ESPN2 Broadcasts 2013 AUSTRALIAN OPEN, Beginning Today

The 2013 tennis season begins with the Australian Open presented by Franklin Templeton Investments with more than 100 live hours on ESPN2 HD and 600+ on ESPN3. Each year, the marathon live action seen overnight in the U.S. from Melbourne has led to some of the most dramatic action in the sport in recent years. The action gets underway today, Jan. 13, at 6:30 p.m. ET with a 12.5-hour telecast.

ESPN's 29th consecutive Australian Open represents the company's longest uninterrupted professional sports programming relationship. Daily action continues each night with afternoon reairs totaling more than 50 additional hours through the women's championship Saturday, Jan 26, and the men's championship Sunday, Jan. 27, both at 3 a.m. with reairs later each day at 9 a.m. and in prime time. The telecasts are also available through WatchESPN online at and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app.

Expanded digital coverage includes 600 hours on ESPN3, all live, with users choosing between ESPN2 or action on up to other seven courts with all matches available on-demand after completion. ESPN3's coverage starts at 7 p.m. over the first 11 days of the tournament with the first ball each day of all TV court matches. Additionally, ESPN3 will offer live matches not airing on ESPN2, including the men's, women's and mixed doubles championships and the finals of the boys and Girls divisions.

The tournament is part of ESPN's ongoing Grand Slam alliance with Tennis Channel, which offers audiences a near round-the-clock tournament experience at tennis' major events. ESPN is producing all Australian Open coverage for both networks, which will cross-promote each other with each channel utilizing its own commentators.

Setting the Stage

Victoria Azarenka won her first major event a year ago in Melbourne and finished the 2012 campaign as the top-ranked women's player. Close on her heels is Maria Sharapova, who completed a career Grand Slam at last year's French Open, and Serena Williams, who has an Open Era record five Australian Open victories among her 15 major titles, is looking to continue her winning ways of Wimbledon and the US Open in 2012.

Novak Djokovic will seek his third straight Australian Open championship - which would be an Open Era first among men - and enters the new season ranked No. 1 among the men. At No. 2 is Roger Federer and his 17 major titles, including four Down Under. Andy Murray at No. 3 will be attempting to win a second consecutive Grand Slam event after breaking through with his first at the US Open. With injury and illness keeping Rafael Nadal - who has been off the court since last summer's Wimbledon - from competing, the door is open for the likes of David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin Del Potro or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach the semis, or beyond.

The Australian Open has a history of starting the tennis season off in a big way, with matches of historic lengths in the summer heat Down Under. Just in the last two years on ESPN2:

· In the fourth round of the 2011 Australian Open, Francesca Schiavone defeats Svetlana Kuznetsova in the longest women's match ever at a Grand Slam event - 6-4, 1-6, 16-14. The match lasted 4:44.
· In tennis' longest Grand Slam final ever, No. 1 Novak Djokovic outlasts No. 2 Rafael Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 in 5 hours and 53 minutes at the 2012 Australian Open on ESPN2. It was Djokovic's fourth title in the last five Majors.

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