Tennis Channel To Produce Live Three-Hour Daily Show During Tennis Tour Hiatus Beginning March 23rd
Beginning at 12 p.m. ET on March 23, Tennis Channel Live will Provide Updates
on the Sport and its Players while Exploring a Different Weekly Theme
|LOS ANGELES, March 19, 2020 – Tennis Channel will introduce a daily, three-hour edition of Tennis Channel Live while the professional tennis tours are on hiatus due to the worldwide coronavirus containment effort. Beginning, Monday, March 23, at 12 p.m. ET, the show will serve as a central tennis news and conversation platform with updates from the sport’s leaders, social media interaction with players and fans, and other topical information during this unprecedented shutdown. With a general talk-show format and set in the network’s Los Angeles studio, Tennis Channel Live will also explore a different theme each for the next five weeks – Greatest of All Time, History, Roland Garros (the French Open), Wimbledon and the US Open – in a celebration of the very best the sport has to offer. The channel will run encore editions each evening at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET.
Tennis Channel Live will typically feature a pair of announcers or analysts in studio, with phone or video interviews from others on the network’s roster of on-air talent. Next week Steve Weissman (@Steve_Weissman) will host the show with former player Prakash Amritraj (@PrakashAmritraj), and daily contributions from Hall of Famer Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76) and Grand Slam-winning coach Paul Annacone (@paul_annacone) from outside the studio. Subsequent weeks will include host Brett Haber (@BrettHaber), Hall of Famers Jim Courier and Tracy Austin (@thetracyaustin), sportscaster Mary Carillo, and former players Chanda Rubin (@Chanda_Rubin), Jimmy Arias (@ariastennis), Jan-Michael Gambill (@JanmikeGambill) and Nico Pereira (@nicolaspereira).
“Though the competition may be paused right now there’s important news and daily information from players, events and governing bodies around the globe rolling out literally all the time, and Tennis Channel remains the central place for fans to stay on top of it all – as well as for the sport’s innumerable stakeholders to reach them instantly as it unfolds,” said Ken Solomon, president, Tennis Channel. “This moment requires both live daily analysis and wisdom from our on-air team of Hall of Famers and experts at the highest levels of the sport, who deeply understand its inner workings and organizational leadership. Home-bound audiences will also need to be entertained more than ever, and as always Tennis Channel will be here as a much-needed respite. Every week Tennis Channel Live is going to dive into a different element of this sport’s rich history, with top-quality features supported by all platforms – Tennis.com, our Tennis Channel app, subscription-service Tennis Channel Plus and the Tennis Channel Podcast Network.”
Week One – March 23-29 – Greatest of all Time
In 2012 Tennis Channel produced a landmark miniseries that ranked history’s top 100 players. Spread over five days, each edition 100 Greatest of all Time counted down to the eventual No. 1, with images and commentary for all of these amazing athletes. The series generated significant conversation – and disagreement – about the ranking assignments made by the network’s panel of reporters and former players, including the decision to put both men and women on a single list. Weissman, Amritraj, Davenport and Annacone will watch the series with viewers again, debating what changes might be made to this list now, who should be more highly ranked today, and if the 100 Greatest of all Time is still correct about its No. 1 player. Sports Illustrated and 60 Minutes reporter Jon Wertheim’s (@jon_wertheim) Tennis Channel features, “Wertheim Unstrung,” will offer his opinion as well.
Week Two – March 30-April 5 – History
As amazing as it might seem now, there was a time in tennis when the men’s and women’s professional tours did not exist. For much of the sport’s past its greatest players, among them major champions who remain Hall of Fame legends to this day, were forced to choose between competing in events like Wimbledon or Roland Garros, or trying to make a living through the sport they loved. Accepting pay for utilizing their tennis talents earned them a lifetime ban from the majors as the sport’s official amateurism was better defined as “shamateurism.” As it reviews the history of how professional tennis was born and nurtured into the global financial powerhouse it has become, Tennis Channel Live will look at its 2016 film Barnstormers, hosted by Robert Redford. The documentary shares the story of the pioneering men and women who sacrificed so much to be treated fairly. The network will also review the founding of the men’s tour and the women’s famed “Original 9,” as well as the dawn of the modern Open Era.
Week Three – April 6-12 – Roland Garros
There are few images as iconic as the red clay of the French Open. The famed terre battue has been unconquered by so many of the sport’s titans, while at the same time served as the personal playground of multi-time champions Chris Evert and Rafael Nadal. Tennis Channel Live will look at what makes the most prestigious clay-court tournament in the world so beloved by fans and players alike, and also discuss the planned additions of nighttime matches and competition under a new roof at Court Philippe-Chatrier. Features from Tennis Channel’s 13 years of covering Roland Garros will season the conversation, as will thoughts and analysis from the network’s Tennis.com reporters.
Week Four – April 13-19 – Wimbledon
Wimbledon is the sport’s oldest major and, many would say, its most career-defining championship. Tennis Channel Live will review the storied tradition of the All England Lawn Tennis Club, including its greatest title winners, names like Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras and Serena Williams. The team will also relive the epic Wimbledon clashes between rivals Roger Federer and Nadal via Tennis Channel’s 2018 Emmy Award-nominated Strokes of Geniusand note this year’s 40th anniversary of the jaw-dropping final between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe – another candidate for greatest match of all time status.
Week Five – April 20-26 – Red, White and Blue
Each of tennis’ four majors has a distinct personality reflective of the people and culture of its host city. But perhaps the greatest example of this comes with the US Open, which seems to stuff all five of New York City’s boroughs into the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center every Labor Day weekend. The tournament is hot, shoulder to shoulder, fast, energetic, larger than life, up all night, vocal and loud – by any sport’s standard. It takes grit and tremendous willpower to walk away from Arthur Ashe stadium trophy in hand. Tennis Channel Live will discuss the American stars who have carried the cheers of a nation at the US Open over the years, among them Jimmy Connors, Austin, Evert, Andre Agassi, Williams, Sampras and Davenport.