August 4, 2015

Tuesday in “Hotlanta” Sees Mardy Fish Fall in First Round

By Herman Wood

(July 28, 2015) ATLANTA, Georgia – Hotlanta indeed!  Following the directions of ushers to take a seat on Tuesday in Atlanta potentially risked a trip to the burn unit!  It certainly was not comfortable, even in the shade once the sun moved a bit at the Atlanta Open.  Action heated up on the courts as well, with a number of young and experienced Americans in action.  Steve Johnson got by Lukas Lacko 6-1, 6-7, 6-2, dropping a second set tiebreak 7-3.  Austin Krajicek fell to Marco Baghdatis 6-4, 6-0, despite some creative engineering of his frame, reportedly playing with a broken frame for one point.  Qualifier Denis Kudla sent wild card Ryan Harrison home for singles in three sets, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(5).  Harrison tweeted later, “Fought hard today.  Thank you @BBTatlantaopen for this opportunity to play.  I will get better from this and always be back.  #Bounceback”   Eighteen year old Jared Donaldson took down fellow qualifier Somdev Devvarman 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.  Donaldson is impressive if for nothing else the ability to seriously launch a ball out of the stadium.  Interstate 75 is a possibility!

Australia’s Sam Groth had all he could handle with 17 year old American Frances Tiafoe.  It was a draw until the tiebreaker began for the first set.  The veteran Groth got a service mini-break early and that took some steam out of Tiafoe.  He certainly fought, but Groth kept blasting away.  Fellow American and Georgia Tech team member Chris Eubanks rooted loudly for Tiafoe, encouraging him to keep fighting.  The crowd was fully behind him, exhorting him as well.  He got a bit discouraged after dropping the tie break 7-3 and gave up an early break.  Soon, the racquet was thrown and the crowd got a bit quiet.  The statistics reflected a very even match, but all Groth needed was one tiebreak and one break point converted.  He made it hold up for a 7-6(3), 6-4 win.  Tiafoe won’t find much comfort in the statistics, but he only had one break chance and couldn’t convert it and that was really the difference.

Singles wrapped up for the day with a more mature American, Mardy Fish, who will be calling it a career after the US Open, taking on last year’s finalist – Dudi Sela.  Sela won over the Atlanta crowd last year with fine play and gracious humor.  The crowd appreciated fine play all night, but tried to raise Fish, though there wasn’t as much to cheer for as they might have liked.  Fish managed to hold his first service game, but it was a struggle.   The struggle continued in his second service game, as he was broken by just generally loose play, spraying balls long.  The game was certainly there, especially when the shot required a quick reaction, whether forehand or backhand.  Fish flashed a 131 mph serve at one point, but Sela was more than ready, blunting the attack, blocking backhand after backhand back authoritatively.  Fish managed to get the break back to level the set at four with the help of two net cords, but was promptly undone again, not able to finish points he had most certainly earned.  Sela had to work, holding off a break point, but closed the set 6-4 in his favor.  Fish apparently had an issue with his socks at some point and took advantage of a medical time out by Sela.  Apparently, he gestured to Roddick, who simply removed his socks and sent them to Fish.  That’s a bit more sharing than I think most people want to do with their doubles partner!  After Sela had his wrist attended to, play resumed and stayed on serve.  The length of rallies and level of play improved for both men, until Sela earned a break for 5-4 with a wild Fish forehand.  During the changeover, Sela’s homeland flag of Israel came out on display in the stands and it seemed to inspire him.  He served the set out, winning 6-4, 6-4.  He was gracious afterward, signing and posing with fans.  “If Mardy had played his best, he’d have kicked my ass!”

“If I’m going to play like that, it’s going to be pretty tough,” Fish said in talking about the positives he’d taken from the match. “It’s just it’s nice to finish on my own terms. The sport, my job, was taken from me so abruptly that it took me a long time to get my life back.”

Fish is scheduled to play his last two tournaments of his career in Cincinnati and New York.

I was also able to chat with Chris Eubanks, a 6-7 sophomore from Georgia Tech (about a mile from Atlantic Station).  Eubanks graduated from Westlake High School, also here in Atlanta, and is the number 53rd ranked singles player in the NCAA.  Eubanks played with American Donald Young in the doubles draw, beating Mate Pavic and Michael Venus 6-2, 3-6, 10-5 in the super tiebreaker. Wednesday he’ll play Radek Stepanek in singles.  I asked how I would know if he were playing his best.  “I’ll be getting my first serve in and making my forehand.”  I responded that he had just described about ninety percent of American tennis players, whether on the tour or not.  That drew a laugh.  We also talked about on court demeanor and he shared how important it is that you have to be yourself on the court and express yourself in the way of your own choosing.  Eubanks was very gracious with his time, though he was clearly there to support Tiafoe.

In other singles results, German Benjamin Becker got by fellow German Michael Berrer, 7-5, retired.  In other doubles action, “Popsock”, Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock fell to Gilles Muller and Colin Fleming 6-4, 4-6,10-6.  Eric Butyric and Artem Sitak took out Matthew Ebden and Adrian Mannarino 6-2, 6-0.  Play continues on Wednesday with the evening matches focusing on doubles.  Fish and Roddick return to action, taking on Murray and Lu.  The Bryan Brothers have big serving Groth partnered up with fellow Australian Chris Guccione.

 

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood

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The Road to the US Open Begins This Weekend at the BB&T Atlanta Open

BB&TAtlantaOpen

By Herman Wood

(July 24, 2015)ATLANTA, Georgia – The road to the US Open starts in Atlanta with the BB&T Atlanta Open this weekend with qualifying.  The BB&T is a ATP World Tour 250 event, with a 28 player singles and 16 player doubles draw.  Total prize money this year is $585,870.00.  The venue is set in downtown Atlanta, amongst the sky scrapers and shopping of Atlantic Station.  Two time champion and former University of Georgia all-time leader in singles and doubles wins, John Isner returns in search of a historic three-peat.

Arguably the best doubles team of all time, Bob and Mike Bryan make their debut in the BB&T.  They got their first tour win in an Atlanta event in 1998.  Defending doubles champ and singles semifinalist Jack Sock, along with doubles partner Vasek Pospisil, are looking to take another step in their development.  The doubles draw could be very interesting if a showdown between the Bryan brothers and “Popsock” materializes.  It was only a year ago that Pospisil/Sock denied the Bryans the Wimbledon 2014 title.

Marco Baghdatis is already turning heads in the ATL.  As he dropped off his racquets for stringing by the Prince Team at the Serious Tennis tent with Deana Buzzy Mitchell, he was reportedly, “very sweet and winked at me!”  That kind of behavior is sure to make him a fan favorite with at least half of the crowd.  Americans Steve Johnson, Tim Symzek, and Donald Young are also looking to make a statement.   In what could be a big story line, two time champion Mardy Fish is returning to the tour in this tournament.  He has struggled with health issues almost since the last tournament win in Atlanta.  He’ll also be teaming up with another former Atlanta champion, Andy Roddick.  Roddick will not play in the singles main draw, but is playing an exhibition match against another young American, 17 year old Frances Tiafoe on Monday night.  Tiafoe created a stir in the qualifying last year and has been granted a wild card into the main draw.  Other crowd favorites returning include Dudi Sela, last year’s finalist, 2013 finalist Kevin Anderson, and 2012 finalist Giles Muller.  The draw will also include 4 players from a 32 draw qualifying tournament to be played this weekend.

2015 French Open Boys’ champion Tommy Paul and this year’s Wild Card Challenge winner Trent Bryde have accepted two wild card spots into that BB&T Atlanta Open qualifying tournament.  Paul is the No. 5-ranked American junior. Bryde had to make his way through 5 matches in the Wild Card Challenge.  Georgia Tech also is providing a wild card to sophomore Christopher Eubanks.  Eubanks was named all Atlantic Coast Conference as a freshman last spring and finished ranked number 47 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.

Ticket sales have been on a record pace according to Tournament Director Eddie Gonzalez.  Atlanta has always been a tennis town, with the largest local doubles league in the United States.  There will be several special events that are part of the tournament scene, including the above mentioned exhibition with Roddick, a kids weekend with special ticket promotions during the qualifying tournament, a Commodores concert, College Night, another concert featuring LoCash, Ladies Day, USTA member appreciation day, and a Family Zone presented by Prince at Atlantic Station where kids can play tennis.

Herman Wood is in Atlanta covering the BB&T Open action from around the grounds for Tennis Panorama News, follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/hermanewood

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Tennis Channel to Air World TeamTennis match Featuring Andy Roddick

Andy Roddick Tennis Panorama

LOS ANGELES, JULY 15, 2015 – Tennis Channel will have live coverage of the Mylan World TeamTennis match, featuring American star Andy Roddick on Thursday, July 16, at 8 p.m. ET.

 

The match between Roddick’s team, the Austin Aces, and the California Dream will take place at the Gregory Gymnasium at the University of Texas in Austin. This July, Tennis Channel will also have live coverage of three more World TeamTennis matchups, including competitions between the Boston Lobsters and Washington Kastles; San Diego Aviators and California Dream; and Boston Lobsters and Philadelphia Freedoms.

 

For additional details about Thursday’s programming and for future World TeamTennis dates, please see below and visit www.tennischannel.com.

 

Schedule:

July 16: Austin Aces vs. California Dream-8 p.m. live  July 21: Boston Lobsters vs. Washington Kastles-7 p.m. live 
July 23: San Diego Aviators vs. California Dream-10:30 p.m. live  July 28: Boston Lobsters vs. Philadelphia Freedoms-7 p.m. live 
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On The Call: Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish to Play Doubles at Atlanta Open

 

Mardy FishAndyRoddick

(June 15, 2015) Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish will play doubles together at the BB&T Atlanta Open next month, and Fish is also going play singles. Roddick, retired since 2012 now works in as a sports broadcaster

Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and former No. 1-ranked player, retired from professional tennis in 2012.

Fish, a former top U.S. player who was ranked in the Top Ten, who has not played since August 2013 was asked about his return to the court and if there are future tournaments beyond Atlanta for him. Fish has been suffering from an anxiety disorder.

“Unfortunately I can only look to Atlanta,” Fish said. “Just with how things have gone in the past few years, how things went in Indian Wells.  I wanted to play Miami.  Still sort of fighting the battle of the anxiety disorder, trying to get a firm grip on how I feel after matches.”
“So just the comfort of knowing how Atlanta is, knowing that we’ve had success there, getting to play doubles with Andy, sort of having friends and family around, it’s a perfect start there,” Fish said. “Then obviously it’s no secret, I’d love to go back to the US Open where sort of it all came crashing down for me in 2012, sort of conquer that place.  By ‘conquer’ I mean just get back out on the court there.  I have a lot of demons from that place.
“But there’s obviously other events, Washington, Cincinnati, that I really love playing as well, that I hope to try to pla

The Atlanta Open, which is a hard-court event, launches the U.S. Open Series beginning on July 27.

 

 

 

 

Transcript of the USTA Media Conference call courtesy of the USTA and ASAPSports

BRENDAN McINTYRE:  Good morning, everyone.  This is Brendan McIntyre, the director of corporate communications for the USTA.  I’d like to welcome everyone to the first conference call of the 2015 Emirates Airline US Open Series.  Today’s call is on behalf of the BB&T Atlanta Open.
Joining us today are Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish, to talk about their summer plans.  J. Wayne Richmond, the general manager of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, and Eddie Gonzalez, the tournament director and chief development officer for the BB&T Atlanta Open.
At this time I’d like to allow Eddie to give a few brief remarks and open up the call.
EDDIE GONZALEZ:  Thank you.
Today is a big day for us because it’s our Media Day.  We’re extremely excited and honored to kick off the Emirates Airline US Open Series with the summer hard courts leading up to eventually the US Open.
Today we announce our player field.  Being the first tournament back in the United States, we really wanted to kind of kick off our opening ceremony and session with a celebration of American tennis.  That’s going to feature a singles exhibition with Andy Roddick as a great former American champion against Francis Tiafoe, a future American champion.  We’re also very excited to Mardy has agreed to come play singles.
Atlanta has a lot of nice history to both players because Mardy has won our tournament twice, Andy won twice, his first ATP Tour event and his last event.
Once we knew we had Andy coming for a single’s exhibition and Mardy’s commitment to play in our main draw singles, I was thinking to myself, Gosh, wouldn’t it be great if those guys would agree to stay and play main draw doubles together.  It probably wasn’t, because less than 24 hours later Andy and Mardy’s team reached out to me and said, What do you think about Andy and Mardy playing doubles together?
So very excited to announce publicly for the first time here that Andy is actually coming out of retirement to play main draw doubles here in Atlanta with his good friend Mardy.  We’ll talk about that today as well as what the rest of their summer plans are.
Before we get to that, J. Wayne is our general manager and wants to say a few words.
J. WAYNE RICHMOND:  Thanks, Eddie.  First, thanks to the press and media to be with us this morning.
Andy and Mardy have always been two of my favorites, I know fan favorites across the U.S., and I think they own the Atlanta event between the two of them.
These two guys have been supporters of the Series since day one.  Andy has been the Series champion twice, in ’05 and ’06.  The only other player to do that has been Nadal.  Mardy did the same in 2011.
We’re just excited to have you two guys back.  We have a great summer ahead.  I look forward to seeing everybody on the road, particularly in Atlanta in a few weeks.
Welcome back, Andy and Mardy.
BRENDAN McINTYRE:  At this time we’re ready to open up the line for Q&A.

Q.  Andy and Mardy, could you talk about why you wanted to do this.  I remember last year you had talked about hoping to try to do this sort of thing maybe at the US Open.  I’m wondering whether that’s in the plans for later this summer.
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, we did want to play the Open last year, but it was my fault.  I didn’t know the rules.  I’m getting back into the drug testing pool.  So I kind of got Mardy all excited about it and couldn’t actually do it.
I think this is something we wanted to do.  Obviously with Mardy’s comeback, it’s been a pretty amazing story.  The fact that he’s going to pursue that even more this summer is really exciting.
We’ve been friends for a long time.  We kind of just wanted to play together one last time.  I wanted to play with my friend and kind of share in his comeback a little bit.
I don’t think we’re going to play in the US Open.  I have some personal stuff coming up later this year that I won’t be able to play.
Once we knew that, Atlanta seemed like the obvious choice.  We both had success there.  We both love that tournament.  I’m just jumped.  I hope I don’t embarrass myself out there.  I’m real excited.
I wasn’t a very good doubles player when I was actually good at tennis.  Mardy is going to have to do the heavy lifting.

Q.  You two have had a relationship in the juniors.  You played one another 13 times in the pro ranks.  How exciting is this to be doing this US Open Series together?  Andy, could you share your favorite story about Mardy.  Mardy, if you could share your favorite story about Andy, that would be great.
ANDY RODDICK:  Oh, God.  I’ll let you lead, Mardy, so I know what to respond with.
MARDY FISH:  I could go a lot of different ways with that one (laughter).
First of all, yeah, I echo Andy’s sentiment.  We’re really excited to play.  Like he said, we’ve been friends forever, since we were 12, playing each other.  Where was that, Altamonte Springs, Sanlando Park, was maybe the first time we played when we were 11 or 12.  Your dad thought I was cheating you.
ANDY RODDICK:  You probably were (laughter).
MARDY FISH:  I wasn’t.  Your dad yelled at me because he thought I was cheating, but I wasn’t.  You ended up beating me 7‑6, 7‑6.  First time we ever played in a real match.
No, we’ve got a long history.  We’re excited to do it there again in Atlanta.
I’m training probably harder than Andy is now because of the singles stuff.  But I’m on him to hopefully get back and at least start practicing a little bit more.
But we’re super excited.
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, that’s one of my favorite stories, too.  I remember it differently because I do know that Mardy was definitely cheating.  The yelling by my father was warranted (laughter).
But, yeah, we’re just excited.  I mean, I think the priority is on Mardy playing singles.  We’re going to have some fun with the doubles.  For a moment in time there, three or four years ago, Mardy could win on tour with anybody in doubles.  He’s one of the best doubles players I’ve ever seen.
I’m looking forward to it.  I plan on losing five pounds by the Atlanta tournament, then gaining 10 pounds back right away.

Q.  Andy, I assume that part of the personal reasons towards the end of the year is impending fatherhood.  Am I right there?
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah.  A lot of naps.  I’m planning on taking a lot of naps this fall.

Q.  Can you talk a little bit about kind of your expectations, your apprehensions, and whichever sex this child is, would you like them to be playing professional tennis?
ANDY RODDICK:  I don’t know.  The question might be about 20 years premature.
You ask around, and everyone has some advice.  Mardy is a new father.  His son Beckett is just the best.  Thank goodness he looks like his mother.
You can have expectations, but I’m not going to know what it’s all going to be like until the baby’s actually here.
We’re just really excited.  We feel very lucky.

Q.  Mardy, can you chime in on that a little bit, too, as to athletics in your kid’s future.
MARDY FISH:  He’s going to be an athlete.  He’s going to be either a golfer or baseball player.  He’s going to be lefty.  He has no choice.

Q.  He has no choice?
MARDY FISH:  No (laughter).

Q.  You’re seeing signs already of athletic ability, I assume?
MARDY FISH:  When he picks up his plastic golf club, he picks it up lefty.  I get so excited.  But then he grabs it with his right hand and he whacks it with his right hand and I get bummed.
So we’ll see.

Q.  Mardy, with the singles comeback, how far down the road are you looking?  How much do you think you’d like to do, or you’re not really thinking about that just yet?
MARDY FISH:  Unfortunately I can only look to Atlanta, just with how things have gone in the past few years, how things went in Indian Wells.  I wanted to play Miami.  Still sort of fighting the battle of the anxiety disorder, trying to get a firm grip on how I feel after matches.  The part that helps me is all the different reps and things like that that you get.
I used to struggle with sleep.  Once you go to sleep at night so many times, you get better and better at it, you get more confident with it.  It’s hard for me to do the matches because there’s not very many, and there’s only so many situations I can kind of put myself in.
Indian Wells, in the first place, was a great place for me to start because it’s just a drive away.  My whole family could be there.
Atlanta is probably second easiest to that, considering how sort of comfortable the tournament is.  Conditions‑wise it will be a challenge as far as the weather and things.  But that’s stuff I grew up in and used to thrive in conditions like that on the court.
So just the comfort of knowing how Atlanta is, knowing that we’ve had success there, getting to play doubles with Andy, sort of having friends and family around, it’s a perfect start there.
Then obviously it’s no secret, I’d love to go back to the US Open where sort of it all came crashing down for me in 2012, sort of conquer that place.  By ‘conquer’ I mean just get back out on the court there.  I have a lot of demons from that place.
But there’s obviously other events, Washington, Cincinnati, that I really love playing as well, that I hope to try to play.
But it all starts in Atlanta for me.

Q.  This is a question you guys are probably tired of answering.  Curious to hear both your thoughts on the future of men’s tennis in America.
ANDY RODDICK:  I’ve actually never heard that question before (laughter).
MARDY FISH:  I can start a little bit because I’m out at Carson at our West Coast base for the USTA.  I’m out here quite a bit.  I’ve hit a lot with a lot of those guys.
We got a lot of young players coming up.  By ‘young’ I mean obviously Jack, who is 22 years old, but some of these guys are 17.  No.1 junior in the world right now, Taylor Fritz, has a big future.  There’s quite a lot of young guys that really can play.
I think age‑wise underneath those young Aussies that are coming up in Kyrgios, some of those kids, Tomic, who are 22 and 21 years old, 20, we have some 16, 17, 18‑year‑olds who can play, apart from Jack.
These guys, what you don’t understand, too, Donald Young, Sam Querrey to a certain extent, Sam is only 27 years old.  It sounds old, and he’s been out here for a long time, but it’s still really young.  He’s got a lot of time if he can figure out and rekindle a lot of the stuff that he did early in his career.
There’s a lot of guys age‑wise just underneath those Aussies that everyone is talking about that are really good players that you’ll hear a lot from in the next couple years.
ANDY RODDICK:  I think probably for the first time in a while, we can say we’re cumulatively as a tennis community in the States, there seems to be some really legitimate, authentic excitement.  Not just around one or two guys, but around a handful, five or six.  That’s the recipe.
When Mardy and I were coming up, we trained with six or seven guys.  Normally two come out of that and are top‑10 players.  That’s what you need.
I love the way that Jack has taken ownership over his ability.  It seems like there’s a sense of belief.  Getting that first‑round draw at the French Open against Grigor, going out and beating him in straight sets I thought was a huge mental step that now should pay itself forward.  Now it’s just a matter of playing like he did at Roland Garros and doing that every week.  That’s how you become one of the best players in the world.  He certainly has the tools.
I just learned at the beginning of this phone call the Monday night exhibition I’m playing against Frances Tiafoe, which literally scares the shit out of me.  Trust me, I went worse than, Oh, God!
I’m excited to see it.  The easiest way to kind of know what you’re dealing with is to see it firsthand.  I’m excited about it.
These guys are good.  I’m pumped about it.  I think there is some sense of optimism.  Let’s not compare them to the long shadow of American tennis; let’s let them make their own way.

Q.  We’re right in the swing of the grass season.  What do you think of the extra week that they’ve put now between the French Open and Wimbledon, whether you think that’s something that would have benefited you in your playing days, and how it will change the results we’ll see at Wimbledon down the road.
ANDY RODDICK:  I mean, it’s absolutely something that needed to happen.  Let me start this opinion with the fact that I’m extremely biased because grass was probably my favorite surface.
But you see guys that can make a living playing three tournaments a year away from the clay courts.  They can literally schedule February through September on clay, give or take a couple mandatory events.  Then to have one or two events in the lead‑up to the biggest tournament on earth as far as tradition I thought was a little ridiculous.
Frankly, it put a lot of pressure on guys that were trying to play well on grass because you knew you had one warmup event.  If that didn’t go well, you’re kind of searching for it in the middle of a Grand Slam.
I think this change was a long time coming.  I was one of the guys throwing a fit about it when I was playing.  I think it’s a no‑brainer, but I’m really glad that it’s there and it’s the way it should be.
Frankly, everybody is celebrating getting two or three weeks before Wimbledon.  There’s two or three months of clay court stuff before the French Open, so I still think there’s some work to be done.

Q.  My question is about coaching.  I know your brother coaches.  Do you have any interest in coaching college tennis in the near future or working with some of the young Americans like Taylor Fritz and others?
MARDY FISH:  Andy.
ANDY RODDICK:  (Indiscernible.)
MARDY FISH:  For free, too.
ANDY RODDICK:  Yeah, for free.
You know what, I don’t know if I’d be interested in college tennis.  My brother has done such a good job, but it’s such a foreign place for me.  I never played college tennis.  I don’t know that I can relate to it.
I know where he goes, the parts of the world he goes to to recruit.  It’s a hustle.  Frankly, it’s more of a commitment than I’m willing to put forward maybe ever again.
I have worked with some of the young USTA guys.  They’ve sent guys in for three or four days.  I’ve always been available for those guys.  I’m just glad that I’m getting taken up on it.
I think you don’t go through a career in U.S. tennis and not want to pay it forward and see the success of the next generation.  I’m happy to be involved in that in some way if I can going forward.
MARDY FISH:  Yeah, it’s funny, I owe a lot to the USTA sort of for my second career, if you will, after 2009.  They allowed sort of an old, broken‑down player that wasn’t working as hard as maybe he could have, didn’t reach the potential maybe he could have, and they still let me take a coach with me in David Nainkin and share him with Sam Querrey.  I always remember that.  Obviously it paid off for me and hopefully for them.  But I always feel indebted to them because of that.
I always enjoy helping, asking questions about how guys are doing when I’m on the court practicing with them.  It’s a lot of fun to sort of give some of the knowledge that you’ve learned over the years.

Q.  I’m in Germany, in Halle.  Tommy Haas is making yet another comeback here at age 37.  I’m wondering what you make of that?  Andy, you announced your retirement on your 30th birthday.  What do you think of somebody playing that deep into their life, fairly unchartered waters?
ANDY RODDICK:  I know Mardy has practiced with Tommy a lot pretty much always.  Since they both live in L.A., they’ve seen a lot of each other on the tennis court.
Tommy Haas knows how to play tennis.  He has such a high tennis IQ.  He’s been 2 in the world, and he still kind of wants to get out there and do it again.
It’s not the choice that I made.  I’m very comfortable with my choice.  But I have a lot of admiration for guys like Tommy, guys like Hewitt that are still out there, Mardy wanting to get back into the mix.  I certainly couldn’t respect it more.
MARDY FISH:  Yeah, I mean, I’ve seen Tommy obviously up close, like Andy said.  I practice with him quite a lot.  He’s had a lot of troubles with his injuries, his body and stuff.
But he’s really sort of shown a whole ‘nother step in the process of still wanting to play professional tennis, in this specific instance where he had a pretty bad shoulder injury for it’s now been quite a while.  Obviously he had surgery on it.  The rehab process has been so long.
There’s not many guys at all that would put in the time and the work that he does at his age, especially with the career he’s had, what he’s accomplished already.
Obviously he loves the game more than most.  He loves the work and the travel and all that stuff.  You have to just to continue to do what he does.
You know, I’m sure there’s some milestones that he’d love to get to, some goals he wants to get to.  There’s not very many guys that have won 600 matches.  Obviously, Andy knows how hard that is.
I think he’s made 35 or 25 or whatever, has 500 or so match wins.  That’s an incredible career there.  Once he gets to 600, which he certainly can over maybe the next year or so, it will be interesting to watch that.  He’s an awesome guy.

Q.  What was the most important lesson you learned in learning how to play on grass?
ANDY RODDICK:  Basically the way grass court tennis gets covered is a little bit of a misnomer.  I think they think people who serve big are automatically going to do well.  I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.  We hear a lot about movement on clay, a lot about movement on hard courts.  That rhetoric goes away once the grass court season comes.
I think it’s a huge talent to be able to move the right way on grass.  You see guys slipping and falling; they look uncomfortable.  I think that’s one part of it that gets completely undersold.
Also the quick twitch movement the guys that are slow and methodical don’t traditionally do well on grass, the points are quicker, quicker reactions.  I think that’s another thing that gets a little bit undersold.
MARDY FISH:  Yeah, I’d also say over the course of Andy and I’s careers, we came out in 2000, 2001 kind of era.  I think the courts have changed sort of the way you play grass court tennis once, twice, maybe three times over the course of the last 15, 16 years.
The courts have gotten better, slower.  The grass has gotten better.  The balls have gotten heavier and slower.  It brings a ton of different ways that you can play on grass.  That’s changed quite a bit.
I remember in 2003 to maybe 2006 or ‘7 I used to serve and volley on every first serve.  Lately, last time I went, 2011 might have been the last time I went, I hardly ever served and volleyed because you couldn’t because it was too slow.  Guys are too quick on returning and stuff like that.  It’s changed quite a bit.
BRENDAN McINTYRE:  Thank you, everybody, for getting on today’s call.  A special big thanks to Andy and Mardy for the early wakeup call.  We’re all looking forward to the start of the 2015 Emirates Airline US Open Series, and the BB&T Atlanta Open to kick it off.  This year we’ll be able to see the Emirates Airline US Open Series on ESPN and ESPN‑2 with more than 70 hours of live national coverage, and ESPN‑3 which will feature nearly 500 hours of weekday coverage.  Thank you for taking the call.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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Philippoussis Defeats Agassi to Win 15 Powershares Series Opener in Salt Lake City

powershares

(March 24, 2015) SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Mark Philippoussis defeated Andre Agassi 7-6 (4) in the one-set championship match Tuesday to win the Champions Shootout, the opening event on the 2015 PowerShares Series, at the Huntsman Center at the University of Utah.

“A match like this could go either way,” Agassi said following the final. “I had a lot some chances early on when you get down to a breaker with Mark you have to execute on the right points. He did that tonight, but it was lot of fun trying to chase down his shots.”

Philippoussis, the 2003 Wimbledon runner-up, was aided not only by his powerful serve – which earned him the nick-name of “Scud” – but in the fact that his booming shots broke the strings in all three of Andre Agassi’s racquets, forcing the eight-time major champion to finish the match using one of the Australian’s racquets.

The tournament win was third on the PowerShares Series for Philippoussis and the first since winning in Surprise, Arizona in 2010. Agassi was seeking his eighth career PowerShares Series title.

The one-night four-player tournament event marked the first pro tennis event to exclusively use Hawk-Eye electronic line-calling technology in lieu of linespeople.

In the semifinal matches earlier in the night, Philippoussis posted a 6-3 win over James Blake, who won the PowerShares Series event in Salt Lake City last year, when played at the Energy Solutions Arena. Agassi defeated Jim Courier 6-3 in the other semifinal.

The PowerShares Series continues Wednesday night in Los Angeles at the Galen Center at the University of Southern California where Philippoussis, Courier and Blake will join Andy Roddick in the field. Philippoussis is a late replacement in the Los Angeles field for Pete Sampras, who injured his calf muscle while playing in an event in Sweden over the weekend and was forced to withdraw from the event. For full schedule, player and ticket information, go to www.PowerSharesSeries.com

The remaining PowerShares Series schedule with full fields are as follows:

 

Wednesday, March 25: Los Angeles, Calif., (Galen Center at USC) “SoCal Honda Dealers Helpful Cup” featuring Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis, James Blake

Wednesday, April 1: Lincoln, Neb., (Pinnacle Bank Arena at Univ. of Nebraska) “Champions Cup Presented by Woods Park Tennis” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

Thursday, April 2: Chicago, Ill. (Sears Centre) “PowerShares QQQ Challenge” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

Thursday, April 16: Austin, Texas (Cedar Park Center) “Champions Shootout” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

Friday, April 17: Little Rock, Ark. (Jack Stephens Center at the UALR) “Champions Cup” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

Saturday, April 18: Dallas, Texas (Moody Coliseum at SMU) “Champions Showdown” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

Wednesday, April 22: Boston, Mass. (Agganis Arena at Boston University) “Champions Cup” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

Thursday, April 23: Richmond, Va., (Siegel Center at VCU) “Champions Challenge” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

Wednesday, April 29: Minneapolis, Minn. (Target Center) “Champions Shootout” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Michael Chang, James Blake

Thursday, April 30: Cincinnati, Ohio (Cintas Center at Xavier) “Champions Showdown” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Michael Chang, James Blake

Saturday, May 2: Vancouver, Canada (Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre at UBC) “Champions Showdown” featuring Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Michael Chang, Mark Philippoussis

 

In 2014, John McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Champions Series tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte. McEnroe was followed in the points standings by Blake in second place and Roddick in third place.

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John McEnroe, James Blake, Andy Roddick, and Jim Courier To Compete in Legends Event at Connecticut Open

John McEnroe
(Feb. 26, 2015) NEW HAVEN, Conn. – John McEnroe, James Blake, Andy Roddick, and Jim Courier, four of the best American tennis players of all time, will compete in the Legends Event at the 2015 Connecticut Open, to be held August 21-29, at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale, it was announced today by Anne Worcester, tournament director.
For the second year, the tournament will bring together some of the game’s most well-known and talented legends for two entertaining evenings of tennis. On Thursday, August 27, Blake will play Roddick, and on Friday, August 28, McEnroe will battle Courier. Both matches will be the second match of the evening session, following the WTA quarterfinal and semifinal match, respectively. The Legends match will be best of three sets, with a super tiebreak for the third set.
McEnroe, a seven-time Grand Slam singles and nine-time Grand Slam doubles Champion, will be returning to New Haven for the first time since 1992. One of the most talented players in history, he accumulated more than 150 singles and doubles championships in his career, and in 1984, had one of the greatest seasons in the history of tennis winning two majors (Wimbledon, US Open), 13 of 15 singles tournaments, and compiled an 82-3 record for the year, which still stands as the best year-long winning percentage on the ATP World Tour. McEnroe was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1999.
“I look forward to competing against Jim Courier in New Haven later this year.  Both Jim and I will be prepared to give our very best to make sure the fans get their money’s worth.  New Haven has a rich tennis history so it will be good to be a part of the Connecticut Open.”
Blake, a two-time Connecticut Open Champion with 10 singles tournaments and seven doubles titles to his name, Roddick, a former World No. 1 player and US Open Champion, and Courier, a former World No. 1 and four-time Grand Slam Champion, entertained the crowds over two nights in 2014, and the event drew rave reviews from fans.
“Our 2014 Legends Event was a huge success for the Connecticut Open, and we are expecting the 2015 event to be even better this year with the addition of legendary John McEnroe,” said Worcester. “James Blake, Andy Roddick and Jim Courier will again showcase how mixing humor, fun and great tennis can create a dynamic evening that enhances the overall fan experience at the tournament.”
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Draws Announced For 12-City PowerShares Series Tennis Events In 2015

AgassiSamprasPostMatch

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 23, 2015 – InsideOut Sports & Entertainment today announced
the draws for its 2015 PowerShares Series champions tennis circuit. The
PowerShares Series, the North American tennis circuit for champion tennis
players, will visit 12 cities in 2015 starting March 24 in Salt Lake City, Utah
and concluding Saturday, May 2 in Vancouver, Canada. Players competing on the
2015 PowerShares Series are John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim
Courier, Andy Roddick, Michael Chang, James Blake and Mark Philippoussis.

Each one-night event will feature two one-set semifinal matches, followed by a
one–set championship match. For more information: www.PowerSharesSeries.com.

The full 2015 PowerShares Series schedule with event match-ups are as follows:

Tuesday, March 24: Salt Lake City, Utah (Huntsman Center) “Champions Shootout”
James Blake vs. Mark Philippoussis, Andre Agassi vs. Jim Courier

Wednesday, March 25: Los Angeles, Calif., (Galen Center at USC) “SoCal Honda
Dealers Helpful Cup”
Pete Sampras vs. Jim Courier, Andy Roddick vs. James Blake

Wednesday, April 1: Lincoln, Neb., (Pinnacle Bank Arena at Univ. of Nebraska)
“Champions Cup Presented by Woods Park Tennis”
Andy Roddick vs. Jim Courier, James Blake vs. John McEnroe

Thursday, April 2: Chicago, Ill. (Sears Centre) “PowerShares QQQ Challenge”
John McEnroe vs. Jim Courier, Andy Roddick vs. James Blake

Thursday, April 16: Austin, Texas (Cedar Park Center) “Champions Shootout”
John McEnroe vs. Jim Courier, Andy Roddick vs. James Blake

Friday, April 17: Little Rock, Ark. (Jack Stephens Center at the UALR)
“Champions Cup”
Andy Roddick vs. Jim Courier, John McEnroe vs. Mark Philippoussis

Saturday, April 18: Dallas, Texas (Moody Coliseum at SMU) “Champions Showdown”
John McEnroe vs. Jim Courier, Andy Roddick vs. Mark Philippoussis

Wednesday, April 22: Boston, Mass. (Agganis Arena at Boston University)
“Champions Cup”
John McEnroe vs. Jim Courier, Andy Roddick vs. James Blake

Thursday, April 23: Richmond, Va., (Siegel Center at VCU) “Champions Challenge”
Jim Courier vs. Andy Roddick, John McEnroe vs. James Blake

Wednesday, April 29: Minneapolis, Minn. (Target Center) “Champions Shootout”
John McEnroe vs. James Blake, Andy Roddick vs. Michael Chang

Thursday, April 30: Cincinnati, Ohio (Cintas Center at Xavier) “Champions
Showdown”
Andy Roddick vs. James Blake, John McEnroe vs. Michael Chang

Saturday, May 2: Vancouver, Canada (Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre at
UBC) “Champions Showdown”
Michael Chang vs. Mark Philippoussis, Pete Sampras vs. John McEnroe

In 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year
history of Champions Series tennis by winning events in Kansas City,
Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte. McEnroe was followed in the points
standings by Blake in second place and Roddick in third place.

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2015 PowerShares Series Schedule Announced: Tour to Feature Roddick, Agassi and Sampras

powershares

(December 9, 2014) NEW YORK, NY  – The 2015 PowerShares Series tennis circuit announced the dates, venues and fields that will feature 2014 tour champion John McEnroe defending his crown versus a group of legends led by Andy Roddick, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Jim Courier. InsideOut Sports & Entertainment, a division of Horizon Media, made the announcement on Tuesday.

The North American tennis circuit for champion tennis players will visit 12 cities in 2015, kicking off on Tuesday, March 24, 2015 in Salt Lake City and concluding Saturday, May 2 in Vancouver. Players competing on the 2015 circuit are McEnroe, Roddick, Agassi, Sampras, Courier, James Blake, Michael Chang and Mark Philippoussis. Each one-night event will feature two one-set semifinal matches, followed by a one-set championship match.

“We are excited once again to present the PowerShares Series and bring this entertaining brand of tennis to many new markets,” said Jon Venison, Partner at InsideOut Sports & Entertainment. “It was quite something to see John McEnroe win the PowerShares Series points title last year against his much younger competition, but I know the younger generation, led by Andy Roddick and James Blake, will want to steal his thunder in the upcoming season.”

The full 2015 PowerShares Series schedule with field of players is as follows:

Tuesday, March 24: Salt Lake City, Utah (Huntsman Center at the University of Utah) “Champions Shootout” featuring Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, James Blake, Mark Philippoussis

Wednesday, March 25: Los Angeles, Calif., (Galen Center at USC) “SoCal Honda Dealers Helpful Cup” featuring Pete Sampras, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

Wednesday, April 1: Lincoln, Neb., (Pinnacle Bank Arena at University of Nebraska) “Champions Cup Presented by Woods Park Tennis” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

Thursday, April 2: Chicago, Ill. (Sears Centre) “PowerShares QQQ Challenge” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

Thursday, April 16: Austin, Texas (Cedar Park Center) “Champions Shootout” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

Friday, April 17: Little Rock, Ark. (Jack Stephens Center at the UALR) “Champions Cup” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

Saturday, April 18: Dallas, Texas (Moody Coliseum at SMU) “Champions Showdown” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

Wednesday, April 22: Boston, Mass. (Agganis Arena at Boston University) “Champions Cup” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

Thursday, April 23: Richmond, Va., (Siegel Center at VCU) “Champions Challenge” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake

Wednesday, April 29: Minneapolis, Minn. (Target Center) “Champions Shootout” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Michael Chang, James Blake

Thursday, April 30: Cincinnati, Ohio (Cintas Center at Xavier) “Champions Showdown” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Michael Chang, James Blake

Saturday, May 2: Vancouver, Canada (Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre at UBC) “Champions Showdown” featuring Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Michael Chang, Mark Philippoussis

 

In 2014, McEnroe won the points title for the first time in the nine-year history of Champions Series tennis by winning events in Kansas City, Indianapolis, Nashville and Charlotte. McEnroe was followed in the points standings by Blake in second place and Roddick in third place.

For more information on the series- www.PowerSharesSeries.com.

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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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