YouTube serves up free Wimbledon 2013 live stream

YouTube and the All England Lawn Tennis Club have served up a new partnership allowing tennis fans to watch live streaming coverage of the world-famous Wimbledon tournament for the first time.

The action kicks off in earnest at 13:00 BST today (24 June), when reigning men's singles champion Roger Federer opens his Wimbledon 2013 campaign against Romania's Victor Hanescu on Centre Court.

"This year Wimbledon's YouTube channel will have exclusive access throughout The Championships on Live @ Wimbledon," YouTube announced on its blog.

In addition to live streaming the action, the Google-owned video sharing site will also feature highlights, interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and classic matches - you'll find the official Wimbledon YouTube channel here.

(UPDATE: We feel it prudent to clarify that, as some readers have noted, YouTube's "Live @ Wimbledon" stream does not entail serve-by-serve match coverage. UK-based tennis fans are gently nudged towards the BBC's Wimbledon 2013 live coverage for a more comprehensive real-time experience).

It is understood that the live stream is being supported by luxury watch maker Rolex, and Wimbledon fans can also take part in a competition to win tickets for Centre Court by tweeting their photos using #shotoftheday.

YouTube added: "Catch the key moments of the tennis, interviews, behind the scenes and press conferences throughout the Wimbledon fortnight. You can also relive all the glory days of Wimbledon's golden moments, such as one of the greatest matches ever played, the 2008 Wimbledon Men's Singles Final: Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer."

Wimbledon is developing a reputation as one of sport's most tech-savvy events, having experimented with the IBM Seer augmented reality app as far back as 2010. Fast forward to 2013 and Sony is partnering with the BBC to trial 4K TV broadcasts down in leafy SW19.

IBM, too, is at the fore of Wimbledon again in 2013 - in fact, its association with the All England Lawn Tennis Club dates back some 24 years.

New this year is Wimbledon Insights, an analytics hub that gives tennis nerds and data buffs streamlined access to key statistical insights throughout the Championships.