LOS ANGELES, February 26, 2008 —
Ashley Harkleroad, Jill Craybas, Laura Granville will Play Women’s Tournament, Along with Three Las Vegas-Area Rising Stars
Locals Asia Muhammad and Twins Christian and Catrina Thompson Receive Wild Cards to Women’s Field
The 2008 Tennis Channel Open – the Las Vegas-based ATP tournament owned and operated by Tennis Channel – announced today that Americans Robby Ginepri, Sam Querrey and John Isner plan to compete in this year’s competition March 3-9. Joining the U.S. players will be defending champion Lleyton Hewitt and Russian star Marat Safin, who makes his return to the Amanda & Stacy Darling Memorial Tennis Center this year after losing in the 2007 semifinals to Hewitt.
The tournament also revealed the player field for its third annual women’s tournament, the Hilton Cup, which features prominent U.S. players Ashley Harkleroad, Jill Craybas and Laura Granville. The competition includes three wild card entrants from the Las Vegas area. Asia Muhammad is a junior at Laura Springs High School in Henderson, Nev., and one of the top-ranked junior players in the United States. She will be joined by Las Vegas twins Catrina and Christian Thompson, who were all-American tennis stars at the University of Notre Dame before graduating and embarking upon professional careers in 2007.
“The 2008 Tennis Channel Open men’s tournament field gives fans another great player or rising star to root for every day of the event,” said David Egdes, tournament director and senior vice president, tennis industry relations, Tennis Channel. “We’re thrilled to have Marat Safin back in the competition, joined by future American stars Sam Querrey and John Isner. At the same time, the women’s tournament draw blends fan favorites like Ashley Harkleroad and Jill Craybas with Las Vegas’ own contribution to tomorrow’s tennis game, Asia Muhammad and the Thompson twins.”
Robby Ginepri returns to Las Vegas for the second time in 2008. A headliner in the inaugural event in 2006, in 2007 he was forced to withdraw from the tournament prior to the competition due to personal reasons. Ginepri is a former top-20 player who is best known for his run to the semifinals in the 2005 US Open, where he lost a thrilling, five-set match to Andre Agassi. He also competed for the U.S. Davis Cup team early in his career.
Marat Safin is making his second appearance in Las Vegas in 2008. Last year he charged through the tournament field before losing to eventual champion Lleyton Hewitt in the semifinals. In 2005 the Russian defeated powers Roger Federer and 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.
This marks rising U.S. star Sam Querrey’s third year in Las Vegas, where he has advanced further in each of the past two tournaments. One of the hardest-serving players on the tour and the face of the next generation of America tennis, he won 19 ATP tour matches and reached his first semifinal in 2007, while breaking into the top 50 in singles rankings for the first time in his career. He also finished seventh in aces served among all players (509), at one point delivering 36 in a single match, and a record 10 in row.
At six feet nine inches tall, second-year player John Isner might be mistaken for someone who plays on a basketball court instead of one tailored for tennis. But any confusion ends the moment he fires a serve toward the opponent on the other side of the net. Winning two matches in his first US Open last year, the young player will makes his debut in Las Vegas in 2008.
The “Tennispalooza” tournament theme in place since the event’s Las Vegas debut in 2006 will continue with this year’s Tennis Channel Open. The festival atmosphere of tennis and other entertainment activities beyond the main men’s competition includes women’s and juniors tournaments, collegiate tennis, unique qualifier formats, paddle tennis, platform tennis, air hockey, foosball, table tennis, live performances, and “Fabulous Las Vegas Night,” among other things.
Fans can purchase individual tickets and ticket packages for the 2008 Tennis Channel Open tickets at 866-641-OPEN (866-641-6736) or www.tennischannelopen.com. In the Las Vegas area, tickets are available at Station Casinos, Fiesta Properties, Galleria Mall and the Thomas & Mack Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (UNLV Tickets handles ticket sales for the tournament.)
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 DISH Network.
# # #