August 1, 2015

Federer Would Love the ATP Year End to Come Back to MSG, “but everything needs to be right”

(March 10, 2015) NEW YORK, NY – Madison Square Garden played host to the BNP Paribas Showdown on Tuesday in conjunction with World Tennis Day. The main exhibition event saw world No. 11 Grigor Dimitrov take down No. 2 Roger Federer 6-2, 1-6, 7-5, rallying from a break down in the final set in front of 14, 894 fans.

Madison Square Garden held the ATP World Tour Finals from 1977-1989. Tennis Panorama News asked Federer and Dimitrov about bringing the event back to New York City.

Tennis Panorama News: “You both clearly enjoy playing in the Garden, do you think the ATP should bring the Year End back here?”

Federer: “Yeah, let me answer that. I’ve been in politics a little be more in the game than Grigor has.

“I think if we come here, everything needs to be right – the time, the money, to be honest, because in London we have an unbelievable tournament going on right now. So it needs a lot in my opinion to move away from O2 (Arena) which is a wonderful venue It’s sold out every single session – day session, night session and it’s very, very successful so I don’t know what the ATP is going to do with it, but it’s the crown jewel of the ATP Tour and a lot of thought will go into it and I’m sure they are checking out different venues all around the world. But clearly also speaking to London, which has a lot of history, the same as here in New York.

“So in my opinion, I would love see the Year End Championships in a strong market, in a cool city – and clearly New York fits the bill for that but still I think that a lot needs to be done, but clearly in some way I would love to see tennis back at the Garden. No doubt about it, especially after tonight again.”

In a bit of levity after both men were asked about their initial memories about Madison Square Garden, 33-year-old Federer reminisced about watching New York Knicks games on TV in the early 1990s, while 23-year-old Dimitrov added: “I was born around the ’90s,” which elicited laughter from those in the news conference.

Although, the win for the Bulgarian is only an exhibition victory, he’ll take it. Dimitrov is 0-3 on the tour against the Swiss. “I have so much respect for him,” he said.

“I think he played very well, “Federer said. He did really well to turn the match around, honestly. So credit to him. It’s a lot of pressure – first time at the Garden.”

“We did have some great shots,” Federer said. I thought it was actually a pretty high level match at the end of the day.”

In one rally, both men exchanged between-the-legs shots, also known as a “tweener.” Dimitrov also substituted himself out of the match during the third set, and let a young boy take over for a point. The boy hit a lob winner over Federer’s head. “It’s special to play at the Garden,” Federer said. ” This is only my third time. This is very unique and enjoyed the experience.” “I’m thrilled. It was an amazing experience for me,” Dimitrov said of his first time playing in the Garden. ” To be out there playing against Roger.”

The evening at the “Showdown” began with a pair of Hall of Fame members squaring off to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their five-set 1990 WTA Finals match which also took place at Madison Square Garden.

Gabriela Sabatini, 44 exacted a little revenge with her 8-5 pro set win over 41-year-old Monica Seles. Seles won the match 25 years ago.

Speaking of Hall of Famers, Roger Federer admitted that Martina Hingis has approached him about playing mixed doubles with her at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

“I have to figure out things, what my priority is at the end of the day and Martina has done a lot for tennis in Switzerland,” said the fellow Swiss. “She was a hero of mine. Seeing her on the tour basically when I was still, not knowing what I was doing on the tennis court really.  She was already winning Wimbledon and all those things.”

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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Cori “Coco” Gauff and Gabriella Price will Square-Off in Juniors match at BNP Paribas Showdown

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New York, NY (February 26, 2015) – Two talented junior players will once again be featured as part of the annual BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden. The match, presented by HEAD Penn Racquet Sports, will feature Cori “Coco” Gauff and Gabriella Price as part of World Tennis Day on March 10.

 

The match will take to the court prior to tennis legends Monica Seles and Gabriela Sabatini facing each other in a 25th anniversary rematch of their famed 1990 five-set WTA Championship final and Roger Federer taking on Grigor Dimitrov in the main event of the eighth annual BNP Paribas Showdown.

“One of the most rewarding parts of World Tennis Day is seeing the juniors participate in clinics and matches,” said Jerry Solomon, President, StarGames Inc.  “Sloane Stephens and Dennis Kudla, among others have played at the BNP Paribas Showdown before launching their professional careers and we hope others will follow in their footsteps. Maybe one day one of our juniors will be back to play in the main event!”

 

At 10 years old, Cori “Coco” Gauff is a young tennis champion on the rise. Coco started playing tennis just short of her seventh birthday. Her love and dedication to the sport has resulted in a number of championship titles including the 2014 USTA girls 12 Clay Court Super National Singles where she was the youngest winner in USTA history at the young age of 10. There are many more wins for Coco on the horizon, so continue to be on the lookout for this up and comer!

 

Gabriella started playing tennis when she only four years old. Since then, Gabby has grown leaps and bounds in her tennis skills, along with her love of the game. Currently, Gabby is 11 years old and ranked #3 in the nation in Girl’s 12 and under and top 90 in Girl’s USTA 14 and under. Her heart, will and spirit to compete have helped her endure tough challenges along the way and has increased her chances for success at a young age. Gabby wants to be the best she can be and dreams about winning many Grand Slams when she is older.

 

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

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)

2015: Francis Taifoe (16) vs Reilly Opelka (16)

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“On The Call” with Monica Seles on Upcoming match versus Gabriela Sabatini at Madison Square Garden at the BNP Paribas Showdown

Monica Seles at 2012 hall of Fame induction

(January 15, 2015) NEW YORK, NY – A pair of Tennis Hall of famers, Monica Seles and Gabriela Sabatini will face off at Madison Square Garden in a 25th anniversary rematch of their 1990 five-set year end WTA Championship final, in the 2015 BNP Paribas Showdown on March 10. The best of three-set match will take place before Roger Federer faces Grigor Dimitrov.

Seles participated in the WTA Championships at Madison Square Garden in 1988-1992, 1995-1998 and 2000. She’ll be making her eleventh appearance in the world’s most famous arena.

The former world No. 1 and nine-time major winner spoke to the media in a conference call on Thursday about her participation and reflected on the first ever five-set for women.

“I always loved playing three out of five, it’s more of an equalizer if you’re a slow starter, more of a true barometer,” Seles said.

“I think the ladies are definitely fit enough to play best-of-five matches, and I think at Grand Slams it would be a lot of fun in the semis and final.”

Seles regrets that the WTA Championships ever left The Garden.

“For me, one of the saddest days was when the season-ending championships were moved to Germany,” Seles said. “The Garden was the perfect setting. You play at MSG, the stands are really close and you feel the energy. As a player, you just thrive on that.”

Seles has fond memories of competing against Sabatini, the first time coming when she was a 14-year-old at the Miami event in 1988.

“She was already a star and it was my first night match,” Seles said. “I was absolutely star-struck with her. But she was such a lady on and off the court, if you won against her or lost against her.”

Despite Seles having an 11-3 record against the Argentine, what Seles remembers best about Sabatini was her support after Seles was stabbed in 1993 in a tournament in Hamburg. After Seles returned to the tour, Sabatini was the only top 10 player to support Seles’ ranking being frozen at No. 1.

“She thought about a human being before a dollar amount,” Seles said. “That speaks about a tremendous amount of character.”

Seles was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame back in 2009 while Sabatini was enshrined in 2006.

Seeing the trend of former Grand Slam champions coaching on the tours, Seles said that she personally does not have an interested in coaching.

“Coaching doesn’t appeal to me,” she said. “I just don’t want to travel” I did it for so many years, I just really don’t want that lifestyle.”

“Madison Keys having Lindsay (Davenport) as her coach is a tremendous asset. Not just for the game but from the mental aspect too.

She thinks that Martina Navratilova coaching Agnieszka Radwanska will bring emotion to the Pole’s game.

“(Amelie) Mauresmo (is) breaking the mold in coaching Andy Murray.” Seles credits Ivan Lendl with all of “star” coaching that’s happening now when he coached Andy Murray. She thinks that the “star” coaching brings so much experience to current players. Seles said that in hindsight that she wishes she could have done that. “ I could have hired Navratilova who could have helped me more with my net game and help with my lefty serves and things like that.”

What does she miss the most since she has retired from tennis? The 41-year-old says she misses “the excitement and adrenaline of a big match. There’s nothing like it.”

She’s busy preparing for her match with Sabatini. “I’ve been preparing by playing tennis. It’s been a shock to the body playing singles, I’ve only played doubles so far. I have some good days and I have some bad days.

“It’s very hard for the ego to understand that I can not do the same things that I did ten years ago,” Seles said. She’s working with a couple of people in Florida on her fitness. “At times it’s been frustrating, but at the same time it’s been a wonderful challenge.”

“Bottom line is I love to play tennis and I love to compete, Seles continued. “This is really like a highlight for me and a great honor to be a part of it and to have someone like Roger Federer follow our match. What a wonderful way to celebrate (World) Tennis Day.

BNP Paribas Showdown 2015

The BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden will again headline a full day of international activities as part of “World Tennis Day,” a global tennis participation effort on March 10.

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

 

Related stories:

Roger Federer vs. Grigor Dimitrov in BNP Paribas Showdown

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Tennis Channel to Air Federer vs Wawrinka Charity Exhibition – “The Match for Africa 2,” on December 21

Warinka Federer

(December 18, 2014) LOS ANGELES – Tennis Channel has exclusive live coverage of 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer as he faces off against Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka on Dec. 21 at 2:30 p.m. ET in a battle benefiting Federer’s charity. The Match for Africa 2 is an exhibition between the two friends and Swiss compatriots to benefit The Roger Federer Foundation.

The Roger Federer Foundation supports children living in poverty, helping them realize their potential through education. With seven countries running programs, 136,000 children currently benefit from the foundation. It hopes to reach 1 million by 2018.

 

The match will be held at Zurich’s Hallenstadion, Switzerland’s largest multifunctional hall. For more information about additional Tennis Channel programming events in December visit www.tennischannel.com/schedule.

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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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Tennis Players and Celebrities Play Tennis for Charity at Desert Smash

 

(March 4, 2014) LA QUINTA, California – The 10th annual Desert Smash at the La Quinta Resort & Spa on Tuesday raised money for charity featured  actors Will Ferrell, Kevin Spacey and Rebel Wilson and tennis players Novak Djokovic, as well as the Bryan Brothers – Bob and Mike, Australian Open Champion Stanislas Wawrinka and 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic.

The two-day tennis and golf event will benefit Cancer for College, a 501c3, non-profit organization that provides college scholarships for cancer survivors. Since 1993, the charity has granted nearly $2 million to more than 1,000 cancer survivors.

Here are some photos from the event.

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Djokovic, Sampras, Fish and the Bryan Brothers Among Those to Particpate in LA Tennis Challenge

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(March 4, 2013) LOS ANGELES – The inaugural LA Tennis Challenge took place on Monday night on the campus of UCLA at the recently renovated Pauley Pavilion. Participating in the event to raise money for charity were world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Former No. 1 and member of the tennis Hall of Fame Pete Sampras, Bob and Mike Bryan, James Blake, Tommy Haas and former player Justin Gimelstob.

Los Angeles’ ATP World Tour event, the Farmers Classic, their license was sold to Colombian investors who took it to their home country. Former UCLA Bruin Gimelstob wants to keep pro tennis alive in Los Angeles and organized the event.

Singles and doubles exhibition matches took place including Djokovic pairing with his idol Sampras.

Celebrities in attendance included actress Jodie Foster, actor Bruce Willis and actor/comedian and tennis fan Rainn Wilson.

Proceeds from the event are to benefit the Justin Gimelstob Children’s Fund, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the Novak Djokovic Foundation, Call to Cure and the Southern California Tennis Association’s community tennis initiatives.

 

All photos by Maria Noble

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Wozniacki, Kirilenko and Robson “Reflecting” on Their Form Ahead of Australian Open – on a Mirrored Court

By Melinda Samson

(January 13, 2013) MELBOURNE, Australia – On Sunday adidas launched the first “adidas by Stella McCartney” barricade collection of tennis apparelto be worn by tennis players Caroline Wozniacki, Maria Kirilenko and Laura Robson.

The players featured their new outfits on a court of a different kind. Instead of the grass, clay or the hardcourt surfaces they are used to playing on, the collection was unveiled in the world’s first mirror court. The court offered a living kaleidoscope of moving reflections, and allowed the new collection to be showcased from the front, back and sides, all at the same time.

 

Inspired by the ready to wear collection, the range plays on Stella McCartney’s use of feminine lines that flatter and enhance the female form on court.

 

The tennis players will wear the range during 2013 Grand Slams, showcasing its leading design qualities, standout aesthetic and performance functionality.

 

“I always play better when I feel good, that is very important to me,” says Caroline Wozniaki.

 

“The new adidas by Stella McCartney barricade range makes me feel secure and comfortable on court. The bright color blocking and advanced technology presented in each item I’m wearing gives me the confidence to focus solely on my own performance on court,” said Wozniacki.

 

To see the new range on court at the Australian Open, watch first round matches between Caroline Wozniaki and Sabine Lisicki, Maria Kirilenko against Vania King and Laura Robson versus Melanie Oudin.

 

Melinda Samson lives in Melbourne and runs the site Grand Slam Gal. Follow her on twitter @Grandslamgal.

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New Season, New Goals

Andy Murray 12 26 Abu Dhabi

By Abigail Hinto

(December 26, 2012) ABU DHABI – Six of the top eleven players in the world,  are gathered in Abu Dhabi to start their season at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships (MWTC). Three of the players, namely Janko Tipsarevic, Tomas Berdych and Andy Murray showed up on Tuesday for their pre-tournament news conferences.  No. 11 Nicolas Almagro replaced Rafael Nadal, who withdrew from the event with a stomach virus.

Despite all three belonging in the top 10, and despite the small gap in their rankings, these three players are in vastly different stages in their careers with varying expectations, pressures and goals. And the goals they’ve set for themselves for the new season give an interesting insight to how they see their careers, where they’re at now and what they feel they should be able to accomplish.
Tipsarevic, the relative newcomer in the top 10 has set his sights on qualifying for the World Tour Finals in London. And with his best showing at a grand slam only consisting of two quarterfinal appearances, both at the US Open this year and last, he aims to have deeper runs at the slams this year. His tight quarterfinal loss against David Ferrer at this year’s US Open has shown him that though he’s not quite there yet in the level he needs to challenge the top players, he’s getting close.
Tomas Berdych meanwhile has already made finals and a couple of semifinals at the majors. His goal now, is to hold that trophy. Saying that he was happy for Andy Murray finally winning his slam, noting that it’s good that someone had once again broken the stranglehold Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic had on winning the majors, could acknowledging Murray’s breakthrough give Berdych the inspiration to try to win one for himself as well? Davis Cup this year, a grand slam next year?
As for Andy Murray, after finally winning that major he’s been working so hard for and been pressured on winning since he was first considered a contender in 2008, how does he re-set his goals? Murray is a short-term goal-setter which he says he’s always been with his career. So, it’s one major at a time for him, now focusing solely on the Australian Open trophy. Asked if reaching no.1 is a top priority, Murray answers that it’s not, as that ranking only comes with the results from every tournament he plays.
And as the Mubadala World Tennis Championships starts on Wednesday, we’ll get to see these three players finally begin their first step towards their goals.
Abigail Hinto is covering the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi, UAE as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her updates on twitter at @TennisNewsTPN.
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All photos by Abigail Hinto for Tennis Panorama
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