February 26, 2017

Serena Williams Defeats Sister Venus for Australian Open Title for Open Era Record 23rd Major

(January 28, 2017) Serena Williams has won an Open Era record 23rd major title when she defeated her older sister Venus 6-4, 6-4 to win her seventh Australian Open title on Saturday night in Melbourne.

Serena, who just passed Steffi Graf with 22 majors, is just one major behind Margaret Court for the all-time record which is 24.

The win puts Serena back at the top spot in the WTA rankings as of Monday. Venus will move up to No.11.

Serena did not drop a set in the tournament. She now holds the record for the most number Australian Open singles titles for a woman.

This is the 35-year-old Williams’ tenth major title since turning 30. This was the oldest major woman’s final in terms of combined age at 71 years, 11 months between them.

She is now 23-6 in major finals and 7-2 in major finals against her sister. Serena is now 17-11 against Venus overall.

“This was a tough one. I really would like to take this moment to congratulate Venus,” Serena Williams said during the trophy presentation. “She’s an amazing person. There’s no way I’d be at 23 without her. She’s my inspiration and the only reason I’m standing here today. Thanks for inspiring me to be the best player I can be.”

 

The match itself was not an instant classic. The match began with four straight breaks of serve/ Both women committed a total of 48 unforced errors in the 1 hour and 22-minute match.

“I feel like I had opportunities, for sure. Just missed some shots,” Venus said. But it’s not like I missed shots that I wasn’t going for. I went for those shots. It’s a matter of inches.

“So, you know, some errors here or there can mean the difference between a break of serve or a hold.”

“It’s such a great feeling to have 23,” Serena said. “It really feels great. Yeah, I’ve been chasing it for a really long time. It feels like, really long time. When it got on my radar, I knew I had an opportunity to get there, and I’m here. I’m here.

“It’s a great feeling. No better place to do it than Melbourne.”

“My first Grand Slam started here, and getting to 23 here, but playing Venus, it’s stuff that legends are made of. I couldn’t have written a better story.

“I just feel like it was the right moment. Everything kind of happened. It hasn’t quite set in yet, but it’s really good.”

“It was great to have an opportunity to play for the title,” Venus said discussing her rn to the final. “That’s exactly where I want to be standing during these Grand Slams, is on finals day, having an opportunity. That’s the highlight of all this, is to be in that moment.”

“A lot of great performances, you know. I didn’t lose a set until the semifinals. Played against a lot of players who were in form. So it’s a good thing.

“It’s a great start to the year. I’m looking forward to the rest of year. This is like tournament number two and it’s already a lot of work. I’m looking forward to tournament number three and four. It’s going to be awesome.”

For the No. 13 seed Venus this was just her second Australian Open final, the last won coming in 2003, when she lost to her sister.

“I feel motivated to continue, to continue to go out there and hit the ball the way I know I can,” Venus said about her year so far. “There’s only things I can improve on, to be honest, and to build on.

“I feel I played very well this week, pulled a lot of things out of my pocket. I got more stuff in my pocket. Get it out.”

On going after major No. 24, Serena said:”One thing I learned in the past is you have to enjoy it. That’s the beauty of winning Australia, you have a few months to relax. If you win the French, it’s like back-to-back-to-back-to-back. Australia, you have time to enjoy the moment before the next Grand Slam.”

“Well, so far I’ve been celebrating by doing non-stop press. But, you know, it’s fine. I feel good. Just to even talk about it is great. But it’s getting late. I don’t know how I’ll celebrate. I don’t know.

“I’m just still excited. Hopefully I’ll be able to sleep.”

The victory for Serena marks the 30th major title for the Williams family.

“We are just so proud,” said the winner. “We feel so fortunate to have this opportunity to be the ones that can do it, you know. Venus and I work so hard. Still to this day we work side-by-side each other at practice. We motivate each other. Like I said on the court, every time she won her match, I felt obligated to win, I’ve got to win, too.

“The motivation she gives me, it’s really second to nothing. It’s amazing.”

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An All-Williams Australian Open Final as Serena Beats Lucic-Baroni

 

(January 26, 2017) It will be the ninth all-Williams final for a major title on Saturday night. Serena Williams joined her sister Venus in the Australia Open final by easily defeating Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-2, 6-1 in fifty minutes to reach her eighth final in Melbourne.

“It felt really good because I felt like it was in my hands to force this Williams final,” Serena told media. “Believe it or not, I was feeling a little pressure about that, but it felt really good to get that win.”
“She’s my toughest opponent – nobody has ever beaten me as much as Venus has,” Serena Williams said about the match-up in her on-court interview. “I just feel like no matter what happens, we’ve won.”
“She’s been through a lot, I’ve been through a lot. To see her do so well it’s great. I look forward to it. A Williams is going to win this tournament.”

Serena will be attempting to make history on Saturday, trying to win her 23rd major, which would be an Open Era record. Should she win the title, she would also retake the No. 1 ranking, jumping over Angelique Kerber.

Serena holds a 16-11 record against her older sister Venus. She also leads her sister head-to-head in major finals 6-2.

“Obviously I was really proud of Venus, a total inspiration, my big sister,” Serena said. “She’s basically my world and my life. She means everything to me. I was so happy for her. For us both to be in the final is the biggest dream come true for us.”

“After everything that Venus has been through with her illness and stuff, I just can’t help but feel like it’s a win-win situation for me,” she said. “I was there for the whole time. We lived together. I know what she went through.

“It’s the one time that I really genuinely feel like no matter what happens, I can’t lose, she can’t lose. It’s going to be a great situation.”

It will be a battle of the thirty-somethings when 36-year-old Venus faces off against 35-year-old Serena.

More to follow…..

 

Related Articles:

Venus Williams Reaches Australian Open Final, Her First Major Final Since 2009

Venus Williams Reaches Australian Open Semifinals

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Venus Williams Reaches Australian Open Final, Her First Major Final Since 2009

Venus Williams

(January 26, 2017) Playing in her 21st major semifinal, the seven-time major winner Venus Williams advanced to her first Australian Open final since 2003, when she beat her American countrywoman CoCo Vandeweghe 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-3.

The last major final in which Williams competed was in 2009 at Wimbledon when she lost to her sister Serena.

At 36-years-old, the No. 13 seed will be the oldest female major tournament finalist in the Open Era.

The 25-year-old Vandeweghe, playing in her first major final four, opened the match with a break of serve, which Williams returned the favor in the next game. Both women held on to their serves to reach the tie break in which the younger American Vandeweghe dominated.

Vandeweghe reached the semifinals with back-to-back victories over reigning major tournament winners – in the round of 16 she took down No. 1 seed and Australian Open defending champion Angelique Kerber and in the quarterfinals she stopped French Open winner Garbine Muguruza.

“The way she’s been playing this tournament, it’s like knock-out, not missing, just playing beautifully,” Williams said. “Unless the nerves get to you or you just have a bad day, I had to expect that she was going to be able to execute that once again, and she did.”

CoCo Vandeweghe

“I mean, to be honest, the way she was playing the match, it was like I was just going to have to play defense, try to play offense whenever I had an opportunity,” Williams said.

“I want to dictate, but the way she was playing, it was almost impossible to do so. So it was just about trying to control the point in whichever way that was. If that meant that defensively I controlled the point, or I was able to get a little offense, whatever it was.

“I mean, just be the one winning the point at the end somehow.”

In the second set, Williams broke Vandeweghe to take a 2-1 lead, then broke her again to go up 4-1 when Vandeweghe hit two double-faults in a row.

Vandeweghe then had four break chances in the sixth game but could not convert.

Williams leveled the match winning the second set 6-2.

Williams opened the third set with a break. In her next game, she had to fight off two break points to hold for 2-0. Williams ended the match by breaking her opponents serve in the ninth game.

 

Williams hit 30 winners against 35 errors  with 11 aces. Vandeweghe had 37 winners, 50 errors, 10 aces and 11 double-faults. A key statistic for Vandeweghe was failing to convert on break points – she was 1 for 13.

“Everyone has their moment in the sun,” Venus said in her on-court interview. “Maybe mine has gone on a while. I’d like to keep that going. I’ve got nothing else to do.”

Venus Williams will play her sister Serena, ranked No. 2-ranked in the final.

Venus was asked about possibly playing her sister Serena in the finals: “I would more than anything love to see her across the net from me on Saturday.”

“I think Venus is an unbelievable competitor,” Vandeweghe said. “Putting age aside, age is just a number. For her to be the great champion that she is is a great accomplishment. It doesn’t matter if she’s 36 or 18 or anything like that.

“For me, I appreciate her as an athlete, as a competitor, as well as I would probably be feeling joy and glee if I had won the match today.

“I think it shows kind of the human aspect of sports. I think that’s a very important factor that sometimes gets pushed to the side. We’re all human. We’re not perfect out there. We’re going to have some screw-ups. You’re also kind of watching us have our high moments and low moments, as well.

“I think it’s great for her to make a final. To have an American in the final is a great achievement for American tennis. Hopefully Serena makes it there, as well, so we can have two Americans into the final.”

Venus was asked about her post-match celebration: “I know, that moment was just joy,” she said. “It was a heartfelt match. If the match is 6-2, 6-2, you know, the moment is kind of clear that it’s going to happen. But she played so well. There was never a moment where she wasn’t just hitting the ball amazing and striking the ball with just such precision.

“It’s always very satisfying to be able to get through in such a big match against an opponent who was just on fire.”

Venus talked about how she will play the final: “Honestly, I probably just need to continue playing like I’m playing. I haven’t played badly. I lost a set today. I was not happy about it. But my opponent deserved that set. So what else could I do? Try to get the next two.

“I will try to do the same.”

“At the end of the day, my main goal will be to execute my game. I’ve had to do that in the first round. I had to do it in this round. In the final, too.

“If I can achieve that, that’s more or less what I’ll be thinking of, not necessarily that it’s the final. Of course, you think of that, too. I mean, that’s normal. But if you’re especially mentally strong, you can block that out, too, so I’ll try.”

What would winning the final mean to Venus: “It would be beautiful. It would be beautiful. I have to earn it, so… It’s not a given. I’m going to do what I can to earn it. I’m not thinking about, Oh, what would it be like to win? I’m thinking about, What do I have to do to earn that? That’s my mentality right now.

“I’m so excited after that last match. But my mind changes over quickly into what’s at stake next, so that’s where I am.”

 

Related Articles:

An All-Williams Australian Open Final as Serena Beats Lucic-Baroni

Thirty-Somethings Serena Williams and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni to meet in Australian Open Semifinal

Venus Williams Reaches Australian Open Semifinals

 

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Venus Williams Reaches Australian Open Semifinals

Venus Williams

(January 23, 2017) Seven-time major winner Venus Williams has become the oldest woman to reach the Australian Open semifinals in the Open era. The 36-year-old veteran defeated 24th seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 7-6(3) to reach the semifinals in Melbourne for the first time since 2003. Venus lost to sister Serena in the 2003 final.

The 13th seed has reached the final four in two out of the last three majors.

“It’s wonderful to be here – but I want to go further,” Williams said on-court after the match.

“To me, the semifinals is a steppingstone, just like the other rounds,” Williams said in her news conference. “It’s an opportunity to advance. The tournament is by no means over. It’s definitely down to the business end.

“I feel like I’m playing the kind of tennis I want to produce the results that I want.”

American CoCo Vandeweghe beat a second straight Top Ten player and major champion on Tuesday when she dismissed No. 7 seed  and French Open champion Garbine Muguruza, 6-4, 6-0 to reach the Australian Open semifinals.

Vandeweghe upset No. 1 seed Angelique Kerber in the round of 16 on Sunday.
“I really wasn’t feeling all that great out there, funny enough,” Vandeweghe said after the match in an on-court. “I even told my coach out there, I was like, man, better get some toilet paper out there because, you know.”

“Once I got rolling in the second it was light a freight train, you couldn’t stop it.”

 

The world No. 35 will play Venus Williams in the semifinals. Williams has a 1-0 record against her countrywoman.

“Last and first time I ever played Venus was on clay so I hope it will be a totally different match,” Vandeweghe said. Williams defeated Vandeweghe at the French Open.

“It’s a great win for the U.S., Williams said about having two American’s in the semifinals. “To have that thought that there’s going to be at least one U.S. player in the final is great for American tennis.

“I’m sure she’s going to want to be in her first final. I’m going to want to be in only my second final here. So it’s going to be a well-contested match.”

Asked if she could win the tournament, Williams said:”Why shouldn’t I? I try to believe. Should I look across the net and believe the person across the net deserves it more? This mentality is not how champions are made. I’d like to be a champion, in particular this year. The mentality I walk on court with is: I deserve this.”

“It’s amazing to be in a semifinal,” said Vandeweghe.”But, you know, not satisfying. I want to keep going, keep playing. There’s more things to do out on a tennis court that I’m hoping to achieve.

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Vandeweghe Upsets No. 1 Kerber, Venus Williams Reaches Australian Open Quarterfinals

 

(January 22, 2017) Defending champion Angelique Kerber has joined fellow No. 1 seed Andy Murray as both top seeds lost on Sunday. Kerber lost to American American CoCo Vandeweghe 6-2, 6-3 in the night session at the Australian Open.

CoCo Vandeweghe

Vandeweghe moves into the quarterfinals against Garbine Muguruza, who beat Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-3. Murguruza won last year’s French Open.

“It’s really special to play a No. 1 player at any stage in any round,” Vandewege said in her on-court interview with Renee Stubbs. “I believe this is my first number one win, so I will take that.”

“It was a tough match, and of course I’m disappointed,” Kerber said. “But I was not feeling the ball at all tonight. I was not playing good from the first point.

“So, yeah, it was not my day and not my match, for sure.”

“I was trying tonight, as well, everything. But, yeah, I missed a lot and I make a lot of unforced errors. So this was not my game like I play normally.”

“It’s the first time I’ve ever beaten a world No. 1. And especially at a Grand Slam, I think it makes it that much sweeter,” Vandeweghe said.

?I just felt like I was really executing my game well, keeping her on the back foot, and just kind of playing within myself. So that’s what I felt was going on on the court.”

“We’re two totally opposite players. I would expect myself to have more winners as well as more unforced errors than she would have. So in that fact, I mean, that’s kind of an expected stat that I would have more than she would.

“I mean, what the number would end up being is kind of up to how well I’m hitting my spots and how well I’m playing out there against an opponent.”

“We’ve played a lot, a couple of times,” Muguruza said about playing the American in the quarterfinals. “It’s 1-1 head-to-head. She’s a tricky player. She has a lot of power, full shots, serve, everything. She can play very well.”

“It’s an interesting matchup because she holds a different aspect to a playing style of she’s an aggressor, as well,”  Vandeweghe commented. “She is going to play that way, and no other way.”

“For me it depends on if I can match it, as well as if I can beat her to that punch of getting first strike, first play.”

With Kerber’s loss, should Serena Williams win the tournament, she would move back up to the No. 1 ranking.

Andy Murray lost to No. 50 Mischa Zverev in four sets earlier in the day.

No. 50 Mischa Zverev Beats No. 1 Andy Murray at Australian Open; Roger Federer Advances in Five Sets

Venus Williams, reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the second time in the last three years by beating qualifier Mona Barthel 6-3, 7-5 on Sunday in Melbourne.

 

The 36-year-old American, seeded 13th, the oldest player female singles player left in the draw, has not dropped a set entering the final eight.

 

“I was born to play tennis,” Williams said in her on-court interview. “I found my calling. I was meant to do this.”

This will be the 37th career major quarterfinal she has played.

 

 

Williams will play 24th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who was the first player to reach quarterfinals defeated Russian countrywoman and 8th seeded two-time major champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-3 in 68 minutes.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova photo courtesy of Taste of Tennis

This will be the Russian’s first-ever Australian Open quarterfinal.

 

“It feels amazing,” she said. “I’m really happy with my first quarterfinal here in Australian Open.”

 

“I have a lot of memories, because I, yeah, won it twice in juniors and was showing some good tennis, as well, also in the pros, but never achieved something, like, big here.”
“I feel much fitter, as well. And again, I repeat like I’m enjoying a bit more, like I take it a bit differently now.

“Yeah, I feel like I’m showing some good tennis at the same time, as well, and so just trying to put everything in pieces.

“Yeah, but again, I’m not going, like, super excited about it. I just take match by match, and, you know, I want to do even better.”

“Today I played a qualifier, and she hardly ever missed,” Williams said. “So it doesn’t matter who you come up against, they are coming and they want to win, too. They have nothing to lose.
“I’m going to be focused on winning one round at a time and focus on doing what it takes to be there.”

“I know her game,” Williams said of her next opponent. “I have played a lot of matches this tournament kind of not knowing what to expect. That can be a little — it’s a whole different approach.

“Now I have played her. I know what to expect. So I can almost already be settled in before I get to that match. So it’s a good thing.”

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Kerber Advances in Three Sets, Venus Williams Moves Into Third Round at Australian Open

(January 18, 2017) No. 1 seed Angelique Kerber gave herself a birthday gift on Wednesday, a hard-fought 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-2 win over German countrywoman Carina Witthoeft.

The 29-year-old defending champion looked as though she was going to close out the match in straight sets,
but after taking a 3-2 lead in the second set tiebreak, her opponent amped up her game, while Kerber’s serve
vanished. Witthoeft won the next five points to send the match into a third set.

The two-time major winner had to overcome a break in the first game of the third set, but won four straight games to control the set. The fifth game saw Kerber having to fight off break points in long rallies to keep her edge.

“I was a little bit too defensive today, so I think that was the problem,” Kerber said. “When I was trying, I did, like, few more mistakes.

“So, yeah, I mean, I will try for the next round to really focusing on playing consistent from the first until the last point and not having too much up and downs during the match.

“I was doing I think a lot of mistakes like in the important moments. But at the end, I’m happy that I won the match. It was not so easy. The conditions were, like, also a little bit difficult today.
“At the end, I won, and this is all that counts for me.”

“Of course it was not so easy, especially also with the sun from the one side. But at the end, I was try my best. I’m through the next round, so, yeah, I’m looking forward to being now in the third round.”
During her on-court interview, the crowd serenaded her with the “Happy Birthday” song.

No. 13 seed and 2003 finalist Venus Williams advanced to the third round of the Australian Open, beating Swiss veteran Stefanie Voegele 6-3, 6-2 on Wednesday.

Venus, who was scheduled to play doubles with her sister Serena later in the day, pulled out of the doubles with an elbow injury.

“I was really disappointed not to be able to play in New Zealand. I was hoping to have the capacity to play both events here, but at this point I just need to be careful and just try to maintain myself.”

Venus will play Ying-Ying Duan in the third round.
“I don’t know anything about her,” Williams admitted. “I have never seen her play. Zero, like zero. So I’m going to have to, yeah, see how it goes. Like, maybe get a scouting report in the warm-up when we hit the five minutes and kind of see how it feels.”

Other women’s seeds advancing on the day included eighth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 11 Elina Svitolina and No. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. American Alison Riske upset No. 20 Zhang Shuai 7-6 (7), 4-6, 6-1.

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Venus Williams Advances to Second Round of Australian Open

Venus Williams

(January 16, 2017) Seven-time major champion Venus Williams opened up her Open Era record 73rd major with a tough 7-6(5), 7-5 victory over Kateryna Kozlova on the first day of the Australian Open on Monday in Rod Laver Arena. The 13th seed came back from a break down in the first set and 0-2 in the tiebreak and overcame 48 unforced errors for the win.

The American lost in the first round last year in Melbourne to Johanna Konta, who is now in the WTA Top Ten.
Venus Williams is the oldest competitor in the women’s singles event at 36.

“It’s never easy playing the first round, Williams said after the match. “You’re just trying to find the rhythm.”
“She played amazing. It’s very satisfying to get through a match against an opponent who is on fire.”
Williams talked about the very competitive first set:
“I like to control the match. I think eventually the momentum was shifting and I could control the match, and I haven’t really played in a while.

“So it was kind of hard to go out there and think, oh, it’s going to be perfect rhythm. But after the first set I felt more rhythm. Hopefully going through the tournament, I will just feel more and more rhythm.”

During her news conference, Venus was asked questions about her sister Serena’s recent engagement:
“She’s much smarter than I am. That’s pretty much… She’s a wise woman. She’s actually getting a real life.
“She’s paving the way, once again, for me. Maybe I’ll grow up.”

“Yeah, he’s a super nice guy that — you never know how the things are going to end. In this case, it’s not gonna end, so it’s great.”

The 2003 finalist will player winner of Kurumi Nara – Stefanie Voegele in the second round.

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Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt added to BNP Paribas Showdown at MSG

Andy Roddick

New York, NY (January 16, 2017) – Tennis legends Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt will join the star-studded lineup for the 10th anniversary of the BNP Paribas Showdown on Monday, March 6, it was announced today.   Roddick and Hewitt will join Juan Martin del Potro, Kei Nishikori, Venus Williams, Garbiñe Muguruza, Nick Kyrgios and Jack Sock in the annual tennis showcase at Madison Square Garden, which coincides with “World Tennis Day” activities.

 

Hewitt, who announced his retirement from the professional tour last January, is back to renew his rivalry with fellow veteran Roddick who retired after the 2012 US Open.  The two former World No. 1 players have produced a combined 62 tournament wins which includes Hewitt’s Grand Slam titles at the 2001 US Open and 2002 Wimbledon Championships, as well as Roddick’s Grand Slam victory at the 2002 US Open.

 

“I played the World Tennis Day event in Hong Kong a few years ago and love the concept of a worldwide celebration of tennis,” said Hewitt.  “I am really excited about playing Andy at Madison Square Garden which is one of the great venues for our sport. Should be an exciting night for everyone.”

 

“Playing at Madison Square Garden is a bucket list item for any entertainer, especially for a tennis player … that’s normally saved for rock stars and basketball players,” added Roddick.  “To play Roger there in 2012, it was such an amazing atmosphere … when I got the invite to come back, I was going to do everything I could to make that a reality.”

 

The two are tied at seven wins each in head-to-head competition.  Hewitt will make his Madison Square Garden debut while Roddick returns to the BNP Paribas Showdown for the second time.

 

Roddick and Hewitt will square off in an action-packed night that also features del Potro, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist taking on No. 5 Nishikori, while former world No. 1 Venus Williams squares off against French Open champion, Muguruza.  Kyrgios and Sock will provide a glimpse of what the future has in store for tennis fans when they take to the Garden court.

 

Over the course of its decade at Madison Square Garden, the BNP Paribas Showdown has become a must-see event, from superstar Pete Sampras showing a younger Roger Federer he can still play in the inaugural matchup in 2008, to last year’s electrifying performances by Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Stan Wawrinka and Gael Monfils.  The event has also hosted a who’s who in the world of tennis, including: Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl, Mike and Bob Bryan, John and Patrick McEnroe, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, Monica Seles and Gabriela Sabatini.

 

The 10th anniversary BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by MSG Sports and GF Sports. Tickets start at $35.00 and are currently on-sale. They can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at www.thegarden.com and at all Ticketmaster outlets.

 

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.

 

 

 

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USTA Foundation to Serve as Official Charity of BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden

USTA FOUNDATION TO SERVE AS THE OFFICIAL CHARITY OF THE

2017 BNP PARIBAS SHOWDOWN 10th ANNIVERSARY

AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN

Foundation Will Also Host World Tennis Day Reception Benefitting

Tennis and Education Programs

Exclusive Packages Currently Available, Including an Opportunity to Meet

Venus Williams, Juan Martin del Potro and Other

BNP Paribas Showdown Players

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Dec. 15, 2016 – The USTA Foundation, the national charitable organization of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), today announced that it has been selected as the official charity of the 2017 BNP Paribas Showdown. This marks the fourth consecutive year the USTA Foundation will serve as the event’s official charity.

The Showdown will take place March 6, 2017, at Madison Square Garden in celebration of the fifth annual World Tennis Day. To help kick off the day, the USTA Foundation will host a fundraising reception that evening with the BNP Paribas Showdown players, including seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams and former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro.

The BNP Paribas Showdown, celebrating its 10th anniversary, will also feature 2016 French Open women’s champion Garbiñe Muguruza, 2014 US Open finalist Kei Nishikori, world No. 13 Nick Kyrgios and rising American star Jack Sock. All six players, including Williams and del Potro, will participate in the events first-ever legends match to be announced soon.

The USTA Foundation World Tennis Day Reception will raise funds to support the organization’s funding of scholarships and programming grants to under-resourced youth and the tennis and education programs they attend throughout the country. The majority of these programs are associated with the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) network.

Supporters can purchase a variety of packages that include a meet-and-greet with the players, player clinics, courtside tickets to attend the 2017 BNP Paribas Showdown and an exclusive opportunity to watch the players practice just before the event.

All packages as well as sponsorship opportunities are available at www.ustafoundation.com/worldtennisday.

“The USTA Foundation is once again proud and honored to be a part of this celebratory event on its extraordinary 10th milestone,” said Dan Faber, Executive Director of the USTA Foundation. “GF Sports and MSG are outstanding partners as well as supporters, allowing us to use one of the grandest stages in sport to carry out our mission. World Tennis Day continues to make a positive impact on kids and families, and we make every effort to do the same. We are excited to collaborate in the spirit of changing lives and creating brighter futures through tennis.”

“We are proud supporters of the USTA Foundation and glad to share this special event with them as we celebrate a decade of spreading the message of the positive outcomes  tennis can have on young people throughout the country and the world,” said Jerry Solomon, Executive Producer of the BNP Paribas Showdown and creator of World Tennis Day. “It is our mission to collaborate on a high level so that fans of this great sport have the opportunity to also show their support and witness great competition amongst tennis’ most exciting players.”

The USTA Foundation supports programs nationwide that leverage tennis, education and life skills to prepare under-resourced youth for college and beyond. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than $22 million, benefitting thousands of children and adults through tennis, education and health programs and college scholarships. 

Tickets for the BNP Paribas Showdown are available at the Madison Square Garden Box Office or through any Ticketmaster outlet.

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Venus Williams, Muguruza, del Potro, Nishikori, Kyrgios and Sock to play BNP Paribas Showdown at MSG

Venus Williams

Venus Williams

 

CELEBRATION OF TENNIS TO HIGHLIGHT 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF

BNP PARIBAS SHOWDOWN AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN ON

MONDAY, MARCH 6, 2017

 

EVENT TO FEATURE JUAN MARTIN DEL POTRO,

KEI NISHIKORI, VENUS WILLIAMS, GARBIÑE MUGURUZA,

NICK KYRGIOS AND JACK SOCK

 

TICKETS ON-SALE MONDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2016

 

New York, NY (October 26, 2016) – The 10th anniversary of the BNP Paribas Showdown will bring past, current and future stars to the Madison Square Garden court for a night of tennis on Monday, March 6, The Madison Square Garden Company and GF Sports announced today.   Juan Martin del Potro, Kei Nishikori, Venus Williams, Garbiñe Muguruza, Nick Kyrgios, Jack Sock and a legends matchup to be named later, will square off in the 10th anniversary edition of the annual tennis showcase.

 

Del Potro, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist will take on world No. 5 Nishikori, while former world No. 1 Venus Williams will square off against reigning French Open champion, Muguruza.  Kyrgios and Sock, two exciting young stars on the rise, will provide a glimpse of what the future has in store for tennis fans.

 

Over the course of its decade at Madison Square Garden, the BNP Paribas Showdown has become a must-see event, from superstar Pete Sampras showing a younger Roger Federer he can still play in the inaugural matchup in 2008, to last year’s electrifying performances by Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Stan Wawrinka and Gael Monfils.  The event has also hosted a who’s who in the world of tennis, including: Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl, Mike and Bob Bryan, John and Patrick McEnroe, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, Monica Seles and Gabriela Sabatini.

 

The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by MSG Sports and GF Sports. Tickets start at $35.00 and will go on-sale Monday, October 31. They can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at www.thegarden.com and at all Ticketmaster outlets.  The event will start at 7:00 pm on Monday, March 6.

 

“Since 2008, playing the Showdown at The Garden has become a ‘must’ amongst the biggest stars in the game, and as we celebrate the 10th Showdown we’re looking forward to another special night of tennis,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, Marquee Events/Operations, The Madison Square Garden Company.  “The Showdown has continually entertained thousands of tennis fans and provided many lasting moments.  And, how can we forget Ben Stiller, Rory McIllroy and Redfoo taking to the Garden court? You never know what or who you’ll see when tennis comes to The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

 

“It is incredible to think this will be our 10th Showdown,” said Showdown creator, Jerry Solomon. “We have been fortunate to have had just about every tennis superstar of the last 30 years play at Madison Square Garden, and this year will be no different, with our compelling slate of great players spanning eras. And we’ll also be including some twists on the traditional tennis format that will allow fans to see more action than ever before in a more compact schedule. On March 6, the BNP Paribas Showdown and The Garden will once again be the place to be for the most exciting tennis.”

 

Nishikori, currently ranked No. 5 in the world, is the only male Japanese player to ever be ranked in the top 10.  He has compiled 11 singles titles and was a finalist in the 2014 US Open, making him the first Asian player to compete in a Grand Slam singles final.

 

2009 US Open champion del Potro returns to Madison Square Garden for his second appearance at the BNP Paribas Showdown.  The 6’-6” Argentine, who is playing strong and blazing the comeback trail after three wrist operations that sidelined his career, is currently ranked No. 42 and just recently captured the Stockholm Open for his first ATP Tour title since 2014.

Williams, arguably one of the greatest female players of all time, is a seven-time Grand Slam champion, five-time Wimbledon Champion, four-time Olympic gold medalist, and winner of 49 singles titles.  She is currently ranked No. 15 and will be making her third Showdown appearance.

Current world No. 6 Muguruza beat Serena Williams in the finals of the 2016 French Open to capture her first Grand Slam title.  She holds 10 career singles titles and was runner up at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships. She will make her Madison Square Garden debut as she tries to beat Venus Williams for the first time in four attempts.

 

Two rising ATP Tour stars, Sock and Kyrgios, will compete in their first ever match-up at Madison Square Garden.  Kyrgios, ranked No. 13, was listed as the No. 1 World Junior in 2013, and has already recorded several top 10 wins, including against world No. 3 Stan Wawrinka at an ATP Masters 1000 tournament earlier this year.  He will play Sock, one of the top-ranked American players at world No. 22.  Sock is a former junior US Open champion and has been in three finals on the ATP Tour.

 

The BNP Paribas Showdown will apply several new innovative formats currently being experimented in the world of tennis to help speed up the game.  The format enhancements will make the Showdown an even more fast-paced, exciting event for the fans.

 

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

 

Additional information on the event will be released at a later date.

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