New York area tennis fans are in for another great night of tennis with some of the world’s top players scheduled to appear for the sixth annual BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden on Monday, March 4, 2013. Current world number one-ranked Victoria Azarenka, the reigning Australian Open champion and Olympic Bronze Medalist, will get the night started against Wimbledon champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Serena Williams. Following the women will be Argentine Davis Cup star, 2009 U.S. Open champion and Olympic Bronze Medalist Juan Martin del Potro, who will step onto The Garden court against one of the game’s all-time greats, former world number one and 11-time Grand Slam champion, Rafael Nadal. The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by MSG Sports and StarGames. Tickets go on sale Tuesday, Oct. 9 10:00 a.m.
One of the most exciting players of all-time, Rafael "Rafa" Nadal, is currently ranked third in the world and is a former world number one-ranked player. Nadal, “The King of Clay,” has won a total of 11 Grand Slam singles titles, including an all-time record seven French Open championships; the 2008 Olympic gold medal; and a record 21 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments; and was also part of the Spain Davis Cup team that won the finals in 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011.
"While I am disappointed to be missing a trip to New York for the U.S. Open I am happy to announce that I will be coming to New York to play at Madison Square Garden on March 4,” said Nadal. “New York has many great memories for me and I am really looking forward to playing against Juan Martin in front of all of the New York tennis fans that night."
Juan Martin del Potro, is currently the eighth-ranked player in the world and the highest-ranked Argentine player on the tour. He broke the top-10 ranking in 2008 and reached his career-high ranking of fourth in 2010. He was named the Comeback Player of the Year in 2011 after rising from a low of 485th to finish the season at world number 11. In 2008, del Potro became the first player in ATP history to win his first four career titles in as many tournaments. Del Potro captured his first Grand Slam title at the 2009 U.S. Open, defeating Nadal in the semifinal and Roger Federer in the final becoming the first man to defeat both heavyweights in the same Grand Slam tournament. Del Potro is the only player other than Novak Djokovic, Nadal and Federer to have won a Grand Slam singles title since 2005. He became the second Argentine and the fifth-youngest man to win the U.S. Open title in the Open Era. Del Potro recently captured the Bronze Medal at the London Olympics in 2012.
"New York and the New York fans represent something special for me as I had my first Grand Slam win here,” said del Potro. “So it will be great to come to Madison Square Garden and play in a world famous arena against Rafa which should bring out a lot of flags from Spain and Argentina, making it an exciting night of entertaining tennis. I am really looking forward to playing in the Showdown."
Serena Williams, currently ranked number four in the world, has held the top ranking on five separate occasions, dating back to 2002 and is considered one of the greatest players of all-time. She has recorded 29 Grand Slam titles (14 singles, 13 women's doubles, two mixed-doubles), making her ninth on the all-time list and is only the fifth woman to hold all four Grand Slam singles titles. The 14 Grand Slam singles titles is sixth on the all-time list and among all active players she holds the most Major titles in singles, doubles and mixed-doubles. Additionally, Serena has won four Olympic Gold Medals, one in women's singles and three in women's doubles. During the London Olympics, she became the second player after Steffi Graf to win a career Golden Grand Slam after winning the Gold Medal and the first player in history, male or female, to win the Golden Grand Slam in both singles and doubles (with sister Venus Williams).
“I always love playing in New York and at Madison Square Garden,” said Serena. “The last time I played there I won the Billie Jean King Cup which was a huge honor for me. It will be exciting to be back at the Showdown with the other great players. I am sure it will be another fantastic night."
Victoria Azarenka is the current world number one female player in the world. She won the 2012 Australian Open singles title, becoming the first Belarusian player to win a Grand Slam in singles. Her other achievements include winning the Bronze Medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, two mixed-doubles Grand Slam titles, the 2007 U.S. Open (Max Mirnyi), the 2008 French Open (Bob Bryan) and the Gold Medal in the mixed-doubles at the 2012 London Olympics (Max Mirnyi).
"I have heard from some of the other players how exciting it is to play in the Showdown at Madison Square Garden so I am really looking forward to being part of the event," said Azarenka. "It should be a great night for tennis."
“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.
“It is hard to believe that this is the sixth year of the BNP Paribas Showdown which has now established itself on the tennis calendar as one of the most entertaining nights of the year,” said Jerry Solomon, executive producer and president of StarGames. “We are honored to have Rafa, Serena, Juan Martin and Victoria join a list of only the very best in tennis who have played at the Showdown. It promises to be another ‘must see’ event for New York tennis fans.”