It was a welcome break for Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova, and Victoria Azarenka last Wednesday evening as they joined Serena Williams, John McEnroe, supermodel Bar Refaeli, actor Bradley Cooper and football player Justin Tuck (New York Giants) on Primetime Knockout, a special event organized by Nike and Nike Tennis. Took place on the historic Pier 54 by the New York City's Hudson River, the free event saw hundreds tennis fans lined up despite of a dreary weather of cloud and rain. All their patience paid off handsomely once inside the special built-out with a course of free food, custom t-shirt, and professional portrait done by our friends from StudioBooth.
As with any Nike organized events, Primetime Knockout was a multi-facet matter which functioned as an exhibition match between celebrities and tennis professionals, demonstrated by the first match between #1 men's player Rafael Nadal and supermodel Bar Refaeli (hence known as Team Rafa Refa) versus Victoria Azarenka, currently #10 in the world, and NY Giants Justin Tuck. This followed by another unique match-up, Maria Sharapova teamed up with an unlikely and unshaven partner in the form of actor Bradly Cooper while the most successful tennis player in history, Roger Federer, got to play with a local teen tennis player. Through both matches, audience got to hear fun admonishments from chair umpire John McEnroe (yes, that John McEnroe). Though she couldn't join the festivities because an off court injury, Serena Williams provided some of the most colorful commentaries, which included several requests to Nadal to show his abs. Nadal bashfully declined.
Secondly, the game doubled as the debut of their U.S. Open outfits for the 4 players. Designed by Nike Tennis with each player's inputs, this year's outfits encompassed a particular aspect of U.S. Open - its night sessions, where some of the most action packed games took place in the past. Along with an outfit for daytime, night session outfit was created with the change in both temperature and visibility in mind. Lastly but the most crucial aspect of Primetime Knockout was Nike's commitment to 4 regional youth tennis programs, of which the company will donate funding along with equipments to shore them up against the municipality budget constraints.
For more hard hitting actions, simply tune in to U.S. Open, going on right now at Flushing Meadow's USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.