2014/07/29

Tennis Legends Gather At ‘No. 1 Celebration’ To Commemorate 40 Years Of Emirates ATP Rankings

 

From the ATP World Tour – AUGUST 24, 2013 -NEW YORK — ATP World Tour No. 1s past and present gathered to mark the 40th anniversary of the Emirates ATP Rankings at the ‘No. 1 Celebration’, Friday night at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

Ilie Nastase, who became the first ATP World No. 1 on 23 August 1973, was present to be honoured on the night, along with successors John Newcombe, Jimmy Connors, Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg, Jim Courier, Marcelo Rios, Carlos Moya, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Gustavo Kuerten, Lleyton Hewitt, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Andy Roddick, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

The legends each took part in an on-stage Q&A with Justin Gimelstob and Guy Forget, sharing their experiences of reaching the summit of world tennis, before posing for a group photo with the ATP World Tour No. 1 trophy. Each year-end No. 1 received an engraved replica of the trophy.

No. 1 Celebration  Nadal, Federer

“It’s definitely an ultimate goal for any athlete, not just tennis players,” said current World No. 1 Djokovic. “Growing up, in early childhood, you are inspired to show that love and appreciation and passion towards the sport, and of course there is this big drive – waking up every morning, working so hard, developing skills to be No. 1 in the world. Not many players have achieved that and to sit with fellow champions, it’s an incredible feeling… I’m really honoured to be here.”

Watch Highlights Of No. 1 Celebration

Federer, who held the No. 1 ranking for a record 302 weeks, spoke about sharing the stage with the players who inspired him. “It was very important for me to have someone to look up to. Stefan was one of them, so it’s nice to see you here tonight and all the others players… We’ve put such huge effort in the game, and that’s a platform we can enjoy today. So it’s unbelievable. Thanks for being an inspiration Stefan, all of you here today.”

On a lighter note, a self-deprecating Roddick said, “It is an honour to be the worst player in the room.” Fellow American Courier added, “It’s a great honour to be here among friends. I dreamed of being in this arena, and to be part of this group is mind-blowing.”

Year-End No. 1s  McEnroe, Djokovic

The evening, part of the broader ATP Heritage programme, also included a tribute to former ATP Executive Chairman and President Brad Drewett, who passed away in May following a battle with Motor Neurone Disease. Drewett founded the ATP Heritage programme earlier this year.

“Brad cherished the history of the ATP and men’s professional tennis in general,” said Mark Young, CEO ATP Americas. “Tonight’s celebration is a reflection of that. It was his vision to see all the No. 1 players gathered together as we honoured their achievements.”

The ATP Heritage programme, with the support of its founding partner Rolex, will continue to serve as a platform to celebrate the rich history of the ATP and the remarkable achievements of the world’s greatest players throughout history.

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Andy Roddick Joins TravisMathew Team as Brand Ambassador

 

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA – July 1, 2013 -TravisMathew has announced that former world No. 1 tennis player Andy Roddick has joined as an investor and brand ambassador for the athletic and lifestyle apparel company.

 

www.travismathew.com/pg/roddick

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Venus Williams and Andy Roddick Become Part Owners of World TeamTennis

Mylan_WTT_FINAL_TM_1

 

NEW YORK, N.Y. (May 6, 2013) -  World TeamTennis announced today that tennis champions and global sports icons Venus Williams and Andy Roddick have become part owners of the business and of the professional team tennis league co-founded by Billie Jean King.

Both longtime Mylan WTT players, Williams and Roddick will help lead the organization forward and have an active voice in shaping its direction and expansion roadmap in both U.S. and international markets in the coming years. As global ambassadors for sport, the pair will have an important role in broadening visibility for World TeamTennis internationally, while helping attract new business partners and players to become part of the league. In addition, they will continue to compete in Mylan WTT, with Roddick taking the court for the Springfield Lasers and Williams returning to the Washington Kastles.

Billie Jean King, the majority owner of World TeamTennis, said, “I’m thrilled to have Venus and Andy become part of our leadership. They have always been more than amazing athletes – they are champions in life who have inspired so many and who I’m sure will bring an exciting perspective and valuable ideas to how we expand WTT both domestically and internationally.”

Williams’ connection to Mylan WTT goes back more than 20 years when she and her sister Serena attended a World TeamTennis youth clinic in Long Beach, Calif., when they were young children and met King. It was a moment that Williams never forgot and has spurred her to consistently play Mylan WTT throughout the years for both the competition and the opportunity to give back. Williams also played a pivotal role in getting equal prize money at the four majors and has been active in a number of charitable efforts.

Commenting on her new commitment to WTT, Venus Williams said, “I am very excited to join the ownership group for the organization that Billie Jean co-founded almost 40 years ago and for which I have played for over a decade. It’s no secret that she has been a great mentor and inspiration to me and this new ownership role is an opportunity to give back while also having an active hand in shaping the future direction of the league in a much more substantial way. WTT is on a great path and I’m looking forward to what’s to come.”

Roddick has been a longtime supporter of Mylan WTT, dating back to his start on the professional tour at age 17. He returns for his 7th season this July, his first with the Springfield Lasers. Roddick has also participated for most of the past decade in Mylan WTT Smash Hits, the annual charity event co-hosted by Sir Elton John and King. Roddick has raised millions through the Andy Roddick Foundation (ARF) to develop and inspire underserved youth through education and sports-based mentoring.

Andy Roddick said, “I’ve always been a big supporter of Billie Jean’s and of WTT over the years. In my time playing in the league, I’ve seen firsthand not only the way it engages fans, but also what I see is a big opportunity to bring this type of competition to a broader audience in innovative new ways. I’m excited to have a seat at the table in helping guide where we take the league next.”

King concluded, “Venus and Andy also understand the connection that Mylan WTT teams make with local communities and can inspire so many young children to take up the sport and dream of one day playing for their hometown team.”

This announcement follows on a number of important developments with WTT in recent months including a new multi-year title sponsorship with Mylan Pharmaceuticals and multi-year renewals with GEICO as presenting sponsor and Wilson as the official tennis brand of Mylan World TeamTennis, and the addition of a new sponsorship partner, Adecco. Earlier this year, WTT added a presence in another major U.S. market with the relocation of a franchise to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex where the Texas Wild will make their Mylan WTT debut this July in Irving, Texas.

The 2013 season will start out with an opportunity to make sports history as the defending Mylan WTT champion Washington Kastles, led by Venus Williams, put their 32-match win streak on the line on July 8 in Washington, D.C. The Kastles are only one win away from tying the major U.S. pro sports team record of 33 wins by the NBA’s 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.

The 2013 season of Mylan World TeamTennis presented by GEICO runs July 7-28 in eight U.S. markets. The regular season is July 7-24 with the top two teams from both the Western and Eastern Conference advancing to the 2013 Mylan WTT Conference Championships on Thursday, July 25. The 2013 Mylan WTT Finals will be contested on Sunday, July 28, on the home court of the Eastern Conference Champions.

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McEnroe To Return To Sportimes for 2013 WTT Season

NEW YORK, March 11, 2013 – Five home dates at SEFCU Arena in Albany, N.Y., and two at Sportime Stadium at Randall’s Island, Manhattan, highlight the New York Sportimes 2013 Mylan WTT Pro League match schedule, league and team officials announced today. Team captain and Tennis Hall of Famer John McEnroe will compete in three matches for the Sportimes, including one each in Albany and at Randall’s Island. U.S. Open Champion, Andy Roddick is added to the premier players that will compete against the Sportimes at Albany’s SEFCU arena.

The regular season runs July 7-24, with conference championships scheduled for Thursday, July 25, and concludes with the Mylan WTT Finals presented by GEICO, on Sunday, July 28.

The five home dates in Albany are Thursday, July 9 vs. Springfield (featuring Andy Roddick); Friday, July 12 vs Philadelphia; Monday, July 15 vs. Philadelphia (featuring Sloane Stephens); Tuesday, July 16 vs. Boston; and Thursday, July 18 vs. Orange County (featuring McEnroe for the Sportimes). The two Randall’s Island matches are scheduled for Monday, July 22 vs. Texas and Tuesday, July 23 vs. Washington. McEnroe will be playing at Randall’s Island on one of those nights, which will be a special night to raise funds for the Johnny Mac Tennis Project. Additional special guests are expected to be announced along with the final date for McEnroe’s NYC appearance in the coming days.

The Sportimes will also play seven road matches during the season. McEnroe is scheduled to compete at Philadelphia on July 24. The Sportimes will complete their player lineup when the Mylan WTT Roster Draft is held March 12 in Indian Wells, Calif. In 2012, the Sportimes had another outstanding 2012 Mylan WTT season, qualifying for the playoffs by finishing second in the Eastern Conference.

The Sportimes’ 2013 partners include Adecco, DecoTurf, Geico, Mylan, USTA, Wilson, Price Chopper, Times Union, GE, UB Group, Northeast Orthopaedics, Copeland, Albany ENT, Clearly Yours, 15-Love, Ophthalmic Con., NAI Platform, USTA Northern, University of Albany Foundation, Albany Massage, Hilton Garden Inn and Lang Media.

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Raonic Looks To Make History At This Year’s Final SAP Open

 

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic

By Kevin Ware

(February 12, 2013) SAN JOSE, California -This is a bittersweet moment as I prepare my preview for this year’s SAP Open.  The SAP Open, the second-oldest tournament in the US, is ending its’ illustrious run with this final week at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA.  Many great and legendary players have hoisted the trophy through its’ various names and incarnations.  But whether it was the Siebel Open, the Sybase Open, or whatever, it didn’t matter to those of us in the Bay Area who were grateful for a chance to see world-class tennis. This tournament will be greatly missed!

This year’s edition promises one final hurrah with a great field and the addition of a mixed doubles exhibition match on Saturday, featuring longtime SAP Open stalwart Andy Roddick, 3-time Slam champion Lindsay Davenport, and 22-time Slam champion Stephanie “Steffi” Graf.  Defending champion Milos Raonic is also back to try for an historic SAP Open hat trick.  So even though this is the final SAP Open, it definitely promises to go out on a high.

Main draw action started Monday night with Xavier Malisse and Jesse Levine winning first-round matches. With qualifying rounds completed, the action starts in earnest on Tuesday with main draw matches for both singles and doubles.

Here is my breakdown of the quarters as I look for Raonic to make history for the tournament with his third straight title.

 

Milos Raonic [1]

The top quarter features top seeded Milos Raonic, who has a chance to pull off a rare “hat trick” win at this year’s SAP Open after title runs in 2011 and 2012.  How rare is it? No player has won three straight SAP Open titles since Tony Trabert accomplished the feat with wins in ’53, ’54, and ’55.  This includes greats like Ashe, McEnroe, Sampras, Agassi, and Roddick. a win in this final SAP Open would certainly put Milos at par with this very select group of players.

Milos likes the conditions in San Jose, and has played some of his best tennis on this center court over the past couple of years.  His serve has been off the charts, both in terms of pace and placement, and his ground game has been damaging off both his forehand and backhand wings. There isn’t much that’s likely to stop his march to the semifinals; not even a potential quarterfinal rematch against his 2012 finalist, Denis Istomin.

Sam Querrey [3]

The second quarter features Davis Cup hero, Sam Querrey.  It would be easy to peg Querrey as the favorite to make his way through to the semifinals, but he will have his hands full with his most likely second-round challenger, former champion Lleyton Hewitt.  While Hewitt has a first-round encounter with Blaz Kavcic to help him settle into the tournament and get used to the conditions, Sam has a first-round bye.

Most players will tell you that there’s nothing trickier than playing an opponent who’s “into” the tournament when you’re still trying to get used to the conditions. And even if they haven’t played since 2009, Hewitt’s 2-0 head-to-head over Querrey doesn’t help matters much either.  But if Sam settles into the match quickly, he should be okay for the win. On the other hand, Hewitt’s success at this year’s Kooyong exhibition showed that he’s a legitimate contender in best two out of three matches with significant wins over Raonic, Tomas Berdych, and Juan Martin Del Potro.

After Hewitt, seventh seed Marinko Matosevic of AUS will likely be Querrey’s last hurdle for a spot in the semifinals.

Tommy Haas [4]

Speaking of best two out of three set matches, the combination of the format and the quicker indoor court gives the number four seed a decent shot at making the quarterfinals. Once he gets there, however, he’ll have a tough battle to get by Fernando Verdasco [5] for the third semifinal spot.

Tommy has a 2-1 head-to-head edge over Fernando on tour, but they haven’t played since 2009.  In many ways, it’s either player’s match to win or lose.  If Tommy’s body and game hold up, it could happen for him.  Fernando is no slouch, though.  He’s one of three former champions in the field (along with Raonic and Hewitt), and knows what it takes to win in San Jose.

Also, I’m sure Fernando would like a chance at redemption for the title he felt that he wrongly lost in the 2011 final after a fan’s yell on match point distracted him while returning Raonic’s serve.

John Isner [2]

In spite of recent knee issues that kept him from performing his best in Australia, Big John looks to be moving decently and serving at close to his best level.  He lost a five set heartbreaker to Thomaz Bellucci in Davis Cup, but should be okay in San Jose even though he hasn’t played there since 2009.

With a 2-2 head-to-head record, veteran player Xavier Malisse might cause Isner some issues in their probable quarterfinal match-up.  But I’d be hard-pressed to see him not make it through to Saturday’s semifinals.

Semifinal Picks

Milos Raonic [1] versus Sam Querrey [3]

Head-to-head: Querrey leads 2-0

Querrey might have the advantage in the head-to-head numbers, but Milos has owned this court for the past two years.  In a battle of evenly-matched big guys with big serves and big groundstrokes, I have to give the edge to the guy who has won back-to-back titles in the past two years.

Raonic in straight sets.

Tommy Haas [4] versus John Isner [2]

Head-to-head: Isner leads 3-1

Make that 4-1 after this semifinal battle.  Isner has way too much firepower for Haas.  He will make the big guy work for it with smart shot-making, but it won’t be enough to counter Isner’s untouchable serve unless Tommy has a great returning day.

Isner in straight sets.

Final Picks

Milos Raonic [1] versus John Isner [2]

Head-to-head: Isner leads 1-0

They’ve played only once before on a Canadian hard court in last year’s Rogers Cup, with Isner winning a close 7-6(9), 6-4 match.  Serve dominated the stats, as one would expect.  But while Raonic served more aces than Isner, Isner won 91% of his first serves as compared to 78% for Raonic.  In a close match that can make all the difference.

I expect this match to go the distance, with the winner being determined by the same factors i.e. winning serve percentages.  If John keeps his percentages high, he’s got a good shot at thwarting the Raonic three-peat.  If not, Raonic has a “slightly” better ground game on which to fall back than Isner.

For all practical purposes, it’s anyone’s guess who will come out on top.  For history’s sake at this last SAP Open, I’ll go with Raonic for the three-peat.

Raonic in three sets.

Kevin Ware is in San Jose covering the SAP Open as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his live updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.  Follow his personal twitter @SFTennisFreak.

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Oz and Ends – Day One at the 2013 Australian Open

Melbourne park grounds

Oz and ends  and bits of news from the Australian Open for January 14, 2013

 

Bagels and breadsticks

Maria Sharapova won her first match of the Australian Open 6-0, 6-0 in 55 minutes over fellow Russian Olga Puchkova. It was her third career “double bagel” in a major tournament. She only needs a double bagel at Wimbledon to complete a “double bagel slam.”

Three women have completed the “double bagel slam” – they are Hall of Famers Chris Evert, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles.

Venus Williams added to the bagel set count with a 6-1, 6-0 demolishing of Kazakhstan’s Galina Voskoboeva.

 

Win streak continues

Agnieszka Radwanska has extended her 2013 win streak to 10 by defeating Australian wild card entry Bojana Bobusic of 7-5, 6-0 on Monday.
Twitter News

Maria Sharapova has officially joined twitterverse. Follow her at @MariaSharapova

[tweet https://twitter.com/MariaSharapova/status/290778598774829058]

 

Tweets of the day

 

 

Lucky Loser is a winner
Tim Smyczek is lucky loser was a winner on Monday with a 6-4, 7-6, 7-5 victory over Ivo Karlovic. The American it into the draw thanks to housemate John Isner who pulled out of the tournament with a right knee injury.

 

Tough day for Aussies

Matthew Ebden, Ashleigh Barty, Olivia Rogowska, Sasha Jones,  John Millman, Lleyton, Hewitt and Casey Dellacqua all exited on day one of Australian Open. Sam Stosur was the only victorious Australian on Monday.

 

Two seeds falls

The 11th seed Juan Monaco was the only seeded played not to win on Monday. The Argentine who withdrew from last week’s Kooyong Classic exhibition tournament with a hand injury was clearly stuggling clearly struggling on the court in his straight set loss to Alex Kuznentsov, was applauded by spectators for not retiring from the match.

Monaco told Reuters: “My leg tightened up at the start of the second set and it was very tough for me,” pointing to his right leg.

On the women’s side Ksenia Pervak  stopped 32nd seed Mona Barthel 7-5, 2-6, 6-4.

Federer out of Davis Cup

Roger Federer will not participate in Switzerland’s first round Davis Cup tie versus the reigning champions, the Czech Republic

 

Five set marathons

[22] Fernando Verdasco def. David Goffin 6-3, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
[10] Nicolas Almagro def Steve Johnson 7-5, 6-7, 6-2, 6-7, 6-2
Edouard Rogers-Vasselin def. Ruben Bemelmans 6-3, 6-7, 2-6, 7-5, 11-9
Daniel Gimeno-Traver def. Lukasz Kubot 6-7, 6-4, 6-0, 4-6, 6-4
[23] Mikhail Youzhny def. Matt Ebden 4-6, 6-7, 6-2, 7-6, 6-3
[28] Marcos Baghdatis def. Albert Ramos 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
Roberto Bautista Agut def. Fabio Fognini 6-0, 2-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
[31] Radek Stepanek def. Viktor Troicki 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 7-5;
Brian Baker def. Alex Bogomolov 7-6, 6-3, 6-7, 3-6, 6-2.

 

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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Almagro Stops Roddick to Win Miami Tennis Cup Exhibition Tournament

(December 2, 2012) No. 11 Nicolas Almagro stopped the recently retired Andy Roddick 6-4, 7-5 on Sunday at the Miami Tennis Cup exhibition event held at Crandon Park, the home of the Sony Open.

The win marked the first time Almagro had never take a set off of Roddick. While Roddick was on the pro tour he was 2-0 versus the Spaniard going 4-0 in sets.

“I think it was a really good match, and he’s a very good player,” Almagro said. “I’m really happy with my game, although I think I can do better, but it’s the end of the season, and I’m a little bit tired. I’m happy to be the first champion of the Miami Tennis Cup and I think it’s a fun and enjoyable tournament. I hope to be back next year”

In between the hard-hitting rallies, the players mixed in some “hit and giggle” tennis which entertained the fans.

“I enjoy playing tennis still, and it was never about me not enjoying tennis,” Roddick said after the match. “It was about me not being able to commit to being a professional tennis player.”

“I enjoyed myself and it’s nice for me to come back in a competitive atmosphere. I’ve been happy with how I played and I’m glad they had me here. I think the crowd have enjoyed the tennis they’ve seen.”

So what’s next for the 30-year-old American? No training certainly for Roddick  but more golf. He’s back to full husband duties following his wife model-actress Brooklyn Decker around.

“The tables have turned.”

 

© MiamiTennisNews.com

 

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Roddick Stuns Murray, Almagro Tops Isner in Miami Tennis Cup Semis

Andy Roddick

(December 1, 2012) Andy Roddick will face No 11 Nicolas Almagro in the final of the Miami Tennis Cup exhibition event on Sunday.

The recently retired Roddick dismantled No. 3 Andy Murray 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinals of the event while Almagro topped the hard-serving John Isner 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday at Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne, FL, home of the Sony Open.

“I think I felt a little bit more comfortable than him on the court,” Almagro said regarding Isner after the match.

Roddick dominated Murray from the start of the first set, as Murray seemed sluggish around the court, compared to a grunting and aggressive Roddick. Roddick won the majority of his first service points, which gave him a home-court advantage and Murray couldn’t seem to gain any type of lead with breaking Roddick’s serve. Roddick broke two of Murray’s service games in the first set to take a 6-2 lead. Despite Murray’s attempts to out-rally Roddick, the retired American gave fans a taste of his old baseline perseverance as he dug even deeper in to the second set to take it 6-3.

“If we had gone three sets I would’ve had a full body cramp and it would’ve been awkward for all of you,” said Roddick to the crowd during the match against Murray.

“There’s no comeback.

“Andy (Murray) was nice to me tonight.”

 

Roddick said that he’s happy in retirement but he still enjoys hitting tennis balls. He’s said that he’s put on four pounds, is playing a lot of golf and doesn’t miss the travel.

“I haven’t lost any of the innocent parts of tennis,” Roddick said. “I just do it in front of less people.”

Nicolas Almagro

Roddick leads Almagro 2-0 in career meetings as a pro, with both wins coming on hard courts – one on them on the courts of Crandon Park in the 2010.

 

(MiamiTennisNews.com contributed to this report)

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Isner and Almagro Win on Day One of Miami Tennis Cup

John Isner

(November 30, 2012) Miami, FL – Attendance grew on stadium court at Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne, FL. on Friday evening, as tennis enthusiasts flocked to see some of the world’s best players perform during the night session on day one of the Miami Tennis Cup.

Alejadro Falla, Colombia’s top-ranked player, took to the court against Spain’s Nicolás Almagro, ranked No. 11 in the world. The first set was closer than expected, as Falla put up a hard fought battle from the baseline, after conceding the first set 6-4, lasting well over an hour. His first set spirit diminished during the second set that lasted only 35 minutes, as Almagro demonstrated why he was eleventh in the world, winning 6-1.

“It was tough because every match against Alejandro is complicated,” said Almagro about the left-handed Falla. “I’m quite happy with how I’m playing at the moment and I’m glad to be in the warmth of Miami for the first year of the Miami Tennis Cup. Hopefully the crowds were treated to an enjoyable game.”

Shortly after the tournament’s opening match, the top-ranked American, John Isner, squared away against the former number one player from Spain, Juan Carlos Ferrero. Fans were treated to a thrilling first set that reached a tie-break, that was easily won by Isner 7-2. The second set was a close fought battle, but Isner stepped-up his game to take the second set 6-3.

“I’ve a pleasing 2012, and this is a nice way to round off the year,” said Isner during his post-match press conference. “I’m happy to be competing in the Miami Tennis Cup. It’s a good crowd with some top players competing. I’m looking forward to seeing Andy Roddick play Andy Murray and hope to meet one of them in Sunday’s final.”

Day two of the Miami Tennis Cup will feature the tournament’s headline match between the retired Andy Roddick and the reigning U.S Open and Olympic Champion, Andy Murray, currently ranked number three in the world. The match on Stadium Court starts at 5:00pm and is expected to draw a capacity crowd.

Photos courtesy of Miami Tennis Cup and Getty Images.

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ESPN3 To Broadcast Miami Tennis Cup Featuring Murray and Roddick

(November 27, 2012) ESPN3 will broadcast live coverage of the inaugural Miami Tennis Cup with 12 hours of action Friday, November 30 through Sunday, December 2. Six players will participate in the exhibition tournament featuring recently retired Andy Roddick and reigning US Open champion Andy Murray, winner of the Olympic Gold Medal this summer.

 

The first day of action  will see John Inser, the top-ranked American, versus the recently retired Juan Carlos Ferrero and Nicolas Almagro against Alejandro Falla. The winners will meet Roddick and Murray on the second night with that night’s winners meeting for the championship on Sunday.  The event will take place at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne, home of  the Sony Open.

 

ESPN3.com Schedule

 

Date Time (ET) Event Network
Fri, Nov 30 7 – 11 p.m. Miami Tennis Cup ESPN3
Sat, Dec 1 5 – 9 p.m. Miami Tennis Cup ESPN3
Sun, Dec 2 5 – 9 p.m. Miami Tennis Cup ESPN3

 

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