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 Nakata…Tommy 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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