BNP Paribas Showdown Returns to The Garden This February

The BNP Paribas Showdown will have a 2012 version at new and refurbished Madison Square Garden on February 27, 2012.

Maria Sharapova and world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki will make their first appearances in the event in the 7:00 pm opener. That match will be followed by Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick.

Last year Roddick was scheduled to play Andre Agassi,but Pete Sampras ended up playing Agassi after John McEnroe was forced to default to Ivan Lendl due to injury in the first match despite leading 6-3.

Federer has played in the past and won against Sampras.

There will be an opportunity to bid on the event at the International Tennis Hall Of Fame Ball this coming Friday evening at Cipriani in Manhattan.

Tickets will go on sale at The Garden in the Fall.

Q & A With Andy Murray

Q.  How are you feeling?  How do you feel your preparations have been going?

ANDY MURRAY:  It’s been good.  I mean, it’s obviously been a little different, quite difficult because weather has not been great, and obviously with what’s gonna happen tomorrow.

So we had to make quite a few changes, a few adjustments, and I have practiced indoors a couple of times, and again tomorrow I’ve got an indoor court, too.

So it’s been tough.  Everyone’s kind of in a the same boat.  But it’s been good.  I have been hitting the ball well and done some good training this week.

 

Q.  Is it a bit difficult?

ANDY MURRAY:  Not really.  We’ve known about it for quite a while now.  It’s been five or six days everyone has been talking about it.

So just looking forward for it sort of passing now, because it’s been quite ‑‑ it’s not just like it just happened like overnight.  It’s taken quite a few days for us sort of waiting for it and kind of having to decide how we’re gonna practice, if we’re gonna try to get in sort of more practice early in the week outdoors or stick to kind of what the normal plan is and practicing hour and a half, two hours a day and maybe having to go indoors.  That’s been the only problem.

 

Q.  So are you planning on coming in here tomorrow?

ANDY MURRAY:  No.

 

Q.  Somewhere in Manhattan?

ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah.  I don’t even know where the court is, but it will obviously be somewhere near the hotel.

 

Q.  Is there any fear for you?  Have you taken any precautions?

ANDY MURRAY:  No.  The thing is, I think people are right to be pretty cautious about it, because, you know, like we don’t see weather like this from the UK.  It’s never, never this bad.  So I think just have to wait and see what it’s like, because I have no idea what to expect.

You know, we had to go and get stuff from the supermarket for the room in case ‑‑ well, loads of places are gonna be closed.  There’s a two‑and‑a‑half hour queue at the supermarket, so everyone’s taking it pretty seriously.

 

Q.  You cut down your schedule a bit coming into the US Open this year.  Do you think that’s helped prepare you physically for the next fortnight?

ANDY MURRAY:  Last year I decided last minute to play the tournament in LA which maybe hurt me a little bit once I got here.

But the years before that I tried to take a decent break after Wimbledon.  I felt like that was the best way to prepare for here.  So I think it was the right decision to give myself sort of three or four weeks off and train in Miami.

I feel pretty fresh just now, which is good.  Maybe the last couple years that wasn’t the case.

 

Q.  There is a lot of talk in the media these days about the greatest of all time.  You have three players now:  Federer and Nadal, maybe Djokovic coming up who may lay claim to that title.  Do the players ever talk about the GOAT, the greatest of all time?

ANDY MURRAY:  Haven’t spoken to other players about that.  I’ve spoken to people that I work with.  Not really to the other players.

 

Q.  When you talk to your colleagues, what do you say?

ANDY MURRAY:  Well, you can never say.  You don’t know, so there’s no right answer.  It’s just a discussion that the same in every sport.  People talk about, you know, who’s the best team and who’s the best boxer of all time, who’s the best heavyweight, you know.

And you never know.  You don’t know.  So right now I know that tennis, the level of tennis at the top of the game is very, very high.  You know, the year Djokovic has had this year, probably won’t see something like that for quite a long time, you know.  No matter what happens between now and the end of the year, the first six months, six seven months were incredible.

But, yeah, the level that Roger and Rafa set, you know, the previous years is being equally as impressive.

 

Q.  You’ve always talked about how you like the atmosphere in New York.  How does a kid from Dunblane sort of get into the vibe of a city like this?  It’s got to be different than where you came from.

ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah, the thing is, like obviously Dunblane there’s really not a whole lot going on there.  I started traveling when I was like 11 or 12.  I came over to the States first time and played the Orange Bowl in Miami when I was like 11.

I started doing quite a lot of traveling, and when I got to 15 I moved over to Barcelona, which is a pretty energetic city.  Then, yeah, came over here the first time when I was that age and I just really enjoyed it.

I’ve always liked busy places.  Like I have always enjoyed sort of having things to do.  There’s a lot really close by.  It doesn’t take long to kind of get anywhere.

And also the center court I think is just incredible atmosphere.  It’s so different to anything on the tennis calendar, and I really like playing here.

 

Q.  Does it not amaze you in this age of technology that when it rains, all they can do is bring out the squeegee mop and a few towels?

ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah.  I spoke about that the other day.  I was speaking to some of the guys about it when it started raining, and everyone comes up and it’s like, Oh, it’s typical.  It feels like we’re at Wimbledon.

It rains here every single year, so it’s like annoying.  And because I’m from the UK, everyone always says the same thing to me.  I was asking, I don’t understand why they don’t just have covers.  I heard that if they have covers, something to do with the paint on the court and the moisture and I don’t know, it’s not good for the court, the court can lose color or something.

So I think they should probably ‑‑ well, I’m sure they are thinking about doing something, but like most things, it takes a bit of time to push it through, I guess.

 

Q.  You have had obviously a couple of disappointing years here.  When you have time to reflect above and beyond sitting there immediately after the match, did you come to any kind of specific conclusions as to why a place that you enjoy so much, why you didn’t perform the last couple of years as well as you would have hoped?

ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah.  I mean, last year, you know, I felt like even from the start I didn’t feel all that fresh, which is something that, you know, this year I have made quite a big thing of getting ready for the slams and making sure that I’m at in my best physical condition going into them, because these are the tournaments I want to play my best tennis at.

And the year beforehand, you know, I was playing okay, but I also had relatively bad sort of tendinitis in my wrist.  I was struggling to hit my backhand, which is normally one of my strongest shots.

I tried playing Davis Cup, which I should never have played in.  I missed like nine weeks after that.  You know, didn’t go over to Asia and spent a lot of time sort of rehabbing it, trying to get it better.

That was something where I realized that I need to make sure that I prioritize events and make sure that physically I don’t have any niggles and twinges going in, because things always happen at the slams.

You’re going to get problems throughout the tournament and things that hurt with long matches especially on the hard courts, and I want to make sure like happened in the Australia the last couple of years, I have prepared very, very well.

 

Q.  John McEnroe says he thinks this is your best shot ever at winning a Grand Slam.  What do you think about that?

ANDY MURRAY:  No.  It’s a silly thing to say, because it’s not one tournament, you know.  It will be Federer is not playing well and Rafa is struggling and Djokovic’s shoulder is sore.

But I know come Monday they’ll all be fine.  I have a chance of winning for sure.  Whether it’s my best chance or not, no one has a clue like that.  And someone like John who has played hundreds and hundreds and thousands of matches probably knows that one bad day and you can put yourself out of the tournament.

And especially towards the latter stages when you’re playing against ‑ like the man there was saying ‑ you know, three of maybe the three greatest players ever.  You’re going to have to play an incredible event to win.

So I feel like I’m ready to do that.  But to say it’s my best chance, no one knows.

 

Q.  Cincinnati must have given you a lot of confidence.

ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah.  No, it was great.  It was a really good tournament for me.  Montreal didn’t quite go as I would have liked, obviously.  Then I knew going into Cincinnati that I needed to get some matches and if I was gonna be in sort of good shape to play well here.

I didn’t start off play that great the beginning of Cincinnati, but each match I got just a little bit better and started feeling more comfortable.  I started moving better, and then come the end of the week I was playing some of my best tennis.

I have been hitting the ball well, but I still felt like there were some things I could have improved upon, which was really nice coming in this week, being able to work on some things and not feeling like I was almost recovering before the US Open.

I felt like this week I have been preparing for it and looking forward to it.

 

Q.  What are your thoughts on Devvarman?

ANDY MURRAY:  I know him a bit, and Danny knows him well because he played the same age in college and played a few times, played a few times against each other in college.  So Danny knows him well.

I have seen him play a few matches and he’s solid.  Kind of does everything pretty well.  Very good attitude, very positive.

So he’s gonna be solid.  He’s not going to give me anything, so I need to play well.

 

Q.  Rafa said just before that he has not been really surprised that Djokovic has jumped up on him and Roger.  But looking at it, you four have been up at the top of the board for the last three or four years now.  Are you surprised that Djokovic did make that leap from 3 to 1 a bit?

ANDY MURRAY:  I think it’s not been that he’s got to No. 1, it’s kind of maybe how he’s done it.  The consistency is something that, you know ‑‑ well, he probably wouldn’t even have expected it, I am sure.  He’s won something like 10 tournaments this year maybe.

You know, a lot of matches he wasn’t even struggling.  He was winning matches very comfortably.  He’s always been capable of doing that, I guess, but I think this year his consistency has been incredible.  But I think he’s always been right up at the top of the game for the last four or five years.

Rafa, before he got to No. 1 he spent maybe four years at No. 2.  Obviously, you know, Djokovic spent, you know, four or five years at number sort of 2 and 3 and now he’s made the jump.  But it is taking a bit longer for guys sort of to break into that sort of 1 or 2 bracket, I guess, because the guys, Rafa or Roger have been taking those two spots up, and they’ve been, like I said earlier, so consistent and doing stuff that the game probably won’t see for a long time.

 

Q.  How did Djokovic wrest that away from Rafa?  He beat him five or six times this year in finals.

ANDY MURRAY:  It was just confidence.  His game hasn’t changed much.  His technique is the same.  I think physically he looks better than he did like in the warm conditions.  Like in Miami where, you know, he struggled in the past.  I think he’s looking better physically.

Even here last year in the first round when it was really hot and humid, he was struggling, and I think that’s something that he’s got better at dealing with.  So that’s helped.  And also, yeah, I don’t know.  Best person to ask is probably him, because he knows how he’s feeling and how he’s managed to get that consistency.

 

Q.  Are you still gluten free?

ANDY MURRAY:  It’s not gluten free as such.  I wasn’t ‑‑ there are certain things I can and can’t eat.  It’s something like gliadin or something.  I don’t even know exactly how to explain it.

 

Q.  What have you cut out, then?

ANDY MURRAY:  Cow’s milk.  I’m drinking more soy milk with cereals and stuff.  Like a lot of the protein bars and stuff and protein shakes I used to take sort of after matches and after practices and stuff, like I have had to cut them out.

I never really used to have much fish unless I was having sushi, so I’m having a lot more fish and vegetables and just trying to have like just a more balanced diet rather than just the typical sort of like pasta before matches and steaks and chicken.  Having a lot sort of more different types of food.

 

Q.  Have you had to give the elbow to anything you really like?

ANDY MURRAY:  The problem is breakfast is quite difficult, because normally I could have like bagels, bagels at breakfast and stuff and like spreads, any spreads like peanut butter or cream cheese or any of that stuff.  Breakfast is quite difficult.

And then like snacks during the day.  Rather than having a chocolate bar or something, you know, having like an apple or a banana or something, just fruit.  It’s something that, you know, now like I know how I feel, I wish I had been doing it longer.

 

Q.  So you do feel a lot better for it?

ANDY MURRAY:  Way better.  I wake up at like 7:00 in the morning now and feel great.  Before I would wake up at like 9:30 and feel terrible.  You know, I probably feel like you do when you wake up every morning.  You know, stiff and sore and tired, and now I wake up and I just feel much fresher and feel good.

 

Q.  But it’s not gluten free even though you cut out the breads and the pasta?

ANDY MURRAY:  I’m not intolerant to gluten.

 

Q.  You’re not intolerant, but have you cut it out or tried to cut it down?

ANDY MURRAY:  Yeah, I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but the reason I’m not having gluten is because the stuff that gluten is in, the other thing that I’m intolerant to is also in it, so that’s why I’m not having those things.

Just stuff like corns.  That’s also quite annoying, because that’s in like a lot of snacks that you don’t realize.  Like when you look at the back of the packet, it’s in loads of snacks and things.  So just have to be a bit careful.

Like I retest after the US Open, and then you get like your results back again because it changes.  Like when you cut stuff out, hopefully it’s gonna come on the green list again.  So maybe after the US Open I can start reintroducing those foods back into my diet.

Q & A With Rafael Nadal

Q.  What are your thoughts about being here during a hurricane, and how will you spend your time?

RAFAEL NADAL:  I don’t know what’s going on, I think.  Nobody knows exactly what’s going on, no?

But having the club closed, all the places in Manhattan will be closed, so not much.  Just stay in the hotel.  Maybe watch some films.  But we will see what’s going on.  I never had an experience with a hurricane.  Is something new.

I think is very bad for the city, for the weekend, for everybody.  But, you know, that’s a new experience, and not enjoyable experience, but we know how is when is hurricane.

 

Q.  How are the fingers?

RAFAEL NADAL:  Much better.  I am able to practice with normal conditions.

 

Q.  Bandages?  No bandages or anything?

RAFAEL NADAL:  Bandages, yes.  The skin is still very thin, but it’s fine.

 

Q.  A lot of people have said you’ve been stymied, you’ve been flummoxed by Djokovic this season.  I mean, do you feel like if you possibly meet him in the US Open this week or next week that you have good chance against him?

RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, I am here.  You know, I am here at the start of the tournament and you start to talk about a match against Djokovic.  I have to win a lot to play Djokovic.  And probably him, too.  He’s not in the final yet.

I am focused on try to play well and try to have very good practice this week.  That’s what I am doing.  And the good chances against Djokovic, those chances always depends how I am playing, how he’s playing.  Not talking about here, talking in general.

After we will see, no?  I think I played a fantastic year this year.  I had a lot of victories all the year; I am not happy about how I played against him.

 

Q.  Could you talk about exactly what happened to your fingers?  You got burned in Cincinnati at some restaurant, right?

RAFAEL NADAL:  Yeah, I get burned in a Japanese restaurant.  Probably, you know, the Teppanyaki grill was there, probably the plate.  When I arrived at the restaurant the plate was there, so probably the plate stayed there for a long time.  Not inside the grill.  Something like this away to the grill.

You know, when they put the food, I tried to put the plate closer to me and was obviously very hot.  (Smiling.)

Q.         So your pointing finger and two fingers?

RAFAEL NADAL:  Two fingers.

 

Q.  Can you tell us a little bit about this book?  Was it important for you to do something like this?

RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, it is something that we decided to do.  Was the really first autobiography I was able to do.  Was a good opportunity to work with John Carlin.  We had a very good feeling together.  He speaks in Spanish, too, so it makes a little bit easier everything to talk about the emotion and to talk about, you know…

I think it was a fantastic experience.  I talk a long time with him and remember a lot of things that you normally usually don’t think about the past, no?  So when you start to talk you remember, yeah, few moments of your career, few moments when you were a kid.  Was interesting and I had fun, and hopefully the book will like to the people.

 

Q.  In the book where you talk about your parents’ separation, it seemed like it came out of the blue for you, that you did not realize that they were having any troubles.  Is that right?

RAFAEL NADAL:  I didn’t understand that very well.

(Translation.)  You know, what happened there was ‑‑ but in the book ‑‑ I never talk about my personal things in the press, but, you know, all the changes in your life needs a little bit of time.  That’s what happened.

So after a little bit of time I was perfect, but, you know, at the beginning it’s tough.  But, you know, I am not the only one who has the parents divorcing in one moment of my life.  Only thing is that Mallorca the family is very important, you are very close of the people that your friends, your family.  So any change in this part, these people close to you, affects you, no?

That’s happened.  That’s past.

 

Q.  I understand how it affected you.  What I don’t understand is how you did not see problems between your mother and father.  You did not notice problems between your mom and dad?

RAFAEL NADAL:  I know the problems, but anyway, I gonna repeat you, I don’t want to talk about that now.

 

Q.  How does it feel to come here after having you won it last year?  Do you see the tournament different?  Is it less pressure because you won it once?

RAFAEL NADAL:  The emotions probably are a little bit different, because when you come back after the victory of last year the emotions are higher.  Of course, it was the last Grand Slam for me to complete all four.  Was very, very nice moment of my career, one of the biggest moments of my career.  That makes the comeback a little more special.

But if we talk about the goal, is the same.  Play well, try to arrive to the final rounds.  That’s the same, no?

Pressure?  I don’t feel extra pressure.  I am happy about how I did.  I didn’t play very well during the summer, but I am practicing much better here.  So we’ll see.

 

Q.  Have you been surprised this year by the turnaround, where before it was you and Roger for so long at the top, and now all of a sudden ‑ Djokovic didn’t come out of nowhere, but he really has jumped up very quickly this year.  Have you been surprised by that change?

RAFAEL NADAL:  Djokovic didn’t arrive this year, no?

 

Q.  But he was not playing at the level that you were…

RAFAEL NADAL:  He was No. 3 of the world for three years.  That’s not bad.

 

Q.  But he only won one slam.

RAFAEL NADAL:  Only one, and most of the people never won one.

For me is a little bit strange about the people here from tennis talks about Djokovic, about his big new improvement.  Djokovic was here before, no?  Djokovic played fantastic before.  He had fantastic potential to be where he is today.

He’s doing great.  He’s playing without injuries.  He’s playing very solid, the mental, the tennis.  What he’s doing is something very difficult to repeat.

For me surprise?  I think for everybody surprise see a player that he’s not losing.  He’s only lost two matches during all the year.  For everybody surprising, but for me is no surprise that Djokovic is No. 1.  For me is not a surprise that Djokovic is able to win Grand Slams, because he’s very good.

That’s not from six months ago.

 

Q.  Two questions:  One, you’re 25 years old.  Does it feel strange to have a book about your life at 25?  And second, you seem like generally a pretty private person.  What did you want to tell?  What did you want to accomplish with this book?

RAFAEL NADAL:  Well, I am lucky.  25 years old and I enjoyed a lot of experiences in my life.  You never know if you can have another book in the future, but I felt it’s a good time to have that one.

Is a little bit of the history of my life.  Is a little bit of the history how I am where I am today.  Just open a little bit more of my life to them, to the fans, to the people who support me, the people who are interested about me.

For me, you know, now I am a little bit more open with the fans with the Twitter with the Facebook, and now with the book.  So I am trying to be more connected with them, and that’s probably a good way to do it.