Tennis legend Roger Federer will return to Madison Square Garden to face Grigor Dimitrov and headline the Annual BNP Paribas Showdown on Tuesday, March 10, 2015. Federer, currently ranked second in the world, will make his third appearance in the BNP Paribas Showdown after facing Pete Sampras in 2008 and Andy Roddick in 2012. Arguably the greatest tennis player of all-time, he holds several men's world records, including holding the world number one ranking for an unprecedented 302 weeks, including 237-consecutive-weeks from 2004 to 2008; winning 17 Grand Slam singles titles; reaching each Grand Slam Final at least five times (an all-time record); and reaching the Wimbledon final nine times. He is one of seven men to capture the career Grand Slam. Federer also shares the Open Era record for most titles at the Australian Openwith Andre Agassi and Novak Djokovic (4), at Wimbledon with Pete Sampras (7) and at the US Open with Jimmy Connors and Sampras (5).
The young rising star, Dimitrov, who is often compared to Federer, is currently ranked 11th on the ATP Men's Singles Rankings and will be making his Madison Square Garden debut. He recently cracked the top 10 when he climbed to number eight after reaching the Wimbledon semifinals in 2014. Dimitrov is the only Bulgarian tennis player to ever be ranked in the top 10. He’s also the first Bulgarian to win an ATP singles title (Stockholm in 2013) and reach a final in doubles (in 2011) as well as the only one to reach the third round or better at a Grand Slam tournament.
“It’s huge and I’m unbelievably excited. I did have the honor twice already to do it, once against Pete Sampras and once against Andy Roddick and both nights were very special,” said Federer. “I’ve played in many arenas and many cool places around the world but, there is nothing like MSG. That is why when I heard there is another opportunity for me to come back and people wanted to see me, it got me going and I can’t wait for March 10.”
The two top players faced each other once before in Basel, Switzerland with Federer beating Dimitrov 6-3, 7-6 (2) in a quarterfinal match.
“Growing up, Roger was one of my heroes," said Dimitrov. "To play him on such a stage is definitely an honor for me. I am really happy and excited to be part of the event since it is one of the biggest sporting venues. This will absolutely be different. I’m getting goose bumps thinking about it. I’m just going to really enjoy it and embrace the moment. You are in New York and in one of the biggest arenas against arguably the best player of all-time. It means a lot to me to have an opportunity like that. I’m just going to try and make every moment count.”
The 8th Annual BNP Paribas Showdown, which consistently attracts the biggest names in tennis, will follow the likes of Pete Sampras, Rafael Nadal, Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Ivan Lendl, Juan Martin del Potro, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Mike and Bob Bryan, John and Patrick McEnroe, Serena and Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic who all took part in previous Showdowns providing unforgettable memories for New York tennis fans.
As in years past, the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden will once again headline a full day of nationwide activities as part of “World Tennis Day,” a global tennis participation effort. All events promote tailoring the game to players 10-and-under with smaller racquets, lighter balls and modified scoring.
"The BNP Paribas Showdown continues to be the crown jewel of World Tennis Day and this year will be no different with the New York fans being able to see great tennis between Roger and Grigor who I expect will put on a dazzling display,” said Jerry Solomon, president StarGames Inc. “And, to add to the excitement, we will soon be announcing an opening match which will feature two of the greatest players in women's tennis history to fill out a night that no one will want to miss."