In the name of fitness, excitement, and competition, today marks the fourth anniversary of World Tennis Day.
Following the success of the 2013 BNP Paribas Showdown in New York and Hong Kong, StarGames launched the annual occasion, World Tennis Day in an effort to increase tennis participation around the world.
Having moved solely to New York, the event is now marked by a series of matches in Madison Square Garden, featuring some of the top players from both men's and women's pro tours.
The original BNP Paribas Showdown is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. In 2008, it was simply known as the NetJets Showdown.
For that special night, crowds were dazzled by a match between two legends of the sport—Roger Federer and Pete Sampras. The match went three sets with a final score of 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(6).
The following year marked the first Billie Jean King Cup as well as the first time women's tennis had been played at Madison Square Garden since 2000.
In 2011, the event was officially renamed the BNP Paribas Showdown celebrating American tennis legends and featuring a match between Ivan Lendl and John McEnroe as well as Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.
The beauty of this occasion is that it effectively connects professional tennis players with grassroots tennis. Tennis Night in America broadcast the 2009 event via close circuit television to tennis clubs throughout the United States, bringing club players and casual fans closer to the sport.
2017 is set to bring a new element to the table: "Fast Format." Taken from Tennis Australia as a way to speed up exhibition matches, there are four points, four games, and four rules. No advantages are scored, lets are played, and tie-breakers kick in at three games all. The first person to four games wins the set.
Some critics of the format don't like the whole 'playing lets' thing. This is the official rule in college tennis, and it's something that even takes the pros a bit of an adjustment period.
But the spirit of the game is still fun and creates unpredictable outcomes between closely matched opponents.
National Tennis Day goes beyond tennis though. It's about embracing fitness as a whole, and the camaraderie that can come with it.
Getting in shape, competing among friends, and watching the best players in the world battle against one another. All good things, eh?
So even if you're living in a cold climate, unable to get out there on the court today, you can still sit back and watch the pros play while venerating the history of the sport. Then when it warms up you can get out there and play it yourself.