| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff

The USTA has announced that the eighth season of the Olympus U.S. Open Series, the six-week North American summer tennis season that links 10 ATP World Tour and WTA summer tournaments to the U.S. Open, will launch Monday, July 18 with the Atlanta Tennis Championships. Since its inception in 2004, the six-week Olympus U.S. Open Series has more than doubled television viewership and increased event attendance, while generating new corporate partnerships for the sport. The full summer TV schedule is attached.

Throughout the summer, the Series will feature nearly 200 live television hours on ESPN2, Tennis Channel and CBS Sports, highlighted by back-to-back men’s and women’s finals on Sundays on ESPN2 and select finals on CBS Sports. The Olympus U.S. Open Series premieres Friday, July 22, from the Atlanta Tennis Championships with two hours on Tennis Channel, followed by four hours on ESPN2. An additional seven hours of coverage on both networks will follow over the weekend, with the finals airing live on Sunday on ESPN2 beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET.

More than 200 of the game’s top players will compete during the Series for $40 million in prize money. Additionally, through the Olympus U.S. Open Series Bonus Challenge, the USTA will offer up to an additional $2.6 million in bonus prize money at the U.S. Open to the top three men’s and top three women’s singles finishers in the Olympus U.S. Open Series. The Olympus U.S. Open Series Bonus Challenge has resulted in the largest paychecks in tennis history for men ($2.4 million– Roger Federer, 2007) and women ($2.2 million– Kim Clijsters, 2005 and 2010). For 2011, both the men’s and women’s U.S. Open singles champions will earn a record $1.8 million with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total $2.8 million potential payout) based on their performances in the Olympus U.S. Open Series.

The Olympus U.S. Open Series season will be supported again by a multi-million dollar national marketing campaign, the OlympusUSOpenSeries.com Web site, and sponsor activation on both the national and local levels. In 2008, Olympus became the first title sponsor of the Series. The Olympus U.S. Open Series is also supported by sponsors American Express, evian, Esurance and Gatorade.

Nearly 200 hours of live tennis action will be televised during the six weeks of the Olympus U.S. Open Series, with ESPN remaining the lead broadcaster, and additional national coverage from Tennis Channel and CBS Sports. The Olympus U.S. Open Series, with the U.S. Open, provides tennis with more live national television coverage during its eight weeks than any other summer sport over the same time period. Series broadcasts reached 48 million viewers last year, more than doubling viewership numbers of these events prior to the launch of the Series in 2004.

Broadcast initiatives will include efforts to further enrich the television viewer experience through the creation of “look-in” coverage during select matches between tournaments as well as the planned introduction of a new broadcast animation package. In addition, the new combined Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati and virtually-combined Rogers Cup event in Canada (men’s Montreal event and women’s Toronto event) will present viewers with expanded match coverage from three television courts both weeks.