tennis channel to air rafael nadal’s return



Tennis Channel will air Rafael Nadal's return to competitive play in 2013

Tennis Channel will air Rafael Nadal‘s first single match back after being sidelined for seven months due to various ailments. Nadal, who already won a doubles match with teammate Juan Monaco, will play in the main draw of the VTR Open in Vina del Mar, Chile, on Wednesday at 4pm ET. This marks the return of Nadal after a roller coaster absence involving knee injury and a stomach virus, among others.

With an unprecedented seven French Open championships to his name and the best clay-court record in the Open Era (254-19; .930), Nadal is considered by many to be the greatest player of all time on clay, the surface used at this week’s event in Vina del Mar. He will face the winner of Delbonis/Pella. (Browse: VTR Open Singles Draw)

Leif Shiras will call the match for Tennis Channel. Encore presentations of Nadal’s comeback will air Wednesday at 8pm ET and Thursday, Feb. 7, at 10pm ET. The network had already planned to carry the singles semifinals and championship in Vina del Mar this weekend prior to Nadal’s entry into the tournament. That schedule is as follows (all times live):

Saturday, Feb. 9
5pm – Semifinal #1
8:30pm – Semifinal #2

Sunday, Feb. 10
4pm – Championship

rafael nadal’s first u.s. appearance will be in nyc



All eyes on NYC: The 2013 edition of the annual tennis exhibition at Madison Square Garden — the BNP Paribas Showdown — will feature Australian Open champ Victoria Azarenka squaring off against Serena Williams and Juan Martin del Potro playing Rafael Nadal. This event on March 4 will headline a full day of nationwide activities as part of Tennis Night in America as well as the inaugural World Tennis Day.

Nadal will be making his first appearance in the U.S. after a long injury layoff when he takes on del Potro in the upcoming BNP Paribas Showdown. Rafa is scheduled to participate in three events in the month of February including his return to the tour next week at the VTR Open in Vina del Mar, Chile followed by the Brasil Open in Sao Paulo, and the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco.

In 2012 the former World No. 1 won a record seventh French Open title, but a knee injury prevented him from playing after Wimbledon. The start of the Spaniard’s 2013 season was delayed by a stomach virus. The 11-time Grand Slam champion joins Andre Agassi as the only players to have completed a career Golden Slam. In 2009, Argentina’s del Potro broke through to win the US Open title. After wrist surgery in 2010, he returned to his top form in 2012, winning four titles and reaching the quarterfinals in three of the four Grand Slams.

World Tennis Day: World Tennis Day will be held with the support of the International Tennis Federation to promote Tennis10s, which tailors the game to its youngest players with smaller racquets, lighter balls and modified scoring. The cornerstones of World Tennis Day are grassroots opportunities for young players to participate in the sport at the local level. The day is highlighted by BNP Paribas Showdown events in Hong Kong as well as the annual event at Madison Square Garden in New York. The World Tennis Day effort complements the ongoing Tennis Night in America initiative to promote 10-and-under tennis by the United States Tennis Association that has been held in conjunction with the BNP Paribas Showdown for five years.

BNP Paribas Showdown: The BNP Paribas Showdown exclusively features players who have either won Grand Slams or ranked No. 1 in the World, if not both. Entering the 2013 season, the 17 all-time participants of the event at Madison Square Garden boast a combined 101 Grand Slam singles titles, 696 titles overall and a total of 1,565 weeks ranked No. 1.

Info: The BNP Paribas Showdown is produced by MSG Sports and StarGames. Tickets start at $50.00 and are on sale now at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at www.thegarden.com and all Ticketmaster outlets. More information about World Tennis Day events and the BNP Paribas Showdown matches in New York and Hong Kong can be found online at www.WorldTennisDay.com. The Hong Kong event will feature John McEnroe against Ivan Lendl and Caroline Wozniacki against Li Na.

spotted in the city: rafa's nike display + maria for cole haan



The window’s his. There would be no US Open title for Rafael Nadal, but he did reign as king of Niketown on 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan for most of the Open. We love the picture-framed outfits which you can see better after the jump. Below: Maria’s Cole Haan collection advertises on an 8th Street subway stop downtown.

One more Rafa meets Niketown after the cut.

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shirtless: rafa strips down (some more) for armani



Who’s got next? With Janko Tipsarevic joining the ranks of ATP fellas who have stripped down in front of the camera, Rafael Nadal needed to get his gusto back from the Serb’s sweaty six-pack. He did just that last week as Armani began to push out its fall campaign, full of swoon-worthy shots of a barely-clad Rafa. The ATP web site has the full set of Rafa photos here.


On court: This week has been a good one for Tipsarevic, who is into the semifinals in Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, a hurting Novak Djokovic has pulled out of the China Open due to a bad back.

For all you fans of good legs, check out the Spanish Davis Cup team from a couple of weeks ago. No Nair needed here.

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(wednesday's) sunday survey: striking situation



Would these boys really do it? Strike. It’s not something tennis fans really want to think about, and even though Tennis Channel’s James LaRosa does point out some ways that a lack of tennis-playing might make fans’ lives better, we here at TSF would miss the weekly fashions (and trophies!) with great sadness. Andy Murray recently told the BBC that if the tennis bodies don’t step up then the players will, and Rafael Nadal echoed that players could take “strong action.” It doesn’t help that 2011′s king, Novak Djokovic, fell to the ground unable to continue during Davis Cup 10 days ago. Not the best image for the (functional) end of the tennis season, right?

Do you think a players’ strike could really happen? Weigh in below.

(photo by Getty Images)