LOS ANGELES, February 19, 2004 —
The Tennis Channel, a 24-hour cable television network devoted to tennis and other racquet sports, is bringing one of the most dominant competitors in tennis history to the stage this weekend, when Martina Hingis sits in the guest's chair on the network's original interview series Center Court with Chris Myers. The announcement was made today by Bruce Rider, executive vice president of programming and marketing, The Tennis Channel.
Myers' conversation with the former simultaneous No. 1 singles and doubles player premieres Sunday, Feb. 22, at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT. Since her retirement from professional tennis in 2002, Hingis has rarely appeared on television or talked with members of the media. Her appearance marks the first of three Center Court with Chris Myers episodes set to debut in the next six weeks. The Tennis Channel will telecast Myers' interview with 2003 Bulgarian Fed Cup team member Magdalena Maleeva Sunday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT. Two weeks later Center Court with Chris Myers talks with the man many consider to be India's finest tennis player ever: Vijay Armritraj. That conversation takes place Sunday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT.
"Martina Hingis was one of the most talented and exciting players to ever appear in professional tennis, and left legions of fans when she retired prematurely," said Rider. "I think people are really going to enjoy the opportunity to hear her address both her career and accomplishments."
Martina Hingis made her WTA Tour debut at the age of 14. In 1997 she defeated Mary Pierce in the Australian Open final to become the 20th Century's youngest Grand Slam singles champion, at just 16 years and three months, and would rise to the top of tennis three months later to become the youngest No. 1 in the world, at 16 years, six months and one day. Hingis reigned as the world's top-ranked player for 209 weeks, winning five Grand Slam singles championships in 12 major finals, capturing nine Grand Slam doubles titles with six different partners, and reaching at least the semifinals in 19 of her last 23 major tournaments. Forced into retirement following injury-induced inactivity during much of the final year-and-a-half of her career.
Magdalena Maleeva hails from a tennis family. She is the youngest of three professional tennis-playing sisters, each of whom made the 1989 Bulgarian Fed Cup team - a team that was also captained by their mother, a former tennis pro herself. Maleeva is one of only three players in the past five years to defeat both Lindsay Davenport and Venus Williams at the same event (Moscow 2002). Her portfolio also includes a career-high No. 4 singles ranking, the 1993 WTA Tour Most Improved Player Award, and wins over Amelie Mauresmo and Daniela Huntuchova. Currently ranked No. 21 in singles, Maleeva has gotten off to an impressive start this year, reaching the final of Tokyo's Toray Pan Pacific Open in early February.
Vijay Amritraj compiled a 45-28 Davis Cup record for India during a 20-year span (1969-89), leading his country to two Davis Cup finals (1974, 1987). Amritraj captured 16 single titles and 13 doubles crowns over a 15-year career, and ranked as high as No. 16 in singles. A talented serve-and-volley player who was most dangerous on fast surfaces, Amritraj defeated several of the all-time greats during his career, including Borg, Connors, McEnroe, Laver, Lendl and Newcombe. The two-time Wimbledon and U.S. Open quarterfinalist is the founder of Britannia Amritraj, a tennis academy for the development of young players in Chennai, India. Amritraj covers the game as a television commentator for Star Sports.
Center Court with Chris Myers is a half-hour, original production hosted by Chris Myers (SportsCenter, Up Close), who orchestrates exclusive conversations with the tennis world's leading players, coaches, legends, luminaries and newsmakers, including in-depth interviews with Michael Chang, Hall of Fame tennis legends Jack Kramer and Billie Jean King, and the game's current stars. Among the latter: Serena Williams, one of only five women in history to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once; Roger Federer, who won last month's Australian Open and last year's Wimbledon; and Lleyton Hewitt, two-time Grand Slam champion and member of Australia's 2003 Davis Cup championship team.
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.