A quiet Saturday night in Key Biscayne gave a small but enthused group of tennis fans a chance to see the crossroads of two careers.
At the end of his, Andy Roddick defeated reigning Olympic gold medalist and U.S. Open champion Andy Murray in straight sets in front of an intimate crowd in the semifinals of the Miami Tennis Cup at Crandon Park Tennis Center.
With a self-described “four extra pounds” on his belly, the newly retired Roddick took down the other Andy 6-2, 6-3 in the headliner match between the two top seeds in the six-man exhibition tournament.
“I could feel Andy’s intimidation from his end of the court when he saw how round I’d become,” Roddick said. “I didn’t want that moment to be lost on him.”
Murray chimed in, saying that he told Roddick on Friday that he “really didn’t look good at all.”
With a 40-0 lead in the first game, Roddick asked Murray from across the court if he was tired yet. By the second set, he had taken a seat on the court.
“If we would have gone three sets, I would have had a full body cramp,” Roddick said, continuing to work on his comedic timing after the match. “It would have been awkward for all of you.”
It turns out that appearances aren’t everything, and Roddick still has it in him to play at his former high caliber against top-level talent such as Murray.
Roddick dominated Murray, winning more of his first serves than his 25-year-old opponent. It’s just the beginning of the training season for Murray, who couldn’t take the lead from Roddick in either set.
“He still hits the ball very, very well,” Murray said. “It was only a few months ago he was making a decent run at the U.S. Open.”
There’s something special about Crandon Park for Roddick. He attended an opening clinic for the facility when he was 10 years old. During his final year of professional play in March, he took down longtime rival Roger Federer for just the third time in his career.
“The first match I ever won on the ATP Tour was here; I dominated Federer on that court,” he said. “I enjoy coming back here; it’s a very familiar place for me.”
Leaving Murray behind, Roddick will face 11th-ranked Nicolas Almagro in Sunday’s final at the stadium. John Isner lost to the Spaniard in the second semifinal 6-3, 6-4.
“I think I felt a little bit more comfortable than him on the court,” Almagro said of his opponent.
Isner tried to rally in the second set, but ultimately Almagro held him pointless in the decisive game.
Regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s match, Roddick is happy to be spending time away from the rigors of tour travel and the toll it takes on a player’s body. He’s not looking for a return to the game.
“[Being a top player] is what I’ve been accustomed to; anything less than that was frustrating,” he said. “You want to compete to win tournaments, and I’m not sure that I could do that anymore.”