Australian Open Schedule 2014: TV Start Date Monday For ESPN Grand Slam Major On January 13 From Melbourne

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Jan 10, 2014 01:41 PM EST
Current Australian Open tennis champions Serbia's Novak Djokovic
Current Australian Open tennis champions Serbia's Novak Djokovic (L) and Victoria Azarenka from Belarus walk with the championship trophies after riding on a tram to the official draw ceremony at Melbourne Park January 10, 2014. The Australian Open tennis tournament begins on January 13."

The Australian Open in 2014 has Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams as the top seeds and both ESPN and ESPN2 will be handling the TV schedule and live coverage for the tournament from Melbourne as they have for years and it will run from January 13 until January 26 and Novak Djokovic comes in trying to win his fourth title in a row.

Nadal has a very tough road to the finals as the number one seed, as he is one the same side as Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro, while Djokovic has a much easier road. Serena Williams is in the number one seed and she can meet Maria Sharapova or defending champion Victoria Azarenka and she comes in having played an amazing 2013 and now she comes in with a Brisbane tournament win to start 2014.

ESPN often does a great job on their tennis coverage and the Tennis Channel will also have coverage and that schedule can be found below. The coverage on ESPN and ESPN2 will have over 90 hours of live coverage and also on ESPN3 and some of the courts, Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena, Margaret Court Arena and Courts 2, 3, 6 and 8, will have coverage and so will the final week live.

Check here for the full Australian Open schedule and news on the draw for Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams. Here is a look at the draw and more on Williams from as she tries to continue her dominating reign over the WTA Tour and she comes in having won the US Open as the final major last season and with the Brisbane title.

Williams will play Australian wildcard Ashleigh Barty in the first round of the Australian Open as she bids for her 18th grand slam title and sixth at Melbourne Park.

The American's draw lines her up for a potentially tough fourth-round clash with Sam Stosur, who beat Williams in the 2011 U.S. Open final.

Two-times defending champion Victoria Azarenka, seeded second, will take on Swede Johanna Larsson according to the draw released on Friday.

Third seed Maria Sharapova will play American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, while fourth seed Li Na, runner-up at Melbourne Park last year, will play a qualifier. World number one Serena Williams shows no sign of slowing down with age and should win more than 20 grand slam singles titles, former great Martina Navratilova has said.

The 57-year-old Navratilova who won 18 grand slam singles titles, and 41 in women's and mixed doubles, is also confident the 32-year-old Williams will equal her singles haul at the Australian Open, which begins next week in Melbourne.

"If she can stay healthy there is no doubt she can go into the 20s, the sky is the limit," Navratilova told reporters in Adelaide where she will play in the World Tennis Challenge exhibition later on Tuesday.

"I know how hard it is once you get to 30, all those little niggling injuries get worse and it's much easier to have an off day.

"But still, she is in her 30s ... she is eager and winning is very contagious - once you get really used to it, you don't want to let go of it."

Australia's Margaret Court holds the overall record of 24 grand slam singles titles, while Germany's Steffi Graf won 22 titles in the Open era.

Williams is widely considered the best player of her generation and has been virtually unchallenged in the modern era, with her powerful game proving difficult to defuse for many counterparts on the WTA tour.

The American, however, has also been hampered by a number of serious injuries, including a knee injury in 2010 and cut foot that forced her to miss almost a year on the tennis circuit in 2010-2011.

Paradoxically it was those injury-enforced layoffs that could be helpful in prolonging her career, Navratilova suggested.

"At age 30, she had played about half the tournaments than I had played at 30, so she is fresh in tennis terms," she said.

"She seems to be playing her best tennis right now."

Former world number one Tracy Austin echoed Navratilova's sentiments and said she felt Williams, who beat rivals Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka to win last week's Brisbane International, was being motivated by the record books.

Williams poignantly saluted compatriot Billie Jean King when she won her fifth, and latest, Australian Open title in 2010 to join King on 12 grand slam titles saying at the time that she had told King 'I tied you' after her victory over Justine Henin.

"I love the fact that she's 32 years old and still seems to be as hungry, if not hungrier, than she has ever been," Austin said.

"At 32, and realizing that she is towards possibly the end of her career, she is now playing for history.

"Serena likes to be the best at everything and I think she wants to be the greatest player of all time on the women's side." (Reuters)

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