17 Feb Roddick and Ivanisevic Play To The Crowd
Team USA Clinches Victory Despite Ivanisevic Win
Sunday Finale Matches Grand Slam Winners Roddick & Ivanisevic
By STEVE DORSEY
DELRAY BEACH – Former World No. 1 and South Florida native Andy Roddick appropriately put the finishing touches Sunday on a Team USA rout of Team International at the ATP Delray Beach Open Champions Tour event.
Roddick, who attended high school at nearby Boca Raton Prep and played his first ATP World Tour tournament at the Delray Beach Tennis Center, defeated Goran Ivanisevic 6-4, 6-3 in the last of nine matches contested here over three days. Roddick’s straight-sets victory was the eighth for Team USA, with Ivanisevic collecting Team International’s only win in the format implemented for the first time this year.
Aaron Krickstein’s 6-1, 6-4 win against Mikael Pernfors and Jan-Michael Gambill’s forfeit win over injured Mats Wilander in Sunday’s other matches gave Team USA a sweep of the final day’s competition.
Roddick and Ivanisevic treated the largest crowd of the weekend to an entertaining display of tennis, on-court banter and jokes throughout Sunday’s match. Ivanisevic, who was a World No. 1 in 1988, showed he still can compete at age 42, and showed off some, too, with between-the-legs shots and even a soccer-style header at the net.
“I really enjoyed myself, maybe too much,” Ivanisevic said. “I always have a good time. Andy’s a cool guy. He takes the jokes well. He can still do damage to a lot of guys (on the World Tour) if he practiced.”
This was the first Champions Tour event for Roddick, who retired from the World Tour following the 2012 U. S. Open, which he won in 2003. He won all three of his matches here this weekend, but admitted after Sunday’s match that he anticipates being a little sore on Monday.
“Goran and I talked before the match. The team competition was over, so we wanted to entertain the fans,” said Roddick, whose crowd-pleasing imitations of Andre Agassi and John McEnroe brought laughs in the second set. “It was fun.”
Roddick also found time during a break of his match against Ivanisevic to respond to a scoreboard promotion tweeting contest sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts. He was the first to respond and was hand-delivered a box of official Delray Beach Open donuts, and promptly opened the box and began munching on one.
Krickstein, who is the director of tennis at nearby St. Andrew’s Country Club, said he hopes Roddick continues to play in Champions Tour events, particularly the Delray Beach Open.
“The tour needs great names all the time,” said Krickstein, who won two of his three matches despite having not played a competitive match since this event last year. “It’s important for guys like Andy to stay involved in the game. I wish they had more of these in the United States.”
The ATP World Tour tournament here begins Monday with seven matches scheduled beginning at 11 a.m. (EST), including the final round of qualifying for the remaining four spots in the singles main draw. The evening headliner will match American Sam Querrey against No. 6 seed Feliciano Lopez of Spain. The only main draw afternoon match on Monday will match American Jack Sock against Adrian Mannarino of France.
American Wayne Odesnik, the No. 1 seed in the singles qualifying draw, needed three sets Sunday to hold off a strong challenge by wildcard entry Segou Bangoura of Bradenton, Fla., 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-4. Odesnik must get past German Mischa Zverev, the No. 7 seed in the qualifying draw, on Monday to earn a spot in the main draw. Zverev breezed to a 6-0, 6-0 win against South Floridian Zachary Pelts on Sunday.
Tommy Haas, the tournament’s No. 1 seed, will play his first match on Tuesday.