LOS ANGELES, January 22, 2007 —
Cutting-Edge Hawk-Eye Officiating System Planned for Panasonic presents the Tennis Channel Open
Two-Time Grand Slam Champion Marat Safin and Defending Doubles Champion Bryan Brothers Commit to 2007 Event with James Blake and Lleyton Hewitt
Panasonic presents the Tennis Channel Open – the Las Vegas-based ATP tournament owned and operated by The Tennis Channel – today announced that the 2007 competition will use the Hawk-Eye instant replay system, a revolutionary, computerized electronic line-calling technology that not only improves officiating for players, but also increases the excitement for in-stadium fans and television viewers. The Tennis Channel Open is set for Feb. 25-March 4, 2007 and will again be held at the Amanda & Stacy Darling Memorial Tennis Center.
The tournament also announced that in addition to the return of defending Tennis Channel Open champion James Blake (currently the World’s fifth-ranked singles player) and runner-up Lleyton Hewitt (No. 19), two-time Grand Slam winner Marat Safin (No. 26) and the world’s top doubles team, twin brothers Bob and Mike Bryan, have also signed on to participate in this year’s tournament. The Bryan brothers won the 2006 Tennis Channel Open doubles championship.
“We’re excited to offer instant replay this year, both to fans at home and in the stands,” said David Egdes, tournament director and senior vice president, tennis industry relations, The Tennis Channel. “It’s been a hit with crowds everywhere it’s been used so far, and we expect the same thing in Las Vegas. It’s perfect for our tournament, which is already an innovator with the ‘Tennispalooza’ theme and one of the first to use the ATP’s new round-robin trial format.
“Likewise, we’re thrilled to have crowd favorites Bob and Mike Bryan back to defend their Las Vegas doubles crown. And Marat Safin is one of the most colorful, charismatic players on the tour; we expect fans to feed off his on-court energy during this year’s competition,” said Egdes.
Instant replay will be used during all stadium court matches at the 2007 Tennis Channel Open. Introduced to tennis in 2006, Hawk-Eye technology was showcased at only a few tournaments this past year, among them US Open Series events, the US Open, Davis Cup, Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Championships and ATP Masters Series competitions in Paris, Madrid and Shanghai.
· Each player will receive two challenges per set to review line calls, and one additional challenge during a tie-break game in any set.
· If the player is correct with a challenge, then the player retains the same number of challenges.
· If the player is incorrect with a challenge, then one of the challenges is lost.
· Challenges may not be carried over from one set to another.
Once there is a challenge, the official replay is provided to the chair umpire and, at the same time, provided to the television broadcast and in-stadium video boards, giving fans the opportunity to see live results of the challenge as they unfold. The system uses sophisticated image-processing techniques with a series of cameras positioned around the court. To facilitate instant replay, the Tennis Channel Open will bracket 12 cameras from awnings on site, connected via fiber optics to 14 laptop computers.
Safin most recently closed out the 2006 Davis Cup season with a dramatic victory in the fifth and deciding match of the championship final against Argentina. In 2005 the Russian tennis star defeated powers Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt in the Australian Open semifinals and final, respectively, capturing his second Grand Slam title. His first came with a win over tennis legend Pete Sampras in the 2000 US Open championship. Americans Bob and Mike Bryan are the most dominant pair in doubles tennis today, and have won championships at each Grand Slam competition and at the year-end Tennis Masters Cup.
In addition to Safin and the Bryan brothers, the strong tournament lineup at this year’s Tennis Channel Open includes 16 of the top 64 players in the world. Among these are:
Xavier Malisse of Belgium (No. 30), Fernando Verdasco of Spain (No. 35), Julien Benneteau of France (No. 36), the always entertaining Nicolas Kiefer of Germany (No. 46), American Robby Ginepri (No. 52) and France’s Gael Monfils (No. 59). After dropping his first-round tennis match last year, Monfils generated buzz in Las Vegas when he entered the qualifiers for the World Paddle Tennis Championships and subsequently went on to win the inaugural title, defeating many of the best paddle tennis players in the world along the way. On the tennis courts he is tabbed by many as the ATP’s breakthrough player of 2007.
The Tennis Channel Open, popular among players last year for its innovative format and Las Vegas venue, will also welcome several newcomers other than Safin in 2007, including Benjamin Becker (No. 57), who gained instant fame when he closed legend Andre Agassi’s career with an upset at the 2006 US Open, and Austrian Jurgen Melzer (No. 32).
The Tennis Channel plans for a return of last year’s groundbreaking “Tennispalooza” tournament theme in 2007, which this year brought paddle tennis, fast-stringing contests, unique qualifier formats, live performances, motocross, air hockey and foosball to men’s and women’s pro, junior and collegiate tennis.
Individual tickets and ticket packages for the 2007 Panasonic presents the Tennis Channel Open are already on sale, and prices for both remain relatively unchanged from 2006. Fans can purchase tickets at 888-TCO-TIXS (888-826-8497) or www.TennisChannelOpen.com. In the Las Vegas area, tennis fans can buy tickets at Station Casinos, Fiesta Properties, Galleria Mall and the Thomas & Mack Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. UNLV Tickets is handling ticket sales for the tournament.
The Tennis Channel (www.TheTennisChannel.com) is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to tennis and the healthy, active lifestyle that surrounds it. A hybrid of comprehensive sports, health, fitness, pop culture, entertainment, lifestyle and travel programming, the network is home to every aspect of the wide-ranging, worldwide tennis community. It also has the most concentrated single-sport coverage in television, with telecast rights to Roland Garros (the French Open), the US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier Sony Ericsson WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, Fed Cup and Hyundai Hopman Cup.
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