2014/08/01

Update: Four Found Dead in a Fire at a Home Owned by Former Tennis Pro James Blake

WTSP

Photo from WTSP.com

(May 7, 2014) A fire broke out in a home owned by James Blake, north of downtown Tampa, Florida. The fire was reported at 6 a.m. Firefighters found four bodies in the burning mansion owned by the former world No. 4 player. Blake does not live in the house as he rents it out.

 

WTSP Tampa, Florida reports:

Tampa, Florida — Four bodies have been found inside the large, million-dollar Tampa home that went up in flames Wednesday morning.

During a 5:30 p.m. press conference Wednesday, Col. Donna Lusczynski of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said it took firefighters several hours to extinguish the fire as hot spots continued to pop up and the blaze kept restarting. Investigators were able to finally gain access to the inside of the mansion around 3 p.m.

Once inside, authorities found the bodies of two adults and two teenage children in their respective bedrooms. While investigators confirmed the home was being rented out by the Campbell family, they say a positive identification of the bodies would not be available for several days. Lusczynski did say, however, that the family is unaccounted for at this time.

SEE ALSO: Neighbors say family died in Tampa house fire

It was also revealed at the press conference that two of the victims suffered upper body trauma, but the extent of those injuries and how they were caused is not yet known. No weapons were located as of now inside the home.

Lusczynski went on to say that the fire was started intentionally by an accelerant that has not been identified at this time. Also, various commercial fireworks were found inside which is what the loud explosions likely were that neighbors reported hearing during the blaze. She also said investigators are considering murder-suicide as a possibility as to what happened and that no one else in the community is believed to be in any danger.

Investigators are expected to be out at the scene for days trying to collect evidence.

10 News’ search of property records confirm former tennis player James Blake owns the 5,856 square-foot mansion at 16223 Sierra de Avila, inside the exclusive Avila Golf and Country Club.

We were able to reach a contact with the James Blake Foundation, who says Blake was not inside the house when the fire broke out. He had been renting the home to someone else.

Blake is a former professional tennis player, who at one point was the #1-ranked American in the world. Blake retired last year.

 

 

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James Blake on a Roll as the Champions Shootout Comes to Sacramento

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

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

By Kevin Ware

(February 26, 2014) World-class men’s tennis returns to Northern California tonight with the Champions Shootout: the next stop on the PowerShares Series 12-city tour.  Featuring a roster of tennis icons and legends, the PowerShares Series combines the best of competitive tennis and fan appreciation in a condensed format that’s fun for both the players and fans alike.

The last PowerShares visit to the Bay Area saw Jim Courier, John McEnroe, Andre Agassi, and Todd Martin battling it out for supremacy (and rankings points) in San Jose. This time around, Sacramento is the battleground. And stalwarts Courier and McEnroe are joined by Pete Sampras and series newcomer, James Blake.

McEnroe currently leads the rankings, followed by Courier and PowerShares newcomer Andy Roddick. Blake, however, is quietly making a run for the top spot after picking up his first PowerShares title with a 7-6 (5) win over McEnroe in Salt Lake City.

It’s hard to believe that Blake only just retired from the pro ranks this past fall at the ripe old age of 28. Hard to believe, maybe, but understandable given the toll that injuries have taken on his body over the years.

After struggling in qualifying rounds through most of the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Blake made his official retirement announcement at the 2013 US Open, after a first-round loss to Ivo Karlovic.

With pro tennis seemingly behind him, Blake looked ready finally enjoy some quality time with his wife and young daughter. But the lure of competition proved too strong, so five months later he’s back on the courts: hitting blistering forehands as though he never left, and having a good time with his old friends.

Blake’s first outing in Denver ended in a finals loss to Andre Agassi. His second was another finals loss to his good buddy Roddick in Houston. The third time definitely proved to be the charm, however, with his win in Salt Lake City. At this rate, McEnroe had better watch his back in Sacramento!

The Champions Shootout begins at 3PM with a special “Play with the Pros” on-court hitting session with Sampras and Blake, followed by a second session featuring McEnroe and Courier at 4PM. Semifinal match play begins at 6PM, with the winners advancing to the finals immediately afterward.

Kevin Ware is in Sacramento covering the Powershares event, The Champions Shootout as media for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his live updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN.  Follow his personal twitter @SFTennisFreak.

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Andre Agassi Beats James Blake To Win PowerShares Series Title In Houston

Agassi powershares

(February 21, 2014) HOUSTON –- Andre Agassi and James Blake played one of the most memorable U.S.
Open matches of all time in 2005, Agassi coming back from two-sets-to-love down
to win in a fifth-set tiebreaker in an epic quarterfinal. On Thursday night at
the Toyota Center, Agassi and Blake faced each other for the first time since
that U.S. Open classic, producing some familiar refrains from their defining
confrontation, albeit with considerably less tension, as Agassi again emerged
victorious 6-4 in the one-set championship match at the Camden Wealth Advisors
Cup, the sixth event on the 2014 PowerShares Series tennis circuit.

Agassi, playing in his first PowerShares Series tournament of the year, won a
furiously-fought final game of the match, breaking Blake’s serve in a 12-deuce
game and clinching the victory on his sixth match point. On Agassi’s first match
point, he stepped around a forehand return of serve and went for a winner
up-the-line, the exact shot he took on the ad-side of the court when up 7-6 in
the fifth-set tie-breaker from their famous 2005 match. While Agassi’s forehand
landed on the line for a winner to close out his win in 2005, his first attempt
Thursday landed in the net, causing Blake to shout to Agassi “Why didn’t you do
that at the Open!”

Agassi tried the exact same shot on his second match point two points later,
missing it wide. After he missed one other forehand return-of-serve on a match
point, Agassi finally closed out the win 18 points later when Blake netted a
forehand. The win was Agassi’s sixth of his career on the PowerShares Series,
the U.S. tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30.

Following the win, Agassi explained to reporters his motivations for continuing
to play competitive tennis on the PowerShares Series, that features one-night
events with two one-set semifinals and a one-set championship match over a
six-week season.

“I like not having as much drama and being able to take it in and enjoy it,”
Agassi said. “I like the format because it allows you to balance your life but
come out for one good go and sort of not worry about the training and the
how-far-can-I-push-myself kind of thing. It’s a nice contained evening and being
around the guys who you fought with for decades.”

In the semifinals earlier in the night, Agassi beat Jim Courier 6-4. Blake beat
Andy Roddick 6-3 in the other semifinal, avenging his loss the previous evening
in the tournament final in Denver.

With the tournament win, Agassi earned 400 points in the PowerShares Series
rankings. John McEnroe leads the rankings with 1200 points followed by Courier
with 900 points and Roddick with 500 points. Agassi sits in a tie for fourth
place with 400 points with Blake, who earned 200 points with a runner-up showing
for the second straight night. Michael Chang, Ivan Lendl and Mark Philippoussis
each have 300 points to rank in a three-way tie for sixth place.

The PowerShares Series continues Tuesday, February 25 in Salt Lake City when
Pete Sampras makes his 2014 PowerShares Series debut, joining Blake, Courier and
John McEnroe in the field.

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

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

et capitalization.

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Andy Roddick Beats James Blake For PowerShares Series Title In Denver

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

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


(February 19, 2014) Andy Roddick and James Blake, stalwarts on the U.S. Davis Cup team for 
a decade, reunited Wednesday as rookies on the 2014 PowerShares Series circuit 
competing in the “Champions Showdown” in the mile-high altitude of the Pepsi 
Center. However, both American tennis standouts were not on the same bench 
cheering for each other against the tennis teams of the rest of the world, but 
playing in a championship match on this tour for legend tennis players over the 
age of 30. Despite being a full year longer off the ATP World Tour than Blake, 
Roddick was able maintain his certain level of supremacy over Blake, beating the 
long-time U.S. Davis Cup No. 2 by a 6-3 margin in the one-set championship match 
in front of an appreciative Colorado crowd.

“It doesn’'t seem like a rivalry because he has always been by my side,” said 
Blake of Roddick after the final. “He’s been leading the pack for myself, Mardy 
Fish and Robby Ginepri. We both held up American tennis on our shoulders, but he 
was doing the heavy lifting, I was kind of drafting behind him. I was so proud 
to be a teammate with him on the Davis Cup team.”

The two charismatic Americans famously ended a 12-year Davis Cup drought for the 
United States in 2007, leading their country to the Davis Cup title in Portland, 
Oregon with a victory over Russia. In all, Blake and Roddick were teammates for 
15 U.S. Davis Cup ties from 2001 to 2009. Roddick ended his sure-to-be Hall of 
Fame career at the 2012 U.S. Open, while Blake followed suit exactly one year 
later at the same event last summer. The two joined the PowerShares Series 
circuit together for the first time this season – Wednesday marking Blake’s 
debut event while Roddick was baptized last week in winning the title in 
Birmingham, Alabama.

“It’s not really fair,” said Roddick before the final of playing Blake. “He’s 
still skinny. He’s been retired for like six weeks? I got a head start on 
retirement. He’s much skinner, athletic and good-looking” later adding that 
Blake, who studied for two years at Harvard before turning pro, was also “more 
educated.” 

With strong serving and benefiting from errors from Blake, Roddick raced out to 
a quick 3-0 lead in the final and held a break point to take a 4-0 lead before 
Blake settled into the match and held serve to get onto the scoreboard. With 
Roddick serving at 4-2, Blake was able to capitalize on a few untimely Roddick 
errors and became more aggressive on Roddick'’s second serve to break back. 
However, Blake missed four forehands in the next game to again drop serve before 
Roddick served out the match.

“The conditions were tough with the altitude,” said Roddick. “I think everyone 
had a little bit of trouble adjusting. There were some easy balls missed, maybe 
the ball was carrying a bit. It happens in baseball. It was definitely happening 
a bit out there too.”

In the semifinals, Roddick defeated Mark Philippoussis 6-3 in a battle of 
bruising serves played just six days after their meeting in Birmingham that 
gained notoriety for Philippoussis hitting Roddick in the groin directly with a 
serve. Video footage of the incident, seen here: http://m1e.net/c?117624096-JSxlYww6XwA7Y%4076384989-nV51/ng95zl/Q 
quickly became viral and ended up on the tail end of the monologue for famed 
comedian Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show” Tuesday night as seen here: 
http://m1e.net/c?117624096-Bp/Om9JLlTcsM%4076384990-bTR1M8cc0BYtY  Roddick was 
asked Wednesday in his pre-match interview with Tennis Channel’s Brett Haber if 
he was wearing body armor for his match with Philippoussis. Roddick laughed and 
said, “Playing Phlip, there is, apparently, a pretty good chance of getting hit 
in the schmeckle.”

Blake defeated current U.S. Davis Cup captain Jim Courier 6-3 in the other 
semifinal in the first professional meeting between the two American standouts.

With the tournament win, Roddick earned 400 points to tie Courier in the No. 2 
position in the PowerShares Series points races with 800 points. John McEnroe, 
who will return to the PowerShares Series next week in Salt Lake City, 
Sacramento and Portland, leads the rankings with 1200 points. Michael Chang, 
Ivan Lendl and Philippoussis each have 300 points to rank in a three-way tie for 
fourth place. Blake, who earned 200 points with his runner-up showing in Denver, 
sits in seventh place.

The PowerShares Series, the U.S. tennis circuit for legend tennis players over 
the age of 30, continues Thursday in Houston when Andre Agassi makes his 2014 
PowerShares Series debut, joining Blake, Roddick and Courier 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-zNR./DYCNPSYo%4076384991-hMi8wCUjvRXeI 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:

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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Courier Beats McEnroe To Pass PowerShares Series Test In Oklahoma City

Jim Courier

(February 6, 2014)OKLAHOMA CITY - Despite playing in Wimbledon, U.S., French and Australian Open 
finals, Jim Courier will tell you he also gets pre-match jitters before playing 
on the PowerShares Series tennis circuit.

Admitting to some first-event nervousness in Wednesday’s PowerShares Series 
opening event in Kansas City that ended in a semifinal loss to Michael Chang, 
Courier recalibrated Thursday in beating John McEnroe 6-2 in the one-set title 
match to win the Champions Cup at the Chesapeake Arena, home of the NBA’s 
Oklahoma City Thunder.

“It’s all about wanting to perform at your highest level,” Courier said of the 
source of his pre-match feeling of unease. “All of us suffer from anxiety about 
(playing at a top level) because this is a test out here. You have test anxiety 
when you go in. This is a pass-fail out here. There’s no ‘A’s or ‘B’s. It’s 
either pass or fail. I passed it tonight and I’m happy about that.”

Courier did not look himself in Wednesday’s 6-4 one-set semifinal loss to Chang, 
misfiring on his trademark inside-out forehand – while also playing without 
wearing his trademark baseball cap. On Thursday, Courier’s blistering 
groundstrokes – and his baseball cap – returned in avenging his loss to Chang 
6-2 in the semifinals before defeating McEnroe in the title match by the same 
score.

Against McEnroe, Courier lost only one point on his serve in his first three 
service games of the set and broke McEnroe to take a 4-2 lead. McEnroe, however, 
sensed the urgency of the service break and immediately pressured Courier in the 
following game, maneuvering himself to a break-point chance at 30-40, only to 
have Courier stifle it with a hard-hit first serve to McEnroe’s forehand wing 
that the left-handed was unable to control. Courier was able to hold serve and 
punctured the McEnroe serve once again in the next game, winning on his fourth 
match point opportunity.

“I was in really good rhythm with my serve and my forehand,” said Courier. 
“Those are the two keys for me. I like to hit my backhand with topspin, but on 
this court, playing John, he doesn’t give you much of a chance to. I’m digging 
the ball off my ankles. I need to be aggressive with the forehand to push him 
back off the net. Everyone can see what he can do once he is able to get the 
racquet on the ball up there.” 

McEnroe, at age 54, was looking to dominate the first two events on the 2014 
PowerShares Series, his 20th year of playing “champions” tournament tennis. In 
the semifinals earlier on Thursday against Ivan Lendl, McEnroe continued his 
recent near-mastery over his Czech-born rival winning for the fourth time in 
five career meetings on the PowerShares Series – and for the second time in two 
nights by an identical 6-4 scoreline. But despite the final-round loss, McEnroe 
sits atop the PowerShares Series points rankings after the first two events with 
600 points. Courier’s title places him in second place with 500 points, while 
Chang sits in third with 300 points.

The PowerShares Series, the U.S. tennis circuit for legend tennis players over 
the age of 30, continues Thursday, February 13 in Birmingham, Alabama when Andy 
Roddick makes his PowerShares Series debut and will be joined by McEnroe, 
Courier and Mark Philippoussis. 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-WxU4LiHCyytOE%4073478786-x0G4.jmTcc3.c 
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:

Thursday, February 13, Birmingham, Alabama, Birmingham-Jefferson Convention 
Complex - John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis

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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Ivan Lendl Holds Court with the Media on Powershares Series Tennis Conference Call

Ivan Lendl

(January 29, 2014) The following is the transcript of Wednesday’s PowerShares Series media conference call with Ivan Lendl to promote the 2014 PowerShares Series tennis tour.

RANDY WALKER: Thank you all for joining us today for our PowerShares Series
tennis conference call with Ivan Lendl. The PowerShares Series kicks off its
2014 season next Wednesday, February 5, in Kansas City, and will visit 12 cities
in all through March. Good tickets and terrific meet and greet and
play-with-the-pros on-court opportunities are still available, and you can get
more information on that at www.PowerSharesSeries.com

We want to thank Ivan for joining us today. He’s fresh off his trip to
Australia, where he was working with Andy Murray. Ivan’s playing career is
highlighted by three US Open titles, three French Open titles, and two
Australian Open titles. He reached 19 major singles finals in his career. Roger
Federer is the only man to play in more major singles finals, and Rafael Nadal
just tied him with his result in Australia. Ivan also won 94 singles titles in
his ATP career, which is 17 more than Federer and 33 more than Nadal.

Ivan will be playing in PowerShares Series events in Kansas City on February 5,
Oklahoma City on February 6, Indianapolis on February 14, Nashville, Tennessee,
on March 12, and Charlotte, North Carolina, on March 13.

In Kansas City, Oklahoma City and Indianapolis, Ivan is scheduled to face his
old rival John McEnroe in the semifinals, and with that I’ll ask Ivan to kick
off the call here, talk a little bit about his rivalry with John. You guys have
been jabbing at each other for 35 years now, and you’re going to be playing with
him in Kansas City, Oklahoma City, and he’s going to be your Valentine’s Day
date on February 14th in Indianapolis.

IVAN LENDL: Yeah, we have played quite a few times starting in juniors. I think
the first time we played was in Brazil in 1977. So it’s quite a long time we
have played, and played a lot of matches, so that should be fun.

Q. I wanted to ask a general question if I could just about your life. You come
from Czechoslovakia, had your fabulous on court career and a really great
success in business and now in coaching. Aside from your family, what’s the best
part of being Ivan Lendl these days?

IVAN LENDL: Well, I haven’t really thought about it much. I think staying busy
and having something to do, something I like to do is always good, whether it is
being in tennis and working with Andy or playing some, or playing some golf
tournaments in the summer. All of that is fun.

Q. And obviously we have this trend now with great legends, great veterans
working with different players. Some have worked, some have clicked, certainly
you and Andy, others not to be mentioned are less so. What do you think the key
is in the coach and pupil relationship on the ATP Tour?

IVAN LENDL: I think the key, especially with the older guys who have played
successfully, is that, number one, what can that player or that coach offer to a
practical player, and also chemistry.

Q. And what’s been the key to your chemistry with Andy? Do you think in some
ways you guys are quite similar?

IVAN LENDL: Well, we had the unfortunate part we shared that both of us lost a
few majors before we won the first one, and we understood each other with that
quite well. I could understand how he was feeling, how frustrating it is, and so
on and so on. Also I think sense of humor, and enjoyment of sports.

Q. People view you as a pretty serious character, but talk to us about your
sense of humor off court.

IVAN LENDL: I would hate to ruin my reputation.

Q. I had the pleasure of talking with your daughters last year for the
Southeastern Conference golf tournament

IVAN LENDL: Which one did you talk to?

Q. Daniella well, the one was at Alabama, the one was at Florida.

IVAN LENDL: Okay.

Q. Talk to me a little bit about your play of tennis and your play of golf. I
get the sense that one is business and one is a pleasure/love. Am I overstating
it too much?

IVAN LENDL: Well, it depends how you look at it. I enjoy both, obviously. If I
didn’t, I wouldn’t be doing it.

Q. I get the sense, though, that and obviously you are deeply into tennis, but
golf looks to be a real deep relationship that you’ve got with that particular
sport, something that you’ve really taken hold of and really held onto.

IVAN LENDL: Well, I enjoy competing, and once I stopped playing tennis, because
of my back I didn’t play for quite a while, I had really nowhere to compete, and
golf filled that part of my life very well, obviously on a much lower level than
when I played tennis, but I still do enjoy playing the senior state opens and
tournaments and so on.

Q. Do you see either of your daughters being able to make a run in golf like you
made in tennis?

IVAN LENDL: Well, I think it’s really up to them how much they want to do that
or whether they want to do it at all.

Q. Could you maybe discuss whether you feel like through the years McEnroe was
you had a lot of great rivalries, whether that was your number one rival, and
maybe just talk about how your relationship with him has maybe changed now that
you’re playing him in a different type setting.

IVAN LENDL: Well, I don’t know if he was my number one rival. We have played, I
believe, somewhere in the mid 30s, something like that, and I have played a lot
of matches with Connors. I have played quite a few matches with Wilander, Edberg
and Becker, as well. I think at one time, obviously, we were number one rivals,
and then I think it started shifting sort of mid ’80s to other guys, and Connors
was there at the same time as McEnroe, maybe a bit longer because after ’85 he
took some time off, didn’t play as much as before. I would say I had a lot of
rivalries with those guys.

Q. Has your relationship sort of changed with him now that you’re playing in a
different setting?

IVAN LENDL: Well, it’s obviously much less competitive than it has been when we
played in the US Open finals, but I think both of us still want to play well and
have fun with it.

Q. And just talk about this tournament coming to Indianapolis, the first stop
since the tour here, and I know that you

IVAN LENDL: Are you from Kansas City?

Q. No, from Indianapolis.

IVAN LENDL: Okay.

Q. And obviously I know you came here when it was clay and had a great match
with Becker when it was still clay and then back when it was hard courts. Talk
about your memories of playing there in Indianapolis.

IVAN LENDL: The first time I came in the summer to the United States,
Indianapolis was one of the places, and I could not believe how hot and humid it
was. It was quite a shock. I didn’t expect that. Obviously I didn’t know much
about it, otherwise I would have expected that. It was extremely hot. It was
extremely difficult to play in those conditions, and I was very proud when I was
able to overcome it and win there.

RANDY WALKER: Ivan and John played 36 times in their career on the ATP Tour.
Ivan led the series 21-15. Only Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal played more
times in the open era history of the ATP Tour. Novak and Rafael have played 39
times to Ivan and John’s 36 times. The No. 3 rivalry of all time in men’s tennis
in the open era was Ivan and Jimmy Connors. They played 35 times, and Ivan led
the series there 22-13. And then in PowerShares Series history, John leads the
series over Ivan 2-1.

Q. A lot of people say this is a little similar to the Champions Tour, or the
PGA Senior Tour. What’s the fun in this? You’re not as competitive as the old
days, but you obviously still want to win this match. What’s it like for a crowd
to witness one of these?

IVAN LENDL: Well, I don’t know, I’ve never been in the crowd, but I can tell you
what it feels like as the players. It’s always fun to see the guys. It’s fun to
interact with people more. It’s a bit lighter side of the players, but yet, as
you said, it’s still competitive that the guys want to play well.

Q. And along those lines, just the atmosphere. It’s a different setting, but it
sounds like it’s something that’s really picking up steam and a lot of people
are having fun with it and it’s gaining more and more momentum. How do you see
this moving forward the next five years or so?

IVAN LENDL: Well, wherever we have played, it’s usually very well received, and
I have played in Europe, I have played in Asia, I have played in Australia, I
have played obviously in the United States and Canada. It’s very well received
and people seem to enjoy it very much. As far as where it’s going to go in the
next five years, I don’t know. I’m not involved in the business part of it.

RANDY WALKER: You’re also playing in events in Nashville and Charlotte, and
those matches are going to be the exact semifinal rematches of the Super
Saturday at the US Open September 8, 1984, when you beat Pat Cash in a fifth set
tiebreaker and John McEnroe beat Jimmy Connors in a five-set semifinal. If you
could talk a little bit about that day; you hit a pretty good forehand topspin
lob down match point against Cash in the fifth set. Talk a little bit about that
match and that day and rekindling your match with Pat in Nashville and
Charlotte.

IVAN LENDL: Yeah, it was an extremely difficult day, obviously, when you play
five sets and you have finals of the US Open coming up the next day. But I think
it’s a special day in tennis. That Super Saturday was special for many, many
years. They went away from it either last year or a couple years ago. But I
always have nice memories of that, and I’m looking forward to recreating it as
long as I don’t have to play five sets.

RANDY WALKER: It’s one set semifinals and one set finals on the PowerShares
Series.

IVAN LENDL: We can start in the tiebreaker then.

Q. We are from New York, and we always see John, always practicing, and he takes
tennis very seriously. He has fun, but he’s still competitive. How do you train
for this PowerShares Series?

IVAN LENDL: Well, I do some conditioning. I try to do something every day for
conditioning, whether it is biking or rollerblading or do some weights and so
on. I play tennis about three times a week.

Q. Also something a little bit about Andy Murray because we spoke to Andy today,
and he’s going to be here in New York in Madison Square Garden. He said that you
had great things to say about New York. Do you remember when you played here at
Madison Square Garden?

IVAN LENDL: I always enjoyed it. I enjoyed playing at Flushing Meadows, I
enjoyed playing at Forest Hills, and I absolutely loved playing at Madison
Square Garden. All three places at that time, I had a home in Greenwich,
Connecticut, so I could stay home, which was always a big advantage, at least in
my mind, that you stay home and have home cooking and stay in your own bed. I
think the results showed how much I enjoyed it because when you feel comfortable
somewhere, you usually play pretty well.

Q. And also, again, about Andy, coming back from back surgery, he had a pretty
good run at the Australian Open. Were you guys somehow surprised how well he
played? Unfortunately he lost to Roger, but what’s your assessment on that?

IVAN LENDL: I think it was sort of realistic what he achieved at the Australian
Open. I think he was very close to doing better. I wish he had done better
because that match was the beginning of the fourth set; anything could have
happened after he served match point and Rocha was serving for the match, if
Andy got ahead in the fourth I think he had an excellent chance of winning, but
unfortunately he got behind.

Q. And with respect to you again, you have been a great champion, have so many
fans around the world and such a pleasure that you’re going to join the
PowerShares Series. How do you feel because it’s more relaxed in a way, but at
the same time it’s competitive. I’m sure there’s still the love for the game out
there for you, right?

IVAN LENDL: Yeah, I enjoy playing, and I enjoy going to places I have never been
to, and I never played in Oklahoma City, so I’m looking forward to that one.

Q. My question regards your last couple of years traveling with Andy,
participating in Grand Slams and other tournaments. In addition to you imparting
your wisdom and expertise to a young player like Andy, what have you gleaned
from him and his play and his training, his mental challenges, if you will? I
know you’ve helped him with that regard and helped him of course win Wimbledon
last year. But what have you learned from him and perhaps some of the other
players like Rafa and Djokovic, Roger, et cetera? What have you picked up over
the last couple years that you’ve been exposed to these top global players on a
regular basis?

IVAN LENDL: Well, you learn how much the game has changed, how much more
complete players they are than the players in the past. You see how everybody
trains and how they prepare. But most of the time you just not that you learn,
but you confirm your beliefs in how things are done and what’s the best way to
go about preparation and competition.

Q. Sticking with the Australian Open for just a quick second, it was a great
final between Rafa and Stan. Anything that you saw that either led you to
believe or surprised you in that final, especially with Stan playing so strongly
that first set?

IVAN LENDL: I didn’t see the final. I was in the air from Melbourne to Los
Angeles, and I learned the result when I landed in Los Angeles, and I still
didn’t have time to watch it.

Q. You and Connors, great rivalry, and I know after you retired from playing on
the regular tour, both you and Jimmy, it seemed like you both picked up golf.
From what I can tell you’re a little more fervent about it than he may be, but
have you ever considered getting on the course and reconstructing a rivalry on
the course, or maybe you’ve done that and we don’t know about it?

IVAN LENDL: No, I haven’t played with Jimmy. I wasn’t even aware that he plays
much. It can always be done.

Q. The Wimbledon final was incredible, and obviously

IVAN LENDL: You’re talking about 2013?

Q. Yeah, and all the pressure on Andy, obviously, and the last game to close it
out. Sitting up there in the friends’ box, when he closed it out, what went
through your mind?

IVAN LENDL: I was very pleased for him. I knew how much pressure Andy went
through in 2012 playing Roger, and I was also aware of how much pressure there
was in 2013, how much he wanted to win, how hard he worked for it, and what
obstacles he had to overcome, so I was extremely pleased for him.

Q. And also at Wimbledon, Jack Nicklaus was there, and he said that tennis was
tougher mentally than golf. Could you talk and just compare the mental
requirements, mental toughness of the two different sports?

IVAN LENDL: Well, I think they’re both mentally tough. I think in both sports
you rely on yourself and you don’t have teammates to pick up your slack where if
you mess up something or if it’s not your best day, that somebody else steps up.
You really get all the credit, but you also get all the blame if you want to
call it that way. I think the main difference between tennis and golf is that in
golf if you have a bad half hour or 45 minutes, you’re out of the tournament. In
tennis you can have a bad 45 minutes and be sitting a break down and you can
still win in four sets. In that part, you would have to say that maybe tennis is
a little bit easier mentally because you can have little lapses and get over it,
but it’s definitely tougher physically.

Q. In terms of John back in the old days, he was pretty a lot of rough edges,
came at you pretty strong. Did he piss you off? What was your take on John?

IVAN LENDL: Oh, I think I could handle it all right.

Q. But did you have anger towards him, or did you view it as it was pretty much
just part of

IVAN LENDL: I think if you play with anger, you don’t play with a clear mind. I
think you have to play with a clear mind.

Q. And finally, if I could just ask you to just talk about pretty much the
incredible history of Czech tennis. So many outstanding players and now back to
back Davis Cups, but some problems recently in terms of winning Slams. Could you
talk about the heritage of Czech tennis and on court the beauty of the Czech
game?

IVAN LENDL: Yeah, I think I have a quiz question for you then at the end if you
want to talk about Czech

Q. Wait a second, all right.

IVAN LENDL: But it’s a great question. You will enjoy it. I think the history is
there for a long time. You can go I’m not a historian, but you can go all the
way to the Second World War and afterwards, and there is great history, men’s
and women’s. And now in the team competitions, two Davis Cups in a row, before
that two Fed Cups in a row, I believe, and Berdych is very close and Kvitova has
won Wimbledon. It’s great, great history and present of Czech tennis. The
question I have for you: Who is the only person to be a world ice hockey
champion and a Wimbledon champion?

Q. That’s a good question. I know Ellsworth Vines won ping pong and tennis.

IVAN LENDL: I didn’t know he won ping pong.

Q. I know you were part owner of the Hartford team.

IVAN LENDL: Not true, but I was on the board, yes.

RANDY WALKER: I think I might know the answer to that. Drobny?

IVAN LENDL: Correct.

RANDY WALKER: What do I get?

IVAN LENDL: Another question. Who is the only person with an African passport to
win a Grand Slam?

RANDY WALKER: Drobny. I am the publisher of the Bud Collins History of Tennis.

IVAN LENDL: That would be why.

Q. I was wondering how you get along with the players on this series, if you get
a chance to hang out away from the court and if you play pranks on each other or
if you have any interesting stories.

IVAN LENDL: We do. We do clinics together. We do meet and greets together. We
travel together. We get along very well.

RANDY WALKER: We want to thank Ivan for joining us today, and we will see him
starting on February 5 in Kansas City.

 

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 Talks to Media Before PowerShares Series Tennis Circuit Debut

AndyRoddick

(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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Tennis News & Net Notes

WTA Tour changes ranking points system for 2014: “Among the changes confirmed by the WTA are first round points at Premier Mandatory tournaments being doubled (from five to 10), qualifying points at International tournaments being increased and Grand Slam qualifying points being adjusted to lessen the difference between WTA Premier event qualifying points.” via WTA TOUR

(L-R) Sara Errani of Italy, Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic, Serena Williams of USA, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, Li Na of China, Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, and Angelique Kerber of Germany pose with the Billie Jean King trophy for the official photo of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images for WTA).

(L-R) Sara Errani of Italy, Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic, Serena Williams of USA, Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, Li Na of China, Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, and Angelique Kerber of Germany pose with the Billie Jean King trophy for the official photo of the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships-Istanbul (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images for WTA).

ATP Player Retirement Recap for 2013: James Blake, Igor Andreev, Igor Kunitsyn, Ivan Navarro & Dick Norman via ATP Tour

James Blake

Australian Open Announces Music Lineup for 2014 Tournament: The Rubens and Clare Bowditch are set to headline the musical program at the Australian Open, playing on the night of the men’s and women’s finals, respectively. via Faster Louder

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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.

 

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