Jim Williams: Australian Open goes late into the night

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Sports,Tennis,Jim Williams

It is a good thing the District is a 24-hour city because tennis fans will be up all night if they want to watch the Australian Open. Make no mistake: National ratings show Washington is one of the best tennis cities in the country.

But with Melbourne 16 hours ahead of Washington, tennis fans will have to be creative. Live coverage starts Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2.

The first major of the year will receive around-the-clock coverage from ESPN2, ESPN3, WatchESPN and the Tennis Channel. The coverage will culminate with the women's championship Jan. 26 and the men's championship the next day, both at 3?a.m. The matches will air again later each day at 9 a.m. and in prime time.

Starting Monday, ESPN2 will have live coverage from 9 p.m. to 7?a.m. The Tennis Channel will take over until 2 p.m., then comes back for a few more hours at 7 p.m.

If you don't have the Tennis Channel, each day at 2 p.m. ESPN2 will offer taped coverage of some of the best matches of the day. So those who can't stay up at night will not miss the action. Thus we have nearly 24 hours of Aussie Open coverage each day in the first week.

Perhaps the best way to watch is by using the WatchESPN app or ESPN3 on your computer or tablet. That allows you to view as many as seven matches at a time. The quality of the stream is very good, and the freedom to choose the match you want makes the Aussie Open more enjoyable. You also can watch some replays of matches played earlier.

If you don't have access to ESPN3 or WatchESPN, then try the Australian Open website for the multimatch option.

You also can try listening to the tournament on AO Radio, which is part of the Australian Open's website. If you have never heard tennis done on the radio, it can be quite entertaining.

Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @wordmandc.

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