As Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal chase tennis history, NBC and Tennis Channel are shifting their coverage plans for the men's semifinals at the French Open on Friday.
NBC, which has run afoul of the racquet sport's fans for not showing marquee matches from Roland Garros live, will allow Tennis Channel to show the opening men's semifinals between defending- and five-time French Open champion Nadal and Andy Murray on June 3 at 8 a.m. (ET).
The Peacock, which for the first time will stream the semifinals on NBCSports.com, is now scheduled to initiate its linear coverage at 11 a.m. (ET) and in all time zones following Today. At that time, Nadal-Murray could be completing their match, or the second semifinal, pitting Djokovic against all-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, could be in progress. Tennis would continue its coverage of Nadal-Murray, should it extend past that window.
In 2009, NBC, which didn't want to preempt Today, presented a truncated version of the semifinal pitting Robin Soderling, who handed Nadal's only loss ever at this tournament, and Fernando Gonzalez, while the other match featuring Federer, who was seeking his initial French crown to complete the career Grand Slam, and Juan Martin del Potro, didn't air on Tennis Channel until well after the Swiss had prevailed.
Should Djokovic triumph versus Federer he would become world No. 1, regardless of the outcome of the men's final on Sunday, scheduled on NBC at 9 a.m. A victory by the Serb in the semis also would extend his 2011 unbeaten streak to 42, tying him with John McEnroe in 1984 for the best start to an ATP Tour season ever. If Nadal wins the title, he would match Bjorn Borg's total of six French titles, the most in the Open era.
NBC will also provide "cafe and croissant" coverage of the women's final, matching defending champion Francesca Schiavone and China's Li Na at 9 a.m. on Saturday.