We’ve heard a lot about stereo 3D’s potential for football, World Cup soccer, basketball and even golf, but tennis may just be the sweet spot for growing 3D awareness among sports fans. At least that’s what Panasonic is betting on. CBS Sports and the Cameron-Pace Group, who partnered with Panasonic to cover last year’s U.S. Open Tennis Championships, won a technical Emmy for their pioneering stereo 3D coverage and have returned courtside to record this year’s matches at the USTA’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens. Though Sony cameras will be used in the Cameron-Pace rigs, Panasonic is once again an official U.S. Open sponsor and is also trying out a preproduction model of its AG-3DP1 P2 AVC-Intra camcorder to record interstitial shots during the tournament, which began yesterday and runs through September 11.

CBS will rely on the same Cameron-Pace Group ShadowD rigs it used last year but has said it will position them at lower angles at court level to capture more dramatic points. Outside the stadiums, CBS will support its efforts with two separate 3D production trucks.

The USTA announced in mid-August that Panasonic would once again partner with CBS Sports for the 3D broadcasts, which will include coverage of all the top-seed matches in Arthur Ashe Stadium, as well as key matches in the secondary Louis Armstrong Stadium — new this year — during Labor Day Weekend (September 2 -5) and the following Finals Weekend (September 9 – 11).

When not in their seats, Tennis Center visitors during those times will also able to see if the new angles net better 3D views by watching featured matches in 3D from one of Panasonic’s three “Experience Amazing” 3D exhibits, which pair the company’s VIERA 3D TVs with 3D games and social media. The exhibits are located at the ground level of Louis Armstrong Stadium, in the SmashZone and in the South Plaza in front of Court 10.

CBS Sports will run its 3D coverage of the Open on DirecTV’s channel 103 and on Comcast’s Xfinity 3D service. The men’s and women’s finals, however, will be streamed live in 3D on USOpen.org.

The 3DP1’s 10-bit 4:2:2 P2 recording could make it a more solid choice for greenscreen shoots than its predecessor, the 3DA1, though we’re not likely to see any fancy effects during CBS’s Open coverage. But we should see what it’s capable of around the grounds and off the court. For more about what the rest of the 3DP1’s features will mean for stereo shooters, read Barry Braverman’s assessment here.

(photo credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images)