Top players ready for BNP Paribas Showdown
New York, NY — A huge night of tennis is in store for New York area tennis fans, with some of the world’s top players scheduled for the first tennis matches in the transformed Madison Square Garden on Monday, March 5th, 2012, as the BNP Paribas Showdown returns for its fifth year at the World’s Most Famous Arena. The night starts with three-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova against the World’s No. 1 women’s player, Caroline Wozniacki followed by the most decorated player of all time, Roger Federer, against long-time rival and former World No. 1 and US Open Champion Andy Roddick. Both matches will be best of three sets.
The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by MSG Sports and StarGames. Tickets starting at $50.00 will go on sale October 3 @ 10:00 a.m. and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at thegarden.com and all Ticketmaster outlets. For more information and an opportunity to sign up for pre-sale alerts prior to tickets going on sale fans can visit tennisshowdown.com.
“Playing in Madison Square Garden has always been a dream of mine,” said Sharapova. “Everyone wants to play there at least once in their career. I look forward to coming back to New York for the Showdown.”
Roddick added, “I have never had a chance to play at the Garden before and to play Roger there will make it a special night. I am really looking forward to a great event.”
“Madison Square Garden has an unparalleled history of great tennis with more than 80 years featuring some of the very best in the game in a unique arena setting,” said Scott O’Neil, president, MSG Sports. “At the BNP Paribas Showdown on March 5th, Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Maria Sharapova and Caroline Wozniacki will all grace The Garden court and entertain a very New York crowd joining the ranks of tennis greats featured at The World’s Most Famous Arena.”
“Having four of the most popular tennis players of the past decade at the BNP Paribas Showdown should make for an exciting night of tennis for the New York fans. This lineup carries on the great tradition of tennis at Madison Square Garden and should form the basis for a great celebration of the sport on Tennis Night in America,” said Jerry Solomon, Executive Producer and President of StarGames.
“Tennis Night in America” has annually marked the start of the tennis season in the United States and begins a month of professional events that include the BNP Paribas Open and Sony Ericsson Open. Last year Pete Sampras was the spokesman and over 700 tennis facilities across the country participated.
Three-time Grand Slam singles champion and former World No. 1, Sharapova currently holds 24 career singles titles including the Australian Open, US Open and Wimbledon championship, and has been in five Grand Slam finals. She started playing tennis at the age of 4 and is currently ranked No. 4 in the world and reached the World No. 1 ranking for the first time in August 2005 and last regained the ranking for the fourth time on May 19, 2008. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has ranked Sharapova World No. 1 in singles on four separate occasions.
Sharapova made her professional breakthrough in 2004 when, at age 17, she upset two-time defending champion and top seed Serena Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final for her first Grand Slam singles title. Known for her interests beyond the court as well, Sharapova signed with IMG Models in 2003 and has been featured in a number of modeling assignments, including a feature in a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Making her professional debut in 2005 eight days after her 15th birthday, a loss to Patty Schnyder in the first round at Cincinnati. Wozniacki currently holds the World No. 1 ranking becoming the 20th player in WTA history to hold the top ranking. She has held the top spot for 46 weeks. The 21 year-old Denmark native was awarded the 2008 WTA Newcomer of the Year award and holds 18 career singles titles.
Sharapova currently holds a 3-2 advantage in head-to-head matchups with Wozniacki. They have each beaten the other in 2011.
Considered to be one of the greatest players of all-time Roger Federer is currently the No. 3 player in the world and a former World No. 1 player who held the No. 1 position for a record 237 consecutive weeks (2/2/04 - 8/18/08) and 285 weeks overall.
Federer, who makes his return to Madison Square Garden after facing Pete Sampras in 2008 in front of a sold out crowd, has won a men’s record 16 Grand Slam singles titles. He is one of seven male players to capture the career Grand Slam and the only male player in tennis history to have reached the title match of each Grand Slam tournament at least five times.
Federer has appeared in an unprecedented 23 career Grand Slam finals, of which 10 were consecutive appearances, and appeared in 18 of 19 finals over the four and a half years from the 2005 Wimbledon Championships through the 2010 Australian Open, the lone exception being the 2008 Australian Open.
Roddick is a former World No. 1 player and led the United States to the Davis Cup title in 2007. He is currently the second highest-ranked American player with a World No. 21 ranking. Known for his extremely powerful serve, Roddick held the world record for the fastest serve at 155 mph between 2004 and 2011.
The Nebraska native has 30 career singles titles and he won his only Grand Slam the title at the 2003 US Open, defeating Juan Carlos Ferrero in the finals, which currently makes him the last North American male player to win a grand slam singles event.
Federer and Roddick played each other in an epic Wimbledon final in 2009 where the victory over the No. 6 seeded Roddick gave Federer his 15th Grand Slam singles championship breaking a tie with Pete Sampras for the most in history. The five-set marathon lasted four hours and 16 minutes.
The Madison Square Garden Arena has been host to some of the greatest matches and biggest names in the sport for more than 80 years. The men’s and women’s yea-end tour championships took place at The Garden from 1977-1989 and 1979 - 2000 respectively and featured the likes of Björn Borg and Martina Navratilova.
After an eight year hiatus professional tennis returned to The World’s Most Famous Arena on March 10, 2008 with the sold-out NetJets Showdown between World No. 1 Roger Federer and former Grand Slam record holder Pete Sampras.
The following year women’s tennis returned to The Garden with the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup in 2009 and 2010. Players who have participated include: Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters, Ana Ivanovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Jankovic. Last year four legends of the game took to the court when Ivan Lendl squared off against John McEnroe followed by Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.
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