Seven-time Grand Slam tournament champion John McEnroe has been named the 2012 spokesperson for “Tennis Night In America,” a combined promotional effort between the USTA, StarGames Inc., and MSG Sports.
“Tennis Night in America” is an annual celebration of tennis that includes youth registration events at facilities around the country and is highlighted by the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden on March 5. The Showdown will feature Maria Sharapova vs. Caroline Wozniacki and Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick.
"The continued promotion of junior tennis across America is key to the future of our sport,” McEnroe said. “With the new 10 and Under Tennis rules now in effect, there is no better time that I can think of to get kids involved in tennis. Tennis Night in America brings focus to all of this so I am excited to be a part of it."
As part of his role as spokesperson, McEnroe will lead a youth tennis clinic on Feb. 29 at Sportime on Randall’s Island in New York. Similar youth clinics will be held around the country in conjunction with “Tennis Night in America.”
Already more than 750 clubs nationwide have signed up to hold youth registration events throughout the month of March. Each facility will be signing up children for junior tennis programs, including those that offer 10 and Under Tennis, which uses kid-sized equipment on kid-sized courts.
Youth tennis will be featured at the BNP Paribas Showdown during the Wilson 10 and Under Tennis demonstration that will begin the evening at Madison Square Garden on March 5. The 10 and Under Tennis blended lines will remain on the court during the matches featuring Sharapova, Wozniacki, Roddick and Federer.
McEnroe was a three-time champion at the ATP’s year-end championship when it was held at Madison Square Garden. The left-handed McEnroe spent 170 weeks ranked No. 1 in singles and 270 weeks at No. 1 in doubles. In singles, he was a four-time US Open champion and three-time winner at Wimbledon while compiling 77 career titles. He also claimed six career doubles titles at Grand Slam events.
“Tennis Night in America” began in 2009 and is a partnership between the USTA and BNP Paribas Showdown promoters StarGames and MSG Sports. In 2011, Pete Sampras became the first national spokesperson for “Tennis Night in America.”
“What was at first a one-night celebration of tennis has become a month-long series of events to showcase the sport,” said Jerry Solomon, President and CEO of StarGames. “The support of the stars of the game like John McEnroe and Pete Sampras is an indication of how important youth participation is to the growth of tennis. We look forward to John helping us spread the message of what tennis can offer kids and his participation cultivating greater interest in the sport.”
The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by StarGames and MSG Sports. Tickets remain available for the 2012 event and can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office and all Ticketmaster outlets. BNP Paribas Showdown information can be found at www.tennisshowdown.com.
For more information on “Tennis Night in America,” fans around the country can visit www.tennisnight.com.