2014/04/17

Radwanska Replaces an Injured Li Na in Hong Kong BNP Paribas Showdown

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(February 27, 2013) HONG KONG – Wimbledon finalist and current World No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska has been announced to join the field March 4 at the BNP Paribas Showdown at Asia-World Arena in Hong Kong on World Tennis Day. Radwanska will play two-time year-end No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki following a men’s match featuring long-time rivals Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe.

 

Radwanska will replace China’s Li Na who has been forced to withdraw due to the ankle injury she sustained in last month’s Australian Open final.

 

“It is very unfortunate that Na has to pull out of the event and I know no one is more disappointed than she is, but I am very pleased to be able to welcome Agnieszka to the BNP Paribas Showdown line-up” said Jerry Solomon, Promoter of the BNP Paribas Showdown. “The very painful injury Na incurred in the final of the Australian Open last month has not responded enough to intense treatment.

 

“We send Na our best wishes for a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her next year but in the meantime we look forward to welcoming Agnieszka to Hong Kong for the Showdown.”

 

The Chinese star expressed her disappointment and said she would be back in Hong Kong to play the 2014 BNP Paribas Showdown.

 

“I am very sad to announce that I won’t be able to play in the BNP Showdown in Hong Kong,” said Li. “Unfortunately, the ankle injury I had in the Australian Open final is still not ready for me to compete. I know I have some of the best fans who live in Hong Kong and I was looking forward to playing for them. I promise I will be back next year.”

 

Radwanska owns 12 career titles, including wins already this season in Auckland and Sydney as well as a quarterfinal finish at the Australian Open.

 

“Li Na is a great ambassador for our sport in Asia and across the world so I’m very honored to be invited to Hong Kong to be her replacement,” Radwanska said. “We are both very evenly matched in the world rankings right now so I’m confident the standard of tennis will be just as high.

“Caroline and I are great friends but also long-standing rivals, so I expect a hard fought contest. I’m also looking forward to catching up with my Asian fans who are always good to me. I am really excited to get to Hong Kong and take part in the BNP Paribas Showdown.”

 

Wozniacki has a 5-4 edge in the nine career meetings between the two players, however Radwanska has won their last three matches, including earlier this month in the quarterfinals in Doha.

 

On the same night tennis legends and Hall of Famers John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl will rekindle their historic rivalry which will no doubt provide fans with plenty more thrilling tennis. Lendl won 21 of their 36 pro career meetings.

 

The BNP Paribas Showdown Hong Kong is the start of World Tennis Day, www.worldtennisday.com, which is held in conjunction with the International Tennis Federation to promote Tennis10s, which tailors the game to its youngest players with smaller racquets, lighter balls and modified scoring. The cornerstones of World Tennis Day are grassroots opportunities for young players to participate in the sport at the local level.

 

The HKTA will be hosting special clinics to introduce kids to the sport. Among the many nations participating in World Tennis Day are USA, Canada, Argentina, China P.R., Czech Republic and South Africa.

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Azarenka is Ready for Melbourne, Looking Forward to Madison Square Garden

Victoria Azarenka serving china Open

( January 10, 2013) MELBOURNE/NEW YORK -  Prior to her participation in the Australian Open draw in Melbourne on Friday morning, No. 1 Victoria Azarenka took time out for an international conference call to promote taking part in the BNP Paribas Showdown on March 4, 2013 in Madison Square Garden where she’ll take on Serena Williams.

Azarenka who pulled out of the Brisbane International last week due to a big toe injury says she ready to go in Melbourne: “I’m feeling really good. If you’re asking about my foot, it’s feeling much better … the last couple of days. The scary part is in the past as it happened in Brisbane. I’m really glad … I can practice full time right now.”

This will be the sixth annual BNP Paribas Showdown as part of Tennis Night in America on World Tennis Day. In the opening match, Victoria Azarenka will take on Serena Williams followed by Rafael Nadal’s return to action in the US after an injury layoff as he plays Juan Martin del Potro.

For Azarenka this will be her first time playing in “the world’s most famous arena. ” I’m very excited and once I heard about this opportunity I said yes right away, Said Azarenka. “It’s something really magical to be a part of this event and play at such an amazing facility.”

Coming into the Australian Open as the defending champion and into the 2013 season in general, is she under the pressure of expectation?

“My approach to this year is the same as every year,” said Azarenka.  “I try to do my best; you set up priorities and goals for the tournaments. I don’t really want to defend anything I’m here to try and win another title. That’s how I look at it…and at the end of the year try and get to the championships because that is the point we all know that you we are being pretty consistent throughout the whole year. My main focus and attention will be on the Grand Slams.”

“The season has started already and the Grand Slam season starts here right now. I think women’s tennis is great, competitive atmosphere right now… There are a lot of girls who can show some great tennis. For me personally, I’m very excited to be a part of this competition. As for who I have my eyes on, I’m not sure. I’ll have my eyes on the ball (laughs) and on me. The top ten and the rest of the players are the ones to watch for. I’ll be looking forward to whoever I play.

The most I’m looking forward to is having a great match and I hope the crowd enjoys it and I can’t wait to be a part of this match, Azarenka said about he future BNP Paribas Showdown match versus Serena Williams. “I visited Madison Square Garden during the US Open and it was under construction and I was absolutely amazed. As a kid you watch all those events coming up – concerts and the games and you dream about it. I have it locked in my mind and for me to actually be there will be an honor.”

The BNP Paribas Showdown is part of Tennis Night in America and the inaugural World Tennis Day.  More information about World Tennis Day events and the BNP Paribas Showdown matches in New York and Hong Kong can be found online at www.WorldTennisDay.com. The Hong Kong event will feature John McEnroe against Ivan Lendl and Caroline Wozniacki against Li Na.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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Li Na, Wozniacki Featured as Hong Kong Plays Host BNP Paribas Showdown on World Tennis Day

(November 21, 2012) HONG KONG – Li Na, Asia’s first Grand Slam champion, will take on two-time year-end world No. 1 and Grand Slam finalist Caroline Wozniacki while eight-time Grand Slam champion Ivan Lendl will renew his rivalry with John McEnroe, a seven-time Grand Slam champion, during the BNP Paribas Showdown on March 4 at the AsiaWorld-Arena in Hong Kong.

The BNP Paribas Showdown will be produced by StarGames, Inc., in conjunction with the Hong Kong Tennis Association. It marks the first time the AsiaWorld-Arena has played host to such an international tennis event.

“Once more, BNP Paribas is proud to bring the best of tennis to Asia by supporting this outstanding sporting event, as it does with the same acclaimed tennis event in New York. We are excited to share our passion and enthusiasm for tennis with the fans in Hong Kong” said Paul Yang, Chief Executive Officer for BNP Paribas Hong Kong. “The BNP Paribas Showdown gives the bank a perfect opportunity to accelerate the growing awareness of our brand in Asia and it reaffirms our commitment and loyalty to this region and to this sport”.

The matches will take place the same night as an event with the same name is held at Madison Square Garden in New York City as part of the first annual “World Tennis Day.” Serena Williams will play Victoria Azarenka in the first match in New York, followed by Rafael Nadal against Juan Martin del Potro.

“With five successful years of the BNP Paribas Showdown in New York, the time is right to expand this to a global event with the World Tennis Day platform,” said Jerry Solomon, executive producer and president of StarGames. “The popularity of tennis in Asia made it natural for us to pursue an event in this region. Hong Kong is proving to be a fantastic partner, and BNP Paribas, as the world’s biggest sponsor of tennis, is the perfect title sponsor.

“I am excited to see this group of four players who will put on a great show. Lendl, McEnroe and Wozniacki have each played for us at the BNP Paribas Showdown in New York in front of crowds of over 17,000 at Madison Square Garden and we now welcome Li Na to the group for the first time. The AsiaWorld-Arena will be the place to be on March 4.”

Li finished 2012 ranked No. 7 on the WTA Tour. The 30-year-old from China owns six career titles, highlighted by her historic victory at the 2011 French Open. She reached the final at four WTA Premier events in 2012, winning the title in Cincinnati.

“For me it is always exciting to play in Asia,” said Li. “I hope to have the crowd support in this match. It will be a great night for tennis, and hopefully it gets more people playing the game.”

Wozniacki is second among active players for weeks ranked No. 1 with 67, including year-end finishes as No. 1 in 2010 and 2011. She finished 2012 ranked No. 10, her fourth straight Top 10 season. The 22-year-old from Denmark is fourth among active players with 20 career titles, including 2012 wins in Seoul and Moscow.

“It’s great to have the chance to play in Hong Kong again,” said Wozniacki. “It’s also exciting to be part of the first World Tennis Day. I hope it’s successful in getting more kids playing around the world.”

Li has a 3-2 head-to-head edge in their series, though Wozniacki won their only 2012 meeting, which came in Tokyo in October. In 2011, Wozniacki was a straight set winner over Li in the Hong Kong Tennis Classic. They will play a best-of-three set match at the BNP Paribas Showdown.

Lendl won 94 titles in his career and was the No. 1 ranked ATP player for 270 weeks. He reached the final at 19 Grand Slam tournaments in his career, winning a total of eight titles. He had 13 Top 10 seasons. At the ATP tournament in Hong Kong, Lendl won the title in 1980. He then won consecutive Marlboro Championship titles from 1990-92.

“I have always enjoyed playing in Hong Kong. It is a place with a lot of good memories including one of my first ever wins on the pro tour. I will look forward to playing John in the BNP Paribas Showdown which has been a great event in New York and I am sure will be just as popular in Hong Kong.”

McEnroe, who played in the 2011 Hong Kong Tennis Classic, spent 170 weeks ranked No. 1 while winning 77 career singles titles. He reached the final at 11 Grand Slam tournaments, winning seven titles. In his career, he had 10 seasons with Top 10 finishes.

“I’m happy be a part of an event like World Tennis Day that gets juniors playing our sport,” McEnroe said. “The Tennis 10s programmes with 10-and-under rules that are now in place make it easier than ever for kids to participate.”

Lendl and McEnroe played 36 times over 12 years on the ATP circuit, with Lendl holding a 21-15 advantage in the series. Both Lendl and McEnroe have been enshrined at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, USA. They will play an eight-game pro-set at the BNP Paribas Showdown.

World Tennis Day is held in conjunction with the International Tennis Federation to promote Tennis10s, which tailors the game to its youngest players with smaller racquets, lighter balls and modified scoring. The cornerstones of World Tennis Day are grassroots opportunities for young players to participate in the sport at the local level. The day is highlighted by the BNP Paribas Showdown events in New York and Hong Kong.

“World Tennis Day and the BNP Paribas Showdown will bring more attention to Tennis Play and Stay and Tennis10s, two programmes with proven success in growing participation,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. “World Tennis Day will give the ITF and our member nations an opportunity to showcase their efforts to grow tennis, while fans can also enjoy some of the game’s brightest stars playing in events like the BNP Paribas Showdown.”

The BNP Paribas Showdown in Hong Kong will be broadcast internationally. Details of the telecasts will be announced at a later date.

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