| By Michael Sarro
Photo credit: Michael Sarro

On Aug. 25, BNP Paribas hosted the 12th Annual Taste of Tennis event where the tops in the game of tennis and the top chefs in the world gathered together in Manhattan at The W Hotel to showcase some amazing food, drink signature cocktails and dance the night away with several renown DJs on hand. It was a great way for the stressed-out tennis stars to get a chance to relax and enjoy the cuisine with the 2011 U.S. Open on the horizon. Some of the players on hand were Americans Mardy Fish and James Blake, Spain's Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco, Tommy Haas from Germany, Victoria Azarenka from Belarus and many more. The city’s top chefs working hard to feed the athletes included Michelle Bernstein, Gabe Thompson, Mark Vidal and Kerry Heffernan to name a few.

It was a night dedicated to the players as an opportunity to relax and forget about the task at hand, prepping for the final Grand Slam of 2011, the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. When asked about being in New York City, James Blake said, “I love coming back home and playing in front of my home crowd. It is a very exciting time of year and the energy from the crowd is unlike any other tournament I play in.”

Proceeds from the event went to the NYJTL, the largest junior tennis program in New York City. This was the second year in a row that the NYJTL was the beneficiary of the Taste of Tennis event which was established in 1999.

Credit all photos to Michael Sarro



TV personality A.J. Calloway was on hand for the Taste of Tennis event




Russian tennis player Mikhail Youzhny




World number two-ranked Vera Zvonareva is interviewed on the red carpet




Chef Marco Porceddu at the 12th Annual BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis event




Tennis Player Heidi El-Tabakh from Canada enjoying the red carpet arrival at The W Hotel




Spain's Rafael Nadal arrives in New York City for the BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis event




Chef Emma Hearst arrives at the Taste of Tennis event in NYC




Germany's Tommy Haas takes part in the BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis event