2014/12/21

Roger Federer vs. Grigor Dimitrov in BNP Paribas Showdown at MSG on March 10, 2015

Federer vs Dimitrov

(October 22, 2014) New York, NYRoger Federer will return to Madison Square Garden to face Grigor Dimitrov and headline the annual BNP Paribas Showdown on Tuesday, March 10, it was announced today.

 

Federer, current World No. 2, will make his third appearance in the BNP Paribas Showdown after facing Pete Sampras in 2008 and Andy Roddick in 2012.  Arguably the greatest tennis player of all-time, he holds several men’s world records including holding the world No. 1 ranking for an unprecedented 302 weeks, including 237-consecutive-weeks from 2004 to 2008; winning 17 Grand Slam singles titles; reaching each Grand Slam Final at least five times (an all-time record); and reaching the Wimbledon final nine times. He is one of seven men to capture the career Grand Slam. Federer also shares the Open Era record for most titles at the Australian Open with Andre Agassi and Novak Djokovic (4), at Wimbledon with Pete Sampras (7) and at the US Open with Jimmy Connors and Sampras (5).

 

The young rising star, Dimitrov, who is often compared to Federer, is currently ranked No. 11 and will be making his Madison Square Garden debut.  He recently cracked the top ten when he climbed to No. 8 after reaching the Wimbledon semifinals in 2014.  Dimitrov is the only Bulgarian tennis player to ever be ranked in the top 10.  He’s also the first Bulgarian to win an ATP singles title (Stockholm – 2013) and reach a final in doubles (in 2011) as well as the only one to reach the third round or better at a Grand Slam tournament.

 

The two top players faced each other once before in Basel, Switzerland with Federer beating Dimitrov 6-3, 7-6 (2) in a quarterfinal match.

 

The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by MSG Sports and StarGames. Tickets start at $50.00 and will go on-sale Monday, October 27. They can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at www.thegarden.com and at all Ticketmaster outlets.

 

“It’s huge and I’m unbelievably excited.  I did have the honor twice already to do it, once against Pete Sampras and once against Andy Roddick and both nights were very special,” said Roger Federer.  “I’ve played in many arenas and many cool places around the world but, there is nothing like MSG.  That is why when I heard there is another opportunity for me to come back and people wanted to see me, it got me going and I can’t wait for March 10.”

 

“Growing up, Roger was one of my heroes. To play him on such a stage is definitely an honor for me. I am really happy and excited to be part of the event since it is one of the biggest sporting venues,” added Grigor Dimitrov.  “This will absolutely be different. I’m getting goose bumps thinking about it. I’m just going to really enjoy it and embrace the moment. You are in New York and in one of the biggest arenas against arguably the best player of all-time. It means a lot to me to have an opportunity like that. I’m just going to try and make every moment count.”

 

“The BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden has continually showcased the very best players in the world and has provided countless thrills and terrific moments for New York tennis fans,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, MSG Sports.  “At any given moment you can see Ben Stiller come from the crowd to play doubles or watch the No. 1 golfer in the world, Rory McIllroy take to the Garden court. Having the best player in the world in Roger Federer back for a third time to face Grigor Dimitrov will certainly entertain the thousands in attendance and make new memories for years to come.”

 

“The BNP Paribas Showdown continues to be the crown jewel of World Tennis Day and this year will be no different with the New York fans being able to see great tennis between Roger and Grigor who I expect will put on a dazzling display,” said Jerry Solomon, president StarGames Inc.  “And, to add to the excitement, we will soon be announcing an opening match which will feature two of the greatest players in women’s tennis history to fill out a night that no one will want to miss.”

 

The 8th annual BNP Paribas Showdown, which consistently attracts the biggest names in tennis, will follow the likes of Pete Sampras, Rafael Nadal, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Ivan Lendl, Juan Martin del Potro, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Mike and Bob Bryan, John and Patrick McEnroe, Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic who all took part in previous Showdowns providing unforgettable memories for New York tennis fans.

 

As in years past, the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden will once again headline a full day of nationwide activities as part of “World Tennis Day,” a global tennis participation effort. All events promote tailoring the game to players 10-and-under with smaller racquets, lighter balls and modified scoring.

 

Additional information on the BNP Paribas Showdown and World Tennis Day will be announced at a later date.

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By Vito Ellison

(March 4, 2014) NEW YORK – The Bryan Brothers drew an error on the opening point of their match against John and Patrick McEnroe last night. After that came a volley winner from Bob, a smash off Mike’s racquet and ultimately a hold at love. The terse opening game was punctuated by a surly one-way Bryan chest bump and a glare across the net from the younger duo that would’ve made Victoria Azarenka drop her headphones. The teams were at Madison Square Garden to participate in the seventh annual New York exhibition commemorating World Tennis Day (nee Tennis Night in America). It was abundantly clear that despite the Bryans’ relentlessly positive demeanor; they hadn’t just come to town for the usual hit-and-giggle or even the appearance fee. They came to win a showdown.

“This one we’ve really been looking forward to,” said Mike Bryan of playing at the World’s Most Famous Arena. “We’ve been really kinda antsy to be out there. It felt good to walk on that court. It’s unlike any other arena, just the history, just to be a part of an event at Madison Square Garden.” While the Bryans were certainly inspired by the opportunity to play on the famed Garden floor, they without a doubt were also boosted by bulletin board material provided by the elder McEnroe brother.

In a December 2013 interview ahead of the Statoil (Senior) Masters event in London, John McEnroe made very pointed remarks about doubles and the players who currently specialize in the discipline, “Most doubles players, I hate to say, are the slow guys who were not quick enough to play singles,” McEnroe opined at the time, specifically calling out the Bryans asking “What do you think they are playing doubles for?” In the same conversation, McEnroe also called on the sport’s tournaments to ditch doubles and use the funds to help lower-ranked singles players afford the high cost of a pro career. “Why we are even playing doubles at this point is a mystery to me.” After three games, the World No.1s had earned 12 of the 13 points played.

Why a mercy rule wasn’t in effect might have been the bigger mystery to the audience at MSG, as the West Coast twins ran roughshod over the native New Yorkers. “At 7-0, we were looking at each other, feeling a little weird,” the Bryans noted. They appeared to tamp down the intensity before exiting with an 8-3 win.

The Bryans may have felt some twinges of empathy for their friend and longtime US Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe. “He’s a prisoner of war, he got caught in the middle,” laughed the Bryans in the post-match presser, while noting they weren’t alone in drawing McEnroe’s ire. “[Patrick] missed a couple of shots and Johnny Mac rolled his eyes, right from the beginning, you could see it in his face.”

Ultimately the McEnroes’ late rally did little to excite the crowd, who were perhaps stunned at the drubbing the Bryans inflicted in the early-going. While the Bryans seemed to be serving clear notice to the elder team regarding John’s comments, they insisted it was merely a matter of the teams’ respective levels. “There’s no bad blood,” the Bryans said. “I don’t know how Johnny’s gonna take it, but it is what it is. We’re in midseason form and we’re the No. 1 team in the world right now”

In the second match of the evening, World No. 2 Novak Djokovic defeated reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray 6-3, 7-6 (2) in a relatively straightforward encounter that saw the retired, reigning ladies champ Marion Bartoli briefly rally with Murray.

Vito Ellison was in Madison Square Garden covering the BNP Paribas Showdown for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his personal twitter @vblacklabel. and visit his site Blacklabeltennis.com.

 

 

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BNP Paribas Showdown Live from MSG on March 3

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From ESPN: ESPN3 and ESPN2 will combine to present live the BNP Paribas Showdown 2014 from Madison Square Garden in New York on Monday, March 3, with two matches:

  • A cross-generational, all-U.S.A. battle of brothers in doubles at 7 p.m. on ESPN3 as ESPN commentators John and Patrick McEnroe square off in a pro set against the Bryan Twins – Bob and Mike – of California, who have teamed for 15 Major titles;
  • A 2013 Wimbledon finals rematch at 9 p.m. on ESPN2 and WatchESPN between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, who became the first British subject to win the event in London in 77 years, since Fred Perry in 1936.  The duo has won six of the last 11 majors.

 

Chris Fowler will call the matches, working with Brad Gilbert for the doubles, and on the singles with Patrick McEnroe – fresh off the court – with Gilbert courtside.  The Djokovic-Murray match will also be available on broadband in the U.S. in Spanish on ESPN Deportes +.

 

Djokovic, currently ranked No. 2 in the world, has won six Major titles in his career.  Murray, No. 7, has captured two and triumphed over Djokovic in the finals of each – last summer’s Wimbledon and the 2012 US Open.  Nevertheless, the Serbian leads their head-to-head series 11-8.  In addition, he has won 28 of his last 29 matches (including the final 24 of 2013).  Among active players, they are third (Djokovic – 41), and fifth (Murray – 28) for career titles.

 

The Bryan brothers have won all four Majors among their 15 Grand Slam titles, nine different Masters 1000 championships, the World Tour Finals, Olympic Gold, and the Davis Cup.  The own a record 93 titles together and have finished as the year-end No. 1 team nine times.  John McEnroe, one of the great doubles players in the history of the sport, has nine Major men’s doubles titles on his resume, plus a Mixed Doubles victory at the 1977 French Open.  He has teamed with his brother Patrick to win a three doubles championships – in 1984 in Richmond, Va., the Paris Indoor event in November 1992 and the 2012 French Open Over 45 Legends Invitational.  Patrick also won the 1984 French Junior Doubles crown and 16 pro doubles titles, including the French Open in 1989 with Jim Grabb.

 

The BNP Paribas Showdown from MSG will air live internationally on ESPN’s networks in 48 countries throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Canada, UK, Middle East, Africa and the Pacific Rim.  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.

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US Juniors Francis Taifoe and Reilly Opelka to Lead Off BNP Paribas Showdown at MSG

Francis Tiafoe

Francis Tiafoe

(February 20, 2014) New York, NY – Two promising American junior players will once again be featured as part of the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden. The match will feature a pair of 16-year-olds when Francis Taifoe takes on Reilly Opelka as part of World Tennis Day on March 3.

 

These juniors will play prior to Andy Murray taking on Novak Djokovic and the Bryan brothers facing the McEnroe brothers in the seventh annual BNP Paribas Showdown.

 

“We are very happy to have Francis and Reilly playing at the BNP Paribas Showdown this year,” said Jerry Solomon, President of StarGames, Inc. “So much of our mission with World Tennis Day is to encourage young players to pick up a racquet, so it’s important to have the opportunity to showcase junior players who are on their way to a future in the pro game. And it provides these young players an invaluable experience to compete in an arena like Madison Square Garden.”

 

Tiafoe is currently the No. 8 ranked junior player in the world. In 2013, he claimed his biggest title when he won the prestigious Orange Bowl, a tournament with a roster of former champions that includes Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Andy Roddick and Roger Federer. He also helped the United States win a gold medal in World Junior Tennis, a 14-and-under team competition. Tiafoe trains at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., which is a USTA Certified Regional Training Center. Tiafoe began training at the center when coming to work with his father, an immigrant from Sierra Leone, who is a custodian there.

 

Opelka hails from Palm Coast, Fla., but now trains at the USTA Regional Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla. He finished 2013 with third round showings at the Orange Bowl and Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championships as well as the US Open junior tournament. Opelka stands 6-foot-8.

 

This will be the fourth time juniors have been included in the BNP Paribas Showdown. The previous junior matches have been:

2008: Denis Kudla (15 years old) vs Junior Ore (15)

2009: Sloane Stephens (15) vs Gail Brodsky (17)

2010: Nicole Gibbs (16) vs Sachia Vickery (14)

 

Several of those players have gone on to continued success. Stephens is currently ranked No. 18 in the world and broke onto the pro scene in 2013 with a run to the Australian Open semifinals. Kudla has reached a pair of ATP quarterfinals in his career, and broke into the Top 100 for the first time late 2013. Gibbs has won back-to-back NCAA individual championships while playing at Stanford.

 

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Andy Murray Announces Participation in 2014 BNP Paribas Showdown

Andy Murray

(August 19, 2013) NEW YORK, NY – Andy Murray announced his participation in the seventh edition of the BNP Paribas Showdown set for the evening of March 3, 2014 in Madison Square Garden on World Tennis Day. The announcement took place in a rooftop bar called the Local Cafe with a view of Madison Square Garden as a backdrop. Murray will play Novak Djokovic while it will be a tennis brother’s doubles battle in the other match up when John and Patrick McEnroe face off against Bob and Mike Bryan.

Murray and Djokovic will play a best-of-three sets match, while the McEnroes and Bryans will open the evening with an 8-game-pro set.

In making the announcement, the reigning Wimbledon champion Murray was joined by New York Rangers’ hockey goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

In bringing his rivalry with Djokovic to the “World’s most famous arena,” Murray said the he’s looking forward to playing in Madison Square Garden as he’s heard about the history attached to the venue.

Murray, coming into the US Open as the defending champion, the Scotsman says there is no clear cut favorite to win the title.

Tickets for this event go on sale November 4 at www.thegarden.com

The BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden will headline a full day of nationwide activities as part of “Tennis Night in America” and “World Tennis Day,” a global tennis participation effort. Both events to promote tailoring the game to players 10-and-under with smaller racquets, lighter balls and modified scoring.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

 

 

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Del Potro and Serena Williams Victorious at BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden

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(March 4, 2013) NEW YORK, NY – World Tennis Day was celebrated from Hong Kong to New York on Monday.In New York’s Madison Square Garden, Juan Martin Del Potro and Serena Williams were celebrating wins over Rafael Nadal and Victoria Azarenka respectively, in the BNP Paribas Showdown.

The ladies led off the event. Both women appeared a little out of practice to start but began to demonstrate their shot-making skills later in the first set which Williams won 6-4.

Redfoo

Redfoo

At 3-3 in the second set Azarenka called on her boyfriend pop music star Redfoo to play a point for her.  He missed both serves to which Azarenka commented, “He needs to practice before his exhibition.”

Azarenka and Williams honored Nadal by playing a few points left-handed. Williams took the match 6-4, 6-3.

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Serena Williams photo from http://wsenetwork.com

In their post-match news conference they revealed that they will be shooting a karaoke video to Rihanna’s “Stay.” Williams made not that Azarenka is one of only a few players that she’s close to off of the court.

V. Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka photo from http://wsenetwork.com

 

Williams said Azarenka is one of the few players she’s close to off the court.

“We really respect each other,” Williams proclaimed “I love Victoria as a person. I love how she’s so competitive on the court.”

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With all of the talk about being concerned about playing on hard court, Rafael Nadal looked comfortable playing Del Potro on a hard court  in the “world’s most famous Arena.”

For both men it was their “garden” debut.

Despite Nadal losing 7-6 (4), 6-4 to Del Potro, the Spaniard appeared to move pain-free and was smiling throughout the match. He was, however, cautious about jumping for overheads.

They also dabbled in some trick-shot plays. Both players attempted between-the-legs shots and headers like soccer players.

Nadal brought actor Ben Stiller for a few point to play doubles against Del Potro and a little girl from the crowd. The young girl proved to be a better player than the actor- comedian. After winning both point Del Potro carried the little girl for a few moments to the cheers of the crowd.

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Juan Marin Del Potro

In the post-match news conference, Del Potro could relate to Nadal’s seven-month absence from the tour as Del Potro was sidelined for eight months with a wrist injury in 2010.

“It’s amazing how great he’s recovered,” the Argentine said.

“He’s going to be fighting for No. 1 very, very soon”

I his first three tournaments back, Nadal’s  is 12 – 1 with two titles – all on clay courts. Nadal has expressed his concern with playing on hards with Indian Wells and Miami coming up.

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Rafael Nadal

“That will be a big test for me,” Nadal said as he will play in Indian Wells later this week. “Today I know I can play on clay; that’s a very important thing to know for me.

“Today, my only goal is to recover the knee 100%. I feel better and better every week. If things go well, I’ll try to keep playing.”

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Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama

 

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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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Rafter Rallies Past McEnroe To Win NASDAQ Indexes Cup in Madison Square Garden

(November 5, 2012) NEW YORK, NY– Two-time US Open Champion, Australia’s Patrick Rafter won his second PowerShares Series title in four days by defeating hometown boy John McEnroe, 8-3 in the championship match of the NASDAQ Indexes Cup Monday night at Madison Square Garden. Rafter won last Friday’s event I Philadelphia. Rafter, down 1-3 in the final, won the next seven games to take the match.

 

“It’s just a thrill for me to be back out here competing in front of the fans again,” said Rafter. “I had never played in this building, so what an added thrill, and a dream come true for me. I can’t thank the fans enough for coming out tonight to watch us play, in light of what this part of the country has been through lately. I hope we were able to provide some good entertainment.”

Rafter who promised before the match that he would serve and volley on every chance he could, used his aggressiveness to take down Pete Sampras 6-3 in the first semifinal of the night. Sampras was sporting knee-high socks due to a calf strain.

 

In the second semifinal, New York’s own John McEnroe, zoomed out to a 4-0 lead over Andre Agassi. Agassi eventually gained back the two service breaks to draw even on serve at 4-5, but McEnroe broke him to seal the match 6-4.

 

For Rafter, this was his first time playing in Madison Square Garden. “I’m excited,” he said before the matches began. He said that had attended the Knicks game on Sunday and it made him very nervous. He said that he’d hope to play well and that he did.

The win moves Rafter into a tie for third in the 2012 PowerShares Series rankings with Jim Courier.

Monday Night Scores
Semifinal 1: Rafter def. Sampras, 6-3
Semifinal 2: McEnroe def. Agassi, 6-4
Final: Rafter def. McEnroe, 8-3

UPDATED 2012 POWERSHARES SERIES RANKINGS
1.            McEnroe              1200
2.            Sampras               1100
3.            Courier                 800
Rafter                   800
5.            Lendl                     400
6.            Chang                   200
7.            Agassi                   100
Martin                    100

More to follow

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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

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Sharapova and Roddick Win with Laughs and Quality Tennis at the BNP Paribas Showdown

Caroline Wozniacki watches boyfriend and PGA Professional Rory McIlroy walk on the tennis court in her match against Maria Sharapova at the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 5, 2012. UPI/John Angelillo

 

 

NEW YORK, NY (March 5, 2012) – On Monday night in Madison Square Garden 18,079 people attended the BNP Paribas Showdown exhibition which saw World No. 2 Maria Sharapova defeat No. 4 Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-4, while No. 31 Andy Roddick topped No. 3 Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6 (7).

This was all a part of Tennis Night in America an annual celebration of tennis in collaboration with the USTA since 2008, with over 1,400 facilities hosting youth tennis events featuring 10 and Under Tennis throughout March all in an effort to get more children involved in playing tennis. Before the matches there was a demonstration of of 10 and under tennis with smaller racquets, foam balls played on the court with blended lines showing the shorter court lines within.

Maria Sharapova hits a backhand in the second set of her match against Caroline Wozniacki at the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 5, 2012. UPI/John Angelillo

In the first match Demark’s Wozniacki was broken in the opening game of the match and in the ninth game to give Russia’s Sharapova the first set 6-3.

The second set opened with Sharapova broken at love and Wozniacki headed for a 4-2 lead and lost the next four games – game, set, match Sharapova 6-3, 6-4.

The match was not without its lighter moments despite mostly intense tennis- Wozniacki and Sharapova danced with spectators. With Wozniacki a game away from losing she invited her boyfriend the No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy to pay a point against Sharapova which he won when Sharapova hit a lob wide on the sideline.

 

Wozniacki said, ”He was not too pleased with me but at least he can say he played tennis at Madison Square Garden.

“Not a lot of people can say that, so he got an experience out of it and he got to play against Maria.”

McIlroy also noted that ”I’ve won a few (points) off Caroline.”

 

In jest, Sharapova told Patrick McEnroe covering the event for ESPN “He (McIlroy) won more points than Caroline did.”

Andy Roddick shakes hands with Roger Federer after their match at the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 5, 2012. UPI/John Angelillo

The men also had some fun of their own.  During the American’s  win over the Swiss, a few fans yelled, “Let’s go, Rafa!” So Roddick obliged them by pushing up his sleeves and placing his racquet in his left hand, but ended up playing the point right-handed and grunting with each strike of the ball like Rafael Nadal. After Roddick won the point, he celebrated Nadal-style with by copying the Spaniard’s vintage “vamos” fist pump.

The men also exchanged between-the-leg shots (aka “tweeners”) in one rally, Federer made it, Roddick hit his into the net.

 

The first set saw both men exchange breaks, Roddick with the ultimate break for the set to go up 6-5 and he closed it out on his serve. Both men held serve in the second set and forced a tie break. Roddick saved a Federer set point at 5-6 and took the tiebreak 9-7 and the match in straight sets.

“It’s pretty clear tonight. . . I’m in Roger’s head.”

“I was real excited when I got the invite to play here” Roddick said. “I grew up an avid sports fan and the things I remember most vividly are Jordan playing here, him coming back here, and the first time he came back after that, Reggie Miller and Spike Lee talking trash to each other- all that great stuff. To be able to play here, where so much history has happened in every area of entertainment, was a real special experience for me.

“Tonight it felt good. Honestly I really enjoyed myself and that lead to me playing well. So hopefully I can use this a little bit. I had a great time.”

 

Federer added: “lt was a chance to build great momentum but it was a tough trip and was a tough day today. Andy played great. I was really happy to see him playing so well. I have been around the globe playing tennis myself. I heard Andy was struggling a little bit so it is good to see him play so well and hopefully he can make another run at the top-10. I really enjoyed myself tonight and hope to be back some day.”

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

Morning “Showtime” for BNP Paribas Showdown For Federer, Roddick, Sharapova and WozniackiTennis Night in America Spokesman McEnroe Says There is “Work to Be Done” To Get Kids into Tennis

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