2014/04/24

Business Men

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.

 

 

Share

BNP Paribas Showdown Live from MSG on March 3

bnpmsg

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.

Share

USTA to Attempt to Set Record for ‘‘Largest Tennis Lesson” in Conjunction with World Tennis Day

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., February 25, 2014 – The United States Tennis Association (USTA)  announced that in conjunction with World Tennis Day on March 3rd, it will launch thousands of Tennis Play Events nationwide throughout the month of March. These events are designed to encourage families and children of all ages and skill levels to try tennis. To help garner excitement for the initiative and to inspire youth, the USTA will attempt to set the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® title for the ‘‘Largest Tennis Lesson.” The event, which will be held on March 2nd, will feature more than 250 children from local youth organizations in the New York area participating in the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS attempt at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.

 

The event coincides with the World Tennis Day celebration at New York’s Madison Square Garden, which will feature US Open and Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray facing former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, and a sibling doubles matchup between the Bryan brothers, Bob and Mike, and the McEnroe brothers, John and Patrick in the BNP Paribas Showdown. The USTA will hold a special presentation recognizing  the World’s Largest Tennis Lesson preceding the evening’s tennis matches at the Garden.

 

Joining the efforts to get kids excited about the sport is Judy Murray, mother of Andy Murray, who will participate in the special presentation and on-court youth tennis demonstration with local New York City kids.

 

“I am excited to be part of the USTA’s efforts to enrich the lives of young people,” said Judy Murray. “Tennis is a fun way for parents to play with their children and encourage them to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.”

 

Since 2009, the USTA has led the charge in using World Tennis Day to provide a platform for facilities to register children for spring and summer programming. To date, more than 6,500 youth tennis events have been held as part of that initiative. Youth Tennis is focused on ensuring a positive first experience for kids by offering play for all ages and levels. An early, positive experience in sports is vital and creates a lifelong commitment to an active lifestyle.

 

“World Tennis Day is a celebration of our sport and a great platform to bring attention to the importance of getting kids active and ensuring a positive first experience in the sport,” said Dave Haggerty, Chairman, CEO and President of the USTA. “These efforts are part of USTA’s long-standing commitment to increase access to the sport. If we reach children when they are young enough, they can learn to love physical activity and tennis for life.”

 

The GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS attempt will take place March 2nd from 9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. EST at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Participating youth organizations include the New York Junior Tennis and Learning and the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education programs, among others.

 

The GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS presentation is scheduled to take place at 6:15 p.m. EST on March 3rd. The doubles match will be featured on ESPN3 at 7 p.m. followed by the singles match on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. The BNP Paribas Showdown is a production of StarGames and MSG Sports. Tickets are on sale now at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at www.thegarden.com and all Ticketmaster outlets.

 

To find a Tennis Play Event and information how families can get involved, visit youthtennis.com.

Share

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.

 

Share

“On The Call” with Andy Murray and the BNP Paribas Showdown at MSG

Murray BNP paribas

(January 29, 2014) Andy Murray discussed his upcoming match against Novak Djokovic in the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden scheduled for Monday, March 3 on a media conference call. The event which is part of World Tennis Day also features a doubles match featuring John and Patrick McEnroe as they take on the best doubles team of all-time and current World No. 1 Bob and Mike Bryan.

Here is a rough transcript of the conference call:

Q: Andy, there is another big event happening here in New York – do you have any predictions on the Superbowl?

 

Andy Murray (AM): I don’t follow American football hugely, but if I get the chance to I will try and watch the game.   I think I read on Twitter that Floyd Mayweather had bet $10 million dollars on the Denver Broncos to win, which is quite amazing.  I’ll go with them as maybe he knows something we all don’t.

 

Q: Are you looking forward to the event at Madison Square Garden?

 

AM: Yeah, it should be a great event. I’ve heard from the guys that played there before that it is an amazing atmosphere. When I went to look around they were in the middle of refurbishments but it looked liked it was going to be unbelievable so it should be a fun place to play!

 

Q: Andy, you had a very memorable 2012 U.S. Open against Novak (Djokovic). Would you characterize that as your greatest match with him ever?

 

AM: I guess from my side, yeah I would say that. I mean we’ve played in quite a few big ones over the past few years, we’ve played a couple of great matches in Australia as well, but I mean from my side that was my first grand slam for me, and the way that the match went as well where I was up two sets-to-love and then he came back and then to come through winning that, it was probably my best one against him.

 

Q: Can you just talk about the benefit for players at your level and Novak for playing an exhibition like this?

 

AM: It depends how you use them and what time of year they come at. I mean obviously in preparation for Indian Wells and Miami which are the two biggest events coming up, I mean to play a match in that atmosphere with that many people, you know is perfect preparation for those events coming up. I haven’t played in loads of exhibition matches over the last few years but it’s not often a chance comes around to play at a venue like that, Madison Square Garden. I am a huge, huge boxing fan and they have had a load of great fights over the years. I love my basketball as well so to play in a place like that where you might not be able to get that chance to do that ever again, where you know most tournaments we will get that opportunity. You know the exhibitions kind of will be great for us as players to play in different arenas and parts of the world, we don’t usually get to.

 

Q: Coming back from back surgery and playing the Australian Open, you are playing really well and then of course you play Roger. How do you feel about your expectations, did you feel you can play that well for a few rounds at the Australian Open?

 

AM: To be honest, I didn’t know, I didn’t really know. I think having not played at that level hurt me a little bit at the beginning of the match with Roger because he was obviously playing some really good tennis over in Australia. And, he started the match very well and at a very high pace. It was something that I almost wasn’t ready for and in a way I started to build into the match as it went on and to feel a little bit better as the match went on. I don’t know how I was going to play. I never had a surgery before. I didn’t know how my body was going to respond exactly. But, for the second tournament back it was good. I wasn’t expecting to play my best tennis but it was a good start. The positive is that my back is feeling good and hopefully that continues throughout the rest of the year.

 

Q: I saw on Twitter today you were tweeting your score evolution soccer match. Are you in San Diego right now? And, how are the preparations for the Davis Cup?

 

AM: Yeah, I got in on Sunday from Melbourne. It’s weird; I’ve never flown back to the States this way from Australia which was quiet strange. It was like an 19 hour time change for a 14 hour flight. So we left 11:00 on Sunday morning and we got back around 6:00 in the morning here, it was weird. I have kind of been struggling a bit with the jetlag. But they have set up a great stadium and stuff over here. I’ve never been to San Diego before. It’s a great city, everything is beautiful, and it’s so nice. The court’s a bit challenging as it’s very slippery and tricky to move on. The venue’s, I mean it’s incredible. It’s a great venue.

 

Q:  Did Ivan (Lendl) ever talk to you about some of the extraordinary matches he has played at Madison Square Garden and second to that, what is the greatest venue you have ever played in?

 

AM: I mean outside of the Slams I would say the Alter finals, I always find the atmosphere of playing indoors it seems like you are able to create … an extra buzz and a little bit more of excitement atmosphere. Like none of the noise kind of gets lost in the open. It all kind of stays inside of the arena. I think when Ivan was playing I mean he obviously played his last year with McEnroe you know they had the tour finals when he was playing and I hadn’t exactly spoken with him at that specific time matches. But I spoke with him about playing there he said it was amazing. Like the atmosphere was great and the event was unbelievable. I spoke to a couple of people about if it will ever go back there and it doesn’t look like it will work financially now-a-days. Ivan said it was a pretty cool place to play.

 

Q: Can you tell us how you feel when you are in New York City?

 

AM: There is so much energy in the city that’s for sure.  It’s a very busy place, there is a lot happening.  There is loads of stuff to do there.   When I was growing up it was my favorite place to play and favorite place to visit.  I love the event, I love the US Open, and I love the night matches and the atmosphere there.  It’s a fun place to go to because there is just so much to do.  As a player, all the big places we play in all across the world it’s a pretty unique atmosphere that you get at the US Open playing in New York.  It should be fun to go back and play at Madison Square Garden.  It’s a cool city and I’ve always enjoyed going there.  The first time I went I was fifteen years old and I’ve enjoyed it all the time.

 

Q: Did you get a chance to watch the final between Stan (Wawrinka) and Rafa (Nadal)?

 

AM: No, I was flying and I didn’t see any of it.

 

Q: What were your impressions in general on Stan’s performance in Melbourne and do you think it’s good for the game for someone like him to break through?

 

AM: I saw some of his match with Djokovic but I didn’t see too much of his matches during the first week.  He had a couple of walk-over’s in the first week and he played a great match with Novak.  I didn’t see the final and I saw a little bit of the semi-final with Berdych (Tomas) which was an unbelievable tight match.  I only heard what happened in the final from people who watched it.   I heard it was quite a tough watch just with everything that was going on.  Weather its good for the game or not that’s up for everyone else to decide.  As a player, when I’m playing I’m trying to win myself and when it’s done I try not to worry too much about it.  I think over the last, however long it’s been, there’s been so few different major winners.  I think, for fans it’s probably a bit more enjoyable to see the events a little bit more open than they have been in the past.  Different faces in the last stages of those events.

 

Q: Do you have any plans for an exhibition in Scotland this year?

 

AM: Yeah, we are looking to try and do one this year at some stage.  I’m not 100% sure it’s going to happen or not.  It’s something we definitely looked in to; I think it would be a good thing for me to do.  There’s no tennis competitions in Scotland, there is a few sort of Futures events.  There are no challengers or ATP events there.  It would be a good thing to try and set up an event or match there later on in the year if we can.  It’s not always easy to get the right venue to make everything work with timing with obviously with the way our tour works.   There aren’t loads of periods in the year where we can do it.  I’m hoping something will get started.

 

Q: Were you surprised when the US Team chose clay as the surface in Davis Cup and what are your thoughts on playing John Isner?

 

AM: I was a little bit surprised with the surface, to be honest.  By having played on the surface I see what they have tried to do.  It’s not like a traditional European clay court that is quite slow and heavy.  The sliding and stuff is different … I move okay on the clay. It’s not something I feel unbelievably uncomfortable on.  It’s not like a traditional clay court – it’s much faster, the balls are quick … there’s not a whole lot of top surface, it’s quite tough to move.  I can see what they were obviously trying to do with the surface.

 

In terms of playing Isner – I haven’t played him for a while. I think the last time I played him it was the US Open a few years ago.  He’s obviously always a tough guy to play just because of the way he plays and they way he serves and holds serve.  It’s always going to be a tough matchup.

 

The annual BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden is scheduled for Monday, March 3, 2014.  The McEnroe vs. Bryan doubles match will be followed by Andy Murray vs. Novak Djokovic. For more information: www.thegarden.com.

The BNP Paribas Showdown is part of the second annual World Tennis Day, a global celebration of tennis that includes Showdown events in Hong Kong and London in addition to New York City. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) and its member nations will host participation events such as clinics and open houses at clubs around the world as part of this day. In 2013, 58 nations held World Tennis Day participation events.

Share

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

 

 

Share

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

DSCF4586

(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.

1-DSC_0957-001

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.”

DSCF4609

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.

DSCF4611

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.

DSCF4613

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.”

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama

 

Share

Nadal Returns to Hard Court Play at the BNP Paribas Open This Weekend

 

Nadal

Rafel Nadal photo from http://wsenetwork.com

 

(March 4, 2013) NEW YORK, NY – Rafael Nadal will play his first hard court event since his return to the tennis tour later this week at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California. Nadal was sidelined seven months due to a knee injury. He bgean his comeback on the “Golden Swing” going 12-1, winning clay court events in Sao Paulo and Acapulco.

 

Nadal said that he can’t predict the future with his knee.”I go day by day,” Nadal noted in a morning news confernce in cojunction with BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden on Monday night, where he will play Juan Martin Del Potro. Serena Williams will play Victoria Azarenka to open the event which part of World Tennis Day.

 

“After seven months with a lot of pain in my knee, I don’t have the chance to decide which one will be my schedule for the future. I try to enjoy every one.”

“I have to see how the knee will last at Indian Wells next week, Nadal said. “Having the chance to play at Indian Wells is great. I didn’t know one week ago if I would be able to play at Indian Wells.”

 

“Today I know I can play on clay. I will try next week on the hard, he added. “Playing tennis will be a process to adapt my knee to the competition. I hope I will keep having the chances to play the normal calendar as I did in past years.”

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama

Share

Tennis Channel Kicks Off World Tennis Day

tennis_channel_logo

LOS ANGELES, March 1, 2013 – In celebration of World Tennis Day, Tennis Channel will air the 2013 BNP Paribas Showdown/Hong Kong on March 4 from 6:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. ET, live from the Asia-World Arena in Hong Kong with a pair of tennis legends and two of the top 10 players on the WTA tour. John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl will kick off World Tennis Day with a renewal of their 30-year rivalry. Then, former world No. 1 player Caroline Wozniacki takes on 2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska.

 

“We are excited to be an integral part of the global festivities honoring World Tennis Day and look forward to continue to bring viewers the sport’s greatest moments from around the world,” said David Scott, vice president of programming, Tennis Channel.

 

Tennis Channel will keep the celebration of World Tennis Day going all day by airing encore presentations of the 2009, 2012 and 2013 BNP Paribas Showdown events. The network will show the 2012 competition between Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova from 9:30 a.m.-11 a.m. ET. Other highlights of the schedule include World of Tennis‘ exclusive interview with Rafael Nadal upon his return to the game a few weeks ago (at both 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET) and Road to the Showdown at 6:30 p.m., hosted by Rennae Stubbs. From 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m. ET, the network will rebroadcast the 2013 BNP Paribas Showdown/Hong Kong. The day will conclude with an encore presentation of the 2012 BNP Paribas match between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick at 11:30 p.m. ET.

 

“We are delighted to be expanding our relationship with Tennis Channel to include World Tennis Day,” said Jerry Solomon, who serves as executive producer of World of Tennis. “The goal of World Tennis Day, which grew from Tennis Night in America and our relationship with the USTA, is to encourage kids and adults to participate in the sport. WE hope the chance to see so many of the greats playing the game throughout one day will inspire people to do just that.”

 

World Tennis Day was created by StarGames and is 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 featuring Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin del Potro, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka.

 

Radwanska, who is currently the No. 4 ranked player on the WTA Tour, takes the court in Hong Kong having won her three most recent matches with the tenth-ranked Wozniacki, despite Wozniacki’s 5-4 edge in the nine career meetings between the two players.

 

Lendl, who returned to the game last year to coach Andy Murray, compiled a 21-15 record against McEnroe from 1980-92, including a 7-3 record in Grand Slam events. In three classic Grand Slam Finals, Lendl defeated McEnroe twice – first at the 1984 French Open and then at the 1985 US Open Finals. In between those two defeats, McEnroe, who has been a member of Tennis Channel’s French Open, US Open and Davis Cup broadcast teams, upended Lendl at the 1984 US Open Finals.

 

Tennis Channel’s complete schedule of World Tennis Day activities can be found online at www.tennischannel.com/schedule.

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