Roddick, Sampras Cash Grabs, Kids Out Windows; Tennis-X Notes
by Staff | February 19th, 2010
  • 37 Comments

CASH GRAB — Andy Roddick’s annual blowing off of most of the European claycourt season in 2010 will include an April 10 exhibition match, the Caesars Tennis Classic at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, where he will face newly-retired cash grabber Marat Safin in a three-set exhibition match. “It’s a good way to stay sharp while you’re still in the middle of a season without the pressure and expectation of having to play a full week of a tournament,” Roddick explained. “For me, I’d rather (play exhibitions) in April…as opposed to cramming everything into the offseason in December when you normally see guys do a bunch of exhibitions.” Got to get those exos in somewhere. Ivan Lendl and Mats Wilander will also play, and Venus Williams will not play but will host(?!?). “It’s the absolute worst position to be the active player,” Roddick said of playing retired player like Safin. “There’s zero room to actually win. If you play well and win convincingly, then you’re a butt head. And if you lose, then it’s like the old guy beating the young guy. So it’s a little bit weird.”

INJURY OUTLOOK — Rafael Nadal (Spain, knee), David Nalbandian (Argentina, leg) and Juan Martin del Potro (Argentina, wrist) will both likely miss the March 5-7 Davis Cup for their respective countries with injuries.

CAN’T TOUCH THIS — Pete Sampras on the record Roger Federer will never break, and likely no player ever: “The six years in a row at [year-end] No. 1 is probably something that’s going to stay for a little while. That’s one I’m proud of, and I worked hard to get that. That’s going to be tough to break.”

According to the AP, Sampras said while playing an exhibition at the ATP event in San Jose that he’s interested in working for the USTA with young tennis players in the Los Angeles area — but wants to be largely compensated. “I’m available for services,” he said. Pete can show U.S. juniors how to hang their heads, put little back into the game, blow off the media and duff backhands with the best of them. If Pete is hurting for cash we’d rather see him go on one of those Celebrity Island shows. Pete needs some good PR rep, he needs to hire Tiger Woods’ guys, hold an ‘I’m more than a dull, cheap (via Agassi’s book) greedy guy’ press conference.

From the Dubai City Guide on the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships: “Nobody could have foreseen the building of one of the most imposing yet intimate tennis stadiums seen anywhere on the ATP and WTA Tours, except perhaps for Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director of tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free.” Godlike!

MISC – Four men have been announced as the new faces of Calvin Klein Underwear in an advertising campaign: actors Kellan Lutz, Mehcad Brooks, and athletes Fernando Verdasco and Hidetoshi NakataTommy Haas, engaged to American actress Sara Foster, is now also a U.S. citizen: “In Tampa, along with about 300 other immigrants from over 70 different countries, I raised my right hand to swear the oath of allegiance. I desperately wanted to do this because the United States have really become my home over the past years and that’s why I considered it a logical step to apply for naturalization.” Haas says he will continue to play Davis Cup for Germany…Dinara Safina skipped Dubai citing her ongoing back problem…Serena Williams had a Super Bowl hangove…uh, cited a leg injury in dropping out of the Paris event last week…From tennis writer Sandra Harwitt: “The U.S. Fed Cup came to France without the country’s key women players, recent Australian Open champion Serena Williams and sister Venus Williams. The Williamses, minority owners in the Miami Dolphins, claimed they had responsibility to go to the NFL team’s owners meeting, although those meetings usually host only majority share owners, held in conjunction with Super Bowl week in Miami.”…17-year-old Brit comer Heather Watson on traveling with her mom at the USTA Pro Circuit event in Midland, Mich.: “On the [pro] tour, it can get quite lonely. I’m glad to have my mom here, because it’s nice to have her around and supporting me. And sometimes she tries to give me some tennis advice, but I don’t listen.”…The Bryan Brothers’ San Jose curse continued last week — they’ve now played the event nine times without raising the trophy…Jelena Jankovic announced she is moving her training base camp from Bradenton, Fla., to Dubai…Florida newspapers report that Tommy Haas has dropped his middle name “Mario.” Is it April Fool’s Day already?…Stefan Koubek got left off the Austrian Davis Cup team, reportedly due to a rift with the federation…Kei Nishikori is returning to the tour from an elbow injury as a wildcard at Delray Beach, the title he won in 2008…Anna Kournikova’s mother was formally charged with felony child neglect in Florida, arrested last month when she left her 5-year-old alone in the house and he jumped out a second-story window (to try and escape?). Then he apparently jumped in the pool, telling a passerby his feet hurt from the jump. You can’t make stuff this good up…Russian Dmitry Tursunov has pulled from Delray Beach to have ankle surgery.


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37 Comments for Roddick, Sampras Cash Grabs, Kids Out Windows; Tennis-X Notes

Reaniel Says:

As I’ve commented over at SI.com before… Pete’s record of consecutive years as year-end #1 in ranking is unlikely to be broken for a few decades… just as Roger’s record of consecutive weeks as #1 will not be broken any time soon ;)

Roger’s “Prime” came a bit late compare to Pete, and having a down year (as #2? :P) while Rafa was on fire ended that possibility.


jane Says:

Have “exos” always existed in tennis, or is this something of recent years? Just curious as it seems that there of more of them lately, that it’s kind of a growing trend. Either that, or we hear more about them nowadays.

Roddick vs. Safin would be fun to see.


NELTA Says:

Roddick has improved his tennis and fitness since hooking up with Larry Stefanki. The downside of playing better and being 15 pounds lighter is you are going to do a lot more running in match play. I think the wear and tear is catching up to him so if there is a time for Andy to lighten up the schedule it would be the clay court season where he has a 0% chance of winning the French Open.

He does have a legitimate shot at winning Wimbledon this year so he must be healthy and rested heading into the short grass court season.


Hypnos Says:

Why the hate on Pete? He knows his price.

He picks and chooses his charity efforts, just like everyone else.


Ben Pronin Says:

Jane, exhos were even more popular in the 70s and 80s. Borg, McEnroe, Connors played tons of exhibition matches (often against each other) and sometimes these exhos were more significant that regular tournaments. The Pepsi Grand Slam was a particularly popular event and Borg credits his win over Connors there as the turning point in their rivalry. I’m pretty sure it’s the only exho match that’s included in 2 players’ h2h on the ATP site.

The point is, I think the reason exhos are pointed out more often today is because it makes the players sound like hypocrits, i.e. they complain about the length of the season then go and play all these exhos.


jane Says:

Thanks for the reply Ben; I can’t say that I watched any of those 70s exhos, or I don’t remember them as such, if I did. I did watch tennis a little bit back then but I was pretty young. I remember the 80s and 90s better, but again, I don’t have memories of exhos per se.


Voicemale1 Says:

The “staff” (and even Sean Randall in his posts) constantly maligns “Cash Grabs” by tennis players, and it’s pure class envy egalitarian claptrap. If the companies sponsoring the Exos pays these people whatever dollars they pay them, you can rest assured the companies shelling out the dollars are doing so for one reason only: they stand to gain more than they shell out. It’s a business decision. They don’t pay these guys out of idolatry, charity or sympathy. And any players price that’s too high doesn’t get invited. It’s just that simple.

The redistributionist, fairness-blathering mouthpieces of the world constantly wail about what others earn – at least when what they earn is more than them. It’s as if they somehow they think they’re either are entitled to part of it, or think those who make such money need to have it taken away so that the redistributionists feel so much better about their own mediocrity. Which is basically an example of the “misery loves company” Truth Of Life. If the sponsors pay the players what they do, it’s nobody’s business who gets what. The players (and for that matter those who pay them) work extremely hard to reach their success. And it’s clearly not the business of any ankle-biting, envious egalitarians who think THEY should decide what someone else should or shouldn’t have in terms of property, all in the name of placating or tranquilizing their anxieties of inadequacy.

I say let the players get what they can. They earned it. And G-d Bless Them :)


andrea Says:

i’m going to use the word ‘redistributionist’ at least once next week…somewhere.

:)


Sean Randall Says:

More and more of these exos are popping up! And I echo Voicemale in saying if the players can get it, then get it! With one caveat: no complaining.


Sean Randall Says:

Roddick and Sam tonight. I actually think Sam wins and gets revenge for last week.


Von Says:

The exhos seem to be the new norm for retired and/or active players nowadays. Even though it appears to be a “cash grab” for the players, it does give the fans an opportunity to see the past greats and/or present day players play, for a nominal cost to the fan, who would not normally shell out $200+ to see a match at an MS or 500 event. I’d say, for the players, it’s a form of relaxation, doing what they do best, and having fun with their colleagues. And, in Roddick’s/Safin’s case, a means to mend broken bridges, in view of Safin’s recent degradation of Roddick, as the one player he dislikes most, or was that outburst from Marat, just taradiddle? LOOL

When we consider that the exhos are only one match as opposed to the tournaments, then I think we’re being a bit unfair to criticize the players for their participation, by throwing in the length of season complaints as an argument. For example, the smallest tourney, 250 series, a player has to play at least 4 rounds if he makes it to the finals, whereas, an exho is only one match. Not to mention, the absence of the stress factor, as they don’t have to be concerned about ranking, et al.

I can see that some will view the players complaints with respect to the lengthy season as whining, but we need to cut them some slack, as these are two different scenarios.


Von Says:

Thank you, Sean Randall, for not picking Roddick to win vs. Querrey. Every time you do, he loses …..

I think Roddick is suffering from a severe dip in confidence with respect to his serve, especially when closing out a set, ever since that fatal Wimby loss.OUCH


Ben Pronin Says:

Considering how little tennis players make compared to football, basketball, golf, and baseball players, let them grab as much cash as they can.


Kimmi Says:

Querrey needs to show some fire, he was so subdued in Memphis. No fist pump..NOTHING! He had a lot of good shots to get himself pumped up in that match. A little bit of fire is what will give him that never die attitude.

On a positive note, I like his FH. If he can learn to control this shot..it can be the money shot for him.


Kimmi Says:

“Querrey needs to show some fire, he was so subdued in Memphis…”

S/b San Jose not Memphis!


jane Says:

Von, didn’t Sean get it right last time (i.e., he picked Roddick to win and he did)? Also, I hadn’t thought about Roddick having difficulties serving matches out since the heart-breaking loss at Wimbledon, but that’s an interesting theory. He got all the way to a 5th set versus both Isner and Cilic in the last two slams and then he lost at the last moment. Similarly, he was right with Verdasco until the end last week. Hmmmm… Hope he gets over it if this is the case. He did win Brisbane, at least, so that must’ve been a bit of a boost to begin the year.


Von Says:

jane: Not when he picked Roddick to beat Verdasco at San Jose = jinx. LOL.


Von Says:

I should clarify my statement from ‘every time’ to ‘most times’ with respect to Sean’s pick and/or predictions.

It’s doubtful the players will please everyone or most of us with respect to their on-court behaviour. Some fans of the sport, *hate* a certain few players for their on-court fire and/or behaviour, and then we see those same fans wanting to see more fire from other players, … very interesting ….


Kimmi Says:

I have not watched too many of sam’s matches but last week in San Jose I realise he was very subdued..don’t know if that is the norm for him or it was just that day. Fire is always good, too much of it probably distructing but any fire when they wins a tough point or big point is always good to watch. If I am not mistaken, there was a bit of fist pump there when he won the set. Way to go..


jane Says:

Roddick has sure come back into it in the second set; actually he was in it in the first set too, but Sam was able to edge him out. Sam seems to put a lot of pressure on Andy’s second serve.


jane Says:

Skorocel, your men’s hockey team fared pretty well against Russia today, causing the upset in the shoot out.


Kimmi Says:

Querry has won something like 12 out of the last 13 points. Roddick making a lot of errors at the moment

2 break for Sam..can Roddick come back here?


jane Says:

Yeah, Kimmi, Sam is really running away with the match. He’s about to go 5-love in the 3rd. Wow. Are you watching this? I have been following scores only so I can’t “see” what’s happening. Can you tell me? Roddick’s serve seems to be okay (70% first serves in 9 aces) so what’s going on?


jane Says:

Well, I hope Sam is in the final now. Heck, maybe he’ll face Gulbis (contador??) who is surprisingly making it through the draw.


Kimmi Says:

Yes, I am watching live. Roddick was pretty good throughout the match (1st and 2nd set). In the third set while Roddick serving..Roddick was 40-15 with two game points. He made 2 uncharacteristics errors to bring Sam to Duece. Sam hit a BH down the line to get a breakpoint, Roddick then got distracted and double fault to give the break..imo he was not the same from there. Sam then went to win series of points..the commentator at one time said 16 out of 17 points. Roddick could not recover..


Kimmi Says:

Jane, Yeah Gulbis..it will be good if he can get his 1st title but Sam has done very well to beat the top seed. I say Sam will go thru but Gulbis has surprised everyone so far…


jane Says:

Kimmi, I was kind of hoping Sam and Gulbis could meet in the final, but I just checked the draw and they play next, in the semis. On the other side of the draw, I am guessing Isner will come through, so no matter what, it looks like it’ll be a “young guns” final. Could be kind of exciting.


Dan Martin Says:

If Roger finishes 2010 at #1 – a long way off but quite possible he would finish 6 years at #1 just not consecutively. Fed finished 03 and 08 at #2 so his current 7 year streak of finishing in one of the top two spots is pretty solid. I doubt anyone gets 6 in a row anytime soon. Pete benefited in that streak from Andre pulling the plug on his 95 season more or less after the U.S. Open final even though Andre could still have finished 95 at #1 with a decent fall campaign. Becker also gave Sampras a wild card he had received in the fall of 98 when Pete was trying to fend off Rafter and Rios to end 98. No doubt Roger benefited in 2009 from Rafa’s injuries.

For those and other reasons, I just look at a lot of the stats around the #1 ranking as being less credible than titles won. Hewitt finished 2 years at #1 and spent something like 68 more weeks at #1 than Boris Becker who finished 0 years at #1 and something like 12 total weeks at #1. By that metric Hewitt had a much better career than Boris; yet no one could seriously argue that point if more context is taken into account. Connors finished 1977 at #1 despite Vilas winning two majors (French and U.S. Opens) and 13 or 14 other events while Jimbo failed to win a major. I could go on but my point is stats around rankings are ok so long as other context is also factored into the evaluation.

I feel for Pete in one sense. Pete did really motivate himself with various all time records and the one’s he set looked unassailable in the near future when he retired in Sept. 2002 only to have all but one or two of his major records broken or under serious threat of being tied/broken in February 2010.


Ben Pronin Says:

Looking at Sampras’s number 1, he has credible stats, though. In 95, even though Agassi was ahead, Sampras did win 2 slams that year. And in 98, he really busted his ass to get the top spot. He was a real number 1, too, not like Hewitt who was a transition number 1.


Dan Martin Says:

Ben,

I agree Pete would have been my #1 for 95 even if Agassi had salted away his computer lead after the 95 U.S. Open. I think 1998 was Pete’s worst year that he finished at #1, but he had a better year on balance than Rafter or Rios. 6 consecutive years finished at #1 is unreal. Since every weekly ranking is a 52 week ranking Pete’s 286 weeks at #1 is also unreal even if it is more apt to fall. Tennis has kept computer rankings since sometime in 1973 (I think) and Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Roger Federer and Pete Sampras have held the #1 ranking for over 21 of those 37 years that weekly computer rankings have been released. (Mind boggling to me)


Kimo Says:

Speaking of records that will never be broken…

This was posted on Tennis.com:

“Ivo Karlovic’s 32 aces in his 7-6(6), 7-6(4) first-round win over Benjamin Becker at Memphis was a record for a two-set match, say ATP officials.

Karlovic also holds the record for most aces hit in a match, producing 78 in a five-set loss to Radek Stepanek in the Davis Cup semifinals last year.

Ace records will be on the line in the Croat’s next match as well, with the 6’10″ Karlovic to meet the 6’9″ John Isner in the Memphis quarterfinals.”


Kimo Says:

To elaborate on my last post, 32 aces is the equivalent of 8 games.

DAMN!!!!


Kam Retnasami Says:

Here is another record Federer will never break – the 109 singles ATP titles held by Connors. To me, this is the most impressive record in the history of tennis.


Skorocel Says:

jane: „Skorocel, your men’s hockey team fared pretty well against Russia today, causing the upset in the shoot out.“

Yeah, that was a big surprise (same as the match between your fellow Canadians and the Swiss team, who almost got the win)! Russia currently possess perhaps the greatest offensive in the world (Ovechkin, Malkin, Datsyuk, or Kovalchuk to name a few), but then again, let’s not get too far ahead with this win, as the „real“ tournament starts from the quarterfinals on… I just hope they won’t screw up their last group match vs the Latvians (which would be a bummer!)…


Skorocel Says:

Ben: It’s true that those Sampras‘ 6 cons. year end No. 1 finishes won’t be broken anytime soon, but then again, Fed has a pretty decent chance to finish the year as No. 1 seven times, which would virtually eclipse that Pete’s record as well…


Tennis Racquet Says:

The Exos are where it’s at. Prince went backwards in the last few years and they’re finally moving in the right direction with the EXO3.

Just my own opinion.


jane Says:

Skorocel, from the hockey I’ve seen, it looks like the men’s could yield some Olympic surprises (women’s looks way less competitive obviously – with a couple of teams pretty dominant). Even now, the Swiss vs. Norway game is really tight through the first period. Lots of intensity. Good luck to your giant-killers next round…

http://www.montrealgazette.com/sports/Giant+killers+abound+early+games/2590921/story.html

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