FOUR MILLION VIEWERS FOR THE TENNIS

31 Jan 2005, 01:02:16 PM

He may have lost the Australian Open men's final, but Lleyton Hewitt has helped Seven to a massive victory over the rival networks with more than four million viewers tuning in to watch his match against Marat Safin.

Seven's coverage of the final, which saw Hewitt defeated by Safin in four sets, attracted a national average of 4.04 million viewers, with a peak of 4.87 million.

This far exceeds the 2.5 million viewers (3 million peak) for Hewitt's semi final against Andy Roddick, which at the time was a ratings record for the Australian Open.

This also beats the record for the most watched program of 2004. Last year, the highest rating program was Australian Idol – The Final Verdict, which attracted an average of 3.34 million viewers.

In Perth, the match was seen by an average of 325,200 viewers (peaking at 400,000 viewers).

This week, viewers can look forward to the launch of several new programs on Seven including the hit US shows Desperate Housewives and Lost, and the new series of My Restaurant Rules.