A selection of the greatest players of the modern era will be reliving their rivalries this week in London at the 2014 Statoil Masters Tennis, live on ITV4.
One of the jewels in the crown on the tennis calendar, the season-ending Statoil Masters is the longest-running event ATP Champions Tour, having been held at the iconic Royal Albert Hall since the tour’s inception in 1997.
Never failing to attract the biggest names and personalities from the sport to play competitively in both singles and doubles, the event this year boasts the likes of three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe, six-time Grand Slam semi-finalist Tim Henman and 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick, who makes his debut in the event.
Players and spectators at the Royal Albert Hall relish the experience of this annual pre-Christmas extravaganza and crowds are treated to high-quality tennis in a truly breathtaking setting, while players feel privileged to play in such a unique and atmospheric arena.
Situated in the London borough of Kensington, which is also home to the National History Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal College of Music, the Royal Albert Hall has been the home of some of the world’s iconic artists and performances, but it also has a long and proud history as a tennis venue, dating back to the 1970s.
This year’s Statoil Masters will feature the main competitive ATP Champions Tour tournament, featuring Tim Henman and newcomer Andy Roddick, who will also be joined in the round-robin phase by two-time French Open winner Sergi Bruguera, former Grand Slam finalists Thomas Enqvist and Fernando González and Belgium’s ‘X-Man’ Xavier Malisse.
All six players will be vying for spot in the showpiece final on Sunday afternoon with British tennis legend Henman hoping to make to a fourth successive final, with his 2011 win having been followed up by defeats in the last two finals against Fabrice Santoro and Pat Rafter respectively.
In addition, a host of other tennis legends will take part in a series of exhibition legends and doubles matches, including John McEnroe, Pat Cash, Henri Leconte, Andrew Castle, Peter McNamara, Wayne Ferreira and legendary doubles showman Mansour Bahrami.
Following Sunday’s competitive final, more tennis legends will take to the court in a special evening session at the Royal Albert Hall featuring the Mylan World TeamTennis Smash Hits charity match,
Held to raise funds for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, this is the first time that the popular World TeamTennis format is being played outside of the United States in its 22-year history and a host of big names will be in attendance for what promises to be a special night.
Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King will each be captaining a team, with Team Billie Jean being represented by Kim Clijsters, Tim Henman, Sabine Lisicki and Jamie Murray, while Team Elton includes Andy Roddick, John McEnroe, Martina Hingis and Heather Watson.
The format will see one set each of ladies’ singles, ladies’ doubles, men’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles, with each set being played the first to five games.
Commenting on the 2014 Statoil Masters Tennis tournament, John McEnroe said: “I’ve played the Statoil Masters Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall almost every year since it began in 1997.
“That’s because It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world to play tennis, the acoustics are incredible, and I’ve won it a number of times. I’m already looking forward to getting back there in front of the great crowds they have, and to try to win it again.”
Tim Henman added: “The Royal Albert Hall is a little like Wimbledon in that it has history around every corner and down every corridor.
“It’s always competitive, we all still want to win, but we are able to play with less pressure now, and so we can engage with the crowd and enjoy it much more.”
Now a firm fixture on the pre-Christmas sporting schedule, tennis fans can enjoy a host of legendary names in action at the iconic Royal Albert Hall, all live on ITV4 this December.
Tennis legends gather at the Royal Albert Hall for the 2014 Statoil Masters and ITV4 will have exclusive live coverage over the weekend of December 5-7.
It is the seventh straight year that the channel has covered this unique end-of-season tennis bash at the Royal Albert Hall and the channel’s extensive coverage over the weekend will again be shown in high-definition on ITV4 HD and online via ITV Player.
John Inverdale presents ITV4’s live coverage alongside former British number one Annabel Croft inside the auditorium, with match commentary being provided by Simon Reed and Chris Wilkinson.
As in previous years, the final five sessions of the tournament will be broadcast live on ITV4, starting on Friday night as the legendary John McEnroe takes on former French Open finalist Henri Leconte in special legends singles match.
This will be followed by some exhibition doubles action featuring six times Grand Slam semi-finalist Tim Henman and 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick, who go up against the 2007 Wimbledon mixed doubles champion Jamie Murray and British five-times ATP Tour doubles champion Ross Hutchins.
Henman and Roddick are also in action in the ATP Champions Tour tournament on Saturday, with both of their matches against Fernando Gonzalez and Zavier Malisse live on ITV4.
There will also be plenty of highly entertaining doubles action to enjoy throughout the weekend, featuring the incomparable Mansour Bahrami and Henri Leconte, as well as familiar tennis personalities Pat Cash and Andrew Castle.
Rounding off the weekend’s action will be the final to the main event – the ATP Champions Tour – on Sunday afternoon, followed by the special exhibition Mylan World TeamTennis Smash Hits event in the evening, featuring a host of star names from the tennis world.
All five ITV4-televised sessions will be available to watch for up to 30 days via the catch-up service ITV Player shortly after each broadcast.
Visit the official Statoil Masters Tennis 2014 website for more information about the tournament, including schedules, news updates and video content.
Friday 5th November DAY 3: Evening Session – John McEnroe v Henri Leconte (Legends Match) – Henman/Roddick v Murray/Hutchins (Exhibition Doubles) LIVE: 7.30pm-10.30pm ITV4
Saturday 6th November DAY 4: Afternoon Session – Tim Henman v Fernando Gonzalez (Champions Tour)
– Bahrami/McEnroe v Bruguera/McNamara (Exhibition Doubles) LIVE: 1.30pm-4.30pm ITV4 DAY 4: Evening Session – Andy Roddick v Xavier Malisse (Champions Tour)
– Cash/Castle v Ferreira/Leconte (Exhibition Doubles) LIVE: 7.30pm-10.30pm ITV4
Sunday 7th November DAY 5: Afternoon Session – TBC v TBC (ATP Champions Tour Final)
– Bahrami/Castle v McNamara/Ferreira (Exhibition Doubles) LIVE: 11.45am-2.30pm ITV4 DAY 5: Evening Session – Team Elton v Team Billie Jean (Mylan World TeamTennis Smash Hits) LIVE: 6.00pm-9.00pm ITV4