2014/07/30

USTA to Launch Tennis Festivals at ‘Tennis Night in America’

 

From the USTA – (February 27, 2013) WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – The USTA today announced that it will launch Tennis Festivals throughout the month of March, designed to get kids active and excited about tennis. The kick-off to these Tennis Festivals coincides with the annual “Tennis Night in America” celebration at New York’s Madison Square Garden on March 4, which will feature Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin del Potro, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka. Joining the efforts to get kids active is Bob Harper, fitness expert and star of The Biggest Loser, and Jeff Sutphen, host of Nickelodeon’s Figure It Out, who will participate in an on-court youth tennis demonstration with local New York City kids preceding the evening’s tennis matches.

 

“I am thrilled to be part of the USTA’s efforts to advocate the importance of health and fitness,” said Harper. “These Tennis Festivals are a great opportunity to share with parents the benefits of involving their children in the sport.”

 

“I’m beyond honored that the USTA asked me to be involved with their youth tennis efforts,” said Sutphen. “Tennis is one of those rare sports that you can play your entire life. The earlier you start, the longer you will get to play.”

 

Since 2009, the USTA has leveraged Tennis Night in America to launch more than 5,000 youth tennis events nationwide, as well as to provide a platform for facilities to register children for spring and summer tennis programs. These events have contributed to the overall growth in youth participation in the sport. In 2012, the number of facilities offering programs for kids ages 10 and under grew 120 percent, and participation among kids 6-10 years old grew 13 percent over the previous year. This year’s Tennis Festivals are designed to welcome youth of all ages and skill levels. Parents also are encouraged to participate and learn how tennis is now sized right for their child’s age and ability.

 

“Tennis Festivals are a wonderful way to introduce kids—and their parents—to the lifetime sport of tennis,” said Kurt Kamperman, USTA Chief Executive, Community Tennis. “These events are designed so that kids can experience tennis in a relaxed, fun atmosphere that will encourage them to get involved—and stay involved—in the sport.”

 

Tennis Night in America will feature the BNP Paribas Showdown, with the world’s No. 1 woman player and 2012 US Open champion, Serena Williams, facing off against two-time Australian Open Champion, Victoria Azarenka. In addition, former World No. 1 and eleven-time Grand Slam singles champion, Rafael Nadal will take on former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro.

 

The on-court youth tennis demonstration is scheduled to take place at 6:20 p.m. EST featuring special guests, Harper and Sutphen, with six local youth from the Queen’s area. The demonstration will highlight the USTA’s youth initiative, 10 and Under Tennis, which utilizes modified equipment and courts tailored to a child’s age and ability. The youth tennis demonstration and the women’s match will be broadcast on ESPN3 at 7 p.m. The men’s match will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. Tickets start at $50.00 and are on sale now at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at thegarden.com and all Ticketmaster outlets.

 

To find a Tennis Festival, visit youthtennis.com.

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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

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Notes and Quotes from the BNP Paribas Showdown

 

NEW YORK, NY – Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki participated in the BNP Parbas Showdown at Madison Square Garden. Here are a few quotes from both the morning news conference and post-match news conference.

From the Morning news conference:

TPN: What do you want fans to get out of this night?

Caroline Wozniacki: lt’s going to be in amazing spirits for all of us, I think, to play in the Madison Square Garden. lt’s a very special arena, it has a lot of history to it, besides the US Open I think it’s great, but the tennis fans in general probably can get a close view to some of the stars around here. I mean sitting next to Andy, Rog and Maria it’s gonna be an amazing night and I hope the crowd will enjoy it.

Maria Sharapova: You know it’s one of those unique opportunities you don’t get to experience very often, and we usually know our schedules very well, we know the place we’re going to, cities we’re going to visit, stadiums. And to be part of that, it’s personally a first for me at Madison Square Garden in front of an incredible crowd. And hopefully full of energy like it always is, it’s just a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Roger Federer: I think coming back to a different period of the year, when tennis, you know, maybe not dominating the headlines here, I think this is really nice because it is an exhibition. Potentially, at times it is a bit more laid back for us as well, and we really try to make the most of it and promote enough, you know, see as many fans as we can, and so forth, as Andy mentioned. On a personal note, it’s just one of those things you look back on later in your career and say “lt was an amazing achievement, or feeling to be playing at Madison Square Garden.” And me also more on a personal note, the history of Madison Square Garden and tennis has always existed as well. lvan Lendl And McEnroe and all of the great legends of the game playing there in the past, it’s an opportunity for us to maybe be there as well a bit ourselves and who knows maybe the future pay back big tournament to the Garden.

 

Andy Roddick who referred to Roger Federer as the Dos Equis man was asked to comment on what this second-most respected person on the planet (Federer) has been doing lately on the tennis court?

Roddick: He’s been playing great. Obviously he played well in Australia but played seemingly better in Rotterdam and Dubai. lt’s amazing to see the level he’s still playing at, you know. A lot of the guys that we started with have kinda been done for 5 or 6 years now so it’s been fun to kind of I guess play during the same time, at times. And then um, it’s not surprising to see Roger winning the tennis tournament.

How much do you really enioy playing exhibitions, especially with the intense part of the schedule coming up the next few weeks, Indian Wells as well as Miami sort of take a break, and like you mentioned have some fun, interact with the fans l’m sure hopefully some kids?

 

Sharapova: lt’s great in a way where there’s no pressure feeling of going into the match. lt doesn’t count for anything in terms of points and rankings but you’re still, you’re going out there and you can’t hide the fact that you’re playing in front of ten thousands of people in an incredible environment. And you’re doing what you love and you’re competing and ultimately the reason why people go out to see an exhibition match, even if it’s an exhibition, is to see why you play the game of tennis and how you play it. So they do want that competitive side of yours and to see the great tennis. But it also gives us a chance to just enjoy it a little bit more and a few days from a big tournament coming up in Palm Springs it’s also a great warm-up for us’

 

Wozniacki: Yeah definitely. You know an exhibitions always good fun, it’s good to interact with the fans, and hopefully they enjoy us. I tend to think so anyways. lt’s just great to play with a player like Maria you know it’s a big tournaments coming up, and she’s a great player. lt’s a good test for both of us as well and for a big tournament and to play here like she said in front of thousands of people. lt’s a special arena; it’s definitely going to be fun.

 

Roddick: As far as where it lies in the schedule, I don’t think its…l think a lot of the reason why the four of us are here is because of venue, the prestige of playing at a place like Madison Square Garden. You know I don’t think normally when you have 5 or 6 days in between tournaments, you’re not looking to fill those days with exhibitions too often, but you know I think special circumstances require special decisions and so for me it wasa pretty easy one.

 

Federer: For me, I like the change of the regular tournaments. After a year you just go for exhibitions sometimes. Exhibitions are usually held at different places than regular tournaments we go to. I also use it as a tool to promote tennis in different part of the regions of the world. Such as Asia, the Peking in particular and then obviously I start playoffs and more exhibitions in Europe and then US over 5 years ago. That was something very special and the big … should happen, but you get here in the states. Then I played here so that was sort of the pinnacle of my exhibitions l’ve played in over the years, and I’ve really enjoyed them, yes.

 

When questioned in the post-match news conference about why some downplay exhibitions:

Roddick: ‘l’m not sure how 18,000 in the most famous venue in the world watching our sport can be a bad thing. I think it’s a great thing. There are a lot of people in here who don’t cover tennis on a regular basis and it’ll be out there tomorrow. I think it’s a huge positive for our sport.”

Federer: “We hardly ever play but when we do play it’s promoting the game in different parts of the world. lt is something that is different and fun…sometime as a player you want to do something maybe for charity.

“Sometimes it’s a good situation and the timing is good to get some matches in before a big tournament.

“I think it all depends on the player. This one is nice and I thought it was worth it to play in.”

Sharapova: “That’s (entertainment) something that’s really good about exhibitions; giving that sense of entertainment and variety to the crowd. Obviously the reason people buy the ticket to see you play is because of what you’ve done on the court and ultimately at the end of the day that’s what they want to see. To see a bit of personality in the athletes, it’s like an open door for that, especially in an arena like this.”

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

Morning “Showtime” for BNP Paribas Showdown For Federer, Roddick, Sharapova and Wozniacki

Tennis Night in America Spokesman McEnroe Says There is “Work to Be Done” To Get Kids into Tennis

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Tennis Night in America Spokesman McEnroe Says There is “Work to Be Done” To Get Kids into Tennis

Seven-time major champion and native New Yorker John McEnroe will serve as the spokesman for Tennis Night in America. Tennis Night in America is an annual celebration of tennis since 2009 that includes youth registration events at facilities around the country and is highlighted by the fifth annual BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden on March 5 featuring former number ones Caroline Wozniacki against Maria Sharapova followed by Andy Roddick taking on Roger Federer. It’s a team effort between the United States Tennis Association (USTA), StarGames, Inc., and MSG Sports to celebrate of tennis.

 

The evening’s events will begin with local children in a 10 and Under Tennis demonstration. Similar to other children’s sports where equipment and playing fields are scaled down to size for kids, 10 and Under Tennis gives the younger players the chance to be successful initially by playing tennis on smaller courts, using smaller and lighter racquets and slower-moving and lower-bouncing balls.

 

As part of his duties as spokesman this year, McEnroe lead a youth tennis clinic with children from the New York Junior Tennis League (NYJTL) on Wednesday afternoon February 29, 2012 at the Sportime facility on Randalls Island. McEnroe who runs his own tennis academy at the same facility talked about encouraging children to take up tennis:”I have been long in trying to get as many kids as possible to play this sport. A lot of people are trying to think out of the box that the game has been inaccessible and not affordable enough so it’s nice to see kids get an opportunity to play. The more that we can do that the better chance we’ll have with success in the future. Maybe kids thinking that they actually want to play tennis perhaps before other sports.”

 

“We need to find some of the kids that have turned to the other sports – football’s an obvious one, even soccer, basketball and try to get these kids to look at tennis, that’s something I want to do and obviously could afford to do it.”

 

In terms of player development, I asked McEnroe about what he and his academy are doing to help get children into the sport of tennis. He admits there is a lot of work to be done. “We are still trying to figure it out, McEnroe said.  And I believe it’s going to be an ongoing thing for the coming years.”

 

“You know we are right next to Harlem and I have been trying, and I’ve met with met with charter schools or schools that maybe have a different curriculum or public schools, but obviously my whole idea was to do things in the New York area close because it logistically gets to be a bigger and bigger problem the farther away you get. But we have this gold mine as far as I’m concerned, close by you know and a resource and we owe it to ourselves I think what we are trying to accomplish in the sport to try to do a better job of reaching out..that’s easier said than done.”

 

“I try to drum up enough corporate sponsorship so that I can afford to give as many kids as possible who can’t afford to play the chance to play, that cost money. The people that started this academy spent 19 million dollars building the facility. So my guess is that they don’t want to lose that money. So there is this fine line.

 

“You’ve got a ride, this is a business. This is owned by the city. The city benefits from it. (The) Randalls Island Sports foundation benefits. They are getting a significant sum of money every year, more than anyone else is getting here. So again it’s the way you look at things.

 

“When I came into tennis – was the sport too expensive – yes. Is it still too expensive now – yes.

 

“I think that my goal since I’ve been fortunate to get a lot from the sport through the years would be to try make this sport sort of thought in the same what that some kid maybe the next Michael Jordan, maybe, that he might say ‘you know something I think I want to play tennis instead of basketball.’ That’s sort of like my goal that we could have kids that think ‘hey this is cool’ not like ‘oh god tennis.’ So this is a battle, you know fighting for ever since I was a kid and will continue to fight.

 

“So certainly we all could do more and we want to do more. When you get into specifics, it’s easier said than done. But were definitely out there, you know looking for ways to get the buzz back. My goal at the very beginning was to get the buzz back to the sport. It’s a sport that’s given me a lot,

 

“Athletics is getting shortchanged in school, even in private schools, even where I went. I can only imagine how bad it is in public if private is as bad as it is. You know they don’t give the time for kids, there’s so much stress. Kids need a release to me. They need to get out there, and whether it may be art, they might love that, they may love music, but to me sports is a great way to have a great release and hopefully we can provide that too.”

 

Continuing to promote junior tennis and 10 and under tennis across America is a key to the future of the sport noted McEnroe. “Tennis Night in America brings focus to all of this so I am excited to be a part of it.”

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USTA to Kick Off ‘March into Tennis’ at Tennis Night in America March 5

From the USTA – WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., February 28, 2012 – The USTA today announced that on March 5 it will launch March Into Tennis, a month-long drive to get more kids playing the sport. Throughout the month, a record 1,200 USTA youth tennis events will take place across the country. March Into Tennis coincides with “Tennis Night in America,” which will feature Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki squaring off in a battle of former world number ones in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. “Tennis Night in America” will also serve as the first time that actress and tennis enthusiast Christine Taylor will publicly endorse USTA’s 10 and Under Tennis as its official spokesperson.

 

“’Tennis Night in America’ is a terrific event that celebrates the game of tennis in our country. Our March Into Tennis promotion will showcase the fun and excitement of playing 10 and Under Tennis as well as the simplicity with which parents can involve their children in the game,” said Jon Vegosen, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA. “We are thrilled to have Christine Taylor as our spokesperson to share with parents the many benefits their children gain by playing 10 and Under Tennis.”

 

“I know that if my kids try something new and it is too difficult for them, they immediately want to shelve it and go to something else,” said Taylor, USTA 10 and Under Tennis Spokesperson. “With the new 10 and Under Tennis equipment that features shorter and lighter racquets, slower-bouncing balls, smaller courts and simplified scoring the game is a fantastic way to encourage all children to play and have fun.”

 

As part of the USTA’s March Into Tennis promotion, Youth Registration Events will allow parents to sign-up their children for spring and summer tennis programs at local tennis facilities and youth serving organizations. Play Days will provide kids of all skill levels the opportunity to experience the fun of competition in a social and fun setting. These events will take place in short, continuous matches over a two-to-three hour period. Kids’ Tennis Clubs will give children the chance to try tennis in a fun, safe and supervised format, while they gain confidence and enhance their physical development and social skills. Parents and children can find more information about all the March Into Tennis promotions by visiting www.marchintotennis.com.

 

“Tennis Night in America” BNP Paribas Showdown will feature three-time Grand Slam singles champion Maria Sharapova against former World No. 1, Caroline Wozniacki. In addition, 16-time Grand Slam singles champion Roger Federer will take on former US Open Champion Andy Roddick. Live television coverage of the matches begins at 7 p.m. on ESPN3 domestically and on ESPN International to over 130 countries. A tape delayed broadcast of the event will air at 11:30 p.m. on ESPN2 featuring Chris Fowler, Mary Joe Fernandez and Patrick McEnroe.  MSG Networks will re-broadcast the BNP Paribas Showdown, with Al Trautwig, John McEnroe and Katrina Adams handling the commentary beginning on March 16 at 8:00 p.m. on MSG Plus and again on March 18 at 10:00 p.m. on MSG.  A 10 and Under Tennis demonstration, in which local New York City kids using shorter and lighter racquets, slower-bouncing balls, on smaller courts, will precede match play by the professionals.

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Raw and Uncut – Sounds of the Showdown with Agassi, Sampras, Lendl and McEnroe

Monday, February 25, 2011 – Jumeirah Essex House, Grand Ballroom – Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe shared a few laughs among the serious questions during a morning news conference for the BNP Paribas Showdown. The player’s portion of the news conference begins at the 12 minute mark.

Warning – due to technical issues the levels of these recordings may be low so you may have to raise your volume. Also be wary of the background sounds of reporters milling about with papers and such and doors opening and closing.

Morning News Conference

Runs 31:17 – forward to the 12:00 mark when players begin to banter.

John McEnroe

John McEnroe was forced to retire due to an ankle sprain while leading Lendl 6-3. Listen to what he had to say:

John McEnroe Post Match News Conference

Runs 9:45

 

Ivan Lendl

Between Ivan Lendl’s comments during the morning news conference and this post match news conference, he could easily be a stand up comedian:

Ivan Lendl Post Match News Conference

Runs 13:45

Agassi – Sampras Post Match News Conference

Runs 9:53

Tennis Panorama was media for the BNP Paribas Showdown. On Occasion we like to include raw sound in our articles and sometimes a podcast.

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Agassi-Sampras, Lendl-McEnroe Revive Old Rilvalries at Madison Square Garden

NEW YORK, NY, Madison Square Garden – February 25, 2011 – Sports fans know the old saying “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.” On Monday night tennis fans went to an exhibition hoping a fight would break out between Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. A year ago there was a little heat as a charity exhibition for “Hit for Haiti” caused controversy when Andre Agassi insinuated that Pete Sampras was stingy. This caused Sampras to later serve right at Agassi with an intent to hit him.

Earlier in the day both men told the media that all their differences are now in the past – Sampras said “In my eyes, it’s over.”

“We’ve straightened it out,” Agassi said. “Like I’ve said 150 times, it was a complete mistake on my part. ‘Hit for Haiti’ raised a lot of money; we did a lot of good things. But we unfortunately had a microphone on our mouths, and I was talking a lot. One thing wasn’t good.”

There was no such drama this night at the BNP Paribas Showdown as both men played high quality tennis in the featured “bout.” Pete Sampras fired 12 aces and  won 78 percent of his first serve points to oust his former rival Andre Agassi 6-3, 7-5.

Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras

Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras

“We were trying to put on a good show for the people,” said Sampras.

Agassi was just proud and happy to achieve one of the goal he had set for himself for the match- and that was  to break Sampras’ serve just once which he did  in the fourth game of the second set.

This was the third year in a row that BNP Paribas sponsored the showdown at Madison Square Garden. The last two years were a women’s event.

This event was the showpiece of Tennis Night in America – to encourage children to play tennis and to promote the USTA’s latest initiative for the use of smaller courts for children 10 years old and younger.

Pete Sampras was the spokesman for Tennis Night in America. He began to play tennis when he was seven years old. “I think it is very important to get kids playing tennis at a young age,” said Sampras. Part of the USTA’s 10-and Under-initiative is to put the lines of the smaller court for children into a regular size court. Both matches were played on one of these “blended” courts.

John McEnroe

Fans may have been looking for a fight in the featured match but a technical knockout was delivered by Ivan Lendl in the “undercard” when John McEnroe was forced to retire while leading 6-3. This match was a pro set in which the winner wins the set by capturing eight games instead of the traditional six.

McEnroe strained his ankle a few hours before when he was practicing with Pete Sampras. “I wasn’t feeling good at any point in the match, ” said McEnroe.

In the spirit of the old rivalry, McEnroe wore his old 80′s style shorts under his longer pair and claimed to have “his old style” hair in wig form.

 

Ivan Lendl

Lendl suggested that if the Showdown is played next year that they should wear short shorts and use wooden racquets.

 

During a late morning news conference, the four participants engaged in some lively chat with some serious subjects in between.

Asked about the problems with American tennis Agassi said, “I think the problem with American tennis is Nadal and Federer.” Agassi claims that Andy Roddick would have won a few more major titles if it weren’t for Federer. Agassi continued,  “Tennis is global in nature so it gets more competitive. Guys are getting better. They’ve raised the bar.”

Seems as though tennis fans want tennis back “in the world’s most famous arena,” attendance for the event was  17, 165.

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Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe and Lendl in MSG Showdown

Tennis takes over the the world’s most famous arena on Monday when Hall of Famers Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl participate in the BNP Paribas Showdown. The one-night event at Madison Sqaure Garden will feature two great tennis rivalries as John McEnroe faces off against Ivan Lendl to be followed by Pete Sampras against Andre Agassi.

This event is the showcase  for “Tennis Night in America” a partnership between the BNP Paribas Showdown and the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to encourage the grow of youth participation in tennis. For more information on “Tennis Night in America“ please go to www.tennisnight.com.

 

In a demonstration of the USTA’s commitment to its 10 and Under initiative, children from the New York Junior Tennis League (NYJTL) will be featured as they start off the evening playing  on a the 60-foot blended line court for a 10 and Under Tennis exhibition, using the QuickStart Tennis play format.  The concept of 10 and Under Tennis scales the game down to size for children, with slower-moving and lower-bouncing balls, lighter and smaller racquets, and shorter courts that make the game easier to learn and to play keeping children in the sport.

 

Before the matches begin, Andre Agassi will receive the 2011 Garden of Dreams Hero Award for his work with his foundation – the  Andre Agassi Foundation for Education.  The award which was established in 2009, honors a person or organization each year that „embodies the spirit and commitment of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, with active, on-going dedication to children facing obstacles.“

 

The McEnroe- Lendl contest  will be a pro set match – the first person to win 8 games with a two game advantage wins the set and the match. The Sampras – Agassi contest will  be a best of three set match.

 

The event will be broadcast starting at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN3.com which will live stream  the McEnroe and Lendl match. At 9:00 p.m. ESPN2 will broadcast  the Sampras and Agassi match. ESPN’s coverage will include commentators  Chris Fowler, Patrick McEnroe as well as former Agassi coaches Darren Cahill and Brad Gilbert.  ESPN International will be distributing the matches to 45 million homes in 130 countries and territories.

Tennis Panorama News will be media for the showdown. From the news conferences in the morning through events in the evening at Madison Square Garden. Follow us here and and especially on our twitter account @GVTennisNews as we bring you live updates throughout the day and evening.

In case you miss the event, it will re-air on MSG Plus on Monday, March 7 and again on MSG Network on Monday, March 14. Both of these broadcasts  will feature McEnroe versus Lendl at 7:00 p.m. and Sampras versus Agassi at 8:00 p.m..

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Tennis Night In America to Feature USTA’s 10 and Under Initiative

The USTA and event producers StarGames and MSG Sports, have announced that for the first time in history, 60-foot blended lines will be put on a traditional 78-foot regulation court being used for a pro tennis match.  On Monday February 28, Madison Square Garden will host for the fourth consecutive year the BNP Paribas Showdown. This year’s event will feature Ivan Lendl vs. John McEnroe and Pete Sampras vs. Andre Agassi, as part of the “Tennis Night in America” celebration. Blended lines are painted in a different, more subtle color than the traditional lines, enabling courts to be adapted for competitive play for younger children. These blended lines are a major component of the USTA’s 10 and Under Tennis Initiative.

 

Before the matches begin children from the New York Junior Tennis League (NYJTL) will take to the 60-foot blended line court for a 10 and Under Tennis exhibition, using the QuickStart Tennis play format.  The concept of 10 and Under Tennis scales the game down to size for its youngest participants, with slower-moving and lower-bouncing balls, lighter and smaller racquets, and shorter courts that make the game fun, easy to learn and easy to play, ensuring that kids will return to tennis again and again.

“For years, other sports like soccer and baseball have had kids playing on smaller fields with kid-size equipment,” said Jon Vegosen, USTA Chairman of the Board and President.  “We’re doing the same thing with tennis.  To have players like Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, and Ivan Lendl competing on a court with blended lines is a huge step for the sport of tennis and a great way to showcase 10 and Under Tennis to the world.”

More than 675 tennis facilities across the country will be registering youth in tennis programs at National Youth Registration events throughout March. These events serve as an “opening day” for parents to sign up their kids for spring and summer programming.

 

The BNP Paribas Showdown, now in its fourth year, will renew classic rivalries of the 1980’s and 90’s, as McEnroe and Lendl will compete in a pro-set match (first player to win eight games) followed by a best-of-three set match between Sampras and Agassi. The four all-time greats have won a combined 37 Grand Slam singles titles and 295 ATP World Tour singles titles.

 

ESPN3.com will live stream live the match between McEnroe and Lendl at 7:00 p.m. and at 9:00 p.m. ESPN2 will televise the Sampras-Agassi match. Chris Fowler, Patrick McEnroe and former Agassi coaches Darren Cahill and Brad Gilbert will call the action for ESPN.

The event will re-air on MSG Plus on Monday, March 7 and again on MSG Network on Monday, March 14. Both broadcasts will feature McEnroe versus Lendl at 7:00 p.m. and Sampras versus Agassi at 8:00 p.m. withTed Robinson and Justin Gimelstob doing the commentary.

 

The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level — from local communities to the highest level of the professional game.

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ESPN to Televise BNP Paribas Showdown Live from Madison Square Garden

New York, February 16, 2011 – MSG Sports and StarGames announced today that ESPN will televise the much anticipated 2011 BNP Paribas Showdown live from Madison Square Garden on Monday, February 28 with MSG Networks airing a replay on March 7 & 14. The one-day, tennis showcase will feature two of the greatest rivalries in all of tennis when John McEnroe faces off against Ivan Lendl to be followed with Pete Sampras taking on Andre Agassi.

Starting at 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN3.com will stream live the classic rivalry between McEnroe and Lendl. And, at 9:00 p.m. ESPN2 will televise the final match when rivals Sampras and Agassi square off. ESPN’s coverage will showcase leading on-air commentators during the event including Chris Fowler, Patrick McEnroe as well as former Agassi coaches Darren Cahill and Brad Gilbert. ESPN International will distribute the matches to 45 million homes in 130 countries and territories.

A replay of the BNP Paribas Showdown will be telecast on MSG Plus on Monday, March 7 and again on MSG Network on Monday, March 14. Both telecasts will feature McEnroe versus Lendl at 7:00 p.m. and Sampras versus Agassi at 8:00 p.m., with two-time Emmy Award winning broadcaster, Ted Robinson along with Justin Gimelstob calling the action.

“We’re happy to once again have television partners who can help showcase tennis as it’s played in such an historic venue,” said Jerry Solomon, president StarGames Inc. “ESPN is a proven leader in tennis with their coverage of the majors, while MSG is the authority on the arena that shares its name. We look forward to both their broadcasts.”

“ESPN has been a terrific partner, and their participation in the BNP Paribas Showdown inherently makes this an even bigger national event,” said Scott O’Neil, president, MSG Sports. “In addition, the matches will be rebroadcast on MSG Networks on March 7th and 14th, so fans will have another opportunity to watch these tennis icons perform on the world’s biggest stage.”

Renewing classic rivalries of the 80’s and 90’s, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl will compete in a one set pro match (first player to win eight games) followed by a best of three set match between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. The four all-time greats have won a combined 37 Grand Slam Singles titles and 295 ATP Tour events.

The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by StarGames and MSG Sports. Tickets beginning at $50.00 are currently on sale and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office and all Ticketmaster outlets.

The BNP Paribas Showdown, in partnership with the United States Tennis Association, will continue their efforts to grow youth participation in the sport of tennis through “Tennis Night in America”, a national program which is among the largest ever grass roots initiative the sport has ever seen. To find a sign-up location please go to www.tennisnight.com.

ESPN – All Four Grand Slams. All in One Place.
Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air and has provided many memorable moments, but it has never been as important as today, with the US Open joining the lineup in 2009, giving ESPN all four Grand Slam events, something no other network has ever done.

ESPN debuted September 7, 1979, and the first tennis telecast was exactly one week later, September 14, a Davis Cup tie, Argentina at U.S. from Memphis with Cliff Drysdale on the call.

Almost all the tennis is found on ESPN2, giving the network the identity as the destination for tennis fans and giving the sport a home that is flexible enough to carry extensive live programming – and adding to the schedule as storylines dictate. ESPN and ESPN2 both reach 99 million households nationwide. Also, ESPN Classic shows great matches from the past and the sport receives extensive coverage on SportsCenter, ESPNEWS, broadband ESPN360.com, Spanish-language ESPN Deportes, ESPN Radio, ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine.

About BNP Paribas
BNP Paribas (www.bnpparibas.com) is the Eurozone’s leading bank in terms of deposits, and one of the 10 most important banks in the world in terms of net banking income, equity capital and market value. Furthermore, it is one of the 6 strongest banks in the world according to Standard & Poor’s. With a presence in 85 countries and more than 205,000 employees, 165,200 of which in Europe and 15,000 in the United States, BNP Paribas is a global-scale European leader in financial services. It holds key positions in its three activities: Retail banking, Investment Solutions and Corporate & Investment Banking. BNP Paribas also has a significant presence in the United States and strong positions in Asia and the emerging markets. This year, BNP Paribas celebrates its 37th anniversary of its partnership with tennis. Since 1973, BNP Paribas has been actively involved with the sport and has consistently strengthened its commitment since then to support it both locally and worldwide. BNP Paribas has historically been a privileged partner in all aspects of tennis: as an Official Sponsor of the French Open for 37 years, and a sponsor of the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas since 2001, of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas since 2005, and of the BNP Paribas Masters since 1986, as well as other major international tournaments including the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, WTA Bank of the West Classic in California, Master Series Monte Carlo, BNP Paribas Women’s Open in Strasbourg and Grand Prix de Lyon.
About Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden is a fully-integrated sports, entertainment and media business. The company is comprised of three business segments: MSG Sports, MSG Entertainment and MSG Media, which are strategically aligned to work together to drive MSG’s overall business, which is built on a foundation of iconic venues and compelling content that MSG creates, produces, presents and/or distributes through its programming networks and other media assets. MSG Sports consists of owning and operating sports franchises, including the New York Knicks (NBA), the New York Rangers (NHL), the New York Liberty (WNBA), and the Connecticut Whale (AHL). MSG Sports also features other sports properties, including the presentation of a wide variety of live sporting events including professional boxing, college basketball, track and field and tennis. MSG Entertainment is one of the country’s leaders in live entertainment. MSG Entertainment creates, produces and/or presents a variety of live productions, including the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Radio City Rockettes, throughout the country. MSG Entertainment also presents or hosts other live entertainment events such as concerts, family shows and special events in MSG’s diverse collection of venues. These venues include Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, the Theater at Madison Square Garden, the Beacon Theatre, the Chicago Theatre and the Wang Theatre. MSG Media is a leader in production and content development for multiple distribution platforms, including content originating from MSG’s venues. MSG Media consists of the MSG Networks (MSG, MSG Plus, MSG HD and MSG Plus HD) regional sports networks and the Fuse Networks (Fuse and Fuse HD), a national television network dedicated to music. MSG Media is also responsible for managing interactive initiatives across all business segments. More information is available at www.msg.com.

StarGames, LLC (www.stargamesinc.com) is a fully integrated sports marketing, management and entertainment company based outside of Boston, MA. Now in its 16th year, StarGames represents current and former professional athletes, produces original content for mass media distribution, operates its own broadband television channels and produces live and made for television events. StarGames orchestrated the return of tennis to Madison Square Garden with the 2008 NetJets Showdown and the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup; with tennis legend Ivan Lendl, launched the Champions Academy in Florida for elite junior athletes and most recently produced the Caesars Tennis Classic in Atlantic City, NJ. StarGames partners on various projects with Lagardere Unlimited which represents the international television rights for the BNP Paribas Showdown.

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