NBC starts its French Open coverage this weekend and after being able to see matches live all this week online thanks to Tennis Channel and ESPN2, my fear is that NBC will pull shenanigans like it did last year with calling exclusivity of certain matches then tape delaying them. The network has been doing this ever since it started airing the French Open back in 1983, but it seems to be getting worse with each year. Anyway, enough of me railing against NBC right now. But if the network pulls the dreaded tape delay during this year’s French Open and Wimbledon, get ready for me to publish illegal websites where you can watch the action live. You deserve it as tennis fans.
Anyway, here’s the press release from NBC touting the coverage.
FEDERER, NADAL, AND THE WILLIAMS SISTERS HEADLINE NBC SPORTS’ FRENCH OPEN COVERAGE BEGINNING THIS SATURDAY“I am giving Rafa the edge to win this one.” – NBC Sports’ Mary Carillo“The best clay court player of her generation.” – Carillo on Justine HeninNEW YORK – May 27, 2010 – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena and Venus Williams, and Justine Henin headline an impressive lineup at the 2010 French Open from Roland Garros in Paris beginning Saturday at Noon ET on NBC Sports. Coverage concludes next Saturday and Sunday, June 5-6 with the Women and Men’s Finals live at 9 a.m. ET both days.Host Ted Robinson anchors NBC Sports’ broadcast, joined by analysts John McEnroe and Mary Carillo. McEnroe and Carillo teamed to win the mixed doubles title at the 1977 French Open. This is NBC Sports’ 28th consecutive year televising the event.Roger Federer is the world’s No. 1 ranked player. Federer held that position for a record 237 consecutive weeks from February 2004 – August 2008 before being passed by Nadal and has since reclaimed it. Last year, he won the French Open for the first time and has now won 16 Grand Slam singles titles, more than any other male player.His chief rival Rafael Nadal, a four-time champion at Roland Garros, will compete this year in hopes of reclaiming his title as the “King of Clay,” after his early exit in last year’s tournament. Nadal is currently the world’s No. 2 ranked men’s tennis player.Serena and Venus Williams, who are currently ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the world respectively, will compete and could potentially face one of the biggest threats in this year’s tournament, Justine Henin, a four-time French Open winner. Henin returns to her first French Open tournament since retiring in 2008.CARILLO ON FEDERER AND NADAL: “The hardest thing to do in tennis is to win the French Open and then a few weeks later, Wimbledon. Both Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal can do that. In fact, they both have done it already. Roger did it for the first time last year when he won his French Open title, and Rafa has done it. They are both playing very, very well.”ON THE AMERICAN COMPETITORS: “Andy Roddick, John Isner and Sam Querrey are playing really well. The Williams sisters are seeded No. 1 and No. 2 here. Serena can win this title. If the weather continues to hold, it is very good for American clay court tennis.”ON FEDERER AND NADAL IN THE MEN’S FINAL: “A classic final right there between those two. I am giving Rafa the edge to win this one.”ON THE WOMEN’S FINAL: “It’s either Serena’s or Justine’s to win. Serena looks very good. She is in form, and she has only won this once. She has won every other major in tennis at least three times. She wants to win this again.”ON HENIN RETURNING FROM RETIREMENT: “She is a four-time winner here; she clearly is the best clay court player of her generation. But, she is in Serena’s quarters. It’s a very front loaded draw. A lot of the best players are on top including Serena, Sharapova and Justine. That’s nasty.”ON THE DARK HORSE ARAVANE REZAI OF FRANCE: “She won a big title in Madrid beating Venus along the way among others, and she played a first round match that was very snappy. She seems to like the pressure. She likes being the woman of the moment.”COVERAGE ON NBC SPORTS: Following is the schedule for NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2010 French Open, which culminates with live HD coverage of the Women’s (June 5) and Men’s (June 6) Finals next weekend:Saturday, May 29, Noon-3 p.m. ET – Third RoundSunday, May 30, Noon-3 p.m. ET –Fourth RoundFriday, June 4, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (all time zones) – Men’s SemifinalsSaturday, June 5, 9 a.m.-Noon ET – Women’s Final (Live)Sunday, June 6, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. ET – Men’s Final (Live)FRENCH OPEN ON NBCSPORTS.COM: Tennis fans can go online to view daily video highlights; “Star Cam” streaming during the Men’s and Women’s Finals, which features live online coverage of the players throughout the broadcast; and “Ask the Expert” segments where users can submit questions to the NBC on-air talent with the chance of them answering them live on television.FRENCH OPEN GOES MOBILE: Tennis fans that are on the go can once again watch the French Open live on their mobile phones through NBC 2Go and NBC Sports Mobile. Fans can also get live news, scores, videos and photos on their mobile devices through the NBC Sports Mobile site (http://m.NBCSports.com) or by texting “TENNIS” to 51515 to sign-up for NBC Sports Mobile tennis alerts.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.
That’s it for now.