2014/04/18

Andy Roddick Wins His Debut Powershares Event

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(February 13, 2014) BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — Andy Roddick made his debut on the PowerShares Series
champions tennis circuit a successful one Thursday, fending off  John
McEnroe 7-5 to win the Champions Shootout at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention
Complex.

Roddick’’s debut event was a wildly entertaining affair highlighted by many of
his signature rocket serves and blistering forehands and by being hit directly
in the groin by a first serve by Mark Philippoussis in his semifinal match.

“”I had fun,”” said Roddick after the final of his Champions Series debut. ““I
honestly had no idea what to expect when I came out here. I hadn’’t played at
all. I enjoyed it. Those moments when you want to win and there’s tension in the
match – I haven’t had that for a while.””

The 31-year-old Roddick struggled to find his rhythm against McEnroe – 24 years
his senior – in the one-set championship match, admitting after that McEnroe’s
left-handed spins and serve-and-volleying threw him off.

““I was struggling during the match,” Roddick said. “I started thinking that I
don’t think I have hit with a left-hander since I stopped playing” (on the ATP
Tour).”

Roddick’’s first serve, which guided him to the 2003 U.S. Open title and the
world No. 1 ranking, was ultimately what carried him to victory against McEnroe.
After both players held serve for the first eight games of the match, McEnroe
took advantage of a Roddick double-fault at 40-30 and blistered an on-the-rise
forehand return-of-serve winner to secure a break point chance that would allow
him to serve for the match. Roddick, however, responded with an ace down the tee
to save the break point, followed by two more service winners down the tee to
hold serve and extinguish the threat.

After the two exchanged two more easy service holds, Roddick then broke McEnroe
at love to win the match, highlighted by a stretch backhand drop volley winner
and a running forehand up-the-line passing shot.
The buzz of the night, however, occurred in Roddick’s 6-3 semifinal win over
Mark Philippoussis when the Australian, nicknamed “Scud” for his monster first
serve, connected on a scorching first serve that hit Roddick directly in the
groin, causing a pause in play for about four-minutes before Roddick regrouped.

“”It was awkward,”” Roddick said of the direct hit inflicted by Philippoussis.
““That hurt. It really did.”” Roddick later predicted that the video of the
episode would probably be aired “27 times” on Fox Sports Live, the sports
television show he now reports for.

In his pre-match interview with event emcee and Tennis Channel broadcaster Brett
Haber before taking the court with Philippoussis, Roddick said of joining the
PowerShares Series just 17 months after leaving the ATP World Tour, “”You know
me, I can’t sit still long.”” Roddick also took pride in talking about his last
visit to the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center four years ago in leading
the United States to a 4-1 Davis Cup win over Switzerland.

“The win looks better now because I beat a guy named Wawrinka,” said Roddick of
beating the current Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka in 2009 in
Birmingham. “At the time, I was supposed to win but it has looked good the last
couple of weeks.”

McEnroe, playing three days before his 55th birthday, continued to show the
intensity and crafty play that earned him the tournament title in the opening
PowerShares Series event last week in Kansas City. He saved three match points
in his semifinal win over Jim Courier, winning the last five points of the
decisive tie-breaker to claim a 7-6 (8-6) win. Despite the final-round loss,
McEnroe maintained his lead atop the PowerShares Series points rankings after
the first three events, securing 200 points with his runner-up showing to
increase his total to 800 points. Courier, who won the title in Oklahoma City,
stays in second place with 600 points, while Roddick’’s 400 points for his title
places him in third place. Michael Chang, with 300 points, Ivan Lendl, with 200
points, and Philippoussis, with 100 points, round out the rankings after three
events.

The PowerShares Series, the U.S. tennis circuit for legend tennis players over
the age of 30, continues Friday, February 14 in Indianapolis, Indiana when
McEnroe, Courier and Philippoussis join Ivan Lendl in the field. Good tickets
for all PowerShares Series events are still available starting at $25 at
www.PowerSharesSeries.com. VIP packages – including meet-and-greet and
play-with-the-pros on-court opportunities – are also available here
http://m1e.net/c?117624096-s4yOQ29EX/39E%4075022537-NDqqDHi4rEQgs by email to
VIP@insideoutse.com, or by phone at 253.315.4299.

The remaining 2014 Power Shares Series schedule with field of players are as
follows:

Friday, February 14, Indianapolis, Bankers Life Fieldhouse – John McEnroe, Ivan
Lendl, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

Wednesday, February 19, Denver, Pepsi Center – Andy Roddick, James Blake, Jim
Courier, Mark Philippoussis

Thursday, February 20, Houston, Toyota Center – Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Andy
Roddick, James Blake

Tuesday, February 25, Salt Lake City, Energy Solutions Arena – Pete Sampras,
John McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake

Wednesday, February 26, Sacramento, Sleep Train Arena – Pete Sampras, John
McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake

Thursday, February 27, Portland, Moda Center – Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Jim
Courier, James Blake

Wednesday, March 12, Nashville, Bridgestone Arena – John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl,
Jimmy Connors, Pat Cash

Thursday, March 13, Charlotte, Time Warner Arena – John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl,
Jimmy Connors, Pat Cash

Friday, March 21, Surprise, Surprise Stadium – Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Todd
Martin, Michael Chang

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Andy Roddick Talks to Media Before PowerShares Series Tennis Circuit Debut

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(January 15, 2014) With the  2014 PowerShares Series “legends” tennis circuit to begin next months, Andy Roddick spoke to the media via conference call on Wednesday. Here is a full conference call transcript of Roddick’s conference call:

 

RANDY WALKER: Thank you all for joining today. We’re happy to welcome to the PowerShares Series tennis circuit in 2014 and to our call today Andy Roddick. Andy is going to be making his PowerShares Series debut on February 13th in Birmingham, Alabama, and will be competing in tournaments in Denver on February 19th and Houston on February 20th.  The 2014 PowerShares Series starts its 12 city tour February 5th in Kansas City.  For more information, including players, schedule and ticket information, you can go to www.PowerSharesSeries.com. Before we open it up to the questions for our participants, I’m going to ask Andy a question about playing in the PowerShares Series. Andy, since you were playing in the juniors, you’ve always been a very competitive guy,and Patrick McEnroe was talking on the Australian Open broadcast last night about how you were such a competitor and fought your guts out in every match you played. What is it going to be like on the PowerShares Series this year where you’re going to be able to fire up those competitive juices again?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I’d like to say that I’ll be able to be mature enough to kind of put it in perspective that it’s not what we do every day now, but I’d probably be lying to you. Even when I play these charity expos now, I kind of have to contain myself.  I certainly have my share of, I guess, quasi embarrassing moments that come from being so competitive and a little too intense. I think when you get guys who are programmed from when they’re young to have a goal of trying to win something, I don’t think that goes away easily, and I’m sure when we get between the lines… listen, if there’s an option of winning and losing, you want to win. That’s just human nature.

 

Q. Talk about playing in Houston. You’ve had some great memories in Houston. You won your second ATP title there. You clinched the year end No. 1 there at the Tennis Masters Cup. Talk a little bit about what it’s going to be like playing in Houston.

ANDY RODDICK: Well, it’ll be great. I feel there’s so much in the early part of my career over at Westside, from the tournament to Masters Cup to we played a Davis Cup tie there, so I played there at the same club clay, hard and grass, which doesn’t happen very often. But just a lot of good memories, and it’s always a place that I certainly enjoy playing. It’s a short drive to my home in Austin, too, which is a great thing, and I’m looking forward to it.

 

Q. Andy, I know you’re coming to Denver, and I know you can speak on all sports; I’ve seen you on the show. Peyton Manning versus Tom Brady, two large sports personas going up against each other; does this remind you of any great rivalries in tennis or even other sports?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I think so. I think Manning and Brady kind of have all the makings of a great rivalry. They’re so similar in so many ways as far as their preparation and kind of their will to win, and like any great rivalry, I think it needs to happen over time so we can get a little nostalgic about it. But at the same time there are distinct differences. Peyton can be self deprecating on Saturday Night Live, and Brady is this unbelievably good looking guy married to Giselle that has all the cool stuff in press conferences.  So there is enough difference to make it very interesting. It’s just fun.  It also is getting to the point where you don’t know how many more times you’re going to see it, so you start reflecting and appreciating it each time.

 

Q. In your opinion what’s the greatest tennis rivalry of all time?

ANDY RODDICK: Oh, man, that’s hard. It’s tough going generation versus generation. Obviously in my kind of era, it all happened around Roger and Rafa. But again, it had the same sort of underlying they’re different enough personalities to make it interesting. Stylistically they matched up in an entertaining way, and they both went about it the right way and had a certain level of respect, which is probably different than the ones you saw in the ’80s with McEnroe and Connors where they just flat out didn’t like each other. There are different ways to have a great rivalry.

 

Q. And with Peyton versus Brady, is it one of those things like must see TV; you can’t miss it if you’re a sports fan?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I think so. I think the funny thing is these guys have been running the ball the last couple weeks, so it’s all about Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, but as the weather has been colder, I think I saw a stat today the Patriots ran the ball 62 percent of the time last week, which was their highest total since like 2008 against Buffalo, and Moreno was a factor, also. So we’re building up this whole game around these great quarterbacks because it looks like they’re running the ball in the cold weather, so we’ll see how much they actually air it out.

 

Q. What’s the best barbecue in Austin, Texas?

ANDY RODDICK:  It has to be Franklin’s. Any time people are waiting two hours for lunch, it’s got to be pretty good.

 

Q. Andy, playing in Denver you’re going to be matched up in the semifinals against Philippoussis, and the other semifinal is going to be Jim Courier against James Blake. Talk about playing Philippoussis and also playing in altitude and what that does to a tennis ball up in Denver?

ANDY RODDICK:  Well, that’s a bad combination for me, Philippoussis and altitude. This is actually the first I’m hearing about it. Mark and I have been friends for a while. The thing is his service motion is so technically sound that, from what I’ve heard, he really hasn’t lost much on his serve since he was playing, which I wish the same could be said for me. It’ll be tough, but I’m just excited to get out there and play. It’ll be fun. I like all those guys who are there. Jim and James are two of my closest friends. I’d love to be able to get through Mark and play one of those guys in the final.

 

Q. I know there’s a lot to talk about here. I wanted to ask a couple quick questions about the topic of the day in tennis, since I know you’ve been through this so many times. These guys are suffering in the heat. I know you always liked the heat to a large degree, even though you sweat a lot, and I was just curious how you feel about where the extreme should be, what you’re seeing or hearing. Is it too much? And also, would you talk a little bit about there’s a lot of discussion in sport now about the fact that we shouldn’t have a World Cup in big heat. What’s your feeling about all that?

ANDY RODDICK: Well, part of me finds it entertaining that every time we go down to Australia we act surprised that it’s hot outside. It’s funny, the guys who have the reputation for being prepared aren’t the guys keeling over. You’re never going to see Roger outwardly showing heat. You’re not going to see Rafa doing it. You’re not going to see Novak anymore; you’re not going to see him doing it. Frankly I hated it when they closed the roof. I felt like I was prepared. I felt like it was a different tennis tournament once they put it indoors. They do have a system in place where if they deem it’s too hot, and there’s a pretty distinct number system that they have used there in the past, and they do have the ability to call it. Do we need to make extreme things because guys are struggling in the heat?  I don’t know.  Personally I don’t think so. I think as athletes we push our bodies to do things that aren’t normal, and frankly that’s what we get paid for. I can’t feel it. Listen, when you play there, it’s brutal. It feels like you’re playing in a hairdryer, but that’s all part of it. Each Slam presents its own unique set of challenges and you kind of have to attack it accordingly.

 

Q.  Is it desirable in your opinion that we keep putting these sporting events in situations like this where it could happen at this extreme level, or is that not a problem?

ANDY RODDICK:  I can’t speak to the World Cup. I haven’t been there. I haven’t experienced it. It seemed like there were other viable options that maybe didn’t have that. But you’re not going to take the Slam out of Australia. It’s too good of a venue.  They have built indoor courts, and like I said, they do have a system in place that they have used before. It’s not as if…I was reading something where the humidity levels weren’t as bad so they didn’t use it. There is thought put into it. It’s not like they’re just going rogue with throwing people out there. They’ve set the precedent for being smart about it, and they have done it in the past. I don’t think they should just close the roofs because people are writing about it.

 

Q.  And the last thing from me, what’s the most key thing about preparing yourself for that? I know you’ve lived in hot weather parts of the States, but you used to go to Hawai’i to train before the Open. What’s the critical thing?  Is it the adaptation? Is it good genetics?

ANDY RODDICK:  Well, I don’t know that there’s one thing. I spent four weeks doing fitness in Austin, and then when I started really hitting balls, I put myself in heat for two weeks before I even went down to play the first event there. By the time we got to Australia, I had been in similar heat for three or four weeks. Frankly it’s stupid to train indoors in cold weather the whole time and then expect to go to Australia and not to have your your body is not going to adapt that quick. But it will adapt. And frankly I don’t know that Australia is as extreme as Florida in the summer or the hottest days in Cincinnati in the summer. I think you’re seeing guys play three out of five, and it’s become a more physical game, so you’re kind of seeing the toll of that.

 

Q.  Someone was telling me that you back in the day played tennis against Drew Brees. Are you relieved we don’t have him on the tennis tour today?

ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah. It’s funny, every time he plays a playoff game on national television, this story comes up again.  He played he actually beat me the first two times.  I think he was 12 and I was 9, and he was kind of like an after school tennis player who was better than all the guys who actually practiced like me, and then I beat him and he started playing other sports.  So who knows how far it could have gone. But I think it just kind of lends itself to discussion of what a good athlete he actually is.

 

Q.  There were moments during your playing career that you didn’t like media. Now that you’ve got a radio show, do you view the folks on the other side with a little bit more empathy?

ANDY RODDICK:  No, I don’t.  The only time I had an issue with the media is when I felt like they weren’t prepared with their questioning or they were asking irresponsible questions. You know, listen, I’m not going to have someone who covers tennis once a year coming into the local market, coming into a press conference and using the wrong terminology for our sport. So no, I never had a problem with media when they were well thought out, asked smart questions, and seemed to actually care as opposed to just being there because their boss was taking attendance, frankly.

 

Q.  Bernard Tomic was booed by fans when he retired after one set with Nadal. Have you ever been in a situation like that where you were booed by your own fans?

ANDY RODDICK:  Listen, I’ve been booed because of the way I’ve acted. I don’t know that I’ve been booed because of a perceived lack of effort. Bernie is in a tough position now because he’s developed a little bit of a reputation of giving less than 100 percent effort now, so he might have had a groin injury the other night.  Had it been someone like Lleyton, who has built his career and at least gained the trust from the fan base as far as putting in effort, I don’t think the boos would have been there. Bernie has a certain process ahead of him where he has to kind of earn the respect back as far as being a competitor. It was an unfortunate situation because by all accounts he is actually hurt, but I feel like the booing is maybe more of a snowball effect from some of the past performances.

 

Q.  Talk a little bit about making your debut event in Birmingham. It’s going to be at the same arena where you played Davis Cup against Switzerland. Talk a little bit about that tie against Switzerland and what it’s going to be like to be back in Birmingham.

ANDY RODDICK:  Well, I’m excited. We obviously had a great Davis Cup tie back there in I think it was 2009, and we enjoyed everything about it. It was one of those rare Davis Cup ties where everything went mostly according to script.  We got out with a W. I played a good match the last day against Wawrinka. The court was fast; the crowd was into it.  We were able to lean on him. You know, I enjoyed playing there. I’m sure it’ll bring back some good memories when I’m back.

 

Q.  No doubt about it, you gave so much to the game. You thrilled, you entertained the sports fans for a decade.  How much will this new arena, this venue, allow you to entertain even more as you’re playing?

ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, I mean, I think it certainly provides that opportunity. There’s no way to replace playing in front of a crowd and kind of the feeling that gives you, and I have a lot of other interests right now which are very fulfilling, but nothing will ever replace being able to play live sports. Yeah, I didn’t expect it to.              But this is a chance for me to do it, I guess, more in a little bit of a part time scale. I’m looking forward to it.  You know, it’s always fun to play with guys that have been so accomplished in the sport, as well. I’m looking forward to it.

 

Q.  Any good one liners you’re working on these days?

ANDY RODDICK:  You know, if I previewed them they wouldn’t be as funny that day, would they?

 

Q.  You gave your life to Davis Cup during your career. What would it mean to be part of Davis Cup again in some capacity down the road?

ANDY RODDICK:  Oh, I don’t know. Frankly I see Jim being the captain for a very long time. I think he does a great job.  All the guys love him. I was able to play for him for a couple of ties, so that’s Jim is a great friend of mine. Honestly that’s something I hadn’t really thought about much.

 

Q.  I wasn’t trying to usurp his job for you, but if you were brought in as a coach, as a motivator, someone that could really relate to the players, what would that mean to you?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, again, I wasn’t insinuating that I was going to be captain, either. I was just saying I think Jim can do all those things. Basically any skill set that I would apply, he’s done it all and more.  He’s done a great job with the crew. Honestly I don’t see what value I would add with Jim at the helm right now.

 

Q. Playing in Houston, how about you and your friend, your buddy, Bobby Bones? Do you have anything planned?  I know you can’t talk about it, but are you excited to be working this with him in some capacity?

ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, we’ve had a really good relationship. We’re great friends. He’s done such a good job now with country radio being pretty much the guy for country radio nationally. I’m proud of his career path.  I certainly admire his work ethic. He gets after it, and he wants to do everything. It’s always fun to kind of watch his career progress.

 

Q.  As a barometer, when you were in Miami playing Murray, you played well. I know he was coming back, but how strong of a barometer is that for you? You can still do it, I guess.

ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, I mean, listen, I wanted to… I’m retired. I can still play a little bit. I won two out of my last five events on tour. When I do practice with guys who are currently playing, I can hold my own. It was never a I’m fully confident the guys I played against my whole career, a lot of them are Youzhny is 14 in the world; Lopez is 20 in the world. There’s a lot of guys who I played for a long time. For me it wasn’t a matter of could I still be good on tour. The question was can I win a Grand Slam, and once I didn’t think I could, that was enough for me. I certainly feel like I’m capable of playing a high level tennis still.

 

Q.  What is it like being a part of this series with all the great names that you’ve been around, and now you guys are involved again?

ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, I mean, listen, it’s certainly a big list of names and personalities. It’s almost as if every night it’s almost a history lesson of the last 30 years of tennis.  It’s really cool. I was a tennis fan long before I was a player, and so it’s surreal for me to be involved with these guys. I don’t think I’ve ever fully gotten used to, let’s say, participating in the same night as a Pete Sampras or a Jim Courier.  Those guys were my heroes growing up. But it’s always fun to get together with those guys again and be around them and to play against them. It’s always been a blast for me.

 

Q.  For fans who will be buying tickets to watch your event, what would you tell them about what they can expect to see perhaps?

ANDY RODDICK: (Laughing) Anything, really.  The thing about our group of guys, not a lot of us have been accused of being shy out there. I think we do understand we all want to win. But at the same time I certainly understand it’s a show, and I couldn’t always interact as much as I wanted to while I was playing on tour, but I’m going to have a good time during these matches. That’ll show through. I think we want fans to come out and really actively participate in the matches. You want it to be interactive. You want it to be fun. You want to give them a good event on top of the tennis.

RANDY WALKER:  We want to thank everyone for joining us today. We want to thank especially Andy, and we’ll see you starting in Birmingham next month.

The full 2014 PowerShares Series schedule with field of players are as follows:

Wednesday, February 5, Kansas City, Missouri, Sprint Centre – Ivan Lendl, John
McEnroe, Jim Courier, Michael Chang

Thursday, February 6, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Chesapeake Energy Arena – Ivan
Lendl, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Michael Chang

Thursday, February 13, Birmingham, Alabama, BJCC – John McEnroe, Andy Roddick,
Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

Friday, February 14, Indianapolis, Indiana, Bankers Life Fieldhouse – John
McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

Wednesday, February 19, Denver, Colorado, Pepsi Center – Andy Roddick, James
Blake, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

Thursday, February 20, Houston, Texas, Toyota Center – Andre Agassi, Jim
Courier, Andy Roddick, James Blake

Tuesday, February 25, Salt Lake City, Utah, Energy Solutions Arena – Pete
Sampras, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake

Wednesday, February 26, Sacramento, California, Sleep Train Arena – Pete
Sampras, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake

Thursday, February 27, Portland, Oregon, Moda Center – Andre Agassi, John
McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake

Wednesday, March 12, Nashville, Tennessee, Bridgestone Arena – John McEnroe,
Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, Mats Wilander

Thursday, March 13, Charlotte, North Carolina, Time Warner Arena – John McEnroe,
Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, Mats Wilander

Friday, March 21, Surprise, Arizona, Surprise Stadium – Pete Sampras, Jim
Courier, Todd Martin, Michael Chang

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Andy Roddick, James Blake and John Isner Team Up to Particpate in Justin Gimelstob Children’s Fund Tennis Exhibition

Justin Gimelstob Children’s Fund Tennis Exhibition

By Josh Meiseles, Special to Tennis Panorama News

(December 7, 2013) CHATHAM, NJ – Centercourt Athletic Club in Chatham, New Jersey played host to the Justin Gimelstob Children’s Fund Tennis Exhibition for the sixth time on Friday, as the star-studded event raised money for the former ATP pro’s foundation. The fundraiser amassed over $300,000 in support of comprehensive healthcare services for children with cancer and blood disorders. In conjunction with The Valerie Fund, a New Jersey-based non-profit organization, the event also included a free 10 & under tennis clinic.

 

“When we started this event and my foundation fifteen years ago, I could never have imagined it would have grown into what it is today,” said Gimelstob in a press release. “It brings me so much pleasure to come back home and bring world-class tennis with me…all for a great cause.”

 

A day after James Blake held his ninth annual Serving for a Cure event in New York City, the former ATP World No. 4 accompanied Gimelstob, Andy Roddick and John Isner for a few singles and doubles exhibition matches. Celebrities in attendance included David Duchovny, Anne V., Brooklyn Decker, ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell, New York Mets star pitcher Matt Harvey and former New Jersey Nets guard Kerry Kittles.

 

“It means a lot to us, to all of us,” said Isner. “All of us support each other and our causes as well and that’s really what we’re doing here. We did it last night with James, tonight with Justin and these guys are coming down with me to North Carolina. We’re all very good friends and through that friendship and our tennis we’re able to give back to some unbelievable causes. You really get a lot of satisfaction out of this time of year.”
The evening included plenty of comedic moments, especially from the witty Roddick. With no shortage of banter, the former World No. 1 razzed on Isner’s net game and jumped on Duchovny for overcooking a volley: “You know, I hated the X-Files before that shot.” The shot of the day came when Blake ripped a massive forehand winner off a Roddick serve to which the US Open champ replied, “You realize I’m going right for your forehand next time.”

 

Roddick also reflected on his first full season away from the tour. “I guess every retired guy has that kick in the gut moment where you miss it. Mine was Wimbledon and the grass season. I don’t know if that was because I didn’t quite get there. That’s what I wanted most. It didn’t help that all the guys lost in the first couple rounds and I’m thinking ‘what did I do?’ The cumulative six-week process of getting to the point of competing in Australia is what I couldn’t get to anymore. Obviously being at the [US] Open was great, seeing it again. I was sitting up top watching the final and I was just amazed at how the guys play.”

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James Blake Serves for a Cure to Raise Money for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

 

(L-R Andy Roddick, James Blake and John Isner)

(L-R, Andy Roddick, James Blake and John Isner)

By Vito Ellison, Special to Tennis Panorama News

(December 6, 2013) NEW YORK CITY – The James Blake Foundation brought tennis to New York’s 69th Regiment Armory Thursday night for the 2013 edition of Serving for a Cure.  The event, first held in 2005, raises money for the Thomas Blake Sr. Memorial Research Fund, supporting early detection cancer research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

As in previous years, the popular American was able to draw the support of some his high profile tennis pals including former World No. 1 and Fox Sports 1 host Andy Roddick as well as the current top-ranked American, John Isner.  The centerpiece of the event was a doubles match with Isner and Roddick taking the court for a light-hearted exhibition against Blake and Real Husbands of Hollywood actor Boris Kodjoe.  Kodjoe, though better known as an actor, is an accomplished tennis player in his own right, having been a four-year letter winner in the sport at VCU.  The actor held his own with the tennis champs, prompting Andy Roddick to crack at one point “If I could retire again, I would” after a Kodjoe passing shot whizzed by him. Though the mood was kept light by emcee Justin Gimelstob, there was still some competitive fire on display.  Roddick smacked his racquet on the court after an error that cost his side a game; while Isner briefly argued with officials over what he felt was a botched line call.

Read the rest here.

 

Related story: Blake: Mandela’s life a hundred lifetimes’ worth of accomplishments

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World TeamTennis Team Relocates to Austin; Andy Roddick to Star on team

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(November 21, 2013) NEW YORK, N.Y.  – Austin, Texas will be home to a new World TeamTennis team in 2014, with a familiar name on the roster – Austin resident Andy Roddick.

 

The Austin Aces will join Mylan WTT after entrepreneur Lorne Abony purchased the Orange County franchise and has relocated the team to Austin beginning with the 2014 season.  This will be the first time a Mylan WTT team has played in Austin.  The team is currently reviewing potential venue options and Abony expects to finalize a location by the end of the year.

 

Abony’s first move after acquiring the franchise was to add Roddick to the team’s roster.  The Aces picked up Roddick in a trade with the Springfield Lasers this week for financial consideration and Marquee Draft position.  Roddick, along with Venus Williams, joined the World TeamTennis ownership group in May 2013.  He helped lead the Lasers to a runner-up finish in 2013.

 

“The fans and team in Springfield were great to me and I really appreciate their support.  Austin however is my home and I am excited to be able to play here in front of my friends and family,” said Roddick.  ”I have played Mylan World TeamTennis since I was a teenager and I believe in the way this league connects with community and provides kids access to professional tennis.”

 

Roddick, who knew Abony through tennis connections, was aware of Abony’s business accomplishments and involvement in tennis and thought he would be a perfect fit for Mylan WTT.  ”Lorne is a business visionary who I know will do great things for tennis in Austin.  I am very much looking forward to being part of something very exciting.”

 

“I have a great passion for tennis and great passion for the city of Austin,” said Abony. “The Mylan World TeamTennis product is the best and most exciting brand of tennis there is in the world. I am honored to have the opportunity to bring a professional Mylan World TeamTennis franchise to Austin and to build a championship team for our city.  With Andy on board, we are well on our way to building something incredibly special for, and with the Austin community.”

 

The Austin Aces will compete in Mylan World TeamTennis presented by GEICO which showcases the best in professional team tennis competition, playing an innovative coed team format over a three-week season in July.  Co-founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s and based on a concept of gender equity, Mylan WTT offers unique access to the sport and some of its greatest champions who have played over the past 38 seasons.

 

“Austin is a great tennis market to continue to grow our fan base,” said Mylan WTT CEO/Commissioner Ilana Kloss.  “Lorne has the business background and passion that we look for in team ownership.  We are excited to work with him to introduce Mylan World TeamTennis to Austin. ”

 

Austin will also retain the rights to the 2013 Orange County Breakers players although their 2014 team lineup will not be determined until the Mylan WTT Marquee Player Draft on Tuesday, Feb. 11 and the Mylan WTT Roster Player Draft on Tuesday, March 11.  The 39th season of Mylan World TeamTennis will commence July 2014.

 

Each Mylan WTT team is comprised of two men, two women and a coach. Team matches consist of five sets, with one set each of men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.

 

The first team to reach five games wins each set. One point is awarded for each game won, and a nine-point tiebreaker is played if a set reaches four all. If necessary, Overtime and a Supertiebreaker are played to determine the outright winner of the match.

 

Mylan WTT is well known for showcasing and introducing innovative elements to tennis including instant replay, coed format, cumulative and no-ad scoring, on-court coaching and timeouts, Overtime and Supertiebreakers, multi-colored courts and player names on the back of shirts.

 

For more information on the Austin Aces, please visit www.AustinAcesTennis.com or call 512-508-3069.  For more information on Mylan WTT, visit www.WTT.com.

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Roddick leads Team Elton to victory at Mylan WTT Smash Hits

(L-R)Andy Roddick, Elton John, Mickey Mouse , Billie Jean King and Venus Williams Photo by Camerawork USA

(L-R)Andy Roddick, Elton John, Mickey Mouse , Billie Jean King and Venus Williams Photo by Camerawork USA

(Nov. 17, 2013) ORLANDO, Fla.  – Mylan WTT Smash Hits returned to the Orlando area for the first time since 1997 on Sunday evening, raising more than $700,000 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation and local charities.

 

Team Elton defeated Team Billie Jean 24-18 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort to take an 11-10 lead in the overall series.  Andy Roddick, who was making his 11th event appearance, won three sets including men’s singles over John Isner to help Team Elton seal the victory.

 

“He’s phenomenal,” John said of Roddick. “We miss him on the tour because he’s such a personality. He’s doing so well. He came out and did it tonight.”

 

A portion of tonight’s proceeds will go towards the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida.  The annual event, co-hosted by Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King, has now raised more the $12 million to support HIV and AIDS prevention and awareness programs since the first event in 1993. Robert and Tricia Earl served as local hosts of tonight’s Mylan WTT Smash Hits.

 

The evening began with a celebrity Battle of the Sexes set, pitting Elton John and Roddick against Venus Williams and Marion Bartoli. John and Roddick won the entertaining set 4-3.

 

The celebrity set didn’t count towards the overall match score, but it got Team Elton off on the winning track.  Roddick partnered teammate Robert Kendrick to a 5-4 win against Team Billie Jean’s Isner and Jean-Julien Rojer to kick off the match.

 

Team Elton moved ahead 10-6 when Williams and Vicky Duval joined forces in women’s doubles for a 5-2 victory over Bartoli and Taylor Townsend. In women’s singles, Townsend won the showdown of top young Americans as she held off Duval for a 5-4 win, clinching the set on a deciding point with a net cord.

 

Team Elton built on their lead in the 4th set with a 5-3 win in mixed doubles as Roddick teamed with Duval to get past Townsend and Isner. Roddick then closed out the night by topping Isner 5-4 in men’s singles.

 

Before King and John’s teams battled it out on court, they went head-to-head in a live auction contest, raising $212,000. John’s squad took home honors by bringing in $126,000 of contributions.  Roddick stole the show when he took the microphone to auction off a private lesson, selling two sessions for $36,000 apiece. Billie Jean King’s Wimbledon package, featuring her own Centre Court seats to the 2014 ladies’ and gentlemen’s championship matches, sold for $25,000. Bartoli, the reigning Wimbledon ladies’ champion, subsequently offered up her personal tickets and the $25,000 was matched. Other auction items included an Elton John-signed piano bench, a hitting session with Bartoli, a Daytona 500 experience, tournament packages for the US Open and Indian Wells, and a Forevermark pendant and earrings.

 

Official sponsors include Mylan, GEICO, 1059 SUNNY FM, Adecco, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Alston & Bird LLP, ANZ, Bright House Media Strategies, Central Florida Press, Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP, Credit Suisse, DecoTurf, Fields Auto Group, Forevermark Diamond, Goldman Sachs, Kelley De & Warren LLP, Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP, Macy’s, McGuireWoods LLP, Orlando Magazine, Planet Hollywood Foundation, Presidio, Rakoczy Molino Mazzochi Siwik LLP, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Smart City, Wells Fargo Foundation, Wiley Rein LLP, Wilson, Wipro and Zebra Coalition.

 

Final Results: 

Mylan WTT Smash Hits presented by GEICO at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex At Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.

 

PRO-CELEB MATCH (didn’t count towards final match score):  Elton John / Andy Roddick def. Venus Williams / Marion Bartoli, 4-3

 

Team Elton def. Team Billie Jean 24-18

 

Men’s Doubles: Andy Roddick / Robert Kendrick (Team Elton) def. John Isner / Jean-Julien Rojer (Team Billie Jean) 5-4

 

Women’s Doubles: Venus Williams / Vicky Duval (Team Elton) def. Marion Bartoli / Taylor Townsend (Team Billie Jean) 5-2

 

Women’s Singles: Taylor Townsend (Team Billie Jean) def. Vicky Duval (Team Elton) 5-4

 

Mixed Doubles: Andy Roddick / Vicky Duval (Team Elton) def. John Isner / Taylor Townsend (Team Billie Jean) 5-3

 

Men’s Singles: Andy Roddick (Team Elton) def. John Isner (Team Billie Jean) 5-4

 

 

TEAM ELTON:

Elton John, Andy Roddick, Venus Williams, Vicky Duval, Robert Kendrick

 

TEAM BILLIE JEAN:

Billie Jean King, John Isner, Marion Bartoli, Taylor Townsend, Jean-Julien Rojer

 

For more information on Mylan WTT Smash Hits presented by GEICO, visit www.WTTSmashHits.com.

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Elton John and Andy Roddick to take on Venus Williams and Marion Bartoli in Battle of Sexes set for charity

wtt smash hits geico

(October 29, 2013) New York, N.Y.  – Billie Jean King made history 40 years ago when she beat Bobby Riggs in the famous Battle of the Sexes match.

 

There may not be as much at stake this time around but next month King’s longtime friend and Mylan WTT Smash Hits co-host Sir Elton John and former world No. 1 Andy Roddick are hoping to even the gender score when they take on two of tennis’ top female stars in a celebration of the original showdown and to raise funds for AIDS charities.

 

John and Roddick will face off against Venus Williams and 2013 Wimbledon Champion Marion Bartoli in a Battle of the Sexes celebrity doubles match to open up action at the 2013 Mylan WTT Smash Hits presented by GEICO on Sunday, Nov. 17 at the HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.

 

While most of the world knows John as a music superstar, he is also an avid tennis fan who plays frequently and wrote the song “Philadelphia Freedom” for King in the 1970s.  Over the past two decades, John and King have teamed up for Mylan WTT Smash Hits which has raised more than $11.5 million for the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) and various local AIDS charities since 1993.  This year’s 21st annual event will benefit EJAF and the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida.  A portion of the funds raised at the pre-match VIP Reception and Auction will be specifically targeted for local programs.

 

John and King also announced the final two players for the Mylan WTT Smash Hits field – longtime New York Sportimes veteran Robert Kendrick and doubles world No. 15 Jean-Julien Rojer of the Springfield Lasers.  Rojer was also the 2013 Mylan WTT Male MVP.

 

With the player field full, the two hosts also selected their squads.  Team Elton will feature Roddick, Williams, Kendrick and rising young American Vicky Duval.  Team Billie Jean includes Bartoli, John Isner, former junior world No. 1 Taylor Townsend and Rojer.

 

The two teams will play a Mylan WTT match which includes one set each of men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles.   Isner and Roddick are expected to face off in a pivotal men’s singles showdown.

 

Tennis action is set for 6 p.m. ET with the pre-match VIP Reception and Auction kicking off at 4:30 p.m.  King and John have split the two-decade series with 10 wins each.  Team Billie Jean topped Team Elton last year in Pittsburgh, 19-17, in an Overtime thriller.

 

For more information on Mylan WTT Smash Hits presented by GEICO, visit www.WTTSmashHits.com.

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Andy Roddick and James Blake Join 2014 Powershares Series

AndyRoddickday1daviscuo2011TennisPanormaNews-600x450

(October 15, 2013) NEW YORK, NY – – InsideOut Sports & Entertainment announced the dates, venues and fields for the 2014 PowerShares Series tennis circuit, highlighted by the debuts of Andy Roddick and James Blake, who will join the 12-city tour and play alongside tennis legends such as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors.

The PowerShares Series will kick off on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 in Kansas
City and will conclude March 21 in Surprise, Arizona. Players competing on the
2014 circuit are Roddick, Blake, Sampras, Agassi, McEnroe, Connors, Ivan Lendl,
Mats Wilander, Jim Courier, Michael Chang, Todd Martin and Mark Philippoussis.
Each event will feature two one-set semifinal matches, followed by a one-set
championship match.

An exclusive USTA member pre-sale offering a 15% discount for USTA members
begins today. Tickets and unique VIP fan experience packages will go on sale to
the general public next Tuesday, October 22. Tickets start at $25 and all ticket
and VIP information is available at www.PowerSharesSeries.com.

““We are excited to welcome Andy Roddick and James Blake as they
join our eighth year of Champions Series tennis and look forward to seeing them,
along with the other legendary players, compete and entertain crowds around the
United States this season,” “ said Jon Venison, Partner at InsideOut Sports &
Entertainment.

“I am looking forward to playing on the PowerShares circuit,” said Roddick.
“Having a chance to stay connected with tennis and compete on a limited basis
through events like these fits perfectly with my life these days.”

““It’s going to be exciting to start a new chapter of my tennis life playing on
the PowerShares Series circuit,”” said Blake. ““Having just retired from the ATP
tour, you’d think I have an advantage over some of the guys, but players like
Andy, Andre and Pete are so talented and competitive that is going to be a great
challenge for me to win some titles. I look forward to the challenge.””

The full 2014 PowerShares Series schedule with field of players are as follows:

Wednesday, February 5, Kansas City, Missouri, Sprint Centre – Ivan Lendl, John
McEnroe, Jim Courier, Michael Chang

Thursday, February 6, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Chesapeake Energy Arena – Ivan
Lendl, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, Michael Chang

Thursday, February 13, Birmingham, Alabama, BJCC – John McEnroe, Andy Roddick,
Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

Friday, February 14, Indianapolis, Indiana, Bankers Life Fieldhouse – John
McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

Wednesday, February 19, Denver, Colorado, Pepsi Center – Andy Roddick, James
Blake, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

Thursday, February 20, Houston, Texas, Toyota Center – Andre Agassi, Jim
Courier, Andy Roddick, James Blake

Tuesday, February 25, Salt Lake City, Utah, Energy Solutions Arena – Pete
Sampras, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake

Wednesday, February 26, Sacramento, California, Sleep Train Arena – Pete
Sampras, John McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake

Thursday, February 27, Portland, Oregon, Moda Center – Andre Agassi, John
McEnroe, Jim Courier, James Blake

Wednesday, March 12, Nashville, Tennessee, Bridgestone Arena – John McEnroe,
Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, Mats Wilander

Thursday, March 13, Charlotte, North Carolina, Time Warner Arena – John McEnroe,
Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, Mats Wilander

Friday, March 21, Surprise, Arizona, Surprise Stadium – Pete Sampras, Jim
Courier, Todd Martin, Michael Chang

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Bryan Brothers Foundation Raises More Than $100,000

Bryan Bros, Dave McKinney, Mark Knowles and Andy Roddick

Bryan Bros, Dave McKinney, Mark Knowles and Andy Roddick

(October 12, 2013)  CAMARILLO, Calif.  – The V-Grid Tennis Fest Featuring the Bryan Brothers once again raised more than $100,000 for both the Ventura County Junior Tennis Association and the Santa Barbara Tennis Patrons, as well as other local causes and regional charities supported by the Bryan Bros. Foundation.
The fundraiser was presented by Alexander Cadillac.
The 15-time Grand Slam champions and world No. 1 doubles team Mike and Bob Bryan faced former Davis Cup teammate Andy Roddick and Mark Knowles in an entertaining exhibition match that had no shortage of amazing shots.
“It was our best-ever event once again,” Tennis Fest organizer Dave McKinney said. “Every year we up it. It sold out and we had close to a thousand people and it was standing room only. The quality of the tennis during the exhibition was the best ever and the entertainment value was even better.
“This is really turning into a must-attend event in Ventura County.”
More than 40 local wineries and restaurants participated and the Bryan Bros. performed for the crowd.
“We are so appreciative that the community came out to support our Foundation and the Tennis Fest,” Mike Bryan added. “Having Andy and Mark come out was awesome as well.”
For more information on the Bryan Bros. Foundation see the website at: http://www.bryanbros.com/about-the-foundation.html. The tournament website is: www.bbtennisfest.com.
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Mark Knowles and Andy Roddick to Square Off Against Bryan Bros. Friday in Camarillo at V-Grid Tennis Fest

Former World No. 1 and 11-Time Grand Slam Doubles Finalist and Last American to Win Singles Grand Slam
To Face All-Time Best Doubles Team in Exhibition Match
Bryan brothers-001
Camarillo, Calif., (Sept. 25, 2013) – It seems only fitting the Bryan Brothers would call on one of the world’s best doubles players to the help out this Friday during the V-Grid Tennis Fest Featuring the Bryan Bros., and presented by Alexander Cadillac.
The three-time Grand Slam champion and former UCLA Bruin Mark Knowles will team with Mike and Bob Bryan’s former Davis Cup teammate Andy Roddick in an exhibition match against the world’s top doubles team during the day of music, food, wine, and tennis will all the proceeds benefitting the Bryan Bros. Foundation.
More than 40 local wineries and restaurants will be on hand for the event which begins at 4:30 p.m.
There are still a limited number of individual $100 admission tickets still available and can be purchased through the website at www.bbtennisfest.com.
For more information on the Bryan Bros. Foundation see the website at: http://www.bryanbros.com/about-the-foundation.html.
About the Bryan Bros. Foundation
The Bryan Bros. Foundation, a non-profit 501c3 organization, is dedicated to helping support and grow the dreams of children in Ventura County and around the world. The Foundation’s mission is to identify and support charities and causes that help at-risk youth survive and thrive. We seek out specific families and children in need, working with them directly to ensure that they have the opportunities they need to succeed. In everything we do, we will promote the ideals of sports, and tennis in particular, to emphasize the values of hard work, dedication and perseverance.
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