A star-studded line-up of legendary names from the world of tennis will return to London’s Royal Albert Hall for the 2012 Statoil Masters, exclusively live on ITV4.
Now a long-established highlight of the pre-Christmas sporting calendar, the Statoil Masters is the perfect combination of competitive and entertaining tennis in one of the UK’s most iconic venues, with some of the sport’s greatest names from yesteryear in action.
As the season-finale to the ATP Champions Tour circuit, which features a host of former world number one players, Grand Slam singles finalists and Davis Cup winners, the Statoil Masters Tennis is a truly unique sporting event and has featured an array of champions every December since 1997.
This year’s tournament will take place over five days from December 5-9, where four-time grand slam semi-finalist Tim Henman will defend Champions Tour the title he won for the first time in 2011.
The 2012 line-up event includes a who’s who of the tennis world, including John McEnroe, Goran Ivanisevic, Tim Henman, Pat Cash, Mark Philippoussis, Henri Leconte, Mats Wilander and Mansour Bahrami.
John McEnroe and former world number one Ivan Lendl were set to renew their famed rivalry on court, but the Czech legend was forced to withdraw in the run up to the event due to injury.
Lendl, who now coaches Andy Murray, was due to make his debut at the Royal Albert Hall but he pulled out after problems with his knee and hip.
Frenchman Guy Forget will replace Lendl in Group A of the Legends event, and he will face off McEnroe in the opening televised match on Friday, December 7.
The tournament is split into two sections, with a Legends event taking place alongside the regular ATP Champions Tour event.
In Group A of the Legends event, McEnroe has been drawn against former British Davis Cup player Jeremy Bates and Guy Forget, with Group B featuring the 1987 Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander and Henri Leconte.
In the ATP Champions Tour event, Group A sees defending champion Tim Henman and Goran Ivanisevic clashing in a reprisal of the 2001 Wimbledon final, alongside Sweden’s Thomas Enqvist.
Group B pits former world number one Carlos Moya, making his debut at the event, against the 2003 Wimbledon runner-up Mark Philippoussis and Fabrice Santoro.
The players will also star in doubles competition alongside the ever-popular Mansour Bahrami and Peter McNamara.
Other big name stars from the tennis world, including multiple grand slam champions Novak Djokovic, Boris Becker and Bjorn Borg, will also be in attendance at the event – though purely as special guest spectators- as will the Duke of Cambridge.
ITV4 has live coverage of the final three days of the 2012 Statoil Masters over the weekend of December 7-9, which includes John McEnroe’s clash against Guy Forget, Tim Henman’s meeting with Goran Ivanisevic, and both the Legends and Champions Tour finals on Sunday evening.
John Inverdale, who hosted ITV’s French Open coverage earlier this year as well as last year’s Masters event for the channel, will present all the action throughout the weekend from the Royal Albert Hall on ITV4 and ITV4 HD.
Simon Reed, Annabel Croft and Chris Wilkinson will share commentary duties.
Coverage will also be streamed online via ITV.com.
ATP Champions TourGroup A Group B Tim Henman Carlos Moya Goran Ivanisevic Mark Philippoussis Thomas Enqvist Fabrice Santoro Legends Group A Group B John McEnroe Pat Cash Guy Forget Mats Wilander Jeremy Bates Henri Laconte
Singles matches (ATP Champions Tour and Legends): played over two sets. If the score is level at one-set all, a Champions Tie-Break is played to decide the match. A Champions Tie-Break – the winner is the first person to reach 10 points by a clear 2 points margin
Doubles matches: All sessions will include at least one exhibition doubles match. The length of doubles matches will be decided on a match by match basis depending on the time available.
Friday 7th December Evening Session – McEnroe bt Forget 6-2 6-4 (Legends, Group A) – Moya/Santoro bt Enqvist/Henman 7-5 (Doubles) LIVE: 7.30pm-10.30pm – ITV4 Saturday 8th December Afternoon Session – Santoro bt Moya 6-2 6-3 (Champions, Group B) – Forget bt Bates 6-4 6-4 (Legends, Group A) – Ferreira/McNamara v Castle/Bahrami (Doubles) LIVE: 12.30pm-5.00pm – ITV4 Evening Session – Henman bt Ivanisevic 4-6 6-2 [10-8] (Champions Tour, Group A) LIVE: 8.30pm-10.00pm – ITV4 Sunday 9th December Afternoon Session – Legends Singles Final – McEnroe v Wilander – Bahrami/Forget v Ivanisevic/McNamara LIVE: 12.00pm-3.00pm – ITV4 Evening Session – ATP Champions Tour Singles Final – Henman v Santoro – Doubles Exhibition LIVE: 5.00pm-8.00pm – ITV4