January 20, 2017

On The Call: ESPN / Australian Open Conference Call with Chris Evert and Patrick McEnroe

Patrick McEnroe

(January 11, 2017) ESPN tennis analysts Chrissie Evert and Patrick McEnroe spoke with media Wednesday about the Australian Open, which starts Sunday, Jan. 15 (Monday in Melbourne), with 100 live hours over two weeks including the usual marathon overnight telecasts on ESPN television and 1,400 on WatchESPN that includes every match – singles, doubles and juniors, culminating with the women’s and men’s championships.  Highlights of the call, followed by the full transcript:

 

Soundbites:

On:  The State of Serena

  • This is a woman with pride and ego and used to being No. 1, used to being the queen at the top. I’m sure that’s going to be motivation for her, not liking to see another name up there…I don’t think it’s a matter of if she’s going to win another Grand Slam, I think it’s when, and I think it will happen this year.” – Evert

On: The State of U.S. Tennis.

  • At one point we had hardly any American players in the top 100. Now women-wise anyway, we have 17. I think that’s more than any other. So we’ve got the depth. Congratulations, U.S. tennis. We have the depth, but where is that Grand Slam champion?” – Evert
  • There’s a group of seven or eight players, American men, 21 or under, that can be legit Grand Slam players.  Out of that group, none of them are ready to be a Grand Slam winner or compete for a title at this point, except for maybe (Jack) Sock. I think within the next two years, it is finally realistic to say we might have someone come out of that group that could do it.” – McEnroe

 

On:  Which is the bigger issue in tennis, PEDs or match fixing?

  • I’m going to say unequivocally match fixing is a big threat to any sport, not just tennis, but the integrity of that sport. That’s not in any way to minimize PEDs, what they can do…I think tennis generally has a better handle on the PED situation with the testing that’s done….The match fixing thing clearly is a huge problem potentially, but I don’t think it’s a huge problem at the highest level of tennis. I think it’s proven to be a problem that definitely is significant at the low levels of tennis, the minor leagues, so to speak, the challengers, et cetera. That has to be gotten more under control.” – McEnroe

 

On:  What’s the one thing you would change about tennis?

  • Because I’m a TV girl now, I think more access to the players. I still don’t think it’s a bad idea to interview a player after a first set or after a second set. I think that’s very do-able. I think it’s progressive thinking.  We’re really kind of in the Dark Ages when it comes to getting the players out there, just having a little more buzz about the players. I think on TV I’d like to see more coaches being interviewed.” – Evert
  • When we say the match starts at 7 p.m., it’s actually going to start at 7 p.m., not 7:13, which is basically what happens because the officials don’t have the gonads to tell the top players what to do.” – McEnroe

 

  1. I’ll start with some big names. What are your expectations for Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for this tournament? They both said they want to play two to three more years. Patrick, do you see that happening? How long do you see both those players playing? What do you see from those two? What are your expectations? How long do you think they’ll keep playing?
    McENROE: Let’s hope they keep playing like 20 more years because they’ve been unbelievable for tennis. They’re two of the all time greats, two of the all-time class acts in men’s tennis.

    Let me address the first part of your question.  I don’t realistically expect either of them to be holding up the trophy at the end of the tournament. I think probably if they took a truth test, they’d probably agree with that. But being as great as they are, I would guess three, four matches, wins under their belt, they’ll think they have a chance to win it.  I think realistically getting to the second week should be their initial goal. Obviously seeing how they’re doing as they progress, the expectations would rise for them. I don’t expect either of them to be able to hold the trophy, particularly when you look at just the way Djokovic and Murray have looked in the last couple years, and have also started out the year.  They played a great match already against each other in the Middle East. I’d really have to convince myself that they could pull something extraordinary to beat one or two of those guys in best-of-five sets, not to mention the rest of the field and the other players, the younger guys coming up like Thiem, Zverev, guys like that. I think it’s going to be tough for them to do that.

    I think it’s realistic for both of them to play two, three more years. Obviously for Roger it’s a little more precarious because of his age. Overall he said he had the surgery so he could give himself the opportunity to do that. As long as they’re playing at a relatively high level, and I think that’s really the key for those two guys, if the next year neither one of them makes the semis of a major, would they be willing to continue to play if they’re not a top five or even a top ten player. I would probably say that Roger is more likely to continue to play because he just loves to play so much. That’s something only they can answer personally.

    Q. We head into 2017 with the old question. We’re talking about players who aren’t American. Is there anybody on the horizon that looks like they could be somebody that we’re going to be talking about?
    EVERT: I love your expressions when you ask that question. Is there anyone? Oh, boy (laughter).  Yes, this is the question. At one point we had hardly any American players in the top 100. Now women-wise anyway, we have 17. I think that’s more than any other. So we’ve got the depth. Congratulations, U.S. tennis. We have the depth, but where is that Grand Slam champion?  To me, I’ve always looked at Madison Keys, only because of the power. To me, she matches Serena’s power, on the groundstrokes, on the first serve for sure. When I look at a surface like grass, Wimbledon, she to me is potentially a Wimbledon champion.  In saying that, yes, a lot of things have to happen. She has to be more mature. She has to be smarter on the court. As far as raw talent, she’s got the weapons to win a major.

    As far as any other woman is concerned right now, I wouldn’t put my money on anybody else in American tennis. But the progress that has been made is the fact that we do have depth and we do have a lot of Americans in the top 100. I guess that’s the first step to getting a Grand Slam champion.

    McENROE: Well, the short answer to your question is no. That’s the short answer. I agree with Chrissie on Madison Keys. She’s not playing in Australia. We hope she gets to be 100%. I think having Lindsay Davenport back in her camp will be a positive.

    As far as the men go, there’s nobody. I mean, there’s nobody that can realistically win one. Certainly Jack Sock has made a lot of strides. I expect him to continue to make strides to where he could, I believe, threaten to be a top-10 player. If his backhand gets 25% better, he’s the type of player that could go deep in a major. That’s a big ‘if’, but he’s definitely gotten fitter, stronger. Mentally he’s better than he’s been.  To sort of echo what Chrissie said on the women’s side, on the men’s side, there’s not as many numbers as the women, but for the first time for 15 or 20 years, we’ve got a group of players that can all legitimately be top 100, maybe top 50, and maybe a couple of them could be top-10 players. That’s Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz, Michael Mmoh, Tommy Paul, Stefan Kozlov, Reilly Opelka, Noah Rubin, Escobedo. There’s a group of seven or eight players, American men, 21 or under, that can be legit Grand Slam players.  Out of that group, none of them are ready to be a Grand Slam winner or compete for a title at this point, except for maybe Sock. I think within the next two years, it is finally realistic to say we might have someone come out of that group that could do it.  The worst-case scenario is I think we’re going to have multiple players flooding the top 100, which as Chrissie said is the first step. There’s nobody here that you can see is a threat to win this title, no.

    Q. On the women’s side, Serena, what do you think getting engaged will have as far as an effect on her? On the men’s side, by Novak’s standards, had a little bit of a slip toward the end of last season while Andy Murray went on that big run. Do you think that sort of makes their rivalry even more interesting now that their positions are swapped?
    EVERT: As far as Serena, that remains to be seen. You can’t predict when somebody gets engaged. It can go one of two ways. It can be a very pleasant distraction. You can lose your focus a little bit at the task at hand. Or it can be so inspiring, you feel so good, that you’re more settled. You really are in a really good place emotionally, and your tennis can improve. We’ve seen it both ways in tennis players. I don’t think we can predict that.  In saying that, you know, the one good thing coming into the year, Serena seems to be healthy. She was fighting all kinds of things. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another. The shoulder. If it wasn’t the shoulder, it was something else.

    She had a long break, took the fall off. I’m sure, knowing her, you can only do so many appearances, endorsements. She was champing at the bit to get back competing. I think it’s motivation for her she’s ranked No. 2. This is a woman with pride and ego and used to being No. 1, used to being the queen at the top. I’m sure that’s going to be motivation for her, not liking to see another name up there.  So if she’s healthy, she’s happy, I don’t worry about the fact that she already lost a match, because basically she needs a couple matches to really get into it. I don’t think it’s a matter of if she’s going to win another Grand Slam, I think it’s when, and I think it will happen this year.

    McENROE: I don’t think the engagement will have anything to do with how Serena does. I’ll add to what Chrissie said. I think because of how little she played, this happened last year as well, she made it to the final, or the year before, she’ll be susceptible early in the tournament because of that. If she can get through the first couple of rounds, obviously she’ll be fine, I would expect.

    I’m always excited for the Australian Open because it’s one of my favorite events. I think there’s a lot more buzz this year because of what you said partly, that Murray has taken over No. 1, not by a long shot, but an amazing effort to do that. Djokovic is going to feel like he’s got something to prove, even though he’s had a couple of the greatest years ever in the history of men’s tennis in the last couple years. Then you have Roger and Rafa coming back. You have still the guys knocking on the door, Nishikori. We haven’t mentioned Wawrinka, who has had an unbelievable couple years. He got down there early this year. There’s no reason he can’t make a big run there. He loves the conditions there.

    The younger guys…Thiem had a great year in 2016. He could be a factor. Again, Zverev is a great young player. I think Kyrgios could definitely be a factor, although you wonder about him health-wise, how fit he is. Obviously mentally is another story.  I think there’s a lot of storylines for the men. I do think that having Murray come in there as the No. 1 player, having never won down there, and Djokovic has really been the man the last four, five, six years in Australia, that adds a little extra spice to it in addition to those other guys coming back.

    Q. How do you see Murray and Kerber handling the pressure being world No. 1? It’s the second year in a row the tournament is starting with a match fixing story that hit before it began. Do you think that match fixing is a bigger threat to tennis than PED use? What one do you think tennis has more effectively addressed?
    EVERT: I’ll take the easy way out and go with the Kerber question.  The thing about Kerber, there’s a saying that it’s easier to get to No. 1, it’s harder to stay there. I think she’s going to be tested. I think it’s going to be interesting to see how mentally tough she’s going to become and how she’s going to fend off the competition, because there’s some dangerous players: Pliskova, Muguruza, Konta. Very much like the men, you have really like 15, 20 tough, tough players, and good depth at the top now. Then with Serena, who is going to be even more motivated than before. I think it’s going to really test her toughness.

    But in saying that, when you look at the top 10, I look at the list, to me Kerber is mentally the toughest of all of them, aside from Serena when she’s really focused. Angelique Kerber, her main strengths is her mental toughness, because she improved so much. Years ago, she was the one that was rough on her player box, kind of whining out there. She has improved that so much. So the mental toughness, and her I think physical fitness are the two things that she is head and shoulders really above everyone else.  If anybody can maintain No. 1, I think that she will do it for a while. I think it depends on Serena, how much she wants it, how hungry she is. She’s really going to be the one that’s going to challenge her the most of anyone.

    McENROE: I’m going to say unequivocally match fixing is a big threat to any sport, not just tennis, but the integrity of that sport. That’s not in any way to minimize PEDs, what they can do.  Baseball went through a pretty heavy-duty PED problem. They’ve done okay. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen in tennis. I don’t expect that it will. I think tennis generally has a better handle on the PED situation with the testing that’s done. It could be better, but certainly it’s happened that they’ve been able to manage that and catch people, et cetera.

    The match fixing thing clearly is a huge problem potentially, but I don’t think it’s a huge problem at the highest level of tennis. I think it’s proven to be a problem that definitely is significant at the low levels of tennis, the minor leagues, so to speak, the challengers, et cetera. That has to be gotten more under control. I think the Tennis Integrity Unit is doing what it can do to address that.

    I think part of the issue with this is what I think has been a problem in tennis, as the prize money has grown at the big tournaments, particularly the Grand Slams, it’s to me gotten more and more top-heavy. The top players, meaning the players that win the tournaments, are making exponentially more money than the guy that gets to the third or fourth round. While I certainly believe that Djokovic and Serena certainly deserve to make more in prize money, I don’t believe it’s fair that they make that much more.  I think the prize money distribution at the highest level of the game, it filters down into the rest of the tour events, should be more evenly disbursed, meaning more similar to the way they do it in golf.  Basically now in a Grand Slam tournament, each match you win, essentially your prize money doubles. US Open last year I believe was $40,000 for the first round. People say, Wow, that’s a lot of money. That’s not really that much money when you compare it to what that similarly ranked player in basketball, baseball, soccer or golf around the world makes.

    Look at the prize money that Djokovic and Serena make compared to someone who is, say, No. 10 in the world. I think it’s too significantly different. I think that is something that should be addressed. I think the Grand Slams have the opportunity to be the leaders in this area instead of saying, Hey, look at us, we have the biggest prize money winner check, two and a half or three million dollars. Don’t you think 1.7 is enough, and some of the other money gets filtered down to other players?  The other players could make a lot more money, which they deserve to make, through other tournaments and guarantees, et cetera. I don’t think it needs to be that extreme a difference in the prize money distribution.

    (As for Murray being No. 1) I think Andy will handle being No. 1 just fine. He’s been around long enough to know what it takes. He’s worked extremely hard to get there. Quite honestly, I didn’t think he could get there. I didn’t think he could certainly get there last year. But it was a hell of an effort to do it.  The biggest difference in why he was able to do it was his consistency, being able to win a lot of matches every tournament, to be able to win on clay, which he hadn’t done in the past.  I don’t think he’s going to lose it because he can’t handle being No. 1. I think he’s going to lose it in Djokovic steps up and plays better, which I think is certainly possible.

    EVERT: I think he’s going to be comfortable, very comfortable, at the No. 1 spot because it’s been a gradual progression. It’s not like the guy went from No. 10 to No. 1. He’s been No. 3, he’s been No. 2, and now he’s No. 1. The fact that he’s won Grand Slams already, Grand Slam tournaments, that’s going to help prepare him for the pressure of being No. 1.  I think Patrick said it the best. The same with Kerber. It depends on Serena, it depends on Djokovic, if these two are going to hold onto their spot.

    Q. Maria Sharapova is supposed to return from her suspension the end of April. Do you think she could be top ten again, top five? How do you think the other players will react once she’s back on the circuit?
    EVERT: I have a feeling there’s going to be a little different Maria that’s coming back. I think that she’s had a little bit of a wake-up call as far as living life. I feel like she’s out of her bubble now, as far as she went back to school for a little bit, she’s gotten better in her business, she’s made more appearances, she’s socializing more with her friends.  I feel like it’s sort of a silver lining, this whole taking off the whatever it’s been, 18 months, year and a half. I think she’s going to be a little different. I think she’s going to be more open. I think she’s going to be friendlier. I think that she is going to come back a little more evolved as a person.  This is all me thinking. I don’t even know, okay? But I just have a feeling from what I’m hearing when she does talk and do press conferences, does her exhibitions and this.  Do I think she can be top 10? Absolutely. It’s so close, like I said before, the top 20, 30, it’s so close at the top, there’s no big gap in the top 20 or 30. Could she get back to the top five? I don’t see why not. Absolutely. She’s one of the mentally toughest, along with Serena, probably the mentally toughest player out there, plays every point like it’s match point.  Again, she might have a different approach. She might go out there, she might have been working on her fitness even more so with this time off. She might be having a little more variety in her game. I think life for Maria Sharapova is looking really good on the court and off the court.

    I think the players are going to be fine. I think it depends on her. If she’s going to come back with an open mind and friendlier, I think the players will definitely welcome her back.

    Q. Chrissie, Pat just spoke with his wisdom on having more equal prize money distribution. It’s a new year, but if you could step back and choose one rule or one tradition that you might want to tweak or introduce a new rule or one change, what would that be?
    EVERT: Wow, put me on the spot here. Because I’m a TV girl now, I think more access to the players. I still don’t think it’s a bad idea to interview a player after a first set or after a second set. I think that’s very doable. I think it’s progressive thinking.  We’re really kind of in the Dark Ages when it comes to getting the players out there, just having a little more buzz about the players. I think on TV I’d like to see more coaches being interviewed. I would like that to be mandatory. I think having a player after a set, that would be really good.

    I think we need to improve ratings in every aspect, sort of get more of an audience to appreciate the game and feel like they’re involved in it, see a personality on the court.  I think just the viewership, that would really help. I guess putting my hat on for TV, having that more interesting for the viewer.

    Q. If you could go out and get a selfie with anyone in the world not in your family, who would that be?
    McENROE: First of all, I’m offended that you didn’t let me answer the first question.

    Q. You go, guy.
    EVERT: That’s because you kind of did answer it about the prize money.

    McENROE: I have another one.  I would take the selfie with Chris Evert. That’s what I’m going to do on the plane to Australia tomorrow. I’m going to tweet it out.

    Let me answer the other one, because it’s a quick answer. I think it’s relatively easy to do. It’s already a rule that’s in place. Can we please start to actually pay attention to the time and to the clock. That comes to when we start the match. That comes to after we warm up for the match. We don’t take bathroom breaks. We don’t sit on our chair for two minutes because we’re some great player who can just do whatever they want. We don’t take bathroom breaks every time we lose a set.

    Let’s come up with clear-cut rules, which are already fairly clear, and let’s actually start to penalize players for not abiding by the rules. You can take one bathroom break a match, whatever it is, I think it’s two. When we say ‘time,’ we play, you don’t take a bathroom break. When we say the match starts at 7 p.m., it’s actually going to start at 7 p.m., not 7:13, which is basically what happens because the officials don’t have the gonads to tell the top players what to do.

    Q. What about Nadal’s objection?
    McENROE: I’m not talking about in between points, the shot clock. I’m talking about a simple thing. When we come to the locker room to get you, we tell you we’re going to come five minutes before television comes on, you’re going to walk out and be on the court then and you’ll warm up. If you don’t, guess what, it’s Love-15, then it’s Love-30. People will start paying attention. Unless we just don’t think it matters, we can let the players continue to do whatever they want to do. But I happen to think it matters.

    Q. Chris, selfie with someone, excluding Patrick?
    EVERT: Probably Madonna because I’ve never met her. She’s fearless and totally the opposite of me.

    Q. Some of the rallies in the final between Novak and Andy in Qatar were superhuman. How far do you think they both are ahead of the rest of the pack? Who can realistically stop 2017 being a year defined by their rivalry?
    McENROE: Realistically, I think you’re on to it. I think these two guys are a couple of steps beyond everybody else. That being said, I do think there were signs last year that players were starting to make inroads, like Thiem coming up. He probably still has another year or two to go. Zverev, the younger guys. I don’t know if it’s going to come from the older group like Berdych and Tsonga, Nishikori.

    EVERT: Raonic.

    McENROE: Raonic has made some big steps. He’s a guy that could do it. I’m happy with what I’ve seen from Dimitrov, because I like to watch him play. He could be a big threat this year. I do think at the end of the day, those two guys, because of their movement, their defense, their mental skills, are pretty solidly ahead of the pack. But things can change quickly in tennis. We saw it change between those two the second half of the year. It’s possible that it could change. I still think that Rafa is going to be a serious threat.

    EVERT: I think when I look at Andy and I look at Novak, to me they are the fittest players on the tour, and they’re going to peak when it’s 5-all in the fifth set. When I say that I mean peak physically and mentally. The mental toughness between those two is a level better than anyone else. As Patrick said, no one has better defense and offense, having that combination. No other player covers the court as well, no other player is mentally as tough. They keep pushing each other. It’s like when Martina and I were playing. They’re pushing each other. Novak is working out, training even harder knowing that he’s No. 2, knowing that Murray is training harder.  I think it could pan out to be really a wonderful rivalry. But the exciting thing is, there is Thiem, Kyrgios, Zverev, other exciting players waiting in the wings who I think could upset one of them, but maybe isn’t ready to win four big matches like these two are.

    Q. Paint a bit of a picture of how you and Martina pushed each other along. That was a long-term thing. We know Andy and Novak have been playing each other since they were 11. Can you give us a bit of a flavor of how that works when two players are the best of the field.
    EVERT: It was interesting because it was almost a little easier with Martina and I because we had contrasting styles. I got to work on my volley. I got to work on coming in. I got to work on my physical strength. She already had that. She had to work on the mental side of the game, her groundstrokes, because I already had that.  There were more gaps in our games, kind of more weaknesses in our games that we could work on. With them, they’re so similar in style. Their athleticism, the way they move, they can counter-punch really well. Their defense as well as their offense. They’re so similar.  I guess they just have to continue just to be physically cardiovascularly strong, who is going to be the hungrier, the more eager when they play a match.  Do you understand what I’m saying? There were more gaps with Martina and I that we could work on. With them, they’re so similar, it’s hard to know what they’re going to work on. They just have to keep doing what they’re doing. At the end of the day when they play a match, it might come down to really who is hungrier.

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2017 Australian Open Broadcast Schedule on ESPN

2017 AUSTRALIAN OPEN

(For these charts, all times are Eastern, and each day “begins” at 6 a.m. ET.

Therefore, the listing Mon., Jan. 23, at 3 a.m. ET is actually very late on Monday night.)

 

Date Time (ET) Event Network  
Sun, Jan 15 –

Fri Jan 27

7 p.m. All Courts (up to 16), all day (English)

Multiple Courts

(Spanish)

WatchESPN LIVE
Sat, Jan 28 12 MID Men’s Doubles Championship

Men’s Singles Championship

WatchESPN LIVE
   
Sun, Jan 15 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. Early round play ESPN2 LIVE
Mon, Jan 16 9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Tue, Jan 17 3 – 6 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Wed, Jan 18 3 – 6 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Thu, Jan 19 3 – 6 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  11 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Fri, Jan 20 3 – 6 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Sat, Jan 21 9 a.m. – noon ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 7 a.m. Round of 16 ESPN2 LIVE
Sun, Jan 22 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Mon, Jan 23 3 – 6 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Quarterfinals ESPN2 LIVE
  3 – 6 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Tue, Jan 24 3 – 6 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
9 p.m. – 2 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
  3:30 – 6 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Wed, Jan 25 3 – 6 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9:30 p.m. – 2 a.m. Women’s Semifinals ESPN2 LIVE
  3:30 – 6 a.m. Men’s Semifinal #1 ESPN

ESPN Deportes

LIVE
Thu, Jan 26 2 – 6 p.m. Men’s Semifinal #1 ESPN2 Encore
  3:30 – 6 a.m. Men’s Semifinal #2 ESPN

ESPN Deportes

LIVE
Fri, Jan 27 2 – 6 p.m. Men’s Semifinal #2 ESPN2 Encore
  3 – 5:30 a.m. Women’s Championship ESPN

ESPN Deportes

LIVE
Sat, Jan 28 9 – 11 a.m. Women’s Championship ESPN2 Encore
  3 – 6:30 a.m. Men’s Championship ESPN

ESPN Deportes

LIVE
Sun, Jan 29 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Men’s Championship ESPN2 Encore

 

ESPN Tennis:  New #1’s Kerber, Murray Lead the Fields at First Major of 2017 – Australian Open

  • Two Weeks Start Jan. 15 with 100+ Live Hours on TV plus Afternoon Encores of Overnight Action
  • WatchESPN with 1,400 Hours – Every Singles, Doubles & Juniors Match – Live plus On Demand
  • WTA:  Serena Williams Seeks Major Title #23; Great Opportunity for Someone New to Emerge
  • ATP:  Two-Time Defending Champ Djokovic Seeks 7th Title while Federer, Nadal Return to Action

 

Newly minted top-ranked players Angelique Kerber and Andy Murray will lead the women and men’s fields at the Australian Open on ESPN TV and WatchESPN from start to finish beginning Sunday, Jan. 15.  Over the course of two weeks – culminating with the Women’s and Men’s Championships on January 28 and 29 – ESPN will present more than 100 hours of live television plus 1,400 on WatchESPN and the ESPN App which covers every singles, doubles and juniors match – more than 600 in total.

 

Last year at 28, Kerber surprised the tennis world to capture her first two Major titles – the Australian and US Opens – to end the year the No. 1 player in the world.  Murray – although a member of the ATP’s “Big Four” for many years – won Wimbledon to launch a terrific second half of the year which culminated with his First World Tour Final championship and his first No. 1 ranking.

 

Highlights

  • ESPN2 will present daily, marathon, overnight telecasts from Melbourne (at 7 p.m. ET the first night, thereafter generally at 9 p.m.) through the women’s semifinals; later action airs on ESPN.
  • More than 40 additional hours will be aired on ESPN2 during the afternoon recapping the action from the overnight telecasts.
  • WatchESPN will offer 1,400 hours starting each day with the first match of each court at 7 p.m. ET (the first 13 days of play).  It will also present live the men’s, women’s and mixed doubles championships and the finals of the boys and girls divisions and of the legends and wheelchair competitions.

 

Tennis Channel and ESPN’s ongoing Grand Slam alliance includes the Australian Open and gives viewers near round-the-clock tournament enjoyment from Melbourne.  Each network utilizes its own commentators during its respective coverage and cross-promotes the combined ESPN-Tennis Channel television offerings.

DIGITAL MEDIA, AT HOME AND ABROAD; INTERNATIONAL TV; ESPN DEPORTES; ESPN CLASSIC  

ESPN.com will once again feature Courtcast, a cutting-edge application presented by IBM, featuring official IBM tournament and real-time statistics, Hawk-Eye technology, a rolling Twitter feed and interactive poll questions. Digital Serve video, Baseline Buzz and daily global reports and analysis from contributors .

Also, before  espnW will present an oral history of Serena Williams, by Alyssa Roenigk. She interviewed more than 20 people close to Williams including her mother Oracene, her sisters, coaches, competitors and sponsors. In addition, espnW will offer a slideshow of Serena’s 22 majors, and daily “You Make the Call” fan polls.

 

ESPN Social Platforms

@ESPNTennis, ESPN’s official tennis Twitter account, and ESPN Tennis’ official Facebook page will be posting additional, exclusive content including interviews, profiles and more behind-the-scenes looks of the Australian Open.

 

ESPN Interactive TV will present a six-screen mosaic on DIRECTV featuring the ESPN/Tennis Channel linear feed and five TV courts, during the first seven days of the tournament.  Allen Bestwick will serve as the studio host and is joined by announcers Chanda Rubin, Jeff Tarango, Leif Shiras, Elise Burgin, Doug Adler, Nick Lester, Christen Bartelt, Sam Gore, Mark Donaldson and Brian Webber.

 

ESPN Deportes will present extensive, live coverage of the tournament across multiple platforms.  ESPN Deportes+ — the Spanish-language broadband channel available via ESPNDeportes.com, WatchESPN and ESPN App – will present wall-to-wall coverage, streaming 140 live hours of all rounds, the quarterfinals and the women’s semifinals.  The men’s semis and both Championships will be televised live on ESPN Deportes.  Online, ESPNDeportes.com will also provide up-to-the-minute news and information including highlights, recaps, chats, and the daily web series “ESPiaNdo el Australian Open.”

 

ESPN Classic is airing memorable Australian Open matches much of this week, January 11 – 15.  Highlights:

  • 2010 Women’s Final, Serena Williams vs. Justine Henin, Wed., Jan 11, noon (also Fri., Jan. 13, 9 p.m.)
  • 1991 Men’s Final, Boris Becker vs. Ivan Lendl, Wed., Jan. 11, 7 p.m. (also Fri., Jan. 13, 11 p.m.)
  • 1995 Men’s Quarterfinal, Pete Sampras vs. Jim Courier, Wed., Jan. 11, 9 p.m.
  • 1995 Men’s Final, Andre Agassi vs. Pete Sampras, Wed., Jan 11, 11 p.m.
  • 2001 Women’s Final, Jennifer Capriati vs. Martina Hingis, Thur., Jan. 12, 3 p.m.
  • 2009 Men’s Final, Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer, Thur., Jan. 12, 5 p.m. (also Sat., Jan. 14, 7 p.m.)
  • 2015 Women’s Final, Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova, Fri., Jan. 13, 1 a.m. (Jan. 12, 10 p.m. PT) (also Sun., Jan. 15, 6 a.m.)
  • 2016 Women’s Final, Angelique Kerber vs. Serena Williams, Sun., Jan. 15, noon
  • 2016 Men’s Final, Novak Djokovic vs. Andy Murray, Sun., Jan. 15, 2 p.m.

 

ESPN International will increase its television coverage to more than 140 hours of live HD action to tennis fans via its networks in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Showcasing the biggest names in tennis, broadcasts will air in three languages, including Spanish in Mexico, Central America & South America; Portuguese in Brazil; and English in the Caribbean.  ESPN+ Brazil will air over 80 hours of live complementary coverage throughout the early rounds, while ESPN Tres North and ESPN2 South will air over 20 hours of additional Spanish coverage. In addition, ESPN will also televise two one-hour recaps and a two-hour “Best Match of the Day” daily.   In Canada, TSN (English) and RDS (French) will again provide ESPN coverage on television and digital services, while in India, the SONY ESPN platform will carry live coverage.

 

ESPNtenis.com will have the following content:  A daily webisode called “ESPiaNdo el Australian Open”; an “applet” featuring real-time, point-by-point scoring of all matches; live scores, results and brackets; columns, chats and blogs by TV commentators and other writers; polls; the “Ask ESPN” feature, prompting users to send their comments/questions via the website; video clips with highlights of daily action and analysis; TV scheduling information, and photo galleries.

 

ESPN Play (Watch ESPN  in Brazil), ESPN’s broadband service in Latin America and the Caribbean will provide wall-to-wall coverage of the year’s first Grand Slam, streaming over 1,400 hours of live tennis coverage (a new high) from every available televised court, including the men’s & women’s quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. Live streaming action will be available throughout Latin America and the Caribbean in English, Spanish and Portuguese language.

Related Article:

2017 Australian Open Schedule on Tennis Channel; Mary Carillo Joins Coverage Team

 

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2017 Australian Open Schedule on Tennis Channel; Mary Carillo Joins Coverage Team

(January 10, 2017) – For its 10th straight year of Australian Open coverage Tennis Channel is adding venerable sportscaster and journalist Mary Carillo to its on-air team. Carillo, who appears on Tennis Channel throughout the year and at each of the other three majors, will handle play-by-play duties as well as special features throughout the two-week event. Coverage begins on Sunday, Jan. 15, at 6 p.m. ET, and runs through Jan. 29.

“I’m excited to join my Tennis Channel colleagues in Melbourne for the Australian Open,” said Carillo. “The year’s first major always comes with the unique energy and high expectations of a new tennis season.”

Tennis Channel will provide viewers with numerous live and encore Australian Open matches, highlights and studio analysis from Jan. 15-29. The channel will have nearly 30 hours of live coverage across 11 consecutive days and 12 total days at this year’s Australian Open. Between tournament lead-up programming, live matches, encore replays, highlights, Australian Open Today and Tennis Channel Live at the Australian Open, the network will devote nearly 200 hours to the season’s first major.

Tennis Channel begins its live Australian Open match coverage Monday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. ET, kicking off 10 straight days of primetime play starting at that time (complete schedule follows). The network will carry live singles matches from the first round through the quarterfinals and the women’s and mixed-doubles finals, as well as multiple encore presentations of the men’s doubles final. Tennis Channel will also bring fans same-day encore match coverage of the men’s and women’s singles semifinals and finals. Just as it has since its first year of Australian Open coverage in 2008, Tennis Channel will air all five of the tournament’s finals: men’s and women’s singles and doubles, and mixed doubles.

The network will air daylong blocks of encore matches and highlights with Australian Open Today. Premiering Monday, Jan. 16, from 7 a.m.-3 p.m., it will be followed by an abridged encore airing from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. The show will run for 10 consecutive days of the tournament, with varying start times over the following week-and-a-half (complete schedule follows). The channel will air 80 hours of Australian Open Today in 2017.

Tennis Channel Live at the Australian Open returns as the network’s nightly lead-in show and will debut Sunday, Jan. 15, at 6 p.m. ET. The program will air each night (in the United States – morning in Australia) of the tournament and provide viewers with a review of the previous day’s action and a look ahead to the coming day’s play. Emmy Award winner Brett Haber (@BrettHaber) will host alongside analyst and Hall of Famer Jim Courier. The team will speak with guests, break down the action and storylines of the tournament, and provide special reports and features from Melbourne. The show is set to air nightly from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 15-Wednesday Jan. 25, with the final show at 7 p.m.-8 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29.

Host Steve Weissman (@Steve_Weissman), Hall of Famer Tracy Austin (@thetracyaustin), Leif Shiras (@LShirock) and Mark Knowles (@knowlzee10s) will host the tournament’s bookend editions on the Jan. 15 and Jan. 29 respectively, both live from Tennis Channel’s Los Angeles studio.

Prior to the tournament, Tennis Channel’s Racquet Bracket: Australian Open will air on Friday, Jan. 13, from 5 p.m.-6 p.m., with replay telecasts during the next two days prior to the start of the Grand Slam. Racquet Bracket: Australian Open will feature the network’s Los Angeles team (Weissman, Austin, Shiras and Knowles) as they provide expert insight and opinion, their predictions for the next two weeks and potential adversity players will face.

Tennis Channel and ESPN continue their Grand Slam alliance with this year’s Australian Open and give fans nearly 24-hour coverage from Melbourne. Each network utilizes its own commentators and cross-promotes their television offerings.

Australian Open On-Air Talent
Carillo will have five special features that will air throughout Tennis Channel’s two-week coverage of the Australian Open. Through her signature style and humor, she will bring viewers a unique and offbeat look at Melbourne and everything the city has to offer.

Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova (@Martina) will return for her 10th Australian Open for Tennis Channel, and has been there each year the network has covered the tournament. Considered one of the greatest tennis players and athletes of all time, she has won 12 Australian Open singles, doubles and mixed-doubles titles as a portion of her 59 major championships. She will be joined by fellow Hall of Famers and analysts Courier and Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76). Both have claimed titles in Melbourne, as Courier won two straight from 1992-93 and Davenport took the crown in 2000. Courier will appear on Tennis Channel Live at the Australian Open, while Davenport will add commentary during the network’s two-week coverage.

A fellow Australian Open title holder, 1998 mixed-doubles champion Justin Gimelstob (@justingimelstob) will be a part of Tennis Channel’s Australian Open coverage for his 10th straight year of commentary. Gimelstob is one of the brightest and well-studied analysts in televised tennis and remains active in the sport as an ATP board representative.

Paul Annacone (@paul_annacone), the legendary former coach of two of tennis’ biggest stars in Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, returns for another year of Australian Open coverage with Tennis Channel.

Tennis Channel’s roster of former players that are a part of its Australian Open coverage team (including Austin from Los Angeles) boast a remarkable collective résumé with 16 Australian Open championships and 74 major titles.

Along with Navratilova and Gimelstob, announcer Bill Macatee (@BMacatee), will appear for the 10th straight year and will handle lead broadcasting duties for Tennis Channel. At the same time Haber, a frequent host and announcer throughout the year, will not only host Tennis Channel Live at the Australian Open, but also handle play-by-play duties during the tournament. Tennis Chanel’s resident Grand Slam reporter, Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim, returns for his fifth straight Australian Open with Tennis Channel. Known for his special features, news updates and round-table commentary on-air for the network, he is also one of the most trusted and read tennis writers today, his columns considered necessary reading for any tennis fan (http://www.si.com/vault-authors/l-jon-wertheim).

Digital Coverage
New for this year, Tennis Channel will feature expanded digital coverage with exclusive content on www.tennischannel.com and on the network’s social media channels. This content includes additional stories from reporters that will not air on television. Also, fans will have digital-only behind-the-scenes access to the Tennis Channel talent during the tournament.

On Tennis Channel’s digital subscription service, Tennis Channel Plus, fans can catch live Australian Open Qualifiers beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 6 p.m. ET, which includes rising young American Frances Tiafoe. On-demand replays will be available throughout the Australian Open. Tennis Channel Plus is available on the Tennis Channel Everywhere app to all Apple and Android users as well as Amazon Fire, Apple TV and Roku owners, regardless of whether or not they subscribe to Tennis Channel.

Tennis Channel viewers are able to take the Australian Open with them on their mobile devices through the free Tennis Channel Everywhere app. Subscription authentication with select distribution partners enables the app’s TV Everywhere function, and allows fans to tune into the network’s round-the-clock coverage from Melbourne throughout the workday back in the United States.

Tennis Channel’s website, www.tennischannel.com, will keep fans up-to-date on the latest from Down Under with Australian Open Today segments,video highlights, interviews, real-time scoring, an interactive draw and the network’s Racquet Bracket tournament prediction game. Visitors can enter the channel’s 2018 Australian Open sweepstakes, or read Australian Open specific columns from reporters Steve Flink (@sflinko) and Joel Drucker (@joeldrucker). The channel’s social media activities on Facebook (www.facebook.com/tennischannel), Twitter (www.twitter.com/tennischannel), YouTube (www.youtube.com/tennischannel), Instagram (http://instagram.com/tennischannel) will also be devoted to the first tennis major of 2017 for much of this month.

Tennis Channel’s Live 2017 Australian Open Match Schedule
(Men’s/Women’s Singles Unless Otherwise Specified)

Date Time (ET) Event
Monday, Jan. 16 7 p.m.-9 p.m. First-Round Action
Tuesday, Jan. 17 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Second-Round Action
Wednesday, Jan. 18 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Second-Round Action
Thursday, Jan. 19 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Third-Round Action
Friday, Jan. 20 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Third-Round Action
Saturday, Jan. 21 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Round-of-16 Action
Sunday, Jan. 22 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Round-of-16 Action
Monday, Jan. 23 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Quarterfinals
Tuesday, Jan. 24 7 p.m.-9 p.m. Quarterfinals
Wednesday, Jan. 25 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m. TBA
Thursday, Jan. 26 11 p.m.-3:30 a.m. Mixed-Doubles Semifinal and
Women’s Doubles Final
Saturday, Jan. 28 5:30 a.m.-8a.m. Mixed-Doubles Final

Tennis Channel’s Australian Open encore match coverage includes same-day replays of the men’s and women’s singles third-round, semifinals and finals as well as the men’s and women’s doubles finals, as follows (ET):

Thursday, Jan. 26 – 6 a.m.-2 p.m.: men’s and women’s semifinals;
6 p.m.-10 p.m.: men’s and women’s semifinals
Friday, Jan. 27 – 6 a.m.-2 p.m.: men’s and women’s semifinals;
6 p.m.- 3 a.m.: men’s semifinal and women’s doubles final
Saturday, Jan. 28 – 11 a.m.-8 p.m.: men’s doubles final and men’s semifinal;
8 p.m.-3 a.m.: women’s final and men’s doubles final
Sunday, Jan. 29 – 6:30 a.m.-9 a.m.: women’s final;
2 p.m.-7 p.m.: women’s final and men’s semifinals
8 p.m.-3 a.m.: men’s final

Tennis Channel’s Australian Open Today Schedule (all times ET)
Tennis Channel’s Australian Open Today includes encore match coverage, highlights, interviews and a general review of the activity that took place during the tournament which occurs during the night in America. The show runs daily from Monday, Jan. 16, through Wednesday, Jan. 25, 10 days in total. As the tournament comes to a close the show is replaced with encore semifinal and final matches.

Australian Open Today will air from 7 a.m.-3 p.m., on the tournament’s first Monday, with an encore replay from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. A similar schedule will follow over the next four days, Tuesday, Jan. 17, through Friday, Jan. 20, with the show running from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. On Saturday, Jan. 21, Australian Open Today will appear from 12 p.m.-6 p.m., and on Sunday, Jan. 22, from 1 p.m.-6 p.m. On Monday, Jan. 23, the show will air from 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m., before its last two days, Tuesday, Jan. 24, and Wednesday, Jan. 25, when it will be on from 6 a.m.-3 p.m.

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Cibulkova Wins WTA Finals in Debut; Mirza Clinches Year- No. 1 in Doubles

SINGAPORE - OCTOBER 30: Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia poses with the trophy after victory in her singles final against Angelique Kerber of Germany during day 8 of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore at Singapore Sports Hub on October 30, 2016 in Singapore. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE – OCTOBER 30: Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia poses with the trophy after victory in her singles final against Angelique Kerber of Germany during day 8 of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore at Singapore Sports Hub on October 30, 2016 in Singapore. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

(October 30, 2016) In her debut appearance at the WTA Finals in Singapore, Dominika Cibulkova beat World No.1 Angelique Kerber to win the Billie Jean King Trophy. It’s the biggest title of the Slovak’s career. Cibulkova is a former Australian Open finalist. She’ll move up to No. 5 in the world in the new rankings.

Cibulkova gained a little revenge in the 6-3 6-4 victory in final over No. 1 Angelique Kerber in an hour and 16 minutes on Sunday. The Slovak lost to Kerber in her first round-robin match earlier in the week.

“I have no words, coming here for the first time, the biggest tournament of my life,” said Cibulkova. “I still don’t know how I won. I put the ball over the net and it went in. It’s the happiest moment of my life.”

Mir

SINGAPORE - OCTOBER 25: during day 3 of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore at Singapore Sports Hub on October 25, 2016 in Singapore. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE – OCTOBER 25: during day 3 of the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore at Singapore Sports Hub on October 25, 2016 in Singapore. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Sania Mirza clinched the 2016 WTA Year-End World No.1 Doubles ranking on Sunday for the second straight year.

Mirza won eight titles with three different partners in 2016, winning her third major title at the Australian Open with Martina Hingis. She also won Brisbane International, Apia International Sydney, St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy and the Internazionali BNL d’Italia with Hingis. Mirza paired up with Barbora Strycova winning Cincinnati and the Toray Pan Pacific Open. Mirza also claimed the Connecticut Open title with Monica Niculescu.

“It’s very, very exciting to finish two years in a row as No.1,” said Mirza. “It’s been an incredible year for me again, with seven WTA titles, a Grand Slam and ending the year at the WTA Finals in Singapore. Finishing the year No.1 is amazing – it’s a dream come true and gives me motivation and inspiration to come out and work even harder next year.”

 

The 29-year-old Mirza, became the first Indian woman to reach the No.1 ranking in doubles on April 13, 2015.

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ESPN 2016 US Open Broadcast Schedule

 

ESPN

ESPN & the 2016 US Open

Date Time (ET) Event Network(s)
Fri Aug 26 11:30 a.m. Men’s and Womens’ Singles Draw

Media Day Press Conferences

WatchESPN
Sun Aug 28 1 p.m. SportsCenter on the Road powered by Ford ESPN2
  2 p.m. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess ABC
Mon Aug 29 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open First Round WatchESPN

ESPN

  6 p.m. US Open First Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – First Round ESPN2
Tue Aug 30 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open First Round WatchESPN

ESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – First Round ESPN
Wed Aug 31 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open Second Round WatchESPN

ESPN

  6 p.m. US Open Second Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Second Round ESPN2
Thur Sep 1 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open Second Round WatchESPN

ESPN

  6 p.m. US Open Second Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Second Round ESPN2
Fri Sep 2 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open Third Round WatchESPN

ESPN

  6 p.m. US Open Third Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Third Round ESPN2
Sat Sep 3 11 a.m.

 

US Open Third Round ESPN2

WatchESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Third Round ESPN2
Sun Sep 4 11 a.m. US Open Round of 16 ESPN2

WatchESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Round of 16 ESPN2
Mon Sept 5 11 a.m.

 

US Open Round of 16 ESPN2

WatchESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Round of 16 ESPN2
Tue Sep 6 11 a.m.

Noon

US Open Quarterfinals WatchESPN

ESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Quarterfinals ESPN
Wed Sep 7 11 a.m.

Noon

US Open Quarterfinals WatchESPN

ESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Quarterfinals ESPN2
Thur Sept 8 Noon

7 p.m.

US Open Doubles Matches

US Open Women’s Semifinals

WatchESPN

ESPN / ESPN Deportes

Fri Sept 9 Noon US Open Mixed Doubles Championship ESPN2
  3 p.m. US Open Men’s Semifinals ESPN / ESPN Deportes
Sat Sept 10 Noon US Open Men’s Doubles Championship WatchESPN
  4 p.m. US Open Women’s Championship ESPN / ESPN Deportes
Sun Sept 11 Noon US Open Women’s Doubles Championship WatchESPN
  3:30 p.m. US Open Men’s Championship Preview Special ESPN
  4 p.m. US Open Men’s Championship ESPN / ESPN Deportes

 

ESPN Goes “All in” for US Open:  Serena Seeks 23rd Major to Break Open Era Record;
Murray and Djokovic Lead the Men…all under the New Roof
·         First Ball to Last Ball, Exclusive to ESPN Starting August 29
·         130+ Hours on TV and WatchESPN; A Record 1,300 More on WatchESPN from 12 Courts
·         Phil Collins Performs Opening Night including Duet with “Hamilton” Star Leslie Odom, Jr.

 

Whether under the hot summer sun, the starry New York skies or – for the first time – a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, ESPN will go “all in” on its exclusive coverage of the US Open with 130 live hours on television plus a record 1,300 on WatchESPN with daylong matches from up to 12 courts (was 11 last year).  The action at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center starts Monday, Aug. 29, and continues with daily, extensive and exclusive coverage through the Women’s Championship on Saturday, Sept. 10, and the Men’s Championship on Sunday, Sept. 11.

 

The guest list for the annual late-summer party is headlined by top-ranked Serena Williams, who seeks her 23rd Major title, to break the Open Era record she currently shares with Steffi Graf.  The recent Wimbledon champion is also currently tied with ESPN’s Chrissie Evert with six US Open trophies.  On the men’s side No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 2 Andy Murray have combined for five of the six slots in Major finals this year; Djokovic downed Murray in Australia and France, Murray defeated Milos Raonic at Wimbledon.

 

“We’re excited to showcase the US Open in our second year as the exclusive media partner in the U.S.,” said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN senior vice president, programming.  “In 2015, we saw the audience grow and get younger on TV and we expanded our coverage with more matches than ever before across all platforms on WatchESPN.  The new roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium, the new Grandstand court and the storylines coming off compelling action at the Olympics will ensure a fantastic two weeks in New York.”

 

What’s New?

Besides, of course, the roof on Ashe and the new Grandstand court….

  • WatchESPN has an additional court of coverage – now 12 – making for a record 1,300 hours offered.
  • Press Conferences on WatchESPN – Media Day is August 26, then all day everyday once play begins.
  • Expanded SportsCenter on the Road preview show, now 60 minutes Sunday, Aug. 28, on ESPN2 at 1 pm. ET.
  • ESPN Deportes now to carry the semifinals in addition to the championships.
  • Arthur Ashe Kids Day moves to ABC – Sunday, August 28, at 2 p.m. ET.

 

ESPN2’s live coverage of the opening Monday night will include a performance from Arthur Ashe Stadium by Phil Collins in his first major public appearance in six years.  For the ceremony, the Oscar winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer will perform his debut solo single, “In the Air Tonight,” which is the opening track on his forthcoming album, “The Singles,” to be released in October along with the publication of his autobiography, “Not Dead Yet.”  Collins will also be joined by “Hamilton” star and Tony Award winner Leslie Odom, Jr. for a duet.  The Broadway star, a native of Queens, N.Y., will sing the national anthem.

 

Before the action begins, WatchESPN will present live the singles brackets draw Friday, Aug. 26 at 11:30 a.m., followed by press conferences with top players from Media Day.

 

Also, on Sunday, Aug. 28, ESPN2 will air SportsCenter on the Road at 1 p.m. to preview the tournament, followed by a one-hour review of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess at 2 p.m. and airing for the first time on ABC.  Joey Bragg of the Disney Channel will host the telecast.  Multi-platinum hip-hop artist Flo Rida, international pop star Zara Larsson, award-winning Disney Channel actress Laura Marano, Entertainment Weekly’s “One To Watch” Jordan Fisher, breakout pop band Forever In Your Mind and Australian singer-songwriter Troye Sivan will team up with tennis icons Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at the 21st Annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day Presented by Hess.

 

ESPN has televised the US Open since 2009. An 11-year agreement with the USTA for exclusivity starting in 2015 was announced in May 2013.  Last year’s first-ever all-ESPN US Open was a tremendous success on television and on WatchESPN.

 

Highlights

  • The television coverage starts on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET each weekday the first week, and will continue nonstop – transitioning at 6 p.m. to ESPN2 (except Tuesday) – for at least 10 hours through both the day and the 7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM sessions until play is concluded.
  • All the action on Labor Day Weekend will be found in one place – ESPN2, starting at 11 a.m. all three days and likely to continue 12 or more hours.
  • Play on Tuesday, Sept. 6, and Wednesday, Sept. 7, will start on ESPN at noon, with prime-time matches on ESPN on Tuesday and ESPN2 on Wednesday starting at 7 p.m.
  • The women’s semifinals and championship will be played the second Thursday and Saturday; the men’s semis and championship on the second Friday and Sunday, Sept. 11, all on ESPN and Spanish-language ESPN Deportes.
  • In addition, the Mixed Doubles Championship will air live on ESPN2 on Friday, Sept. 9, at noon.
  • Play will begin each day on WatchESPN – at 11 a.m. through Wednesday, Sept. 7, and at noon the final four days – totaling a record 1,300 hours of action from up to 12 courts simultaneously (the most ever), including the Women’s and Men’s Doubles Championships.  For the first five days, full coverage of the matches on TV courts for the first two hours of action are exclusive to WatchESPN.
  • Also, an additional feed, the “US Open Chase Review Multicam,” will return. For the first eight days of the tournament (through Monday, Sept. 5) during the daytime action it will have three screens – the courts on Ashe, Armstrong and Grandstand (see below).  Starting with the quarterfinals Tuesday, Sept. 6, the three screens will cover matches on Ashe, with iso-cams on each player and the traditional TV production.

 

 

  • New for 2016, WatchESPN will provide a feed dedicated to press conferences and other events in the main press conference room at the Bud Collins Media Center all day, every day.
  • WatchESPN is accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets, connected devices and smart TVs and available nationwide across all major providers through an affiliated video subscription.

 

Surveying the Fields

 

MEN

  • Is the ATP’s “Big Four” (“Big Five”?) now simply a “Big Two”? Of the last 46 Majors (more than 11 years), five players own every trophy but two:  Roger Federer (17 career Major wins), Rafael Nadal (14), Novak Djokovic (12), Andy Murray (3) and Stan Wawrinka (2).  The “Big Four” (all but Wawrinka) comprise 42 of the last 48 Major finalists and 70 of the last 84.
  • But, focusing on more recent competition….Djokovic has captured 11 of the last 24 Major titles, reaching the championship seven other times. In that span, Murray has won three, including this summer’s Wimbledon, while reaching the final on six other occasions.  In total, the duo – born one week apart in May 1987 – have filled 27 of 48 Major championship slots, including five of six in 2016.  Murray also has claimed the last two Olympic Gold Medals.

 

WOMEN

  • Fresh off a resounding triumph at Wimbledon – but recently troubled by a shoulder injury – a victory would be her 23rd Major title and a new Open Era record.  Steffi Graf has 22 (Margaret Court won 24, including 13 before 1968).  It would also be her seventh victory in New York, breaking the Open Era record of six she shares with ESPN’s Chrissie Evert.
  • The Field. If someone else were to win, it could be almost anyone.  Especially with Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka sidelined.  A year ago, it was Roberta Vinci who shocked the tennis world by ousting Serena before falling in the final to Flavia Pennetta (since retired).  In Australia, it was Angelique Kerber and at Wimbledon Garbiñe Muguruza. Meanwhile, the field includes former Major winners Ana Ivanovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Petra Kvitova, Francesca Schiavone, Sam Stosur and Venus Williams and players seemingly on the brink of breaking through:  Simona Halep, Aga Radwanska, American Madison Keys (won bronze in Rio) and perhaps others….maybe surprise Olympic champion Monica Puig of Puerto Rico.  Also, after taking the trophy in Cincinnati this past weekend in a solid victory over Kerber, Karolina Pliskova is up to No. 11 in the world and must be considered.

 

The ESPN Tennis Team, the best in television, at the US Open:

  • Darren Cahill, who once reached the US Open semifinals and the Australian Open doubles finals and went on to coach fellow Australian Lleyton Hewitt and Andre Agassi, has worked for ESPN since 2007.
  • Cliff Drysdale, who was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in July 2013, has been with ESPN since its first tennis telecast in September 1979 (Davis Cup, U.S. vs. Argentina).  He reached the US Open finals and is a two-time Wimbledon and French Open semifinalist.  Drysdale was a leader on the court – a top player for many years who was one of the first to use a two-hand backhand – and off the court, as the first president of the ATP.
  • Chrissie Evert, a Hall of Famer who joined ESPN in 2011, counts a record six US Opens among her 18 Major titles.  She recorded the best career win-loss record in history, reached more Major singles finals than any man or woman (34), and reached the semis or better in 34 consecutive Majors (1971-83).  The AP Female Athlete of the Year four times, in 1976 she was the first woman to be the sole recipient of Sports Illustrated’s Sportswoman of the Year.
  • Mary Joe Fernandez, who played in three Major singles finals and won two Majors in doubles, won a Gold Medal in doubles at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics and a Bronze in singles in 1992.  An ESPN analyst since 2000, she leads the United States’ Fed Cup team and coached the 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic women’s teams.
  • Chris Fowler – who joined ESPN in 1986, is the lead ESPN/ABC college football play caller and joined the ESPN tennis team in 2003 – will call matches.  He hosted College GameDay on football Saturdays 1990-2014, and has hosted World Cup soccer, college basketball including the Final Four, the X Games and Triple Crown horse racing events.  Originally, he was the first host of Scholastic Sports America and later was a SportsCenter
  • Brad Gilbert, whose flair and unique nicknames for players has enlivened ESPN’s tennis telecasts since 2004, parlayed his playing career – once reaching the quarterfinals of the US Open and at Wimbledon – into coaching Andre Agassi (six Major titles with Brad), Andy Roddick (US Open victory) and Andy Murray.
  • Jason Goodall will serve as a studio and match analyst.  A one-time standout among Juniors in Britain whose career was ended by injury at 21, he later coached Jennifer Capriati as well as ESPN’s Mary Joe Fernandez and Pam Shriver.
  • LZ Granderson, a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine (and formerly a tennis editor) and ESPN.com and an ABC News contributor, will provide his perspective in reports and features.  He often appears on SportsCenter, Outside the Lines and other ESPN programs.  He recently added TheUndefeated.com to his resume, as a writer.
  • John McEnroe won four US Open crowns – plus three at Wimbledon – during his storied career, which included 10 more major championships in doubles or mixed doubles.  He also led the U.S. to four Davis Cup titles and won the NCAA’s while attending Stanford.  He has worked for ESPN since 2009.
  • Patrick McEnroe, who has worked for ESPN since 1995, was the U.S. Davis Cup captain 2001-2010 and in 2007 the team won its first championship since 1995.  A three-time singles All-American at Stanford – where the team won NCAA titles in 1986 and 1988 – he served as General Manager, USTA Elite Player Development from 2008 – 2015.  He won the 1992 French Open doubles title and reached the 1991 Australian Open semifinals in singles.
  • Chris McKendry returns as host, a role she has filled at all the Majors for ESPN. She joined ESPN in 1996 as a SportsCenter anchor, and later hosted the Little League World Series and X Games.  As of this Spring, she focuses on tennis.  She attended Drexel University on a tennis scholarship.
  • Tom Rinaldi will serve as a reporter and will call matches.  His features and interviews have graced a wide variety of ESPN programs – including SportsCenter, Outside the Lines, E:60 and event telecasts such as Wimbledon, golf’s Majors, college football and more – since 2003, winning numerous Sports Emmy Awards.
  • Pam Shriver, who started working for ESPN in 1990, long before her Hall of Fame career ended, played in the US Open finals at age 16 (losing to Evert) and won 21 Grand Slam titles in women’s doubles (another in Mixed) including five at the US Open plus a Gold Medal in doubles at the 1988 Olympics.
  • Hannah Storm joined ESPN in 2008 as a SportsCenter anchor and will serve as a host.  Previously, she spent five years with CBS’ The Morning Show and for NBC Sports hosted a variety of sports, including Wimbledon.  She was a producer on two ESPN Films tennis projects:  the 2010 documentary Unmatched reviewing the rivalry and friendship between Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, and Venus Vs. in 2013 about Venus Williams and her fight for gender equity in prize money.

 

Technology Provides Camera Angles to Take Viewers around, across and above the Action

ESPN’s commitment to the US Open provides an impressive range of technologies, including

  • Voya Axis replay technology freezes a moment in time and virtually spins the image in a full 360-degree rotation, using an array of 36 camera sensors installed around the Arthur Ashe Stadium.  ESPN, the only network to employ it at a Major, debuted it at last year’s US Open.
  • RailCam, a robotic camera that moves silently along the base of the wall on the southern end of Ashe Stadium, provides a superior ground-level look than the traditional static camera at a higher angle.  It is particularly useful in studying a player’s footwork and seeing the action from his or her point of view.
  • SpiderCam (see below), which ESPN debuted at the US Open in 2010 and has been exclusive to ESPN (for 2016, it is added to the world feed), is suspended high above the court and fans at Ashe and is able to move in all three dimensions with a camera that can pan, tilt and zoom.

 

 

MORE TV & DIGITAL MEDIA, AT HOME AND ABROAD

ESPN.com will have previews, reviews, analysis, the latest news, polls, videos and more:

  • Courtcast:  One-stop shopping for the fan who wants to keep up on the action while on the go, as well as get involved in the social media conversation.  As a multi-tool application with live events via the WATCHESPN syndicated player, it provides all-court scoring, match stats, NOW card implementation, poll questions that are discussed on television, a rolling Twitter feed with the latest from the ESPN commentators and a scrolling bottom line.
  • Five Things We Learned:  Video series reviewing the top five storylines of the day
  • 60-Second Slice:  The key news of the day, in a one-minute video.
  • Digital Serve:  Daily original videos previewing the next day
  • Baseline Buzz:  Greg Garber, Peter Bodo, Melissa Isaacson, Johnette Howard, Howard Bryant and Matt Wilansky weigh in on the hottest topics with a daily, written, roundtable discussion.
  • At this minute video update:  Instant analysis off an exciting match or preview into the night session.

 

espnW will cover the US Open as always from its distinctive perspective. With Serena Williams going for a historic 23rd major title, coverage will focus on the American legend.

  • There’s something about Serena at the US Open: You can’t talk about Arthur Ashe Stadium without Serena Williams and you can’t talk about Serena Williams without Arthur Ashe Stadium. How the US Open’s show court and one of its greatest champions grew up together.
  • Quiz of the day: From Serena Williams’ Open history to her squad in the stands, test your US Open knowledge in a daily quiz.
  • Video features: Daily dispatches from America’s Major.
  • Plus,special tributes to Serena throughout her run at Flushing Meadows.

 

ESPN Interactive TV (see below) will be presented on DIRECTV and WATCHESPN. During the ESPN telecast windows for the first seven days, a six-screen mosaic will include the ESPN program, along with matches with commentary from five other courts. In total, viewers will have access to more than 435 hours of live tennis action and 140 extra matches.  Production will be enhanced with press conferences, interviews and features that will be added during court changeovers and between matches.  All six screens can be expanded to full screen or picture-in-picture at the touch of the remote button.  In addition, DIRECTV will offer interactive social media options for fans, plus real-time scoring, draws, and on-demand highlights – all without leaving the match the viewer is watching. For the first five days of the tournament, the two-hour CrossCourt program at 11 a.m. will return, previewing the matches of the day and showcasing early play from around the grounds.  Commentators include ESPN’s Allen Bestwick, and former players Leif Shiras, Luke Jensen, Rennae Stubbs, Jeff Tarango and Mark Woodforde.

 

 

ESPN Deportes will provide more than 140 live hours of Spanish-language content on television and via ESPN3, available via WATCHESPN. ESPN3 will present select matches, including the singles quarterfinals for both men and women and the men’s doubles championship.  ESPN Deportes TV will air the Men and Women’s semifinals and finals.  In addition, the men’s final will be preceded by a special pre-match show live from National Tennis Center. The Spanish-language live coverage will be complemented by the latest highlights, news, analysis and information every day on ESPNDeportes.com.  The web series ESPiaNdo will also return with daily recaps and analysis from the experts.

 

ESPN International will offer extensive high-definition US Open coverage throughout the Caribbean and Latin America including Brazil via its numerous regional media platforms.  ESPN Caribbean will televise first ball through to the final in English, totaling more than 125 hours.  In Spanish-speaking Latin America, ESPN will televise a total of 140 hours of live action, as well as a daily one-hour review of the best match of the day plus preview shows leading into the Men’s and Women’s Finals.  Veterans Luis Alfredo Alvarez and Eduardo Varela will provide the Spanish play-by-play alongside analysts Javier Frana and Jose Luis Clerc, both former US Open competitors.  That coverage will be enhanced by an anchor desk at the USTA National Tennis Center, with hosts Nicolas Pereira, Martin Urruty and Carolina Guillen.  In Brazil, ESPN will air side-by-side telecasts on two linear networks, offering over 170 hours of live tennis action combined.  Online, Latin America’s broadband service, ESPN Play (Watch ESPN in Brazil) will offer more than 1,400 hours of live streaming, which will include exclusive coverage of 12 different courts.  In addition, ESPN Argentina and ESPN Brasil will have reporters in New York conducting interviews and producing daily features for SportsCenter and ESPN’s complete line-up of daily news and information shows.  A daily Spanish-language recap, ESPiaNdo, hosted by Varela, Clerc, Frana and Alvarez, will include highlights and analysis within ESPNTenis.com – and in Brazil, ESPN will air a daily Portuguese-language wrap up show – Pelas Quadras.

 

ESPN Classic:  Great US Open Matches from the Past

ESPN Classic will allow fans to relive great US Open matches from the past in a 68-hour, 30-match marathon starting Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 1 a.m. and continuing to Friday, Aug. 26 at 9 p.m.  Highlights:

  • The oldest matches on the schedule are victories by John McEnroe in 1980 – a semifinal vs. Jimmy Connors and the final against Bjorn Borg – on Friday, Aug. 26, at 2 and 5 p.m.
  • The marathon starts with two memorable women’s finals – 1989, Steffi Graf vs. Martina Navratilova, August 24 at 1 a.m. (August 23 at 10 p.m. PT) followed at 3 a.m. by Navratilova vs. Chris Evert Lloyd from 1984.
  • The three-set 2012 women’s final – Serena Williams vs. Victoria Azarenka – will air Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 8 p.m.
  • In a 2004 quarterfinal that included a number of questionable lines calls, Jennifer Capriati ousted Serena Williams 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, to be aired Thursday, Aug. 25, at 8 p.m.

 

The network will air more matches in the mornings of the second week of the tournament, notably the 1995 women’s final (Steffi Graf vs. Monica Seles) Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 8 a.m., the 1994 men’s final (Andre Agassi vs. Michael Stich) Friday, Sept. 9, at 8 a.m. and the 1995 men’s final (Pete Sampras vs. Agassi) immediately following at 10 a.m.

 

ESPN & the 2016 US Open

Date Time (ET) Event Network(s)
Fri Aug 26 11:30 a.m. Men’s and Womens’ Singles Draw

Media Day Press Conferences

WatchESPN
Sun Aug 28 1 p.m. SportsCenter on the Road powered by Ford ESPN2
  2 p.m. Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day presented by Hess ABC
Mon Aug 29 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open First Round WatchESPN

ESPN

  6 p.m. US Open First Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – First Round ESPN2
Tue Aug 30 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open First Round WatchESPN

ESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – First Round ESPN
Wed Aug 31 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open Second Round WatchESPN

ESPN

  6 p.m. US Open Second Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Second Round ESPN2
Thur Sep 1 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open Second Round WatchESPN

ESPN

  6 p.m. US Open Second Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Second Round ESPN2
Fri Sep 2 11 a.m.

1 p.m.

US Open Third Round WatchESPN

ESPN

  6 p.m. US Open Third Round ESPN2
  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Third Round ESPN2
Sat Sep 3 11 a.m.

 

US Open Third Round ESPN2

WatchESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Third Round ESPN2
Sun Sep 4 11 a.m. US Open Round of 16 ESPN2

WatchESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Round of 16 ESPN2
Mon Sept 5 11 a.m.

 

US Open Round of 16 ESPN2

WatchESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Round of 16 ESPN2
Tue Sep 6 11 a.m.

Noon

US Open Quarterfinals WatchESPN

ESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Quarterfinals ESPN
Wed Sep 7 11 a.m.

Noon

US Open Quarterfinals WatchESPN

ESPN

  7 p.m. Primetime at the US Open presented by IBM – Quarterfinals ESPN2
Thur Sept 8 Noon

7 p.m.

US Open Doubles Matches

US Open Women’s Semifinals

WatchESPN

ESPN / ESPN Deportes

Fri Sept 9 Noon US Open Mixed Doubles Championship ESPN2
  3 p.m. US Open Men’s Semifinals ESPN / ESPN Deportes
Sat Sept 10 Noon US Open Men’s Doubles Championship WatchESPN
  4 p.m. US Open Women’s Championship ESPN / ESPN Deportes
Sun Sept 11 Noon US Open Women’s Doubles Championship WatchESPN
  3:30 p.m. US Open Men’s Championship Preview Special ESPN
  4 p.m. US Open Men’s Championship ESPN / ESPN Deportes

 

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Tennis Channel to Air More Than 175 Hours of 2016 US Open

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Mary Carillo to Anchor US Open Daily, an Off-Beat Look at the Tournament’s Most Interesting Stories and Personalities; Morning Show Tennis Channel Live at the US Open Returns to Arthur Ashe Stadium

Network’s Eighth Year of US Open Coverage Features Navratilova, Courier, Austin, Davenport, Gimelstob, Haber, Annacone, Blake, Weissman ad Wertheim

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 22, 2016 – Tennis Channel will dedicate more than 175 hours to the US Open this year, with a daily morning lead-in show, all-night encore matches and a new nightly program hosted by venerable sportscaster Mary Carillo. The network’s eighth year of coverage at the country’s largest tennis spectacle begins on the first day of play Monday, Aug. 29, through the final Sunday, Sept. 11.

Hosted by Carillo, the new US Open Daily will air from 11 p.m.-midnight ET the first 10 days of the tournament, beginning Aug. 29. US Open Daily will follow Carillo as she explores New York City and reports on different tennis issues and human interest stories with her signature style and humor.

“I’m really looking forward to giving Tennis Channel viewers a different look at the Grand Slam event I grew up with,” said Carillo. “I love this tournament, and New York, and I really love New Yorkers. US Open Daily looks to showcase the bond between this event and its home.”

Joining Carillo on US Open Daily will be Hall of Famers Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76) and Tracy Austin (@thetracyaustin) along with legendary coach Paul Annacone (@paul_annacone) and Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim).

Daily lead-in show Tennis Channel Live at the US Open returns this year at 9 a.m. ET, recapping the latest tournament news while preparing viewers for the day’s play. Longtime sportscaster Brett Haber (@Brett_Haber) will host the program with Hall of Fame analysts Martina Navratilova (@Martina), Jim Courier and Davenport, with former World No. 4 James Blake (@JRBlake) providing segments and Wertheim offering a veteran tennis reporter’s perspective. With interviews, guest appearances, analysis and special segments, the show premieres Monday, August 29, and runs through Septembre 7. There will also be two editions during the final weekend, on Saturday, Sept. 10, and Sunday, Sept. 11, each to follow the women’s and men’s singles finals respectively. In all, Tennis Channel Live at the US Open will have 22 hours of coverage from the event over 12 days.

Most evenings US Open Tonight, Tennis Channel’s nightly show featuring encore matches from the day’s play,will immediately follow US Open Daily and run until the start of Tennis Channel Live at the US Open the next morning. The program debuts Monday, Aug. 29, at 12 a.m. ET. Broadcaster Steve Weissman (@Steve_Weissman), Austin and former player Justin Gimelstob (@justingimelstob) will be on hand to call select matches. US Open Tonight will follow this schedule from the opening Monday through the second Wednesday of the tournament. US Open Tonight’s complete schedule can be found here: http://tennischannel.com/tv-schedule/daily-view/.

This Friday, Aug. 26, at 9 p.m. ET, the hour-long Racquet Bracket: US Open takes a look at the tournament draw, hosted by Russ Thaler with Austin and former player Jimmy Arias (@ariastennis). In the run-up to the final Slam of the season, Racquet Bracket: US Open will be re-aired various times the weekend before the first ball of the tournament.

Digital Coverage
This year Tennis Channel will add extra US Open content to its digital platforms. Fans will be able to follow behind-the-scenes action on www.tennischannel.com, social media, apps and connected devices. Along with live scores and match highlights, the website will feature player blogs, original video content, and Slam coverage from reporter and Tennis Channel contributor Steve Flink. Social media users can interact with their favorite tennis stars and TV commentators via daily takeovers and exclusive backstage live streams. The network’s “Racquet Bracket” prediction challenge is also back for gaming enthusiasts, and Tennis Channel subscribers can access linear streams on mobile devices through the free Tennis Channel Everywhere app. In addition, subscribers to digital subscription service Tennis Channel Plus have the opportunity to relive major championship classic matches from the other three majors this year, and competitions of top stars such as Andy Murray, Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic.

How to follow Tennis Channel:

· Website: http://www.tennischannel.com
· Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tennischannel
· Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tennischannel
· Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/tennischannel
· YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/tennischannel

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Davis Cup Quarterfinals and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Tennis Channel

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(July 12, 2016)  LOS ANGELES –Tennis Channel and Tennis Channel Plus will provide complete live coverage of all Davis Cup quarterfinal competition this weekend, including the United States’ battle with Croatia in Portland, Ore. In addition, the network will televise the 2016 International Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Newport, R.I., on Saturday, July 16, along with live coverage of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships’ quarterfinals, semifinals and finals throughout the weekend. Tennis Channel will also offer live coverage of the men’s tournaments in Bastad, Sweden, and Hamburg, Germany.

The U.S. Davis Cup team will return to Portland for the first time since its Davis Cup title victory over Russia in 2007. Highlighting the match-up, top-ranked American John Isner will face former US Open champion Marin Cilic after having lost to him at Wimbledon two weeks ago. Although Cilic holds a 5-0 record against Isner, the pair have never faced each other in Davis Cup play. Rounding out the United States team is Jack Sock and doubles brothers Bob and Mike Bryan, considered by many to be the greatest doubles team of all time. Tennis Channel will offer live coverage each day beginning at 3 p.m. ET, Friday, July 15; 5 p.m. ET, Saturday, July 16; and 3 p.m. ET, Sunday, July 17 (complete weekend schedule below).

In addition to televising the United States-Croatia Davis Cup matchup, Tennis Channel will offer live looks at the other Davis Cup quarterfinals this weekend. World-whiparound coverage will get underway on Friday, July 15, with the Italy-Argentina competition in Pesaro, Italy; Czech Republic-France battle in Trinec, Czech Republic; and Serbia-Britain play in Belgrade, Serbia. Among the stars set to play Davis Cup this weekend include France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Britain’s Andy Murray, Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro and Italy’s Fabio Fognini.

As part of its world-whiparound coverage, Tennis Channel will air the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Newport live Saturday, July 16, at 12:30 p.m. ET. This year’s inductees include former World No. 1 players Marat Safin and Justine Henin. In addition, 2015 Hall of Famer Amelie Mauresmo will be honored as she was unable to attend last year due to the birth of her child.

Tennis Channel Plus will offer complete, live coverage of the entire ceremony. The network will also be in Newport for live coverage of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships’ quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. American stars set to play in this weekend’s tournament include Steve Johnson, Sam Querrey, Taylor Fritz, Rajeev Ram, Donald Young and Ryan Harrison.

The network will offer live coverage of the men’s tournaments in Bastad, Sweden, and Hamburg, Germany, this weekend as well, as part of daylong telecasts beginning at 5 a.m. ET, Friday, July 15; 7 a.m. ET, Saturday, July 16; and 6 a.m. ET, Sunday, July 17.

Viewers can also catch matches in their entirety on the network’s digital subscription service, Tennis Channel Plus.

Starting times for events within Tennis Channel’s world-whiparound coverage (all time ET):

Friday, July15:
6:30 a.m. – Davis Cup: Italy v. Argentina singles
8 a.m. – Davis Cup: Czech Republic v. France singles
10 a.m. – Davis Cup: Serbia v. Britain singles
1p.m. – Hall of Fame Tennis Championships quarterfinals
3p.m. – Davis Cup: USA v. Croatia singles

Saturday, July 16:
6a.m. – Davis Cup: Czech Republic v. France doubles
9a.m. – Davis Cup: Italy v. Argentina doubles
10 a.m. – Davis Cup: Serbia v. Britain doubles
12:30p.m. – Hall of Fame Tennis Championships Induction Ceremony
2p.m. – Hall of Fame Tennis Championships semifinals
5p.m. – Davis Cup: USA v. Croatia doubles

Sunday, July 17:
6:30 a.m. – Davis Cup: Italy v. Argentina singles
7 a.m. – Davis Cup: Czech Republic v. France singles
9 a.m. – Davis Cup: Serbia v. Britain singles
3 p.m. – Davis Cup: USA v. Croatia singles / Hall of Fame Tennis Championships final

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Tennis Channel’s Nightly Wimbledon Primetime Coverage Begins on June 27

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(June 21, 2016) LOS ANGELES –Tennis Channel will broadcast its ninth straight year of Wimbledon Primetime beginning on the tournament’s Opening Day, Monday, June 27. The network will dedicate more than 200 hours to the event during its three-and-half hour evening show. The program will air every night of the two-week tournament, with encores following immediately, and run throughout the night and into the morning. Tennis Channel will televise 85 first-run Wimbledon Primetime hours in 2016, scheduled to begin the first night of the competition at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Based in the largest on-site studio on the grounds of the historic event, Wimbledon Primetime will feature the incomparable commentary of lead analysts and Hall of Famers Martina Navratilova (@Martina) and Jim Courier. They are joined by fellow Hall of Famers Tracy Austin (@thetracyaustin) and Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76). Combined, the women have won a total of 23 Wimbledon Grand Slam titles across singles, doubles and mixed doubles. In addition, Former Wimbledon mixed doubles semifinalist and Coach Justin Gimelstob (@justingimelstob), and legendary coach Paul Annacone (@paul_annacone), who is known for his guidance of the sport’s all-time best in Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, and more recently with American star Sloane Stephens, will also be a part of the on-air team.

Lead-host Bill Macatee (@BMacatee) has been with the show since its inception in 2008 and returns with his free-flowing conversational approach. He will be joined by fellow host Mary Carillo who will also provide analytic segments, panel discussions and special features throughout the tournament. Along with Macatee and Carillo, Sports Illustrated executive editor and senior writer Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) will contribute analysis and in-depth essays in his distinctive storytelling style as the tournament progresses. The show provides a nightly look of the day’s action, relaying the biggest news, expert analysis and encore matches from the legendary grass courts of the All England Lawn and Tennis Club. Wimbledon Primetime offers American tennis fans, which are typically at work during live play, a centralized destination for everything that happens at the London-based tournament.

Wimbledon Primetime generally runs in two editions each night of the two-week tournament, from 4:30 p.m.-8 p.m. ET and 8 p.m.-11:30 p.m. ET. Heading into the first weekend and second week of the event broadcast times vary slightly, but normally air during the late afternoon Eastern Time. In addition, Tennis Channel will devote seven-and-a-half hours to the All England Lawn and Tennis Club’s highlights program throughout the tournament. This will air 3 a.m-3:30 a.m. the first week of the tournament, Tuesday, June 28-Saturday, July 2, and then from 5 a.m-6 a.m. ET on Sunday, July 3. The second week will feature four hour-long shows, in the early mornings Eastern Time, between Wimbledon Primetime encore broadcasts. For a complete schedule of all Wimbledon coverageplease visit: http://tennischannel.com/tv-schedule/daily-view/.

Tennis Channel will continue with its Grand Slam Staple Racquet Bracket: Wimbledon for the second year. Premiering live Friday, June 24, 8 p.m. ET. The show will look into the Wimbledon draw, featuring 1999 Wimbledon doubles champion Corina Morariu along with commentators James Blake (@jrblake), Steve Weissman (@steve_weissman) and Leif Shiras (@lshirock), assessing the many variables and surprises that could come into play at tennis’ most historic tournament.

Leading up to the tournament, Tennis Channel will air multiple classic Wimbledon matches. In addition, digital subscription service Tennis Channel Plus will air five of the most historic Wimbledon matches in recent memory ahead of the tournament. These include: Bjorn Borg vs. John McEnroe, 1980; Steffi Graf vs. Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, 1995; Lindsay Davenport vs. Venus Williams, 2005; Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal, 2008; Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick, 2009.

During Wimbledon, Apple and Android users can access Tennis Channel’s Tennis Channel Everywhere app for free, regardless of whether they currently subscribe to the network. The app offers daily updates, highlights, Court Report news, instruction clips and player Bag Check segments. Most viewers who subscribe to the network through a pay-TV provider are able to watch the channel live through their mobile devices whenever and wherever they want, through a TV Everywhere function, at no extra cost. Tennis Channel’s website will host extra content, including “Racquet Bracket,” the network’s free tournament prediction game. Players can get an inside take from Tennis Channel’s analysts during the new Wimbledon draw preview show, Racquet Bracket: Wimbledon. Also, longtime tennis reporter Steve Flink will contribute columns, which will be filed regularly to the Tennis Channel website, www.tennischannel.com.

For more content, Tennis Channel’s social media platforms will offer a multi-platform experience for viewers to stay engaged across the entirety of the tournament. To connect with Tennis Channel, visit: Facebook (www.facebook.com/tennischannel), Twitter (www.twitter.com/tennischannel), YouTube (www.youtube.com/tennischannel), Instagram (http://instagram.com/tennischannel) and Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/tennischannel).

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Tennis Channel’s Signature Series: Barnstormers Set to Debut on June 2

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LOS ANGELES, May 26, 2016 – Tennis Channel’s upcoming documentary, Signature Series: Barnstormers, reveals the untold story of a small group of tennis pioneers who spent decades fighting an unjust system to ultimately create the sport’s modern Open Era. The 90-minute film debuts on Thursday afternoon, June 2, at approximately 2 p.m. ET, immediately following the network’s live coverage of the women’s singles semifinals at Roland Garros. Commonly known as the French Open, the tournament ushered in the Open Era in 1968 with its admittance of professionals vs. the majors’ traditional “amateurs only” player fields.

Narrated by renowned actor/director and passionate tennis fan Robert Redford, and written by Sports Illustrated’s award-winning Jon Wertheim, Barnstormers investigates the sport’s evolution from the 1920s until the fight for “open tennis” was won. The documentary, for the first time, brings to light an era when pro players suffered greatly for the game they loved, while so-called amateurs were accepted and supported by institutionalized tennis’ national federations with inside sponsorships and under-the-table payments. For decades the best tennis players in the world faced an excruciating reality: declare yourself a professional and forfeit your eligibility as a contender in the sport’s most hallowed events – for the rest of your life.

Tennis Channel unspools the decades-long story of tennis’ two-class system: a thread that links the pioneering Suzanne Lenglen and Bill Tilden in the 1920s to the rollicking adventures of Hall of Famers like Rod Laver, Bobby Riggs, Pancho Gonzales, Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Butch Buchholz, Tony Trabert and the rest of American-icon Jack Kramer’s ragtag bunch of mid-century professionals. Legends now, in their day these were stars who would play wherever they could get a gig – stretching their portable canvas tennis court out in high school gymnasiums, on roof tops and at ice-hockey rinks – while sleeping in cars before heading off overnight to the next town.

The project took three years to make and involved hundreds of hours of archival-footage research and worldwide interviews with almost every living former Barnstormer, some of whom have since passed away, including Hall of Famer player/inovator Mike Davies, to whom the film is dedicated. What emerges is a classic tale of rebels fighting to change a long-established, highly powerful system.

“Tennis Channel’s Barnstormers pulls the curtain back on an era of sports history that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, but was nevertheless vital for the very existence of the professional tennis that fans around the world enjoy today,” said Ken Solomon, president, Tennis Channel. “Jack Kramer, Pancho Gonzalez, Rod Laver and many other daring men and women risked so much for the belief that high-quality tennis was a profession in itself that should be appreciated at the sport’s highest levels. Without them there would be no Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors, Chris Evert, Andre Agassi, Serena Williams, Roger Federer or countless other stars who have profited financially and otherwise due to the sacrifice of these visionaries.”

The pantheon of tennis is filled with all-time greats who made the decision to turn professional and sacrifice their ability to compete in the sport’s premier competitions, Althea Gibson, Fred Perry, Gussie Moran, Don Budge and Pauline Betz a handful among them. Historians Richard Evans and Steve Flink contribute to Tennis Channel’s
Barnstormers with on-air appearances by Donald Dell and Roger Federer. The film also includes many of the stars who defined the groundbreaking era, including Kramer, Rosewall, Laver, Trabert, Buchholz, Fred Stolle, Tony Roche, Mal Anderson and Pancho Segura, as well as several “lady Barnstormers” like Billie Jean King and Rosie Casals.

 

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“On the Call” with Tennis Channel Analyst and International Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin

(May 16, 2016) On Monday Tennis Channel Analyst and International Tennis Hall of Famer Tracy Austin held a media conference call to talk about the upcoming French Open and other tennis topics.

 

On evaluating Serena Williams game right now going into the French Open:

I think we certainly had a lot of questions about Serena’s game going into Rome because she had to pull out of Madrid with the flu and therefore took seven weeks off.

“And she was only going to have that one warm‑up red clay court tournament before Roland‑Garros.  And Serena came out playing extremely well right from the first match.

“A little bit of hiccup in her early first set against McHale, but for the most part, for the rest of the week, she was moving well.  She was striking the ball cleanly.

“She had a good temperament, because when we saw her lose to Sveta in the fourth round in Miami, Serena didn’t look that happy to be on the court.  She didn’t play well the last two sets.  Won the first set.

“So I think it was a really positive week for Serena, and I think she seems to be in a good place tennis‑wise and mentally prior to Roland‑Garros.

 

On some of the other top women to watch in Paris:

“We’ve called it topsy‑turvy this year on the WTA tour.  And I was possibly expecting or hoping for someone to come through and be more consistent for the red clay court tournaments.

“And we see (Angelique) Kerber come through and win Stuttgart but then lose early the next two tournaments.  And then you see Halep who wins Madrid but then loses early in Rome. (Victoria) Azarenka who obviously won the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami and beat Serena in the finals of Indian Wells in straight sets.

“You’re thinking, okay, this is building, this is looking good.  She still only lost two times this year.  But she’s been hampered by a back injury that she sustained in Madrid and had to pull out prior to her third round and then didn’t play well against Begu because she was obviously compromised, didn’t have much velocity on her serve.

“So for Vika, who is a former semifinalist at the French, I think it’s all about this week and her preparation.  Only she knows how her back is feeling and whether she’s been able to alleviate that pain and get back on the practice court.

“But Vika, I certainly see, if she’s able to get healthy, you know, get a draw where she can play herself in, maybe give herself a little more time and do a few matches, I think Vika is someone that we all need to pay attention to, because we saw her take Serena to three sets last year three times, had three match points on Serena at Madrid last year, took her to three sets at the French.

“The big question mark is how healthy is Vika and how long has she been healthy.  How many reps has she been able to ‑‑ how much time has she been able to spend on the practice court.

“So as I said, the other ones to look for:  Halep former French Open finalist and won Madrid, looking spectacular, losing just one set to Begu.  Her backhand is always on target.  But her forehand was on target.  Looked positive emotionally, which sometimes can waver and in fact it wavered in Rome.  And Kerber in Stuttgart who just played gutsy there to defend her title for the first time in her career.

“But again lost early the next couple of matches.  But Kerber has been to the quarters, I think, once.  And I think with her newfound success in winning the Australian Open she knows how to navigate her way better through a major and probably feels a lot more confidence in her game that she can problem solve in difficult situations.  So she’ll be interesting.

“And I’ll talk about Muguruza, who is a two‑time quarterfinalist there, obviously beat Serena in the second round a few years back.  And she looked really good.  Madison took her out in the semis in Rome.  But she’s been making improvements.  A slow start to the year for her.

“So I also look for some outliers, Kvitova, who got to the semis of Stuttgart, but early losses or maybe, let’s say, midline losses at the next couple of tournaments.

“And Keys, Keys is somebody who is my outsider, because Madison played spectacular tennis; more importantly, I’m going to take the word “spectacular” out.  I’m going to say smart tennis and remained calm throughout all of her matches in beating two top players Kaviva and Muguruza on the way to the finals.

“And we’ve all been talking about the weapons that Madison has had for years:  Huge serve, the massive forehand, the sheer power that she has.  But it’s always been about shot selection and sometimes not always the smartest shot selection.

“But she was much more patient in building her points; and no matter what the score was, she stayed calm and didn’t pull the trigger too quickly.  So those were huge strides for Madison Keys this week.

On the former No. 1 American Junior Taylor Townsend earning a wildcard into the French:

 

“In February she was .382.  It’s hugely significant.  If I counted the matches correctly, I think it’s 18 matches that she played in those three events.  So getting to the finals of two and winning one.

“I love that consistency.  It wasn’t just like, oh, winning one and then struggling in another and having midline results in another.

“I liked the fact she was so consistent.  Honestly I did not see any of those matches, so I don’t know.  Taylor’s tremendous talent, leftiness is an advantage and asset, and she uses it well.  So I think Taylor is still young.

“It’s very exciting that she’s had the success.  I hope she uses this wildcard well and also uses this success and is a real springboard for her to, I don’t want to use the word “motivated” because I’m sure she’s remained motivated, but to see she’s close and has the talent.  And this confidence will really pay off.

“I think the talent that Taylor has, because she’s ‑‑ I would talk about her game a little bit more and the leftiness.  Obviously a very live arm on her serve.

“Huge forehand.  Can move ‑‑ not move ‑‑ at the net, she’s very handy about the net, which we see so few of the young players that feel comfortable up there.  She’s got good feel as well.

“So really good foundation to build on.  And I think it’s about finding her way and gaining confidence, and these three results will really help.

 

On equal pay in tennis:

“And I don’t think that woman would have a problem playing three out of five sets.  And I think also on the men’s side, oftentimes three out of five is too long.  And so I think women, if they were asked again to play three out of five, that wouldn’t be a problem.

“For me, it’s not about the length.  When you go to a concert, it’s not how long this one plays or a man plays or a woman plays, it’s just about the entertainment value.

“It’s worked for this many years.  I think that until someone comes up with ‑‑ maybe men should go to two out of three.  Maybe it will make it more interesting and feel a sense of urgency.

“I know at the Olympics, I felt that, when I was covering it in London in 2012.  You know, you didn’t have that ability on the men’s side to kind of lose that first set, because there was that sense of urgency.  It was two out of three, I think up until a certain round.  So there’s so many variations that could be thought of.”

 

Thoughts on the men, coming into the French Open:

I do think it’s fascinating because of the results on red clay.  Last week on Tennis Channel I picked Djokovic.  I still pick Djokovic.  But Andy (Murray) winning and the way that he won certainly makes the conversation a lot more interesting.

“Also the fact that Rafa (Nadal) has played at such a high level the last few months, that makes it more interesting as well.

“Rafa, last year, his fluctuations were higher than we have ever seen as far as he would play well and we’d think he’s getting back on track and then he would slip a little bit and then he would play well again.

“It was back and forth, kind of this yo‑yo effect, and he couldn’t really gain traction.  Whereas, I feel like in the last month, on the European red clay, he’s really gained that traction, winning in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

“And he had a great match this last week in the quarters against Novak.  As Rafa said, it was so very, very close.  That gave him, even though he lost, it gave him a lot of confidence, that he’s now hitting his backhand more firmly, with more penetration.  He’s standing closer to the baseline.

“He’s using a philosophy that he needs to get a lot of first serves in.  He’s serving in the 70s and the low 80s and a couple of his matches, 84 percent, 85 percent of first serves in, serving a little bit further over from the center T on the ad side to get a little bit more angle with his slice.

“Just overall looking a lot more Rafa‑like on clay.  So that’s exciting.  He’s definitely playing at a different confidence level.  Andy Murray might be the biggest surprise.  As he said, he’s finally feeling, in the last couple of years, comfortable moving on the clay.  And he kind of chuckled about it that it took him 10 years to feel this comfortable to slide, to move, and a guy who is such a good athlete with such incredible balance.  We’ve seen his results so consistent each week got better, the semis and then a final, I think it was in Madrid and winning in Rome and beating Rafa along the way.  Beating Djokovic along the way and straight sets no less.

“Let me say one thing, Djokovic might have been beat up a little bit in that final because he had a long match with Rafa and a long match with Kay as well.  But still it’s so impressive the way that Andy was just a lot more penetrating.

“He obviously had a new mindset that he had to strike his ground strokes more powerfully.  I think it was like eight miles per hour faster that he was hitting his ground strokes.  He was hitting his second serve a little bit quicker as well.  Attacking the net was more successful in Rome.  His court positioning.

“So overall he looked very confident.  So I would say those three guys, unfortunately I think Roger has not had enough reps and his back, you know, wasn’t good losing to Thiem.  He really didn’t stretch and change direction and he kind of knew that going in that he was just looking for matches but he didn’t really expect to go to go deep in Rome.  Unfortunately for Roger I think it’s going to be a different Roland‑Garros meaning, I don’t think he’s part of that top tier equation.”

 

On the progress of “young guns” on tour including Taylor Fritz, Nick Kyrgios,Borna Coric, Zverev:

 

“I picked my outlier this year at the French with Kyrgios, the way that he ‑‑ I think he beat Stan.  He beat another top player, like who else did he beat on clay this year?  And then he took Rafa to three sets.

“The way he can hit through the court and just hit winners.  The talent is off the chart.  He’s just dripping with talent.  It’s a question about maintaining that mental balance and he struggled with that.

“I think he’s possibly maturing some.  But I expect him to be a future No. 1, future right at the top of the game.

“I also loved Zverev’s progress.  I think he’s ranked in the 40s now.  And we’ve seen obviously a matchpoint away from beating Rafa at Indian Wells.  Didn’t get it.  But the kid just keeps improving month to month.  It’s not year to year.  It’s not every four months.  It’s just every single time he plays a tournament, seems like he’s gaining valuable experience and knowledge and seems to have pretty all‑court game already.  A huge serve.  Tall.  He’s thin.

“So he’s going to get stronger.  That’s going to take time.  But terrific technically sound ground strokes.  Love his backhand.  Seems in the forecourt pretty comfortable.  Great attitude.

“I love Zverev as well.  Coric to me is very steady.  Talk about him as the mini Djokovic.  And to me I don’t see his high level quite as high because I don’t see the obvious weapons.

“And then Taylor, I think Taylor is ranked about 70 now.  You think about the fact he lost in the Junior Finals last year and now he’s ranked 72 in the world.  That is some incredible progress.  And Taylor has a massive serve.  Unbelievable forehand.  Solid, solid backhand moving much better.

“He grew up with my son.  I’ve seen Taylor since the time he was 10 years old.  Always had great demeanor.  Just a phenomenal kid, by the way.  And I don’t say that about a ton of kids.  I don’t give those compliments out easily.

“Working on his backhand slice, working in his skills in the forecourt, which needs some work.  But the progress has been outstanding.

 

After Andy Murray parted ways with coach Amélie Mauresmo, Austin was asked about if there will be a time when we’ll see more women coaches coaching men or women in the future:

 

As I said on Tennis Channel this week, tennis ball is a tennis ball, and you don’t get anybody out there smarter than Martina (Navratilova), she knows the game, the ins and outs of anybody.

“It’s just a question of how it fits in the schedule.  Andy put it well, and I love Andy, he was such a advocate for Amélie, the fact first of all he hired her, first top male to have a woman coach.  Really says a lot about Andy and the way he was raised by Judy, that he had such confidence they worked well.

“As Andy said, he was struggling when Amélie came on board and he got his game back together.  And I think it was really telling as well when he said since Australia to like where he was at it was two weeks ago, they had spent ten days together.  And that’s just not enough time for a coach to make an impact and therefore he felt probably the need to find someone that could spend more time.

“That was not anything, a knock against Amélie or how she was performing as a coach.  Amélie had a son in August.  And that would be my guess as to where the problem lies; Amélie didn’t want to spend as much time on the road.  So that’s possibly why you don’t see as many women on tour if they have young kids.

“I would not want to coach right now.  I really want to stay home with my kids.  Something possibly for the future.  But I would like to see more women that would like to coach have that opportunity.”

 

Picks for the French Open:

 

“I’ve been talking about it for a week.  As soon as I saw Serena play so well, it’s tough to bet against Serena, three‑time champion there, and Halep is a finalist.

“But other than that, most of the others have been one semis, maybe a quarter or two.  So Serena is my clear favorite the way she’s played so well, was so engaged in Rome.

“The men became more difficult, which makes it exciting.  Because as someone said, I’m picking Djokovic, but yet Nadal is playing so much better and the guy’s won it nine times.  So so much interest there because Djokovic obviously going for his last Grand Slam to achieve the Calendar‑Year Grand Slam.

“So a lot of interest.  I’m very excited to go back to Paris.  I haven’t been there in over a decade.  Very excited to be working with Tennis Channel.  Love the Tennis Channel team and call it the Tennis Channel Family.

“So my son will be playing in the juniors there as well in either the junior qualifying or possibly the main draw.  So that will be of extra interest to me the second week.”

Tracy Austin will part of the broadcast team for Tennis Channel’s coverage of the French Open.

Related article:

Tennis Channel 2016 French Open Coverage Schedule

Tennis Channel 2016 French Open Coverage Schedule

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