2014/07/25

BNP Paribas Showdown Debuts in Hong Kong with Wozniacki, Radwanska, McEnroe and Lendl

Wozniacki Radwanska at BNP Paribas Showdown Hong Kong

By Natalie Ho

(March 4, 2013) HONG KONG – The BNP Paribas Showdown exhibition matches held at Madison Square Garden has a new sister event this year, held 13 time zones away in Hong Kong. While Hong Kong has the same amount of sky scrapers to match the Big Apple, Hong Kong’s tennis development is a long way behind, especially after losing the city’s men’s tour event some years ago. It is therefore to local tennis lovers’ great delight that a star-studded lineup had been confirmed to play the BNP Paribas Showdown Hong Kong that is part of a marathon of tennis events held across the world today to celebrate World Tennis Day.

 

World Tennis Day is an ambitious ITF grassroots campaign aimed at popularizing tennis. The main event here in Hong Kong was the exhibition between John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl, followed by Agniezka Radwanska taking on Caroline Wozniacki. Still sidelined Li Na was originally slated to play, but World No. 4  Radwanska is an equaly matched replacement in rankings. The two close friends Waozniacki and Radwanska said in the pre-match news conference that they hadn’t had a chance to see the city. Shame that the media couldn’t get in their favorite shopping question!

 

As for the matches, they were fun, lighthearted, and an opportunity for the players to try some flashy shot making.  Old rivals Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe met on court again after 17 years, with Lendl leading their head-t0-head record 21-15. This time it was McEnroe who won the pro set match 8-5. As usual he’s good money for any exhibitions, throwing his famous tantrums, questioning line calls, complaining about bad ball bounces that got the crowd into the match. Lendl responded in kind and the two together showed off some volleys, passes, dropshots and huge forehands that earned oohs and ahhhs from the audience.

Radwanska versus Wozniacki had more intense rallies but the mood was equally flamboyant. The good friends were uninhibited when it came to trying out fancy shots. A long groundstrokes and volley exchange in practice mode drew huge applause, and the ladies offered great entertainment with their exchange, dancing and inviting an former Hong Kong  player to play. In the final game Wozniacki requested coaching from her dad. It turned out to be futile as Radwanska closed it out 6-4, 6-4.

 

Again it was all smiles at the post-match news conference. McEnroe joked that this was the most memorable match in his rivalry with Lendl, who said he hoped his pupil  Andy Murray didn’t watch this match as it was 3:30am in California. The ladies were happy to be in Hong Kong despite their short stay. So that wrapped up the Hong Kong leg of World Tennis Day’s BNP Paribas Showdown, only to be continued immediately with the activities in New York City!

This is an exhibition but it’s still interesting to hear what the ladies had to say about playing friends on court as this pretty much happens week in, week out. To this Wozniacki said, “once you’re on court it’s a fight, and you fight for your life basically, and then when you’re off the court you’re friends agains and probably an hour or two after the match you just want to cool down, but then it’s a toss.”

 

Radwanska agreed, “We’re good friends because I think we can separate our private life and tennis and when we go on court, we both focus and we both want to win and then we shake hands and we’re friends again. We’ve been friends for 15 years!”

 

Naturally there were a lot of questions for Lendl about coaching strategies for Andy Murray. In typical Lendl manner he kept it tight-lipped. “My job is to coach Andy not to assess him in public. If I have something we need to work on, or I think Andy needs to work on, we do that. I never discuss it with anyone other than Andy.”

 

World Tennis Day is about helping tennis reach a bigger audience so as to ultimately benefit the sport. On trying to find the next big thing in America, McEnroe said, “Everyone in America, as well as many other countries, are looking for that next great player and the more that the game becomes accessible to youngsters and hopefully sexy in the way for kids to want to play in America. I can’t speak for every country, but it’s not that affordable.”

 

Share

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

WTD_Logo

(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.

Share

Tennis’ BNP Paribas Showdown Live from MSG on March 4

 

(February 26, 2013) ESPN3 and ESPN2 will present live the BNP Paribas Showdown 2013 from Madison Square Garden in New York on Monday, March 4, with two matches: a US Open rematch between the world’s top two ranked players, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka followed by Rafael Nadal – who recently returned to action after being sidelined since Wimbledon last summer – facing former US Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro.

ESPN holds exclusive live rights to the matches, and ESPN3 will begin at 7 p.m. ET with ESPN2 joining at 9 p.m. Chris Fowler will call the matches with Cliff Drysdale, Mary Joe Fernandez and Patrick McEnroe. The Nadal-Del Potro match will also be available on broadband in the U.S. in Spanish on ESPN Deportes +.

“The BNP Paribas Showdown – with top stars in compelling matchups from a venue rich in tennis history – launches a great month of tennis from ESPN, crisscrossing the country from Indian Wells to Miami and in early April the Family Circle Cup from Charleston,” said Jason Bernstein, senior director, programming and acquisitions in ESPN’s programming department. “We enjoyed a successful start to the year with the Australian Open, and ESPN is there with a year-round narrative, showcasing the deepest tennis schedule on television, broadband and via WatchESPN for fans on the go.”

Williams, holder of 15 major titles, regained the world’s top ranking after last week’s WTA event in Qatar, despite losing to Azarenka in the final 7-6 (6), 2-6, 6-3. Azarenka, winner of the last two Australian Open championships, is now ranked No. 2. The two return to New York, where Williams defeated Azarenka in last September’s thrilling three-set US Open final.

Nadal, who counts seven French Open titles among his 11 major victories, recently returned to action after a seven-month hiatus because of injury. He recently reached the final of both singles and doubles in his first comeback event and is ranked No. 5 in the world. He has not competed in the U.S. since playing in Miami last March. Del Potro, the 2009 US Open champ, is currently ranked No. 7.

The BNP Paribas Showdown from MSG will air live internationally on ESPN’s networks in more than 130 countries and over 47 million households throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, UK, Middle East, Africa and the Pacific Rim, including on ESPN Latin America in Del Potro’s home country of Argentina. In addition, ESPN’s broadband players in Latin America & the Caribbean (ESPN Play) and Australia & New Zealand (ESPN3) will also stream live simulcast coverage of this event.

BNP Paribas Showdown
Tickets remain available for the BNP Paribas Showdown and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office and all Ticketmaster outlets. The event is produced by StarGames and MSG Sports, and it takes place on Tennis Night in America as part of World Tennis Day. Youth participation events will be held around the world on March 4 in conjunction with the ITF and national governing bodies, including an extensive roster of events in the United States in partnership with the USTA. To find a participating location in the US, visit www.youthtennis.com. More information on the global events, including the BNP Paribas Showdown, can be found at www.WorldTennisDay.com.

Upcoming Tennis from ESPN
In addition to the BNP Paribas Open from New York on March 4, in March ESPN will present action from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., March 15 – 17, the Sony Open Tennis in Miami from March 27 – 29, and the WTA Family Circle Cup in Charleston, S.C. April 4-7.

Share

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

Share

BNP Paribas Showdown on World Tennis Day

BNP-030413-328x253.328.254

New York, NY (January 3, 2013) – The BNP Paribas Showdown brings tennis back to Madison Square Garden for the sixth time on March 4, 2013 featuring Grand Slam champions Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Juan Martin del Potro and Rafael Nadal. Once again, the event will headline a full day of nationwide activities as part of Tennis Night in America, but in 2013, the BNP Paribas Showdown will also be part of a global tennis participation effort on the inaugural World Tennis Day.

 

World Tennis Day will be held with the support of 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 BNP Paribas Showdown events in Hong Kong as well as the annual event at Madison Square Garden in New York. The World Tennis Day effort complements the ongoing Tennis Night in America initiative to promote 10-and-under tennis by the United States Tennis Association that has been held in conjunction with the BNP Paribas Showdown for five years.

 

“World Tennis Day is an opportunity for us to take the template of what has worked so well here with the USTA and Tennis Night in America to a global stage,” said Jerry Solomon, executive producer and President of StarGames, Inc. “Last year more than 2,000 clubs participated in Tennis Night in America activities around the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden. Youth participation in tennis is something we strongly believe in, so it seemed natural to try to build upon the success we’ve had in the US by partnering with the ITF in a global effort with World Tennis Day.”

 

Once again the BNP Paribas Showdown exclusively features players who have either won Grand Slams or ranked No. 1 in the World, if not both. Entering the 2013 season, the 17 all-time participants of the event at Madison Square Garden boast a combined 100 Grand Slam singles titles, 694 titles overall and a total of 1,561 weeks ranked No. 1.

 

Azarenka and Williams won three of the four  majors last year. The current World No. 1, Azarenka won the 2012 Australian Open to assume the top spot in the rankings. Williams was victorious at Wimbledon and the US Open while also bringing home gold medals in singles and doubles at the London Olympics. The two played each other in the final of the US Open in 2012, and will renew their rivalry on Friday (overnight Thursday in the US) in the semifinals of the WTA event in Brisbane, Australia.

 

Nadal will be making his first appearance in the US after a long injury layoff when he takes on del Potro in the BNP Paribas Showdown. In 2012, Nadal won a record seventh French Open title, but a knee injury prevented him from playing after Wimbledon. The start of the Spaniard’s 2013 season has been delayed by a stomach virus. The 11-time Grand Slam champion joins Andre Agassi as the only players to have completed a career Golden Slam. In 2009, Argentina’s del Potro broke through to win the US Open title. After wrist surgery in 2010, he returned to his top form in 2012, winning four titles and reaching the quarterfinals in three of the four Grand Slams.

 

The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by MSG Sports and StarGames. For more information www.thegarden.com. 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.

Share

Third Season of “World of Tennis” to Debut on Tennis Channel December 5

(November 29, 2012) NEW YORK, N.Y. – StarGames and MSG Sports have announced that the third season of “World of Tennis Presented by BNP Paribas” will debut next week. The first of seven episodes of the bi-weekly series will premiere on Tennis Channel at 7:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 5.

The 30-minute show will feature “Holding Court,” a profile segment hosted by Justin Gimelstob that this year will include interviews with tennis legends Jimmy Connors and Boris Becker as well as Olympic gold medal skier and tennis fan Lindsay Vonn. In the first two years of the show, Gimelstob’s guests included Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick and “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson.

The hot topics of tennis will also be covered on each episode during a round table discussion with Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Jon Wertheim and the editorial staff at Tennis.com.

Tennis Channel will debut a new episode of the magazine show every other Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. EST, until February 27. Each show will then re-air on Tennis Channel.

“We’re happy to have the new season of World of Tennis back on Tennis Channel again,” said David Scott, vice president, programming, Tennis Channel. “Since its inception the series has allowed our viewers to get an insider’s look at some of the most exciting players and pressing issues in the sport today.”

The season finale on February 27 will be a preview of World Tennis Day, which includes BNP Paribas Showdown events in New York City and Hong Kong on March 4. The sixth annual event in New York at Madison Square Garden is part of Tennis Night in America (TNIA) and will feature Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams, Juan Martin del Potro and Rafael Nadal. TNIA is an annual celebration of the sport in the United States which encourages 10-and-under tennis.

The BNP Paribas Showdown at AsiaWorld-Arena will mark the event’s first year in Hong Kong and will feature Li Na, Caroline Wozniacki, Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe.

“There is a lot of tennis on television, but I think ‘World of Tennis’ separates itself as a unique look at the personalities and stories in the game,” said Jerry Solomon, executive producer and president of StarGames. “It is only possible to present this show with the help of our partners at MSG and BNP Paribas. Collectively, we want to present tennis to the widest possible audience, and this show is a chance to not only showcase tennis but also to give fans a real inside look at the stories and personalities that make the game so compelling.”

Long-time tennis producer Jennie Silverstein will produce “World of Tennis Presented by BNP Paribas” for StarGames and MSG Sports. BNP Paribas, a leader in banking and financial services and the world No. 1 tennis partner, will be presenting sponsor, with additional support being provided by Tennis Magazine, Wilson, Getty Images, USTA, Tennis Night in America and the BNP Paribas Showdown.

Video highlights and uncut versions of the interviews from “World of Tennis Presented by BNP Paribas” are found on www.stargamesinc.com.

More information on the BNP Paribas Showdown events in New York and Hong Kong can be found on www.worldtennisday.com.

Share

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.

Share

“On The Call”- Nadal Encouraged by Recovery and Hopes to Practice Soon

Rafael Nadal spoke to media on a conference call from his home in Mallorca to promote his participation in the BNP Paribas Showdown scheduled for Monday, March 4 at Madison Square Garden as part of Tennis Night in America. Nadal will play Juan Martin Del Potro in the second match of the evening while Serena Williams will face Victoria Azarenka in the first.

Nadal has been off of the tour with a partially torn patella tendon since a second round loss at Wimbledon.

Nadal who has been swimming as part of his rehabilitation, said that he was encouraged with his progress and hopes to be able to practice soon.

“I don’t want to put any goals to play a tournament,” Nadal said. “I want to go day by day. I go every day to the gym and the swimming pool to continue with my recovery. I am trying to not think that far.”

“I am feeling a little bit better now than the first couple of months.

“It has been very, very tough for me because I feel my knee didn’t improve in the right direction, but today is something different. The last couple of weeks the improvement of my knee is something I really can feel.”

Hopeful of returning to the tour before the end of the year, Nadal is uncertain of how long it will take him to get back into playing shape.

“I will need a period of time of practice,” he said. “I don’t know if that will take a few weeks or one month and a half.”

 Conference Call Transcript

Nadal: I want to tell everybody thank you very much for inviting me to play in this great event. Roger told me it was a great event and I’m looking forward to being there especially not having the chance to play in New York at the US Open … I am excited to be there.

 

Q: You missed the U.S. Open. How do you feel about coming back into New York with the atmosphere that we have here with the exhibition match?

 

Nadal: As I said before, I’m very excited it’s something different it’s something special to play, it’s very special. All the exhibitions in every place are important to me … Playing at Madison Square Garden will be something very, very special, especially after not being in New York this year. That’s something bad for me that I didn’t play in the U.S. Open. It’s something that I felt really, really bad about when I had to take this position, but having the invitation to play in this fantastic event next year will be great. I’m very excited. As I said before, playing at Madison Square Garden is something that I’m very excited to do it. This is a special opportunity and I want to enjoy it.

 

Q: How do your preparations for an exhibition differ from when you’re preparing for a tournament like a grand slam?

 

Nadal: Well, it’s difficult to compare. When I play in exhibition, I want to go out, I want to play my best, I want to have fun, to create a very good show for the spectators and for MSG…All the things that I can provide…I try my best in every moment.

 

Q: Can you please tell us how you are feeling, and what is the status and state of your knee’s rehab?

 

Nadal: I’m working hard every day to recover as quick as possible…I am …feeling a little bit better now than the first couple of months. I’ve been very, very tough for me…because I feel that my knee didn’t move in the right way, right direction. But today is something different now. I feel the last couple of weeks I can feel the improvement in my knee…It feels very different now. The groove on my knee is something that I really can feel and it’s something that helped a lot of me to keep working hard, to keep doing everyday what I have to do. Today, at the moment, I am working to try to come back to practice in the tennis court for not very long periods of time.

 

Q: Do you have thoughts on the debate about prize money, and do you expect the players to be united as this moves forward next of course with the French Open?

 

Nadal: Well, the last couple of months I have been out of the competition, so I really have no idea about all of these discussions about the rights of the players…Today they have more information than me…In anything, the prize money, anything that can improve hours for the players…

 

Q: Do you think the players deserve more of the money from the grand slams?

 

Nadal: You know the thing is not what I think. What I think is nothing because I’m one player that… what is best for the Grand Slams, what is best for the players …It has nothing to do…we have a great and powerful ATP…I think they are doing the job for us…they are working hard to create a better tour…Improve the relationship with the Grand Slams…It would work with the support of the players. I really have no right to say it’s…it’s not fair, who’s upset, how much they have to put…I can say that they’re happy about our sport and they continue moving in a very good direction. I am happy to be part of this sport …Things that can improve? Always things can improve…

 

Q: Were there some deeper concerns that you weren’t going to be able to come back from this as well as you could in the past?

 

Nadal: That’s not an issue today. I never thought about that and the doctors never thought about that…I never really tired nobody so that’s something good for me…right direction…The only thing we tried to make conservative treatment…nothing serious…it feels that is working well…that’s what we tried and it seems like it’s working well…

 

Q: How soon do you expect to return to competitive tennis?

 

Nadal: I wouldn’t know. That’s something I will know when my knee is completely without pain. When I start to practice and I am … at long periods of time outside of the tennis court without competitions. I can imagine that when I come back on the tennis court, I will make period of time at practice to start slow and to improve and do more and more everyday … It could take 3 weeks, it could take one month and a half, I don’t know. Today what I think is continue with the treatment, continue with the…and when I don’t feel nothing, I’m hoping that will happen soon, I will come back on the tennis court…I will have a period of time to…and ready to compete.

 

Q: You’re seven and three against Del Potro, I know it’s an exhibition, but does the competitive nature in you really wants to win this or is just more for the fans?

 

Nadal: Well, whenever you are in an exhibition you want to do the right show for the fans. You want the fans to have the best time possible watching the match, but sure I want to win … I think everyone will try their best. At the end of the day to play an exhibition match you want to have the best show for the fans … I will do my best possible to have the fans enjoy the match.

 

Q: Did you watch any of the U.S. Open at all, and how hard was it not to be there considering it’s the first one you’ve missed since you played your first one back in 2003?

 

Nadal: I watched a few matches. Sure, it was tough to take a position like them playing in one of the most important tournaments of the year to know I played in the finals the last three years it’s something bad … It’s hard…I had success the first part of the season … I have to work hard every day to be back as soon as possible on the tennis court and back to competition …

 

Q: Novak said after Andy Murray won the US Open that tennis would be more interesting in 2013 because now you have four guys who won majors. Do you agree with that and how much more interesting can it get with all four of you having won a major?

 

Nadal: I really don’t see a big difference. Even if Andy doesn’t win a Grand Slam before this US Open Andy was ready to win a Grand Slam … The level was no difference. Now that he won a Grand Slam that is not going to change my thoughts…when I go on a tennis court with Andy Murray … hopefully I will have the feeling that I can win. Even he doesn’t win the Grand Slam I think he is a fantastic player and his chances to win Grand Slams … are always high. He is a fantastic tennis player.

 

Q: To clarify – you’re not hitting on a tennis court but you hope to hit soon? And do you expect to play in London or Davis Cup or is that now impossible?

 

Nadal: Impossible? No. Difficult? Yes. Let’s go day-by-day. After missing the Olympics and after missing the US Open I don’t want to make goals to play a tournament. I want to go day-by-day in the gym and in the swimming pool … to continue with my recovery. I’m trying not to think that far and take it day-by-day … after not going to the Olympics and after not going to the US Open that was two important goals for me … I wish today the situation was different, but I’m going to go day-by-day …

 

Q: You’ve had a long time now since you’ve been resting your knee to think about this. Is there any chance because your knees have been a problem for quite some time that you will make a serious adjustment or change in your schedule for when you come back?


Nadal: My feeling is that the hard court is probably the most … frustrating to play for my knee and for my ankles. Today the hard court is probably one of the most important surfaces on the tennis tour. I really do not have too many chances to change my schedule. If I want to keep having chances to be in the top position in the rankings I really have to follow the ATP Tour schedule. I can make a few adjustments, but not much …


Q: Have you spoken to other athletes who have had the same injury and talk to them about how they felt after they came back or the time table?


Nadal: I have the right people I think and they are really confident about my recovery. There is no information on the different athletes … my recovery has been very satisfactory …


Q: Spain has drawn Canada in February on the vote. Does Canada have any chance at all against the powerful Spain under those circumstances?


Nadal: I’m sure. Yes, Spain has a great team….it’s going to be a difficult confrontation for the Spain team …

Tennis Panorama News participates in many tennis media conference calls. “On The Call” serves to give readers an inside view into the world of tennis news.

 

Share

Serena Williams, Azarenka, Del Potro Celebrate Next Year’s BNP Paribas Showdown

New York, NY – On Wednesday the sixth annual BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden was announced. The event which is scheduled for Monday, March 4, 2013 will feature World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, facing off against Serena Williams. Following the ladies will be Juan Martin del Potro, versus Rafael Nadal.

Friday early evening Azarenka, Williams and Del Potro met a select group of media at a small party to celebrate the Showdown.

Tennis Panorama News asked Del Potro about playing in the “World’s most famous arena.”

“I’m very proud to be part of this big, big show with big players, Rafa also playing, said the 2009 US Open winner. “It’s nice, I will enjoy it.”

Azarenka also spoke to Tennis Panorama on playing for the first time in Madison Square Garden: “I’m really excited to be part of this event and playing against Serena I think will be a great show. I always have been watching it on TV, so it’s definitely a great honor to be a part of and to play in Madison Square Garden, you know it’s extra special. I’ve never been here so, I’m really, really excited as well.

Rafael Nadal out of the US Open with a knee injury, was unable to attend.

Azarenka is the top women’s seed at the US Open which begins on August 27, with Williams at No. 4. Del Potro comes in to the tournament as the No. 7 seed.

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama

Share

2013 BNP Paribas Showdown to feature Nadal, Del Potro, Serena Williams and Azarenka

6th ANNUAL BNP PARIBAS SHOWDOWN RETURNS TO MADISON SQUARE GARDEN ON MARCH 4, 2013

RAFAEL NADAL, JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO, SERENA WILLIAMS AND VICTORIA AZARENKA TO CONTINUE THE TRADITION OF TENNIS AT THE GARDEN

New York, NY (August 22, 2012) – New York area tennis fans are in for another great night of tennis  with some of the world’s top players scheduled to appear for the sixth annual BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden on Monday, March 4, 2013.   World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, the reigning Australian Open champion and Olympic bronze medalist, will get the night started against Wimbledon champion and Olympic gold medalist Serena Williams. Following the women will be Argentine Davis Cup star, 2009 US Open champion and Olympic bronze medalist Juan Martin del Potro, who will step onto The Garden court against one of the game’s all-time greats, former World No. 1 and eleven time Grand Slam champion, Rafael Nadal.

 

The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by MSG Sports and StarGames. Tickets will start at $50.00 and will go on sale October 9 @ 10:00 a.m. and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at www.thegarden.com and all Ticketmaster outlets.  For more information and an opportunity to sign up for pre-sale alerts prior to tickets going on sale, fans can visit www.tennisshowdown.com.

 

“While I am disappointed to be missing a trip to New York for the US Open I am happy to announce that I will be coming to New York to play at Madison Square Garden on March 4,” said Nadal.  “New York has many great memories for me and I am really looking forward to playing against Juan Martin in front of all of the New York tennis fans that night.”

 

“New York and the New York fans represent something special for me as I had my first Grand Slam win here,” said del Potro.  “So it will be great to come to Madison Square Garden and play in a world famous arena against Rafa which should bring out a lot of flags from Spain and Argentina, making it an exciting night of entertaining tennis. I am really looking forward to playing in the Showdown.”

 

“I always love playing in New York and at Madison Square Garden,” said Williams.  “The last time I played there I won the Billie Jean King Cup which was a huge honor for me. It will be exciting to be back at the Showdown with the other great players. I am sure it will be another fantastic night.”

 

Azarenka added: “I have heard from some of the other players how exciting it is to play in the Showdown at Madison Square Garden so I am really looking forward to being part of the event. It should be a great night for tennis.”

 

“We have had tremendous success with The BNP Paribas Showdown, building on the storied tennis history at The Garden that spans more than 80 years. The annual event continually attracts the biggest names in the sport, garners support from industry leading brands as marketing partners and fills The World’s Most Famous Arena with a sold-out crowd that includes the who’s who of New York,” said Scott O’Neil, president, MSG Sports. “The Garden is the place where legends come to perform, and we are thrilled to have Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin del Potro, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka perform on the world’s biggest stage on March 4.”

 

“It is hard to believe that this is the sixth year of the BNP Paribas Showdown which has now established itself on the tennis calendar as one of the most entertaining nights of the year,” said Jerry Solomon, Executive Producer and President of StarGames.  “We are honored to have Rafa, Serena, Juan Martin and Victoria join a list of only the very best in tennis who have played at the Showdown. It promises to be another ‘must see’ event for New York tennis fans.”

 

“We at BNP Paribas are delighted to be the title sponsor of this terrific event in the heart of NYC for the fifth consecutive year,” said Michele Sicard, BNP Paribas Managing Director of Corporate Communications.  “It keeps getting better every year and we look forward to another fantastic BNP Paribas Showdown featuring some of the best tennis players in the world.”

 

“Tennis Night in America” has annually marked the start of the tennis season in the United States and begins a month of professional events that include the BNP Paribas Open and Sony Ericsson Open.

 

One of the most exciting players of all-time, Rafael “Rafa” Nadal, is currently ranked No. 3 in the world and is a former World No.1 player.   Nadal, “The King of Clay,” has won a total of eleven Grand Slam singles titles, including an all-time record seven French Open championships; the 2008 Olympic gold medal; and a record 21 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments; and was also part of the Spain Davis Cup team that won the finals in 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011.

 

The Spaniard is the seventh player in history to complete the Career Grand Slam by winning the 2010 US Open and only the second male player to complete the Career Golden Slam (winner of the Career Grand Slam and the Olympic gold medal) after Andre Agassi. He has at least two Grand Slam titles on each of the three surfaces and is the second male player to win any Grand Slam tournament seven times, matching Pete Sampras’ and Roger Federer’s seven Wimbledon titles.

 

Juan Martin del Potro, is currently the eighth ranked player in the world and the highest ranked Argentine player on the tour.  He broke the top-10 ranking in 2008 and reached his career-high ranking or No. 4 in 2010.  He was named the Comeback Player of the Year in 2011 after rising from a low of No. 485 to finish the season at World No. 11.

 

In 2008, del Potro became the first player in ATP history to win his first four career titles in as many tournaments. Del Potro captured his first Grand Slam title at the 2009 US Open, defeating Nadal in the semifinal and Roger Federer in the final becoming the first man to defeat both heavyweights in the same Grand Slam tournament. Del Potro is the only player other than Novak Djokovic, Nadal and Federer to have won a grand slam singles title since 2005. He became the second Argentine and the fifth-youngest man to win the US Open title in the Open Era. Del Potro recently captured the bronze medal at the London Olympics in 2012.

 

Serena Williams, currently ranked No. 4, has held the World No. 1 ranking on five separate occasions, dating back to 2002 and is considered one of the greatest players of all-time.  She has recorded 29 Grand Slam titles (14 singles, 13 women’s doubles, 2 mixed doubles), making her ninth on the all-time list and is only the fifth woman to hold all four Grand Slam singles titles.  The 14 Grand Slam singles titles is sixth on the all-time list and among all active players she holds the most Major titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles.

 

Additionally, Serena has won four Olympic gold medals, one in women’s singles and three in women’s doubles.  During the London Olympics  she became the second player after Steffi Graf to win a career Golden Grand Slam after winning the gold medal and the first player in history, male or female, to win the Golden Grand Slam in both singles and doubles (with Venus Williams).

 

Williams captured the inaugural “BNP Paribas Showdown” held on March 2, 2009 at Madison Square Garden with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over sister Venus Williams. The field also included 2008 French Open Champion Ana Ivanovic, as well as year ending No. 1 Jelena Jankovic.

 

Victoria Azarenka is the current World No. 1 female player in the world.   She won the 2012 Australian Open singles title, becoming the first Belarusian player to win a Grand Slam in singles. Her other achievements include winning the Bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, two mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, the 2007 US Open (Max Mirnyi), the 2008 French Open (Bob Bryan) and the gold medal in the mixed doubles at the 2012 London Olympics (Max Mirnyi).

 

Back in January of this year Azarenka won her ninth WTA title at Sydney and won first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open becoming No.1 on January 30 (rose from No.3 to No.1 – first player ever to skip No.2 en route to No.1).

 

With the exception of Serena Williams, this will be the Madison Square Garden debut for the players.

 

The Madison Square Garden Arena has been host to some of the greatest matches and biggest names in the sport for more than 80 years.  The men’s and women’s year-end tour championships took place at The Garden from 1977-1989 and 1979 – 2000 respectively and featured the likes of Björn Borg and Martina Navratilova.

 

After an eight year hiatus professional tennis returned to The World’s Most Famous Arena on March 10, 2008 with the sold-out NetJets Showdown between World No. 1 Roger Federer
and former Grand Slam record holder Pete Sampras.

 

The following year women’s tennis returned to The Garden with the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup in 2009 and 2010.  Players who have participated include: Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters, Ana Ivanovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Jankovic.  In 2011, four legends of the game took to the court when Ivan Lendl squared off against John McEnroe followed by Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.

 

As part of the second phase of The Garden’s three-year top-to-bottom Transformation, the upper bowl of the Arena will be completely transformed, including significantly improved sightlines, an expanded Garden Concourse (eighth Floor) with city views and new first-class food and beverage options, new Madison Suites and an all-inclusive Madison Club. Final work will also be completed on the Madison Concourse (sixth Floor), including the addition of an homage to The Garden’s more than 130-year history. Work on the Madison Square Garden Transformation will continue to be a year-round project, with the majority of construction taking place during the offseason when the building will be shutdown. For more information on the MSG Transformation, visit www.msg.com/transformation.

 

HEAD-TO-HEAD STATS LOCATED BELOW

 

###

 

 

WILLIAMS VS. AZARENKA

YEAR       EVENT                                                     SURFACE                 ROUND                   WINNER                  SCORE    

2008        AUSTRALIAN OPEN                                HARD                      R32                          WILLIAMS               6-3 6-4

2009        AUSTRALIAN OPEN                                HARD                      R16                          WILLIAMS               3-6 4-2

2009        MIAMI                                                     HARD                      F                              AZARENKA              6-3 6-1

2009        WIMBLEDON                                          GRASS                     Q                             WILLIAMS               6-2 6-3

2010        AUSTRALIAN OPEN                                HARD                      Q                             WILLIAMS               4-6 7-6(4)

2011        TORONTO                                               HARD                      S                              WILLIAMS               6-3 6-3

2011        US OPEN                                                 HARD                      R32                          WILLIAMS               6-1 7-6(5)

2012        MADRID                                                  CLAY                        F                              WILLIAMS               6-1 6-3

2012        WIMBLEDON                                          GRASS                     S                              WILLIAMS               6-3 7-6(6)

2012        OLYMPICS                                               GRASS                     S                              WILLIAMS               6-1 6-2

 

 

NADAL VS. DEL POTRO

YEAR       EVENT                                                     SURFACE                 ROUND                   WINNER                  SCORE

2011        ESP vs. ARG DC Final                              CLAY                        RR                           NADAL                     1-6, 6-4, 6-1, 7-6(0)

2011        WIMBLEDON                                          GRASS                     R16                          NADAL                     7-6(6), 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-4

2011        ATP WORLD TOUR – MADRID                CLAY                        R16                          NADAL                     W/O

2011        ATP WORLD TOUR – INDIAN WELLS     HARD                      S                              NADAL                     6-4, 6-4

2009        US OPEN                                                 HARD                      S                              DEL POTRO             6-2, 6-2, 6-2

2009        ATP WORLD TOUR – CANADA               HARD                      Q                             DEL POTRO             7-6(5), 6-1

2009        ATP WORLD TOUR – MIAMI                  HARD                      Q                             DEL POTRO             6-4, 3-6, 7-6(3)

2009        ATP WORLD TOUR – INDIAN WELLS     HARD                      Q                             NADAL                     6-2, 6-4

2007        LONDON / QUEEN’S CLUB                     GRASS                     R32                          NADAL                     6-4, 6-4

2007        ROLAND GARROS                                   CLAY                        R128                        NADAL                     7-5, 6-3, 6-2

2007        ATP MASTERS – MIAMI                          HARD                      R16                          NADAL                     6-0, 6-4

 

Share