Live lead-in show for Australian Open

January 12, 2015

LOS ANGELES — In its eighth year of Australian Open coverage, Tennis Channel will unveil a live, hourlong, daily introductory show from the Melbourne tournament grounds similar to lead-in programs it uses at the US Open and other events throughout the year. Hosted by Emmy Award winner Brett Haber (@BrettHaber), Hall of Famers Jim Courier and Martina Navratilova (@Martina), and Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim), Live at the Australian Open will air most nights from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. ET, immediately preceding the start of the day’s play Down Under. Tennis Channel will have 11 consecutive days and 40 hours of live coverage at this year’s Australian Open. With encore replays, highlights, a special preview and the new Live at the Australian Open, the network will devote close to 200 hours to the two-week major, one of the most prestigious events in the sport.

Tennis Channel’s Live at the Australian Open will debut Sunday, Jan. 18, at 6 p.m. ET, the first night of the tournament. Each evening (in the United States – morning in Australia) the program will recap the previous day’s play and look ahead to the coming day’s action. Along the way, Haber and others will meet with guests, break down the biggest stories of the tournament, and showcase special segments and reports. The show’s nightly 6 p.m.-7 p.m. time slot will hold through the following Wednesday, Jan. 28, before the final edition runs from 10 p.m.-11 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 29 – 12 new programming hours in all.

“No one tells the ongoing story of this sport like Tennis Channel, and shows like Live at the Australian Open give fans a place to turn each night for everything that matters before play begins,” said Bob Whyley, senior vice president and executive producer, Tennis Channel. “We’re excited to offer the nightly perspective of all-time greats like Jim Courier and Martina Navratilova with students of the game like Brett Haber and Jon Wertheim as the tournament progresses.”

The network’s live Australian Open match coverage begins Monday, Jan. 19, at 7 p.m. ET, the first of 10 days of primetime match play beginning at that time (complete schedule follows). In addition to first-through-quarterfinal-round singles coverage, the channel will carry the men’s and women’s doubles finals live, as well as the mixed-doubles final. Tennis Channel will also offer same-day encore coverage of the men’s and women’s singles semifinals and finals. Since 2008, when it first began covering the Australian Open, the network has aired all five tournament finals: men’s and women’s singles and doubles, and mixed doubles.

Tennis Channel’s Australian Open Today daylong block of encore-match and highlight programming also will return in 2015. Beginning Monday, Jan. 19, from 7 a.m.-6 p.m., the show will run 10 days in a row, with varied start times throughout the following week-and-a-half. The network plans more than 80 hours of Australian Open Today in 2015.

Friday, Jan. 16, at 7 p.m. ET, Mary Carillo will host an hourlong Tennis Channel Australian Open preview from the network’s Los Angeles headquarters. Carillo, lauded for the biting humor and sharp wit she interlaces with poignant features that personalize the athletes she covers, is a mainstay of NBC Sports’ coverage of the Olympic Games and HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumble, and has been a regular on Tennis Channel since 2011. She and former American players Leif Shiras (@LShirock), Corina Morariu and James Blake will break down this year’s Australian Open tournament draw, offer predictions and take a look at the action set to take place Down Under in the weeks ahead.

Following its Friday premiere, the preview show will re-air throughout the weekend lead-up to the event.

Tennis Channel’s and ESPN’s ongoing Grand Slam alliance includes the Australian Open and gives viewers near round-the-clock tournament enjoyment from Melbourne. ESPN produces the Australian Open for both networks, with each utilizing its own commentators and cross-promoting their combined television offerings.

Australian Open On-Air Talent

Navratilova has been part of Tennis Channel’s on-air team in Melbourne since the network’s first year of tournament coverage in 2008. A 59-time major champion and holder of more professional tennis titles than anyone in the history of the sport, Navratilova won 12 Australian Open singles, doubles and mixed-doubles championships during her career, and is considered by many to be one of the greatest athletes of all time. She will be joined by fellow analysts and Hall of Fame members Courier and Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76), both of whom have raised Australian Open singles championship trophies: Courier with back-to-back titles in 1992-1993 and Davenport in 2000. Courier will appear daily on Live at the Australian Open, while Davenport will add commentary throughout the network’s two-week coverage.

Justin Gimelstob (@justingimelstob) is also part of Tennis Channel’s Australian Open team for the eighth consecutive year. One of the most insightful, connected young analysts in televised tennis today, he won the tournament’s 1998 mixed-doubles championship with partner Venus Williams and remains active in the sport as an ATP board representative.

Tennis Channel “Coaches College”

This year Navratilova, Davenport and Gimelstob have taken on active duty as players’ coaches, lending their evaluation and strategic outlook to guide 2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska (Navratilova), rising-star Madison Keys (Davenport) and top-ranked American men’s player John Isner (Gimelstob), respectively. Together with Courier, who has been Captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team since 2011 (for which he also coaches Isner and other American stars), these four Grand Slam winners make up an in-house “Coaches College” of analysts for Tennis Channel in Australia and beyond in 2015. Network viewers will have the advantage of observations that come from the same wellspring of expertise and information that their players draw upon, in real time, as the tournament unfolds.

In all, former players on Tennis Channel’s Melbourne team have won 16 Australian Open championships and 71 major titles combined.

Announcer Bill Macatee (@BMacatee), one of the most respected broadcasters in sports today, anchors the network’s coverage in Melbourne again in 2015. Along with Navratilova and Gimelstob, Macatee has been a part of every Tennis Channel telecast of the Australian Open and the sport’s three other majors. Haber, on top of his Live at the Australian Open role, will also handle play-by-play duties throughout the competition. Reporter and author Wertheim has been part of Tennis Channel’s Australian Open team since 2012, and continues to be one of the most read, most trusted tennis writers in America today. His Sports Illustrated columns are required reading for tennis fans ( and his special features, news updates and round-table commentary have become Tennis Channel standards during coverage of the four majors.

Digital Coverage

Since its coverage of last year’s Australian Open, Tennis Channel has introduced a new digital subscription service – Tennis Channel Plus – that allows fans to access even more content than the network is capable of fitting on air. Available on the free Tennis Channel Everywhere app to all Apple and Android users, regardless of whether or not they subscribe to Tennis Channel, the service will supplement the network’s televised Australian Open coverage this year with daily highlights, interviews and other segments from Australian Open Today. Tennis Channel Plus also provides access to archived matches from other major events like Wimbledon and the French Open, as well as thousands of hours of on-demand programming.

Beyond Tennis Channel Plus, most viewers who get Tennis Channel at home are able to take the Australian Open with them live on their mobile devices through the Tennis Channel Everywhere app at no additional cost. Simple subscription authentication with select distribution partners enables the app’s TV Everywhere function, and lets fans tune into the network’s round-the-clock coverage from Melbourne throughout the workday back in the United States.

Tennis Channel’s website,, will continue to offer its usual Down Under slate of Australian Open Today segments,video highlights, interviews, real-time scoring, an interactive draw and the network’s Racquet Bracket tournament prediction game. Visitors can enter the channel’s 2016 Australian Open sweepstakes, or browse special Australian Open columns from reporters Steve Flink and Joel Drucker (@joeldrucker). The channel’s social media activities on Facebook (, Twitter (, YouTube (, Instagram ( and Pinterest ( will also be devoted to the first tennis major of 2015 for much of this month.

Tennis Channel’s Live Australian Open Coverage (all times ET)

Tennis Channel’s Australian Open Today Schedule (all times ET)

Tennis Channels’ Australian Open Today includes encore match coverage, highlights, interviews and a general review of the Down Under activity that took place while America was sleeping the previous night. The show will run daily from Monday, Jan. 19, through Wednesday, Jan. 28 – 10 days in all – before the network replaces it with encore semifinal and final coverage as the tournament winds down.

On that first Monday, Australian Open Today will run from 7 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and be immediately followed by an encore replay from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. The next four days, Tuesday, Jan. 20, through Friday, Jan. 23, the show will air from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. On Saturday, Jan. 24, it will be on Tennis Channel from 12 p.m.-6 p.m.

During the second week of the Australian Open, Australian Open Today runs from 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 24, and 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26. On Tuesday, Jan. 27, and Wednesday, Jan. 28, the show will air from 6 a.m.-3 p.m.