LOS ANGELES, June 5, 2003 —
The Tennis Channel presents an exclusive look this June at the inspirational story of two-time Grand Slam winner Corina Morariu, who battled leukemia at the pinnacle of her tennis career and made a heroic return to the WTA Tour. "Corina Morariu: No Strings," the second episode of the network's first original series, will be telecast Sunday, June 15, at 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT.
"No Strings" is a 30-minute series featuring an intimate look at the lifestyles of professional tennis players off the court. The series premiered May 25 with "Pete Sampras: No Strings," taking a rare and behind-the-scenes glimpse into the life of the game's all-time Grand Slam champion, including his tour travels in his private jet and limousine.
The newest "No Strings" episode chronicles the emotionally-charged story of 25-year-old Morariu, born in Detroit, who hopes to add to her 2001 Australian Open mixed doubles and 1999 Wimbledon doubles titles with a triumphant return to professional tennis just 14 months after being diagnosed with leukemia.
"Corina Morariu is one of the most inspiring athletes in all sports," says The Tennis Channel President and Founder Steve Bellamy. "Her journey these past few years is something no one should ever have to face and her accomplishments should be an inspiration to everyone. Corina's achievements off the court could ultimately prove to be more impactful than her tremendous contributions to tennis."
The story of her struggle, as told by Morariu, her mother Rodica, and fellow tennis stars Lindsay Davenport, Jennifer Capriati, Alexandra Stevenson and others, combined with personal home videos and pictures, details Morariu's journey from teenage tennis sensation, to the day she was informed by her father Alvin, a neurologist, that she had acute promyelocytic leukemia. Viewers then follow her struggle with the disease and, ultimately, her return to professional competition.
The episode also illustrates how one athlete's illness galvanized the entire women's tour, which has often been characterized by its ultra-competitive nature. In one segment, Morariu is accompanied by the WTA tour's finest at a fashion show and fundraising event for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, where Morariu was honored as its official International Sport Ambassador. Supporting Morariu were such tour stars as Martina Hingis, Chanda Rubin, Monica Seles, Serena and Venus Williams, Davenport, Capriati and Stevenson, who joined well-known models on the fashion show runway to help raise awareness and funds for Morariu's charity.
Future episodes in the "No Strings" series will focus individually on tennis's top players, traveling with them on the road, hanging out at home, relaxing at play, and just doing the things they like to do. The series offers unparalleled access to the players off the court, providing insight into the demands and rewards of the sport, the diverse aspects of each player's life and what makes each of them a unique individual as well as a world-class athlete.
Subsequent episodes will focus on Russian hopeful Maria Sharapova and rising American talents Brian Vahaly and Taylor Dent, as well as three-time Grand Slam winner Lindsay Davenport and highly-touted U.S. star Andy Roddick, who many expect to succeed Sampras as America's best male player.
The Tennis Channel's "Corina Morariu: No Strings" episode was produced by Tom Murray, Mark Monroe and Chris McCauley.
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.