French Open on ESPN2 & ESPN360.com
Two Weeks of Action Starts Sunday, May 24; Women’s Semis Live June 4
Part Three of Another “Serena Slam”?….Step Two of Grand Slam for Nadal?
The best players in tennis will gather for the second Grand Slam tournament of the year on the red clay of Paris – Roland Garros, the 2009 French Open – beginning on ESPN2 on Sunday, May 24. The network – in its first year televising all four of tennis’ major events – will present more than 56 hours, culminating with the women’s semifinals live Thursday, June 4. ESPN networks have televised the French Open 1986 – 1993 and since 2002. In addition, ESPN360.com will have 277 live hours of coverage, also starting May 24, and continuing all days ESPN2 is on the air.
After the opening day, ESPN2’s schedule will continue with extensive coverage Tuesday, May 26 – Friday, May 29, resuming the next week, Monday, June 1 – 4. Except for June 4 and the women’s semifinals starting at 8 a.m. ET, coverage will begin each day at noon – directly following Tennis Channel’s morning programming – and will generally continue until 6:30 p.m. (See schedule below.) In addition, ESPN Deportes, the Spanish-language U.S. sports network, will televise 39 hours from Paris starting Sunday, May 24 and culminating with the women’s semifinals live Thursday, June 4.
Dick Enberg will call his 23rd French Open, along with Cliff Drysdale and analysts Darren Cahill, Mary Carillo, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver. Chris Fowler will serve as on-site host and call select matches while legendary tennis columnist Bud Collins will provide his insights as analyst and interviewer.
Previewing the Action
Rafael Nadal, fresh off his first Australian Open championship and sixth Grand Slam win, will be vying for his fifth straight victory on the red clay of Paris where he is an undefeated 28-0 lifetime. Roger Federer, with 13 Grand Slam titles just one behind Pete Sampras’ record of 14, has never won the French Open despite appearances in the finals against Nadal the last three years. His career record at the tournament: 32-10.
On the women’s side, Ana Ivanovic claimed her first career major championship at Roland Garros last year. She will defend the title against a field led by Serena Williams, winner of the last two Grand Slam titles (2008 US Open, 2009 Australian Open) and winner of the French Open in 2002. That victory was the first of four consecutive majors she won extending into 2003, the “Serena Slam.”
Patrick McEnroe on Nadal: “We’re Watching History”
“Despite the results this past weekend on clay in Madrid – Novak Djokovic testing Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer beating him for the title, the question in Paris is not ‘Can anyone beat Nadal?’….it’s ‘Can anyone take a set from him?’ That’s what it’s come to at Roland Garros. The fact that he has improved so much on the other surfaces has actually helped his clay court game. Others in the past who made adjustments to better themselves on faster surfaces – Lendl, Wilander and Courier come to mind – saw their clay court play suffer. Nadal is serving better, being more aggressive with his backhand and coming inside the court more often. He’s absolutely steamrolling people. He used to win on clay with his defense, now he is as good an offensive player. It’s scary to see he’s so much better than he already was. We’re watching history — he’s on his way to surpassing Bjorn Borg as the best ever on clay, and he has a serious chance at the Grand Slam this year.
“As for Federer, the most common question I get asked is ‘What’s wrong with Roger?’ Well, until he loses early in a major you can’t ask. He has been in the last four Grand Slam finals and has an amazing streak of reaching at least the semis in 19 straight majors. So you can’t write him off. What he did Sunday was impressive; he played the right style – was aggressive and didn’t get into many long rallys. It’s the first time I’ve seen him adjust his game on clay versus Nadal. But the biggest factor was the altitude in Madrid, which helps a big server. He is capable of losing to a number of people and that streak is in jeopardy. Even though Nadal defeated Djokovic in the semis in Spain, in a best-of-five match he still has the best chance to upset the reigning four-time champ.”
Mary Carillo on Serena: Last win in Paris was ‘02….four straight losses in ‘09…bad knee…yet “the favorite”
“Only two women in the draw have won the title – Serena Williams and the defending champ, Ana Ivanovic. Ana hasn’t played as well so far this year, but she’s still one of the best clay courters around, so we’ll see how well she handles the pressure of defending her crown.
“It’s been a while since Serena won in Paris; her lone French Open title came back in 2002. Now, she’s lost the last four matches she’s played, and she pulled out of Madrid with a bad knee…and yet she still has to be considered the favorite. I’d give Venus Williams a far smaller chance of getting to the final weekend…although in a few weeks she will be the favorite to win on the grass at Wimbledon.
“Dinara Safina, the top-ranked player in the world, has a good chance to go one step further and win her first major. Her best surface is clay. Svetlana Kuznetsova is rounding into form as well, and Jankovic is always handy on this stuff. I’ll also be watching closely younger players – Aleksandra Wozniaki and Victoria Azarenka. There’s a huge chance for someone to change their life, their reputation, and make some tennis history.”
ESPN360.com: 277 Hours Live Online
ESPN360.com will deliver 277 hours live from the three primary courts at Roland Garros on the days ESPN2 is televising — Sunday, May 24, plus Tuesday, May 26 – Friday, May 29 and Monday, June 1 – Thursday, June 4. Live action will include matches not televised on ESPN2, as well as the ESPN2’s coverage, either live or later that day.
ESPN360.com is ESPN’s live sports broadband network, giving fans a 24/7 online destination that delivers more than 3,200 live, global sports events annually. It is available at no cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection from an affiliated service provider. ESPN360.com is currently available in nearly 25 million homes, up 40 percent in the past 12 months and more than triple its distribution just 2 years ago. It is available via approximately 45 Internet service providers nationwide, including AT&T, Verizon, RCN, Insight, Frontier, Cavalier, Charter, Mediacom, Conway, Grande Communications and many more. It is also available at no cost to approximately 18 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks (those with “.edu” and “.mil” domains).
2009 French Open on ESPN2
|Sun., May 24||Noon – 6 p.m.||Early Round Action||Live & Same-day action|
|Tue., May 26||Noon – 6:30 p.m.||Early Round Action||Live & Same-day action|
|Wed., May 27||Noon – 6:30 p.m.||Early Round Action||Live & Same-day action|
|Thur., May 28||Noon – 6:30 p.m.||Early Round Action||Live & Same-day action|
|Fri., May 29||Noon – 6:30 p.m.||Early Round Action||Live & Same-day action|
|Mon, June 1||Noon – 6:30 p.m.||Round of 16||Live & Same-day action|
|Tue., June 2||Noon – 6:30 p.m.||Quarterfinals||Live & Same-day action|
|Wed., June 3||Noon – 6:30 p.m.||Men’s Quarterfinals||Live & Same-day action|
|Thurs., June 4||8 a.m. – 1 p.m.||Women’s Semifinals||Live|
2009 French Open on ESPN360.com
|Sun., May 24||5 a.m. – 6 p.m.||Early Round Action||Live|
|Tue., May 25||5 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.||Early Round Action||Live|
|Wed., May 26||5 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.||Early Round Action||Live|
|Thur., May 27||5 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.||Early Round Action||Live|
|Fri., May 29||5 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.||Early Round Action||Live|
|Mon, June 1||5 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.||Round of 16||Live|
|Tue., June 2||5 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.||Quarterfinals||Live|
|Wed., June 3||8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.||Men’s Quarterfinals||Live|
|Thurs., June 4||5 a.m. – 3 p.m.||Women’s Semifinals||Live|
2009 French Open on ESPN Deportes
|Sun., May 24||Noon – 4 p.m.||Early Round Action||Live & Same-day action|
|Tue., May 26||Noon – 4 p.m.||Early Round Action||Live & Same-day action|
|Thur., May 28||1 – 5 p.m.||Early Round Action||Live & Same-day action|
|Fri., May 29||Noon – 5 p.m.||Early Round Action||Live & Same-day action|
|Mon, June 1||Noon – 6 p.m.||Round of 16||Live & Same-day action|
|Tue., June 2||Noon – 6 p.m.||Quarterfinals||Live & Same-day action|
|Wed., June 3||Noon – 6 p.m.||Men’s Quarterfinals||Live & Same-day action|
|Thurs., June 4||8 a.m. – 1 p.m.||Women’s Semifinals||Live|