April 26, 2017

Tennis Channel Adds Martina Navratilova to Fed Cup TV Booth for U.S.-Czech Republic Semifinal This Weekend

TENNIS CHANNEL ADDS MARTINA NAVRATILOVA TO FED CUP BOOTH FOR U.S.-CZECH REPUBLIC SEMIFINAL THIS WEEKEND

 

LOS ANGELES, April 19, 2017 -Tennis Channel will add Hall of Famer and on-air analyst Martina Navratilova (@martina) to its booth during coverage of this weekend’s Fed Cup semifinal between the United States and the Czech Republic. It is the first time in her 11-year Tennis Channel career that Navratilova will offer commentary during coverage of the event, the most prestigious international team tournament in women’s tennis. The two-day competition gets underway Saturday, April 22, at 12 p.m. ET, in Tampa Bay, Fla.

 

Considered one of the greatest tennis players – if not overall athletes – of all time, Navratilova won a Fed Cup championship for her native Czechoslovakia in 1975 before defecting to the United States later that year. She won another three Fed Cups as a U.S. team member, including the championship final against Czechoslovakia in 1986 in her hometown of Prague, marking her first return to the country in 11 years. In three decades of Fed Cup matches from 1975-2004, Navratilova amassed an astounding 40-1 record in singles and doubles play, dropping only her last doubles match in 2004, a few months shy of her 49th birthday. She lost only six sets in her entire Fed Cup career.

 

Navratilova will be paired with announcer Brett Haber (@BrettHaber) during Tennis Channel’s coverage of the U.S.-Czech Republic matchup at Florida’s Saddlebrook Resort this weekend.

 

The United States and three-time defending champion Czech Republic are the most successful nations in Fed Cup history, with the United States leading all countries with 17 titles. The Czech Republic is second on the all-time list of tournament champions, clinching the trophy on 10 occasions (five as Czechoslovakia). Australian Open doubles champion and World No. 1 doubles player Bethanie Mattek-Sands will join singles semifinalist Coco Vandeweghe, Lauren Davis and Shelby Rogers as they attempt to put the United States in the Fed Cup final for the first time since 2010, and win the first American championship since 2000.

 

The battle between the United States and the Czech Republic will consist of two singles matches Saturday, and two singles matches and a doubles match Sunday. The winner of the semifinal matchup will advance to the championship round in November to face either Belarus or Switzerland

 

In addition to covering the United States-Czech Republic competition this weekend,Tennis Channel’s digital subscription service, Tennis Channel Plus, will show the other Fed Cup semifinal between Belarus and Switzerland in Minsk, Belarus, live beginning Saturday, April 22. The matches will be available on-demand on the platform (www.tennischanneleverywhere.com), which is available to everyone in the United States regardless of whether they subscribe to Tennis Channel. Other stars set to play Fed Cup this weekend include Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky and Martina Hingis.

 

Tennis Channel’s live Fed Cup coverageis as follows (all time ET):

Saturday, April 22:

12 p.m. -Singles USA v. Czech Republic

1 p.m. -Singles Belarus v. Switzerland (Tennis Channel Plus)

 

Sunday, April 23:

11 a.m. -Singles, Doubles USA v. Czech Republic

12 p.m. -Singles, Doubles Belarus v. Switzerland (Tennis Channel Plus)

 

The United States holds a 9-2 advantage over the Czech Republic. The most recent meeting between the two was in 2009, when the United States beat the Czech Republic 3-2 in Brno, Czech Republic. However, the Czech Republic has won five titles in the last six years (2011-12, 2014-16). The Americans have reached the semifinals for the first time in seven years after defeating Germany 5-0 earlier this year.

 

As a player, U.S. Fed Cup captain Kathy Rinaldi reached the semifinals at Wimbledon in 1985 and achieved a career-high ranking of World No. 7 in 1986. Mattek-Sands, World No. 1 doubles player and Australian Open doubles champion, leads the Americans into this weekend after winning the Volvo Car Open women’s doubles title with the Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova in Charleston this month. At this year’s Australian Open, Vandeweghe received her biggest career singles win by defeating reigning champion and then-World No. 1 Angelique Kerber in the fourth round and 2016 French Open champion Garbine Muguruza en route to the semifinals. Davis won her first WTA singles title in January at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. Rogers enters this weekend after an impressive quarterfinal run at the Volvo Car Open.

 

The Czech Republic has dominated Fed Cup competition in recent years, but will be without World No. 3 Karolina Pliskova this weekend, who helped the country beat Spain in the first round. The team is captained by Petr Palaand and features Katerina Siniakova, Kristyna Pliskova, Denisa Allertova and Marketa Vondrousova.

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Sock Versus Thompson to Lead Off U.S. – Australia Davis Cup Quarterfinal Tie

Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock

(April 6, 2017) As the United States top player, Jack Sock will lead off against Australia’s Jordan Thompson in Davis Cup World group play in Brisbane in Pat Rafter Arena on Friday, followed by Nick Kyrgios against John Isner.

This is the second year in a row that the two teams with the most Davis Cup titles are meeting in the World Group. Last year, the U.S. beat Australia in the first round. The last time they met in the final eight, Australian won 4-1 with Lleyton Hewitt, the current Australian Captain, making his Davis Cup debut and U.S. Captain Jim Courier was on the U.S. team.

“Jack’s going to be ready to go first-ball, he’ll be ready to get playing, and John will be there to back him up. It’s the same as every other draw,” said U.S. Captain Jim Courier. “We know what’s going to happen. We’re going to play.”

Jack Sock

Sock on playing Thompson: I’ve seen him play a decent amount. I know he had a great Aussie summer down here in January, had some great wins, played some great tennis. But I mean Davis Cup, you know, anything can happen. He’s going to come out playing in front of his home fans, home crowd. Like the captain said, fighting for every point, running down every ball, so I’m going to have to play very well to win, but yeah, I’m just going to go out and look to kind of play my style and hopefully get us off to a good start.

Nick Kyrgios

Fresh off reaching the semifinals of the Miami Open, No. 16 Kyrgios said: “I’m looking forward to getting back here and having some home support.” “I think anything is possible this year.”

“It’s obviously going to be pretty tough (playing Isner). We all know he’s got one of the greatest serves. I played him last year, and you know, I feel confident with that match up. But yeah, I feel comfortable playing second. I’ll be out there for some of Tommo’s match. I think it’s a good match up with him against Sock. I think he can do really good.”

 

“I’ve played him three times,” Isner said. “In my opinion in think he’s a lot more mature now. I think right now a lot of people could argue that he’s maybe playing the best tennis he’s ever played. Everyone knows what he can bring to the table, what his strengths are: his serve, his forehand, his backhand, his shot-making. He’s an incredible player, but I’ve played him three times, so I’m a little bit used to the matchup. I just know tomorrow’s going to be a very fun match, and I’m going to go out there and try to play my best.”

 

The U.S. holds a 26-20 record against the Aussies.

Lineup for the weekend:

 

Friday, 12:00 p.m. (10 p.m. ET)

Singles A:  Jack Sock (USA) vs. Jordan Thompson (AUS)

Singles B:  John Isner (USA) vs. Nick Kyrgios (AUS)

 

Saturday, 1:00 p.m. (11 p.m. ET)

Doubles:    Sam Querrey / Steve Johnson (USA) v. John Peers / Sam Groth (AUS)

 

Sunday, 12:00 p.m. (10 p.m. ET)

Singles C:   Jack Sock (USA) vs. Nick Kyrgios (AUS)

Singles D:   John Isner (USA) vs. Jordan Thompson (AUS)

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Tennis Channel to Air U.S. Versus Australia Davis Cup Quarterfinal Tie This Weekend

(April 5, 2017) -Tennis Channel will provide exclusive live coverage of the U.S. Davis Cup team’s quarterfinal competition against Australia in Brisbane, Australia, this weekend, with the first match underway Thursday, April 6, at 10 p.m. ET. The United States and Australia are the most successful nations in Davis Cup history, with a rivalry that dates back to 1905. Australia is second only to the United States on the all-time list of tournament champions, with 28 to the Americans’ 32. The United States is bidding to reach the Davis Cup semifinals for the first time since 2012. Hall of Fame Captain (and Tennis Channel analyst) Jim Courier will lead the same four top-ranked American men’s singles players – Jack Sock, John Isner, Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson – who defeated Switzerland 5-0 in the first round.

 

The meeting will consist of two singles matches on Thursday, followed by the doubles match Friday, April 7, at 11 p.m. ET. Tennis Channel’s coverage concludes with the remaining singles play Saturday, April 8, at 10 p.m. ET. Each match is worth one point, with three victories enough to secure a trip to the September semifinals to play the winner of the Belgium and Italy quarterfinal.

 

In addition to covering the United States-Australia matchup this weekend, Tennis Channel’s digital subscription service, Tennis Channel Plus, will show the three other Davis Cup quarterfinals. Beginning Friday, April 7, viewers can watch 2015 Davis Cup champion Britain play France in Rouen, France; 2015 Davis Cup finalist Belgium host Italy in Charleroi, Belgium; and Serbia take on Spain in Belgrade, Serbia. Following live coverage, all three will be available on-demand on the digital subscription service (www.tennischanneleverywhere.com), which is available to everyone in the United States regardless of whether they subscribe to Tennis Channel.  Other stars set to play Davis Cup this weekend include Serbia’s World No. 2 Novak Djokovic and Britain’s Jamie Murray.

 

Tennis Channel’s Los Angeles studio will be the central media hub for Davis Cup competition throughout the weekend, anchored by former U.S. Davis Cup player Leif Shiras (@LShirock).

 

Tennis Channel’s live Davis Cup coverage is as follows (all times ET):

Thursday, April 6:

10 p.m. – Singles USA v. Australia

 

Friday, April 7:

7 a.m. – Singles France v. Britain (Tennis Channel Plus)

8 a.m. – Singles Serbia v. Spain (Tennis Channel Plus)

Singles Belgium v. Italy (Tennis Channel Plus)

11 p.m. – DoublesUSA v. Australia

 

Saturday, April 8:

7 a.m. – Doubles France v. Britain (Tennis Channel Plus)

9a.m. – Doubles Serbia v. Spain (Tennis Channel Plus)

Doubles Belgium v. Italy (Tennis Channel Plus)

10 p.m. – Singles USA v. Australia

 

Sunday, April 9:

6:30 a.m. – Singles France v. Britain (Tennis Channel Plus)

7 a.m. – Singles Serbia v. Spain (Tennis Channel Plus)

8:30 a.m. – Singles Belgium v. Italy (Tennis Channel Plus)

 

The United States and Australia have faced each other more times than any other countries in Davis Cup history, with a 26-20 U.S. advantage. The rivalry dates back to 1905, when the United States defeated Australasia, a combined team from New Zealand and Australia, 5-0 in London. Their most recent meeting came during last year’s Davis Cup first round, when the Americans beat the Australians3-1 in Melbourne, Australia. The American squad is bidding to win its first Davis Cup crown since 2007 and leads all nations with 32 Davis Cup titles.

 

Leading the U.S. team is Courier who,as a player, was on the 1999 team that lost to Australia in Chestnut Hill, Mass. That Australian team featured now retired star and current Davis Cup Captain Lleyton Hewitt. Sock, the top-ranked American player, leads the U.S. Davis Cup team into this weekend after an impressive semifinal appearance at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., last month before falling to eventual champion Roger Federer. Isner holds 10 career singles titles and four doubles titles, including two with Querrey (Memphis in 2010 and Rome in 2011) and one with Sock (Shanghai in 2016). Querrey won his ninth title at the Mexican Open in Acapulco, Mexico, last month after defeating former World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the final to become the first American champion in the event’s history. Last year, Johnson captured his first ATP singles title at the Nottingham Open in England, and started the year by reaching the semifinals at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zeeland.

 

Australia enters this weekend’s match after defeating the Czech Republic 4-1 in the first round. The Australians hold 28 titles and are second on the all-time list of Davis Cup champions, behind only the United States. Hewitt will lead Nick Kyrgios, Jordan Thompson, Sam Groth and John Peers into battle this weekend.

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Tennis Channel’s BNP Paribas Open and Miami Open Broadcast Schedules

Tennis Channel’s Live BNP Paribas Open Coverage Schedule(Men’s/Women’s Singles Unless Otherwise Specified)

 

Date                                        Time (ET)                  Event

Tuesday, March 7                   8 p.m.-9 p.m.               Racquet Bracket Live

Wednesday, March 8             1 p.m.-12 a.m.             First Round

Thursday, March 9                  1 p.m.-2 a.m.               First Round

Friday, March 10                    1 p.m.-2 a.m.               First Round, Second Round

Saturday, March 11                1 p.m.-2 a.m.               Second Round

Sunday, March 12                   1 p.m.-2 a.m.               Second Round, Third Round

Monday, March 13                 1 p.m.-2 a.m.               Third Round

Tuesday, March 14                 1 p.m.-2 a.m.               Third Round, Round of 16

Wednesday, March 15            1 p.m.-2 a.m.               Round of 16, Quarterfinals

Friday, March 17                    5 p.m.-7 p.m.               Quarterfinals

Saturday, March 18                7 p.m.-9:30 p.m.          Doubles Finals

 

Tennis Channel will show encores of the men’s and women’s singles finals Sunday, March 19, beginning at 8 p.m. ET.

 

Tennis Channel’s Live Miami Open Coverage Schedule

(Men’s/Women’s Singles Unless Otherwise Specified)

 

Date                                        Time (ET)                                  Event          

Tuesday, March 21                 12 p.m.-9 p.m.                             First Round

Wednesday, March 22            10 a.m.-11 p.m.                           First Round

Thursday, March 23              10 a.m.-11 p.m.                        First Round, Second Round

Friday, March 24                    10 a.m.-11 p.m.                           Second Round

Saturday, March 25              10 a.m.-11 p.m.                       Second Round, Third Round

Sunday, March 26                 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m.                        Third Round

Monday, March 27               10 a.m.-11 p.m.                        Third Round, Round of 16

Tuesday, March 28              10 a.m.-11 p.m.                          Round of 16, Quarterfinals

Wednesday, March 29         12 p.m.-7 p.m.                                   Doubles Quarterfinals

Thursday, March 30            12 p.m.-2:30 p.m.; 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m.   Doubles Semifinals

Saturday, April 1                  3 p.m.-4:30 p.m.                                  Doubles Final

 

The Miami Open men’s and women’s singles finals will run on Tennis Channel throughout championship Sunday, April 2.

 

LOS ANGELES, March 7, 2017 -Tennis Channel and on-air analyst James Blake (@JRBlake) have agreed to a two-year broadcast extension on the eve of the BNP Paribas Open, which begins Wednesday, March 8. The announcement comes just before the channel’s annual festival of all-day, all-night coverage at the Southern California event and South Florida’s subsequent Miami Open, both commonly referred to as “fifth slams” in tennis circles. Tennis Channel is also adding Hall of Famer and network commentator Martina Navratilova (@Martina) to its March telecast for the first time, as well as injured American star Sloane Stephens (@SloaneStephens).

Blake, who first appeared on the network in 2013 during Davis Cup and the US Open, will widen his analyst’s role to include more events on Tennis Channel’s 2017 and 2018 lineups. This includes time spent on the network’s Los Angeles set and in the field: he will be part of the network’s French Open team in Paris for the first time this year. One of the most popular American players during his career, Blake ranked as high as No. 4 in singles and was part of the 2007 United States team that won the Davis Cup, contributing two match victories in the championship round against Russia. This is Blake’s second year as part of Tennis Channel’s team in Indian Wells, where he was a singles finalist in 2006.

“It’s been great working with Tennis Channel and I look forward to spending more time in the studio and on the road with them,” said Blake. “We’ve had such an exciting start to the 2017 season with the Australian Open, Davis Cup and Fed Cup, and I can’t wait to see what happens in Indian Wells and Miami this year.”

Navratilova has won more professional tennis titles than anyone in history and has been a part of Tennis Channel’s on-air roster during every Grand Slam the network has covered. This marks her first time offering commentary for the channel at the BNP Paribas Open, an event – like so many others – where she claimed multiple championships as a player, winning singles crowns in 1990 and 1991.

Stephens is joining Tennis Channel while recovering from a foot injury. The young star will bring her singular style and energy to behind-the-scenes features during the network’s coverage in Southern California and Miami, events where she has reached the singles quarterfinals. Stephens will also be part of Tennis Channel’s telecast at April’s Charleston tournament, where she is the reigning singles champion.

This year Tennis Channel will devote 25 days of comprehensive coverage to the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., and Miami Open – “Match Madness” for tennis bracketologists during the month of March. Beginning with the first day of play in Indian Wells on March 8 and running through championship Sunday in Miami on April 2, the channel will become the de facto “Fifth Slam Network,” with round-the-clock programming dedicated to the two events. Tennis Channel’s daylong live or encore matches and all-night re-airs will give viewers a virtually 24-hour opportunity to tune in to whichever tournament is underway. In all, the network will show 215 live hours and more than 520 hours total from Indian Wells and Miami.

Tennis Channel’s BNP Paribas Open telecast begins with one-hour lead-in show Tennis Channel Live at the BNP Paribas Open at 1 p.m. ET on March 8 (complete schedule for both tournaments below). Live matches then run into the night and early morning on most days, followed by encore replays up to the next day’s introductory program. In all, there will be eight days of live, daylong match blocks from Indian Wells, averaging almost 12 consecutive hours of play per day. The network will air 10 days of live matches at the 12-day event, running from the first round through singles quarterfinals and doubles championships March 8-19. Tennis Channel will air close to 110 live hours and more than 250 total during the competition.

Eleven days of live matches are planned for the network’s 13-day Miami Open coverage March 21-April 2. As with the BNP Paribas Open, the channel’s typical daily schedule in South Florida features live play all day, followed by encore re-airs throughout the late night and early morning, and an hour-long, daily lead-in show. The live telecast starts with the first day of play and runs through the singles quarterfinals and the men’s doubles final, with an average of 11 hours of matches the first nine days of competition. Tennis Channel will televise close to 110 live hours from the Miami Open this year, and close to 270 overall with encore replays.

On-Air Talent

In addition to Blake, Navratilova and Stephens, Tennis Channel’s BNP Paribas Open roster includes Hall of Fame analysts, retired stars, coaches, sportscast icons and one of the most admired tennis reporters in the game today. Hall of Famers Jim Courier and Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76) also found on-court success in the Southern California desert during their playing days. Courier won singles and doubles championships in 1991 and another singles crown in 1993, while Davenport’s stat sheet includes singles titles in 1997 and 2000, and another six doubles-tournament wins in 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2003.

Hall of Famer Tracy Austin (@thetracyaustin) is also returning to Tennis Channel’s Indian Wells booth this year, and rounds out the analyst team with former players and coaches Justin Gimelstob (@justingimelstob) and Paul Annacone (@paul_annacone).

Sportscast jack-of-all-trades Mary Carillo is back in Southern California for Tennis Channel with her trademark features, interviews, commentary and opinion. Award-winning announcers Ted Robinson (@tedjrobinson), Brett Haber (@Brett Haber) and Steve Weissman (@steve_weissman) are also making a return to the network’s BNP Paribas Open team, as is Sports Illustrated‘s Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim). The magazine’s executive editor and senior writer maintains weekly tennis columns and podcasts, and is the author of numerous books about the sport.

Haber will host Tennis Channel Live at the BNP Paribas Open at 1 p.m. ET most afternoons, for an hour leading up to the first match of play. With Austin, Blake and Wertheim, the daily show will recap the previous day’s activity, analyze upcoming battles, and provide features and special reports on everything that happens in Indian Wells.

Much of Tennis Channel’s BNP Paribas Open team will cover the Miami Open as well, with Austin, Davenport, Carillo, Robinson, Haber, Annacone and Gimelstob set for Southern California and South Florida double duty. Former players Leif Shiras (@LShirock) and Chanda Rubin (@Chanda_Rubin) will join them as an announcer and commentator, respectively. In 1996 Rubin was a singles finalist in Miami.

Digital

Tennis Channel will offer daily women’s matches live and on-demand on its Tennis Channel Plus digital subscription service during the Indian Wells and Miami events. The over-the-top (OTT) platform will stream the best WTA matchups of each day’s schedule from the beginning of each tournament through the women’s singles finals. Tennis Channel Plus is available to everyone in the United States, regardless of whether they subscribe to the Tennis Channel television network. Most viewers who subscribe to the network are able to follow the channel through its free Tennis Channel Everywhere app, available to all Apple and Android users. The app allows digital audiences to stay on top of the “fifth slam” action by taking Tennis Channel with them wherever they go during the tournaments. Users can also access Tennis Channel Everywhere via Apple TV and Roku and Amazon Fire devices.

On Tennis Channel’s website, www.tennischannel.com, visitors will have more ways than ever to keep track of Southern California and South Florida. This year players Nicole Gibbs (@Gibbsyyyy) and Sam Groth (@SamGrothTennis) star in the network’s first multiplatform content series, My Tennis Life, and are providing viewers with a digital and television glimpse into the world of professional tennis away from the courts. Likewise, the network’s online and social media activity will take followers into the broadcast booth with Tennis Channel announcers and analysts for a backstage pass into the off-air world of tennis television.

Veteran tennis reporters Steve Flink (@sFlinko) and Joel Drucker (@joeldrucker) will file columns on both March events, while Wertheim will continue to post his Beyond the Baseline podcast on the network’s site in partnership with Sports Illustrated. Tennis Channel digital columnist Mike Steinberger (@WineDiarist) will be at the BNP Paribas Open as well, offering his unique observation on one of the world’s largest tennis competitions. At the same time online users can follow enhanced scoring data with Tennis Channel’s Live Play Tracker and catch up on news, highlights and other tournament fare.

Fans can also stay current with Tennis Channel’s social media activity this month, though conversations and posts on Facebook (www.facebook.com/tennischannel), Twitter (www.twitter.com/tennischannel), YouTube (www.youtube.com/tennischannel) and Instagram (http://instagram.com/tennischannel).

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Sinclair To Acquire Tennis Media Company; Aligns Tennis Magazine, Tennis.Com and Tennis Channel on United Platform

From Sinclair Broadcast Group: (March 1, 2017) BALTIMORE – Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SBGI) announced that it has acquired the assets of Tennis Media Company, the owner of Tennis magazine and Tennis.com, for $8 million plus an additional $6 million earn-out potential based on certain contingencies.  The acquisition will create a unified media platform that combines Tennis.com, the most visited online tennis platform in the world, and Tennis magazine, the sport’s most circulated print publication, with Sinclair’s Tennis Channel, the 24-hour television and multimedia network dedicated to the sport. The transaction was funded with cash on hand.

 

“The acquisition of Tennis Media Company brings together tennis’ television, print and online platforms, with significant advantages in the tennis rights and stakeholder world,” said Chris Ripley, President and CEO, Sinclair.  “We are committed to enhancing Tennis Channel’s role as the undisputed tennis-media hub, and this combination of the sport’s foremost outlets, along with the Tennis Channel Plus subscription service, will lead to efficiencies that maximize all four platforms.”

 

Widely considered the most valued online tennis domain, Tennis.com garners 25 million monthly page views and 2 million unique monthly visitors. The site also houses its Baseline daily newsletter. Tennis Channel is currently expanding its digital activity to complement on-air programming and become more integrated with websites of other Sinclair stations and properties throughout the country, and Tennis.com will play a major part in that integration process.  Likewise, the network will pair Tennis magazine’s No. 1 circulation of 600,000 in its category (the magazine is a partner with the USTA, the sport’s governing body in the United States) with its own expanding subscriber base for the benefit of both assets. Since Tennis Channel was acquired by Sinclair in March 2016, it has jumped from 37 million viewing homes to close to 50 million, according to ComScore, and has deals in place to reach 60 million homes this year.

 

“Uniting Tennis Channel with Tennis.com and Tennis magazine lets us serve our combined audiences, the tennis community and fans of the sport in a way never seen before,” said Ken Solomon, President, Tennis Channel. “We’ve long been in the business of creating demand for and helping to grow the game of tennis across the country, and now our ability to translate content across these platforms and elevate awareness for the sport is unprecedented. Similarly, advertisers have never had the one-stop-shopping opportunity to sponsor the top print, television and online tennis destinations in the same place, in one transaction.”

 

Tennis fans consistently represent an affluent demographic that is among the most highly coveted by advertisers.  In the case of print, the median household income for Tennis magazine’s readership is just above $150,000 per year while in television, during the just-completed Australian Open for example, Tennis Channel was No. 1 in concentration of viewers living in homes with $100,000+ households incomes. These viewers represented 51 percent of the network’s audience, nearly doubling the national average among all ad-supported, English-language networks, according to Nielsen for January 2017.

 

“We have known Ken and his team for many years,” said Jeff Williams, Managing Partner, Tennis Media Company. “In becoming part of the Tennis Channel family, and combining the three greatest media brands in tennis – Tennis ChannelTennis magazine and Tennis.com – we are creating the kind of integrated media and marketing powerhouse that will better support our advertising and commercial partners, expand and enrich content for our highly coveted tennis enthusiasts globally and, ultimately grow the sport of tennis.”

 

There are pre-existing synergies in the content of Tennis magazine and Tennis Channel as well. Several members of the television network’s on-air lineup are already instruction editors or contributing editors for the magazine, including Hall of Famer Tracy Austin, coach Paul Annacone and Sports Illustrated‘s Jon Wertheim.  Five of the Tennis magazine’s other editors routinely appear as Tennis Channel on-air guests or interview subjects throughout the year, during tournaments and in original series and documentaries.  Tennis authority and International Tennis Hall of Fame historian Joel Drucker also has an ankle in each outlet, serving as a contributing editor for the magazine and historian and writer for the television network.

 

About Tennis Channel Tennis Channel (www.tennischannel.com), which is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle.  A hybrid of comprehensive sports, health, fitness, pop culture, entertainment, lifestyle and travel programming, the network is home to every aspect of the wide-ranging, worldwide tennis community.  It also has the most concentrated single-sport coverage in television, with telecast rights at the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros (French Open), Australian Open, ATP World Tour events, WTA competitions, Davis Cup, Fed Cup and Hopman Cup.  Tennis Channel is carried by nine of the top 10 video providers.

 

About Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SBGI)

 

Sinclair is one of the largest and most diversified television broadcasting companies in the country. The Company owns, operates and/or provides services to 173 television stations in 81 markets, broadcasting 505 channels and has affiliations with all the major networks. Sinclair is the leading local news provider in the country, as well as a producer of live sports content. Sinclair’s content is delivered over multiple-platforms, including over-the-air, multi-channel video program distributors, and digital platforms. The Company regularly uses its website as a key source of Company information which can be accessed at www.sbgi.net.

 

Forward-Looking Statements

The matters discussed in this news release, particularly those in the section labeled “Outlook,” include forward-looking statements regarding, among other things, future operating results.  When used in this news release, the words “outlook,” “intends to,” “believes,” “anticipates,” “expects,” “achieves,” “estimates,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements.  Such statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties.  Actual results in the future could differ materially and adversely from those described in the forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including, but not limited to, the impact of changes in national and regional economies, the volatility in the U.S. and global economies and financial credit markets which impact our ability to forecast, our ability to integrate acquired businesses and maximize operating synergies, our ability to obtain necessary governmental approvals for announced acquisitions, successful execution of outsourcing agreements, pricing and demand fluctuations in local and national advertising, volatility in programming costs, the market’s acceptance of new programming, our news share strategy, our local sales initiatives, the execution of retransmission consent agreements, our ability to identify and consummate investments in attractive non-television assets and to achieve anticipated returns on those investments once consummated, and any other risk factors set forth in the Company’s most recent reports on Form 10-Q, Form 10-K and Form 8-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  There can be no assurances that the assumptions and other factors referred to in this release will occur.  The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly release the result of any revisions to these forward-looking statements except as required by law.

 

# # #

 

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United States Moves into Fed Cup Semis with 4-0 Win Over Germany

 

(February 12, 2017) The United States moved into its first Fed cup semifinal since 2010 by besting Germany 4-0 at the Royal Lahaina Resort in Maui on Sunday.

Rain shortened play on Saturday with the U.S. up 1-0. Prior to play on Sunday, CoCo Vandeweghe won her second match when Julia Goerges retired with a right knee injury, with the American up 6-3, 3-1 when the match was called for rain.

Vandeweghe began the day coming back to beat Andrea Petkovic for the first time 3-6, 6-4, 6-0, capturing the last 10 games after taking a medical time out for heat illness. This clinched the tie for the U.S.

 

“I just think at 4-2 I had 15-40 and I was playing well.” Petkovic said. “I think she served really well in the decisive moments there. She had four first serves and then I played a bad game at 4-3.
 

“I think in tennis it can change so quickly.

 

“Then she was just serving really well in the third set. I never really got any rhythm to begin with. It was difficult for me to find my way or grind my way back into the match then in the third set.”

 

“It’s really a team effort,” Vandeweghe said of the win. “It’s a home tie for a reason. I think that was a big motivating factor for me to come out there and represent my country. I don’t really need much of a reason more to give everything I have out there on the court.

 

“That was kind of it.”

 

She gave credit to the Maui crowd – “ It’s no secret I was feeling like crap out there. I definitely needed a big pick-me-up. I definitely feed off the crowd and my teammates. This is one of the few times we do have teammates.

 

“I think that is definitely what pushed me through the hump for sure.”

 

Singles match D was skipped and in the doubles rubber, the Germany team had to retire, down 1-4 when Laura Siegemund injured her elbow.

 

The U.S. will host the Czech Republic the weekend of April 22-23 at a place to be announced.

 

U.S. Captain Kathy Rinaldi, making her debut as captain this weekend, spoke about the next tie: “Obviously Czech Republic is a very strong, tough team. They have many, many great players. One of our players knows one well.

 

“So, you know, yes. We’re going to enjoy this one. We’re going to look forward to playing them at home and have the home court advantage.

 

“Again, we’ll put together a strong team. I believe in all our American players. They’re doing great. They started off 2017 extremely strong.

 

“Yeah, we’re going to go for it.”

 

 

FINAL RESULTS

 

Saturday, 11:00 a.m. HST      

Singles A:

Alison Riske (USA) def. Andrea Petkovic (GER) 7-6(10), 6-2

Sunday, 10:00 a.m. HST  

Singles B:

Coco Vandeweghe (USA) def. Julia Goerges (GER) 6-3, 3-1, ret.

Singles C:

Coco Vandeweghe (USA) def. Andrea Petkovic (GER) 3-6, 6-4, 6-0

Singles D:

Alison Riske (USA) vs. Julia Goerges (GER) not played

Doubles:

Bethanie Mattek-Sands/Shelby Rogers (USA) def.

Laura Siegemund/Carina Witthoeft (GER)   4-1, ret.

 

 

WORLD GROUP FIRST ROUND RESULTS

United States def. Germany, 4-0

Czech Republic def. Spain, 3-2

Belarus def. Netherlands, 4-1

Switzerland def. France, 4-1

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Tennis Channel To Air Live Coverage of U.S. Fed Cup Tie Against Germany

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 9, 2017 -Tennis Channel will provide exclusive live coverage of the U.S. Fed Cup team’s first-round competition against Germany in Maui, Hawaii, this weekend, with telecasts Saturday, Feb. 11, beginning at 4 p.m. ET, and Sunday, Feb. 12, beginning at 3 p.m. ET. Australian Open doubles champion and World No. 1 doubles player Bethanie Mattek-Sands will lead singles semifinalist Coco Vandeweghe, Alison Riske and Shelby Rogers as they begin their quest for the 2017 Fed Cup title.

The battle between the United States and Germany will consist of two singles matches Saturday, and two singles matches and a doubles match Sunday. The winner of the first-round matchup will advance to the semifinals in April to face either the Czech Republic or Spain.

In addition to covering the United States-Germany matchup this weekend, Tennis Channel and Tennis Channel Plus will show two other first-round Fed Cup competitions. Beginning Saturday, Feb. 11, viewers can watch three-time defending Fed Cup champions Czech Republic play Spain in Ostrava, Czech Republic, and 2016 Fed Cup finalist France take on Switzerland in Geneva. Viewers can also catch both of these on-demand on the network’s digital subscription service, Tennis Channel Plus. The platform (www.tennischanneleverywhere.com) is available to everyone in the United States regardless of whether they subscribe to Tennis Channel.  Other stars set to play Fed Cup this weekend include the Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova, Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, France’s Alize Cornet and Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky.

Steve Weissman (@Steve_Weissman) will join Hall of Famer and former U.S. Fed Cup player Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76) in Maui to call the United States-Germany matches for Tennis Channel. As a player, Davenport contributed to U.S. Fed Cup team championships in 1996, 1999 and 2000. The network’s on-air team will also include former player and renowned sportscaster Mary Carillo, Hall of Famer and former U.S. Fed Cup player Tracy Austin (@thetracyaustin), and former U.S. Davis Cup players Leif Shiras (@LShirock) and Paul Annacone (@Paul_Annacone). During Austin’s U.S. Fed Cup career she contributed to three championships (1978-1980).

Tennis Channel’s live Fed Cup coverageis as follows (all time ET):
Saturday, Feb. 11:
7:30 a.m. -Singles Czech Republic v. Spain (Tennis Channel Plus)
8a.m. -Singles France v. Switzerland (Tennis Channel Plus)
4p.m. -Singles USA v. Germany

Sunday, Feb. 12:
7a.m. -Singles, Doubles Czech Republic v. Spain (Tennis Channel Plus)
Singles, Doubles France v. Switzerland (on Tennis Channel and Tennis Channel Plus)
3p.m. -Singles, Doubles USA v. Germany

The United States and Germany have met 13 times in Fed Cup play, with the United States holding an 8-5 advantage. However, Germany won the last meeting 5-0 in Stuttgart, Germany, in 2011. The Americans last defeated Germany in 2008, in La Jolla, Calif. The United States leads all nations with 17 Fed Cup championships, the most recent in 2000.

The U.S. Fed Cup team is captained this year by retired American tennis star, Kathy Rinaldi who, as a player, reached the semifinals at Wimbledon in 1985. She also holds three WTA singles titles and achieved a career-high ranking of World No. 7 in 1986. Mattek-Sands, World No. 1 doubles player, leads the Americans into this weekend after winning the Australian Open women’s doubles title with Lucie Safarova. Vandeweghe also had an impressive run at last month’s Australian Open, with wins over reigning champion and then-World No. 1 Angelique Kerber and 2016 French Open champion Muguruza en route to the semifinals. Riske reached her fifth career WTA singles final in January at the Shenzhen Open in China and the third round at the Australian Open. Fed Cup newcomer Rogers achieved a career-high ranking after advancing to the quarterfinals at the WTA event in Hobart, Australia, prior to defeating Simona Halep in the first round of the Australian Open.

Germany has won the Fed Cup title on two occasions: 1987 and 1992. The team is captained by Barbara Rittnerand features Laura Siegemund, Andrea Petkovic, Julia Goerges and Carina Witthoeft.

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Tennis Channel To Air USA vs. Switzerland Davis Cup Tie; Tennis Channel, Tennis Channel Plus to Cover Six Davis Cup Matchups This Weekend

(February 1, 2017) LOS ANGELES –Tennis Channel will provide complete live coverage of the U.S. Davis Cup team’s first-round competition against Switzerland in Birmingham, Ala., this weekend, with the first match underway Friday, Feb. 3, at 4 p.m. ET. Hall of Fame Captain (and Tennis Channel analyst) Jim Courier will lead the four highest-ranked American men’s singles players – John Isner, Jack Sock, Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey – into battle this weekend.

 

The meeting will consist of two singles matches on Friday, followed by the doubles match Saturday, Feb. 4, at 3 p.m. ET. Tennis Channel’s coverage concludes with the remaining singles play Sunday, Feb. 5, at 12 p.m. ET. Each match is worth one point, with three victories enough to secure a trip to the April quarterfinals to play the winner of this weekend’s Australia and Czech Republic competition.

 

The match-up is one of six carried live in their entirety on Tennis Channel and Tennis Channel Plus this weekend. Beginning Thursday, Feb. 2, television and digital subscribers will be able to watch Davis Cup action between: United States-Switzerland (Birmingham) Australia-Czech Republic (Melbourne, Australia), Japan-France (Tokyo), Croatia-Spain (Osijek, Croatia), Serbia-Russia (Nis, Serbia) and Canada-Britain (Ottawa, Canada). The network will offer live look-ins at the Australia-Czech Republic and Croatia-Spain competitions. Viewers can also catch Davis Cup matches on-demand on Tennis Channel Plus, the digital subscription service available to everyone in the United States, regardless of whether they currently subscribe to the television network. Among the stars set to play Davis Cup this weekend are Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, France’s Richard Gasquet, Australia’s Nick Kyrgios and Britain’s Jamie Murray.

The United States holds a 3-1 record against Switzerland. The most recent meeting between the two nations was in 2012, when the United States beat Switzerland 5-0 in Fribourg, Switzerland. The Swiss team’s sole victory over the Americans came in 2001. However, Switzerland will be without newly crowned Australian Open champion and former World No. 1 Roger Federer, who in 2001 led the team to a 3-2 triumph over the Americans in Basel, Switzerland. The United States, which leads all nations in Davis Cup titles, has clinched the trophy on 32 occasions, the most recent in 2007.

 

As a player, U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier was on the 1992 team that beat Switzerland 3-1 to win the Davis Cup championship. For the 2017 edition, Isner holds 10 career singles titles and recently advanced to the finals at the ATP Masters 1000 in Paris in November before falling to World No. 1 Andy Murray. Sock started off the year by winning his second title at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, and comes into this weekend after an impressive third-round appearance at the Australian Open. Last year, Johnson captured his first ATP singles title at the Nottingham Open in England, and had his best performance at a Grand Slam in the fourth round at Wimbledon before falling to Federer. Querrey teamed up with Johnson at the Geneva Open in Geneva, Switzerland, to win their first doubles title as a pair in May, and enters this weekend’s match-up after falling to Murray in the third round at this year’s the Australian Open.

 

The Swiss team won the Davis Cup title for the first time in 2014 with the help of Federer and current World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka. This year’s team is captained by retired tennis player Severin Luthi and features Marco Chiudinelli, Henri Laaksonen, Adrien Bossel and Antoine Bellier.

 

Tennis Channel’s live Davis Cup coverage is as follows (all times ET):

Thursday, Feb 2:

7 p.m. – Singles Australia v. Czech Republic

9 p.m. – Singles Japan v. France (Tennis Channel Plus)

 

Friday, Feb. 3:

9 a.m. – Singles Croatia v. Spain/Singles Serbia v. Russia (Tennis Channel Plus)

3 p.m. – Singles Canada v. Britain (Tennis Channel Plus)

4 p.m. – Singles United States v. Switzerland

8 p.m. – Doubles Australia v. Czech Republic

10 p.m. – Doubles Japan v. France (Tennis Channel Plus)

 

Saturday, Feb. 4:

10 a.m. – Doubles Croatia v. Spain/Doubles Serbia v. Russia (Tennis Channel Plus)

1 p.m. – Doubles Canada v. Britain (Tennis Channel Plus)

3 p.m. – Doubles United States v. Switzerland

7 p.m. – Singles Australia v. Czech Republic

9 p.m. – Singles Japan v. France (Tennis Channel Plus)

 

Sunday, Feb. 5:

8 a.m. – Singles Serbia v. Russia (Tennis Channel Plus)

9 a.m. – Singles Croatia v. Spain

12 p.m. – Singles United States v. Switzerland/Singles Canada v. Britain (Tennis Channel Plus)

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On The Call: ESPN / Australian Open Conference Call with Chris Evert and Patrick McEnroe

Patrick McEnroe

(January 11, 2017) ESPN tennis analysts Chrissie Evert and Patrick McEnroe spoke with media Wednesday about the Australian Open, which starts Sunday, Jan. 15 (Monday in Melbourne), with 100 live hours over two weeks including the usual marathon overnight telecasts on ESPN television and 1,400 on WatchESPN that includes every match – singles, doubles and juniors, culminating with the women’s and men’s championships.  Highlights of the call, followed by the full transcript:

 

Soundbites:

On:  The State of Serena

  • This is a woman with pride and ego and used to being No. 1, used to being the queen at the top. I’m sure that’s going to be motivation for her, not liking to see another name up there…I don’t think it’s a matter of if she’s going to win another Grand Slam, I think it’s when, and I think it will happen this year.” – Evert

On: The State of U.S. Tennis.

  • At one point we had hardly any American players in the top 100. Now women-wise anyway, we have 17. I think that’s more than any other. So we’ve got the depth. Congratulations, U.S. tennis. We have the depth, but where is that Grand Slam champion?” – Evert
  • There’s a group of seven or eight players, American men, 21 or under, that can be legit Grand Slam players.  Out of that group, none of them are ready to be a Grand Slam winner or compete for a title at this point, except for maybe (Jack) Sock. I think within the next two years, it is finally realistic to say we might have someone come out of that group that could do it.” – McEnroe

 

On:  Which is the bigger issue in tennis, PEDs or match fixing?

  • I’m going to say unequivocally match fixing is a big threat to any sport, not just tennis, but the integrity of that sport. That’s not in any way to minimize PEDs, what they can do…I think tennis generally has a better handle on the PED situation with the testing that’s done….The match fixing thing clearly is a huge problem potentially, but I don’t think it’s a huge problem at the highest level of tennis. I think it’s proven to be a problem that definitely is significant at the low levels of tennis, the minor leagues, so to speak, the challengers, et cetera. That has to be gotten more under control.” – McEnroe

 

On:  What’s the one thing you would change about tennis?

  • Because I’m a TV girl now, I think more access to the players. I still don’t think it’s a bad idea to interview a player after a first set or after a second set. I think that’s very do-able. I think it’s progressive thinking.  We’re really kind of in the Dark Ages when it comes to getting the players out there, just having a little more buzz about the players. I think on TV I’d like to see more coaches being interviewed.” – Evert
  • When we say the match starts at 7 p.m., it’s actually going to start at 7 p.m., not 7:13, which is basically what happens because the officials don’t have the gonads to tell the top players what to do.” – McEnroe

 

  1. I’ll start with some big names. What are your expectations for Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for this tournament? They both said they want to play two to three more years. Patrick, do you see that happening? How long do you see both those players playing? What do you see from those two? What are your expectations? How long do you think they’ll keep playing?
    McENROE: Let’s hope they keep playing like 20 more years because they’ve been unbelievable for tennis. They’re two of the all time greats, two of the all-time class acts in men’s tennis.

    Let me address the first part of your question.  I don’t realistically expect either of them to be holding up the trophy at the end of the tournament. I think probably if they took a truth test, they’d probably agree with that. But being as great as they are, I would guess three, four matches, wins under their belt, they’ll think they have a chance to win it.  I think realistically getting to the second week should be their initial goal. Obviously seeing how they’re doing as they progress, the expectations would rise for them. I don’t expect either of them to be able to hold the trophy, particularly when you look at just the way Djokovic and Murray have looked in the last couple years, and have also started out the year.  They played a great match already against each other in the Middle East. I’d really have to convince myself that they could pull something extraordinary to beat one or two of those guys in best-of-five sets, not to mention the rest of the field and the other players, the younger guys coming up like Thiem, Zverev, guys like that. I think it’s going to be tough for them to do that.

    I think it’s realistic for both of them to play two, three more years. Obviously for Roger it’s a little more precarious because of his age. Overall he said he had the surgery so he could give himself the opportunity to do that. As long as they’re playing at a relatively high level, and I think that’s really the key for those two guys, if the next year neither one of them makes the semis of a major, would they be willing to continue to play if they’re not a top five or even a top ten player. I would probably say that Roger is more likely to continue to play because he just loves to play so much. That’s something only they can answer personally.

    Q. We head into 2017 with the old question. We’re talking about players who aren’t American. Is there anybody on the horizon that looks like they could be somebody that we’re going to be talking about?
    EVERT: I love your expressions when you ask that question. Is there anyone? Oh, boy (laughter).  Yes, this is the question. At one point we had hardly any American players in the top 100. Now women-wise anyway, we have 17. I think that’s more than any other. So we’ve got the depth. Congratulations, U.S. tennis. We have the depth, but where is that Grand Slam champion?  To me, I’ve always looked at Madison Keys, only because of the power. To me, she matches Serena’s power, on the groundstrokes, on the first serve for sure. When I look at a surface like grass, Wimbledon, she to me is potentially a Wimbledon champion.  In saying that, yes, a lot of things have to happen. She has to be more mature. She has to be smarter on the court. As far as raw talent, she’s got the weapons to win a major.

    As far as any other woman is concerned right now, I wouldn’t put my money on anybody else in American tennis. But the progress that has been made is the fact that we do have depth and we do have a lot of Americans in the top 100. I guess that’s the first step to getting a Grand Slam champion.

    McENROE: Well, the short answer to your question is no. That’s the short answer. I agree with Chrissie on Madison Keys. She’s not playing in Australia. We hope she gets to be 100%. I think having Lindsay Davenport back in her camp will be a positive.

    As far as the men go, there’s nobody. I mean, there’s nobody that can realistically win one. Certainly Jack Sock has made a lot of strides. I expect him to continue to make strides to where he could, I believe, threaten to be a top-10 player. If his backhand gets 25% better, he’s the type of player that could go deep in a major. That’s a big ‘if’, but he’s definitely gotten fitter, stronger. Mentally he’s better than he’s been.  To sort of echo what Chrissie said on the women’s side, on the men’s side, there’s not as many numbers as the women, but for the first time for 15 or 20 years, we’ve got a group of players that can all legitimately be top 100, maybe top 50, and maybe a couple of them could be top-10 players. That’s Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz, Michael Mmoh, Tommy Paul, Stefan Kozlov, Reilly Opelka, Noah Rubin, Escobedo. There’s a group of seven or eight players, American men, 21 or under, that can be legit Grand Slam players.  Out of that group, none of them are ready to be a Grand Slam winner or compete for a title at this point, except for maybe Sock. I think within the next two years, it is finally realistic to say we might have someone come out of that group that could do it.  The worst-case scenario is I think we’re going to have multiple players flooding the top 100, which as Chrissie said is the first step. There’s nobody here that you can see is a threat to win this title, no.

    Q. On the women’s side, Serena, what do you think getting engaged will have as far as an effect on her? On the men’s side, by Novak’s standards, had a little bit of a slip toward the end of last season while Andy Murray went on that big run. Do you think that sort of makes their rivalry even more interesting now that their positions are swapped?
    EVERT: As far as Serena, that remains to be seen. You can’t predict when somebody gets engaged. It can go one of two ways. It can be a very pleasant distraction. You can lose your focus a little bit at the task at hand. Or it can be so inspiring, you feel so good, that you’re more settled. You really are in a really good place emotionally, and your tennis can improve. We’ve seen it both ways in tennis players. I don’t think we can predict that.  In saying that, you know, the one good thing coming into the year, Serena seems to be healthy. She was fighting all kinds of things. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another. The shoulder. If it wasn’t the shoulder, it was something else.

    She had a long break, took the fall off. I’m sure, knowing her, you can only do so many appearances, endorsements. She was champing at the bit to get back competing. I think it’s motivation for her she’s ranked No. 2. This is a woman with pride and ego and used to being No. 1, used to being the queen at the top. I’m sure that’s going to be motivation for her, not liking to see another name up there.  So if she’s healthy, she’s happy, I don’t worry about the fact that she already lost a match, because basically she needs a couple matches to really get into it. I don’t think it’s a matter of if she’s going to win another Grand Slam, I think it’s when, and I think it will happen this year.

    McENROE: I don’t think the engagement will have anything to do with how Serena does. I’ll add to what Chrissie said. I think because of how little she played, this happened last year as well, she made it to the final, or the year before, she’ll be susceptible early in the tournament because of that. If she can get through the first couple of rounds, obviously she’ll be fine, I would expect.

    I’m always excited for the Australian Open because it’s one of my favorite events. I think there’s a lot more buzz this year because of what you said partly, that Murray has taken over No. 1, not by a long shot, but an amazing effort to do that. Djokovic is going to feel like he’s got something to prove, even though he’s had a couple of the greatest years ever in the history of men’s tennis in the last couple years. Then you have Roger and Rafa coming back. You have still the guys knocking on the door, Nishikori. We haven’t mentioned Wawrinka, who has had an unbelievable couple years. He got down there early this year. There’s no reason he can’t make a big run there. He loves the conditions there.

    The younger guys…Thiem had a great year in 2016. He could be a factor. Again, Zverev is a great young player. I think Kyrgios could definitely be a factor, although you wonder about him health-wise, how fit he is. Obviously mentally is another story.  I think there’s a lot of storylines for the men. I do think that having Murray come in there as the No. 1 player, having never won down there, and Djokovic has really been the man the last four, five, six years in Australia, that adds a little extra spice to it in addition to those other guys coming back.

    Q. How do you see Murray and Kerber handling the pressure being world No. 1? It’s the second year in a row the tournament is starting with a match fixing story that hit before it began. Do you think that match fixing is a bigger threat to tennis than PED use? What one do you think tennis has more effectively addressed?
    EVERT: I’ll take the easy way out and go with the Kerber question.  The thing about Kerber, there’s a saying that it’s easier to get to No. 1, it’s harder to stay there. I think she’s going to be tested. I think it’s going to be interesting to see how mentally tough she’s going to become and how she’s going to fend off the competition, because there’s some dangerous players: Pliskova, Muguruza, Konta. Very much like the men, you have really like 15, 20 tough, tough players, and good depth at the top now. Then with Serena, who is going to be even more motivated than before. I think it’s going to really test her toughness.

    But in saying that, when you look at the top 10, I look at the list, to me Kerber is mentally the toughest of all of them, aside from Serena when she’s really focused. Angelique Kerber, her main strengths is her mental toughness, because she improved so much. Years ago, she was the one that was rough on her player box, kind of whining out there. She has improved that so much. So the mental toughness, and her I think physical fitness are the two things that she is head and shoulders really above everyone else.  If anybody can maintain No. 1, I think that she will do it for a while. I think it depends on Serena, how much she wants it, how hungry she is. She’s really going to be the one that’s going to challenge her the most of anyone.

    McENROE: I’m going to say unequivocally match fixing is a big threat to any sport, not just tennis, but the integrity of that sport. That’s not in any way to minimize PEDs, what they can do.  Baseball went through a pretty heavy-duty PED problem. They’ve done okay. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen in tennis. I don’t expect that it will. I think tennis generally has a better handle on the PED situation with the testing that’s done. It could be better, but certainly it’s happened that they’ve been able to manage that and catch people, et cetera.

    The match fixing thing clearly is a huge problem potentially, but I don’t think it’s a huge problem at the highest level of tennis. I think it’s proven to be a problem that definitely is significant at the low levels of tennis, the minor leagues, so to speak, the challengers, et cetera. That has to be gotten more under control. I think the Tennis Integrity Unit is doing what it can do to address that.

    I think part of the issue with this is what I think has been a problem in tennis, as the prize money has grown at the big tournaments, particularly the Grand Slams, it’s to me gotten more and more top-heavy. The top players, meaning the players that win the tournaments, are making exponentially more money than the guy that gets to the third or fourth round. While I certainly believe that Djokovic and Serena certainly deserve to make more in prize money, I don’t believe it’s fair that they make that much more.  I think the prize money distribution at the highest level of the game, it filters down into the rest of the tour events, should be more evenly disbursed, meaning more similar to the way they do it in golf.  Basically now in a Grand Slam tournament, each match you win, essentially your prize money doubles. US Open last year I believe was $40,000 for the first round. People say, Wow, that’s a lot of money. That’s not really that much money when you compare it to what that similarly ranked player in basketball, baseball, soccer or golf around the world makes.

    Look at the prize money that Djokovic and Serena make compared to someone who is, say, No. 10 in the world. I think it’s too significantly different. I think that is something that should be addressed. I think the Grand Slams have the opportunity to be the leaders in this area instead of saying, Hey, look at us, we have the biggest prize money winner check, two and a half or three million dollars. Don’t you think 1.7 is enough, and some of the other money gets filtered down to other players?  The other players could make a lot more money, which they deserve to make, through other tournaments and guarantees, et cetera. I don’t think it needs to be that extreme a difference in the prize money distribution.

    (As for Murray being No. 1) I think Andy will handle being No. 1 just fine. He’s been around long enough to know what it takes. He’s worked extremely hard to get there. Quite honestly, I didn’t think he could get there. I didn’t think he could certainly get there last year. But it was a hell of an effort to do it.  The biggest difference in why he was able to do it was his consistency, being able to win a lot of matches every tournament, to be able to win on clay, which he hadn’t done in the past.  I don’t think he’s going to lose it because he can’t handle being No. 1. I think he’s going to lose it in Djokovic steps up and plays better, which I think is certainly possible.

    EVERT: I think he’s going to be comfortable, very comfortable, at the No. 1 spot because it’s been a gradual progression. It’s not like the guy went from No. 10 to No. 1. He’s been No. 3, he’s been No. 2, and now he’s No. 1. The fact that he’s won Grand Slams already, Grand Slam tournaments, that’s going to help prepare him for the pressure of being No. 1.  I think Patrick said it the best. The same with Kerber. It depends on Serena, it depends on Djokovic, if these two are going to hold onto their spot.

    Q. Maria Sharapova is supposed to return from her suspension the end of April. Do you think she could be top ten again, top five? How do you think the other players will react once she’s back on the circuit?
    EVERT: I have a feeling there’s going to be a little different Maria that’s coming back. I think that she’s had a little bit of a wake-up call as far as living life. I feel like she’s out of her bubble now, as far as she went back to school for a little bit, she’s gotten better in her business, she’s made more appearances, she’s socializing more with her friends.  I feel like it’s sort of a silver lining, this whole taking off the whatever it’s been, 18 months, year and a half. I think she’s going to be a little different. I think she’s going to be more open. I think she’s going to be friendlier. I think that she is going to come back a little more evolved as a person.  This is all me thinking. I don’t even know, okay? But I just have a feeling from what I’m hearing when she does talk and do press conferences, does her exhibitions and this.  Do I think she can be top 10? Absolutely. It’s so close, like I said before, the top 20, 30, it’s so close at the top, there’s no big gap in the top 20 or 30. Could she get back to the top five? I don’t see why not. Absolutely. She’s one of the mentally toughest, along with Serena, probably the mentally toughest player out there, plays every point like it’s match point.  Again, she might have a different approach. She might go out there, she might have been working on her fitness even more so with this time off. She might be having a little more variety in her game. I think life for Maria Sharapova is looking really good on the court and off the court.

    I think the players are going to be fine. I think it depends on her. If she’s going to come back with an open mind and friendlier, I think the players will definitely welcome her back.

    Q. Chrissie, Pat just spoke with his wisdom on having more equal prize money distribution. It’s a new year, but if you could step back and choose one rule or one tradition that you might want to tweak or introduce a new rule or one change, what would that be?
    EVERT: Wow, put me on the spot here. Because I’m a TV girl now, I think more access to the players. I still don’t think it’s a bad idea to interview a player after a first set or after a second set. I think that’s very doable. I think it’s progressive thinking.  We’re really kind of in the Dark Ages when it comes to getting the players out there, just having a little more buzz about the players. I think on TV I’d like to see more coaches being interviewed. I would like that to be mandatory. I think having a player after a set, that would be really good.

    I think we need to improve ratings in every aspect, sort of get more of an audience to appreciate the game and feel like they’re involved in it, see a personality on the court.  I think just the viewership, that would really help. I guess putting my hat on for TV, having that more interesting for the viewer.

    Q. If you could go out and get a selfie with anyone in the world not in your family, who would that be?
    McENROE: First of all, I’m offended that you didn’t let me answer the first question.

    Q. You go, guy.
    EVERT: That’s because you kind of did answer it about the prize money.

    McENROE: I have another one.  I would take the selfie with Chris Evert. That’s what I’m going to do on the plane to Australia tomorrow. I’m going to tweet it out.

    Let me answer the other one, because it’s a quick answer. I think it’s relatively easy to do. It’s already a rule that’s in place. Can we please start to actually pay attention to the time and to the clock. That comes to when we start the match. That comes to after we warm up for the match. We don’t take bathroom breaks. We don’t sit on our chair for two minutes because we’re some great player who can just do whatever they want. We don’t take bathroom breaks every time we lose a set.

    Let’s come up with clear-cut rules, which are already fairly clear, and let’s actually start to penalize players for not abiding by the rules. You can take one bathroom break a match, whatever it is, I think it’s two. When we say ‘time,’ we play, you don’t take a bathroom break. When we say the match starts at 7 p.m., it’s actually going to start at 7 p.m., not 7:13, which is basically what happens because the officials don’t have the gonads to tell the top players what to do.

    Q. What about Nadal’s objection?
    McENROE: I’m not talking about in between points, the shot clock. I’m talking about a simple thing. When we come to the locker room to get you, we tell you we’re going to come five minutes before television comes on, you’re going to walk out and be on the court then and you’ll warm up. If you don’t, guess what, it’s Love-15, then it’s Love-30. People will start paying attention. Unless we just don’t think it matters, we can let the players continue to do whatever they want to do. But I happen to think it matters.

    Q. Chris, selfie with someone, excluding Patrick?
    EVERT: Probably Madonna because I’ve never met her. She’s fearless and totally the opposite of me.

    Q. Some of the rallies in the final between Novak and Andy in Qatar were superhuman. How far do you think they both are ahead of the rest of the pack? Who can realistically stop 2017 being a year defined by their rivalry?
    McENROE: Realistically, I think you’re on to it. I think these two guys are a couple of steps beyond everybody else. That being said, I do think there were signs last year that players were starting to make inroads, like Thiem coming up. He probably still has another year or two to go. Zverev, the younger guys. I don’t know if it’s going to come from the older group like Berdych and Tsonga, Nishikori.

    EVERT: Raonic.

    McENROE: Raonic has made some big steps. He’s a guy that could do it. I’m happy with what I’ve seen from Dimitrov, because I like to watch him play. He could be a big threat this year. I do think at the end of the day, those two guys, because of their movement, their defense, their mental skills, are pretty solidly ahead of the pack. But things can change quickly in tennis. We saw it change between those two the second half of the year. It’s possible that it could change. I still think that Rafa is going to be a serious threat.

    EVERT: I think when I look at Andy and I look at Novak, to me they are the fittest players on the tour, and they’re going to peak when it’s 5-all in the fifth set. When I say that I mean peak physically and mentally. The mental toughness between those two is a level better than anyone else. As Patrick said, no one has better defense and offense, having that combination. No other player covers the court as well, no other player is mentally as tough. They keep pushing each other. It’s like when Martina and I were playing. They’re pushing each other. Novak is working out, training even harder knowing that he’s No. 2, knowing that Murray is training harder.  I think it could pan out to be really a wonderful rivalry. But the exciting thing is, there is Thiem, Kyrgios, Zverev, other exciting players waiting in the wings who I think could upset one of them, but maybe isn’t ready to win four big matches like these two are.

    Q. Paint a bit of a picture of how you and Martina pushed each other along. That was a long-term thing. We know Andy and Novak have been playing each other since they were 11. Can you give us a bit of a flavor of how that works when two players are the best of the field.
    EVERT: It was interesting because it was almost a little easier with Martina and I because we had contrasting styles. I got to work on my volley. I got to work on coming in. I got to work on my physical strength. She already had that. She had to work on the mental side of the game, her groundstrokes, because I already had that.  There were more gaps in our games, kind of more weaknesses in our games that we could work on. With them, they’re so similar in style. Their athleticism, the way they move, they can counter-punch really well. Their defense as well as their offense. They’re so similar.  I guess they just have to continue just to be physically cardiovascularly strong, who is going to be the hungrier, the more eager when they play a match.  Do you understand what I’m saying? There were more gaps with Martina and I that we could work on. With them, they’re so similar, it’s hard to know what they’re going to work on. They just have to keep doing what they’re doing. At the end of the day when they play a match, it might come down to really who is hungrier.

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2017 Australian Open Broadcast Schedule on ESPN

2017 AUSTRALIAN OPEN

(For these charts, all times are Eastern, and each day “begins” at 6 a.m. ET.

Therefore, the listing Mon., Jan. 23, at 3 a.m. ET is actually very late on Monday night.)

 

Date Time (ET) Event Network  
Sun, Jan 15 –

Fri Jan 27

7 p.m. All Courts (up to 16), all day (English)

Multiple Courts

(Spanish)

WatchESPN LIVE
Sat, Jan 28 12 MID Men’s Doubles Championship

Men’s Singles Championship

WatchESPN LIVE
   
Sun, Jan 15 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. Early round play ESPN2 LIVE
Mon, Jan 16 9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Tue, Jan 17 3 – 6 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Wed, Jan 18 3 – 6 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Thu, Jan 19 3 – 6 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  11 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Fri, Jan 20 3 – 6 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Sat, Jan 21 9 a.m. – noon ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 7 a.m. Round of 16 ESPN2 LIVE
Sun, Jan 22 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 7 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Mon, Jan 23 3 – 6 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9 p.m. – 2 a.m. Quarterfinals ESPN2 LIVE
  3 – 6 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Tue, Jan 24 3 – 6 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
9 p.m. – 2 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
  3:30 – 6 a.m. ESPN2 LIVE
Wed, Jan 25 3 – 6 p.m. ESPN2 Same-day
  9:30 p.m. – 2 a.m. Women’s Semifinals ESPN2 LIVE
  3:30 – 6 a.m. Men’s Semifinal #1 ESPN

ESPN Deportes

LIVE
Thu, Jan 26 2 – 6 p.m. Men’s Semifinal #1 ESPN2 Encore
  3:30 – 6 a.m. Men’s Semifinal #2 ESPN

ESPN Deportes

LIVE
Fri, Jan 27 2 – 6 p.m. Men’s Semifinal #2 ESPN2 Encore
  3 – 5:30 a.m. Women’s Championship ESPN

ESPN Deportes

LIVE
Sat, Jan 28 9 – 11 a.m. Women’s Championship ESPN2 Encore
  3 – 6:30 a.m. Men’s Championship ESPN

ESPN Deportes

LIVE
Sun, Jan 29 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Men’s Championship ESPN2 Encore

 

ESPN Tennis:  New #1’s Kerber, Murray Lead the Fields at First Major of 2017 – Australian Open

  • Two Weeks Start Jan. 15 with 100+ Live Hours on TV plus Afternoon Encores of Overnight Action
  • WatchESPN with 1,400 Hours – Every Singles, Doubles & Juniors Match – Live plus On Demand
  • WTA:  Serena Williams Seeks Major Title #23; Great Opportunity for Someone New to Emerge
  • ATP:  Two-Time Defending Champ Djokovic Seeks 7th Title while Federer, Nadal Return to Action

 

Newly minted top-ranked players Angelique Kerber and Andy Murray will lead the women and men’s fields at the Australian Open on ESPN TV and WatchESPN from start to finish beginning Sunday, Jan. 15.  Over the course of two weeks – culminating with the Women’s and Men’s Championships on January 28 and 29 – ESPN will present more than 100 hours of live television plus 1,400 on WatchESPN and the ESPN App which covers every singles, doubles and juniors match – more than 600 in total.

 

Last year at 28, Kerber surprised the tennis world to capture her first two Major titles – the Australian and US Opens – to end the year the No. 1 player in the world.  Murray – although a member of the ATP’s “Big Four” for many years – won Wimbledon to launch a terrific second half of the year which culminated with his First World Tour Final championship and his first No. 1 ranking.

 

Highlights

  • ESPN2 will present daily, marathon, overnight telecasts from Melbourne (at 7 p.m. ET the first night, thereafter generally at 9 p.m.) through the women’s semifinals; later action airs on ESPN.
  • More than 40 additional hours will be aired on ESPN2 during the afternoon recapping the action from the overnight telecasts.
  • WatchESPN will offer 1,400 hours starting each day with the first match of each court at 7 p.m. ET (the first 13 days of play).  It will also present live the men’s, women’s and mixed doubles championships and the finals of the boys and girls divisions and of the legends and wheelchair competitions.

 

Tennis Channel and ESPN’s ongoing Grand Slam alliance includes the Australian Open and gives viewers near round-the-clock tournament enjoyment from Melbourne.  Each network utilizes its own commentators during its respective coverage and cross-promotes the combined ESPN-Tennis Channel television offerings.

DIGITAL MEDIA, AT HOME AND ABROAD; INTERNATIONAL TV; ESPN DEPORTES; ESPN CLASSIC  

ESPN.com will once again feature Courtcast, a cutting-edge application presented by IBM, featuring official IBM tournament and real-time statistics, Hawk-Eye technology, a rolling Twitter feed and interactive poll questions. Digital Serve video, Baseline Buzz and daily global reports and analysis from contributors .

Also, before  espnW will present an oral history of Serena Williams, by Alyssa Roenigk. She interviewed more than 20 people close to Williams including her mother Oracene, her sisters, coaches, competitors and sponsors. In addition, espnW will offer a slideshow of Serena’s 22 majors, and daily “You Make the Call” fan polls.

 

ESPN Social Platforms

@ESPNTennis, ESPN’s official tennis Twitter account, and ESPN Tennis’ official Facebook page will be posting additional, exclusive content including interviews, profiles and more behind-the-scenes looks of the Australian Open.

 

ESPN Interactive TV will present a six-screen mosaic on DIRECTV featuring the ESPN/Tennis Channel linear feed and five TV courts, during the first seven days of the tournament.  Allen Bestwick will serve as the studio host and is joined by announcers Chanda Rubin, Jeff Tarango, Leif Shiras, Elise Burgin, Doug Adler, Nick Lester, Christen Bartelt, Sam Gore, Mark Donaldson and Brian Webber.

 

ESPN Deportes will present extensive, live coverage of the tournament across multiple platforms.  ESPN Deportes+ — the Spanish-language broadband channel available via ESPNDeportes.com, WatchESPN and ESPN App – will present wall-to-wall coverage, streaming 140 live hours of all rounds, the quarterfinals and the women’s semifinals.  The men’s semis and both Championships will be televised live on ESPN Deportes.  Online, ESPNDeportes.com will also provide up-to-the-minute news and information including highlights, recaps, chats, and the daily web series “ESPiaNdo el Australian Open.”

 

ESPN Classic is airing memorable Australian Open matches much of this week, January 11 – 15.  Highlights:

  • 2010 Women’s Final, Serena Williams vs. Justine Henin, Wed., Jan 11, noon (also Fri., Jan. 13, 9 p.m.)
  • 1991 Men’s Final, Boris Becker vs. Ivan Lendl, Wed., Jan. 11, 7 p.m. (also Fri., Jan. 13, 11 p.m.)
  • 1995 Men’s Quarterfinal, Pete Sampras vs. Jim Courier, Wed., Jan. 11, 9 p.m.
  • 1995 Men’s Final, Andre Agassi vs. Pete Sampras, Wed., Jan 11, 11 p.m.
  • 2001 Women’s Final, Jennifer Capriati vs. Martina Hingis, Thur., Jan. 12, 3 p.m.
  • 2009 Men’s Final, Rafael Nadal vs. Roger Federer, Thur., Jan. 12, 5 p.m. (also Sat., Jan. 14, 7 p.m.)
  • 2015 Women’s Final, Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova, Fri., Jan. 13, 1 a.m. (Jan. 12, 10 p.m. PT) (also Sun., Jan. 15, 6 a.m.)
  • 2016 Women’s Final, Angelique Kerber vs. Serena Williams, Sun., Jan. 15, noon
  • 2016 Men’s Final, Novak Djokovic vs. Andy Murray, Sun., Jan. 15, 2 p.m.

 

ESPN International will increase its television coverage to more than 140 hours of live HD action to tennis fans via its networks in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Showcasing the biggest names in tennis, broadcasts will air in three languages, including Spanish in Mexico, Central America & South America; Portuguese in Brazil; and English in the Caribbean.  ESPN+ Brazil will air over 80 hours of live complementary coverage throughout the early rounds, while ESPN Tres North and ESPN2 South will air over 20 hours of additional Spanish coverage. In addition, ESPN will also televise two one-hour recaps and a two-hour “Best Match of the Day” daily.   In Canada, TSN (English) and RDS (French) will again provide ESPN coverage on television and digital services, while in India, the SONY ESPN platform will carry live coverage.

 

ESPNtenis.com will have the following content:  A daily webisode called “ESPiaNdo el Australian Open”; an “applet” featuring real-time, point-by-point scoring of all matches; live scores, results and brackets; columns, chats and blogs by TV commentators and other writers; polls; the “Ask ESPN” feature, prompting users to send their comments/questions via the website; video clips with highlights of daily action and analysis; TV scheduling information, and photo galleries.

 

ESPN Play (Watch ESPN  in Brazil), ESPN’s broadband service in Latin America and the Caribbean will provide wall-to-wall coverage of the year’s first Grand Slam, streaming over 1,400 hours of live tennis coverage (a new high) from every available televised court, including the men’s & women’s quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. Live streaming action will be available throughout Latin America and the Caribbean in English, Spanish and Portuguese language.

Related Article:

2017 Australian Open Schedule on Tennis Channel; Mary Carillo Joins Coverage Team

 

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