Press Release

Posted by Dave Nagle on May 20, 2013

ESPN at the French Open: Live Morning Matches Start Sunday, May 26

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50+ Hours on ESPN2, ESPN3 with 330 Hours; Most View Nadal (despite ranking), S.Williams the Favorites

Live morning matches on ESPN2 and day-long coverage via ESPN3 will bring French Open action to fans starting Sunday, May 26.  ESPN2’s schedule of more than 50 hours – starting live at 5 a.m. ET most days – continues weekdays through Thursday, June 6, culminating with the women’s semifinals.  ESPN3 will provide up to seven screens of action on the days ESPN2 is on the air, totaling 330 hours. 

In both the women’s and men’s draws, contenders hope to break the stranglehold the top players have had on recent major championships. 

  • On the men’s side, injuries – both current and Nadal’s in 2012 – leave the seeding up in the air.  Novak Djokovic is ranked No. 1 and won the year’s first major in Australia while No. 2 Andy Murray, who finally won his first Grand Slam title at the 2012 US Open is likely to withdraw because of injury.  No. 3 Roger Federer – who has reached the quarterfinals of 35 consecutive majors, winning a record 17 – heads to Roland Garros without a title in the current year for the first time since 2000.  Defending champ Rafael Nadal is ranked No. 4, thanks to his long layoff the latter half of 2012, but leads the 2013 points race with six victories (five on clay) and few would be surprised if he were to bring home his eighth trophy from Paris.  The contenders after Nadal – David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin Del Potro (who may be forced to withdraw) and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga – have have all shown the ability to defeat a member of the Big Four but a major title would be a huge break through.
  • At 31, Serena Williams’ recent play certainly befits the top-ranked player in the world: 36-2 this year, riding career-best win streak of 24 matches and five titles.  Winner of two of the last three majors and 15 overall, she is looking to avenge her stunning first-round defeat a year ago in Paris and win back the crown she has won just once (2002).  No. 2 Maria Sharapova is the defending  champion and 30-4 in 2013 but three of those losses came to Williams in finals.  No. 3 Victoria Azarenka is 22-2 year to date with two titles including her second straight Australian Open.  She fell to Williams 6-1, 6-3 Sunday on clay in the Rome final.  At No. 4 and No. 5, Agnieszka Radwanska and Sara Errani are at a career-best ranking but each has only reached one Grand Slam final (Wimbledon, 2012; French Open, 2012, respectively) while No. 6 Li Na took the trophy in Paris in 2011 and reached the final of this year’s Australian Open.  American Sloane Stephens, 20 – who emerged as a threat with an upset of Williams in Australia – is ranked No. 17 while Varvara Lepchenko of Allentown, Pa., is No. 29 but reached the fourth round at Roland Garros 12 months ago.

TV Coverage

After the opening day, ESPN2’s schedule will continue with an all-live telecast starting at 5 a.m. each day through Friday, May 31, and again on Monday, June 3.  The network will air live quarterfinal action Tuesday, June 4, at 1 p.m. and Wednesday, June 5, at 8 a.m.  ESPN2 will air the women’s semifinals live Thursday, June 6, at 9 a.m.  All the action on ESPN2 is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. 

Chris Fowler and Chris McKendry will again share host duties on ESPN2, with Fowler also calling matches.  They will be joined by Evert, along with returnees Darren Cahill, Cliff Drysdale, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert and Pam Shriver.

ESPN networks present all four Grand Slam events and have televised the French Open 1986 – 1993 and since 2002.  ESPN3 delivers an unmatched multi-screen presentation of the sport’s four majors, all ATP 1000 and 500 tournaments, WTA Premier Events and season-ending championships for both tours.    

For the seventh consecutive year, ESPN2 is working with Tennis Channel to bring viewers an almost around-the-clock tournament experience, with each channel cross-promoting the other’s schedule.  Tennis Channel will produce all coverage for both channels, with each making use of its own on-air team. 

ESPN3

ESPN3’s French Open schedule totals 330 hours with a multi-screen offering of up to seven courts and ESPN2’s coverage and is available on the days the network is televising.  ESPN3 will begin each day early in the morning with the first ball in the air and continue to the last shot of the day.  Matches will also be available after they take place via replay.  Additionally, ESPNPlay in Latin America and the Caribbean will provide customers with extensive live coverage with multiple windows totaling over 500 hours in both English and Spanish on broadband platforms in addition to televised coverage throughout the regions.

Other ESPN Platforms

Fans will have a variety of ways to follow the French Open with live action and updates on an array of ESPN platforms wherever they are and regardless of whether there is live television offered. 

ESPN.com will provide comprehensive coverage before, during and after the French Open, highlighted by CourtCast, which will feature all the live action from ESPN3.  As always, it will also include real-time scoring from all courts, plus continuous live polling with results revealed immediately in ESPN2’s telecasts.  CourtCast will also provide an augmented  social media feed (Twitter and Facebook) from the players, analysts and writers. And, of course, ESPN.com will have the latest news, analysis, schedules and more.  Fans can watch Digital Serve daily with ESPN2 commentators discussing the latest action and previewing key matches.  Other highlights include:

  • The Latest Dirt – a daily notebook roundup of all the day’s action;
  • Center Court – a tennis video show featured each week on all the major news from Roland Garros;
  • espnW.com – Comprehensive daily coverage of the women’s draw by senior writer Jim Caple;
  • What We Learned – ESPN.com senior writer Greg Garber and others will highlight the day’s news and notes with quick video snippets on the overlooked storylines.

The WatchESPN App – for fans who receive ESPN’s linear networks as part of their video subscription via Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV, Comcast Xfinity TV, Midcontinent Communications, Cablevision, Cox, Charter or AT&T U-verse – will provide access to for ESPN2’s live coverage online at WatchESPN.com and through the WatchESPN app on smartphones and tablets, in addition to ESPN3’s multi-screen offering. 

ESPN Mobile TV will have 46 hours of live coverage, simulcasting ESPN2’s live programming, highlighted by the women’s semifinals Thursday, June 7.   

ESPN Interactive TV, exclusive to DIRECTV, will present the French Open showing ESPN2 or Tennis Channel’s live coverage along with five other courts available with commentary.  Other features include interactive data, the tournament draw, up-to-date scores, and daily order of play. 

ESPN International will present over 100 hours of live French Open coverage to more than 50 countries in Spanish-speaking Latin America and the Caribbean on its pan-regional and regional networks.  Matches will be chosen based on local interest, and commentary will be offered in English and Spanish, with expert analysis provided by two Spanish-speaking announce teams: Luis Alvarez & Javier Frana and Eduardo Varela & Jose Luis Clerc  In addition to both SD and HD television telecasts, ESPN International’s broadband service, ESPN Play, will stream over 500 hours of live French Open matches, including the men’s and women’s finals. 

ESPN – All Four Slams, All In One Place

Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air and provided many memorable moments, but it has never been as important as today, with the US Open joining the lineup in 2009, giving ESPN all four Grand Slam events, something no other U.S. network has ever done, let alone in one year. ESPN has presented the Australian Open since 1984, the French Open since 2002 (plus 1986 – 1993), and Wimbledon since 2003, with exclusivity for live television with all other rights extended in a 12-year agreement starting in 2012. 

ESPN debuted September 7, 1979, and the first tennis telecast was exactly one week later, September 14, a Davis Cup tie, Argentina at U.S. from Memphis with Cliff Drysdale on the call and John McEnroe playing.  

ESPN3, now in 85 million homes, carries every major global tennis event on the men’s and women’s circuit, including all four Grand Slam tournaments, every ATP World Tour 500 and ATP Masters 1000 event and WTA Premier events featuring all the top-seeded players.  Also, ESPN Classic shows great matches from the past and the sport receives extensive coverage on SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, Spanish-language ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine.  ESPN 3D aired its first tennis at Wimbledon in 2011.  

2013 French Open on ESPN2 & ESPN2 HD

DateTime (ET) Event 
Sun, May 26 –  Fri, May 315 – 10 a.m.Early Round ActionLive
    
Mon, June 35 – 10 a.m.Round of 16 Live
Tue, June 41 – 7 p.m.QuarterfinalsLive & Same-day action
Wed, June 58 a.m. – 1 p.m.QuarterfinalsLive
Thur, June 6 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.Women’s SemifinalsLive

2013 French Open on ESPN3

DateTime (ET) Event 
Sun, May 26 –  Fri, May 315 a.m. – 3 p.m.Early Round ActionLive
    
Mon, June 35 a.m. – 3 p.m.Round of 16 Live
Tue, June 48 a.m. – 7 p.m.QuarterfinalsLive
Wed, June 55 a.m. – 1 p.m.QuarterfinalsLive
Thur, June 6 5 a.m. – 1 p.m.Men’s Doubles SemisWomen’s SemifinalsLive

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