From ITF Reports
From Mauritius to Mexico the world united on Monday 4 March to celebrate World Tennis Day.
With events taking place across the globe in a bid to promote tennis and increase participation among young players, there was plenty going on to keep followers on social media and fans in stands entertained.
Two special events provided star power to proceedings as several of the game’s top names took part in BNP Paribas Showdown exhibitions in New York’s Madison Square Garden and at the AsiaWorld-Arena in Hong Kong.
Madison Square Garden hosted the climax to the day as Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro played out an entertaining bout, which the Argentine edged 76(4) 64, and Serena Williams recorded a 64 63 win over Victoria Azarenka in a repeat of the 2012 US Open final.
Azarenka highlighted the fun of the day in the second set of her match when, after several unforced errors, she handed her racket to Redfoo of pop group LMFAO who played out a rally with the world No. 1.
The relaxed nature of the event continued when Nadal teamed with actor Ben Stiller and del Potro joined forces with a schoolgirl from the stands to entertain the crowd with an impromptu doubles match.
In the first of the two BNP Paribas Showdown events in Hong Kong, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl rekindled their rivalry before Agnieszka Radwanska took on Caroline Wozniacki.
The event at the AsiaWorld-Arena was heralded a success by players and fans alike with Wozniacki tweeting: “Thank you Hong Kong! Had a great time tonight! See you next time!”
Sadly for the Dane it was not the perfect end to the first-ever Showdown in Hong Kong as she fell 64 64 to her higher-ranked opponent Radwanska.
As a warm-up to the women’s match the crowd was treated to a battle between two legends of the game as Lendl and McEnroe rolled back the years and treated the fans to a masterclass. In the end McEnroe triumphed 8-5 and you can bet that neither player wanted to lose face in this one despite it being an exhibition match.
The professionals were not the only ones having fun on the court as 17 children from the Hong Kong Tennis Association National Development programme took part in a Tennis10s demonstration on the show court.
They were not the only ones learning about the benefits of Red, Orange and Green balls as numerous other nations put on clinics, classes and festivals in an attempt to promote the game of tennis among children aged 10 and under.
In Great Britain, the 15,000th school to participate in the British Aegon Schools programme, the Britannia Village Primary School in Newham, East London, was given a special treat as some of the country’s top players visited.
Earlier in the day the Australian Government and Tennis Australia announced they have jointly funded a pilot program that aims to promote community tennis clubs on Australia Day.
Elswewhere in the southern hemisphere students at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University took to the shore to take part in Beach Tennis.
There were also events in Malaysia, Burundi and Turkey, where wheelchair tennis players took part in a tree planting ceremony at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup European Qualification event in Antalya.