Tennis promoter, Jerry Solomon, still remembers when he asked Roger Federer to play in an exhibition in New York`s Madison Square Garden back in 2007. The night marked the start of “Tennis Night in America” which has become a tradition.
Tonight, March 5, 2012, that custom continues on with 1400 tennis clubs and facilities hosting “viewing parties” and other activities. Pros, Maria Sharapova, Caroline Wozniacki, Andy Roddick and Roger Federer seemed thrilled to be there.
“Coming back [to New York] at a time when tennis is not dominating headlines is really nice, a bit more laid back for us because it’s an exo. On a personal note you look back [one day] and say it was an amazing feeling to be playing in MSG. You think about Ivan, Mac, all the legends playing there in the past. And who knows, maybe in the future bringing back a big tournament to New York?” Said Federer.
In the first Tennis Night in America, Federer played against the legendary, Pete Sampras, and tonight he faced-off with Andy Roddick. Despite Federer leading their head-to-head 21-2, Andy has nothing but kind words for his fellow competitor.
“He’s been playing great. He played well in Australia and seemingly even better in Rotterdam and Dubai. It’s amazing to see his level. A lot of the guys we started with have been done for five or six years now. It’s been fun to play during the same time. . .Well, at times it’s been. . . But it’s not surprising to see Roger winning tennis tournaments.”
Tennis Night in America is doing extremely well, by noon today there was approximately 16,000 tickets sold and ESPN televised the exciting event. In hopes that this tradition could turn into an event for the entire tennis world, Scott O`Neil, president of MSG Sports said, “Think of this event as something like the NHL or NBA All-Star Game. You can build a lot of great things around a single event like that.”