NO. 1 NADAL, NO. 2 DJOKOVIC AND NO. 3 FEDERER HEADLINE NBC SPORTS’ FRENCH OPEN COVERAGE BEGINNING THIS SATURDAY
NEW YORK – May 25, 2011 – NBC Sports coverage of the 2011 French Open begins this weekend with live third- and fourth-round coverage and culminates with live coverage of the Women’s (June 4) and Men’s (June 5) Finals next weekend.
Defending champion Rafael Nadal, the No. 1 men’s seed, has won five French Open titles. With a win this year he will tie Bjorn Borg with the most men’s French Open championships in the Open era. Looking to dethrone him is No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic, currently riding a streak of 38 straight matches won this year. His win streak trails only John McEnroe (in Paris to cover the French Open for NBC and Tennis Channel) who in 1984 won 42 straight matches to begin a season. Djokovic has never won at Roland Garros but would surpass McEnroe’s record with a win. No. 3 Roger Federer is the only player other than Nadal in the Men’s draw to win this tournament. He defeated Robin Soderling in 2009 for his only French Open title.
The No. 1 women’s seed Caroline Wozniacki is seeking her first French Open and Grand Slam title. Among her competition on the women’s side are No. 2 Kim Clijsters, a two-time French Open champion, defending champion Francesca Schiavione, the No. 5 seed, and No. 7 seed Maria Sharapova.
MCENROE ON NADAL: “There is some vulnerability with Nadal however he is still very difficult to beat in a best-of-five. That’s where I think he has a slight edge with Djokovic.”
MCENROE ON DJOKOVIC’S STREAK: “Djokovic can win here and he’s about to break my record (streak) so I guess you would call this the definition of mixed emotions because it would be great for tennis. It’s more difficult than when I did it, but it’s one of the only things I have left. I suppose at the end of the day records are meant to be broken. What he’s done is phenomenal and there’s been a lot of talk about it. He’s improved every part of his game and he’s determined to be the best player in the world instead of being a contender. He’d never beaten Nadal on clay so the fact that he did it two weeks in a row (in Madrid and Rome) is going to boost his confidence.”
MCENROE ON THE FRENCH OPEN: “Every time I am here it just reminds me how difficult it is to pull this tournament out, how much it takes.”
COVERAGE ON NBC SPORTS: Following is the schedule for NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2011 French Open, which culminates with live coverage of the Women’s (June 4) and Men’s (June 5) Finals next weekend:
Saturday, May 28, Noon-3 p.m. ET – Third Round (Live)
Sunday, May 29, Noon-3 p.m. ET –Fourth Round (Live)
Friday, June 3, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (all time zones) – Men’s Semifinals (Live to ET)
Saturday, June 4, 9 a.m.-Noon ET – Women’s Final (Live)
Sunday, June 5, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. ET – Men’s Final (Live)
FRENCH OPEN ON NBCSPORTS.COM: Tennis fans can go online to view a live simulcast of all of NBC Sports’ coverage and daily video highlights plus “Star Cam” streaming during the Men’s and Women’s Finals, which features live online coverage of the individual players throughout the broadcast.
NBC AND THE FRENCH OPEN: In 1975, NBC became the first American television network to provide coverage of the French Open when the network signed a three-year deal with the French Tennis Federation. The tournament was covered by CBS from 1980-82 and returned to NBC in 1983, where it has remained since.