http://www.tennisnews.com/exclusive.php?pID=231832007 Tennis Channel Open winners to return to defend their titles
The 2008 Tennis Channel Open – the Las Vegas-based ATP tournament owned and operated by Tennis Channel – announced today that 2007 defending singles champion Lleyton Hewitt and doubles champions Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan will return for the 2008 event, planned for March 3-9 at the Amanda & Stacy Darling Memorial Tennis Center.
Joining these fan favorites will be top-20 players Fernando Gonzalez (World No. 7) and Marcos Baghdatis (No. 16), each in his first time playing in Las Vegas. Chile’s Gonzalez reached his first Grand Slam final at the 2007 Australian Open in January, where he lost to perennial champion Roger Federer. Baghdatis, who hails from Cyprus, won a career-high 48 matches in 2007, including a championship in Zagreb, Croatia, and is one of the most popular players on the men’s professional tennis tour.
“Having tennis stars of Hewitt’s and the Bryans’ caliber return to this event each year is an endorsement not only for the Tennis Channel Open but also for the city of Las Vegas,” said David Egdes, tournament director and senior vice president, tennis industry relations, Tennis Channel. “Fans have learned to expect great competitors with this tournament, and we’re excited to add two more top-ranked newcomers in 2008 with Marcos Baghdatis and Fernando Gonzalez.”
After reaching the final of the inaugural Tennis Channel Open in 2006, Hewitt played his way back to the championship in 2007 and defeated Austrian Jurgen Melzer 6-4, 7-6(10). The Adelaide, Australia, native is one of the most consistent performers and recognizable stars in professional tennis, and became the youngest qualifier in Australian Open history in 1997, at 15 years and 11 months. He has since established himself as one of Australia’s many tennis legends, winning the 2001 US Open, 2002 Wimbledon, and was a key component of Australia’s 1999 and 2003 Davis Cup championship teams. Hewitt finished 2007 as the World No. 21 singles player.
American twins Bob and Mike Bryan will try for their third consecutive doubles championship in Las Vegas in 2008. One of the most lethal on-court tandems in the history of doubles tennis, the Bryans were favored to repeat as champions in 2007 and did not disappoint, reclaiming the title with a 7-6(6), 6-2 win over Israel’s Andy Ram and Jonathan Erlich in the final. In November the Bryans gave the U.S. Davis Cup team its championship-clinching third point with a win over Russia’s Igor Andreev and Nikolay Davydenko, and in doing so helped the United States to its first Davis Cup title in 12 years. That feat is just the latest on a long list of career accomplishments that includes championships at all four Grand Slams and at the year-end Tennis Masters Cup. In 2007 the Bryans won the Australian Open, reached the Wimbledon final and collected championships at five of the nine ATP Masters Series tournaments. They are currently the World No. 1 doubles team.
“Tennis Channel has always been a vocal supporter of the doubles game, and they carried that approach over to their Las Vegas tournament from the very beginning,” said Mike Bryan. “Two years ago during the first Vegas event they built one of the night sessions around doubles matches, which is something unheard of in the industry. We’ve had a great time at the event both years and are looking forward to going back in 2008 and defending our title.”
The 2008 Tennis Channel Open will continue the “Tennispalooza” tournament theme in place since the event’s Las Vegas debut in 2006. Fans will again be treated to a festival atmosphere of tennis and other entertainment activities in addition to the men’s tennis competition. This includes women’s and juniors tournaments, collegiate tennis, unique qualifier formats, paddle tennis, platform tennis, air hockey, foosball, table tennis, live performances, and “Fabulous Las Vegas Night,” among other things.
Individual tickets and ticket packages for the 2008 Tennis Channel Open are on sale now. Fans can purchase tickets at 866-641-OPEN (866-641-6736) or www.tennischannelopen.com. In the Las Vegas area, tennis fans can buy tickets at Station Casinos, Fiesta Properties, Galleria Mall and the Thomas & Mack Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (UNLV Tickets handles ticket sales for the tournament.)