NEW YORK, NY – Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki participated in the BNP Parbas Showdown at Madison Square Garden. Here are a few quotes from both the morning news conference and post-match news conference.
From the Morning news conference:
TPN: What do you want fans to get out of this night?
Caroline Wozniacki: lt’s going to be in amazing spirits for all of us, I think, to play in the Madison Square Garden. lt’s a very special arena, it has a lot of history to it, besides the US Open I think it’s great, but the tennis fans in general probably can get a close view to some of the stars around here. I mean sitting next to Andy, Rog and Maria it’s gonna be an amazing night and I hope the crowd will enjoy it.
Maria Sharapova: You know it’s one of those unique opportunities you don’t get to experience very often, and we usually know our schedules very well, we know the place we’re going to, cities we’re going to visit, stadiums. And to be part of that, it’s personally a first for me at Madison Square Garden in front of an incredible crowd. And hopefully full of energy like it always is, it’s just a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Roger Federer: I think coming back to a different period of the year, when tennis, you know, maybe not dominating the headlines here, I think this is really nice because it is an exhibition. Potentially, at times it is a bit more laid back for us as well, and we really try to make the most of it and promote enough, you know, see as many fans as we can, and so forth, as Andy mentioned. On a personal note, it’s just one of those things you look back on later in your career and say “lt was an amazing achievement, or feeling to be playing at Madison Square Garden.” And me also more on a personal note, the history of Madison Square Garden and tennis has always existed as well. lvan Lendl And McEnroe and all of the great legends of the game playing there in the past, it’s an opportunity for us to maybe be there as well a bit ourselves and who knows maybe the future pay back big tournament to the Garden.
Andy Roddick who referred to Roger Federer as the Dos Equis man was asked to comment on what this second-most respected person on the planet (Federer) has been doing lately on the tennis court?
Roddick: He’s been playing great. Obviously he played well in Australia but played seemingly better in Rotterdam and Dubai. lt’s amazing to see the level he’s still playing at, you know. A lot of the guys that we started with have kinda been done for 5 or 6 years now so it’s been fun to kind of I guess play during the same time, at times. And then um, it’s not surprising to see Roger winning the tennis tournament.
How much do you really enioy playing exhibitions, especially with the intense part of the schedule coming up the next few weeks, Indian Wells as well as Miami sort of take a break, and like you mentioned have some fun, interact with the fans l’m sure hopefully some kids?
Sharapova: ltâ€™s great in a way where there’s no pressure feeling of going into the match. lt doesn’t count for anything in terms of points and rankings but you’re still, you’re going out there and you can’t hide the fact that youâ€™re playing in front of ten thousands of people in an incredible environment. And you’re doing what you love and youâ€™re competing and ultimately the reason why people go out to see an exhibition match, even if it’s an exhibition, is to see why you play the game of tennis and how you play it. So they do want that competitive side of yours and to see the great tennis. But it also gives us a chance to just enjoy it a little bit more and a few days from a big tournament coming up in Palm Springs it’s also a great warm-up for us’
Wozniacki: Yeah definitely. You know an exhibitions always good fun, it’s good to interact with the fans, and hopefully they enjoy us. I tend to think so anyways. lt’s just great to play with a player like Maria you know it’s a big tournaments coming up, and she’s a great player. lt’s a good test for both of us as well and for a big tournament and to play here like she said in front of thousands of people. lt’s a special arena; it’s definitely going to be fun.
Roddick: As far as where it lies in the schedule, I don’t think its…l think a lot of the reason why the four of us are here is because of venue, the prestige of playing at a place like Madison Square Garden. You know I don’t think normally when you have 5 or 6 days in between tournaments, you’re not looking to fill those days with exhibitions too often, but you know I think special circumstances require special decisions and so for me it wasa pretty easy one.
Federer: For me, I like the change of the regular tournaments. After a year you just go for exhibitions sometimes. Exhibitions are usually held at different places than regular tournaments we go to. I also use it as a tool to promote tennis in different part of the regions of the world. Such as Asia, the Peking in particular and then obviously I start playoffs and more exhibitions in Europe and then US over 5 years ago. That was something very special and the big … should happen, but you get here in the states. Then I played here so that was sort of the pinnacle of my exhibitions l’ve played in over the years, and I’ve really enjoyed them, yes.
When questioned in the post-match news conference about why some downplay exhibitions:
Roddick: ‘lâ€™m not sure how 18,000 in the most famous venue in the world watching our sport can be a bad thing. I think it’s a great thing. There are a lot of people in here who don’t cover tennis on a regular basis and it’ll be out there tomorrow. I think it’s a huge positive for our sport.”
Federer: “We hardly ever play but when we do play it’s promoting the game in different parts of the world. lt is something that is different and fun…sometime as a player you want to do something maybe for charity.
â€œSometimes it’s a good situation and the timing is good to get some matches in before a big tournament.
â€œI think it all depends on the player. This one is nice and I thought it was worth it to play in.”
Sharapova: “That’s (entertainment) something that’s really good about exhibitions; giving that sense of entertainment and variety to the crowd. Obviously the reason people buy the ticket to see you play is because of what you’ve done on the court and ultimately at the end of the day that’s what they want to see. To see a bit of personality in the athletes, it’s like an open door for that, especially in an arena like this.”