Sampras, Agassi, McEnroe and Lendl to Headline MSG in 2011 at BNP Paribas Showdown
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.
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.