Sunday, March 22, 2020

Tennis Channel Begins Live Studio Show Monday, with 2002 Kalamazoo Champion Amritraj, 1981 Doubles Semifinalist Annacone as Contributors

With tennis fans hungry for any connection to the sport, Tennis Channel has announced a live daily show at noon eastern to talk about the sport, which has been shut down for the past ten days and is not scheduled to return before June at the earliest.  According to Adam Jacobson at Radio and Television Business Report:

The programming will fill the Noon-3pm Eastern block and aims to serve as a central tennis news and conversation platform with updates from the sport’s leaders, social media interaction with players and fans, and other topical information during this unprecedented shutdown.
With a general talk-show format, Tennis Channel Live will explore a different theme each for the next five weeks – Greatest of All Time, History, Roland Garros (the French Open), Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
The channel will run encore editions each evening at 8pm Eastern, and again at 8pm Pacific, to help fill large gaps in programming caused by a lack of tournament coverage.
Jacobson goes on to name next week's Tennis Channel panelists: host Steve Weissman, Lindsay Davenport, Paul Annacone and Prakash Amritraj. with the latter two former USTA Boys Nationals participants here in Kalamazoo.

Annacone was unseeded in 1981, losing in the third round to No. 4 seed Jonathan Canter in 18s singles and making the doubles semifinals. He went on to win three ATP titles and rise to No. 12 in the rankings after playing three years at the University of Tennessee. He is more widely known now for his role as a coach, with Pete Sampras and Roger Federer among the professionals he has worked with in the past three decades. Amritraj won the Kalamazoo 18s title in 2002, just a few months after clinching the NCAA team title for the USC Trojans as a freshman. Amritraj, who I see occasionally now at Wimbledon while we both are waiting for players to arrive for interviews, peaked at No. 154 in the ATP rankings. He reached the final of the Hall of Fame tournament in Newport Rhode Island in 2008.

Although I was working on the Kalamazoo website ustaboys.com when Amritraj won the Kalamazoo title, that was pre-Zootennis.com, so I don't have any coverage of his win, but the draws are available online. Brian Baker was the top seed that year, but he lost to No. 8 seed Doug Stewart in the semifinals. Amritraj was the No. 2 seed that year, John Isner, seeded No. 20, lost in the round of 16 after beating No. 3 seed Rajeev Ram in the fourth round.

The photos below are from the Kalamazoo programs for those years, with the late Helen Handelsman the photographer.


Brent said...

Colette, just another big 'thank you' for everything you contribute to the tennis world. One idea I had in looking at some of these old KZoo draws....would be very interesting to do a 'where are they now?' feature on some of these guys. Would be interested to see whether the pursued the tour or went into coaching or into business. Not sure if you've ever considered that. All the best during these crazy times.

Colette Lewis said...

I've already had suggestions mentioning two such players in the past 24 hours! I hope to be able to coordinate those interviews in the coming weeks.