When the PowerShares Series comes to Newport this weekend the tournament will mark Andy Roddick’s first time on grass courts since the 2012 Olympics and his first time at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport ever.
“There aren’t many places in tennis that are first-time visits for me at this point. I was just texting with Todd Martin and I said, ‘I can’t wait to get the tour of the actual Hall of Fame.’ I consider myself a tennis historian. I was a fan long before I played any tennis of record, so I couldn’t be more excited to be there and see the festivities and to play on the hallowed grounds,” said Roddick.
PowerShares Newport is a special one-day event that has been added to the event festivities over Rolex Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend. The tournament will feature two one-set semifinals and one final, with Roddick taking on Aussie great Mark Philippoussis, followed by a match between James Blake and new Hall of Famer Marat Safin, who will be inducted on the day prior. The winners of those matches will then play a one-set final.
This is the first year of a three-year event partnership with the PowerShares Series and also the first time the PowerShares Series will play a match on grass courts.
“There aren’t a whole lot of grass court opportunities for retired players. So this has given me a great excuse to get back out on the courts and play on my favorite surface,” said Roddick. “It’s actually my first time playing on grass since the 2012 Olympics.”
Roddick, a former world No. 1 and the 2003 US Open Champion, retired from the ATP World Tour not too long after those Games, with his last match being played at the 2012 US Open.
“I’ve never stopped loving to play tennis. It’s just something I really enjoy and has been a huge part of my life since I was a kid,” he said. “It’s unbelievable to go out there and play the people you played with, and also play your heroes. To be able to play Jim Courier and John McEnroe and Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, and then in Newport you play some contemporary friends of yours like James Blake, Mardy Fish has played this year, Marat is playing the day after he’s inducted — he might need some aspirin — it’s just exciting.”
Roddick has seen success through the PowerShares Series, already notching two titles this season and maintaining his No. 1 ranking on tour. Over the past few years, he’s won 22 PowerShares Series titles total.
“A small part of you still wants to be able to play at a high level, and it’s always fun to have an atmosphere with fans and feel like it’s a real match again. You get that amount of ego on one court with four players, you obviously want to win. The difference is, now if it doesn’t work out, it probably doesn’t ruin my day. You just might have a beer with the guy that beat you now,” Roddick said Wednesday during a conference call with reporters.
Roddick will be in Newport over an exciting weekend when his peer Marat Safin is inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
“Whenever you talk about Marat, everyone gets this wry smile, this mischievous grin. I think that’s one of the endearing qualities about what he brought to the game,” Roddick said. “There’s obviously the crazy amount of talent, but I think the thing that makes him most memorable is the personality, kind of the raw emotion, the raw honesty. … Ending his career in the Hall of Fame is exactly where he deserves to be. I’m excited to be there and see it, and like every tennis fan in the world, I think we’re all excited to hear what might come out of his mouth when he’s on stage this weekend and looking back on his own career.”
PowerShares Legends Newport will be played at 11 am on Sunday, July 17. Tickets for the event also include access to the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships final.