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Live matches return to Tennis Channel: Tennis Point Exhibition Series
Tennis Channel will show the complete, live tournament on television and will make it available on-demand via the Tennis Channel app and TENNIS.com beginning Friday, May 1, at 3 a.m. ET.
Published Apr 29, 2020
After almost two months without professional tennis during the worldwide coronavirus outbreak, Tennis Channel will bring live matches back to viewers this weekend, May 1-4.
Based in Germany, the Tennis Point Exhibition Series will feature eight men’s tour players in a 32-match, round-robin competition with prize money and playoffs on the last day of play. The event is the first to include professional players since the men’s and women’s tennis tours went on hiatus in March. Tennis Channel will show the complete, live tournament on television and will make it available on-demand via the Tennis Channel app and TENNIS.com beginning Friday, May 1, at 3 a.m. ET.
The event marks the beginning of Tennis Channel’s May programming schedule, which includes new weekly themes for Tennis Channel Live, the daily studio show the network introduced at the start of the sport’s March suspension.
With the German government’s relaxation of coronavirus-prevention restrictions, the Tennis Point Exhibition Series will take place behind closed doors in the nation’s Rhineland-Palatinate state without any fans in attendance. The event will follow the ATP Next Gen scoring format: best-of-three short sets to four; tiebreaks at three and no-advantage scoring. German star Dustin Brown headlines the field, with each player competing in two matches a day, followed by playoffs to determine final standings on Monday, May 4. Coverage continues until approximately noon ET each day.
'We're as excited as tennis fans everywhere to see the game return, and thrilled to be able to present this live competition with ranked players on Tennis Channel, as the first competitive tournament since the professional tours shut down in March,” said John MacDonald, senior vice president, content programming. “We fully embrace safe-play guidelines and continue to work with players, event organizers and sponsors to present this breakthrough event—and hopefully additional ones in the weeks to come—for fans across the country."
Weekday news-and-talk show Tennis Channel Live will return Monday, May 4, at 12 p.m. ET. The three-hour daily tennis conversation reviews one theme each week, with a host, network analysts and guest joining via video-conference. The schedule of topics for the next five weeks includes: the Australian Open, 10 days of top-10 countdown series The Ten and a two-week encore of the 2019 French Open.
With varying lineups, hosts Steve Weissman (@SteveWeissman) and Brett Haber (@BrettHaber) guide the discussion and share the sport’s latest updates, joined by an analyst roster that includes Hall of Famers Jim Courier, Tracy Austin (@thetracyaustin), Andy Roddick (@andyroddick) and Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76). Also on the commentary team are sportscaster Mary Carillo; coach Paul Annacone (@paulannacone); Sports Illustrated’s Jon Wertheim (@jonwertheim); and former players Chanda Rubin (@ChandaRubin), Prakash Amritraj (@PrakashAmritraj), Jimmy Arias (@ariastennis), Jan-Michael Gambill (@JanmikeGambill) and Nico Pereira (@nicolaspereira).
In general, Tennis Channel Live runs from 12 p.m.-3 p.m. ET, with same-day encore editions at 8 p.m. ET and 11 p.m. ET. An exception is this Friday when the Tennis Point Exhibition Series will be underway during the show’s live window. As the network runs an encore of the 2019 French Open on the weeks of May 25 and June 1, Tennis Channel Live will take place from 8 p.m.-9 p.m. ET. Each Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. ET the network will air a “Best of the Week” edition of Tennis Channel Live.
Guests during the first five weeks of Tennis Channel Live in March and April included Hall of Famers Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Donald Dell, Stan Smith and Michael Chang. Sportscasters Ted Robinson and Ian Eagle joined the conversation at different times, as did former players Pat Cash, Lucie Safarova, Tim Henman and Leif Shiras. Tennis executives Steve Simon (WTA), Andreas Gaudenzi (ATP) and Michael Dowse and Katrina Adams (USTA) shared their thoughts as well. Reporters Steve Flink, Mike Lupica, Cindy Shmerler, Richard Evans, Ed McGrogan and Steve Tignor also added to the discussion on various afternoons.
Current tour professionals who appeared on Tennis Channel Live were Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens, Jamie Murray, Caty McNally, Jelena Ostapenko and Kristie Ahn. Ahn regularly contributed to the program’s first month on air, frequently discussing her prolific social media activity or debuting new TikTok posts live on the network.