LONDON, November 26, 2015
The draw for Champions Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall, 2-6 December has been made, with Tim Henman and James Blake set to clash in the round-robin stages.
Henman and Blake both reached a peak ranking of No.4 in the world, and met just once in their professional careers, with Henman winning 6-3, 6-3 in Canada in 2002. They will clash for a second time at the Royal Albert Hall in the evening session on Wednesday 2nd December. Younes El Aynaoui completes the group. Wednesday will also see the introduction of Davis Cup hero Jamie Murray, who is due to play in doubles matches in both the afternoon and evening sessions.
Last year’s champion Fernando Gonzalez has been drawn in Group B against Sebastian Grosjean and Wimbledon semi-finalist Xavier Malisse. The winner of each group will clash in the ATP Champions Tour Final on the afternoon of Sunday December 6th.
The event will also feature a series of Legends exhibition matches headlined by seven-time Grand Slam Champion and Royal Albert Hall favourite John McEnroe. The American will face off against old rival Mats Wilander on Thursday evening before taking on flamboyant Frenchman Henri Leconte in the Sunday evening session. Every session also includes a doubles match, and the ever-popular Mansour Bahrami will return, along with the 1987 Wimbledon Champion, Pat Cash.
On Saturday 5th December, Tie Break Tens will launch. A new, exciting format of quick-fire tennis, Tie Break Tens will be headlined by World No.2 Andy Murray. He is joined by Henman, Davis Cup team-mate Kyle Edmund and World No.7 David Ferrer. A fifth player is still be announced, and a sixth will qualify from the Champions Tennis field. Each of the ten matches at Tie Break Tens will be contested over a first-to-ten-point tie-break. The six-man field will be drawn into two groups of three players, using a round-robin format. The top two players in each group will go through to the semifinals, with the winner taking away a cheque for $250,000.
There will also be a number of new initiatives for the crowd to enjoy on and off the court at this year’s Champions Tennis. The tournament will feature ‘Aegon Crowd Call’ for the first time; a new, unique line-calling system where spectators hold up cards which read ‘in’ or ‘out’. Saturday afternoon will be ‘Christmas Jumper Day’ where, as well as being encouraged to wear their loudest Christmas knitwear, visitors will enjoy a jazz band. There will be player autograph sessions in the public areas each day.
Spectators arriving on Saturday morning can upgrade to a Family Advantage Pack where kids can get tips from players, enjoy Santa’s Grotto and find out about ‘Miss-Hits’ from Judy Murray. Kids can also have their faces and nails painted, hair braided, and experience the magical world of ‘George and the Ice Cream Castle’.
FULL ORDER OF PLAY*
ATP Champions Tour Singles
Group A Blake, El Aynaoui, Henman
Group B Gonzalez, Grosjean, Malisse
Wednesday 2nd December
Gonzalez v Malisse
Blake v Henman
Grosjean /Murray v El Aynaoui/Pernfors
Grosjean v Gonzalez
Cash/Larsson v El Aynaoui/Leconte
McEnroe v Wilander
Bahrami/Malisse v Henman/Pernfors
Friday 4th December
Grosjean v Malisse
Bahrami/Larsson v Pernfors/Wilander
Tie Break Tens Qualifier Blake v Malisse
Blake v El Aynaoui
Tie Break Tens Qualifier El Aynaoui v Gonzalez
Cash/Grosjean v Gonzalez/Leconte
Saturday 5th December
El Aynaoui v Henman
Tie Break Tens Qualifier Final
Bahrami/McEnroe v Cash/Pernfors
LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
Tie Break Tens – Andy Murray, Tim Henman, David Ferrer, Kyle Edmund, a qualifier and one player TBC
LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
Sunday 6th December
ATP Champions Tour Final
Bahrami/TBC v Pernfors/TBC
At 4.00 pm
Leconte v McEnroe
Cash/TBC v Larsson/Wilander