10 Players, 10 Countries in New WTA Rankings

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), the global leader in women’s professional sport, announced today that for the first time in its history, the Top 10 rankings will feature ten players from ten different countries around the world.  Eleven different nations are represented among the top 11 spots, and 30 different countries among the top 60 ranked players.

The WTA Top 10 Rankings for week of January 31, 2011, released earlier today, are as follows:

1.       Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)

2.       Kim Clijsters (BEL)

3.       Vera Zvonareva (RUS)

4.       Francesca Schiavone (ITA)

5.       Samantha Stosur (AUS)

6.       Venus Williams (USA)

7.       Li Na (CHN)

8.       Jelena Jankovic (SRB)

9.       Victoria Azarenka (BLR)

10.     Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)

Shahar Peer reaches a career-high ranking of World No.11, a record for a player from Israel.  Francesca Schiavone becomes the first player from Italy to break into the Top 5 while Kim Clijsters of Belgium ascends to World No.2 for the first time since August 2006.  After making history at the Australian Open by reaching the ladies’ singles final, Li Na becomes the first Chinese player to ascend to a career-high ranking of World No.7.  Li Na’s success in Australia promises to have an exponential impact on the growth of women’s tennis in China, the world’s most populous country.

“Our players are inspirational national heroes who transcend sport in their respective countries.  Having ten different players represent the Top 10 rankings shows how truly global tennis has become,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman and CEO of the WTA.

The WTA’s calendar for the 2011 season features 53 tournaments and four Grand Slams in 32 countries including 23 events in Europe, 16 in the Americas and 18 in Asia.  The 2012 calendar will feature 54 events, four Grand Slams and the Olympic Tennis Event, with the geographic spread of events to include 20 in Asia, 23 in Europe and 16 in the Americas.  In 2013, the WTA Calendar will showcase 54 WTA events and the four Grand Slams, with 20 events in Asia, 22 in Europe and 16 in the Americas.

Tennisography John Isner on Tennis Channel Oct. 3

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 30, 2010 – Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle, will unveil a new player-biography series, Tennisography, Sunday, Oct. 3, at 7:30 p.m. ET.  The half-hour program will profile different players every month, and the unique stories behind their rise to the professional tennis ranks and their tales’ ongoing chapters today.

Sunday’s inaugural edition will highlight American John Isner, who gained international acclaim as one half – and the ultimate winner – of the longest match ever played, during the first round of Wimbledon this summer.  Beyond the three-day, 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7), 7-6 (3), 70-68 match, Isner discusses his teenage choice between tennis and basketball, the beloved other sport in which the six-foot-nine-inch player excelled.  He also reveals why he elected to develop his tennis skills from home rather than attend a tennis academy and talks about reaching a Washington, D.C., final against top-10 American star Andy Roddick this summer after winning his way into the tournament.  At the same time, Isner’s family recounts his experiences growing up while his childhood coach goes over what made the young player great.

Future editions of Tennisography will feature Americans Melanie Oudin, who stole the show while reaching the US Open quarterfinals as a 17-year-old in 2009, and Sam Querrey, who has steadily made his mark in both singles and doubles (occasionally partnering with Isner) during the past few seasons.  Another episode will showcase Russian Vera Zvonareva, who reached the singles final at both Wimbledon and the US Open this summer, is currently ranked No. 4 in the world and is studying for a second academic degree in her spare time.

Tennis Channel (www.tennischannel.com) 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 to the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros (French Open), Australian Open, Olympus US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier Sony Ericsson WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and Hyundai Hopman Cup.  Tennis Channel is carried by eight of the top 10 MSOs and has a national footprint via DIRECTV and DISH Network.

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Community Services Premiere Monday on the Tennis Channel

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 10, 2010 – Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle, chronicles the renovation of Centennial Tennis Center in Nashville, Tenn., on its new program, Community Surface, which premieres Monday, Sept. 13, at 7:30 p.m. ET – the day after the 2010 US Open.

The half-hour Community Surface built by SportMaster takes viewers behind the scenes as Tennis Channel, court-resurfacing company and presenting sponsor SportMaster, and the United States Tennis Association (USTA), renovate the public tennis facility that was badly damaged in Nashville’s May floods.  During the national headline-grabbing storms, 36 inches of rain destroyed many of the 19 courts at Centennial Tennis Center which, due to insufficient repair funds, had left them unplayable and closed this summer.  Following a week of repairs in August, members of the Nashville tennis community were able to enjoy these courts again for the first time since the spring catastrophe.

“By showcasing how the makeover of just one public center can rejuvenate an entire tennis community, we hope Tennis Channel can inspire others to work together to improve their local facilities or help with other tennis needs,” said Laura Hockridge, vice president, original programming, Tennis Channel.  “Three-fourths of our viewers also play tennis recreationally, and this program is a natural reflection of the grass-roots connections that exist all over our country.”

Hosted by writer and television personality Touré, who also hosts Fuse TV’s Hiphop Show and On the Record, the program was taped in Nashville August 10-18.  Centennial Tennis Center’s courts were sealed off with privacy screens during the renovation, with the grand revelation on August 18.

Upon its completion the Centennial Tennis Center now features eight new 36′ kids tennis courts in addition to the 13 existing regulation 78′ courts.  The USTA’s QuickStart play format will be taught on the kids tennis courts.  The QuickStart play format is designed to bring kids into the game with specialized equipment, shorter court dimensions and modified scoring, all tailored to age and size.  Beyond the youth-oriented program, each year the USTA helps numerous communities repair and maintain their tennis facilities through public grants.

“The USTA is proud to be partnering with SportMaster and Tennis Channel to make this happen,” said Kurt Kamperman, chief executive, community tennis, USTA.  “To be able to return these courts back to playing condition allows us to continue our mission of growing the game at all age levels, especially to kids ten and under.”

“The floods caused so much damage throughout the area that we had no idea how we were ever going to get these courts back into playing condition,” said Blain Smith, manager, Centennial Tennis Center.  “We can’t thank Tennis Channel, SportMaster and the USTA enough for helping our tennis community back and hopefully inspiring others to take up the game.”

Tennis Channel (www.tennischannel.com) 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 to the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros (French Open), Australian Open, Olympus US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier Sony Ericsson WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and Hyundai Hopman Cup.  Tennis Channel is carried by eight of the top 10 MSOs and has a national footprint via DIRECTV and DISH Network.

Celebrity Tennis Premieres Tomorrow

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 28, 2010 – Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle, will premier original series Celebrity Tennis, Monday, Feb. 1, at 6:30 pm ET.  The half-hour show is hosted by film, television actor and commentator of The World Poker Tour, Vince Van Patten, who takes viewers inside the lives of celebrities who are passionate about watching and playing tennis.

Van Patten grew up in New York playing tennis near the US Open’s then-Forest Hills home and took up acting when his showbiz family moved to California.  He became a professional tennis player in 1979 and spent eight years on the pro circuit.  In Celebrity Tennis Van Patten unearths the ways his guests are influenced by tennis and how the sport is a regular part of their lives, and offers a demonstration of their on-court strengths.

“The worlds of tennis and celebrity have long been intertwined,” said Laura Hockridge, vice president, original programming, Tennis Channel.  “Professional stadiums are filled with newsmakers of every type, from entertainers and politicians to business people and other sports’ athletes.  Pro tennis players today are just as likely to appear on red carpets or magazine covers.  Vince Van Patten is a perfect host for Tennis Channel’s Celebrity Tennis, having navigated both of these environments throughout his life.”

The premier edition of Celebrity Tennis profiles television’s top advice guru, “Dr. Phil” McGraw, on a red clay court at Church Estate Vineyards in Malibu, Calif., where he declares his backhand to be his best shot.  A serious tennis player who uses the game as his own form of therapy, McGraw hits the court six-to-eight times a week, and admits to Van Patten that he builds his daily schedule around getting in an afternoon match.  McGraw also offers viewers a glimpse inside his overstuffed tennis bag, which he says he always has on hand, as well as a look into his vast closet full of treasured tennis T-shirts.

“It is good to be back in the game I love and a relief to be away from the high stakes poker games for awhile,” said Van Patten.

The second episode of Celebrity Tennis (Feb. 8) visits all-American supermodel Christie Brinkley in East Hampton, N.Y., at a charity benefit for the Ross School, where she is joined by actor Alec Baldwin, tennis legend Andre Agassi and famed tennis coach Nick Bollettieri.

Brinkley, who coincidentally grew up in California on Rod Laver Lane (a street named for one of the sport’s all-time champions), hits with Van Patten on the court at her house, built to the same specifications as center court at the US Open.  Brinkley also demonstrates her air-guitar skills on a tennis racquet, plays tennis with neighborhood kids and divulges funny anecdotes about her many trips to the US Open.

Poker champion Gus Hansen is the focus of episode three (Feb. 15), which takes viewers to Las Vegas’ Stirling Club.  Hansen explains that, although he played in junior tennis tournaments as a youngster, he realized he did not have the goods to go all the way.  Having made close to $10 million as a career gambler, however, he tells Van Patten that he stopped putting his money down on tennis after losing seven figures on a bet that Rafael Nadal would win the 2009 French Open.  (Though at the time of the bet Nadal had never lost a French Open match, the perennial clay-court champion ultimately lost to Robin Soderling in an upset for the ages.)

Television and music superstar Brandy is profiled in the fourth episode of Celebrity Tennis (Feb. 22).  In addition to revealing herself as the hardest working tennis student in show business, Brandy notes that her introduction to the sport came at the hands of none other than her best friend, American superstar Serena Williams.  Van Patten goes for a workout with Brandy and her demanding tennis fitness routine as they get in court time in Calabasas, Calif.

Additional episodes of Celebrity Tennis will follow these initial editions.

Tennis Channel (www.tennischannel.com) 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 to the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros (French Open), Australian Open, Olympus US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier Sony Ericsson WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and Hyundai Hopman Cup.  Tennis Channel is carried by nine of the top 10 MSOs, Verizon FiOS TV, and has a national footprint via DIRECTV and DISH Network.