LOS ANGELES, February 16, 2006 —
Three-Part Documentary Offers Exclusive Access to Australia’s Top Tennis Player through Grand Slam Defeat, Engagement Celebration,
Hometown Visit and Wilderness Expedition
The Tennis Channel, the 24-hour multimedia destination dedicated to tennis and the active lifestyle that surrounds it, will give U.S. television audiences unprecedented access to tennis star Lleyton Hewitt in a three-part documentary series that premieres next week. Lleyton Hewitt: The Other Side, follows Australia’s top-ranked tennis player and one of most recognized faces in tennis as he loses a major match, wins a bride and finds time away from the game with friends and family.
The exclusive series represents the first time American television audiences will get such exclusive access to the life of Hewitt, one of the most charismatic and controversial players on the men’s professional tennis tour. The first of three half-hour episodes premieres Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m. ET, with the remaining editions planned for April and June debuts. The series was produced by Australian production company Nothin’ But Shorts.
The 24-year-old Hewitt is one of the most consistent performers and recognizable stars in professional tennis today. He finished 2005 as the world’s No. 4 singles player, and has consistently ranked in the top five for most of his career. Hewitt is a past Wimbledon and US Open champion, and held the world’s top singles ranking 75 consecutive weeks in 2001-2002.
“Lleyton Hewitt carries an aura of excitement and intrigue, given his dramatic, vocal presence on the court,” said Bruce Rider, executive vice president, programming and marketing, The Tennis Channel. “He’s one of the most competitive athletes in a generation, and in this documentary series our viewers will literally see how he reacted to losing the championship match of the biggest tournament in his country and the marriage acceptance of his girlfriend within a few hours of each other.”
Hewitt is also one of the headliners at the upcoming Tennis Channel Open tennis tournament in Las Vegas Feb. 27-March 5.
First Episode (Feb. 21)
After introducing Hewitt and his place at the top of the men’s tennis scene, the first episode of Lleyton Hewitt: The Other Side, offers exclusive access to the superstar following his heartbreaking loss in the 2005 Australian Open final. Triumph follows defeat, however, as Hewitt proposes to his girlfriend, famous Australian actress Rebecca (Bec) Cartwright, who accepts before joining her new fiancé for an evening of karaoke and celebration with their friends. The show concludes with the cameras pursuing Hewitt to his hotel suite, and as he eludes the press after his devastating loss the previous night.
Second Episode (April - TBA)
The second installment of Lleyton Hewitt: The Other Side finds the superstar back in his hometown of Adelaide, reunited with a past language teacher and the gnarled grass courts where his budding tennis career first took flight. This is followed by a visit to the football park of his favorite Australian Football League team, the Adelaide Crows, where Hewitt works out with his friend, Crows player Andrew McLeod. Hewitt and McLeod head for the bowling lanes next, and television audiences get to see the duo and their local mates compete for regional bragging rights. Finally, in an undoubted television first, the cameras are there as one of the world’s best tennis players heads for the hair salon.
Third Episode (June - TBA)
Hewitt takes a break from the rigors of the men’s professional tennis tour in the final edition of Lleyton Hewitt: The Other Side, forgoing a tournament in Europe for a Northwest Territory camping expedition with his pals. During his downtime Hewitt reflects on life, family and his career, when not rising before dawn to snare fish with the sun. The episode’s most entertaining moment, perhaps, is when the campers visit the store for food and other essentials, and Hewitt is stopped for an autograph while selecting toilet paper.
Adelaide-native Hewitt became the youngest qualifier in Australian Open history in 1997, at 15 years and 11 months, and quickly set about adding his name to the country’s long list of tennis legends. From November 2001 to November 2002 he became just the fourth player ever to maintain the World No. 1 ranking for every week during a calendar year (joining Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras), and is one of only seven players to finish two consecutive seasons at World No. 1. He won the 2001 US Open and 2002 Wimbledon titles, was a vital piece of Australia’s 1999 and 2003 Davis Cup championship teams, and has amassed 24 tournament trophies in his young career.
The Tennis Channel (www.thetennischannel.com) is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to tennis and the healthy, active lifestyle that surrounds it. As the most concentrated single-sport network on television, the brand combines comprehensive sports coverage with health, fitness, pop culture, lifestyle and travel programming. Fifty-two week tournament telecast rights include the US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier Sony Ericsson WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup by BNP Paribas, Fed Cup and Hyundai Hopman Cup, offering compelling coverage of the game’s most dramatic rivalries and energetic personalities.
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