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USTA FL Friday Blog: Roddick Rocked But Comes Out a Winner

February 14, 2014 08:52 AM
Williams_Serena_WTAShine the Serena Williams Bat Signal in the sky, because the U.S. will need to call on the services of the world No. 1 when it faces France in April in the Fed Cup Playoffs round. The loser of the tie will exit the World Group for 2015. How much of an advantage is it to have the younger Williams sister on the U.S. roster? Serena debuted for the U.S. in Fed Cup in 1999, and since then the U.S. has a 7-0 win-loss record with Serena, and a 12-13 without Serena. The last two Fed Cup titles for the U.S. came in 1999 and 2000. Serena missed the U.S.'s loss to Italy earlier this month, citing a back injury sustained at the Australian Open. Serena is 10-0 overall in Fed Cup singles matches for the U.S., and could over the next two years top the all-time U.S. singles winning percentage of Martina Navratilova (15-0 in singles from 1975-2004). Likely out of reach is the most U.S. singles wins record set by former U.S. Fed Cup stalwart Chris Evert (40-2).

world_tennis_day_2014Seventeen (17) days and counting until World Tennis Day is celebrated on March 3, and Florida tennis facilities and organizations can join in the festivities by hosting a play day or play event in March. The 2nd annual World Tennis Day features expanded feature events in New York, London and Hong Kong, capitalizing on the 55 nations that last year hosted community participation events. This year's televised feature events on March 3 will be the 7th annual BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden in New York (Novak Djokovic vs. Andy Murray, John/Patrick McEnroe vs. Mike/Bob Bryan), the World Tennis Day Showdown at Earls Court in London (Pete Sampras vs. Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl vs. Pat Cash), and the 2nd annual BNP Paribas Showdown at the new Hong Kong Velodrome (Li Na vs. Sam Stosur, Lleyton Hewitt vs. Tomas Berdych). For more info or viewing times/channels go to www.worldtennisday.com.

Today kicks off action at the ATP Champions Tour event at The Delray Beach Open by The Venetian Las Vegas, and Florida fans can still get tickets to catch Andy Roddick leading Team USA against Team Int'l, led by former Wimbledon champ Goran Ivanisevic. Other players in action will be Aaron Krickstein, Jan-Michael Gambill, Mats Wilander and Mikael Pernfors. After the "seniors" determine a championship team on Feb. 14-17, the "youngsters" take to the courts Feb. 17-23 for the ATP World Tour event featuring among others John Isner, the world No. 1 Bryan brothers, former world No. 2 Tommy Haas, and former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt. Did you know: Hewitt (1999) is the only former or current No. 1 player to raise the Delray Beach trophy, while the Bryan brothers have won twice (2010-09)? And that you can sit on court during matches?


Roddick02In a warm-up for his appearance at the ATP Champions Tour event in Delray Beach this weekend, on Thursday Andy Roddick won the title at the PowerShares Series champions tennis circuit stop in Birmingham, defeating John McEnroe 7-5 in the one-set final.

In his semifinal match earlier in the night against Mark Philippoussis, Roddick was on the receiving end of a serve from the big Aussie that struck him directly in the groin.

"It was awkward," Roddick said of the shot to the family jewels that caused a four-minute delay in the match while he gathered himself. "That hurt. It really did."

Roddick later predicted the video of the episode would probably be aired "27 times" on Fox Sports Live, the sports television show he now reports for.

In the final against McEnroe, 24 years his senior, Roddick struggled but was ultimately saved by the lively serve that vaulted him to a US Open title and the No. 1 ranking in the world. Serving at 4-4, Roddick faced a break point he erased with an ace, then held in the game with two service winners. Leading 6-5, Roddick broke McEnroe at love to win the match.

"I honestly had no idea what to expect when I came out here," Roddick said. "I hadn't played at all. I enjoyed it. Those moments when you want to win and there's tension in the match -- I haven't had that for a while...I don't think I have hit with a left-hander since I stopped playing (on the ATP World Tour)."

The intense McEnroe, playing three days before his 55th birthday, saved three match points in his semifinal win over Jim Courier, winning the last five points of the tiebreaker to claim a 7-6(6) win. McEnroe maintained his lead atop the PowerShares Series points rankings after the first three events, with Courier in second place, and Roddick debuting in third.


Bryan-brothers-memphisRising star Jack Sock and veterans Mike Russell and Tampa resident Alex Kuznetsov are Americans remaining in singles action this week at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships in Memphis after play on Thursday.

American qualifier Denis Kudla almost fought his way into the quarterfinals on Thursday, winning the first set but falling to No. 4 seed Yen-Hsun Lu 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

The 27-year-old Kuznetsov, a qualifier at the event, on Thursday won against No. 8 seed Mikhail Kukushkin 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(1). This week Kuznetsov recorded back-to-back tour-level wins for the first time in his 10 years on tour.

Quarterfinal action on Friday will see the unseeded Russell vs. No. 3 seed Lleyton Hewitt, the unseeded Sock vs. fellow unseeded player Ivo Karlovic, No. 1 Kei Nishikori vs. Alex Bogomolov Jr., and the qualifier Kuznetsov vs. the No. 4 Lu.

The top-seeded Bryan brothers will also play on Friday against the Aussie combination of Hewitt and Chris Guccione.


mary joe fernandez"They really had the best attitudes. Everybody tried as hard as they could. That's all I can ask. To me, even though we didn't win, I told the team it feels like the beginning of something, something special. The team had tremendous chemistry, probably one of my best weeks ever as Fed Cup captain. I loved every minute of it. We keep improving and building. It's just a process, we've got to get better."
-- U.S. Fed Cup Captain Mary Joe Fernandez after the U.S. lost to Italy in opening-round play

"When you grow up, you want to be pro, and it's a dream for everybody, and then when you get out there, you realize how tough it is, and you debate sometimes whether you want to do it or not. I had those moments. It wasn't all up, and there were a lot of downs, but at the end of the day, my job is what I want to do. I love playing tennis and competing; I wouldn't want to do anything else unless I was forced to."
-- American pro Donald Young

"He's from Croatia, he speaks my language, and it's very important for me to have a good communication, someone that understands me, my background, because it's not easy -- I'm a difficult sort of guy."
-- Australian pro Bernard Tomic on working with Croatian Velimir Zovko as his new co-coach while his father John serves the remainder of a ban for allegedly assaulting Bernard's former training partner



6:30-10:30am -- ATP Rotterdam (live), Tennis Channel
11:30am-8pm -- Center Court Live (various coverage), Tennis Channel
8pm-12am -- ATP Memphis (live), Tennis Channel

12-2am -- WTA Doha (delay), Tennis Channel
6-8am -- WTA Doha (delay), Tennis Channel
8am-4:30pm -- Center Court Live (various coverage), Tennis Channel
6-10pm -- ATP Memphis (live delay), Tennis Channel
10pm-12am -- WTA Doha (delay), Tennis Channel

12-2:30am -- ATP Rotterdam (delay), Tennis Channel
6-8am -- WTA Doha (delay), Tennis Channel
8:30am-2:30pm -- Center Court Live (various coverage), Tennis Channel
2:30-4pm -- WTA Doha final (delay), Tennis Channel
4-6pm -- ATP Memphis final (live), Tennis Channel
6-8:30pm -- ATP Rotterdam final (delay), Tennis Channel
10:30pm-12:30am -- ATP Buenos Aires final (delay), Tennis Channel

The USTA Florida Friday blog is written by USTA Florida Communications Coordinator Rick Vach, former publications editor for the ATP World Tour, editor/publisher of International Tennis and Play Tennis Florida magazine, and award-winning contributor to Tennis Week magazine. Got feedback, want a USTA or tennis-related question answered in the blog, or want to express your opinion? E-mail HERE.






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