Andy Roddick never got to play a US Open match at historic Forest Hills Stadium at the West Side Tennis Club–the event had moved to Flushing in 1978, six years before he was born in Omaha, Nebraska. But his 2003 championship at the USTA National Tennis center that helped him vault to a No. 1 world ranking leaves lasting New York memories for the 32-time ATP Tour winner, ones which he hopes to rekindle next month when he makes his New York Empire presented by Citi debut.
“I feel like I grew up in tennis in New York,” he said on a teleconference on Wednesday. “I played doubles at age 16 there, won the US Open, retired there, played my last match in 2012. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows, but the fans there are with you all the way when you give it your all, and they let you know if you play bad. I love New York.”
Roddick, 33, will be the Marquee Player for the Empire on Tuesday, August 9, against the five-time defending Mylan WTT presented by Geico champion Washington Kastles and will compete in the team’s away contest at Philadelphia the following day. Roddick has been a steady presence on the World TeamTennis circuit, competing for several teams over nine seasons since 2000, and even has an ownership stake in the league.
“I hope to be able to win a couple of matches,” joked Roddick when asked about his role with the upstart franchise. “It’s a great move by World TeamTennis to take the New York team to Forest Hills, and that was one of the very appealing things for me to come and play this year. I’m a tennis historian and I’ve never been to Forest Hills. It’s a big deal for me.”
Roddick also looks forward to trading shots with one of his best friends, Mardy Fish, in the Kastles matchup.
“As a tennis buff, it’s all pretty close to as good as it gets,” he added.
The evening is one of six home matches in the inaugural Empire season, which begins July 31 and continues through August 12. Forest Hills Stadium will also host the Mylan WTT Championship match on Friday, August 26. Season and individual match tickets are available at http://www.nyempiretennis.com/.