Two-Week Australian Open Begins Sunday; First Time in High Def

Tennis

Two-Week Australian Open Begins Sunday; First Time in High Def

Biggest-Ever Schedules on ESPN2 & ESPN360.com as Nadal & Serena Defend Titles 

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PilotPen001[1]ESPN will again begin its presentation of tennis’ Grand Slam events with daily marathon late-night telecasts from the Australian summer downunder with the 2010 Australian Open presented by Franklin Templeton Investments starting Sunday, Jan. 17.  ESPN2 will increase its programming to 113 live hours, plus more in afternoon reairs, the most in ESPN’s 26-year history with the event.  In addition, the event will be in high definition for the first time on ESPN2 HD.  Broadband ESPN360.com will also increase programming, to a most-ever 600 hours – all live from Melbourne, with users choosing between action on seven courts. 

Play begins with the first match of the tournament on ESPN2 and ESPN360.com on Sunday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. ET and will continue through the women’s and men’s finals live in the early hours of Saturday, Jan. 30, and Sunday, Jan. 31, respectively (very late on Friday and Saturday nights, respectively).  ESPN has televised the Australian Open since 1984 (there was no event in 1986), the French Open since 2002 (and 1986 – 1993), Wimbledon since 2003 and added the US Open last year. 

In addition, where appropriate ESPN’s SportsCenter – including the live weekday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. editions – and ESPNEWS will endeavor live look-ins to the action.  Also, ESPN Deportes will present Spanish-language coverage in the U.S. and ESPN International will bring the event to viewers around the world.

 

TV:  IN THE U.S. AND AROUND THE WORLD

Cliff Drysdale – who has been with ESPN since its first tennis telecast in 1979 – and sportscasting legend Dick Enberg lead the ESPN2 team.  Chris Fowler will again host and call select matches, with Chris McKendry also hosting.  Darren Cahill, Mary Carillo, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert and Patrick McEnroe return as analysts, as does Pam Shriver, who will primarily serve as a courtside and studio reporter.  Tom Rinaldi will contribute features, news and interviews during event coverage and on SportsCenter

ESPN2’s Australian Open programming will generally consist of three shows each day:  live coverage in the evening starting Sunday, Jan. 17 at 7 p.m., live matches at 3 a.m., and at least three hours of same-day action the next afternoon at 3 p.m.  The tournament is part of ESPN’s ongoing Grand Slam alliance with Tennis Channel, which offers audiences a near round-the-clock tournament experience at tennis’ major events.  ESPN is producing all Australian Open coverage for both networks, which will cross-promote each other with each channel utilizing its own commentators. 

ESPN Deportes – the fulltime Spanish-language U.S. network – will televise 56 hours (including re-airs), January 18 through the finals. The commentators will be Luis Alfredo Alvarez, Eduardo Varela and former professional tennis players Jose Luis Clerc, Javier Frana, and Jimmy Arias. 

ESPN Interactive TV, exclusive to DIRECTV, will present the Australian Open with a six-screen “mix channel.”  For 7-8 hours per night during the first eight days of the tournament, viewers will be able to watch the ESPN2 feed or one of five other courts, all with commentary.  Other features include interactive data, the tournament draw, up-to-date scores, and daily order of play. 

ESPN VOD (Video On Demand) will offer a variety of programming before, during and after the 2010 Australian Open, starting with the 2010 Australian Open Preview Show up to the beginning of the tournament.  Highlights of last year’s final are available through March 3 (men’s – 57 minutes, women’s – 34 minutes).  A recap of each of this year’s Women’s and Men’s Finals will be offered February 3 – March 3 (10 minutes each).  

In Latin America, ESPN International will provide two weeks of extensive live coverage over three different networks. The pan-regional ESPN networks in Latin America (in South and Central America) will showcase the biggest names in tennis along with players of local relevance in 100 hours, including the women’s and men’s finals. In the Southern Cone, ESPN+ (pronounced “mas”) will air a minimum of 20 hours of complementary coverage in primetime throughout the early rounds. Additionally, ESPN Brasil will also show 30+ hours of live coverage in the early morning hours and ESPN Brasil HD will simulcast ESPN2’s 100+ hours. 

GREAT MATCHES FROM THE PAST ON ESPN CLASSIC & ESPN2

Starting Saturday, Jan. 16, the day before the tournament starts, at 7 a.m., ESPN Classic will get fans ready with a 23-hour marathon covering seven memorable Australian Open matches.  The marathon climaxes with Rafael Nadal’s pair of marathon victories in last year’s semifinal and final.  However, that match will air again later in the day, Sunday, Jan. 17, on ESPN2, from noon – 5 p.m.

 

ESPN Classic

7 – 9 a.m. ET:  1995 Australian Open Quarterfinal, Pete Sampras vs. Jim Courier

Defending champion Pete Sampras, troubled by the health problems of his coach Tim Gullickson, wept in the middle of his Australian Open match with Jim Courier.  Sampras would come back from two sets down for the second straight match and win 6-7 (7-4), 6-7 (7-3), 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in a four-hour marathon to reach the semifinals.  

9 – 11 a.m.:  1995 Australian Open Final, Pete Sampras vs. Andre Agassi

Agassi absorbed a 28-ace barrage by top-seeded Pete Sampras, but wore him down from the baseline and won the Australian Open title in a spectacular match, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6, 6-4.

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.:  2000 Australian Open Semifinal, Andre Agassi vs. Pete Sampras

Agassi and Sampras put on a show for the film archives, Agassi winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (0), 7-6 (5), 6-1 to become the first man to reach four straight Grand Slam finals since Rod Laver swept them all in 1969.

1 – 3 p.m.:  2002 Australian Open Women’s Final:  Jennifer Capriati vs. Martina Hingis

In extreme heat that tested both players to their limit, Jennifer Capriati came back from a set and 0-4 down, saving four match points, to defeat Martina Hingis 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-2.

3 – 8 p.m.:  2005 Australian Open Men’s Semifinal:  Roger Federer vs. Marat Safin

Safin advanced to his third Australian Open final by ending Federer’s 26-match winning streak in a 5-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(6), 9-7 thriller.

8 p.m. – 1 a.m.:  2009 Australian Open Men’s Semifinal:  Rafael Nadal vs. Fernando Verdasco

In the longest match in Australian Open history, top-ranked Rafael Nadal finally vanquished fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, winning 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (1-7), 6-4 in 5 hours and 14 minutes.

1 – 6 a.m.:  2009 Australian Open Men’s Final:  Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer

With Federer gunning for a record-tying 14th Grand Slam victory, Nadal held on in a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2 momentum-swinging, 4-hour, 22-minute match that left the vanquished Swiss star in tears.

ESPN2

Noon – 5 p.m.:  2009 Australian Open Men’s Final:  Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer

 

DIGITAL MEDIA, AT HOME AND ABROAD

ESPN360.com will expand its broadband coverage to include no fewer than seven live feeds from various courts – including the women’s and men’s semifinals and finals – totaling 600 hours (including a simulcast of ESPN2’s live coverage), up from 430.  For the first 10 days (Sun., Jan. 17 – Tues., Jan. 26), coverage will commence at 7 p.m. (11 a.m. in Melbourne, when play begins) and continue for at least seven hours.  The courts to be included are the “TV courts,” the ones most likely to have top matches:  Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena, Margaret Court Arena, plus Courts 2, 3, 6 and 8.  For the remainder of the tournament, ESPN360.com will continue the ESPN2 simulcast, including the women’s (Jan. 31) and men’s (Feb. 1) finals, plus exclusive coverage of select men’s, women’s and mixed doubles play and the boys’ and girls’ finals. 

Each window of coverage will be available for on-demand replay following its completion.  With ESPN360.com’s dynamic interface, tennis fans will be able to fast-forward, rewind and pause action – during both on-demand replay and live action coverage. 

ESPN360.com is ESPN’s live sports broadband network, a 24/7 online destination that delivers more than 3,500 live, global sports events annually. Dozens of content agreements have bolstered ESPN360.com’s lineup, including MLB, SEC football and basketball, US Open tennis, The Masters, plus top international soccer, rugby and cricket.  It is available at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection from an affiliated service provider.  ESPN360.com is currently available in more than 50 million homes – two-thirds of US broadband homes.  It is available via dozens of Internet Service Providers of all sizes nationwide, including Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Cox, Charter, RCN, Insight, Frontier, Cavalier, Mediacom, Conway, Grande Communications and many more. It is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.       

ESPN.com will have an all new Slam Central, featuring video highlights and original podcasts from the ESPN PodCenter (http://espnradio.espn.go.com/espnradio/podcast/index) and daily video highlights including ESPN.com’s original digital series Digital Serve with Jennifer Williams. News and analysis from contributors Ravi Ubha and Tennis.com will also be featured, along with Week 2 live analysis.

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

The Australian Open will be seen on ESPN International’s ESPN360.com broadband service in Latin America. ESPN360.com will feature wall-to-wall coverage of the year’s first Grand Slam, airing over 600 hours of live tennis from every available court, including live coverage of the men’s & women’s quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. This streaming coverage will be available in over a million homes in nine countries throughout Latin America. 

ESPN Mobile TV, a 24/7 channel for wireless, will provide more than 130 hours of live coverage, simulcasting most of ESPN2’s live programming. 

 

PREVIEWING 2010

Rafael Nadal will defend the men’s title against a strong field led by three-time champ Roger Federer, 2008 winner Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, recent US Open champ Juan Martin del Potro and Nikolay Davydenko, winner of the 2009 all-star round-robin, year-ender, the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London. 

On the women’s side, in 2009 Serena Williams won her fourth Australian Open as well as her third Wimbledon, and she will face a compelling field of storylines:  2008 champ Maria Sharapova returns after missing last year’s event because of injury; Kim Clijsters, who won the 2009 US Open in only her third tournament after ending her early retirement; Justine Henin, who counts the 2004 Australian Open among her seven major victories, is returning from a sudden 2007 retirement; seven-time Grand Slam event winner Venus Williams; 2009 French Open winner Svetlana Kuznetsova; Dinara Safina, who spent much of ’09 ranked No. 1 and is seeking her first Grand Slam title; and emerging stars Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark and Melanie Oudin of the U.S. (the youngest woman ranked in the top 100). 

 

2010 AUSTRALIAN OPEN on ESPN TV Networks

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

Therefore, the listing for Sun., Jan. 17 at 3 a.m. ET is very late on Sunday night.) 

Date Time (ET) Event Platform  
Sat, Jan 16 7 a.m. – 6 a.m. 7 Great Matches ESPN Classic Taped
Sun, Jan 17 Noon – 5 p.m. 2009 Men’s Final ESPN2 Taped
  7 p.m. – 2 a.m. Early round play ESPN2 LIVE
  3 – 8 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Mon, Jan 18 3 – 7 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 2 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
  3 – 8 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Tue, Jan 19 3 – 7 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 2 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
  3 – 8 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Wed, Jan 20 3 – 7 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  11 p.m. – 2 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
  3 – 8 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Thur, Jan 21 3 – 7 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 2 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
  3 – 8 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Fri, Jan 22 3 – 7 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 1 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
  3 – 8 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Sat, Jan 23 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  10 p.m. – 2 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
  3 – 8 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Sun, Jan 24 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  7 p.m. – 2 a.m. Round of 16 ESPN2 LIVE
  3:30 – 8 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Mon, Jan 25 3 – 7 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Quarterfinals ESPN2 LIVE
  3:30 – 8 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Tue, Jan 26 3 – 7 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 2 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
  3:30 – 8 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Wed, Jan 27 3 – 7 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 ESPN2 LIVE
Thurs, Jan 28 3 – 6 p.m. Men’s Semifinal #1 ESPN2 reair
  3:30 – 6 a.m. Men’s Semifinal #2 ESPN2 LIVE
Fri, Jan 29 3 – 6 p.m. Men’s Semifinal #2 ESPN2 reair
  3:30 – 5:30 a.m. Women’s Final ESPN2 LIVE
Sat, Jan. 30 8 – 9:55 a.m. Women’s Final ESPN2 reair
  10 p.m. – MID Women’s Final ESPN2 reair
  3:30 – 6:30 a.m. Men’s Final ESPN2 LIVE
Sun, Jan 31 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Men’s Finals ESPN2 reair

 

2010 AUSTRALIAN OPEN on ESPN360.com 

Date Time (ET) Event  
Sun, Jan 17 – 7 p.m. – 2 a.m. Early round play LIVE
   Tue, Jan 26 3 – 8 a.m. – * LIVE
Wed, Jan 27 6 p.m. – 1 a.m. Quarterfinals LIVE
  9:30 p.m. – 2 a.m. Women’s Semifinals LIVE
  3:30 – 6 a.m. Men’s Semifinal #1 LIVE
Thurs, Jan 28 11 p.m. – 3:30 a.m. W.Doubles Final / Mixed Doubles Semifinal LIVE
  3:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Men’s Semifinal #2 LIVE
Fri, Jan 29 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Boys’ and Girls’ Finals LIVE
  3:30 – 5:30 a.m. Women’s Final LIVE
Sat, Jan. 30 12:30 – 2 a.m. Mixed Doubles Final LIVE
  3:30 – 6:30 a.m. Men’s Final LIVE

* – start time is 3:30 a.m. late on Sun., Jan. 24 – Tues., Jan. 26

 

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