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Austin to host fourth season of 'Academy'

LOS ANGELES — School is back in session as TV’s favorite tennis coach, Hall of Famer Tracy Austin, returns to host of the fourth season of Tennis Channel Academy. Each week Austin introduces Tennis Channel viewers to a new coach and accompanying set of pro-level tips and techniques, as she has done since the show’s debut in 2008. The weekly, half-hour series gets underway Sunday, Nov. 27, at 12 p.m. ET with two episodes of lessons from former players Taylor Dent and Vijay Amritraj. Subsequent editions will premiere on Sundays throughout December, with encore airings throughout the month. A complete schedule can be found at tennischannel.com/schedule.

“It was exciting to hit the courts again this year with another lineup of Tennis Channel Academy coaches and I can’t wait for the new season to get underway,” said Austin. “I’m very proud of what we’ve been able to share with our viewers over the past three years, top-level instruction that is regularly put into use by the players on the men’s and women’s professional tours.”

Each episode of Tennis Channel Academy features a different coach offering his or her distinct tennis knowhow, with techniques and tips that can be used by players of all levels - from beginners to seasoned professionals. In the season opener, Austin is joined by Dent, who won four ATP singles titles and attained a career-high No. 21 singles ranking before retiring due to injuries in 2009. Dent teaches the serve-and-volley skills that made him one of the best attacking players of his generation. The second edition of Tennis Channel Academy offers advice from 1970s icon Amritraj, who won 16 titles and spent most of his career in the top 20 while competing against the likes of Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg. Amritraj focuses on using slice backhands, drop shots and strategy to soften today’s power-game opponents.

Todd Martin, Tim Blenkiron, and three USTA Player Development coaches round out the Tennis Channel Academy roster this season, as well as a variety of other coaches in a concluding “best of” episode. They add their names to an alumni list that includes Nick Bollettieri, Chris Evert, Paul Annacone, Gigi Fernandez, Robert Lansdorp, Harold Solomon, Wayne Bryan and Rennae Stubbs, all of whom have appeared on the series during the past three seasons.

Austin is perhaps best known for storming onto the tennis scene and dethroning four-time US Open champion Evert in 1979, winning the tournament as a 16-year-old prodigy, the youngest US Open champion in history. She held the No. 1 singles ranking in 1980 before a variety of injuries cut short her career, but nonetheless managed to win 30 career titles, including two US Open singles championships and a Wimbledon mixed doubles title. The International Tennis Hall of Fame inducted Austin into its wings in 1992.

2011 Tennis Channel Academy Premiere Schedule

Episode Location Date Time (ET)
Taylor Dent Dent Tennis Academy, Newport Beach, Calif. Nov. 27 12 p.m.
Vijay Amritraj Amritraj’s home in Los Angeles Nov. 27 12:30 p.m.
Todd Martin Sawgrass Country Club, Ponte Vedra, Fla. Dec. 4 1 p.m.
USTA Player Dev. USTA Training Center, Carson, Calif. Dec. 11 1 p.m.
Best of Offense (Various locations) Dec. 18 1 p.m.
Tim Blenkiron No Quit Academy, Las Vegas Dec. 25 1 p.m.

 

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