In case you’re worried you won’t be watching enough tennis in the next couple weeks, ESPN Classic is having a “Best Of” marathon all day on Saturday. (Don’t worry, you can do laundry and wash the dog during changeovers.)
I think I’ll pace myself – watch a little of Fed vs. Safin and Verdasco vs. Nadal. Maybe Sampras vs. Courier, too. Oh, oh. . .
Click here for the 2010 Australian Open TV Schedule
GREAT MATCHES FROM THE PAST ON ESPN CLASSIC & ESPN2
Starting Saturday, Jan. 16, the day before the tournament starts, at 7 a.m., ESPN Classic will get fans ready with a 23-hour marathon covering seven memorable Australian Open matches. The marathon climaxes with Rafael Nadal’s pair of marathon victories in last year’s semifinal and final. However, that match will air again later in the day, Sunday, Jan. 17, on ESPN2, from noon – 5 p.m.
7 – 9 a.m. ET: 1995 Australian Open Quarterfinal, Pete Sampras vs. Jim Courier
Defending champion Pete Sampras, troubled by the health problems of his coach Tim Gullickson, wept in the middle of his Australian Open match with Jim Courier. Sampras would come back from two sets down for the second straight match and win 6-7 (7-4), 6-7 (7-3), 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in a four-hour marathon to reach the semifinals.
9 – 11 a.m.: 1995 Australian Open Final, Pete Sampras vs. Andre Agassi
Agassi absorbed a 28-ace barrage by top-seeded Pete Sampras, but wore him down from the baseline and won the Australian Open title in a spectacular match, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6, 6-4.
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.: 2000 Australian Open Semifinal, Andre Agassi vs. Pete Sampras
Agassi and Sampras put on a show for the film archives, Agassi winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (0), 7-6 (5), 6-1 to become the first man to reach four straight Grand Slam finals since Rod Laver swept them all in 1969.
1 – 3 p.m.: 2002 Australian Open Women’s Final: Jennifer Capriati vs. Martina Hingis
In extreme heat that tested both players to their limit, Jennifer Capriati came back from a set and 0-4 down, saving four match points, to defeat Martina Hingis 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-2.
3 – 8 p.m.: 2005 Australian Open Men’s Semifinal: Roger Federer vs. Marat Safin
Safin advanced to his third Australian Open final by ending Federer’s 26-match winning streak in a 5-7, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(6), 9-7 thriller.
8 p.m. – 1 a.m.: 2009 Australian Open Men’s Semifinal: Rafael Nadal vs. Fernando Verdasco
In the longest match in Australian Open history, top-ranked Rafael Nadal finally vanquished fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco, winning 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (1-7), 6-4 in 5 hours and 14 minutes.
1 – 6 a.m.: 2009 Australian Open Men’s Final: Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer
With Federer gunning for a record-tying 14th Grand Slam victory, Nadal held on in a 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2 momentum-swinging, 4-hour, 22-minute match that left the vanquished Swiss star in tears.
Noon – 5 p.m.: 2009 Australian Open Men’s Final: Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer