Melbourne provides the stunning backdrop for the opening Grand Slam of the 2013 tennis season as the stars of the sport gather Down Under for the Australian Open.
British Eurosport will be the only place to follow the progress of all the big names with comprehensive and unrivalled coverage of each day’s play from the picturesque Melbourne Park.
The BBC will again be showing live terrestrial coverage of only the latter stages of the event, with the men’s and women’s singles finals live on BBC Two, plus selected match commentaries on BBC Radio 5 live.
After finally breaking his grand slam duck in 2012, Andy Murray will look to carry over his great form from the previous 12 months Down Under.
Murray will enter the tournament on a high after picking up his first Grand Slam in last September’s US Open at Flushing Meadows.
The Scot has had success in Australia in the past, reaching the final in 2010 and 2011, and he comes to Melboune off the back of retaining his Brisbane International title, the main warm-up tournament ahead of the Australian Open.
Murray will open his bid for a second Grand Slam title against Dutchman and world number 54 Robin Haase, and looking ahead he could face Juan Martin del Potro in the last eight, Roger Federer in the semi-finals.
Standing in Murray’s way again this year is Novak Djokovic who enjoyed another successful year in 2012, winning the Australian Open and the ATP World Tour Finals title in London.
The world number one will face a tough challenge in defending his title with Roger Federer still a considerable threat despite turning 31 this year.
Eleven-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal was due to make his return at the Australian Open after being out injured since his shock second round exit at Wimbledon, but his frustrating lay-off from the sport continues after he caught a virus over Christmas.
On the women’s side, Serena Williams will be determined to win all four grand slams this year but will face competition from the likes of Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Li Na and Samantha Stosur.
It’s an exciting time in the British women’s game, with Heather Watson and Laura Robson both enjoying breakthrough success in 2012.
Watson became the first British player to win a WTA Tour singles title in 24 years while Robson won Olympic silver with Murray in the mixed doubles.
Robson then followed that success with an impressive run at the US Open where she brought the career of former champion Kim Clijsters’ to an end after beating her in one of the most thrilling matches of the tournament.
The popular British duo, now both firmly in the world’s top 50, will hope to make an impact in Melbourne.
Watson will play Alexandra Cadantu and Robson will take on Melanie Oudin in the first round.
If she gets past Oudin, Robson will meet former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova or former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone in round two
Defending women’s champion Victoria Azarenka goes into the 2013 tournament as the women’s number one seed.
Azarenka is in the same half of the draw as the imperious Serena Williams, who has won Olympic gold and the last two Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and the US Open, beating the Belarusian in a thrilling final in the New York.
The highly competitive women’s draw could also see Serena’s older sister Venus take on 2012 French Open champion Maria Sharapova in round three.
Full Schedule of Play Tournament Draws
ANDY MURRAY – World No. 3, Seed 3 Round 1: Beat Robin Haase (NED) – 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 Round 2: Beat Joao Sousa (POR) – 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 Round 3: Beat Ricardas Berankis (LTU) – 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 Round 4: Beat Gilles Simon (FRA, 14) – 6-3, 6-1, 6-3 Quarter-Final: Beat Jeremy Chardy (FRA) – 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 Semi-Final: Beat Roger Federer (SUI, 2) – 6-4, 6-7, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2 Final: Plays Novak Djokovic (SRB, 1) – Sun 27 Jan, 8.30am JAMIE BAKER – World No. 246 Round 1: Lost to Lukas Rosol (CZE) – 6-7, 5-7, 2-6 HEATHER WATSON – World No. 50 Round 1: Beat Alexandra Cadantu (ROU) – 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 Round 2: Beat Ksenia Pervak (KAZ) – 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 Round 3: Lost to Agnieszka Radwanska (POL, 4) – 3-6, 1-6 LAURA ROBSON – World No. 53 Round 1: Beat Melanie Oudin (USA) – 6-2, 6-3 Round 2: Beat Petra Kvitova (CZE, 8) – 2-6, 6-3, 11-9 Round 3: Lost to Sloane Stephens (USA, 29) – 7-5, 6-2
…Here’s SOTB’s guide to how you can follow the 2013 Australian Open on British Eurosport and BBC TV:
British Eurosport is the only place to follow all the action live from the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.
The pan-European broadcaster’s unrivalled coverage starts on the evening of Sunday, January 13, and includes over 350 hours across both channels with live action also in stunning high-definition on British Eurosport HD and British Eurosport 2 HD.
Every day from midnight to the end of the matches at around 1.30pm, it will be non-stop live tennis on British Eurosport, enhanced by expert analysis, discussions and interviews with the players.
Rob Curling will again anchor the evening session action from approximately 7.45am each day during the tournament.
He will be joined in the Eurosport studio by Britain’s former world number four Greg Rusedski and 1972 Australian Open champion Virginia Wade.
Eurosport’s popular tennis magazine Game, Set and Mats returns with former French Open champion Mats Wilander, Annabel Croft and Barbara Schett welcoming experts and players to give their insight on the tournament.
They will bring the best interviews and reaction direct from their studio overlooking the Rod Laver Arena.
With the majority of the live action taking place through the night, fans can also catch up on the day’s play with daily and evening highlights, while online viewers can access live streams from up to seven courts and comprehensive video on demand via Eurosport Player (subscription only).
The channel’s regular commentary team of Simon Reed, Chris Bradnam, David Mercer Frew McMillan, Jo Durie and Mats Wilander will be on hand to provide expert comment throughout more than 12 hours of continuous daily coverage.
Looking ahead to the tournament and the season in general, British Eurosport commentator Jo Durie believes Heather Watson and Laura Robson can make a big impression.
“I bet they can’t wait to get down and play another grand slam after 2012,” Durie said.
“They are both so young still, especially Laura. They must look at it with relish because they have a few tournaments to keep piling on the points and I’d say their rankings are only going to keep going up.
“It’s very exciting for them.”
British Eurosport’s extensive coverage will include up to the minute match reviews, reports and analysis broadcast throughout the day, as well as all the latest news, scores and views online via the British Eurosport website.
As in 2012 the BBC will again have limited live television coverage of this year’s Australian Open.
Sue Barker will lead BBC Two’s coverage of the latter stages of the 2013 tournament, with only the men’s and women’s finals being shown live on the concluding weekend.
Joining Sue for studio analysis as well as live match commentary will be Andrew Castle and John Lloyd.
Coverage will also be available in high-definition on BBC HD.
Despite its reduced TV offering, BBC Sport will provide extensive radio and online coverage.
Radio 5 live will have match commentaries and regular updates throughout the tournament, with Jonathan Overend and the team based in Melbourne Park for the duration providing more live coverage than ever before.
Start the day on 5 Live Sports Extra most mornings at 6.00am for ‘Tennis Breakfast’.
The team will then be joined by players and special guests as they provide commentary until the end of the night session.
Key day session matches will be covered during ‘Up All Night’ on 5 Live and both women’s and men’s finals will be live on 5 Live.
Online, the BBC Sport website will provide text commentaries every day and live simulcasts of BBC Two’s coverage over the final two days.
Daily interactive coverage of the evening session matches on Rod Laver Arena, along with network coverage of matches involving British players, were dropped in 2012 due to budget cuts.
UPDATE: BBC Sport will broadcast live TV coverage of Andy Murray’s semi-final against Roger Federer on BBC Two at 8.15am on Friday, January 25 – DETAILS
Sunday 13th January Australian Open Preview 11.30pm-12.00am – British Eurosport Programme leads into Eurosport’s live day 1 coverage (see below) Monday 14th January Day 1 – Men’s / Women’s 1st Round LIVE: 12.00am-1.30pm – British Eurosport LIVE: 12.00am-10.30am – British Eurosport 2 Game, Set & Mats: 6.30pm-7.00pm – British Eurosport Tuesday 15th January Day 2 – Men’s / Women’s 1st Round LIVE: 12.00am-1.30pm – British Eurosport LIVE: 12.00am-9.30am – British Eurosport 2 Game, Set & Mats: 6.30pm-7.00pm – British Eurosport Wednesday 16th January Day 3 – Men’s / Women’s 2nd Round LIVE: 12.00am-1.30pm – British Eurosport LIVE: 12.00am-9.30am – British Eurosport 2 Game, Set & Mats: 5.30pm-6.30pm – British Eurosport Thursday 17th January Day 4 – Men’s / Women’s 2nd Round LIVE: 12.00am-1.30pm – British Eurosport LIVE: 12.00am-9.30am – British Eurosport 2 Game, Set & Mats: 6.00pm-6.30pm – British Eurosport Friday 18th January Day 5 – Men’s / Women’s 3rd Round LIVE: 12.00am-1.30pm – British Eurosport LIVE: 12.00am-9.30am – British Eurosport 2 Game, Set & Mats: 5.15pm-5.45pm – British Eurosport Saturday 19th January Day 6 – Men’s Women’s 3rd Round LIVE: 12.00am-1.30pm – British Eurosport LIVE: 12.00am-9.30am – British Eurosport 2 Game, Set & Mats: 6.00pm-6.30pm – British Eurosport Sunday 20th January Day 7 – Men’s / Women’s 4th Round LIVE: 12.00am-1.30pm – British Eurosport LIVE: 12.00am-9.30am – British Eurosport 2 Game, Set & Mats: 5.00pm-5.30pm – British Eurosport Monday 21st January Day 8 – Men’s / Women’s 4th Round LIVE: 12.00am-1.30pm – British Eurosport LIVE: 12.00am-9.30am – British Eurosport 2 Game, Set & Mats: 11.30pm-12.00am – British Eurosport Tuesday 22nd January Day 9 – Men’s / Women’s Quarter Finals LIVE: 12.00am-1.30pm – British Eurosport LIVE: 12.00am-9.30am – British Eurosport 2 Game, Set & Mats: 5.00pm-5.30pm – British Eurosport Wednesday 23rd January Day 10 – Men’s / Women’s Quarter Finals LIVE: 12.00am-1.30pm – British Eurosport LIVE: 12.00am-9.30am – British Eurosport 2 Game, Set & Mats: 5.00pm-5.30pm – British Eurosport Thursday 24th January Day 11 – Women’s Semi Finals – Li v Sharapova & Azarenka v Stephens LIVE: 2.30am-6.15am – British Eurosport Men’s Singles Semi-Final 1 – Novak Djokovic v David Ferrer LIVE: 8.00am-11.30am – British Eurosport Game, Set & Mats: 5.00pm-5.30pm – British Eurosport Friday 25th January Men’s Singles Semi-Final 2 – Andy Murray v Roger Federer LIVE: 8.15am-11.30am – BBC Two LIVE: 8.00am-1.35pm – British Eurosport Game, Set & Mats: 10.00pm-10.30pm – British Eurosport Saturday 26th January Women’s Singles Final – Azarenka v Li LIVE: 8.25am-11.30am – BBC Two / BBC HD LIVE: 8.00am-10.45am – British Eurosport Game, Set & Mats: 4.45pm-5.00pm – British Eurosport Sunday 27th January Men’s Singles Final – Djokovic v Murray LIVE: 8.15am-12.15pm – BBC One / BBC One HD LIVE: 8.00am-11.45am – British Eurosport Game, Set & Mats: 4.30pm-4.45pm – British Eurosport …