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All platforms to Wimbledon

Paul Davies | 14:28 UK time, Friday, 20 June 2008

Yes, it's a non-stop, multi-platform service for Wimbledon 2008 and as the Euros reach a climax it's time for the tennis to take centre stage as we look forward to 13 days of compelling action which will hopefully see a fit Andy Murray advance deep into the second week.

Having never reached a Grand Slam quarter-final it will be a tough ask but he is undoubtedly one of just a handful of players who are capable of lifting the trophy and more importantly he believes he can win.

nadal_getty.jpgMany of the loyal tennis fans who have been with us over recent weeks at the French Open and Queens will perhaps be thinking that this might just be the year that 'King Rog' is dethroned.

Having equalled Borg's record of four Paris titles, Spain's Rafael Nadal went toe-to-toe with Serbia's Novak Djokavic in the Artois final and, in one of the most stunning grass court matches I have ever seen, laid claim that this could just be his year at the All England Club.

With the world's top three in such rich form the destiny of the men's title is hard to predict. By winning in Halle last week Federer has now won 59 consecutive matches on grass.

Here's a prediction for you, how about Serbia taking the men's and women's titles?

With Novak Djokavic, number three seed, and compatriots Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic, seeded one and two on the women's side, the country that trains its players in empty swimming pools has become a real power nation in world tennis.

The Russians, meanwhile, have five women in the top 10 and you should never write off Venus and Serena Williams, the former out to defend her title. Watch out for a special feature that we are doing on Venus' recent book which shows her in many stunning photographic poses.

Our cameras have been busy all this week, following players, capturing images and interviews which will hopefully bring you closer to these sporting superstars. Tim Henman, our latest signing to the BBC team, has done an in-depth one-on-one with Andy Murray which you will be able to catch up with across all of our platforms.

We have been to Richard Branson's party for the women's tour at the Kensington Roof Gardens - always a glamorous affair - and our 'Queen of Wimbledon', Sue Barker, has been reflecting on all things tennis with Bjorn Borg, whom Gerald Scarfe has drawn in a series of portraits that capture all the champions from Borg to Federer. You'll get a chance to see these pictures in the second week of our coverage.

This year will be an historic one for our TV coverage, largely because it will almost certainly see the end of the 'standby'!

From 2009 the Centre Court will have its sliding roof in place and it will be tennis all the way. So savour those extended chats with McEnroe and Becker, Austin and Cash, and also watch out for a compelling documentary that we will run on Andrea Jaeger, the former pony-tailed teenager, who lost to Navratilova in the final 25 years ago tells the truly amazing story of why she lost that match and how she has become a nun caring for terminally ill children.

Whatever the stories, whenever the action, there'll be no excuse to miss out as Wimbledon will dominate all of the BBC's platforms for the next two weeks.

Network coverage, hosted by Sue Barker, will begin from 1200 (British Summer Time) right through to our evening highlights show with John Inverdale at 2000. If it's a specific match you're after and it's not within our main coverage, you can press your red button and go interactive where there will be a choice of up to five live matches. A digital text service will also be available with news and score updates.

As host broadcaster the BBC provides pictures and commentary from a total of nine courts that is broadcast to over 185 countries. Last year over 10,000 hours of action was broadcast globally.

For the third year Centre Court and Court One will be broadcast in High Definition and you will be able to watch simulcast coverage of our network output on the BBC HD Channel. Once off air with our live BBC Two programming you will be able to continue watching the live action on the HD Channel as well as recordings of key matches right up to midnight.

No need to miss out if you're in the office as live action, as well as on-demand highlights, will be streamed online via Here you can keep up to date with all the latest news, views and comment as well as watching behind the scenes features that will run on the site.

Missed all that? Fear not, the ever popular BBC iPlayer will allow you to catch up with the best of the action for up to seven days.

If you're on the move, register for our mobile phone service. By texting TENNIS to 81010 you will receive a link to our site where you will get all the latest Wimbledon news as well as video master classes. It costs 10 to 15p to text the BBC.

Radio 5 Live and 5 Live Sports Extra will be offering its usual excellent coverage of the championships. Mark Pougatch, Clare Balding and Simon Mayo will anchor proceedings with Clare becoming the first female lead commentator on radio at Wimbledon. Tennis correspondent Jonathan Overend is also part of the team and will be joined by new signing Jana Novotna along with regulars Michael Stich, Pat Cash, Jeff Tarango, Todd Woodbridge, Annabel Croft and Judy Murray.

Multiplatform content and interactivity is a key part of the 5 Live story. John McEnroe's 6-love-6 phone-in on Tuesday nights will be available to watch via BBC Interactive under the red button.

Cash and Tarango's podcasts will provide the definitive guide to the big stories of the day and photos from around SW19 will be posted on the BBC Wimbledon Flickr group where users can add their own pictures.

There will also be additional daily video content focused around 5 Live's coverage including discussions with top names on the 606 forum and regular updates on the 5 Live twitter.

So plenty on offer from 23 June. I hope you enjoy our new titles, and studio set, and 2008 will see the return of our high motion camera which offers those stunning super-slow motion images that even the players find insightful and mesmerising.

As the BBC celebrates the signing of a new contract to broadcast the Championships up to 2014, enjoy this year's output and please do feedback any comments, good and bad.


  • Comment number 1.

    Erm..I question the BBC's decision to give Claire Balding a Commentary job on Radio 5 Live..she is a great broadcaster but not reayy suited for a Tennis commentator.
    ALos great forthe BBC to get Tim Henman as commentator/pundit, he will be a great asset to the BBC.
    Cant wait for Wimbledon as I will be backing the British to do well and also hoping that Maria Sharapova wins the Womens title

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    I was at Queens at the weekend (yes, it was an absolutely stunning final) and Rafael Nadal looked amazing. I suppose it was slightly skewed as Federer doesn't play there as he favours Halle but following on from the French Open, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Rafael.

  • Comment number 4.

    All of this looks absolutely marvellous. I was intrigued by the documentary on Andrea Jaegar having enjoyed watching her play when I was a kid. One question Paul. Is it a case of wait and see for the documentaries or can they be accessed via the red button or online in some way?

  • Comment number 5.

    The BBC's world class coverage is always welcome and I can't wait to see how this years tournament unfolds, both in the mens and the ladies draws.

    Great signing in bringing Tim Henman to the team - does that mean we lose John McEnroe though?

    Top of my wish list for next year is for the Beeb to show Oz Open and Roland Garros in HD - come on - you know the feed is available - use it please! :-)

  • Comment number 6.

    Can't wait for the Wimbledon Championships to begin, especially after being tantalised by all the multi-platform talk.
    The BBC does not get the credit it deserves for putting on outstanding coverage of Wimbledon, year after year, rain or shine.
    I for one love all the documentaries, chats with former players about matches past or the new generation, and subscribe to all the podcasts to boot.
    Considering the matchplay has often been curtailed by traditional British summertime weather (!), the BBC, and Sue Barker, do a fantastic job of keeping us all entertained whatever the forecast. Long may it continue!
    PS. Can't wait to hear from McEnroe this year - he is the highlight of my summer!!!

  • Comment number 7.

    Thank you for at last integrating Sports Interactive and the full text guide on Freeview.

    I do hope though events like Wimbledon and the Olympics do continue to have dedicated sections as part of the interactive service, with in Wimbledon's case the live summary of matches on all courts being something that should definately be retained from the old service.

  • Comment number 8.

    Here in Florida I hope we can look forward to seeing and hearing Tim Henman as a commentator/interviewer. Personally, I get tired of listening to John McEnroe and his supposedly insightful comments - he always dominates the commentary, which of course is an extension in his middle-age of his antics on and off court in his playing days. On our Wimbledon broadcasts his sidekick Ted, (forgot his last name), the professional broadcaster, is hard pressed to get a word in!

  • Comment number 9.

    Mmmm could you explain why @ 12:21 BBC Two still hasn't show a single second of live tennis. Fortunately I've got access to the interactive facility but not everyone does.

    In an event where there often long delays which can be filled with talking heads do you not 'make hay why the sun shines'?

    No problem with good build up but why not just start 30 minutes earlier.

    Incidentally with the new full-time Sport Interactive couldn't you follow the example set by SKY's champions league coverage. Currently the 4 mini screens are way too small to be watchable.

  • Comment number 10.

    I am watching BBC HD via Sky. I note the sky information box has the tags HD,W,S. However my amp shows DD 5.1 audio chanels are being received and I can hear the crowd from the rear channels.

    5.1 does add to the experience so why have you not advertised this on the Sky Guide?

    Realy looking forward to the HD coverage.

  • Comment number 11.

    I know "politically correct" is getting silly these days, and this is just an observation, but is it right that ball boys and girls should have to handle a Tennis Players sweaty towel as it seems a little disgusting after wipeing their face and other items. There are plenty of ways the boys and girls could pass the towel backwards and forwards without actually touching it! Just a thought

  • Comment number 12.

    Paul I know you are more to do with the TV side of the coverage that the Five Live side if things but can you let us know why the legend Tony Adamson isn't part of the commentary team this year?

  • Comment number 13.

    Who was the scheduler who decided that 8pm would be a good time for 'Today at Wimbledon'? Surely the very point of the programme is for those people who are out all day to be able to watch the highlights? After the 10pm BBC1 news or 10pm on BBC2 was much more suitable to give such people time to change, eat and get into bed ready to watch the day's play! There's no point in providing whizzy texts and iplayers if you fail to provide your core service ie the television programme at a convenient time.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think Claire's really good as a commentator, tis a bit disjointed on the radio, 10 minutes of tennis followed by a discussion about Robert Mugabe. Still it shows what an excellent broadcaster Mark Pougatch is. The best anchorman Five Live's had in many a year in my mind

  • Comment number 15.


    Sorry you feel that way, but what about my tennis loving children who are out at school all day, and couldn't possibly be kept up until after 11pm on a school night watching highlights?

    Surely they deserve the chance to watch highlights of the day's action before they go to bed as well as you. Don't they?

  • Comment number 16.

    Clare Balding seems to me to be the perfect commentator for every sport she has attempted so far - on radio or TV.

    On the TV tennis coverage, we have an immaculate John McEnroe and Sue Barker. Could Tim Henman be persuaded to make a bit of an effort, take his hands out of his pockets, wash and comb his hair and wear a jacket and tie or is that too much to ask?

  • Comment number 17.

    Don't worry - Tim never makes it into the second week of Wimbledon anyway.

  • Comment number 18.

    I agree with the 'Today at Wimbledon'argument.
    Whos bright idea was it to put it on at 9pm.
    Two matches have been ruined by Today at Wimbers in the 8pm slot.
    Surley with Mel South's and Chris Eatons games, the BBC can hold Today at Wimbers off untill 9pm, they would if it was Andy Murray!!!
    Sort ot out BBC, British players should have game on TV rather then me faffing about to watch the match on the Internet!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 19.

    5.1 DD Sound much better today thanks!

    See entry #10

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    Simple question - why don't the BBC show any live tennis on BBC2 until 40 minutes into the programme?

  • Comment number 22.

    Now don't you all go and get mad with me but all this Tennis really does my head in.

    I can appreciate the immense talent on show but my god do we have to have it rammed down our throats, the media becomes obsesed with the thing. I honestly believe that the vast majority of people in this country couldn't care less about it.

    My reasoning for this is that once Wimbledon is over Tennis never gets a mention again.

    Why does Radio 5 give up their normal coverage to devote at least 8 hours a day to this event?

    Cricket is far more popular yet that gets shunted away on DAB or LW. I'd be interested to know how many hours of broadcast time are devoted to Wimbledon, both Radio and Television and then compare this with the amount of Football coverage.

    Its a minority sport and deserves to be treated as such. Maybe we should cover the Beach Volleyball or German Handball League next season so we can once again watch a bunch of very talented foriegn sportsman perform at peaktime on Television

    As for Murray, i'll support any person that he plays against, in much the same way as he supports any team that play against England.

    Sad i know but he showed his true colors when he made that comment.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think Wimledon is like the GAA in Ireland - nobody in the outide world is remotely interested - but there everybody thinks it's great.

  • Comment number 24.

    nickbrat - you beat me to it. the point about Radio 5 shifting their entire schedule over is the main thing I wanted to mention.

    We had the ridiculous situation with the one-day international the other day where they went to the commentator for an update - there were three overs left, NZ needed 12 runs with 1 wicket left - how is that not higher drama than the early rounds of Wimbledon? (which I don't mind watching once the good players start playing each other).

    It would have taken 15 minutes of their schedule to have stayed with the Cricket, rather than the nonsense that followed.


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