Countdown To World Tennis Day
Published March 01, 2013 12:00
The ITF's National Associations will join some of the world's leading tennis stars - including some very big WTA names - in the inaugural World Tennis Day this coming Monday, March 4. World Tennis Day, which was announced at the end of 2012, aims to help promote tennis participation around the world.
World Tennis Day is centered around two BNP Paribas Showdown exhibition events: one at Madison Square Garden in New York City, which will feature Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Rafael Nadal and Juan Martín del Potro; and another one across the globe at Asia-World Arena in Hong Kong, which will feature Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl.
Li Na was originally set to play the Hong Kong event, but had to withdraw due to an ankle injury.
"I am very sad to announce that I won't be able to play in the BNP Showdown in Hong Kong," Li said. "The ankle injury I had in the Australian Open final is still not ready for me to compete. I know I have some of the best fans who live in Hong Kong and I was looking forward to playing for them.
"I promise I will be back next year."
"Li Na is a great ambassador for our sport in Asia and across the world so I'm very honored to be invited to Hong Kong to be her replacement," Radwanska commented. "We are both very evenly matched in the world rankings right now so I'm confident the standard of tennis will be just as high.
"Caroline and I are great friends but also long-standing rivals, so I expect a hard-fought contest. I'm also looking forward to catching up with my Asian fans who are always good to me.
"I am really excited to get to Hong Kong and take part in the BNP Paribas Showdown."
The events will feature demonstrations of the ITF's Tennis10s program, which promotes the use of slower and lower-bouncing tennis balls, shorter and lighter racquets and smaller courts to make it easier for children to take up the game. It was designed to increase participation among young players around the world, and the ITF has encouraged its member National Associations to support World Tennis Day with grassroots and club activities to attract new participants to the sport - this year many countries around the world will host activities and promotions focusing on the Tennis10s program.