The tennis season's final Grand Slam event begins next week, as the world's top players gear up for the 2013 U.S. Open from Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

Andy Murray and Serena Williams are back in hope of defending their 2012 singles titles, while 2010 men's champion Rafael Nadal makes his much-anticipated return to the hard courts of Queens. 

Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka will also enter the year's last major with high expectations on their preferred playing surface.

With first-round action set to get underway on Monday, here we've got you covered with a complete breakdown of the television schedule and live streaming information. 

 

When: Monday, August 26 through Monday, September 9

Where: Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York

Watch: CBS, CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN2 and Tennis Channel

Live Stream: WatchESPN

 

 

Players to Watch

Rafael Nadal

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No player, male or female, enters Flushing Meadows with more momentum than Rafael Nadal, who has bounced back from his stunning Wimbledon upset in near-flawless fashion, winning titles in Montreal and Cincinnati while running his 2013 hard-court record to 15-0 in the process.

Only two of Nadal's 12 Grand Slam victories have come at hard-court majors, but if he can continue to play at the level he's currently at, don't be surprised if he lifts the U.S. Open crown for the second time in his career.

 

Serena Williams

A four-time champion at Flushing Meadows, the women's world No. 1, Serena Williams, is the overwhelming favorite to repeat as champion in New York.

Although she stumbled in her most recent outing against world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka, Williams had an impressive summer post-Wimbledon, winning the Swedish Open and dominating at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, where she didn't drop a set in five matches. 

 

Novak Djokovic

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The top-ranked player in the men's game, Novak Djokovic, has reached the final at each of the previous three U.S. Open tournaments. He won in 2011, but has more sour memories of the U.S. Open final, considering he's finished as runner-up at this event three times since 2007.

Perhaps the most talented hard-court player in tennis, Djokovic has all the tools and the dominant return game to win his seventh career major this summer.

 

Victoria Azarenka

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Despite her stranglehold at the Australian Open, Azarenka has yet to break through with a title at the year's other hard-court major, the U.S. Open.

The Belarusian finally made it past the fourth round in New York a year ago, reaching the final where she lost to Williams in a hard-fought three-setter. But Williams had an obvious mental edge on Azarenka this time last year, and that's no longer the case.

Azarenka has defeated the world No. 1 twice in 2013, both wins coming in hard-court tournament finals in Doha and Cincinnati. 

 

Andy Murray

Defending men's champion Andy Murray isn't being talked about in the same light as Nadal or Djokovic, thanks to a lackluster North American hard-court campaign this summer, but nonetheless, he must be considered a serious threat in New York.

Prior to the 2012 U.S. Open, Murray had never won a Grand Slam, and now he has two a year later after winning in New York and most recently at Wimbledon.

While the world No. 3 may be lacking momentum heading into the first round, he won't be short on confidence, having defeated Djokovic in an epic five-setter for the title here a year ago.

 

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