LOS ANGELES, July 23, 2003 —
The Tennis Channel will offer an unprecedented 30-plus hours of live weekday coverage of the ATP tour's 2003 Mercedes-Benz Cup beginning Tuesday, July 29, at 2 p.m. ET from the Los Angeles Tennis Center.
The Tennis Channel's comprehensive coverage of the 77th Annual Mercedes-Benz Cup includes the high-powered, pro-celebrity exhibition, "A Night at the Net," featuring top Hollywood stars, as well as former Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion Lleyton Hewitt and three-time French Open winner Gustavo Kuerten. The evening of tennis and laughs, including Hall of Famer Pam Shriver as chair umpire, will be recorded July 28 and telecast exclusively on the network Tuesday, Aug. 12, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
The storied Mercedes-Benz Cup, first held in 1925, is one of the most significant American hard court tennis tournaments, with past and present legends like Jack Kramer, Fred Perry, Donald Budge, Rod Laver, Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi all winning at least one title.
The 2003 edition is an ATP International Series event offering more than $1 million in total player compensation. Many of tennis's top players are again scheduled to participate in singles and doubles competition, including world No. 5 ranked Hewitt, No. 13 Kuerten and No. 21 Marat Safin, as well as two-time winner and tournament honoree Michael Chang. In his 17th and final season of competition, Chang is trying to become only the 11th player in tournament history to win the singles title three times. This year's field also features young American stars Taylor Dent, Jan-Michael Gambill and Robby Ginepri, the latter claiming his first career ATP title July 13 by winning the Miller Lite Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, R.I.
The Tennis Channel's extensive Mercedes-Benz Cup telecast schedule heats up with action from the venue's premier Straus Stadium courts in both afternoon and evening sessions Tuesday, July 29, through Friday, Aug. 1. The network's coverage culminates with the telecast of the evening semifinal live on Saturday, Aug. 2 at 10:30 p.m. ET, followed by the doubles championship final on Sunday, Aug. 3, at 8 p.m. ET.
Veteran sportscaster Barry Tompkins will handle all the play-by-play duties for The Tennis Channel, while former touring professional Geoff Grant will provide analysis.
"We are thrilled to be bringing such an unprecedented amount of live Mercedes-Benz Cup competition to viewers nationwide," says The Tennis Channel President and Founder Steve Bellamy. "This long-running prestigious tournament and its star-studded pro-celebrity event is an amazing meeting of the tennis world and Hollywood which epitomizes the kind of quality programming we aimed for when we launched The Tennis Channel earlier this year. It combines the best in tennis with the best in entertainment, and we know fans across the country will enjoy seeing it as much as we'll enjoy bringing it to them."
The Tennis Channel's complete 2003 Mercedes-Benz Cup schedule from the Los Angeles Tennis Center's Straus Stadium at UCLA is as follows:
July 29- Aug. 1 Day Session Matches 2-8 p.m. ET
July 29- Aug. 1 Night Session Matches 10:30 p.m.- 12:30 a.m. ET
Aug. 2 Semifinal Singles Match 10:30 p.m. ET
Aug. 3 Doubles Finals Match 8 p.m. ET (tape delayed)
Aug. 12 "A Night At the Net" 7 p.m. ET/PT (tape delayed from July 28)
Telecasts of the Mercedes-Benz Cup competition are part of The Tennis Channel's power-packed, seven-week "Summer Title Wave," which serves unprecedented coverage of 12 events from July 8 through Aug. 23. The program schedule features more hours of televised action for these competitions than ever before, beginning with first-round live coverage of many of the events.
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.