By Ryan Berenz
Early rounds of the Wimbledon Championships begin today at the All England Club for the third Grand Slam tennis event of the year. Last year, Roger Federer beat Andy Roddick in the longest Grand Slam final in history (77 games) for his record-breaking 15th major title. Federer will try to defend his title and extend his Grand Slam record against Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Juan Martin del Potro, Nikolay Davydenko, Robin Soderling and Roddick. On the women’s side, Serena Williams beat sister Venus to capture her third Wimbledon win last year. Look for Serena to be challenged again this year by Venus, and Caroline Wozniacki, Dinara Safina, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Elena Dementieva and Jelena Jankovic. ESPN2, ESPNU, Tennis Channel and NBC share coverage of the tournament through July 4.
Full schedule and coverage details from ESPN and Tennis Channel after the jump:
2010 Wimbledon TV Schedule
All times Eastern (* = Tape-delayed in Pacific time zone)
Monday, June 21
6:30am-4:30pm: First round, ESPN2
Tuesday, June 22
7-9:30am: First round, ESPN2
9:30am-noon: First round, ESPNU
Noon-2pm: First round, ESPN2
2pm-5pm: First round, ESPNU
Wednesday, June 23
7-9:30am: Second round, ESPN2
9:30am-noon: Second round, ESPNU
Noon-2pm: Second round, ESPN2
2-4:30pm: Second round, ESPNU
Thursday, June 24
7-9:30am: Second round, ESPN2
9:30am-noon: Second round, ESPNU
Noon-2pm: Second round, ESPN2
2-4:30pm: Second round, ESPNU
Friday, June 25
7-9:30am: Third round, ESPN2
9:30am-noon: Third round, ESPNU
Noon-2pm: Third round, ESPN2
2-5pm: Third round, ESPNU
Saturday, June 26
7am-noon: Third round, ESPN2
Noon-3pm: Third round, NBC*
Monday, June 28
6:30-10am: Fourth round, ESPN2
10am-1pm: Fourth round, NBC*
1-6pm: Fourth round, ESPN2
Tuesday, June 29
7-10am: Women’s quarterfinals, ESPN2
10am-1pm: Women’s quarterfinals, NBC*
1-7pm: Women’s quarterfinals, ESPN2
Wednesday, June 30
7-10am: Men’s quarterfinals, ESPN2
10am-1pm: Men’s quarterfinals, NBC*
1-7pm: Men’s quarterfinals, ESPN2
Thursday, July 1
7am-noon: Women’s semifinals, ESPN2
Noon-5pm: Women’s semifinals, NBC
Friday, July 2
7am-noon: Men’s semifinals, ESPN2
Noon-5pm: Men’s semifinals, NBC
Saturday, July 3
9am-2pm: Women’s final, NBC
Sunday, July 4
9am-3pm: Men’s final, NBC
JIMMY CONNORS JOINS TENNIS CHANNEL AS LEAD WIMBLEDON ANALYST
Tennis Legend to Appear on Wimbledon Primetime with Hall of Famer Martina Navratilova, Host Bill Macatee
LOS ANGELES, June 14, 2010 –Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle, has signed tennis Hall of Famer Jimmy Connors to serve as a nightly analyst during the network’s upcoming Wimbledon coverage, June 21-30, 2010. The two-time Wimbledon winner will work with fellow legend Martina Navratilova and host Bill Macatee on the four-hour nightly tournament show Wimbledon Primetime, which begins Monday, June 21, at 7 p.m. ET.
Connors, who marked his debut on Tennis Channel during the network’s inaugural US Open coverage in 2009, also renewed his broadcast arrangement with the channel for that competition in late August.
“Martina, Bill and I had a great time on Tennis Channel during the US Open last summer,” said Connors. “It’s nice to have the opportunity to work with this team again at Wimbledon, and I look forward to reuniting with them in London in a few weeks.”
Shot on an English pub-styled set at the All-England Lawn Tennis Association, Tennis Channel’s Wimbledon Primetime offers news, interviews, the day’s best plays, original features, previously unseen matches and coverage from around the hallowed tournament grounds. The bulk of the program is dedicated to the most important on-court action of that particular afternoon, utilizing the BBC television coverage and commentary that is widely renowned within the tennis community. Macatee and Navratilova have hosted the program since its 2008 inception.
Tennis Channel will televise 40 hours of first-run Wimbledon Primetime for 10 nights at this year’s tournament, and another 40 hours of same-night, encore telecasts. The program will air each evening from 7 p.m.-11 p.m. ET, June 21-30. During the first week, June 21-27, the show’s encore presentation will immediately follow its first-run conclusion at 11 p.m. ET, and run through 3 a.m. ET. On June 28-30, Wimbledon Primetime’s encore presentation will air from 12 a.m.-4 a.m. ET.
Leading up to Wimbledon Primetime each evening, ESPN2 will provide live, day-long action each weekday (sharing coverage with ESPNU the first week), plus select highlights programs, for a total of more than 100 hours of coverage.
As with its inaugural US Open coverage in 2009, Tennis Channel will have the all-time men’s and women’s singles title holders on the same broadcast team in Connors and Navratilova, as they break down the on-court action and offer their respective insights to the 2010 crop of Wimbledon hopefuls.
In addition to its on-air coverage, Tennis Channel’s Web site, www.tennischannel.com, will enhance the network’s tournament offerings with columns from veteran tennis reporter Steve Flink and popular blogger James LaRosa, along with live scoring, polls, photo galleries and video highlights. Visitors will be able to view Wimbledon Primetime interviews and features, and take part in “Ask The Expert” Q&A sessions. The site will also offer access to Tennis Channel’s “London Calling” Wimbledon sweepstakes and the network’s free “Racquet Bracket” tournament prediction game.
Wimbledon & ESPN, Inc. – TV, Online, Mobile & More
ESPN will once again provide the most extensive coverage of The Championships: Wimbledon across its media platforms – led by more than 100 hours on television and 600-plus on broadband ESPN3.com. Fans can follow the live action on their favorite or most-convenient screen beginning Monday, June 21, with daylong weekday coverage throughout the fortnight from the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club.
ESPN2 will begin daylong live weekday programming in high definition when the first ball goes into the air Monday, June 21, continuing daily through Friday, July 2, sharing coverage during the first week with ESPNU (now seen in more than 72 million homes and being utilized while FIFA World Cup games are aired on ESPN and ESPN2). The schedule is again highlighted by one Ladies’ and one Gentlemen’s semifinal, Thursday, July 1, and Friday, July 2, respectively.
Cliff Drysdale and Dick Enberg lead the ESPN tennis team, working with Darren Cahill, Mary Carillo, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Luke Jensen, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver. Hannah Storm will host while Tom Rinaldi will be on hand for essays and features.
Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ First Round commences Monday, June 21, on ESPN2 from 6:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. with the following matches:
(8) Kim Clijsters (BEL) vs Maria Elena Camerin (ITA)
(1) Roger Federer (SUI) vs Alejandro Falla (COL)
(5) Andy Roddick (USA) vs Rajeev Ram (USA)
Mardy Fish (USA) vs Bernard Tomic (AUS)
(3) Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs Olivier Rochus (BEL)
(2) Venus Williams (USA) vs Rossana De Los Rios (PAR)
(33) Melanie Oudin (USA) vs Anna-Lena Groenefeld (GER)
On Monday, June 28 – Wednesday, June 30, ESPN2 will provide alternate programming in the Pacific Time Zone from 1 – 4 p.m. ET (10 a.m. – 1 p.m. PT).
ESPN’s live match coverage will be supplemented by Tennis Channel’s evening program, with highlights, interviews and features Monday, June 21 – Wednesday., June 30, from 7 – 11 p.m.
ESPN3.com will provide a multi-court offering with play from all nine TV courts and press conferences totaling more than 600 hours of live action. In addition, the broadband service – which reaches more than 50 million U.S. homes – will offer replays on demand of all four semifinals and both finals. The semifinals will be available at 8 p.m. the day they are contested; the finals will both be available beginning late Sunday, July 4, at midnight (9 p.m. PT).
ESPN3.com, the company’s signature live sports broadband network, is a 24/7 online destination that delivers more than 4,000 live, global sports events annually. It is the only broadband outlet with all four of tennis’ Grand Slam events, totaling 1,600 hours of action, and also carries nine ATP 500 tournaments and other tennis throughout the year.
ESPN3.com is available at no cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection from an affiliated provider. ESPN3.com is currently available in more than 50 million homes. It is also available at no cost to 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 (those with “.edu” and “.mil” domains).
More Wimbledon from ESPN, Inc.
Wimbledon Central: ESPN.com will again feature Wimbledon Central, a dynamic content application that will feature the official live scoring for all matches throughout the tournament. Additionally, Wimbledon Central will be available for the first time on the ESPN Mobile Web site.
The Pulse: A multi-tool application with all-court scoring, match stats, Cover It Live conversations, poll questions, rolling Twitter feeds and scrolling bottom line;
Slam Central: A daily destination for all Wimbledon fixtures.
ESPN Interactive TV will be enjoyed exclusively on DIRECTV during the first six days of competition. A six-screen mosaic will include the ESPN2/ESPNU match and feeds from five individual courts. Production will be enhanced with press conferences, interviews and features elements that will be added during court changeovers and between matches. All six screens can be expanded to full screen mode or picture-in-picture at the touch of the remote button. In addition, DIRECTV will offer “Matches On Now,” a graphic across the bottom of the screen with scores from each of the matches currently on the court channels, with the ability to tune directly to the match, and “Results,” an instant look at real-time scores and schedule info for matches ahead – all without leaving the match the viewer is watching. In total, ESPN will provide more than 300 hours of coverage that is exclusive to interactive TV.
ESPN Mobile TV and ESPN MVP will have 30 hours of live coverage, including the Women’s and Men’s quarterfinals and coverage of a Women’s and Men’s semifinal via ESPN’s industry-leading mobile Web site and through the signature ESPN MVP application.
ESPN Video-On-Demand will carry the historic championship match between Bjorn Borg vs. John McEnroe from 1980 in recognition of its 30th anniversary.
ESPN Deportes, ESPN’s Spanish-language network in the U.S. will offer five hours of Wimbledon programming. Coverage for ESPN Deportes, as well as ESPN International, will be handled by Luis Alfredo Alvarez and Eduardo Varela alongside former tennis players Javier Frana and Jose Luis Clerc as analysis. Tennis reporter Pablo Stecco will report from Wimbledon for ESPN Deportes and ESPN International’s SportsCenter editions around the world.
ESPN International will reach 30 million viewers outside the U.S with 70+ live hours pan-regionally in Latin America on ESPN Latin America and on ESPN Caribbean, in addition to daily primetime highlight programs. ESPN+ in the Southern Cone and ESPN Dos in the Northern Cone will supplement the coverage on ESPN Latin America with an additional 50+ live hours. In addition, ESPN 360.com in Argentina (branded ESPNPlay) Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, Paraguay, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras and Venezuela (branded ESPNPlay) will offer 550 hours of live coverage.
ESPN – All Four Grand Slams. All in One Place.
Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air and has 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 network has ever done.
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.
Almost all the tennis is found on ESPN2, giving the network the identity as the destination for tennis fans and giving the sport a home that is flexible enough to carry extensive live programming – and adding to the schedule as storylines dictate. ESPN and ESPN2 both reach 99 million households nationwide. Also, ESPN Classic shows great matches from the past and the sport receives extensive coverage on SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, broadband ESPN3.com, Spanish-language ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine.