TENNIS: Australian Open 2012 – Live on British Eurosport / BBC

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The beautiful city of Melbourne plays host to the opening Grand Slam of the new tennis season and one of the first major sporting events of 2012 – the Australian Open.

British Eurosport will be the only place to watch extensive coverage of every day’s play from Melbourne Park, as the BBC has scaled back its commitment to the event and will only show one of the men’s semi-finals as well as both singles finals live on the concluding weekend.

The Pan-European channel’s unrivalled output starts on the evening of January 15, and includes over 300 hours of coverage across on British Eurosport, British Eurosport 2 and Eurosport HD.

                                                                                                   

Order of Play
Saturday 28th January (Day 13)
Women’s Singles Final
 
Night Session – Rod Laver Arena
8.30am – Victoria Azarenka (BLR, 3) v Maria Sharapova (RUS, 4)
LIVE on British Eurosport – 7.45am | BBC Two – 8.25am
 
Sunday 29th January (Day 14)
Men’s Singles Final
 
Night Session – Rod Laver Arena
8.30am – Novak Djokovic (SRB, 1) v Rafael Nadal (ESP, 2)
LIVE on British Eurosport – 7.45am | BBC Two – 8.15am
 
Streaming available online via Eurosport Player / BBC Sport website
High-definition coverage via Eurosport HD / BBC HD
                                                                                                  

Rob Curling will be joined in the British Eurosport studio from 7.45am each morning by Britain’s former world number four Greg Rusedski, and 1972 Australian Open champion Virginia Wade.

Eurosport’s regular commentary team of Simon Reed, David Mercer, Chris Bradnam, Frew McMillan, Jo Durie, Lucie Ahl and Mats Wilander will be on hand to provide expert comment throughout more than 12 hours of continuous daily coverage.

With most of the day’s play taking place overnight in the UK, viewers will have several opportunities to catch up on all the action with extended highlights airing throughout the day across both channels.

The popular daily review show ‘Game Set and Mats’ also returns with 1986 French Open champion Mats Wilander and former British number one Annabel Croft.

They host a full round up of the essential moments from each day’s action, along with exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes features and news updates from Melbourne Park, while Eurosport’s roving tennis reporter Barbara Schett will be on the ground interviewing the game’s biggest stars live throughout the tournament.

Complementing Eurosport’s TV coverage, online viewers can access live streams from up to seven courts and video on demand via Eurosport Player (subscription only).

The 2012 Australian Open marks the beginning of a new five-year deal for Eurosport to carry live coverage of the first Grand Slam of the calendar year to more than 56 countries and 121 million homes across Europe, and extends the broadcaster’s support of the tournament to more than two decades.

BBC tennis presenter Sue Barker (Pic: BBC)

Unfortunately for terrestrial sports fans, the BBC’s Australian Open coverage will be greatly reduced this year.

Daily interactive coverage of the evening session matches on Rod Laver Arena has been dropped, along with network coverage of Andy Murray’s matches, both of which have fallen victim to the corporation’s much publicised cuts to its sports budgets.

Rumours surfaced in September that the BBC, which has secondary rights to the tournament, was seeking to scrap the additional Red Button coverage that it has provided over the past seven years.

As well as scrapping its live interactive coverage, and there will also be no terrestrial highlights show on the middle weekend of the tournament.

In 2012, BBC Two will screen live coverage of the women’s singles final, presented by John Inverdale on January 28, followed by the men’s singles final the next day, hosted by Sue Barker.

Commentary comes from Andrew Castle and John Lloyd. High definition coverage will be available on the BBC HD channel.

In addition, there will be live coverage of one of the men’s semi-finals on either BBC Two or BBC Red Button, as well as the HD channel, on either January 26 or 27.

Whilst BBC TV’s presence has been scaled back significantly, Radio 5 Live will broadcast commentaries of selected matches throughout the fortnight, including both singles finals, and the BBC Sport website will provide the usual live text commentaries, match reports, blogs and a regular column from Elena Baltacha.

Cuts imposed over the past year has resulted a drastic change to the corporation’s output, as it focuses on retaining important ‘crown jewel’ sports and sacrificing its coverage of less important sporting events.

In 2012, the corporation will show the Australian Open finals, the AEGON Championships at Queen’s Club, Wimbledon and the ATP World Tour Finals.

The BBC recently extended its long-standing association with the Wimbledon Championships to 2017, one of its most treasured sporting events, but lost the rights to the French Open to ITV the following day.

As a host of tennis superstars head Down Under to contend the first Grand Slam of 2012, Andy Murray fans will want to know whether he can finally end more than 75 years of hurt for British men’s tennis and break his own Grand Slam duck in 2012.

Having reached the final in the past two years, the current world number four will be out to capture his maiden title in Melbourne.

Standing in his way again is Novak Djokovic, who enjoyed a sensational year in 2011 after winning the Australian Open, his first Wimbledon title and the US Open.

However, the world number one suffered a back injury following his exploits at Flushing Meadows and endured a somewhat torrid end to the season.

Despite winning the French Open, Rafael Nadal suffered a loss of form last year but has returned to prominence at the right time when helping Spain to victory over Argentina in the Davis Cup final.

Roger Federer also enjoyed something of a comeback by claiming the end-of-season ATP World Tour Finals at London’s O2 Arena.

In the women’s game, Britain’s quartet of Elena Baltacha, Anne Keothavong, Heather Watson, and returning from injury, Laura Robson, will hope to make an impact in Melbourne.

Among the contenders are Kim Clijsters, the defending Australian Open, while the attention of the home fans will be firmly on Samatha Stosur, winner of the US Open, the first Australian female Grand Slam champion since Evonne Goolagong.

Current number one Caroline Woznicaki is still chasing her maiden Grand Slam title.

In all, Britain will be represented by six players in main draws of the singles championships, the highest number at an overseas grand slam for 20 years, after James Ward and Laura Robson both progressed through the qualifying stages.

They join Andy Murray, Elena Baltacha, Heather Watson and Anne Keothavong to form Britain’s best participation outside of Wimbledon, where wild-cards are readily handed out to home-grown players, since the 1992 Australian Open.

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Australian Open 2012 – TV Schedule

Day 1 – Monday 16th January
12am-1.30pm – LIVEBritish Eurosport / Eurosport HD
12am-12pm – LIVEBritish Eurosport 2
6.30pm-7pm – Game, Set and Mats – British Eurosport
 
Day 2 – Tuesday 17th January
12am-1.30pm – LIVEBritish Eurosport / Eurosport HD
12am-10.30am – LIVEBritish Eurosport 2
6.30pm-7pm – Game, Set and Mats – British Eurosport
 
Day 3 – Wednesday 18th January
12am-1.30pm – LIVE British Eurosport / Eurosport HD
12am-10.30am – LIVEBritish Eurosport 2
4.30pm-5pm – Game, Set and Mats – British Eurosport
 
Day 4 – Thursday 19th January
12am-1.30pm – LIVE British Eurosport / Eurosport HD
12am-10.30am – LIVEBritish Eurosport 2
6.30pm-7pm – Game, Set and Mats – British Eurosport
 
Day 5 – Friday 20th January
12am-1.30pm – LIVEBritish Eurosport / Eurosport HD
12am-10.30am – LIVEBritish Eurosport 2
6.30pm-7pm – Game, Set and Mats – British Eurosport
 
Day 6 – Saturday 21st January
12am-10.30am – LIVEBritish Eurosport / Eurosport HD
12am-2pm – LIVEBritish Eurosport 2
5.45pm-6.15pm – Game, Set and Mats – British Eurosport
 
Day 7 – Sunday 22nd January
12am-1.30pm – LIVEBritish Eurosport / Eurosport HD
12am-8.15am – LIVEBritish Eurosport 2
6pm-6.30pm – Game, Set, and Mats – British Eurosport / Eurosport HD
 
Day 8 – Monday 23rd January
12am-1pm – LIVEBritish Eurosport / Eurosport HD
12am-12.30pm – LIVEBritish Eurosport 2
6pm-6.30pm – Game, Set and Mats – British Eurosport / Eurosport HD
 
Day 9 – Tuesday 24 January
12am-1.15pm – LIVEBritish Eurosport / Eurosport HD
6pm-6.30pm – Game, Set and Mats – British Eurosport / Eurosport HD
 
Day 10 – Wednesday 25th January
12am-1.30pm – LIVE – British Eurosport / Eurosport HD
6pm-6.30pm – Game, Set and Mats – British EurosportEurosport HD
 
Day 11 – Thursday 26th January
Women’s Semi-Finals
2.30am-6.15am – LIVEBritish Eurosport / Eurosport HD
Men’s Semi-Final – Federer v Nadal
7.45am-11.30am – LIVEBritish Eurosport / Eurosport HD
6pm-6.30pm – Game, Set and Mats – British Eurosport / Eurosport HD
 
Day 12 – Friday 27th January
Men’s Semi-Final – Djokovic v Murray
7.45am-11.30am – LIVEBritish Eurosport / Eurosport HD
8.30am-12pm – LIVEBBC Two / BBC HD
6pm-6.30pm – Game, Set and Mats – British Eurosport / Eurosport HD
 
Day 13 – Saturday 28th January
Women’s Singles Final
8.25am-11.30am – LIVEBBC Two / BBC HD
7.45am-11.30am – LIVE – British Eurosport / Eurosport HD
6pm-6.15pm – Game Set and Mats – British Eurosport / Eurosport HD
 
Day 14 – Sunday 29th January
Men’s Singles Final
8.15am-12pm – LIVEBBC Two / BBC HD
7.45am-12pm – LIVEBritish Eurosport / Eurosport HD
5.15pm-5.30pm – Game Set and Mats – British Eurosport / Eurosport HD
 
 
 
Australian Open 2012 on Eurosport
British Eurosport trailer

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