InsideOut Sports & Entertainment today announced the dates, venues and fields for the 2014 PowerShares Series tennis circuit, highlighted by the debuts of Andy Roddick and James Blake, who will join the 12-city tour and play alongside tennis legends such as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors.
The PowerShares Series will kick off on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 in Kansas City and will conclude March 21 in Surprise, Arizona. Players competing on the 2014 circuit are Roddick, Blake, Sampras, Agassi, McEnroe, Connors, Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander, Jim Courier, Michael Chang, Todd Martin and Mark Philippoussis. Each event will feature two one-set semifinal matches, followed by a one-set championship match.
An exclusive USTA member pre-sale offering a 15% discount for USTA members begins today. Tickets and unique VIP fan experience packages will go on sale to the general public next Tuesday, October 22. Tickets start at $25 and all ticket and VIP information is available at www.PowerSharesSeries.com.
“We are eagerly anticipating the 2014 PowerShares Series season with an exciting blend of all-time greats from different generations competing in 12 cities across the country,” said Jon Venison, Partner at InsideOut Sports & Entertainment. “We are excited to welcome Andy Roddick and James Blake as they join our eighth year of Champions Series tennis and look forward to seeing them, along with the other legendary players, compete and entertain crowds around the United States this season.”
“I am looking forward to playing on the PowerShares circuit,” said Roddick. “Having a chance to stay connected with tennis and compete on a limited basis through events like these fits perfectly with my life these days.”
“It’s going to be exciting to start a new chapter of my tennis life playing on the PowerShares Series circuit,” said Blake. “Having just retired from the ATP tour, you’d think I have an advantage over some of the guys, but players like Andy, Andre and Pete are so talented and competitive that is going to be a great challenge for me to win some titles. I look forward to the challenge.”
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
WASHINGTON, DC (July 28, 2013) The Washington Kastles carved another notch in the Mylan World Team Tennis elite ranks Sunday, winning their third consecutive World Team Tennis championship and fourth in the past five years with a 25-12 win over the Springfield Laster, the largest victory margin in any WTT championship match.
The Kastles also became the first WTT franchise to win all five sets in a championship match since the league switched to the current format in 1999. further stamping the team as the premier franchise in the league. The Kastles started the 2013 season by winning their first two matches for a 34-match winning streak, the longest winning streak is U.S professional sports history.
“This year we walked right into it. We made that incredible streak, and have an amazing part in history. You can’t put a price tag on that We lost, then started winning again,” Kastles’ coach Murphy Jensen said. “This is a masterpiece. This is the best. four out of five years, it is out of control. We absolutely sacrificed every day to play for the Kastles.”
Even a two-hour rain delay did not slow the Kastles.
The three-peat makes Washington only the second to win three titles in a row. The four championships make Washington one of only two franchises to win four or more WTT titles.
“It’d be great if we had eight teams like (the Kastles),” Springfield Laser player Andy Roddick, a part-owner of WTT, said after the loss. “They deserve the success they get. They put a lot into it, and it’s a great atmosphere.”
The Kastles were uncertain as to which of the sets Roddick would play so Jensen reshuffled the order of play to have Bib by Reynolds, the team’s traditional closer, open the match with men’s singles. That way if Roddick played, it would dilute the advantage the Lasers could have by having their star close the contest in the final set.
But Reynolds, who was named the MVP of the championship, opened strong, breaking the Lasers’ Rik De Voest three times in a 5-1 win.
“You go out and get ready thinking you are going to play Andy and I knew I had to be ready for anything,” Reynolds said. “I guess I am the opener now (not the closer), I knew I had to bring a lot of energy no matter when I was in the lineup.”
Springfield has never won a WTT title. They last played for the title in 2009, where they lost to Washington 23-20 when the Kastles held off three match points to win.
“Coming in here (at the start of the season), there was a lot of pressure, in those first matches. You don’t want to be the one to destroy them. Now at the end all of the effort paid off,” Kastles player Martina Hingis said.
“I am a first time Kastle. It’s a great team. I love everyone and I hope I can play here again next year.”
Hingis said she had hoped she was ready for Roddick’s serve. “I know his serve is spectacular. I tried not to think too much about it. At first he started with a kick serve. I just tried to get a racquet on it,” she said.
She and team captain Leander Paes defeated Roddick and Alisa Kleybanova, the 2013 WTT female rookie of the year, 5-4 after winning a five point tiebreaker for the game, set and championship.
“I started off pretty well in the (mixed doubles) then my energy level dropped a little bit,” said Hingis. “And that’s when (Paes) kind of lifted his game amazingly, and it is pretty cool to have five perfect sets.”
WASHINGTON KASTLES def. Springfield Lasers, 25-12
MEN’S SINGLES: Bobby Reynolds (Kastles) def. Rik de Voest (Lasers) 5-1
WOMEN’S DOUBLES: Martina Hingis/Anastasia Rodionova (Kastles) def. Alisa Kleybanova/Vania King (Lasers) 5-3
MEN’S DOUBLES: Bobby Reynolds/Leander Paes (Kastles) def. Jean-Julien Rojer/Andy Roddick (Lasers) 5-2
WOMEN’S SINGLES: Martina Hingis (Kastles) def. Alisa Kleybanova (Lasers) 5-2
MIXED DOUBLES: Martina Hingis/Leander Paes (Kastles) def. Alisa Kleybanova/Andy Roddick (Lasers) 5-4
By Maud Watson
Though Roland Garros has yet to get underway, some of the game’s biggest stars are already dreaming of the green lawns of the All England Club. Both Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro suffered major blows when they were forced to withdraw from the French Open. The decision by both to skip the second slam of 2013, though sad, is hardly a shock. Murray had already hinted last week in Rome that due to his bad back he was more apt to be absent in Paris than present. As for del Potro, his withdrawal came courtesy of an unfortunate respiratory virus that plagued him earlier in the clay court season and developed into a nasty case of bronchitis. He’s wisely opted to listen to his medical team and skip the French Open in order to put himself in the best possible position to finish the second half of the season strongly. Both men will be missed, but both made the right decisions when it comes to the bigger picture.
Andy Roddick hasn’t been retired for a full year, but the American is already set to trade in his racquet for a microphone as he prepares to delve into the world of sports broadcasting. Roddick won’t be covering just tennis either. He’s going to be a co-host of Fox Sports Live – Fox Sports’ answer to ESPN’s SportsCenter – which will debut on Fox Sports 1` on August 17. It will be a full-time gig for Roddick, who will appear on the show 4-5 nights a week. The American sounds excited about his new job, and he has the right attitude with his willingness to put in the hard yards and learn what it takes to become a top notch broadcaster. It’s hard to envision a scenario where this doesn’t work out well for Roddick. He’s always been a candid individual, and he’s generally been quick witted, be it at a press conference or clowning around in an exhibition. He’s bound to prove a natural and provide fans with plenty of enjoyment once again.
It’s a dangerous business to question the legitimacy of a player’s withdrawal when he or she cites illness. It’s arguably even more dangerous when that player is Maria Sharapova, who is known for being one of the fiercest competitors on the WTA. But there’s no denying that Sharapova’s abrupt pullout from Rome last week deserved a few raised eyebrows. The Russian withdrew before her quarterfinal match against Sara Errani citing an illness she claimed she’d first had in Madrid and that suddenly reared its ugly head again Thursday night. Over the course of the two premiere events, however, Sharapova showed no signs of a physical ailment. In fact, she was all smiles as she wrote a birthday message to boyfriend Dimitrov after thrashing Stephens the evening before she withdrew. Could it be she really wanted to avoid potential meetings with nemesis Azarenka, or more likely, her personal bogeyman Serena? Based on Sharapova’s track record of competitiveness, it’s worth giving her the benefit of the doubt her withdrawal was rooted in illness and not fear. Even if it were just a hint of queasiness, with a major around the corner – one where she’s defending champion – she can be forgiven for wanting to rest. But her premature departure from Rome certainly provided food for thought and only makes the likelihood of her turning around her dismal record against Serena seem all the more remote.
Another member of the Nadal Camp made headlines this past week, as Rafael Nadal’s uncle and coach, Toni Nadal, named his favorites for the French Open. In contrast to his nephew’s absurd insistence that he’s never the favorite for anything, Toni wisely named Rafa as one of the top picks to leave with some hardware. But what had some up in arms was not only Toni Nadal’s insistence that Federer was not a favorite, but that players like Ferrer and possibly Berdych or even Dimitrov had better odds. Granted, Federer is not going to be a heavy favorite, and at this stage in his career, he’s going to be more susceptible to the early upset. But he’s in with just as much of a chance, if not more so, than many of the guys Uncle Toni named, especially if they all reach the business end of things. Toni Nadal’s comments also mark the second time in three months that he’s taken what can arguably be construed as a dig at the Swiss No.1. It’s times like these when it would be nice if Rafa would put a muzzle on his uncle. Peter Bodo wrote an article on Tennis.com suggesting just that. He referenced how over the course of Rafa’s career, it seems it’s the “machine” (aka, Uncle Toni) controlling the man, rather than the other way around. It’s time for Rafa to take control and sit on his uncle. Toni Nadal’s comments only detract from his nephew. No other coach feels the need to elaborate the way he does. Perhaps he should take a page out of their books and go back to just focusing on the x’s and o’s where his charge is concerned.
Game of Inches
Look at a monstrosity like Arthur Ashe Stadium, and tennis players appear to have an abundance of room in which to run and hit. But when you really look at the game of tennis, it all boils down to mere inches. That was definitely the case in the quirkiness surrounding Virginia’s upset win over top seed UCLA to take home the NCAA men’s title. The win came courtesy of Mitchell Frank’s come-from-behind win over Adrien Puget. The pivotal point – a match point for Puget – occurred when Puget was called for touching the net. It turned out to be a costly touch, especially since Frank’s pass on that match point missed in the wind. Momentum switched to Frank, and that was all she wrote. Afterwards, Frank was quoted as saying, “I’m glad he touched the net. A couple of inches can make the difference.” No truer words were ever spoken.
By James A. Crabtree
What thirty five year old Tommy Haas has done this year is just absurd. The guy is not just old; he is pretty much prehistoric.
Tommy turned professional in 1996 and lost his first grand slam match to Michael Stich at the U.S. Open that year. That was the same year Renée Zellweger said “You had me at hello” to Jerry Maguire, everyone danced ‘the Macarena’ and approximately 45 million people were using the Internet.
Some of the big and very much now retired players young Tommy beat in the years following were Yevgeny Kafelnikov in 1997, Marcelo Rios in 1998, Tim Henman and Andre Agassi in 1999, Pete Sampras in 2000 and Andy Roddick in 2002.
Yet Tommy is still swinging. Better, stronger and faster. In many ways he makes a mockery of the suggestion that the modern player is a much better player/athlete/tactician. He still plays very much the same game he always has. The groundstrokes are still crisp and aggressive, he isn’t afraid of the net and he will likely still have a slight emotional meltdown during the match.
Many a professional athlete has tried a comeback from the usual ailments that affects us all over time, but few have shown the resolve to not only to make it back, but stay back and truly return to a respectable level.
Haas has come back from various injuries for the joy of playing in front of his young daughter. His determination to continue playing shows there is a fire inside that is still burning. It is obvious that Tommy has an increased duty to physical fitness, as he is known to practice hard but also put in the work before and after practice. It would not be unreasonable to believe that Tommy Haas is indeed the result of military intervention courtesy of the Office of Scientific Intelligence and is the new 6 million dollar man (that’s 31 million adjusted to todays money).
2013 has seen him register wins over Alexandr Dolgopolov, Gilles Simon, John Isner and a certain Mr Novak Djokovic. All while wearing the sort of awful translucent fashion statements and lame black socks that you expect your dad to wear in attempt to embarrass. Indeed, Tommy is still human and a dad, so some things should be expected.
The German who is as much an American now is the quintessential nearly man, one of the best to have knocked on the door of grand slam contention having reached 3 Australian Open semi-finals and 1 Wimbledon semi-final. Obviously he still believes he can add his name to the history books having climbed to his current ranking of 14 after an all time high of 2 back in 2002. Not a bad comeback after dropping out of the rankings in 2010.
Tommy does have a long list to be encouraged by such as Andre Agassi, who held the number won spot aged thirty three and Ken Rosewell who won the 1972 Australian Open aged thirty seven. Fabrice Santoro played twenty one years on tour, Jimmy Connors competed in his final ATP match in 1996 at the age of forty three and Pancho Gonzalez sustained his mission until the age of forty six.
Tommy will surely join this list at some time. But for now Tommy is no Haas been.
Mardy Fish walked on court Sunday for his first professional singles match in six months and eight days, his first match since beating Gilles Simon in the third round of the 2012 US Open. He was forced to withdraw from his US Open fourth round match against Roger Federer last September when the heart condition he revealed earlier last year flared up once again. It’s been a long road back but Fish finally made his 2013 debut at the BNP Paribas Open, a short trip from his home base in Los Angeles. Fish was first up on Stadium 1 on Saturday against compatriot Bobby Reynolds. It wasn’t the cleanest or easiest match Mardy Fish has ever played, but he left the court victorious after three sets, winning 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. He described it as a, “win just to get back out there.” Fish was the number one American player for much of 2011 and some of 2012, having taken the helm from Andy Roddick who would go on to retire last year. He is a much needed presence at a time when younger Americans like John Isner and Sam Querrey have been struggling.
When asked about his feelings after the match, Fish called it, “elation probably.” He went on to say it wasn’t just about winning, adding, “there has been a couple of people that have really been there for me through these past months, and it felt good to play for them, as well. My wife has been a rock at my side the entire time, so it’s been very difficult for her, as well.”
Sunday’s match actually wasn’t Fish’s first appearance on court at this year’s BNP Paribas Open. He teamed up with fellow American and good friend, James Blake, to take on Spanish duo David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco in doubles on Saturday. Blake said he was, “honored to be the one that’s out there with him when he comes back because I know how hard it’s been. It’s been a long journey for him, and I hope I really, really hope that it’s easier for him to be out there with me, with someone that you know, I like to think of myself as one of his good friends out here that cares about him more as a person than any results will ever speak to.” Perhaps playing with Blake did bring back some of the good old days because the pair won the match 6-4, 6-4.
Andy Roddick was certainly paying attention to his good friend Mardy’s return on Sunday, tweeting, “Hell yes @mardyfish !!!” just after the match’s completion. Fish was asked to comment on the absence of his good friend Roddick who wasn’t playing the tournament for the first time in over ten years. Being the same age, the two players grew up together on tour. The two even attended the same high school. The biggest difference for Fish? “I miss the free meals from him because he has way more money than we all do.” Just kidding. On a more serious note, Fish said he missed the “silent cheering from afar for us both” and having a breakfast companion. The two would eat breakfast together every morning at this particular tournament.
Mardy Fish is taking things slow. He will play Miami and then assess whether he wants to continue on to the clay court season. As for this tournament, Fish will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the third round, who took out James Blake on Sunday night.
by James A. Crabtree
What a disappointment the American men currently are.
For a country that is so rich in tennis history it is heart breaking to see a power house such as the United States limp through the season.
True, some players have been playing well. Sam Querrey has displayed a mild resurgence, James Blake is attempting one last hurrah, Jack Sock could well be a diamond in the rough and Mardy Fish is back at Indian Wells but hasn’t played since the 2012 U.S. Open. Outside of the top 100 Tim Smyczek looks to be a hustling player making waves. The players hanging in the bottom half of the top 100 such as Brian Baker and Michael Russell, are those with heart whilst the majority of the new batch, thus far, are all hype.
The real disappointment lies with the supposed new generation of stars. Granted, they do all talk a good game, profess their commitment to hard work and assure us that they are just that one big win from joining the elite. At this point none look like worthy candidates to propel the stars and stripes forward during the teenage years of this decade and for the most part lack true grit.
Ryan Harrison is still only twenty years old, and players tend to show their potential at around twenty two these days. Impressively Harrison has the skills to battle with the elite, just not the temperament to outclass anybody notable so far.
In 2011 Donald Young reached a career high ranking of 38, the fourth round of the U.S. Open and made the final of a 250 event in Thailand. The John McEnroe prophecies were starting to ring true until 2012, when Young pressed the self-destruct button and lost seventeen matches in a row. 2013 hasn’t been so bad, but Young is way off in the rankings.
Back in the early eighties many players from the eastern bloc looked to defect their homeland for the American dream. These days the reverse is happening. After some financial disputes with the USTA, Russian born Alex Bogolmov Jnr decided he was more Russian than American in 2012. Jesse Levine is another with eyes on being part of a Davis Cup team, having aligned with Canada, the country of his birth. Reportedly both players still live in Florida.
None of the current crop look poised to make a leap.
For those who can remember, rewind ten years prior and it was a much different story.
Pete Sampras was sailing off into the distance after his fourteenth slam. Andre Agassi had recently collected his fourth Australian title, and Andy Roddick was only months away from cracking the big time.
In many people’s eyes Roddick didn’t win enough, mainly because he failed to win a second slam. It must be remembered that his second chance was always going to be a lot tougher thanks to a certain Mr Federer who spoilt many careers. Now with the oft-criticised Roddick gone, and enjoying retirement, the torch as America’s best player hasn’t been passed onto a worthy candidate.
Now before the stomach acid of the Isner fans starts churning let’s remember that big John does very little outside of the U.S. or Davis Cup duties and has been looking rather out of sorts this year. Is it too soon to count him out?
And when was the U.S. this unsubstantial? Certainly not twenty years ago when the Americans were surely the majority in any draw.
So what has happened in the years since? Is the college system watered down, do the Academies need a revamp, is American tennis stuck in the past or just stuck in a lull?
As much as champions are formed at the grass root level, the formative years are spent idolising a hero. Naturally, an idol a young player can relate to will only help to cultivate progression.
With so many tournaments stateside, roughly 18% of the total tour, it is bad for tennis to have a weak America. And with so few American contenders a sense of complacent mediocrity can set in quickly.
After a tenure of nearly a century and a quarter, the ATP event in San Jose will end this weekend. The second-oldest tennis tournament in the United States, the SAP Open lately represented the only outpost of the men’s game in the Bay Area, which has hosted a successful WTA event early in the US Open Series for the last four decades.
As historic as it is, the end of men’s tennis in the Bay Area—for now—comes as scant surprise to someone like me who once attended the SAP Open. Unlike the WTA Stanford tournament, which regularly attracted champions from around the world, San Jose had declined steadily over the last several years as it languished in the lowest tier of the ATP’s 250/500/1000 system. With each year, fewer and fewer of Silicon Valley’s citizens trickled through the turnstiles of the HP Arena. Less committed to tennis than their predecessors was the tournament’s new management, meanwhile, which grew increasingly frustrated with scheduling long road trips for the San Jose Sharks, the hockey team that makes its home there. The venue also has only a single court, a logistical handicap unique or nearly so among ATP tournaments outside the year-end championships, which requires only one court for its eight-player field. But the most significant obstacle confronted by the SAP Open was the task of luring European players across an ocean and a continent to a tournament diminished in status.
Attempting to bolster San Jose by signing multi-year participation agreements several years ago, Roddick and the Bryan Brothers had signaled their support for an event that had given them precious opportunities earlier in their careers. (It now seems fitting that Roddick will appear in an exhibition on the SAP Open’s final weekend.) Nevertheless, the tournament’s inability to consistently draw prestigious foreign players combined with the recent stagnation of American men’s tennis to thrust this event in a converted hockey arena onto very thin ice. Exhibitions between Sampras and a top seed provided some mild entertainment, to be sure, as did the rise of two-time defending champion Milos Raonic. Offered a wealth of professional sports options in their vicinity, however, Bay Area fans who lack a strong attachment to tennis found little reason to prevent them from drifting elsewhere.
As for tennis fans like myself, the prospect of attending a Raonic-Harrison or Istomin-Benneteau semifinal in San Jose (the 2012 lineup) seemed a poor alternative to watching tournaments with elite contenders on television or the internet. In February, the most compelling action in men’s tennis occurs thousands of miles away at tournaments in Rotterdam and Dubai, while the women’s Premier Five tournament in Doha grasps the attention of those who follow both Tours. Looming just a month ahead, meanwhile, the marquee tournament at Indian Wells offered a reminder that the world’s best would return soon to California. With Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, and the rest scheduled to compete in a beautifully situated, meticulously maintained “tennis garden,” who can blame the region’s fans for ignoring the journeymen on display in a drafty hockey rink near the San Jose Airport?
Blighted by a disinterested management and dwindling commitment from both players and fans, therefore, the tournament tottered towards its inevitable fate: a transfer to a region where it will earn more success in all three areas. Planned to coincide with the 2016 Olympics there, the new joint ATP/WTA tournament in Rio de Janeiro should gain an early boost in publicity from which it will profit. To achieve the stability that San Jose once enjoyed, though, Rio will want to avoid the flaws that doomed its predecessor. As the most important tennis tournament on the South American continent, it stands well poised to do so.
Where one tradition ends, perhaps another will begin.
Feb. 12, 2013 — Tennis Grandstand has partnered up with this week’s SAP Open and it is our pleasure to offer you the chance to win 2 tickets to an additional evening of live tennis, featuring an exhibition match on Saturday, Feb. 16th at 7pm at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA.
The match will feature a newly-retired Andy Roddick partnering up with Stefanie Graf to take on the team of Lindsay Davenport and Justin Gimelstob.
In order to enter to win 2 tickets to Saturday evening’s exhibition match, please state in the comments below:
- Who your favorite player of the above four is (Roddick, Graf, Davenport, Gimelstob), and
- State why they are your favorite, ie a memory, how they inspired you, etc.
Contest closes Thursday, Feb. 14, 2012 at 8pm EST. Winner will be chosen at random from all entrees.
(Please note that you must be able to attend the live match; tickets will be able available for pickup at will call.)
The winner of the tickets would receive access to the exclusive SAP Ace Club hospitality area located within the pavilion and seats located in the baseline lower bowl area, a short walk from the Club.
In its last year in San Jose, the SAP Open has prepared a unique experience to help fans enjoy the excitement of the second-oldest men’s professional tournament in the United States. The event has been won by virtually every tennis superstar, including Arthur Ashe, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and SAP Ambassadors Andy Roddick and Milos Raonic.
Good luck and we look forward to seeing you at the SAP Open all week which takes place Feb. 11-17!
Dec. 7, 2012 — After being without a coach since September, world No. 38 Viktor Troicki has hired Australian Jack Reader.
Reader worked with Alexandr Dolgopolov until October, helping the Ukrainian rise 300 spots and attain world No. 34 during their time together. Troicki had previously worked with Jan de Witt for seven years but the two split this fall after Troicki’s troublesome season.
Speaking to Serbian paper “Novosti,” Reader joked that his trip to Serbia for Troicki’s off-season better have been worth it to leave his sunny Australia for the cold: “I am very happy that I have started working with Viktor … I told (him) that I hope he will be good and listen to me during training!”
Even though the two have known each other for some time, the partnership began on recommendation from Troicki’s manager. And Troicki couldn’t be happier with having someone of Reader’s expertise on his team:
“Jack is interesting, entertaining, knows all the players and coaches on tour, does his job well and has been around for a few years, and from my own views, people respect and love him. He’s different from the coach I had up until recently, because Jan was very direct and everything was based on some strict rules. Reader is more relaxed and I believe that can help me at this time.”
The pair has already been working on some critical aspects of Troicki’s game, and they will continue to train together in Serbia until December 20th. A short break for the holidays, and then they will meet up again for the year’s first Slam next month in Australia.
“We have already begun making adjustments and working on little things that need to be fixed. There will be plenty more of that, as I have a lot that I can and must improve on. I hope that I’ll find my rhythm in the beginning and return to the top 20 — that’s my goal.”
And perhaps most telling of all is just how quickly he wants to forget about his 2012 season, which was the first since 2008 where he didn’t reach an ATP Tour-level final.
“It’s important for me to forget about this past season as quickly as possible, as it’s one of the worst I’ve had. I didn’t record consistently good results due to a drop in my game. Additionally, I lost confidence, and when you put that all together, things didn’t go well. I am trying to get out of this crisis as soon as possible. I had a similar experience three or four years ago when I was also around No. 20 in the world and fell to around 40. Then I again started with good results and reached a ranking of No. 12. I hope that another good wave and good games will come for me, and that I can go for an even better ranking.”
Troicki has always been a very “hot-and-cold” player, on fire one match and crumpling in the next. Hell, he will even indulge you with both versions in a single match! Case in point, after losing a first set 6-0 to Andy Roddick in Washington, D.C. a few years ago, Troicki came back and played lights out tennis, winning the last two sets 6-2, 6-4, en route quieting an entire stadium.
Continued results like these are what make him an entertaining yet puzzling player to watch. His seemingly turbulent on court mindset yelling at his racquet and talking back at loud fans, may seem off-putting to a spectator but it’s also what gives breath to his game. When it doubt, the louder he yells, the more he pounds his chest and the more self-deprecating he is, the better his results. Lately though, as his wins have dwindled, so to have his wit and savage charm on court. But perhaps the introduction of a relaxed coach in Reader will make all right with the world again and the fire will be restored.
Miami, FL – December 2nd, 2012: Stadium Court at Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne, FL. was buzzing on Saturday afternoon, as fans piled-in to witness the highly anticipated headline match on day two of the Miami Tennis Cup.
Andy Murray and Andy Roddick took part in an afternoon 12 and under coaching clinic before returning to the locker room to prepare for the day’s spectacle. Roddick, known for his on-court antics, taunted the crowd before serving the first point, which set the tone for what was to come. “Are you tired yet?” he asked Murray after the first game. Roddick dominated Murray from the start of the first set, as Murray seemed sluggish around the court, compared to a grunting and aggressive Roddick. Roddick won the majority of his first service points, which gave him a home-court advantage and Murray couldn’t seem to gain any type of lead with breaking Roddick’s serve. Roddick broke two of Murray’s service games in the first set to take a 6-2 lead. Despite Murray’s attempts to out-rally Roddick, the retired American gave fans a taste of his old baseline perseverance as he dug even deeper in to the second set to take it 6-3.
“I could feel Andy’s intimidation from his end of the court when he saw how round I’d become,” said Roddick, referring to the 4 pounds of weight gained since retiring. “I must admit, he didn’t look good at all,” Murray responded. “If we had gone to three sets, I’m sure I would have had full body cramp,” Roddick smiled. Murray may have admitted to taking it easy on Roddick, as the exhibition match marks the beginning of Murray’s training season towards the Australian Open.
Shortly after the tournament’s headline match, the top-ranked American, John Isner, took to the court against the world’s number 11 Nicolás Almagro in the other semi final. The Spaniard edged past Isner 6-3 6-4 in roughly 90 minutes.
“I think I felt a little more comfortable than him on the court,” said Almagro.
The final of the Miami Tennis Cup will feature Andy Roddick against Nicolás Almagro on Stadium Court starting at 5:00pm.