Nine has announced an all-star lineup of commentators and hosts who will lead the inaugural year of its six-year broadcast deal with Tennis 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 the network’s suite of channels and 9Now.
Spearheading Nine’s team is Grand Slam legend and superstar John McEnroe, one of the most in-demand broadcasters in the world. Viewers can expect the International Tennis Hall of Famer to be at his outspoken best. One of the all-time greats, McEnroe won seven Grand Slam tournaments (four US Opens, three Wimbledons) among his 77 singles titles, as well as 72 doubles titles. He was ranked No. 1 in the world in both categories.
Joining him with expert analysis and unparalleled insight into the game will be the highly experienced broadcaster Jim Courier. Ranked No. 1 in the world in 1992-93, Courier is one of the sport’s most popular characters. In his 12-year playing career, Courier won two French Opens and two Australian Opens.
A roll call of local hosts will also be on duty:
• Todd Woodbridge will join Nine’s new lineup. One of the most successful and dominant doubles players in history, Woodbridge racked up 16 major men’s doubles titles, including nine Wimbledons, three US Opens, three Australian Opens and one French Open.
• Alicia Molik, the current Australian Fed Cup captain, will provide unrivalled access and insight into the best female players. Molik broke into the world Top 10 in 2005, and won the doubles title at the 2005 Australian Open and the French Open in 2007.
• Also joining the new-look team are Jelena Dokic, Sam Groth and Dylan Alcott.
At the age of 16, Jelena Dokic caused one of the biggest upsets in tennis history by beating world No. 1 Martina Hingis at Wimbledon. By the time she was 19, Dokic was ranked No. 4 in the world. She has also penned the best-selling autobiography Unbreakable, a book which details her career and well-documented family life.
Sam Groth won the 2015 Newcombe Medal, awarded to Australia’s most outstanding tennis player for the year, and holds the world record for the fastest serve recorded in a tournament – a bullet-like 263.4 km/h.
Dylan Alcott is one of the most inspirational stories in Australian sport. From 2015-18, he won four consecutive Australian Open quad wheelchair singles titles and will be aiming for five in a row in 2019.
Hosting the Nine coverage will be Rebecca Maddern, James Bracey and Tony Jones.
Award-winning journalist Rebecca Maddern has previously covered the Australian Open as well as many of the world’s biggest sporting events, including the Commonwealth Games, Melbourne Cup and AFL.
Since earning his stripes at Foxtel, in a short time the sports fanatic James Bracey has become an integral contributor to Nine’s team, with duties spanning the network’s NRL coverage, hosting Sports Sunday and 100% Footy, and reporting on Today.
There are few sporting events that Tony Jones has not been involved with after more than 30 years at Nine. Whether it be the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, the AFL or the Ashes, TJ has proved himself to be the master of sports presenting and reporting.
Tom Malone, head of sport for Nine, said: “For generations, Nine’s Wide World of Sports has set the benchmark that all others follow and we are confident that our new deal with Tennis Australia will continue that tradition.
“We have assembled a team of fresh faces while bringing back some familiar names who are the best at what they do. The Australian Open is the country’s pre-eminent summer sporting event and we’re confident our new-look team will help to instil a renewed passion for the game into lovers of tennis around Australia.”
Nine’s six-year broadcast deal encompasses the Australian Open in Melbourne as well as the lead-up tournaments around Australia – the Hopman Cup in Perth and the Brisbane and Sydney Internationals. Plus, Nine’s Wide World of Sports will give you the best seat in the house to Australia’s Davis Cup tie in September and the Fed Cup in February.
Further announcements on Nine’s commentary team will be revealed in the coming months.