Live coverage from Petco Park

January 30, 2014

LOS ANGELES — Tennis Channel will provide exclusive live coverage of the U.S. Davis Cup team’s first-round competition against Britain in San Diego, Calif., this weekend, with the first match underway Friday, Jan. 31, at 2 p.m. ET. The three-day matchup, the latest chapter in the storied history between Davis Cup’s original pair of competitors, will feature Britain’s Andy Murray, reigning Wimbledon champion and Olympic gold medalist, as he faces the United States in Davis Cup play for the first time. The first-round event of the yearlong Davis Cup tournament is also unique in its venue: Petco Park, home of Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres.

The meeting will consist of two singles matches on Friday, followed by the doubles match Saturday, Feb. 1, at 3 p.m. ET. Tennis Channel’s coverage concludes with the remaining singles play Sunday, Feb. 2, at 2 p.m. ET. Each match is worth one point, with three victories enough to secure a trip to the second round.

Tennis Channel, the exclusive U.S. rights holder for all Davis Cup broadcasts, will introduce a new daylong block of coverage during this weekend’s U.S.-Britain competition. Dubbed Center Court, the program will air live from the recently unveiled set of the channel’s Los Angeles-area studio. With hosts Leif Shiras (@LShirock), Brett Haber (@BrettHaber), Hall of Famer Tracy Austin (@thetracyaustin) and renowned coach Paul Annacone (@paul_annacone), the first edition will begin Friday at 7:30 a.m. ET, well before the U.S.-Britain matchup begins. Leading up to the start of play in San Diego, the program will alternate between a pair of live Davis Cup matches on the other side of the globe – France-Australia and Serbia-Switzerland – and the quarterfinals of the women’s indoor tournament in Paris. Interspersed with analysis and conversation in Los Angeles, the world-whiparound coverage will take fans to the best matches at these three events, whenever and wherever they occur.

The setup is similar to what Tennis Channel uses at major events like the US Open, French Open and Wimbledon, with a central-desk format and coverage moving seamlessly throughout multiple simultaneous courts of play.

“When we launched our new studio set in Los Angeles a few months ago, this coming Davis Cup weekend is a perfect example of what we envisioned – numerous matches taking place all over the world at the same time, anchored by our central set and on-air talent in L.A.,” said Bob Whyley, senior vice president, production, and executive producer, Tennis Channel. “This is what our viewers have come to expect from us when we’re on site during the majors and other large events, and now we can do the same thing from Los Angeles throughout the year with Center Court.”

On Friday, with the start of the first U.S.-Britain match at 2 p.m., Tennis Channel will jump live to Petco Park, where Ted Robinson (@TedJRobinson) and Justin Gimelstob (@justingimelstob) will handle play-by-play and analyst duties, respectively, while Mark Knowles (@knowlzee10s) reports from the sidelines. With the completion of the first match in San Diego, viewers will return to the studio set in Los Angeles during the half-hour intermission before the competition resumes.

Among the well-known stars slated to play in events set for Tennis Channel’s Center Court world-whiparound coverage this weekend are Serbia’s Novak Djokovic; Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka (who won his first major championship at the Australian Open Sunday); Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt; and, in the women’s Paris tournament, Maria Sharapova.

Coverage is as follows (all time ET):

Friday, Jan. 31:

Saturday, Feb. 1:

Sunday, Feb. 2:

The rivalry between the United States and Britain dates back to 1900, when a group of Americans led by Dwight Davis challenged Britain in the first of what would become an annual international team-tennis event. The most recent meeting between the two nations was in 1999, during the first round, with the United States defeating Britain 3-2 on foreign soil. The American squad is bidding to win its first Davis Cup crown since 2007 and leads all nations with 23 Davis Cup titles.

The U.S. Davis Cup team is captained by Jim Courier, who as a player was on the 1999 squad that beat Britain. Of the players, John Isner, currently the top-ranked American male, won his eighth career singles title at the Heineken Open in Auckland, New Zealand, this month. Fellow singles player Sam Querrey enters this weekend’s competition after a third-round loss in the Australian Open to Fabio Fognini. Twin brothers Bob and Mike Bryan, the world’s top-ranked doubles team, captured their 15th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon last year.

Britain has clinched the Davis Cup trophy on nine occasions. This year’s team is captained by Leon Smith and features Murray, James Ward, Kyle Edmund and Colin Fleming.