BNP Paribas Showdown

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BNP Paribas Showdown
Tournament information
Location Manhattan, New York,
United States
Venue Madison Square Garden (2008-present)
Surface hard indoor
Draw 4 teams

The BNP Paribas Showdown is a one-night tennis exhibition held at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan New York City, United States each February or March since 2008.

The event format is a single elimination tournament with active and retired players competing in a one set, no-ad scoring semifinal, with the winners advancing to a best-of-three set final with regular scoring.

The BNP Paribas Showdown serves as the kick off to the tennis season in North America, as it is part of one of the United States Tennis Association's grassroots initiative Tennis Night in America.

In 2009 and 2010, the tournament was called Billie Jean King Cup, in honor of retired female player Billie Jean King, and featured the four Grand Slam women's singles winners from the previous year. In 2011, the four players were American male legends Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.


The 2008 edition, called NetJets Showdown, faced Roger Federer and Pete Sampras, which eventually won by Federer.


March 2, 2009, marked the inaugural year of the Billie Jean King Cup and the first time women's tennis had been played at Madison Square Garden since 2000, when the year-ending Chase Championships were held there. Broadcast internationally on HBO, the inaugural year featured 2008 US Open Champion Serena Williams, 2008 Wimbledon Champion Venus Williams, 2008 French Open Champion Ana Ivanovic and 2008 year end world number 1 ranked player Jelena Janković, who filled in as a wild card for the injured 2008 Australian Open Champion Maria Sharapova.

Serena Williams won her semifinal match against Ana Ivanovic 6–3, which succeeded Venus Williams's 6–4 semifinal win against Jelena Janković. The final was won by Serena 6–4, 6–3.[1]

Between the semifinals and final a tribute was paid to tennis legend and pioneer Billie Jean King. The tribute featured a speech by former president Bill Clinton, and appearances by figure skaters Sarah Hughes and Nancy Kerrigan, race car driver Janet Guthrie, Billie Jean King's long time double's partner Rosie Casals and other prominent women in sports.[2][3]

A portion of the proceeds from the 2009 event benefitted the Dream Vaccines Foundation and the Women's Sports Foundation.[4]

Tennis Night in America (TNIA)[edit]

In 2009, Tennis Night in America launched as one of the United States Tennis Association's (USTA) top national marketing initiatives specifically designed to increase grassroots tennis participation across the country. The promotion underscored a "National Junior Tennis Registration Night" at over 700 locations on March 2, the date of the 2009 Showdown at Madison Square Garden, which also coincides with the start of the professional tennis season in North America.

Connecting grassroots tennis with professional tennis, Tennis Night in America was able to deliver the 2009 Showdown via closed circuit television to tennis clubs throughout the country, allowing one night in March to bring together tennis players of all ages and abilities, as they pay tribute to the game that they love so much.[5]


The 2009 Billie Jean King Cup was questioned by some for the element of spectacle and prize money at the event.[6] Attendance of the event was described as "so-so" (though inclement weather was cited as a valid factor).[7] The semifinal matches, because of their brevity due to the scoring structure, were criticized as being played "largely with something like a clock-puncher's resignation". The final match between Venus and Serena Williams, however, was considered more engaging, as another match in the continuing rivalry between the Williams sisters.[2][8]

Well known sports and tennis writer, Jon Wertheim praised the event in one of his mailbag entries, "Here it is, early March, traditionally, a time in the sports calendar when tennis is off the radar. And—as was the case last year when Federer played Sampras—tennis not only gets some buzz, but also 12,000 or so fans on the East Coast (and a few hundred thousand with HBO) can watch the sport live. The players get some extra cash, as well as a chance to penetrate the New York market, not insignificant if you're trying to build Ivanovic as a global star. The USTA wisely used the occasion to market the sport nationwide. BNP Paribas gets some value for their tennis investment. Everyone comes away happy. Here's hoping this is an annual event. Maybe next year you combine genders?"[8][9]


The Billie Jean King Cup returned for its second year on March 1, 2010. Seven time grandslam champion Venus Williams, 2009 French Open Champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, and 2009 US Open Champion Kim Clijsters participated.[10] 2009 Australian Open and Wimbledon Champion Serena Williams had to withdraw from the event due to a leg injury. She was replaced by 2008 French Open Champion Ana Ivanovic. In the first semifinal, Clijsters defeated Ivanovic in a tiebreaker (7–2), despite Ivanovic having match point at 5–4 up. Williams defeated Kuznetsova in the second semifinal, 6–4. Williams defeated Clijsters in the championship match by a score of 6–4 3–6 7–5.[11][12]


Men's Singles
United States John McEnroe 6 Ret.
United States Ivan Lendl 3
Men's Singles
United States Pete Sampras 6 7
United States Andre Agassi 3 5


Women's Singles
Russia Maria Sharapova 6 6
Denmark Caroline Wozniacki 3 4
Men's Singles
Switzerland Roger Federer 5 6(7)
United States Andy Roddick 7 7


New York[edit]

Women's Singles
United States Serena Williams 6 6
Belarus Victoria Azarenka 4 3
Men's Singles
Spain Rafael Nadal 6(4) 4
Argentina Juan Martín del Potro 7 6

Hong Kong[edit]

Women's Singles
Poland Agnieszka Radwanska 6 6
Denmark Caroline Wozniacki 4 4
Men's Singles
United States John McEnroe 8
United States Ivan Lendl 5


New York[edit]

Men's Doubles
United States Bob Bryan
United States
Mike Bryan
United States John McEnroe
United States Patrick McEnroe
Men's Singles
Serbia Novak Djokovic 6 7
United Kingdom Andy Murray 3 6(2)


Men's Singles
United States Ivan Lendl 6
Australia Pat Cash 8
Men's Singles
United States Pete Sampras 3 6(1)
United States Andre Agassi 6 7

Hong Kong[edit]

Women's Singles
China Li Na 4 3
Australia Samantha Stosur 6 6
Men's Singles
Czech Republic Tomas Berdych 4 5
Australia Lleyton Hewitt 6 7


New York[edit]

Women's Singles
United States Monica Seles 5
Argentina Gabriela Sabatini 8
Men's Singles
Switzerland Roger Federer 2 6 5
Bulgaria Grigor Dimitrov 6 1 7

BNP Paribas Showdown Hong Kong[edit]

In 2013, the BNP Paribas Showdown event was expanded and began to be held in Hong Kong for the first time.

World Tennis Day[edit]

The success of the 2013 BNP Paribas Showdown in both New York and Hong Kong extended further in 2014 as the event became a part of a global tennis participation effort called World Tennis Day. This is an initiative to increase tennis participation around the world with the support of the ITF.


External links[edit]