LOS ANGELES, August 28, 2007 —
Agassi: Between the Lines Sets New Network Documentary Standard
with Original Interviews from Tennis Star’s Inner Circle, Competitors,
Tennis Legends and Many Others During Year Since His Retirement
Uncommonly Open Conversations go Beyond On-Court Analysis and Player’s
Hall of Fame Career to Capture Complete Picture of Agassi the Human Being
Tennis Channel will celebrate the one-year anniversary of Andre Agassi’s memorable 2006 US Open retirement with a breakthrough look at the tennis legend’s adventurous life and career during this year’s upcoming Grand Slam tournament. Agassi: Between the Lines will premiere Saturday, Sept. 8, at 10 p.m. ET, following that day’s US Open women’s finals and one day prior to the men’s championships.
The retrospective follows a month of Tennis Channel Saturdays that have been devoted to the tennis star, with a classic Agassi match each Saturday night from Aug. 11 to the documentary’s premiere. (Schedule, matches follow this release.)
Tennis Channel uses a visually and editorially distinctive approach to chronicle the evolution of Agassi’s 21-year career, from his start as juniors-circuit golden boy through his days as the “image is everything guy” to the player he is today – a figure not unlike Billie Jean King and Arthur Ashe, tennis predecessors who elevated and transcended the game. Taken over the course of the past year since Agassi’s retirement, numerous original interviews of the two-time US Open champion and others who impacted his life are paired with captivating footage and photographs of his most memorable matches to create a one-hour special that delves into the highs, lows and pivotal moments that defined the tennis icon.
“This retrospective raises the standard for Tennis Channel specials, and represents a new level of production quality for our network,” said Victoria Quoss, executive vice president, programming and network strategy, Tennis Channel. “Emphasis on the passions behind tennis personalities’ professional and personal being, produced with a high attention to detail, is the template now as we strive to create some of the best work anywhere in television.”
Agassi: Between the Lines was shot and produced in high definition and includes extensive footage from Agassi’s Grand Slam career. The production team was granted significant access to the star’s inner circle of friends and family members, and use of private video and picture archives. Agassi personally spent an unprecedented amount of time with Tennis Channel’s production team as well. The result is a new-look retrospective that goes beyond the player’s tennis career and public persona to offer a unique psychological profile of modern sports’ best answer to the classic Greek mythological hero. The foundations and events that accompanied Agassi’s youthful promise, brash ascent to the game’s pinnacle, very public fall from the rankings and humbled climb back to the top are explored with vivid detail.
“Our goal was to create the most authentic biography of Andre that’s ever been done,” said Laura Hockridge, executive producer, Tennis Channel. “We wanted this to be different than other sports retrospectives, to go well beyond just his career. There is a tendency in these types of shows to rely on clichés, but Tennis Channel has a unique relationship with the athletes who play professional tennis, and we were able to paint a more detailed picture.”
Lending color and context to more than just his exceptional tennis career, the show’s rare photos and filmed interviews illustrate Agassi’s entire life, personal journey and growth into citizen of the world. Recognizing his lengthy career as the vehicle for his growth into a true leader, Agassi: Between the Lines recounts the trials and tribulations he met along the way to becoming one of the most beloved figures on the world sports stage.
Highlights of the program include observations from both Agassi and long-time rival Pete Sampras on their career-defining matches throughout the 1990s; a poignant and riveting play-by-play of his 1999 French Open victory while nursing a shoulder injury and simultaneously dealing with divorce; and a look into what he humorously calls his “borderline stalking” courtship of his wife, tennis superstar Steffi Graff.
In addition to insightful commentary from Agassi himself, there are also interviews with all-time Grand Slam-champion Sampras, competitor and contemporary Jim Courier, Hall of Fame commentator John McEnroe, tennis expert Bud Collins, coach Brad Gilbert, trainer Gil Reyes, tennis academy founder Nick Bollettieri, commentator Mary Carillo, Sports Illustrated’s Gary Smith, and agent and friend Perry Rogers, among many others.
In all, Agassi won eight Grand Slam singles championships, and is the only player in tennis’ Open Era to have won every Grand Slam singles title, the Tennis Masters Cup, Davis Cup and an Olympic gold medal.
The special culminates a month-long Tennis Channel celebration of Agassi’s career, which also includes airing a classic Agassi match in prime time each Saturday night, 8 p.m. Matches:
Saturday, Aug. 11 – 1991 French Open championship: Agassi vs. Jim Courier, 8 p.m. ET
Saturday, Aug. 18 – 2004 Mercedes Benz Cup quarterfinal: Agassi vs. Tommy Haas, 8 p.m. ET
Saturday, Aug. 25 – 1995 Davis Cup semifinal: Agassi vs. Mats Wilander, 8 p.m. ET
Saturday, Sept. 1 – 1989 Davis Cup semifinal: Agassi vs. Boris Becker, 8 p.m. ET
Saturday, Sept. 8 – Agassi: Between the Lines premiere, 10 p.m. ET
Additionally, beginning in August and running through the 2007 US Open the network’s Web site www.TennisChannel.com features exclusive Agassi trivia, polls, message boards, photos, wallpaper and video interview clips.
Quotes from Agassi: Between the Lines:
“When Andre’s three year’s old, his dad is pulling him out of bed, yanking open the curtains and pulling on his toes until he wakes up, and getting him on the court before he ate breakfast and before he brushed his teeth.”
-- Gary Smith, Sports Illustrated
“Sometimes side one of the album’s got no good songs. Sometimes you go to the flipside, that’s where all the good songs are.”
-- Brad Gilbert, Coach
“All of his dreams and all of his heartbreaks came into one moment. Imagine that. Imagine that in anyone’s life.”
-- Perry Rogers, Best Friend/Agent
“There were moments feeling like there were a lot of land mines out there and I felt like I was exposed and was not comfortable in my own skin.”
-- Andre Agassi
Tennis Channel (www.tennischannel.com) is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and passionate lifestyle of tennis. 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 Wimbledon, Roland Garros (the French Open), the Australian Open, US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier Sony Ericsson WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and Hyundai Hopman Cup. Tennis Channel is carried by eight of the top 10 MSOs and has a national footprint via DIRECTV and Echostar’s DISH Network.
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