| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff

Before four of the biggest names in tennis take the court at Madison Square Garden, MSG Networks will present “The World of Tennis: BNP Paribas Showdown Preview” show on Friday, March 1 at 5:30 p.m. on MSG+ with an encore presentation at 11:30 p.m. on MSG. The sixth annual BNP Paribas Showdown will take place Monday, March 4 at Madison Square Garden and will feature Rafael Nadal, Victoria Azarenka, Serena Williams and Juan Martin del Potro. Later in the month, on Sunday, March 17, MSG Networks will showcase the 2013 BNP Paribas Showdown in a special presentation starting at 7:00 p.m. on MSG+ with Azarenka vs. Williams followed by Nadal vs. del Potro at 9:00 p.m. MSG’s Al Trautwig will call the two matches with former professional tennis player Katrina Adams, while Rennae Stubbs, who retired in 2011, will report courtside.

“In the beginning, we thought that the injury was going to be three weeks or four weeks, then I couldn’t play the Olympics, and that was a low moment,” said Nadal. “You work hard every day in the gym, you go every day to rehabilitation…I will keep fighting to keep doing what I love to do – that’s play tennis.”

Friday’s 30-minute preview show will feature comments from all four players and includes a discussion with Nadal about his continued recovery from last year’s knee injury, as well as his thoughts on playing at Madison Square Garden.

“I think that playing in Madison Square Garden is something that everyone wants to do,” said Nadal. “I will be there trying to enjoy the experience and trying to have a good show for the fans. I love New York.”

Like Nadal, Del Potro and Azarenka will be making their Madison Square Garden debuts on March 4. This will mark Williams’ third appearance in the BNP Paribas Showdown at The Garden.

The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by MSG Sports and StarGames and exclusively features players who have won Grand Slams or have been ranked number one in the world, if not both. Players who have participated include: Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters, Ana Ivanovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Jankovic. In 2011, four legends of the game took to the court when Ivan Lendl squared off against John McEnroe followed by Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras. Roger Federer and Andy Roddick have also participated in the event.

Madison Square Garden has been host to some of the greatest matches and biggest names in tennis for more than 80 years. The men’s and women’s year-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.