2015/07/03

On The Call: Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish to Play Doubles at Atlanta Open

 

Mardy FishAndyRoddick

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

Share

Mardy Fish Returns to Tennis, Falls in Three-set Battle to Ryan Harrison in First Round of BNP Paribas Open

(March 12, 2015) Former world No. 7 Mardy Fish returned to the court under a protected ranking, for the first time in over 18 months on Thursday in Indian Wells, California. Fish was off the tour due to heart problems which have bothered him since 2012.

The 33-year-old Fish put up a good fight for 2 hours and 36 minutes and even had two match points in falling to fellow American, 22-year-old Ryan Harrison, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (3) in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open. The pair of match points came at 15-40 in the 10th game of the third set.

“I worked really hard in the past three-and-a-half months to get in physical shape, to go from golf to tennis shape,” Fish said.

“It was nice to play Ryan, sort of a good friend. Someone you’re familiar with. So that part was nice to not have to play someone you don’t really know.

“It’s hard. It’s never easy. It still stings a little bit,” Fish said of the loss.

“I would have liked to play a little better, “he noted. “I would have like to have won – it is what it is.”

“Being on the court for so long. It felt great to be out there. Those are situations you work hard to put yourself into.”

“It’s such a great event,” he said. “I’ve got great memories from 2008 here.

“It felt fantastic to be out there.”

Asked about how he’s had to control his ailment he said: “I learn from every situation, every episode, every sort of scenario that I put myself in in the last couple of years, and I learn from this today.

“I didn’t really have many expectations, as far as how long I could play tournament-wise. How many tournaments I could play – Indian Wells and Miami was kind of in the background.

“This is a new different challenge for me.”

Fish said that he has to come on to the court and “be sort of even keel.”

“Something that I have to work on with my sports Psychologist – what sort of frame of mind do you need out there, (be)cause this is unchartered territory for me in the past couple of years.”

“Golf was such a savior for me because I able to jump into something that I really liked to do, that I was good at, and I could see myself getting better and I really enjoy playing in the tournaments, improving, things like that.” Golf was a coping mechanism for him – “to take my mind off the tennis, what other guys were doing.”

To prepare for his comeback, the American said that he played five or six days a week for the past 20 weeks – “it felt pretty close to tennis.”

Doesn’t have interest in going to the “minor leagues and working my way back up.”

Fish said that he has 3 tournaments where he can use a protected ranking. “It will run out at the US Open. Will have some decisions to make.”

The win for Harrison moves him into the second round where he’ll face No. 5 in the world Kei Nishikori.

 

Share

Mardy Fish and Gael Monfils Withdraw from Montreal

MardyFishRogersCup

Mardy Fish

Gael Monfils

Gael Monfils

(August 1, 2013) Montreal – Rogers Cup Tournament Director Eugène Lapierre announced Thursday the withdrawal of world No. 49 Gaël Monfils of France, who injured his ankle in training today, along with Mardy Fish.

“I am frustrated and disappointed that I am unable to come through on the faith that Eugène put in me by giving me a wildcard,” said Monfils. “I sprained my ankle in practice this morning and received treatment before returning to the court to find that it was too painful. My doctor strongly advised me to be careful and take ten days of rest. I am sincerely sorry that I will not be able to play in Montreal.”

The withdrawal of Monfils is to the benefit of young Canadian Filip Peliwo (Vancouver, BC) who will receive the final wildcard for the main draw. The 19-year-old won two junior Grand Slam singles titles last year and finished 2012 as the no. 1 ranked junior player in the world. He will join his compatriots Frank Dancevic (Niagara Falls, ON), Jesse Levine (Ottawa, ON), Vasek Pospisil (Vancouver, BC), and Milos Raonic (Thornhill, ON) in the main draw.

American Mardy Fish also withdrew from the tournament for personal reasons. He will be replaced in the main draw by world no. 65 Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan.

Share

Mardy Fish Loses in Atlanta

Mardy Fish

By Herman Wood

(July 24, 2013) ATLANTA, GA – The courts stayed mostly dry at the BB&T open on Wednesday, except for a few drops from Michael Russell during his win over Mardy Fish.

In the final singles match of the evening, Michael Russell and Mardy Fish picked up from their match that had been twice interrupted by rain last night.  Fish had won the first set 6-4, but had given up a break in the second and started the night down 2-4 with Russell serving.  Fish seemed to start slowly with some loose errors in his service game and was broken when Russell unleashed a big forehand on set point.

The third set opened with Fish getting an easy break, as Russell seemed intent on returning Fish’s favor.  Fish consolidated, holding to 2-0 with a big serve and a stretching forehand blast winner.  Fish continued to hold, despite getting down 0-30 on his serve, with the help of an ace.  Russell finally broke back in a nervy game featuring big audible effort from both players to get to 3-3.  The effort was clear by both men, with Fish changing shirts at least twice and Russell apparently needing to.  After each change of ends when Fish got ready to serve, he or a ball boy did some light housekeeping, drying the court with their shoes or a towel where Russell apparently had left behind some perspiration.  Both men kept digging holes on their serve and had to reach down to hold.  The chair seemed to show needed restraint with no time warning to either player, even when one or the other took a moment after an extended point.  Finally, with Fish serving to get to a tiebreaker at 5-6, Russell held the lead or ad multiple times, and Fish showed his willingness to fight hard.  A final ad point and a big service return closed the door on Fish’s Atlanta return: 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.  Fish reportedly stated that this is the best match Michael Russell has ever played.  Russell will advance to play Santiago Giraldo later in the second round.

Matt Ebden got through due to some health issues of Ivo Karlovic.  Ebden won the first set, as Karlovic showed signs of distress.  A trainer was called and Karlovic retired prior to the second set.  Ebden said via Twitter “Got through today but unfortunately Ivo had to retire, hope he gets better fast & continues his great form.”  Ebden will face Kevin Anderson tomorrow.  No official word on Karlovic’s condition was available.

Christian Harrison

Christian Harrison

Ivan Dodig took three sets to get by Ricardas Berankis, 1-6, 7-6 (7), 6-3 in a second round match.  In first round action, Christian Harrison won his first ATP main draw match of his career against Alejandro Falla, 6-1, 7-6 (7), 6-2.  He’ll be rewarded with a second round match against top seeded John Isner on Thursday.

Veteran Lleyton Hewitt took on American qualifier Rhyne Williams.  Hewitt’s experience showed, as he seemed to find the right combination or shot to get by Williams 7-6 (6), 6-4, despite 18 aces for Williams.  In the tiebreaker, Williams did not challenge a ball on the baseline that the crowd seemed to think was out.  An out call would have given him the first set.  He followed up with a double fault and Hewitt worked the set point to coax a Williams error.  The match stayed on serve again until late in the second set when Hewitt shut the door with a break at 4-5.  As in yesterday’s Jack Sock match, the chair took the opportunity to get involved late, issuing a time warning to Williams late in the second set.  Williams seemed to brush it off.

In another match featuring a veteran, James Blake took three tight sets to advance past Tim Smyczek 7-6 (3), 4-6, 7-6 (4).  Blake selectively worked points to get to the tiebreaker and earn the set.  Smyczek earned a break in the second set and served it out as Blake seemed to concede the last point of the set.  Strategically, both men worked the other’s backhand, though Blake seemed to manage to run around to his forehand more often to do damage.  At 2-2 in the 3rd, with Blake serving, Smyczek made a challenge that looked a little embarrassing- the ball smothered the line.  Serving at 4-5, down 0-30, Smyczek dug out of the hole, closing with an ace and an 83 mph service winner.  After a Blake hold, Smyczek forgot to show Blake that new balls were in play and Blake had to ask.  The new balls made a difference – every point was a service winner or ace to get to 6-6 and a tiebreaker.  In the breaker, Blake got an early mini-break and made it hold up, drawing a groundstroke error from Smyczek at 4-6.

In doubles action, Rajeev Ram and Ken Skupski got by Domini Inglot and Frank Moser 6-4,6-4.  Chris Guccione and Lleyton Hewitt needed a match tiebreak to beat Santiago Gonzalez and Scott Lipsky.  The final match of the evening had James Blake and Jack Sock taking on Brazilians Marcelo Demoliner and Andre Sa.  There was quite a bit of conversation among the players on court and it sounded testy.  Blake and Sock prevailed, needing a match tiebreak: 5-7, 7-6 (4), 10-6.

Thursday promises to be a big day at the BB&T Atlanta Open.  Really big – John Isner, at 6’9″ and Kevin Anderson, at 6’8″ will both be in action.  Isner has local connections, leading the University of Georgia Bulldogs to the NCAA national title in 2007.  Expect barking.

 

SCHEDULE – THURSDAY, 25 JULY, 2013

STADIUM start 4:00 pm
R Harrison (USA) vs [4] I Sijsling (NED)
J Blake (USA) vs [8] E Donskoy (RUS)
Not Before 7:00 PM
[1] J Isner (USA) vs [WC] C Harrison (USA)
J Blake (USA) / J Sock (USA) vs [3] C Fleming (GBR) / J Marray (GBR)

AJC GRANDSTAND start 4:00 pm

[5] Y Lu (TPE) vs D Istomin (UZB)
M Russell (USA) vs S Giraldo (COL)
[Q] M Ebden (AUS) vs [2] K Anderson (RSA)
D Kudla (USA) / M Russell (USA) vs R Berankis (LTU) / S Giraldo (COL)

COURT 3 start 3:00 pm

[1] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) vs [PR] J Erlich (ISR) / A Ram (ISR)
R Ram (USA) / K Skupski (GBR) vs C Guccione (AUS) / L Hewitt (AUS)
[4] E Roger-Vasselin (FRA) / I Sijsling (NED) vs [WC] K King (USA) / J Spir (COL) – After Suitable Rest

 

Share

Del Potro Leads Wednesday’s List of French Open Pullouts

Juan Martin Del Potro

(May 22, 2013) Argentine media and Reuters have reported that world No. 7 Juan Martin Del Potro has withdrawn from next week’s French Open, still suffering from a virus.

“I am sad to miss such an important tournament, one that you always dream of winning,” Del Potro was quoted on the Ultima Hora website (www.ultimahora.com).

Joining the Argentine on the sidelines will be Americans Mardy Fish and Brian Baker. No. 2. Andy Murray withdrew from the Paris event on Tuesday and will be replaced by a lucky loser.

Fish is still dealing with heart issues, while Baker is still recovering from knee surgery. Fish and Baker will be replaced by Joao Sousa of Portugal and Guido Pella of Argentina.

Withdrawals on the women’s side include – Chan Yung-jan, Alexandra Dulgheru and Lara Arruabarrena. Shahar Peer, Tatjana Maria and Nina Bratchikova will replace them.

The French Open begins this Sunday, May 26.

Share

Kourtin’ Karen’s Tennis News Week in Review

delpoNadalStillerdoubles

(March 11, 2013) NEW YORK, NY –  Kourtin’ Karen takes brief look at the week that was week in the offbeat world of tennis.

15-0

BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden in New York City

March 4 was World Tennis Day. BNP Paribas sponsored two showdowns –  in Hong Kong and the other in New York City.

Highlight of the Madison Square Garden event – Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro were in the middle of the second set of the showdown whe Nadal pulled out Ben Stiller to play with him. Del Potro brought out 9-yeear-old left Rebecca Suarez who proved to be the best player on the court for the “doubles” match

 

BNP Paribas Showdown Debuts in Hong Kong with Wozniacki, Radwanska, McEnroe and Lendl

 

15-15

Jelena Jankovic’s Fila Heritage Carwash tennis dress at Indian Wells

Jelena JankovicJ Jankovic skirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30-15

BNP Paribas Open Players’ Party

_MG_0377

On the Green Carpet – Photos from the 2013 BNP Paribas Open Players’ Party

Many of those in the tennis media are not really fans of these type of events and exhibitions, but it draws people who are not normally fans of the game. I’m for whatever draws people to watch tennis.

All of the majors should have a “red carpet” event like this. It’s all in good fun and fans and journalists alike can play “Fashion Police.”

 

 

30-30

No American Men in the Top 20?

With John Isner’s loss to Lleyton Hewitt in his first match at the BNP Paribas Open, depending on how Sam Querrey and Mardy Fish do, there would be no US men in the top 20 of the rankings – this has never happened since the rankings began in 1973.

 

30-40

TMZ Alert

TMZ as well as other media outlets were reporting that there was an arrest warrant out for Jennifer Capriati in conjunction with an alleged assault on her ex-boyfriend Ivan Brannan. Capriati’s publicist denied reports that a warrant had been issued for her arrest.

“What happened has been over-exaggerated. When the full story comes out Jennifer will be vindicated of these charges,” said the spokesperson in a written statement.

 

Deuce

Redfoo sightings

Victoria Azarenka and Redfoo

_MG_0241

Let’s face it,  pop singer Redfoo is here to stay.  Not only is he a big tennis fan, he supports a USTA Pro Circuit event – the Party Rock Open and is now the significant other of No. 2 Victoria Azarenka.

 

Advantage exhibitions

Pete Sampras adn Novak Djokovic

Tennis was back in Los Angeles with the LA Tennis Challenge featuring, Novak Djokovic, Pete Sampras, Mardy Fish, James Blake, Bob and Mike Bryan.

Djokovic, Sampras, Fish and the Bryan Brothers Among Those to Particpate in LA Tennis Challenge

 

 

Deuce look-a-likes

thing1 &thing2_MG_0415

Separated at birth, the hair anyway – Redfoo and Thing 1 and Thing 2 of Dr. Seuss fame.

 

Advantage Karaoke

 1-DSC_0957-001V. Azarenka

In the post-match news conference at the BNP Paribas Showdown, Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka announced that they revealed that they will be shooting a karaoke video to Rihanna’s “Stay.”

Deuce

The Rumor Mill

"Austin Powers" and Caroline Wozniacki

“Austin Powers” and Caroline Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki put to bed rumors that she and her boyfriend golfer Rory McIlroy had split.

A British tabloid speculated that the reason the golfer had pulled out of the Honda Classic was due to relationship problems with Wozniacki. Meanwhile, why did Wozniacki attend the BNP Paribas Open Players party with Austin Powers. (See above photo)

 

Advantage news

Tennis will introduce biological passports this year and increase the number of blood tests.

Nadal Returns to Hardcourt with Indian Wells Win; Still Unhappy with 25-Second Rule

 

Mardy Fish

Game, Set and Match – Welcome back Mardy Fish

Mardy Fish has returned to the tour from a heart ailment, his first event since the US Open.

 

Photo galleries from the past week

Photos by Curt Janka, Jennifer Knapp, Maria Noble and Karen Pestaina.

[nggallery id=75]

[nggallery id=78]

[nggallery id=76]

[nggallery id=77]

[nggallery id=79]

[nggallery id=80]

[nggallery id=81]

[nggallery id=82]

 

 

Share

Fish Returns to Singles Play for First Time Since US Open

Mardy Fish

(March 10, 2013) American Mardy Fish who has been sidelined with a heart condition since the US Open, defeated countryman Bobby Reynolds 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells on Sunday.

 

“It’s been a tough few months, for sure,” said Fish.  “It’s nice to ‑‑ you know, you sort of feel like it was a win just to get back out there.  There is a lot of people that have sort of dealt with what I’ve dealt with and not come back.

“It’s nice to just play, first and foremost, and then you get out there and you want to win.  You want to stay within yourself a little bit and not get too fired up or too low or too high or anything like that.

“Then all of a sudden you find yourself in the third set, you know, deep in the third set losing.  You know, some of that sort of fight starts kicking in and you want to win.

“So, yeah, it was nice to ‑‑ I certainly didn’t expect to win, you know, so soon.  The tennis side of it hasn’t been an issue.  I have been playing for quite a while now as far as months is concerned, but just competitive matches, you know, you can’t duplicate those.”

“It’s great to see him back,” Reynolds said.  “He’s great for the game, and definitely for American tennis.  But, you know, knowing that when I was on the court, you know, that wasn’t really entering my mind.  Like, Hey, I’m going to let him win because he’s had a tough struggle.

“But, you know, I felt like I played okay and had chances.  Obviously right there at 4‑3.  But, you know, that’s what kind of separates us from where I’m at and what he’s done with his career.”

Fish the 32nd seed at Indian Wells overcame a break deficit in the final set winning the last four games to secure the victory.

Mardy Fish playing doubles with James BlakewzUXGp9d0hd3ZSCZWhE6QzKc

Fish made his first court appearance on Saturday, pairing with James Blake to win a doubles match over David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-4.

 

Fish will play the winner of Jo-Wilfred Tsonga versus James Blake match in the third round.

 

Share

Djokovic, Sampras, Fish and the Bryan Brothers Among Those to Particpate in LA Tennis Challenge

_MG_0387

(March 4, 2013) LOS ANGELES – The inaugural LA Tennis Challenge took place on Monday night on the campus of UCLA at the recently renovated Pauley Pavilion. Participating in the event to raise money for charity were world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Former No. 1 and member of the tennis Hall of Fame Pete Sampras, Bob and Mike Bryan, James Blake, Tommy Haas and former player Justin Gimelstob.

Los Angeles’ ATP World Tour event, the Farmers Classic, their license was sold to Colombian investors who took it to their home country. Former UCLA Bruin Gimelstob wants to keep pro tennis alive in Los Angeles and organized the event.

Singles and doubles exhibition matches took place including Djokovic pairing with his idol Sampras.

Celebrities in attendance included actress Jodie Foster, actor Bruce Willis and actor/comedian and tennis fan Rainn Wilson.

Proceeds from the event are to benefit the Justin Gimelstob Children’s Fund, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the Novak Djokovic Foundation, Call to Cure and the Southern California Tennis Association’s community tennis initiatives.

 

All photos by Maria Noble

[nggallery id=76]

 

 

 

Share

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Pete Sampras, Mardy Fish and Bryan Brothers To Play Los Angeles Tennis Challenge on March 4

lachallenge

Westwood, Calif., (Jan. 17, 2013) – World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, 14-time Grand Slam champion Pete Sampras, former World Top 10 player Mardy Fish and the most successful doubles duo of all time the Bryan Brothers will take part in the inaugural Los Angeles Tennis Challenge at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion on Monday, March 4.

 

Tickets will be available starting Saturday morning, Jan. 19, at 10 a.m., at www.TicketMaster.com, or can be purchased by calling the UCLA Central Ticket Office at 310-825-2101 Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling the event directly at 310-824-1010, ext. 251.

 

The event is being co-hosted by Fish and former ATP World Tour player and Tennis Channel broadcaster Justin Gimelstob. The star-studded night of exciting exhibition matches falls just days before the start of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. Calif.

 

“I am very excited about playing professional tennis in Los Angeles for the first time on March 4 at the LA Tennis Challenge,” Djokovic said. “To be playing against my good friend Mardy Fish, and partnering with my childhood tennis Idol, Pete Sampras, against the No. 1 doubles team in the world will be an amazing experience. In addition, to be able to help raise valuable funds for so many wonderful charities in the process will certainly make being at the newly refurbished Pauley Pavilion, the place to be Monday night, March 4th!”

 

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Justin Gimelstob Children’s Fund, the Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation, the Novak Djokovic Foundation, Call to Cure and the Southern California Tennis Association’s community tennis initiatives.

 

“It’s going to be an unforgettable night of tennis starring some of the biggest names in the game,” said Gimelstob, a former UCLA All-American in the mid-1990s. “We’re proud to be bringing professional tennis back to Los Angeles and playing the matches indoors at historic and newly renovated Pauley Pavilion.”

 

Three exhibition pro-set matches will take place beginning at 7 p.m. Djokovic will take on Los Angeles resident Fish in singles followed by a doubles match pitting Djokovic and his childhood idol Sampras against Southern California natives Bob and Mike Bryan. An opening singles match between two marquee players will be announced shortly.

 

The Bryan Brothers are very comfortable on the UCLA campus having won an all-time best six doubles titles at the Los Angeles Tennis Center and former home to the Farmers Classic.

 

“We are so thankful that a new professional tennis event will be in Los Angeles,” Mike Bryan said. “Los Angeles is home to us and it is vital that competitive and entertaining tennis is accessible here. The LA Tennis Challenge will grow into the premiere tennis event in Los Angeles, and we are proud to support it.”

 

Added Bob Bryan: “We will need to be sharp in order to beat two legends of the sport. Novak Djokovic and Pete Sampras are going to be a tough team, but we are looking forward to the challenge of playing two of the greatest players of all time.”

 

Djokovic of Serbia is a winner of five Grand Slam titles and the current No. 1 player in the world. Sampras is considered the greatest American champion ever with 14 career Grand Slam singles titles, including seven Wimbledon crowns. Fish has six career ATP World Tour titles to his name and is an Olympic silver medalist. The Bryan twins won gold at the 2012 London Olympics and have won an all-time record 83 ATP World Tour doubles titles.

 

The LA Tennis Challenge will be broadcast by Tennis Channel in the United States.

 

To learn more about the LA Tennis Challenge go to www.LATennisChallenge.com. Like the event on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LATennisChallenge and follow on Twitter at @LA10sChallenge. For more information you can email: info@latennischallenge.com.

Share

James Blake Joins Players In Raising Money To Benefit Those Affected By Hurricane Sandy

( November 12, 2012) James Blake, who currently resides (and grew up) in Connecticut, is helping raise money to benefit those affected by Hurricane Sandy. He’s auctioning off three of his match jerseys featuring his autograph along with those of top American tennis stars Andy Roddick, Mardy Fish and Sam Querrey. 100% of the proceeds will go to the Red Cross.

“Seeing the devastation in areas I grew up around is difficult,” said Blake. “The people of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are surely resilient, but there’s still room for us all to help. I’ve selected the Red Cross because it does an amazing job on multiple levels; it provides everything from food and blankets to mental health support for those affected.”

The eBay Giving Works auctions last 7 days. Those who want to make a bid can go to:

EBay Jerseys

For more details visit www.JamesBlakeTennis.com

Blake wed long-time girlfriend Emily Snider on Friday, according to People Magazine. The couple have a five-month old daughter named Riley Elizabeth.

Share