@ESPNTennis at the French Open Wednesday: Nadal-Djokovic XLIV


@ESPNTennis at the French Open Wednesday: Nadal-Djokovic XLIV

  • Most-Played Rivalry in Open Era, Nadal Leads 23-20
  • Quarterfinal is Earliest They’ve Played in Eight Years
  • The Stakes: Djokovic Seeks Career Grand Slam, Nadal Aims for French Crown #10
  • Winner to Play either Murray or Ferrer in Semifinal
  • Serena Williams – Sara Errani Starts the Day at 8 a.m. ET for Spot in Semifinals
  • McEnroe Brothers in Legends Doubles on ESPN3 at 5 a.m. ET

On Wednesday, June 3, a titanic battle between two all-time greats highlights ESPN’s coverage of the French Open quarterfinals as nine-time champion Rafael Nadal will face top-seeded Novak Djokovic – seeking to complete a career Grand Slam with a win on the red clay of Roland Garros. ESPN2 will be live from Paris at 8 a.m. ET, starting with top-seeded Serena Williams in her quest for her 20th Major championship, facing No. 17 Sara Errani, the finalist in 2012. The Nadal-Djokovic match will follow. Spanish language coverage will also be available from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. on ESPN Deportes+ on ESPN3.

The day’s other action sees No. 3 Andy Murray vs. No. 7 David Ferrer in a quarterfinal and two very big surprises in a women’s quarterfinal: No. 23 seed Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland will square off against unseeded 21-year-old Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium. Neither player has before reached the quarterfinal stage of a Major event.

On ESPN3, action begins at 5 a.m. from three courts — Court Philippe Chatrier, Court Suzanne Lenglen and Court One where the first match will pit ESPN’s John and Patrick McEnroe in a Legends Doubles Tournament match against Pat Cash and Andres Gomez. The McEnroe Brothers took the championship of that event in 2012 and again a year ago.

On Thursday, June 4, ESPN will conclude its coverage of the French Open with the women’s semifinals live on ESPN2 at 9 a.m. (ESPN3 begins at 5 a.m.) No. 7 Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 champion, will play No. 13 Lucie Safarova in one semifinal. The other will pit the winners of Williams/Errani and Bacsinszky/Van Uytvanck.

Chris Fowler leads the ESPN tennis team in Paris, with Darren Cahill, seven-time French Open champ Chrissie Evert, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert and Patrick McEnroe.

Overall, for the second Major of the tennis year, ESPN2 will present 50 hours on television with nearly 300 more via ESPN3’s presentation of up to seven courts on the days ESPN2 is on the air.

Nadal-Djokovic XLIV

It will be the 44th meeting between Nadal and Djokovic, the most of any men’s rivalry in the Open Era. Of the previous 43, only three of occurred as early as the quarterfinals in a traditional, bracketed tournament (they have also met at the Olympics, in Davis Cup, and at the ATP World Tour Finals), and not since Rome in 2007, their fourth meeting. Tale of the Tape:

(6) Rafael Nadal (ESP) (1) Novak Djokovic (SRB)
29 years old (June 3 is his birthday) 28 years old
Height: 6-1 Height: 6-2
Single Married, one son
65 career titles (14 at Majors) 53 career titles (8 at Majors, including 2015 Australian Open)
9 French Open Titles (70-1 record) 0 French Open titles
29-9 in 2015, including 5 losses on clay 39-2 in 2015, including a current 26-match winning streak
1 title in 2015 5 titles in 2015
Head to Head
Overall Nadal 23-20
On Clay Nadal 14-5
French Open Nadal 6-0, including a 4:37 five-setter in a 2013 semifinal
Majors Nadal 9-3
Finals Djokovic 12-10
Major Finals Nadal 4-3
Last Six Meetings(starting w/Beijing 2013) Djokovic 5-1
Major Finals 4-3

* – It is the only men’s rivalry that includes matches in all four Major finals.

What does the @ESPNTennis Team Say?

Darren Cahill:  “Rafa in five sets.  Beating Rafa at the French Open over five sets might just be the most difficult thing to do in any sport. His Roland Garros record is unsurpassed. He’s fit, he’s healthy, he’s finding form at the right time and both players are primed for this match. It’ll go down to the wire but he has 9 years of success to call on for inspiration in the difficult moments.”

Chrissie Evert: “Djoker in four. He’s ready.”

Mary Joe Fernandez: “Rafa in four. The pressure is on Novak and I have to see it to believe it that Nadal can lose here since it’s only happened once. His record best of five on clay is insane!
Brad Gilbert: “I like Djoker in four sets. Nobody beats Nole seven times in a row at the French Open.”

Patrick McEnroe: “Djoker in four, pulling away.”
French Open 2015 on ESPN2 & ESPN2 HD

Date Time (ET) Event  
Wed, June 3 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. QuarterfinalsNo. 1 S.Williams vs. No. 17 ErraniNo. 1 Djokovic vs. No. 6 Nadal No. 3 Murray vs. No. 7 Ferrer

No. 23 Bacsinszky vs. Van Uytvanck

Thur, June 4 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Women’s Semifinals Live


French Open 2015 on ESPN3

Date Time (ET) Event  
Wed, June 3 5 a.m. – 1 p.m. QuarterfinalsNo. 1 S.Williams vs. No. 17 ErraniNo. 1 Djokovic vs. No. 6 Nadal No. 3 Murray vs. No. 7 Ferrer

No. 23 Bacsinszky vs. Van Uytvanck

Thur, June 4 5 a.m. – 1 p.m. Men’s Doubles SemifinalsMixed Doubles FinalWomen’s Semifinals Live


Dave Nagle

As I write this on 11-11-21, it's now 35 years for me at ESPN, the only real job I’ve ever had. I joined merely to help with the upcoming America’s Cup in Australia. I was told it would be for three months at all of $5.50 per hour. I like to say I simply kept showing up. I’ve worked on almost every sport, plus answered viewer calls and letters (people used to write!), given tours, written the company newsletter and once drove NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon to the local airport. My travels have been varied…I’ve been to Martinsville, Darlington, Indy and Super Bowls; the America’s Cup (all 3) in San Diego and College GameDay in the sport’s meccas such as Eugene, Auburn, Lubbock, Stillwater and more; the NBA Finals, Wimbledon (16 times and counting) and the “other Bristol,” the one with a race track in Tennessee. These days, my main areas are tennis, UFC, boxing, network-wide ratings (by month/quarter/year), and corporate communications documents, including fact sheets, chronologies, lists and nearly 35 of the Year in Review press releases. UPDATE EXACTLY ONE YEAR LATER: Today, November 11, 2022, I am retiring from ESPN -- 36 years to the day I began. As I ride off into the sunset – top down and E Street Radio blaring – I do so with so many wonderful memories, proud of my contributions and a heart full of gratitude for the opportunity. 
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