- 50 Hours on ESPN2, ESPN3 with Nearly 300 Additional
- Nine-time Winner Nadal, Two-time Champ Sharapova Defend their Titles while Top-Ranked Djokovic, Serena Seek Second Leg of True Grand Slam
The second Major of the year – the French Open on the iconic red clay of Roland Garros in Paris – begins Sunday, May 24, on ESPN2 and ESPN3 with 50 hours on television and nearly 300 more via ESPN3’s presentation of up to seven courts on the days ESPN2 is on the air. ESPN2 and ESPN3 will begin at 5 a.m. ET most days on weekdays through Thursday, June 4, culminating with the women’s semifinals.
After the opening day, ESPN2’s schedule will continue with an all-live telecast starting at 5 a.m. each day through Friday, May 29, and again on Monday, June 1. The network will air live and same-day quarterfinal action Tuesday, June 2, at 1 p.m. and Wednesday, June 3, at 8 a.m. ESPN2 will air both women’s semifinals live Thursday, June 4, at 9 a.m.
Both defending champions have multiple titles in Paris – Rafael Nadal with a record nine, and Maria Sharapova with two – but both enter the tournament underdogs (see “Surveying the Fields” below). Meanwhile, the top-ranked man and woman – Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are playing extremely well in 2015, including a win for each at the first Major of the year, the Australian Open.
The ESPN Tennis Team, the best tennis team in television, in Paris:
- 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.
- Chrissie Evert, a Hall of Famer who joined ESPN in 2011, her 18 major titles includes a record seven French Open titles. She won at least one Major for 13 consecutive years (1974 – 1986). Dominant on clay, Evert won 125 straight clay-court matches (1973 – 1979).
- 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 U.S. women’s Olympic team.
- Chris Fowler, who joined ESPN in 1986 and hosted College GameDay on football Saturdays for 25 years (1990 – 2014), began hosting tennis in 2003, branching out over the years to also call matches. His diverse resume includes hosting World Cup soccer, SportsCenter, college basketball including the Final Four, the X Games and Triple Crown horse racing. In 2014 he became the lead play caller on ABC’s Saturday night college football, including the new championship game.
- 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.
- 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 won the 1992 French Open doubles title and reached the 1991 Australian Open semifinals in singles.
For the eighth 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.
Surveying the Fields
- If this is Paris, it must be Rafael Nadal. Or, must it? The “King of Clay” has won nine of his 14 Major titles on the red clay of Roland Garros (where his lifetime record is an amazing 66-1), but he has struggled in 2015, with only one title to date, and five losses on his favorite surface, resulting in a No. 7 ranking.
- On the other hand, to many this is the year top-ranked Novak Djokovic completes a career Grand Slam with a win in Paris. Already this year, he is 35-2 with one Major and four 1000-point ATP World Tour Masters titles, including two on clay. The two-time French Open finalist (including a year ago), he has taken home the trophy in two of the last three Majors and the last five Masters events he’s played, plus the last three ATP World Tour Finals.
- Other top seeds: At 33, Roger Federer is 25-5 and ranked No. 2 in the world with three titles (one on clay)…at No. 3, suddenly Andy Murray has found success on clay, with his first two titles ever…No. 4 Tomas Berdych would love to capture his first Major at 29 and reached the finals, semis and quarters in the three major clay events leading to Paris…
- The “Big Four” of men’s tennis continue to fend off contenders from the next generation, certainly at the Majors. Roger Federer (17 career Major wins), Rafael Nadal (14), Novak Djokovic (8) and Andy Murray (2) –have won 37 of the last 40 Majors and comprise 32 of the last 36 Major finalists and 60 of the last 72.
- Serena Williams comes to Paris with 19 career Major titles, including two at the French Open. The top seed has a 25-1 record in 2015 (plus two withdrawals), with two titles, the Australian Open and Miami.
- Other top seeds: Defending champ and two-time winner Maria Sharapova is ranked No. 2 with two titles this year, including this past week in Rome…last year’s finalist, Simona Halep, is No. 3 with three wins, including Indian Wells…reigning Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova is No. 4 with two titles, including on the clay in Madrid where she defeated Serena in the semis.
- Besides Williams and Sharapova, other previous winners in the women’s field: Francesca Schiavone (2010), Svetlana Kuznetsova (2009), and Ana Ivanovic (2008).
DIGITAL MEDIA, AT HOME AND ABROAD; INTERNATIONAL TV
WatchESPN will deliver ESPN2’s live coverage of the French Open, accessible online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the award-winning WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV to more than 93 million households nationwide via an affiliated video or internet provider.
ESPN’s French Open schedule totals nearly 300 hours with a multi-screen offering of up to seven courts and is available to 99 million homes on the days the network is televising starting as early as 5 a.m. Matches will also be available after they take place via replay.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, ESPNPlay 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.
ESPN.com will provide comprehensive coverage before, during and after the French Open with news plus analysis, highlighted by CourtCast, which will offer 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. In addition, CourtCast will host a Scribble live blog throughout the entire tournament.
Fans can watch Digital Serve daily with ESPN2 commentators discussing the latest action and previewing key matches. Other highlights include:
- Leading into the French Open, Peter Bodo, Greg Garber and Kamakski Tandon and our espnW crew will get fans ready for the year’s second Major with features and analysis, including whether this is the end of Rafael Nadal and why this year could be different for the U.S. men, who have historically struggled on clay. We’ll also have a “20-for-20” column, where 20 different voices will weigh on Serena Williams’ serve, the best in the history of the WTA Tour.
- The Latest Dirt: daily notebook roundup of all the day’s action.
- Daily columns by Garber reacting to the biggest upsets and best matches.
- Center Court: a tennis video show featured each week on all the major news from Roland Garros.
- What We Learned: Garber and others will highlight the day’s news and notes with quick video snippets on the overlooked storylines.
- 60-Second Slice: everything that transpired that day in a one-minute video.
- Rivalry Watch: A daily look at either Rafael Nadal, who is gunning for his 10th Roland Garros title or Novak Djokovic, who is trying to complete the career Grand Slam.
- A pre-tournament package on Serena Williams, who will be going for her 20th Grand Slam title in Paris.
- A breakdown of the women’s draw when it is announced.
- Jim Caple will provide on-site coverage for espnW.com (and ESPN.com), including daily columns and analysis of matches.
- Daily video highlights and photography.
- Facebook Q&A with ESPN Tennis commentators.
@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, available on DIRECTV the first eight days of the tournament, 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 150 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. The pan-regional offering will feature the top-ranked players in the world, while the regional offerings will concentrate on players of local nationality. In addition to the live coverage, ESPN will offer a daily two-hour encore featuring the best match of the day, as well as other highlights. In addition to SD, HD and authenticated platforms, 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 will offer commentary in both English and Spanish, with expert analysis provided by two Spanish-speaking announce teams from Paris: Luis Alvarez and Javier Frana & Eduardo Varela and two-time Roland Garros semifinalist, Jose Luis Clerc, along with reporter Nicolas Pereira who will provide instant analysis from the grounds, as well as interviews and insight for SportsCenter in Latin America.
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. Exclusivity for the US Open in an 11-year agreement begins in 2015. 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.
2015 French Open on ESPN2 & ESPN2 HD
|Sun, May 24 – Fri, May 29||5 – 10 a.m.||Early Round Action||Live|
|Mon, June 1||5 – 10 a.m.||Round of 16||Live|
|Tue, June 2||1 – 5 p.m.||Quarterfinals||Live & Same-day action|
|Wed, June 3||8 a.m. – 1 p.m.||Quarterfinals||Live|
|Thur, June 4||9 a.m. – 2 p.m.||Women’s Semifinals||Live|
2015 French Open on ESPN3
|Sun, May 24 – Fri, May 29||5 a.m. – 3 p.m.||Early Round ActionUp to seven courts.||Live|
|Mon, June 1||5 a.m. – 3 p.m.||Round of 16||Live|
|Tue, June 2||8 a.m. – 3 p.m.||Quarterfinals||Live|
|Wed, June 3||5 a.m. – 1 p.m.||Quarterfinals||Live|
|Thur, June 4||5 a.m. – 1 p.m.||Men’s Doubles SemisWomen’s Semifinals||Live|