Rebecca Maddern, James Bracey and Tony Jones will host Nine’s Australian Open coverage from Monday January 14.
This summer sees the dawning of a new era in tennis broadcasting in Australia.
When the Australian Open begins on January 14, Nine will be the new home of tennis, with the tournament’s best matches and biggest moments broadcast across Nine, 9Gem and 9Now – ensuring Australians get the best tennis experience available, anytime, anywhere, on a device of their choosing.
A fresh lineup featuring Rebecca Maddern, James Bracey and Tony Jones will host Nine’s new-look tennis coverage.
They will be supported by an all-star roster of commentators: John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Sam Smith, Todd Woodbridge, Lleyton Hewitt, Alicia Molik, Jelena Dokic, Sam Groth and Dylan Alcott.
For the past 40 years, Nine’s Wide World of Sports has been synonymous with the very best in sports broadcasting in Australia. Our expert team of on-air commentators, together with highly skilled behind-the-scenes personnel, have set the standard others aspire to.
And for our inaugural year as host broadcaster of Australia’s number one summer sport, we’ll be unveiling a host of pioneering innovations designed to make the game even more enjoyable for home viewers.
In an Australian first, we will be using 360-degree, Matrix-style cameras: immersive video technology that positions cameras right around the court to simultaneously capture every angle. The resulting vision will give viewers a panorama-like experience of the world’s greatest tennis players in action.
In another Australian television first, Nine is using cutting-edge Viz Libero technology that will redefine sports broadcasting. Viz Libero combines realistic 3D replays with advanced virtual graphics, giving viewers insight into controversial or tactically interesting moments of play and bringing a unique perspective to the game. This innovative technology will track player actions, analyse their errors, and predict their future movements.
Nine’s broadcast will, for the first time at the Australian Open, employ the use of a Wire-cam to provide never-before-seen shots of Melbourne Park and its surrounds. Running almost 270 metres from the roof of Tennis Australia HQ, over Garden Square, towering across Show Court 3 and onto the outside courts beyond, Wire-cam will provide unparalleled footage of the world’s greatest tennis facilities and their scenic backdrop.
With the ability to shoot from every angle, viewers will be treated to remarkable vision which will showcase the 40 courts at Melbourne Park, while providing a bird’s-eye view of the stunning backdrop encircling the tennis precinct.
Central to Nine’s new approach to tennis broadcasting will be a half-court that doubles as the network’s hosting set. Located near Margaret Court Arena, this outdoor studio will welcome tennis fans to Melbourne Park as they enter the precinct.
As well as providing the backdrop to our hosting of the Australian Open, the set will be home to the Today show team, who will broadcast LIVE from Melbourne Park each day from January 14.
The half-court that adjoins the hosting desk will be equipped with Hawk-Eye technology so that our commentators can take viewers through step-by-step analysis for each day’s play.
When not being used as a live television studio, the half-court will be open to the public, bringing the game closer to fans than ever before. Tennis enthusiasts can have their service speed measured on the half-court. Fans will be able to play half-court tennis against their friends.
Players will also conduct pre and post-game interviews on the half-court, with the public able to watch on. Plus, there will be autograph signing sessions with Channel Nine celebrities.
And a giant screen positioned in the half-court will showcase Nine’s broadcast, providing general admission punters with a front-row seat to the premier matches.
When the Australian Open commences on Monday, January 14, at its new TV home on Nine, the top 100 men and top 100 women players will be there.
The 2019 Australian Open will see the return of Serena Williams, who last competed here in 2017 when she won the title while eight weeks pregnant with baby Olympia. Should Williams win another Australian Open, she will equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.
Having withdrawn from the US Open with a knee injury, world No. 2 Rafael Nadal will make a welcome return.
And after notching his 20th Grand Slam title at the 2018 Australian Open – joining Roy Emerson and Novak Djokovic as six-time winners – Roger Federer will also be chasing a record seventh victory in Melbourne.
Victoria Azarenka, a two-time champion in Melbourne, will be back for the first time since 2016.
The winners of the four Grand Slam women’s titles in 2018 will be in Melbourne for the first Grand Slam tournament of 2019. They are:
World No. 3 Caroline Wozniacki, who broke through for her first Grand Slam win at Melbourne in 2018 and is going for back-to-back titles; Simona Halep, who was defeated by Wozniacki in the final of the Australian Open before going on to win the French Open; former Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber, who won at Wimbledon; and Naomi Osaka, winner of the US Open.
They will be joined by Ash Barty, Australia’s No. 1 women’s player (currently No. 15 in the world), who has had a stellar year, consistently ranking in the Top 20, winning the doubles title at the US Open, and recently named joint winner of the 2018 Newcombe Medal. And Daria Gavrilova, ranked No. 2 in Australia, who has also enjoyed a consistent year, hovering around the Top 30 and notching up a couple of big wins, including a defeat of former Wimbledon champ, Petra Kvitova.
In the men’s draw, Novak Djokovic, the first player to equal Roy Emerson’s record of six Australian Open singles titles, will be the red-hot favourite after winning both Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018.
After a challenging year, Andy Murray is on the comeback trail and will be welcomed by an army of passionate fans.
Three-time quarter-finalist Kei Nishikori will return to Melbourne for the first time since 2017, after reaching the semi-final of this year’s US Open.
Former Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka is continuing to work his way back into form after injury and building momentum for Melbourne.
For the first time in more than 15 years, Australia has four men in the world’s Top 50 and six in the Top 100, and they will all be in Melbourne.
Alex de Minaur, now ranked No.1 in Australia, is the second youngest player in the Top 100, after rocketing up more than 200 spots in the past year. He was recently awarded the 2018 Newcombe Medal, a joint winner with Ash Barty.
John Millman became known as the giant slayer after his inspirational win over Roger Federer at the US Open.
Nick Kyrgios, the man John McEnroe described as the most talented tennis player he has seen in ten years, will be front and centre of Nine’s broadcast. Forever unpredictable and always entertaining, Kyrgios is out to make another charge at his home slam.
Matt Ebden has made a remarkable comeback from injury, with his third-round Wimbledon appearance this year his best Grand Slam showing so far.
Jordan Thompson and Bernard Tomic are the other two Aussies in the Top 100 who will be playing in Melbourne.
The 2019 Australian Open is shaping up as one of the most exciting in recent memory. Your front-row seat with access to all the on-court and off-court drama starts January 14 on Nine – your new home of tennis.
Get ready for the birth of a new age in tennis broadcasting.
Tennis on Nine. It’s time for new balls, please.