HBO and Madison Square Garden are making their returns to women's tennis tonight with the BNP Paribas Showdown for the Billie Jean King Cup.
The exhibition, which begins at 7:30 p.m. (ET), pits four of the world's top female tennis players, 2009 Australian Open and 2008 U.S. Open champion Serena Williams, 2008 Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic and 2008 year-end world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, against each other in a one-night, single elimination event. The prize pool for the players is $1.2 million.
HBO, which televised Wimbledon for a quarter century, has not presented the racquet sport since 1999. For its part, Madison Square Garden, which last March hosted an exhibition between then world. No. 1 Roger Federer and Pete Sampras, the man who the Swiss is pursuing for the all-time Grand Slam mark of 14, has not been home to women's action since the 2000 season-ending WTA event. The Sampras-Federer match was the coming out party forthe rebranded MSG Plus.
Mary Carillo and John McEnroe will serve as HBO's broadcast team. They will be joined by King herself, as well sideline reporter Michael Barkann.