LOS ANGELES, March 5, 2004 —
The Tennis Channel, a 24-hour cable television network devoted to tennis and other racquet sports, is launching its latest original series this week, Open Access, a hosted, monthly magazine show that takes audiences behind the scenes at the most anticipated events in professional tennis. The program stems from the success of The Tennis Channel's pair of special Open Access documentaries, which highlighted the U.S. Open and Australian Open, respectively. The announcement was made today by Bruce Rider, executive vice president of programming and marketing, The Tennis Channel.
Open Access premieres Sunday, March 7, at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT, and joins the network's other original series: No Strings and Center Court with Chris Myers. Each month a new, 30-minute episode of Open Access will take viewers on an exclusive tour of many of the top tournaments on the professional tennis circuit. The first episode is hosted by former Australian Open and French Open mixed doubles champion Justin Gimelstob, who is currently unable to compete while recovering from injury. Gimelstob visits the Siebel Open in San Jose, Calif., and the Kroger St. Jude in Memphis, Tenn.
Upcoming editions of The Tennis Channel's Open Access will include stops at some of the most important tournaments on the ATP and WTA Tour calendars. Among these are the ATP Tennis Masters Series; WTA Tour top-tier tournaments; the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, Calif.; and the NASDAQ-100 Open in Miami.
"Our Open Access special on last year's U.S. Open and at the Australian Open was a big hit, and gave us the opportunity to show tennis fans a side of the tournament not often seen on television," said Rider. "The response we received from our audience demonstrates a demand for this type of programming on a regular basis - not just with the Grand Slams. We're excited to take our viewers behind the scenes at these events."
In the series' initial installment, Gimelstob interviews Andre Agassi during a practice session at former coach Brad Gilbert's house, and this year's eventual Siebel Open winner Andy Roddick in the training room prior to a charity exhibition match. Other segments include Gimelstob at a Memphis hospital with Thomas Enqvist; discussing love on the tour with Ashley Harkleroad and her fiancé, ATP player Alex Bogomolov Jr.; and taking in a Memphis Grizzlies NBA game with American stars Roddick, James Blake and Mardy Fish.
First-episode host Gimelstob is one of the most charismatic and outspoken personalities on the ATP circuit. He was highly touted when he turned pro in 1996, the same year he led UCLA to the NCAA national championship final against Stanford and won the NCAA doubles title. In 1998 he won the mixed doubles championship at both the Australian Open and French Open with partner Venus Williams. Gimelstob has also hosted The Tennis Channel's Hyundai Hopman Cup preview, and has been featured in an episode of No Strings.
Open Access is a hosted, half-hour, original series produced by The Tennis Channel. Each episode takes its audience behind-the-scenes at top-tier tennis tournaments. Among these are the Siebel Open in San Jose, Calif.; Kroger St. Jude in Memphis, Tenn.; Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, Calif.; and NASDAQ-100 Open in Miami. The series rose from the success of The Tennis Channel's pair of Open Access specials, which gave viewers unprecedented television trips to two of the game's largest international events, the U.S. Open and Australian Open, respectively.
The Tennis Channel ( www.thetennischannel.com ) is the 24-hour 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 top-level ATP and 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.