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The Tennis Channel Follows Races To Championships With European Indoor Seasons This Month

LOS ANGELES, October 5, 2004

The Tennis Channel, a 24-hour cable television network devoted to tennis and other racquet sports, is telecasting Europe’s fall indoor season in October and November, tournaments that will determine which players qualify for the men’s and women’s championships this November in Houston and Los Angeles, respectively. In addition to ATP Masters Series events in Paris and Madrid, Spain, the network’s European season includes four top-tier WTA Tour tournaments in October: Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Filderstadt, Germany; Kremlin Cup in Moscow; Swisscom Challenge in Zurich, Switzerland; and Generali Ladies Linz in Linz, Austria.

The announcement was made today by Bruce Rider, executive vice president, programming and marketing, The Tennis Channel.

These tournaments come as the races for both the men’s Tennis Masters Cup in Houston and women’s WTA Tour Championships in Los Angeles approach final qualification. With only eight players qualifying for each tour championship, and with slots already filled – four on the men’s side and three on the women’s – players on both tours are dashing down the home stretch, collecting their final championship-race points based on their performances the next few weeks. Current men’s standings can be found at http://www.atptennis.com/en/players/championsrace/ and women’s at http://www.wtatour.com/rankings/porsche/singles.asp.

“These weeks are the ‘pennant races of tennis,’” said Rider. “These are the tournaments that are going to decide who gets to meet in the championship tournaments. Only eight get in, and there are some great players who are currently on the bubble. Will Agassi make it again this year? What about Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova? These are compelling questions that tennis fans are going to see answered over the next month. Every one of these tournament finals has a significant impact on the championship standings. Our audience will enjoy watching this final month on The Tennis Channel, as it determines qualifications.”

In the men’s Indesit ATP 2004 race to Houston’s Tennis Masters Cup, top-ranked stars Roger Federer (last year’s champion), Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt and Gaston Gaudio have already qualified for the championships, leaving just four spots left for a list of far more contenders. Within the ranks of these challengers, several are on the cusp of qualification, among them Grand Slam champions Andre Agassi, Carlos Moya and Marat Safin.

The WTA Tour Championship race is even tighter. As of last week only Lindsay Davenport, Amelie Mauresmo and Svetlana Kuznetsova were guaranteed serves at the final women’s event of the year. Ratcheting up the anticipation is the glut of challengers fighting for the final spots, eight of whom were separated by less than a microscopic 900 points in the standings as of last week. There are more than a dozen players still chasing a trip to Los Angeles, and some noteworthy names on the outside looking in, including Wimbledon winners Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams, neither of whom is currently ranked in the top eight. Two-time defending champion Kim Clijsters, though injured for most of this year, also remains a possible finalist.

Coverage begins with the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Filderstadt, Germany, Oct. 9-10, where The Tennis Channel covers the singles semifinals and final live. Last year’s tournament featured a stellar championship, with Kim Clijsters defeating fellow Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne. The contest was only the eighth match ever to pit the world’s No. 1 (Clijsters) and No. 2 singles players against each other with the No. 1 ranking on the line. Both players – who also met in this year’s Australian Open final – are slated to compete again this year, and will be joined by all but one of the winners and finalists from the other three Grand Slams: Anastasia Myskina (French Open champion), Elena Dementieva (French Open and US Open finalist), Svetlana Kuznetsova (US Open champion) and Serena Williams (Wimbledon finalist).

The WTA Tour’s Kremlin Cup in Moscow is live on The Tennis Channel for singles semifinals and final Oct. 16-17. Last year local hero Anastasia Myskina defeated Amelie Mauresmo in the championship match. Joining them this year are Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Kim Clijsters and Elena Dementieva, among others.

The Tennis Channel has daylong coverage at the Masters Series Madrid Oct. 18-24, with live singles coverage that includes the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship final. The 32-man draw features every player in the top 20, with names like Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Tim Henman, Carlos Moya, Andre Agassi and last year’s champion Juan Carlos Ferrero.

The network will be live in Zurich Sunday, Oct. 24, for the singles championship final of the WTA Tour’s Swisscom Challenge. Justine Henin-Hardenne walked away with last year’s title, defeating Jelena Dokic. This year’s draw includes 17 of the top 20 players in the world, including Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova, and current No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo.

The Generali Ladies Linz in Linz, Austria, features the return of last year’s champion Ai Sugiyama, and also Nadia Petrova, who lost in the final. Others include Anastasia Myskina, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Vera Zvonareva, Patty Schnyder, Karolina Sprem and Francesca Schiavone. The Tennis Channel has live singles semifinals and championship final Oct. 30-31.

The ATP Masters Series heads to Paris in early November for its final stop before the Tennis Masters Cup in Houston. The Tennis Channel will be there as the players compete for the last Tennis Masters Cup qualifying points, and the last chance to earn a trip to Houston. The network will have complete, live singles coverage of the BNP Paribas Masters Nov. 1-7, including quarterfinals, semifinals and the championship match. As with the tournament in Madrid, each player in the top 20 plans to play, including last year’s champion Tim Henman, who in winning collected his first ATP Masters Series title.

The Tennis Channel’s 2004 European Indoor Season (All times EST):

Oct. 9-10 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix (WTA Tour)
Live singles semifinals and championship coverage
Saturday, Oct. 9 – 7 a.m.-10 a.m. (repeated 8 p.m.-11 p.m.)
Sunday, Oct. 10 – 7 a.m.-8:30 a.m. (repeated 8 p.m.-9:30 p.m.)
Oct. 16-17 Kremlin Cup (WTA Tour)
Live singles semifinals and championship coverage
Saturday, Oct. 16 – 5 a.m.-8 a.m. (repeated 1 p.m.-4 p.m.; 8 p.m.-11 p.m.)
Sunday, Oct. 17 – 5:30 a.m.-7 a.m. (repeated 1 p.m.-2:30 p.m.; 8 p.m.-9:30 p.m.)
Oct. 18-24 Masters Series Madrid (ATP)
Live singles coverage, including quarterfinals, semifinals and championship
Monday, Oct. 18 – 5 a.m.-11 a.m., 1:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 19 – 5 a.m.-11 a.m., 1:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 20 – 5 a.m.-11 a.m., 1:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 21 – 5 a.m.-11 a.m., 1:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 22 – 7:45 a.m.-11:45 a.m., 1:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 23 – 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 24 – 9 a.m.-noon
Oct. 24 Swisscom Challenge (WTA Tour)
Singles championship coverage
Sunday, Oct. 24 – TBA
Oct. 30-31 Generali Ladies Linz (WTA Tour)
Live singles semifinals and championship coverage
Saturday, Oct. 30 – 8 a.m.-11 a.m.
Sunday, Oct. 31 – 7:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.
Nov. 1-7 BNP Paribas Masters (ATP)
Live singles coverage, including quarterfinals, semifinals and championship
Monday, Nov. 1 – 5:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tuesday, Nov. 2 – 5:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 3 – 5:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 4 – 5:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 5 – 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 6 – 8:50 a.m.-2 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 7 – 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 

The Tennis Channel ( www.thetennischannel.com ) is the cable television network devoted to tennis and other racquet sports, and provides unparalleled coverage of the game, its elite championships and its superstar athletes. The network’s comprehensive coverage includes telecasts of the US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, Fed Cup and Hyundai Hopman Cup. The Tennis Channel also showcases instruction from the finest teachers, legendary matches, in-depth profiles of the greatest players, analysis and news, the latest on equipment, and tennis getaways.

For Further information:
Eric Abner, Tennis Channel, 310-314-9445 or eabner@tennischannel.com