American men’s tennis just got a little more interesting – at least for one week this summer.
Former world No. 1 and father-to-be Andy Roddick is coming out of retirement to play doubles with good friend Mardy Fish at the Atlanta Open, which begins July 27. Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, retired in 2012. Fish, a former Top 10 player, has been battling anxiety issues and hasn’t played a competitive match since August 2013.
“Obviously, with Mardy’s comeback, it’s been a pretty amazing story,” Roddick said on a conference call Monday. “We’ve been friends for a long time. We just wanted to play together one last time. I wanted to play with my friend and kind of share in his comeback a little bit.”
There had been some talk of them playing doubles at the U.S. Open, but Roddick and his wife, Brooklyn Decker, are expecting their first child in the fall, so Roddick “plans to be taking a lot of naps,” and opted for the Atlanta event.
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“We both love that tournament,” said Roddick, who turns 33 in August. “I hope I don’t embarrass myself out there. I’m real excited. I wasn’t a very good doubles player when I was actually good at tennis. Mardy is going to have to do the heavy lifting. … I plan on losing five pounds by the Atlanta tournament, then gaining 10 pounds back right away.”
Fish, 33, is eager to get back on the court. The night after he lost a match at the Sony Open on Key Biscayne in March 2012, his heart started racing and he sought medical attention. Fish returned to the tour at Wimbledon that summer, and reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open, but withdrew before playing Roger Federer.
“Obviously, it’s no secret, I’d love to go back to the U.S. Open, where it sort of all came crashing down for me in 2012, and sort of conquer that place,” said Fish, who reached a career-high ranking of No. 7 in 2011. “And by conquer, I mean just get back out on the court there. I have a lot of demons from that place.
“Unfortunately I can only look to Atlanta, just with how things have gone in the past few years. Still sort of fighting the battle of the anxiety disorder, trying to get a firm grip on how I feel after matches.”
LOCAL JUNIORS EXCEL
Seven South Florida junior players were crowned champions at the USTA Bobby Curtis Jr. State Championships last week in Daytona Beach and other Central Florida locations.
Winners included: University of Michigan freshman Alexander Knight (Miami Shores, Boys 18s), unseeded Shene Disbergen (Fort Lauderdale, Girls 18s) who upset No. 1 seed Mia Horvit of Palm City, Michael Heller (Weston, Boys 16s), Nina Gulbransen (Boca Raton, Girls 14s), Michael Nicholls (Aventura, Boys 12s), Charlotte Owensby (Boca Raton, Girls 12s) and Alexander Di Staulo (Weston, Boys 10s).
A team of South Florida players won the World Team Tennis National Qualifier in the 50-plus 4.5 division, and is headed to Indian Wells, Calif., Nov. 6-8 for the nationals. Team members are: Anne Maryse Lopez (Miami), Corinne Grana (Miami), Tine Hestbaek (Miami), Laurie Greenlaw (Ft. Myers), Ingela Svanstrom (Miami), Kerry Kendrick (Fort Myers), John Jerome (Naples), Pat Glaunert (Fort Myers), Jack Kane (Miami), Brian Lutz (Miami) and Werner Vondrak (Miami).
PARKS GET FUNDS
Henderson and Armbuster Parks were selected as part of the USTA Florida Diversity Outreach program to introduce tennis basics to children this summer and fall. Also, Friends of Miami Tennis, Inc., was named recipient of a $4,000 USTA Facility Funding grant for the installation of windscreens at the JD Redd Tennis Center in Homestead.