(February 27, 2013) HONG KONG – Wimbledon finalist and current World No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska has been announced to join the field March 4 at the BNP Paribas Showdown at Asia-World Arena in Hong Kong on World Tennis Day. Radwanska will play two-time year-end No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki following a men’s match featuring long-time rivals Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe.
Radwanska will replace China’s Li Na who has been forced to withdraw due to the ankle injury she sustained in last month’s Australian Open final.
“It is very unfortunate that Na has to pull out of the event and I know no one is more disappointed than she is, but I am very pleased to be able to welcome Agnieszka to the BNP Paribas Showdown line-up” said Jerry Solomon, Promoter of the BNP Paribas Showdown. “The very painful injury Na incurred in the final of the Australian Open last month has not responded enough to intense treatment.
“We send Na our best wishes for a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her next year but in the meantime we look forward to welcoming Agnieszka to Hong Kong for the Showdown.”
The Chinese star expressed her disappointment and said she would be back in Hong Kong to play the 2014 BNP Paribas Showdown.
“I am very sad to announce that I won’t be able to play in the BNP Showdown in Hong Kong,” said Li. “Unfortunately, the ankle injury I had in the Australian Open final is still not ready for me to compete. I know I have some of the best fans who live in Hong Kong and I was looking forward to playing for them. I promise I will be back next year.”
Radwanska owns 12 career titles, including wins already this season in Auckland and Sydney as well as a quarterfinal finish at the Australian Open.
“Li Na is a great ambassador for our sport in Asia and across the world so I’m very honored to be invited to Hong Kong to be her replacement,” Radwanska said. “We are both very evenly matched in the world rankings right now so I’m confident the standard of tennis will be just as high.
“Caroline and I are great friends but also long-standing rivals, so I expect a hard fought contest. I’m also looking forward to catching up with my Asian fans who are always good to me. I am really excited to get to Hong Kong and take part in the BNP Paribas Showdown.”
Wozniacki has a 5-4 edge in the nine career meetings between the two players, however Radwanska has won their last three matches, including earlier this month in the quarterfinals in Doha.
On the same night tennis legends and Hall of Famers John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl will rekindle their historic rivalry which will no doubt provide fans with plenty more thrilling tennis. Lendl won 21 of their 36 pro career meetings.
The BNP Paribas Showdown Hong Kong is the start of World Tennis Day, www.worldtennisday.com, which is held in conjunction with 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 HKTA will be hosting special clinics to introduce kids to the sport. Among the many nations participating in World Tennis Day are USA, Canada, Argentina, China P.R., Czech Republic and South Africa.