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.


Second Annual World Tennis Day to be Held March 3, 2014


(October 28, 2013) The International Tennis Federation (ITF) and StarGames announced that the second annual World Tennis Day will take place on Monday, March 3, 2014.

World Tennis Day will center around a series of high profile special events, produced by StarGames, featuring current and former professional players, enhanced by activities generated by the ITF’s National Associations around the globe to grow tennis participation. In 2014, the number of cities hosting the special events will double from the inaugural year, with Bangkok and London joining Hong Kong and New York.

World Tennis Day was staged for the first time in 2013 with 55 nations hosting participation events. In addition, BNP Paribas Showdown events were held in New York and Hong Kong.

“World Tennis Day proved to be a very successful initiative, using high profile special events to bring attention to the developmental activities of our member nations on every continent,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. “The enthusiasm and commitment of our National Associations to World Tennis Day in its first year was inspiring and we expect an even greater take-up in 2014 and beyond. March 3rd will be an important day in the international tennis calendar with huge focus on our sport on World Tennis Day.”

“The first year of World Tennis Day really exceeded all our expectations. With two great events, over 50 nations participating in the programme, television coverage in over 130 countries, and trending on Twitter, we truly had a worldwide celebration of tennis,” said Jerry Solomon, President and CEO of StarGames, Inc. “Looking to 2014, with events in Hong Kong, Bangkok, London and New York, we will be in four of the world’s biggest financial and tourism centres, and anticipate even more nations to participate in grassroots programmes, giving us a platform for truly bringing the world together to play tennis.”

In New York, the 2014 BNP Paribas Showdown will once again take place at Madison Square Garden and be part of the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Tennis Night in America initiative. The MSG event will feature Novak Djokovic playing Andy Murray, as well as Bob and Mike Bryan taking on John and Patrick McEnroe.


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


(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.



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.


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.”


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.


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.


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



Tennis Channel Kicks Off World Tennis Day


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.


BNP Paribas Showdown on World Tennis Day


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.


A Peek Into Season Three of “World of Tennis”


(December 5, 2012) NEW YORK, NY – The “World of Tennis Presented by BNP Paribas” enters its third season this year debuting on Tennis Channel.

The 30-minute seven episode program includes “Holding Court,” an interview segment hosted by Justin Gimelstob.

“It’s an opportunity to go deep,” said  show host and former touring pro turned tennis broadcaster Gimelstob of his “Holding Court” segment.

“It’s not a post-match ‘How did you play, what do you need to do to win your next match.’ It’s an opportunity to learn about people and I love people, I love telling the stories. I love the connection. I love being able to help people know more about the sport of tennis and the people that they look up to. I’m truly a lover of the sport a proponent and believer in tennis. The best way to grow the sport is to get people folks that are connected. To be able to do that is a long form interview. So I think that’s been something missing from our sport. Hopefully this could be something that could be the start of something very, very significant.

“Hopefully my relationships with the players in the sport make them more comfortable and more comfortable means they are more willing to open up.”

The show’s producer Jennie Silverstein talked about what would surprise viewers most about what goes on “behind-the-scenes” at “World of Tennis.”

“I think it might be how genuine what you see on the air is,” said the veteran tennis producer. “If you were to be hanging around while we were filming, you might not know when we actually started rolling the cameras. So many of these conversations you see on air continue once the camera stops.

“Some of the issues we get into with the Tennis.com team are things I think they could debate for hours if you gave them the chance. The “Holding Court” segments tend to be more conversations than a Q&A, so it’s almost like you just happened upon Justin and the guest in a coffee shop, not a formal interview set. I think that feeling of comfort is one of the strong suits of the show.”

“I think viewers will enjoy this new season. Our roundtable discussions with the Tennis.com editorial staff is always enjoyable because these guys know the sport so well. It’s like a guilty pleasure to eavesdrop on their debates. To have Jimmy Connors sit down for a long form interview with Justin for “Holding Court” was a great thrill because he doesn’t do a ton of interviews. There’s a long way to go during the season, but I look forward to the World Tennis Day preview in our final episode because that’s such a great initiative for the sport and I think we’ll be able to uniquely look ahead to what’s in store on March 4 with not only the BNP Paribas Showdown events in New York and Hong Kong but also the grassroots activities around the world.”

So what does it take to produce this type of program? “From start to finish, it takes a few weeks to do each episode, but the amount of day-to-day work varies during those weeks,” Silverstein elaborated. “Like anything, it starts with planning. We work to line up guests for Holding Court and topics for the Tennis.com staff to discuss. There are considerable logistics for the “Holding Court” interviews, including getting personnel to the interview locations, hiring crews, etc. So that’s time consuming. It’s easier with the Tennis.com group because they are here in New York, but we still have to coordinate schedules and a crew. The interviews take a day to shoot. Then the shows take a few days to edit, and that’s probably the trickiest part. You have to balance managing the time allotted for a particular segment against the content that is available. Once we have that formatted, we go through add other imagery and graphics to really complete the package.

“Producing live tennis and producing this show are very different,” said Silverstein who has produced at all of the “Grand Slams, ” Masters Series tournaments and many other tennis events.  “World of Tennis has a specific length, so everything we do has to fit within that parameter. A tennis match has it’s own pace and no set time limit. We can set an agenda for World of Tennis, and plan what stories we want to tell. A live match is more reactionary to how the match unfolds. So they both have unique challenges. I enjoy being able to be involved in both sides of it because they are so different. Regardless of that format, tennis is intriguing because of how many individual stories there are in the sport. Whether it’s World of Tennis or a match, the story telling is something I enjoy.”

Gimelstob is excited about the upcoming season with interviews with Hall of Famers Jimmy Connors and Boris Becker, current pros Serena Williams, Andy Murray, Juan Martin Del Potro and tennis enthusiast, skier Lindsay Vonn.

“It’s a really nice mix of the most well-known people in the sport from the past, the present and the future,” said Gimelstob.

The show will air every other Wednesday  beginning December 5, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. EST, until February 27 with a re-broadcast on Tennis Channel.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News


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.


World Tennis Day Launched by ITF and StarGames

(November 18, 2012) The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has announced that it has entered into an agreement with StarGames to launch World Tennis Day to help promote tennis participation around the world. The inaugural World Tennis Day will be held on Monday March 4, 2013 as part of the 2013 ITF Centenary activities.


World Tennis Day will be centered around a series of high profile exhibition events around the world, including the well-established BNP Paribas Showdown in New York’s Madison Square Garden. Each of the events, organised by the promoter StarGames, will feature current and former professionals together with demonstrations of the ITF’s Tennis10s programme aimed at increasing participation among young players around the world.


Alongside these events, the ITF will be encouraging its 210 National Associations to support World Tennis Day with their own grassroots and club activities to attract new participants to the sport.


The United States Tennis Association (USTA) has already established the successful Tennis Night in America in conjunction with the BNP Paribas Showdown in which clubs are asked to open their doors as part of a month-long drive to get children playing the sport. Over 2,200 clubs in the United States took part in this initiative in 2012.


Several other National Associations have already pledged their support to join the USTA in World Tennis Day activities in 2013, including Davis Cup finalists Czech Republic and Spain, plus Argentina, Brazil, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Norway, Portugal and South Africa. Announcements about further exhibition events will be made soon.


The ITF’s Tennis10s programme, which promotes the use of slower and lower bouncing balls, shorter and lighter rackets, and smaller courts to make it easier for children to take up the game. Tennis10s is a supporting programme of the Tennis Play and Stay campaign, the ITF’s global initiative launched in 2007 aimed at increasing tennis participation worldwide. Tennis Play and Stay centres around the slogan of ‘Serve, Rally and Score’ and seeks to promote tennis as an easy, fun and healthy sport.


“We look forward to World Tennis Day as a way to put a spotlight on tennis participation,” said ITF President Francesco Ricci Bitti. “The very successful Tennis Night in America, staged by the USTA in association with StarGames, is an example of how special events and participation activities can be combined successfully. We look forward to events around the world over the next few years, and to see our 210 member national associations get behind World Tennis Day with activities in their own countries on that day.”


Ivo Kaderka, president of the Czech Tennis Association (CTA), said: “We think World Tennis Day will be very good for tennis worldwide and the CTA looks forward to getting involved in this initiative.” Anil Khanna, President of the Asian Tennis Federation and All India Tennis Association, said: “We will be delighted to support World Tennis Day.”


Jerry Solomon, President and CEO of StarGames, said: “Our partnerships with the USTA on Tennis Night in America and BNP Paribas on the Showdown have proven successful so to be able to expand this to World Tennis Day in partnership with the ITF and its 210 member nations is a unique opportunity. I want to thank the ITF leadership for sharing our vision and look forward to the day when World Tennis Day brings focus to the sport through multiple special events combined with the Tennis10s programme across the globe.”


Tennis Play and Stay and Tennis10s are programmes with proven success in growing participation,” said Dave Miley, ITF Executive Director of Development. “This initiative will give both the ITF and our member nations a great opportunity to showcase and draw extra attention to what they are doing to grow tennis in their countries through World Tennis Day.”


“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.



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