ESPN is exclusively covering Wimbledon starting on Monday. The network has planned 140 hours of LIVE telecasts in addition to 800 more on ESPN3’s multi-screen presentation – you know, so you can watch the 1st round games between Whats-his-name & whose-it-called on Court 17, five miles away from Centre Court. If you’re an avid tennis fan, I hope you’ve already blocked out the two weeks for vacation, because you’ve got a lot of coverage to cover. (drops mic, walks off stage)
From ESPN’s press release:
All the action on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold members. It is accessible in 55 million households to fans who receive ESPN’s linear networks as part of their video subscription via Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV, Comcast Xfinity TV, Midcontinent Communications, Cablevision, Charter, Cox or AT&T U-verse.
ESPN’s tennis team returns to London: Chris Fowler will call matches and serve as studio host, as will Mike Tirico while Hannah Storm will host the Breakfast at Wimbledon programs. They will be joined by returnees Darren Cahill, Cliff Drysdale, Chris Evert, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, John McEnroe, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver. Tom Rinaldi will provide reports and features and call matches as well. LZ Granderson of ESPN.com will also serve as a studio analyst and feature reporter.
This is a pretty impressive slate of talent that ESPN has on hand for this tournament. Both McEnroe’s bring a lot of color and you can’t really go wrong with Chris Fowler. Most of these people are seasoned pros at this, so we’re really not seeing anything new here.
Roger Federer is the defending men’s champion, seeded #3 and looking to win his 97th major or something close to it.
The top 5 men’s seeds are as follows:
1. Novak Djokovic – 2011 Wimbledon Champion, 2013 Australian Open Champion
2. Andy Murray – 2012 US Open Champion, otherwise the Susan Lucci of tennis (five-time runner up)
3. Federer – Looking for his 7th Wimbledon title.
4. David Ferrer – Never heard of him, but he must be good.
5. Rafael Nadal – Just won his 8th French Open and is only seeded so low because of a knee injury. This means a potential quarterfinal matchup between either Fed, Djok, or Murray, which would be a hell of a matchup.
The women’s seeds are as follows:
1. Serena Williams, who needs to stick to focusing on tennis rather than current events.
2. Everyone else. Everyone else does include #3 seed Maria Sharapova, who is title free since 2004 but still manages to hang around.
ESPN's programming lineup is as impressive as it is expansive. I don't know about you, but I plan on tuning in at 5 PM on July 4th to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Pete Sampras's first Wimbledon title as he claimed a 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-3 win over Jim Courier.
The only thing missing is a replay of the 2009 final, when Andy Roddick and Federer set a record for most games played in a men's final (77) en route to Roddick's heartbreaking five set loss (Fed won 5–7, 7–6 (8-6), 7–6 (7-5), 3–6, 16–14).