, but he still has that issue that, if he gets deep into a match, a fourth or fifth set, then the physical aspect plays a big part.  Whilst he can cause a lot of players a lot of trouble, it’s a little too early for him to say he can go all the way at the Australian Open.  There’s a lot to look for to in his future.  Thanasis Kokkinakis, winning a match or two at the Australian Open, getting more experience playing the big tournaments, that’s important for him.  He’s a year younger than Nick.  Going to take Nick a little longer.  Sam Groth is coming through.  He’s had a good couple of years.  Lleyton Hewitt, obviously, Lleyton is nearing the end of his career.  Not sure if this is going to be his last Aussie.  He might play one more next year.  He’s had a great preseason.  His form in the leadup to the Aussie Open has not been great, but he’s in good spirits and looking to do well.  He’s actually in a pretty good section of the draw, so he’ll be looking to get his teeth into it from that point of view.  I think from an Australian point of view, the one who stands out that has struggled the last three years, he’s kind of gotten out of his career what he’s put into it, and that was very little, and that’s Bernard Tomic.  At the moment ‑‑ be that because of these younger guys coming through and taking a little of the spotlight, be it because he’s maturing a little more, be it because some of the funding’s been pulled from him now and he’s not making the same money that he was previously, he’s got a different attitude at the moment.  And we saw the last six months of the year that Bernie is starting to put in off the court and putting in much more effort in every single match he plays, not just here in Australia.  He always plays well in Australia.  I expect him to play well in the Australian Open, but the biggest test for Bernie will be how he performs the rest of the nine or ten months.  That’s the big issue whether he can break through to the top 20 or top 10.  I actually picked him as my dark horse in the men’s draw.  I think his section is really good.  He’s playing extremely well.  We always know he steps up and plays great tennis in Australia.  The big test of him becoming a top player is can he take that form and reproduce it overseas?  We have to sit back and see if that happens.

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2014 US Open Broadcast Schedules for CBS, ESPN2 and Tennis Channel

 

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2014 US Open Broadcast Schedule – CBS CBS Sports NetworkESPN/ESPN2Tennis Channel

 

Tue. 8/19

1pm-9pm

US Open Qualifying

CBS Sports Network

 

Wed. 8/20

1pm-9pm

US Open Qualifying

CBS Sports Network

 

Thu. 8/21

11am-1pm

US Open Qualifying

CBS Sports Network

 

7pm-9pm

US Open Qualifying

CBS Sports Network

 

Fri. 8/22

11am-1pm

US Open Qualifying

CBS Sports Network

 

5pm-7pm

US Open Qualifying

CBS Sports Network

 

Sun. 8/24

Noon-1:30pm

Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day

CBS

 

1:30pm-2pm

US Open Tribute Show

CBS

 

Mon. 8/25

10:30am-11am

Live at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

11am-7pm*

First Round

Tennis Channel

 

1pm-6pm

First Round

ESPN

 

6pm-11pm

Primetime at the US Open: First Round

ESPN2

 

11pm-6am

US Open Tonight

Tennis Channel

 

Tue. 8/26

6am-10:30am

Breakfast at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

10:30am-11am

Live at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

11am-7pm*

First Round

Tennis Channel

 

1pm-7pm

First Round

ESPN

 

7pm-11pm

Primetime at the US Open: First Round

ESPN

 

11pm-6am

US Open Tonight

Tennis Channel

 

Wed. 8/27

6am-10:30am

Breakfast at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

10:30am-11am

Live at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

11am-7pm*

Men’s First Round/Women’s Second Round

Tennis Channel

 

1pm-6pm

Men’s First Round/Women’s Second Round

ESPN

 

6pm-11pm

Primetime at the US Open: Second Round

ESPN2

 

11pm-6am

US Open Tonight

Tennis Channel

 

Thu. 8/28

6am-10:30am

Breakfast at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

10:30am-11am

Live at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

11am-7pm*

Second Round

Tennis Channel

 

1pm-6pm

Second Round

ESPN

 

6pm-11pm

Primetime at the US Open: Second Round

ESPN2

 

11pm-6am

US Open Tonight

Tennis Channel

 

Fri. 8/29

6am-10:30am

Breakfast at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

10:30am-11am

Live at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

11am-7pm*

Men’s Second Round/Women’s Third Round

Tennis Channel

 

1pm-6pm

Men’s Second Round/Women’s Third Round

ESPN

 

6pm-11pm

Primetime at the US Open: Men’s Second Round/Women’s Third Round

ESPN2

 

11pm-6am

US Open Tonight

Tennis Channel

 

Sat. 8/30

6am-11am

Breakfast at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

10am-11am

Today at the US Open

CBS Sports Network

 

11am-12noon

Third Round

CBS Sports Network

 

11am-6:00pm

Third Round

CBS

 

3:30pm-6:00pm

Third Round

CBS Sports Network

 

7pm-11pm

Third Round

Tennis Channel

 

11pm-6am

US Open Tonight

Tennis Channel

 

Sun. 8/31

6am-11am

Breakfast at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

10am-11am

Today at the US Open

CBS Sports Network

 

11am-6pm

Men’s Third Round/Women’s Round of 16

CBS/CBS Sports Network

 

7pm-11pm

Men’s Third Round/Women’s Round of 16

Tennis Channel

 

11pm-6am

US Open Tonight

Tennis Channel

 

Mon. 9/1

6am-11am

Breakfast at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

10am-11am

Today at the US Open

CBS Sports Network

 

11am-6pm

Round of 16

CBS/CBS Sports Network

 

7pm-11pm

Primetime at the US Open: Round of 16

ESPN2

 

11pm-6am

US Open Tonight

Tennis Channel

 

Tue. 9/2

6am-10:30am

Breakfast at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

10:30am-11am

Live at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

11am-7pm

Men’s Round of 16/Women’s Quarterfinals

ESPN

 

11am-7pm**

Men’s Round of 16/Various Doubles Matches

Tennis Channel

 

7pm-11pm

Primetime at the US Open: Men’s Round of 16/Women’s Quarterfinal

ESPN

 

11pm-6am

US Open Tonight

Tennis Channel

 

Wed. 9/3

6am-10:30am

Breakfast at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

10:30am-11am

Live at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

11am-7pm**

Doubles/Juniors

Tennis Channel

 

Noon-6pm

Quarterfinals

ESPN

 

6pm-11pm

Primetime at the US Open: Quarterfinals

ESPN2

 

11pm-6am

US Open Tonight

Tennis Channel

 

Thu. 9/4

6am-10:30am

Breakfast at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

10:30am-11am

Live at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

11am-7pm**

Doubles/Juniors

Tennis Channel

 

Noon-6pm

Men’s Quarterfinal/Doubles

ESPN

 

7pm-8pm

Special Doubles Exhibition

Tennis Channel

 

8pm-11pm

Primetime at the US Open: Men’s Quarterfinal

ESPN

 

11pm-6am

US Open Tonight

Tennis Channel

 

Fri. 9/5

6am-11am

Breakfast at the US Open

Tennis Channel

 

12:30pm-6pm

Mixed Doubles Final/Women’s Singles Semifinals

CBS

 

6pm-7am

US Open Daily Match Encores

Tennis Channel

 

Sat. 9/6

7am-11am

US Open Daily Match Encores

Tennis Channel

 

Noon-6pm

Men’s Singles Semifinals/Women’s Doubles Final

CBS

 

6pm-8pm

US Open Daily Match Encores

Tennis Channel

 

8pm-2am

US Open Daily Match Encores

Tennis Channel

 

Sun. 9/7

6:30am-12:30pm

US Open Daily Match Encores

Tennis Channel

 

12:30pm-2:30pm

Men’s Doubles Final

ESPN2

 

4:30pm-7pm

Women’s Singles Final

CBS

 

8:30pm-9:30pm

SportsCenter at the US Open

ESPN2

 

9:30pm-1:30am

US Open Daily Match Encores

Tennis Channel

 

Mon. 9/8

9am-5pm

US Open Daily Match Encores

Tennis Channel

 

5pm-8pm

Men’s Singles Final

CBS

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John McEnroe Expands Role at ESPN to that of Radio Show Host

John McEnroe

(February 17, 2014) ESPN tennis analyst and Hall of Famer John McEnroe will expand his role beyond tennis to include year-round, non-tennis appearances on television and radio.  The 17-time Major winner (seven in singles, nine in doubles, one in mixed doubles) has worked the US Open for ESPN since 2009 and Wimbledon since 2012.

 

In addition to his work on tennis, McEnroe will serve as an analyst on SportsCenter discussing major topics of all sorts and handling sit-down interviews with top sports stars.  He also will make regular appearances on ESPN2’s Olbermann and on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike, also seen weekday mornings on ESPN2.  In addition, he also will also be heard on ESPN Radio New York (98.7 FM).

 

“Before John was a superstar in tennis, he was a sports fan…with sharp opinions and wit, as we’ve seen on our tennis productions,” said John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, programming and production.  “His no-holds barred insights and personality will enliven whatever program or platform he is on,”

 

John McEnroe said, “I am excited about my expanded role with ESPN.  It should be interesting and fun, as a life-long sports fan, to be able to voice my opinions on a variety of sports programs and forums, alongside some of the most talented people in the industry. The broad platform offered by ESPN makes it the perfect place for me to bring my point of view to all sports, not just tennis. ”

 

McEnroe won 77 singles titles in his career, highlighted by four US Open titles and three at Wimbledon.  He also won 10 more major championships in doubles or mixed doubles.  Although a loss, his five-set duel with Bjorn Borg in the 1980 Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Final – highlighted by McEnroe surviving an 18-16 fourth set tiebreak – is one of the most memorable events in tennis history.  An avid Davis Cup participant, he led the U.S. to five championships and later served as the team’s captain.  He also won the NCAA singles and team titles while attending Stanford.  In 2010, John founded the John McEnroe Tennis Academy in his hometown of New York City, where he is now working daily to develop the next great group of American tennis players.

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ESPN’s 30 for 30 to Air Jimmy Connors Documentary “This is What They Want “ Premiering October 29

JimmyConnors

(October 23, 2013) ESPN Films’  30 for 30 film series continues next week with This is What They Want premiering Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. The film focuses on former tennis icon Jimmy Connors’ surprising and exciting run during the 1991 US Open in the twilight of his career.

 

When Jimmy Connors arrived in New York for the 1991 US Open, the one-time tennis superstar was 8 years removed from his last Grand Slam singles title, ranked 174th in the world and approaching his 39th birthday.  Not exactly a recipe for success.  But on the verge of a quick first-round exit, Connors suddenly and unexpectedly re-captured the magic, embarking on a stirring and extraordinary run than included an epic contest with Aaron Krickstein on his way to the semifinals.  This is What They Want not only illuminates this highly improbably march past a series of talented and youthful adversaries, it also explores how Connors became a polarizing and provocative personality who helped make tennis a high-octane spectator sport.

 

This is What They Want is directed by Brian Koppelman and David Levien, who have been writing, directing and producing movies since 1997. Among their films are Rounders, Solitary Man, Oceans Thirteen, The Illusionist, and Runner, Runner. This is What They Want features interviews from former tennis players John and Patrick McEnroe, Mary Carillo, Jim Courier and Aaron Krickstein.

 

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Rafael Nadal Stars in New “This is SportsCenter” Commercial

(September 10, 2013) To celebrate Rafael Nadal’s US Open victory, ESPN debuted its latest addition to the award-winning “This is SportsCenter”  franchise with a spot that features the Spanish champion.  Filmed in both English and Spanish, it is now running on both ESPN and ESPN Deportes. following Nadal’s 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Novak Djokovic to claim his 13th major title.

During the 30-second ad, named “Candy Dish,” SportsCenter anchors John Anderson and Bram Weinstein speculate about what makes the Spanish player so popular in the office.  Turns out Nadal’s exotic accent, great tan and dashing looks are not necessarily what is driving all the foot traffic to his cube. It might instead have something to do with what he keeps in the US Open Trophy on his desk.  ESPN Deportes’ SportsCenter anchors Alvaro Morales, Jorge Eduardo Sánchez and Carolina Padrón appear in the Spanish-language version.

 

This is the second spot in the campaign, following Robinson Cano’s “Handshakes,” to be released in English and in Spanish.

 

Wieden + Kennedy New York is the creative agency for the This is SportsCenter campaign. The overall initiative, a cornerstone of ESPN’s brand since 1995, gives fans an inside peek at the Bristol, Conn., campus, where athletes, mascots and anchors interact in the center of the sports universe.

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ESPN to Receive Cullman Award from International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum

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NEWPORT, R.I., September 4, 2013– On Friday, September 6, the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum will gather hundreds of tennis enthusiasts and industry leaders at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City for The Legends Ball presented by BNP Paribas, an annual social event that celebrates tennis and honors some of the sport’s greatest champions and contributors. A highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Award to ESPN, in recognition of the company’s longstanding commitment to the sport. George Bodenheimer, executive chairman of ESPN, Inc. will accept the award on behalf of the organization. Bodenheimer served as ESPN president when the company first acquired rights to Wimbledon and the US Open.

 

In addition to celebrating ESPN, The Legends Ball presented by BNP Paribas will also pay tribute to a host of tennis luminaries including Rod Laver, who will receive the Eugene L. Scott Award and the International Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 2013- former world No. 1 Martina Hingis, Australian tennis great Thelma Coyne Long, and dedicated tennis industry leaders Cliff Drysdale, Charlie Pasarell, and Ion Tiriac.

 

“ESPN’s dedicated coverage and innovative tennis programming has been integral in keeping fans engaged in tennis and helping to grow the sport around the world,” said Christopher E. Clouser, chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. “They have shown a steadfast commitment to tennis, and we look forward to recognizing their dedication and support at The Legends Ball.”

On September 7, 1979 at 7 pm, the sports world was changed forever when a first-of-its-kind cable network dedicated strictly to sports burst onto the airwaves. Curious viewers tuned in to hear ESPN anchor Lee Leonard say, “If you love sports…if you really love sports, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to sports heaven.” Moments later, his co-anchor George Grande announced the first score ever reported on SportsCenter- Chris Evert’s victory over Billie Jean King at the US Open.

 

Exactly one week later, ESPN aired their first tennis telecast, a Davis Cup tie between the United States and Argentina featuring John McEnroe and Guillermo Vilas, with Cliff Drysdale on the call. In the 34 years since, the network has brought the sport’s biggest matches and most dramatic moments from tennis courts around the world into the living rooms of millions of tennis fans.

 

With each passing tennis season, ESPN has displayed its steadfast commitment to the sport, developing an astute on-air team, constantly adding more hours of coverage, creating innovative digital platforms, and celebrating tennis’ rich history through fascinating special programming.

 

The network that has done so much for tennis is showing no signs of slowing down. Already the complete rights holder for the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and a broadcaster of Roland Garros, in 2015 ESPN will add the complete US Open rights and coverage to their tennis repertoire. While tennis has undoubtedly benefited from an exceptional relationship with ESPN since the network’s birth, the new opportunities brought forth with the US Open partnership means the best may still be yet to come.

 

The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Award honors an exceptional company that shares Joe Cullman’s enthusiasm for tennis and has also made a significant contribution to society at large – both philanthropically and through outstanding generosity of spirit. Cullman served as President and Chairman of the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum from 1982-88, a tenure during which the organization was elevated to worldwide recognition. He hoped that visits to the historic site would inspire young people to play tennis, learn and appreciate its history, and honor the great players of the past.

 

The Legends Ball, held annually since 1980, brings the tennis world together to celebrate the history of the game and honor some of the sport’s great contributors all while raising money for the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum.

 

The Legends Ball presented by BNP Paribas is co-chaired by John Arnhold, chairman and CIO of First Eagle Investment Management, and his wife Jody; Claudio Del Vecchio, chairman and CEO of Brooks Brothers Group, Inc., and his wife Debra; Jim Goldman, president and CEO  of Godiva Chocolatier, Inc., and his wife Gigi; and Eric Zinterhofer, founder of Searchlight Capital Partners, LLC and chairman of the board of Charter Communications, Inc., and his wife, Aerin.

A host of Hall of Fame tennis legends are expected to participate in the evening’s festivities. Joining Laver, Hingis, Drysdale, and Pasarell will be Hall of Famers Tracy Austin, Chris Evert, Monica Seles, Gigi Fernandez, Pam Shriver, Martina Navratilova, Peachy Kellmeyer, Stan Smith, Bud Collins, Vic Seixas, Dick Savitt, Donald Dell, Jan Kodes, Russ Adams, Owen Davidson, and Butch Buchholz.

 

A silent and live auction at the event will feature once-in-a-lifetime, exclusive experiences including ticket and travel packages to Grand Slam events; luxury travel packages; and priceless items including tickets to the Grammy Awards; Owner’s Box seats for a Celtics game; autographed memorabilia; and much more.

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ESPN, ESPN2 to Switch Roles Tuesday for “Cross Court Coverage”

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ESPN to Show Court One with Lisicki vs. Kanepi, USA’s Stephens vs. 2007 Finalist Bartoli

 

(July 1, 2013) ESPN and ESPN2 will switch roles for “Cross Court Coverage” from Wimbledon tomorrow, Tuesday, July 2, with ESPN focusing on the two Ladies’ Quarterfinals matches on Court One:  No. 23 seed Sabine Lisicki of Germany vs. Kaia Kanepi of Estonia, followed by the last remaining American in singles competition, No. 17 seed Sloane Stephens vs. 2007 finalist Marion Bartoli of France, the No. 15 seed.  ESPN will still go on the air at 8 a.m. ET / 5 a.m. PT.  The big-serving Lisicki ousted No. 1 seed and heavily favored Serena Williams in Monday’s play.

 

ESPN2 will now focus on Centre Court, starting at 7 a.m. ET / 4 a.m. PT – last year’s runner-up, No. 4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland vs. No. 20 Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium.

 

The action in London will culminate with the semifinals July 4-5, the Ladies’ Championship on Saturday, July 6, and the Gentlemen’s on Sunday, July 7.

 

Date Time (ET) Event Network
Tue, July 2 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Ladies’ Quarterfinals,

Centre Court

ESPN2 / ESPN3 Live
8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Ladies’ Quarterfinals,

Court One

ESPN / ESPN3 Live
Wed, July 3 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals,

Court One

ESPN2 / ESPN3 Live
8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals,

Centre Court

ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live
Thur, July 4 7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live
8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Ladies’ Semifinals ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live
Fri, July 5 7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live
8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Gentlemen’s Semifinals ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live
Sat, July 6 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live
9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Ladies’ Final ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live
3 – 6 p.m. Ladies’ Final ABC Tape
Sun, July 7 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live
9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Gentlemen’s Final ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live
3 – 6 p.m. Gentlemen’s Final ABC Tape

* – ESPN3 will start at 6:30 a.m. ET each day July 1 – 5

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2013 French Open U.S. Television Schedule

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All times Eastern

Sunday, May 26
5-10 am- First round, ESPN2
10 am-3-30 pm- First round, Tennis Channel
Noon-3 pm- First round, NBC
Monday, May 27
5-10 am- First round, ESPN2
10 am-3-30 pm- First round, Tennis Channel
Noon-3 pm- First round, NBC
Tuesday, May 28
5-10 am- First round, ESPN2
10 am-3-30 pm- First round, Tennis Channel
Wednesday, May 29
5-10 am- Second round, ESPN2
10 am-3-30 pm- Second round, Tennis Channel
Thursday, May 30
5-10 am- Second round, ESPN2
10 am-3-30 pm- Second round, Tennis Channel
Friday, May 31
5-10 am- Third round, ESPN2
10 am-3-30 pm- Third round, Tennis Channel
Saturday, June 1
5 am-Noon- Third round, Tennis Channel
Noon-3 pm- Third round, NBC
Sunday, June 2
5 am-1 pm- Round of 16, Tennis Channel
1-4 pm- Round of 16, NBC
Monday, June 3
5-10 am- Round of 16, ESPN2
10 am-3-30 pm- Round of 16, Tennis Channel
Tuesday, June 4
8 am-1 pm- Quarterfinals, Tennis Channel
1-7 pm- Quarterfinals (live and same-day tape), ESPN2
Wednesday, June 5
8 am-1 pm- Quarterfinals, ESPN2
Thursday, June 6
9 am-2 pm- Women’s semifinals, ESPN2
11 am-2 pm- Women’s semifinals, NBC
Friday, June 7
7 am-11 am- Men’s Semifinal, Tennis Channel
11 am-2 pm- Men’s semifinal, NBC
Saturday, June 8
9 am-1 pm- Women’s final, NBC
Sunday, June 9
9 am-2 pm- Men’s final, NBC

Related articles:

ESPN Broadcast Schedule for the 2013 French Open

Tennis Channel Announces 2013 French Open Broadcast Schedule

NBC Sports French Open Schedule

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“On The Call” with John and Patrick McEnroe

Patrick McEnroe

On Friday ESPN’s John and Patrick McEnroe discussed the US Open on a media conference call which begins Monday, August 27, with extensive coverage on ESPN2 and ESPN3.

 

Q.  Doing a story on your brother, Mark.  For both of you what does he bring to his job at the academy?  And what part do you expect him to play in the debate about the future of American tennis and where the next great tennis start is going to come from?

PATRICK McENROE:  Well, he can get in line to get into the debate.  I mean, we are all enjoying that.  Mark has been the big man until the middle for many years and I’m happy he’s in the game.  I’m very happy that John got himself into the game.  John put his money where his mouth is by doing his own thing and his own academy and that’s awesome for tennis and New York in general.

 

For Mark, he’s a pretty darned good tennis player, so the fact that he’s working alongside John is great for him and great for the family.  And I know John feels pretty good having him alongside, and I know I feel pretty good when I take my little daughter up there for lessons and he takes care of it, so it’s all good.

 

JOHN McENROE:  At my club over in Randall’s Island; it’s nice to have someone you trust who also loves the sport.  As Patrick pointed out, being the middle brother, he can bridge the gap of Patrick and I on any issues that I think in the long run is going to help all of us.  I’m looking forward to hopefully the situation where all of us work together, not just the two of us.

Q.  Given his background, Wall Street lawyer and working in hedge funds and stuff like that ‑‑

PATRICK McENROE:  I’m not going to hold that against him.

Q.  Do you think that helps in bringing in a different perspective a little bit?

JOHN McENROE:  Well, I think that strictly from the managerial standpoint, he’s a smart guy and being a lawyer, he can help me with things that other, quote, unquote, tennis guys wouldn’t be able to.  As far as whether or not it helps in the sort of world of tennis, I honestly can’t say that you can make a determination that because he was around Wall Street or involved with hedge funds that that necessarily makes him better equipped to deal with the politics that goes along with tennis or the sport itself.  I mean, I think that’s a bit of a stretch.

Q.  I wanted to ask you for your thoughts on the men’s field, in particular, of the top three seeds, who do you see as the favorite, and who among them do you think has more at stake or maybe just a word about what each respectively kind of has at stake in the last slam of the year.

JOHN McENROE:  Yeah, I was just going to say that to me, the three of them ‑‑ I almost think that you can make an argument for all three.  I think it’s very close.  They are sort of all ‑‑ it would be hard to pick one of them right now, because you can make an argument for any one of them.  I can say that as far as what’s at stake, I think Murray has got the most at stake, because, yes, he’s won this Olympic thing, but I think it’s pretty universally understood that it’s not quite ‑‑ while it’s become more important obviously in the fact that it was at Wimbledon was helpful, it’s not thought of I think in the same way as the slams.

 

So I don’t think the burr is off him but I’m hoping that it can break the ice so to speak and he can win some slams.  I think he has the most to loss and the most to gain at this point.  Before the Olympics, it was between the three guys, you know, obviously Rafa is not here; who would win and then become No. 1.

 

But now the way it pans out, it’s conceivable that Murray could make an argument were he to win this, and then have a strong season, and, say, win the Masters, there’s a possibility that you could say he’s the best player in the world this year.  To me that’s an unbelievable upside.  In some ways Roger has accomplished ‑‑ I thought he would win another major and be back at No. 1.  He’s proved a lot of people wrong there.

 

Djokovic obviously has this year, greatest year in 40 years, and he’s not been really at the same level.  Yet, he’s still for a guy who has really had not as good a year as he had last year, is still in the mix; if he were to win this, he could be No. 1 again and will be No. 1.  So that’s quite a nice thing for him, as well.

 

PATRICK McENROE:  I think that obviously this year, in particular, I think it’s pretty cool that he’s got No. 1 really up for grabs in The Open at the first time in a while. As to John’s point, career‑wise, Murray has the most at stake because he just has not won one.  But for a different year, they have all got a lot at stake because you can easily make the case that if any one of the three wins it, they will and should be No. 1 for the year.  Obviously there’s still tennis to be played post the Open, but certainly either Roger or Djokovic win this, they are No. 1 this year because they have won two Majors.

 

I think Roger is probably a slight favorite, just because I think that having won Wimbledon again and gotten back to No. 1, I feel like watching him in Cincinnati, which I know is slightly different than a US Open, that he’s sort of playing with no pressure at all.  He’s sort of playing with house money, because he has not won one for so long, and to keep ‑‑ for him, he kind of got the monkey off his back and then he had not won for three years.

 

So I think when he plays with that sort of freedom and abandon, he’s very, very dangerous.  You know, he’s obviously the most talented player that I’ve ever seen, so I think when he can play with that kind of freedom, it makes him that much tougher to beat.

 

Now, that being said, I think the conditions here with the tournament being back‑loaded for the last couple of days, I think that makes it a little bit trickier for him with potentially to potentially beat Murray and then Novak back‑to‑back on hard courts with a lot of heat or maybe wind or rain delays, things like that.  So I think that’s sort of the X‑factor for Federer.  But from a pure tennis standpoint of what I’ve seen the last three months, I would call him the favorite.

Q.  It seems like this year, Federer, there’s just been a little bit of a flip flop.  Djokovic was obviously so dominant last year and Federer, we were talking about, will he ever win another one; and now it seems like he’s No. 1 again.  Do you think that’s more that Federer is playing better or Djokovic is not playing as well?  And the second question I wanted to ask is about Serena, and obviously once again, as we always say, when she feels like it and when she plays well, there’s nobody that can beat her and all this.  What do you think of this Kerber, this German woman who has been playing well; do you think that she’s someone we should be watching or do you think Serena is just going to kind of roll over everybody again?

JOHN McENROE:  I’ll go first.  Federer is playing better, I believe, and Djokovic has dropped off a little bit.  And I think Federer prefers a Djokovic match up to Nadal, and it’s the opposite, interestingly enough, with Djokovic.  He seems to prefer to play Nadal right now than Roger.  Some of it was timing, and obviously there’s always a little bit of luck that goes into it, such as the roof closing when they played at Wimbledon, things of that nature.

 

But the match‑up seems to suit Roger, and he seems to be more comfortable in that situation.  And it was hard to keep up, for anyone to keep up that level, because Djokovic had pushed all year towards becoming the first guy since Laver to hold all four slams at the same time.  When he lost that final where he almost had a chance to get back in and win, I think there was a letdown.

 

So, yeah, I think there’s been a shift, but Djokovic, as Patrick rightly pointed out, would still be No. 1 if he wins this.  I think he’s really sort of had some time to sort of get over the frustration, not a lot of time obviously, because the Olympics definitely complicates things.  But he had a couple tough losses there and lost to Roger at Wimbledon.  He sucked it up and played a couple of the hard courts and he’s got a week here.  I think he’s definitely feeling like he should win this thing.

 

As far as Kerber, I’ve watched Kerber play for the last couple years and she’s someone to me who is an extremely smart tennis player.  She knows the game and she knows how to sort of ‑‑ she’s like sort of a natural tennis thinker.

 

However; if, Serena, to me, is mentally and physically ready to play and into it, I don’t think there’s a player alive that can beat her right now.  Now, of course she’s only won one slam in the last few years, so it’s not as if she’s been ‑‑ I think there’s been seven straight different women winning slams, I believe, or something close to that.  And Kerber is someone who is one of those that if she catches you on an off‑day can beat anyone, but I don’t see her with the type of firepower needed to go all the way.

 

PATRICK McENROE:  I think Serena is obviously the favorite, but I think there’s more that can go wrong in the US Open for her than certainly at Wimbledon.  And what I mean by that is she’s ‑‑ it’s interesting reading her article in the New York Times magazine that she’s got a little something in her head about things going wrong at the US Open, whether it’s the grunting or the line call or the point penalty, etc.

 

So that’s not a good thing for her.  And I think probably more importantly even than that, even though she said she loves hard court and it’s her favorite surface, I think her weakness, obviously there are not many, but when she gets inconsistent can show up a little bit more on a hard court than playing on a grass court where her serve is that much more magnified.  Wind can also hurt her a little bit.

As John said she’s the best out there but seven straight matches ‑‑ even the first week of Wimbledon, you know, she very nearly lost a couple of times.  So if that kind of thing happens again at the US Open, she can be in trouble.  But Kerber is certainly someone that I think can be around in the second week, but I’m amazed at her negative attitude out there that she gets so negative, and yet she’s still able to compete.  I think if she could somehow get a little more positive, that might help her once she gets to the quarters and semis.  And obviously there’s some other young players.

Q.  A lot of people are talking about the change Andy Murray is going through under the guidance of Ivan Lendl.  So my question is about coaching.  What do you need for a player to find the right coach?  Is it a connection that can change a player’s mentality, and can a coach have that much impact?

JOHN McENROE:  Yeah, that’s a great question.  I’m not sure there is an answer, and it obviously depends on an individual and the timing of it.  I mean, Murray has been through a number of coaches, and a number of world‑class coaches.   So this could have ‑‑ it seems to have come at a time, a pretty critical point in his career, where perhaps Ivan had the credibility of someone who had been in a similar situation as Andy, having not won his first four Grand Slams, losing in the finals, and then being one of the great players of all time, Ivan Lendl.

 

So sometimes a player needs to sort of have someone who has been there, done that.  And other times, you could look at other players in the Top‑10, where they have had the same coaches since they were teenagers or even before, and they feel a comfort level.  So it’s wildly unpredictable; when Paul Annacone first started working with Roger, most people assumed he would try to get Roger become more aggressive, particularly against Nadal, maybe come in and take an earlier volley more.

 

Very, very subtle changes; it took years ‑‑ to me, it seems like the reason why Roger won Wimbledon this year was in the finals against Murray, it was one of the greatest volleying performances I’ve ever seen him have, considering he had not been volleying that well beforehand.  So would you say that’s an influence of Paul Annacone finally, or not; it’s hard to say, is the bottom line.

 

But certainly there’s been occasions where a coach can have a fairly significant impact.  There’s other times where you’ve seen some of the other players play without coaches.  Tsonga is without a coach and he’s playing the best tennis of his career.  Federer played for the better part of a few years winning Grand Slams without a coach.  So this is something that is hard to say exactly, but certainly, there’s a handful of people out there that have made a difference with some of the top players.

PATRICK McENROE:  Oh, there’s no doubt it (a new coach) can (help).  I only heard the second half of John’s answer, and I certainly agree a hundred percent with what he said.  Absolutely there’s cases where a coach can give you a burst of energy.  Sometimes you just need to hear a different voice.  Obviously players that are in the top ‑‑ winning tennis matches their entire life.  So they are used to that.  They are used to winning.  But sometimes they just need a different push.

 

In the case of someone like a Murray, he’s someone that brought a little something to the table.  Lendl has experience.  Really, as John said, it depends on the individual and it depends on the relationship between the coach and the player.  I mean, you spend so much time with that person that it’s not necessarily always about X’s and O’s.  It’s about the relationship and the trust that you have and where you are at this stage of your career that you’re willing to say, okay, I’m going to listen to somebody like that.

Q.  Wondering about Andy Murray, do you see anyone early in his run in the draw who could cause a problem?  I know he’s kind of got that out of his system and is going deep in most Majors recently.  Are there any dangers for him early in the draw that you see, any other big guns, any dangerous for them early in the draw?

JOHN McENROE:  Well, I don’t have the draw in front of me but I believe he’s slated to play Raonic in the 16s.  So that would be an example of someone that potentially, I think, could be a problem for any top player.  Just like a guy like John Isner could be if he’s on his game.  These guys that have huge firepower and get you out of your comfort zone.  So that’s the type of a person on a hot day or an off‑day where he’s serving big could provide problems for him or any player.  I look at a player like that and I think to myself, that could be a future top‑five player.          Patrick, do you know who his quarter is?

 

PATRICK McENROE:  I don’t have that in front of me either.

JOHN McENROE:  I believe it’s Tsonga, if I’m not mistaken.  Those are obviously matches in his record, I’m pretty sure it’s Tsonga, and I believe if that is the case, that that would be someone who he has a good record against.  Yeah, of course, he’s the type of player that could obviously beat anyone on a given day, but I think he’s only one in six events against Andy.

 

But more than who he’s playing, it’s actually how ‑‑ I don’t know if there’s anything to what’s happened since the Olympics.  I mean, there’s obviously a big letdown coming straight from there and having to go play.  He was supposed to play Raonic and he pulled out with the knee.  I saw the first match he played in Cincy and I thought he looked good.  He looked like he was moving well and then he lost the next round.  That surprised me.

 

Having said that, he’s much tougher to beat in a longer match, if he’s healthy.  So I still would suspect that if he’s playing as well as ‑‑ because the way he played at the Olympics, I don’t see him not making a serious run and not winning the whole thing.

 

PATRICK McENROE:  I agree, I think he’s probably the most vulnerable of the top three, but that’s not saying a lot because the other guys are pretty much not vulnerable at all, Djokovic and Federer.  Murray still does have those matches where his energy is sort of low and he can be very defensive.  I don’t think he has them as often as he did.  Certainly Lendl has helped him a lot there.  I think he’s a little more vulnerable to a solid guy who is ranked between 15 and 30 upsetting him than Federer and Djokovic are.

Q.  How important is the Olympic title compared to Grand Slam title?  And how are Nadal’s injury problems?

JOHN McENROE:  Those are both good questions.  With Nadal, we are all worried, and we are all hopeful he will make the type of comeback that he made when he injured his knee like three years ago.  When you are talking about one of the greatest to ever play the game, you don’t want to see him have to go out with physical problems before he wants to.  So that goes without saying that everyone is concerned, including myself, that we want to see him back in the mix as soon as possible, because he’s huge for our sport.  And the first part of the question was, what was it again?  I’m sorry.

 

Q.  How important is the Olympic title compared to a Grand Slam title?

JOHN McENROE:  The Olympics started to get some recognition, this is just my opinion, when Agassi won in ’96, he had not really done a whole lot that year for his standards.  He showed that it meant a lot to him, and I think that raised some eyebrows with players that up to that time, and following it even, a lot of the top players, maybe half the top players, if not more, didn’t play.

 

So each Olympics that’s gone by, I think you’ve seen more top players play, perhaps at the expense of Davis Cup, for example.  They picked and choose, and realize it’s only one week or ten days and now it’s one week and they have cut it to two‑out‑of‑three, and there’s something beautiful about the Olympics.

 

I think in the future, there to be a decision made, in my opinion, they should elevate it; if we are going to play it, we should elevate it to something that’s as big as the Grand Slams, which I don’t think it is.   I mean, I know points‑wise, it’s considered to be behind 14 other tournaments, the four Majors and the ten Masters Series.  I find that ludicrous.  But I don’t think that at this point, even though it was nice for Murray and it was a boost at Wimbledon that it’s at the level of the four slams.

 

And it would have to be determined by the powers that be or the players, whether it’s 2016 or 2020, that this will count as a fifth Grand Slam, as an example.  So that in the history books, when you count how many Grand Slams people have won, it would include the Olympics.  Well, maybe you can’t do that.  But to me, that’s the only way it would truly be at the same level as the other slams.

Q.  John, are you looking forward to the exhibition game with Adam Sandler, and how much practice is involved with you and Adam with that?  Will you and Adam be practicing?

JOHN McENROE:  Hopefully.  He may need a little more practice than I do, I’m just guessing.  But yeah, I’m looking forward to it.  It’s going to be fun.  It’s Thursday night, Wednesday or Thursday, that’s right before men’s quarters and that’s a big time for our men as it winds down to the top couple players.

 

PATRICK McENROE:  Let me just say, John, since he won’t be able to be in the broadcast booth for that match, I’m hoping Will Ferrell will come up and join me.

 

JOHN McENROE:  Well, you know, you may know this, Pat, Will was originally involved but I guess he decided he would rather broadcast a match with you.  They have got Kevin James, who obviously he’s got a sense of humor, too, and Adam.  So I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.  If I don’t break too much of a sweat, I’ll try to get up there for that match with you.

Q.  Have you ever played with him before?  Are you friends?

JOHN McENROE:  I would like to consider myself a friend.  He’s been nice enough to put me in for his movies, not regularly by any means.  I would like to consider myself as a friend to some degree.  Think he’s a great guy.  But I have not been on a tennis court with him, never.

Q.  That is exciting and we are looking forward to that.

JOHN McENROE:  I’ll be nervous but I’ll be less nervous than him in this case, because there will probably be 10,000 or 15,000, and I’m a little more used to it on a tennis court than he is.  Hopefully I won’t be the one to lay an egg but I’m confident that we’re going to get it done.

 

THE MODERATOR:  For folks who are not familiar with what they are talking about, the second Thursday of the tournament, 7:00 on ESPN2, Adam Sandler and John will team against Kevin James and Jim Courier in an exhibition doubles match for charity, and comedian Colin Quinn will be the chair umpire and will no doubt have his hands full.

Q.  A lot of players are doing better these days it seems, after the age of 30.  How does a pro train, eat and compete differently when you get to that point of your career and draw back on your own histories, if you could.

JOHN McENROE:  Well, I’ll start.  I wasn’t one of those guys that got better with age, so I do sort of look at what’s happening today and sort of feel like, wow, it would be good to be sort of around a time where you have more knowledge about the training, the best training to do on and off the court, what to eat, how to recover, etc.

 

And so you see basically players with teams around him now.  And so that every little detail is executed to the highest possible degree; and it sort of would be nice to feel like at a later age ‑‑ I think that in a nutshell, is because of the knowledge and the ability to sort of make decisions pretty quickly that will help the player, a, improve, or b, recover, is why you saw more 30‑year‑olds and older than ever playing at Wimbledon this year.

I think that’s good because you are able to appreciate even more what you’ve accomplished and better able to handle what goes along with it.  So I’m actually happy to see that this is becoming more of a trend than ever.

 

PATRICK McENROE:  I would just add to that that I think it’s not only the top, top players; that obviously can afford to have a coach and trainer and hitting partner, but it’s players that are not even necessarily at the top, top of the game.  Tommy Haas obviously was a Top‑5 player, but even guys below him, you know, are still playing into their early 30s that don’t have a full‑time.

 

I think that’s just realizing the off‑court training is more important as you get older, taking care of your body, doing the off‑court fitness, stretching.  So get to the point where the tennis side of it isn’t as important as the hours that you spend on the court.  But I think a lot of these players spend as much time, if not more, sort of preparing to play, preparing to practice, and doing off‑court work to keep their bodies as fit as possible.  I think it’s great for tennis but it’s not great for the young guys trying to break in.  It used to be that 17, 18, 19 years old, you were breaking through and winning Majors.  Now, you can barely get a teenager in the top hundred in the men’s game.

Q.  Specifically to Roger, what has he done both on the court and from what you may know off the court, his training, to maintain this level?

JOHN McENROE:  I don’t know the specifics of that, but I do know that Roger was someone who trained a lot harder than people realise.  He had a place in the Far East, the Middle East, excuse me, in Dubai, and trained in extreme conditions, hot conditions.  And I’m going under the assumption to some degree, but I don’t know this for sure, exactly what Patrick said is what he’s doing.  He’s maximizing sort of his off‑court training to subsidize what he does on the court, because his body ‑‑ he would be a perfect example to test out, because he’s 31 and he’s now participating, I believe, in his 52nd consecutive major.  So if there’s ever a guy to look at and see what he’s doing, that should be studied for sure.

 

PATRICK McENROE:  Obviously what makes Federer so great, obviously his ability, his talent, but his work ethic and his ability to brush off both the wins and the losses.  That’s what’s been to me the most amazing thing that he’s had these sort of crushing losses in big matches, whether it was Djokovic last year in the Open where he could easily look back and say, man, a couple of swings here or there, and I would have 21 majors.

 

But he somehow managed to just let it happen, no big deal, I’m moving on, I’ll playing well; he never dwells on either the negative or the positive.  I think he certainly uses the positive when he gets on a roll and gets the confidence going.              That’s why I think coming into this year’s Open, he’s going to be very, very tough to beat, because I feel like he’s playing with more confidence than he’s had in a couple of years.  Obviously when he didn’t have the utmost of confidence, you could still play him as the No. 2 or No. 3 player in the world.

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