LOS ANGELES, November 11, 2004 —
The Tennis Channel, a 24-hour cable television network devoted to tennis and other racquet sports, will televise both the men’s and women’s championship-doubles competitions live in November, beginning with the women’s tournament this weekend at the WTA Tour Championships in Los Angeles, before covering the men’s Tennis Masters Cup in Houston next week. The announcement was made today by Bruce Rider, executive vice president, programming and marketing, The Tennis Channel.
The women’s WTA Tour Championships are underway at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles this week, where the tour will crown its 2004 singles and doubles champions. Doubles action begins Sunday, Nov. 14, at approximately 4 p.m. ET, with all matches carried live on The Tennis Channel. Likewise, the Tennis Masters Cup determines the champion singles player and doubles tandem in men’s tennis this year, and will take place Nov. 13-21, at the Westside Tennis Club in Houston. The network will cover virtually every men’s doubles match, both semifinals and the championship final live, starting Monday, Nov. 15, at 4 p.m. ET – nine matches in all.
“We’re proud to be able to bring both the men’s and women’s doubles championships to our audiences for the second consecutive year,” said Rider. “There are more recreational doubles players than singles players in America, and this really give our viewers a chance to see the best doubles tennis in the world.”
Women’s doubles teams earn points toward qualification at the WTA Tour Championships throughout the year, with the top four winning a trip to the season finale. This year Virginia Ruano Pascual (Spain)/Paola Suarez (Argentina) enter Los Angeles as the No. 1 seed, hoping to defend the title they won last year. In 2004 the doubles tandem won Australian Open, French Open and US Open titles, in addition to three other championships.
Cara Black (Zimbabwe)/Rennae Stubbs (Australia) are the championships’ No. 2 seed, and come to the tournament with six doubles titles this year, including Wimbledon. They will face Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia)/Elena Likhovtseva (Russia) in the first-round semifinals Sunday, a team that made it to the Australian Open final this year.
Nadia Petrova (Russia)/Meghann Shaughnessy (United States) round out the field, and won six tournaments this year, including the doubles title at the NASDAQ-100 Open in Miami. They face the top-seeded Ruano Pascual/Suarez combo in the first round.
Similar to the women’s championships, the Tennis Masters Cup in Houston pits the best men’s doubles teams against each other at the end of the season. Eight teams qualify for its championship event, divided into two groups of four. Competition begins with an in-group, round-robin format, with the top two in each group advancing to the semifinals. Six of last year’s eight doubles teams qualified for a return trip to the Tennis Masters Cup doubles championships this year, including the 2003 champions, American brothers Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, the No. 2 seed this November.
Mark Knowles (Bahamas)/Daniel Nestor (Canada) are the No. 1 seed this year, a spot they earned via a championship at the US Open, and by reaching the semifinals or higher at six Masters Series events. As with the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, Jonas Bjorkman (Sweden)/Todd Woodbridge (Australia) also competed in the Tennis Masters Cup doubles championships in 2003, and are back this year after having finished third in the points standings. The team won Wimbledon this summer and earlier in the year celebrated a victory in Sydney that established Woodbridge as the all-time career doubles title holder in the Open Era, with 79.
Wayne Black (Zimbabwe)/Kevin Ullyett (Zimbabwe) were the alternate team in Houston last year, but in 2004 they finished fourth in the overall standings, boosted by championships at the NASDAQ-100 open in Miami and BNP Paribas Masters in Paris. On the other hand the combo of Mahesh Bhupathi (India)/Max Mirnyi (Belarus) did compete during the Tennis Masters Cup last year, and are back in 2004 after winning the Telecom Italia Masters doubles title in Rome. Martin Damm (Czech Republic)/Cyril Suk (Czech Republic) are also returning to the championships, aided by strong Masters Series performances in Monte Carlo and Madrid.
The duo of Gaston Etlis (Argentina)/Martin Rodriguez (Argentina) made it to the semifinals at last year’s Tennis Masters Cup doubles championships, and finished seventh in the standings this year to earn another shot at the title. This summer’s French Open champions, Xavier Malisse (Belgium)/Oliver Rochus (Belgium) round out the 2004 men’s doubles championship field.
Following its coverage of round-robin group competition, The Tennis Channel will also carry the Tennis Masters Cup doubles semifinals and finals live, Nov. 18-20. The first semifinal gets underway Thursday, Nov. 18, at 10 p.m. ET.
Additional Tennis Masters Cup information can be found at: http://www.masters-cup.com/default.asp. For more on the WTA Tour Championships visit: http://www.wtachamps.com/home.asp.
The Tennis Channel’s 2004 Championship Doubles Coverage (all times EST):
Nov. 14-15 WTA Tour Championships (WTA Tour)
Live doubles semifinals and final coverage
Sunday, Nov. 14 – doubles semifinals; immediately following singles – approx 4 p.m.
Monday, Nov. 15 – doubles final; immediately following singles – approx 9 p.m.
Nov. 15-20 Tennis Masters Cup (ATP)
Live doubles coverage, including early round, semifinals and final
Monday, Nov. 15 – 4 p.m.- 6 p.m., 10 p.m.-midnight
Tuesday, Nov. 16 – 4 p.m.- 6 p.m., 10 p.m.-midnight
Wednesday, Nov. 17 – 4 p.m.- 6 p.m., 10 p.m.-midnight
Thursday, Nov. 18 – 10 p.m.-midnight
Friday, Nov. 19 – 10 p.m.-midnight
Saturday, Nov. 20 – 8 p.m.-10 p.m.
The Tennis Channel (www.thetennischannel.com ) is the 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 the US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier 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.