Two of the greatest rivalries in tennis will resume at Madison Square Garden when tennis legends Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl take to the Madison Square Garden tennis court in the 2011 BNP Paribas Showdown, scheduled for Monday, Feb. 28, 2011. The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by StarGames and MSG Sports. Tickets will officially go on sale Sept. 27 at 10:00 a.m. and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office and all Ticketmaster outlets.
Renewing classic rivalries of the 80s and 90s, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl will compete in a one-set pro match (first player to win eight games), followed by a best of three-set match between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. The four all-time greats have won a combined 37 Grand Slam Singles titles and 295 ATP Tour events.
The BNP Paribas Showdown, in partnership with the United States Tennis Association, will continue their efforts to grow youth participation in the sport of tennis through “Tennis Night in America,” a national program which is among the largest ever grassroots initiatives the sport has ever seen.
“To have the opportunity to play Pete at Madison Square Garden is thrilling,” said Agassi. “Playing in front of the New York fans has always been exciting and I’m sure Pete and I will give them something to cheer about.”
Sampras, who began his professional career at the age of 16 in 1988, holds 14 Grand Slam singles titles, the most Wimbledon titles (seven), two Australian Open titles, five U.S. Open singles titles, and the record for the most number of weeks as world number one-ranked with a total of 286 weeks. Sampras debuted in 1988 and played his last professional tournament in 2002, when he captured the U.S. Open, defeating longtime rival Agassi in the final. Sampras walked away with a total of 64 singles titles and a world number one ranking, which he held for a record six consecutive years from 1993-1998. Sampras was inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame in 2007.
“When Roger Federer and I played at The Garden a few years ago, it was an electric night,” said Sampras. “I expect that it will be that way again when Andre and I play. It should be a lot of fun.”
Agassi, the former world number one-ranked player, is the only male player in history to have achieved a Career Golden Slam, and, just one of six men who achieved a Career Grand Slam (Rod Laver, Don Budge, Fred Perry, Roy Emerson and Roger Federer). He retired with eight Grand Slam singles tournaments tying him fifth in Grand Slam singles tournament wins for male players. In addition to his Grand Slam and Olympic singles titles, he won seventeen ATP Masters Series tournaments, a record from 2004-2010. He won the 1990 ATP Tour World Championships and was part of a winning Davis Cup team in 1990 and 1992.
“I am really looking forward to playing in The Garden again," said Lendl. "I have so many great memories from matches with John there. It should be a great night for tennis."
Lendl, a former world number one-ranked player, was one of the game's most dominant players in the 1980s and remained a top competitor into the early 1990s. Lendl captured eight Grand Slam singles titles. He competed in 19 Grand Slam singles finals and reached at least one Grand Slam final for 11 consecutive years, including reaching the US Open final for eight consecutive years. 2010 marks the 25th anniversary of his first U.S. Open Championship against McEnroe.
McEnroe, one of tennis’ best competitors won the U.S. Open crown four times and was victorious at Wimbledon three times for a total of seven Grand Slam singles titles. He captured nine Grand Slam men's doubles titles, and one Grand Slam mixed doubles title. He is best remembered for his shot-making artistry and superb volleying; for his famous rivalries with Björn Borg, Jimmy Connors, and of course, Ivan Lendl.
“I have been going to Madison Square Garden since I was eight, and I have played some of my best tennis there,” said McEnroe. “I am very happy to have the chance to play Ivan Lendl again in The World’s Most Famous Arena."
McEnroe is the older brother of Patrick McEnroe, who is also a former professional tennis player and the present captain of the United States Davis Cup team, a position in which John served in previously. McEnroe was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1999.
Since the introduction of professional tennis over eighty years ago, Madison Square Garden has been host to some of the greatest matches and biggest names in the sport. Most notably, from 1979-1999, the Garden served as the site for the men’s and women’s year-end tour championships, featuring legendary players including Billie Jean King, 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 number one-ranked Roger Federer and former Grand Slam record holder Pete Sampras.
The following year, women’s tennis returned to MSG 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.
For VIP packages featuring once in a life time meet and greets, photos, tickets, hospitality and exclusive hitting opportunities with the pros, tennis fans may call (888) 753-8747 for more information about the Insider Experience.
For more information and an opportunity to sign up for pre-sale alerts prior to tickets going on sale, visit www.tennisshowdown.com.