LOS ANGELES, September 16, 2003 —
Beginning Friday, Sept. 19, The Tennis Channel presents several prestigious tennis events from around the globe, headlined by live complete coverage of the semifinals and finals the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and Fed Cup this Fall. The telecasts mark the first time the final four match-ups in these competitions have been shown in their entirety in the U.S.
From Australia and Spain to Leipzig, Moscow and Paris, The Tennis Channel is set to telecast top-flight action from September to January, showcasing the tennis world's elite performers in exciting international team Davis Cup and Fed Cup competition, as well as key ATP Tennis Masters Series and WTA Tour events. The network also will telecast the Billie Jean King/Elton John hosted ADT World TeamTennis All-Star "Smash Hits" charity event on Sept. 28.
"As a complement to our successful 'Summer Title Wave' of top American tournaments, we now plan to bring our viewers many of the high-profile events from around the world that are crucial to the Davis and Fed Cup championships, as well as the individual tour championship races," says The Tennis Channel President and Founder Steve Bellamy.
"The Tennis Channel is proud to be the home of the (Davis, Fed and Hopman) Cup Championships, and pleased to bring these exciting competitions to American tennis fans in their entirety," adds Bruce Rider, The Tennis Channel executive vice president of programming and marketing and executive producer. "Our unprecedented live coverage will give fans a good sense of just how exciting these tournaments are worldwide, and will allow them to follow all the action as the culmination of the 2003 season heats up."
From Sept. 19-21, The Tennis Channel's Fall tennis tournament program schedule begins with live coverage of the ITF's 2003 Davis Cup semifinals from Melbourne, Australia and Malaga, Spain, where Australia hosts Switzerland and Spain hosts Argentina, respectively. The Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the largest annual international team competition in world of sports. Australia is bidding for a fourth visit to the finals in the past five years. Scheduled to compete are two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, 2003 French Open Champion and World No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain, 2003 Wimbledon champion and World No. 3 Roger Federer of Switzerland, and Argentina's 2003 US Open finalist David Nalbandian.
The Davis Cup finals also will be carried live Nov. 28-30 on The Tennis Channel, the ITF's exclusive U.S. network for all non-U.S. matches in the Davis Cup, as well as all women's Fed Cup and mixed team Hyundai Hopman Cup matches.
Following The Tennis Channel's Davis Cup semifinal telecasts will be live coverage of three major indoor WTA tournaments key to the tour's 2003 championship race. The network's WTA coverage begins with semifinal and final coverage of the Sparkassen Cup International Damen Tennis Grand Prix from Leipzig, Germany, Sept. 27-28. Next are semifinal and final telecasts of the Kremlin Cup from Moscow, Russia, Oct. 4-5, followed by live coverage of the championship match at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix from Filderstadt, Germany, Oct. 12.
Later in October, the ATP tour takes center stage on The Tennis Channel, with 140 total hours of coverage of two European tournaments from the elite Tennis Masters Series, which will be instrumental in determining the Tennis Masters Cup final-eight participants and the ultimate ATP Champions Race winner. The Tennis Channel will showcase live action from the Tennis Masters Madrid from Spain, Oct. 13-19, and continue its Tennis Masters Series coverage from Paris, France, with live coverage of the BNP Paribas Masters from Oct. 27-Nov. 2.
Complete live coverage of 2003 Tennis Masters Cup Doubles championship kicks off The Tennis Channel's Fall tournament slate in November. Held concurrently with the year-end singles tournament Nov. 8-16 at the West Side Tennis Club's 8,500-seat stadium in Houston, the Tennis Masters Cup Doubles tournament is jointly run by the ATP, ITF and Grand Slams.
The Tennis Masters Cup Doubles is the world championship of doubles, featuring a final showdown between the eight highest-ranked doubles teams in the ATP's doubles championship points race, with the year-end World No. 1 doubles ranking on the line. Currently, American twins Bob and Mike Brian, the 2003 French Open doubles champions, are the No. 1 ranked doubles team in the world.
The November schedule continues with the exciting conclusion to the 2003 Fed Cup as The Tennis Channel telecasts every point in the 2003 semifinal and final ties, live from Moscow, Russia, Nov. 19-20 and Nov. 22-23. The finest in women's tennis will compete throughout the week in the final-four showdown, featuring semifinal pairings of Belgium vs. USA and France vs. host Russia, who will battle for the annual international team title at the 12,000-seat indoor Olympic Stadium in Moscow.
Additionally, The Tennis Channel will treat viewers to an exciting evening of friendly competition and celebrity entertainment with complete coverage of the ADT World TeamTennis All-Star "Smash Hits" event on Sunday, Sept. 28, at 8 p.m. ET from the Fleet Center in Boston. Hosted annually by Billie Jean King and Elton John, this year's charity spectacular spotlights tennis superstars Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Anna Kournikova and Chanda Rubin. The event features a World TeamTennis format tennis match, a celebrity tennis match and celebrity auction benefiting the Elton John AIDS Foundation and the Massachusetts Community AIDS Partnership. The competition has raised more than $4 million over the last decade for AIDS research.
From Jan. 3-10, The Tennis Channel gets the new year rolling with complete live coverage of the 16th Annual Hyundai Hopman Cup, the ITF's Official International Mixed Team Championships held at the Burswood Dome in Perth, Australia. In 2003, Americans Serena Williams and James Blake won the championship by out-dueling the Australian duo of Lleyton Hewitt and Alicia Molik 3-0 without losing a set. The victory allowed the USA to become the fifth country to have won two Hopman Cup titles, joining the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain and Switzerland as one of the most successful Hopman Cup countries.
The Tennis Channel's Fall Tournament Schedule is as follows:
Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Semifinals (ITF), Melbourne, Australia
Switzerland vs. Australia (complete live coverage)
Sept. 19-21 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Semifinals (ITF), Malaga, Spain
Argentina vs. Spain (complete live coverage)
Sept. 27-28 Sparkassen Cup International Damen Tennis Grand Prix (WTA),Leipzig, Germany
(live coverage of semifinal No. 2 and championship match)
Sept. 28 ADT World TeamTennis All-Star "Smash Hits," Boston, Mass.
Oct. 4-5 Kremlin cup (WTA), Moscow, Russia
(live coverage of the semifinals and championship match)
Porsche Tennis Grand Prix (WTA), Filderstadt, Germany
(live coverage of the championship match)
Oct. 13-19 Tennis Masters Madrid (ATP), Madrid, Spain
(complete live coverage)
Oct. 27-Nov. 2 BNP Paribas Masters (ATP), Paris, France
(complete live coverage)
Nov. 10-15 Tennis Masters Cup Doubles Championship (ATP, ITF, Grand Slams), Houston
Fed Cup Semifinals (ITF), Moscow, Russia (complete live coverage)
Belgium vs. USA
France vs. Russia
Fed Cup Final (ITF), Moscow, Russia (complete live coverage)
Belgium/USA winner vs. France/Russia winner
Nov. 28-30 Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Final (ITF), Location TBD
(complete live coverage)
Switzerland/Australia winner vs. Argentina/Spain winner
Jan. 3-10 Hyundai Hopman Cup XVI (ITF), Perth, Australia
(complete live coverage)
The Tennis Channel ( www.thetennischannel.com ) is a 24-hour cable television network devoted to tennis and other racquet sports that provides unparalleled coverage of the game, its elite championships and superstar athletes. The network features comprehensive coverage of major tournaments including ATP Tour, WTA Tour, Fed Cup, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas and Hyundai Hopman Cup competition and the European tournaments of the Tennis Masters Series. The network 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.