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BNP Paribas Showdown For The Billie Jean King Cup

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Press Release

Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Svetlana Kuznetsova & Kim Clijsters

Headline The Second Annual

"BNP Paribas Showdown For The Billie Jean King Cup"

Madison Square Garden On Monday, March 1, 2010

A Tennis Night In America Event

New York, NY, December 2, 2008 – The top women in the world of tennis, including current World No. 1 player Serena Williams, seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams, 2009 US Open champion Kim Clijsters and 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, will face off in the one-night, single elimination $1.2 million “BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup” at Madison Square Garden on Monday, March 1, 2010.

Limited VIP tickets and additional tickets for $250.00, $125.00, $75.00, $50.00 and $25.00 went on sale TODAY and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, all Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.thegarden.com.

“At Madison Square Garden we strive to bring the biggest and best in sports and entertainment under our roof,” said Joel Fisher, executive vice president, MSG Sports. “We are thrilled that these women’s tennis champions will be plying their trade at the second annual BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup, and that our fans will get to witness a great, great night of tennis at The Garden.”

“We are looking forward to an exciting night of tennis with some potential interesting matchups including a rematch of the US Open semifinals between Serena and Kim,” said StarGames president Jerry Solomon, referring to the matches controversial ending. “With the return of great sponsors like BNP Paribas and the growth of our Tennis Night in America partnership with the USTA, the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup is emerging as a night that brings tennis fans around the country together to celebrate the sport. It is certainly a night that tennis fans should have on their annual calendar.”

The “BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup” is the featured element of the national “Tennis Night in America” promotion. Through “Tennis Night in America”, the USTA will continue its efforts to grow youth participation in the sport of tennis. “Tennis Night in America” is among the sports largest ever grass roots initiatives.

The USTA has made this event a major component for its Youth Registration Night, where youth from all over the country can begin signing up for spring and summer league play.

The caliber of players for the event is unparalleled, boasting three of 2009’s Grand Slam tournament winners, including defending champion Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters, who stunned the tennis world with her Cinderella-like U.S. Open victory only two years after retiring from the sport. The grouping also consists of 2009 French Open Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and seven-time Grand Slam Singles Champion, Venus Williams.

Serena Williams, the current top-ranked women’s player, captured two Grand Slam events this past year winning her 10
th and 11th singles titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. She holds an astounding total of 52 titles (35 singles / 17 doubles) at Tour events. Serena, 28, defeated her sister, Venus, in this past summer’s Wimbledon singles’ finals, and the pair teamed up to once again win the doubles tournament.

Venus Williams, a 29-year-old former World No. 1, is currently ranked No. 6 and won the 2008 Wimbledon and Tour Championship titles. The Williams sisters paired up for patriotic pride to capture their second consecutive Olympic gold medals in women’s doubles.

Rounding out the field is defending French Open Champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova. The Russian-born player is currently ranked No. 3 in the world and her Grand Slam title was her first since winning the US Open five years ago.

In this fast-paced no ad scoring format, each participant will compete in a one-set semi-final with the winners advancing to a best of three-set final for the Billie Jean King Cup.

Depending on the draw, which will be announced at a later date, a potential rematch of the 2009 US Open semifinal (Serena Williams vs. Kim Clijsters), Wimbledon finals (Williams vs. Williams) and French Open quarterfinal (Serena vs. Kuznetsova) could take place.

The “BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup” is produced by StarGames in association with Madison Square Garden.

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Seen On The Scene: Venus Williams In New York

Friday, December 4, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams March of Dimes Sportswoman Of The YearSportswoman of the Year Venus Williams and Sportsman of the Year Joe Girardi attend the March of Dimes' Sportman and Sportswoman of the Year luncheon at The Waldorf-Astoria on December 2, 2009 in New York City.
(Photos by Wireimages)

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams March of Dimes Sportswoman Of The YearBlack Tennis Pro's Venus Williams March of Dimes Sportswoman Of The Year
Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams BNP Paribas Billie Jean King Cup 2010Venus Williams presents Kelly Bensimon and her daughter with the first ticket to the March 1, 2010 MSG hosted "BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup" at Madison Square Garden on December 2, 2009 in New York City.

Serena and Venus Williams, Kim Clijsters and Svetlana Kuznetsova will play a one-night exhibition for the Billie Jean King Cup at Madison Square Garden in March.The March 1 event will feature one-set semifinals then a three-set final, all with no ad scoring. Serena Williams beat her sister in last year's final.

Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams BNP Paribas Billie Jean King Cup 2010Black Tennis Pro's Venus Williams BNP Paribas Billie Jean King Cup 2010

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Monfils Outlasted In Battle For Paris Title

Monday, November 16, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils 2009 BNP Paribas MastersFinalist Gael Monfils joins Paris Masters tournament officials post match
(Photos by ©FFT/C.Saadi)

In an epic three-setter at the 2009 BNP Paribas Masters tournament in Paris, France on Sunday, No. 15 seed Gaƫl Monfils was outlasted by the the No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(3) in a match that thrilled the crowd for two and three-quarter hours.

Local hero Monfils confounded the pundits who presumed that Djokovic would make mincemeat of him as the Serb had done to the mighty Rafael Nadal 24 hours earlier. With adrenaline coursing through his veins and the roars of a 13,000-strong partisan crowd behind him, Monfils made light of the fatigue he was feeling after a protracted semi-final and battled all the way to a third set tie-break, treating his supporters to a roller-coaster ride along the way.

The first set was all Djokovic, as the 6-2 scoreline would suggest. He won his first seven points on service and lost only three all set, while his returns sent Monfils scurrying from side to side in a vain attempt to keep pace. The writing appeared to be on the wall when the Serb raced into a 3-0 lead in the second, but then the rigours of over 90 matches this season caught up with him, mentally more than physically. Monfils saw a chink of light and crept through, aided by Djokovic’s sudden propensity for coming to the net and then fluffing his volleys. 3-0 became 3-3, and just as a tie-break seemed on the cards, the Frenchman upped the intensity on his returns and broke to lead 6-5. An ace in the next game sent the crowd into paroxysms of ecstasy and the match was level at one set all.

Djokovic again broke to open the decider, and though Monfils responded immediately the Serb broke again and finally got some daylight between himself and his 23-year-old opponent at 4-1. Despite a sudden rash of double-faults – four in the space of six points – Monfils hauled himself back into the match and when Djokovic suddenly lost his radar in terms of length, the match was back level at 4-4.

A tie-break was the only way to decide what had been a fitting culmination to an incredible tournament, and the fans were indeed treated to the equivalent of a penalty shoot-out. Monfils was asked to summon up one last valiant effort, but it was not to be, and while his double-fault on match point may haunt him over the coming weeks, it will soon be expunged from the memories of those who witnessed his performance in the final and indeed throughout the week.

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils 2009 BNP Paribas Masters2009 Paris Masters champion and finalist Novak Djokovic, Serbia and Gael Monfils, France

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils 2009 BNP Paribas MastersBlack Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils 2009 BNP Paribas Masters

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Monfils Powers His Way Into Paris Final - WooHoo!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Gael Monfils Paris Masters FinalGael Monfils, France
(Photos by Clive Rose and Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty Images)

Gael Monfils delighted the home crowd by overcoming the Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek to reach the final of the Paris Masters.

The Paris-born player, world No 16, shared the opening two sets with the Czech but broke at 5-4 in the third to take the match 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 and set up a clash with Novak Djokovic.

Monfils said, "I know on Sunday I'll give my life on the court. I want to win. I'm not listening to my body any more."

A lot of Monfils’ best results have come in France. Last year he made the French Open semis and he won his first title this autumn for four years in Metz. "When I play in front of my family and the French crowd, I feel immediately a lot better," Monfils explained. "I believe in myself. I don't have much autonomy, but I believe in it. I try to do my best, and my level of game gets higher. I move well. I surprise myself."

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James Blake Advances In Paris

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's James Blake BNP Paribas 2009James Blake, USA

PARIS -- James Blake of the United States beat French veteran Fabrice Santoro 6-4, 6-3 in the first round of the Paris Masters on Sunday.

The 36-year-old Santoro, who is playing his final season on the ATP tour, swapped jerseys with Blake after the match and did a lap around the court to warm applause from the crowd at Bercy indoor arena.

Blake broke Santoro's serve twice in each set, and afterward paid tribute to the Frenchman.

"He's a great competitor, such a classy guy. Someone I've had a lot of tough matches with," said Blake, who next plays fourth-seeded Andy Murray of Britain. "He's had a great career. It's unbelievable how much success he's had in singles and doubles and how well liked he is by his competitors."

Murray beat Mikhail Youzhny in the Valencia Open final on Sunday, winning his sixth title of the season in his first tournament back since injuring his wrist at the U.S. Open in September.

In another first-round match in Paris on Sunday, Benjamin Becker beat Michael Llodra of France 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. The German next meets sixth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia.

Becker converted all three break chances, and saved two second-set break points and another in the decider. Both players served nine aces.

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Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmm...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A lot of men and women showed up in Indian Wells, California to play in the BNP Paribas Open. So why is it that their participation isn't the interest around the internet?

The big story is NOT about those who showed up, but about those two African-American women who did not.

Nothing has changed - It's so old!

Did anybody really believe that a rule change would MAKE Venus or Serena Williams return to Indian Wells? If you did, you understand none of which you write.

We'll see them in Miami soon... on with the dudes and dudettes who have been gettin' busy for the past few days!

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Serena Williams Claims First Billie Jean King Cup Title

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Black Tennis Pro's Billie Jean King Cup FinalIn what turned out to be a really nice event, American Serena Williams had to take down big sister Venus to earn the first Billie Jean King Cup title.

The entire event appeared to be planned, organized and promoted wonderfully. The celebration of legend Billie Jean King with a tournament named for her, broadcast on HBO and contested by four of the world's top players, it just could not have been done any better.

Venus and Serena Williams and Serbians Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic went head to head. The single-set semifinal no-ad format was do or die. It wasn't a matter of it suiting any of the players well, it was a matter of who was willing to go for it all. In the first semifinal Venus and Jelena seemed to start out on equal footing, but Venus managed to break Jelena's serve at the all to crucial 4-4 point of their match. She then served for and won that semifinal 6-4.

Serena and Ana's semifinal wasn't quite as even handed. While Ana did get in a few memorable shots, Serena was never in any danger. She defeated Ana 6-3 setting up the all-Williams final.

The maiden contesting of a tournament could not get any better than an all-Williams final. While it wasn't the most memorable match, the ladies played well and provided a match worthy of a final. After two weeks of winning tournaments back to back, Venus appeared to run out of gas... who wouldn't.

Nevertheless, the first Billie Jean King Cup was definitely a night to remember.

Event Photos

Black Tennis Pro's Billie Jean King Cup FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Billie Jean King Cup FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Billie Jean King Cup FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Billie Jean King Cup FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Billie Jean King Cup FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Billie Jean King Cup FinalBlack Tennis Pro's Billie Jean King Cup Final

Photos by AP/Getty Images

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Venus Wiliams Hopes To Play Serena At Garden

Monday, February 16, 2009

Note: Near the end of this article, after stating that Venus Williams has not changed her mind about playing Indian Wells, the article implies that the sole reason she and Serena are not playing is because they were booed after Venus defaulted with an injured knee.

If you recall, the sisters and their father, Richard Williams, have stated that they encountered racist behavior in Indian Wells.

In a November 2008 interview with the New York Times Serena Williams stated:

“I’m not going to be playing at Indian Wells. I’ve had some extremely life-altering things that happened to me there. So I told Larry Scott there are things that happened there that he understands shouldn’t happen, especially me being African-American. We’ve been struggling for so long. I try to stand up for what I believe in. I won’t be able to say anything positive about Indian Wells. If they really want me to promote it, then honestly, I don’t know what to say.”


AP/New York: Venus Williams wants to play her top-ranked sister when women's tennis returns to Madison Square Garden for the first time in nearly nine years.

Williams will join Serena Williams, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic on March 2 in the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup. They will compete for $1.2 million in prize money.

"I'm hoping for an all-Williams final," Venus said Wednesday during a conference call. "That would be most exciting for us and, of course, for the fans. I love playing with Serena, against her and in doubles."

The single-elimination exhibition will feature three players who won Grand Slam titles in 2008. Ivanovic won her first major at the French Open, Venus won Wimbledon and Serena won the U.S. Open and this year's Australian Open. Jankovic held the No. 1 ranking for part of last season.

The draw will be held later this month, and they will compete in a one-set, no-ad scoring semifinal. The winners will play a best-of-three final.

In her only appearance at Madison Square Garden, Venus lost in the 1999 WTA season-ending tournament.

"There is an unbelievable amount of tennis tradition there for the women," she said. "It was the pinnacle of the season. I feel honored to be playing."

The Garden hosted its final WTA season-ending championships in 2000. Williams captured her first season-ending event last November in Doha, Qatar.

Roger Federer and Pete Sampras played an exhibition match last March at the Garden, the first men's pro tennis competition there since 1996.

The Williams sisters last faced off at the Wimbledon final. They've combined to win the last three Grand Slam singles titles, so the goal is to stay healthy throughout the season.

"As long as that happens, I really play good tennis," said Williams, who teamed with Serena to win the Australian Open doubles title. "I love the challenge. If it wasn't challenging, we wouldn't love it as much as we do."

Williams will compete in the Dubai Tennis Championships, which begin Sunday. She hasn't changed her mind about skipping the tournament next month at Indian Wells, Calif., one of the mandatory events on the WTA schedule. In 2001, Venus defaulted with a knee injury before a semifinal match against Serena and they were booed by the crowd.

She said King, an investor in the Indian Wells tournament, hasn't tried to persuade her to play.

"I don't think that's her job or her aim," Venus said. "With Billie, her whole intention has been if I'm OK and happy more than anything else."

Venus said she hasn't been paying close attention to the recent steroid revelations in baseball. She considers tennis "a completely different sport."

"You have to hold your nerve, and I don't know if there's a drug for that," she said. "Tennis has a pretty good record and we continually test."

The showdown will be broadcast on HBO. It's part of "Tennis Night in America," an effort by the U.S. Tennis Association to get youth signed up to play.

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