NY Sports Day
Joe McDonald

McDonald: Speaking of A-Rod…

Jennifer Pottheiser/NY Empire

Everyone is talking about A-Rod these days.

So let’s talk about A-Rod.

Andy Roddick that is.

Hey look, Alex Rodriguez rode the Fenway pine tonight, while Roddick came out of retirement to play for the New York Empire of World Team Tennis.

Let’s talk about the guy who actually is playing.

And did we mention the match was held at the West Side Tennis Club in Forrest Hills.

Yes, the same stadium that Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Billie Jean King, graced back in the 1970s.

Sure, the court was multi-colored and no longer grass, but Forrest Hills Stadium was back in the tennis business, which allowed Roddick to take something off his “bucket list.”

“I’m a bit of a tennis historian and a huge sports fan,” Roddick said before the match. “I don’t have many first left in tennis, but I got to play in Newport at the Hall of Fame for the first time. And to play here a month later is a big deal for me. I know the last time they played here was 1977. You kind of think the people who paved the way for the gigantic stadium not too far from here; the foundation was laid at this place. It’s fun to be here and I am proud to say, I played here once.”

Roddick’s Empire lost to the Washington Kastles, 22-13 and although he said he felt “slow” and not in the same shape as he was when he was No. 5 in the world, he enjoyed his time.

And don’t blame Roddick for the loss, because the 0-10, Christina McHale and Maria Ingoyen took against Washington in Women’s Singles and Doubles was the cause of the downfall.

But this is about A-Rod and much like his Yankee counterpart; he was always a very complex person and player.

However, time has mellowed the 33 year-old, who used to fight with the media with snarky comments and played with an arrogant chip on his shoulder.

Today, we saw a very well-spoken person, who now seems to understand what it is like to be in the fourth estate after spending time on Fox Sports 1. Roddick is also working on his foundation and enjoying being a dad.

That doesn’t mean he stays away from his former moneymaker. Besides playing in Forrest Hills and the occasional XO, he keeps an eye on American tennis.

“If you want to equate our young tennis players as a farm system in baseball, it hasn’t looked this good in 15 or 20 years,” he said. “I say the farm system in U.S. tennis has me excited where it doesn’t look like I am selling you dirt in a sandbox. We have some young prospects and the important thing is that it’s more than just a couple. I think it’s seven or eight deep, where it could create a healthy jealousy. I am actually excited how it’s going to look in five years.”

This was about today, though, with a nod from the past. Playing in Forrest Hills on a beautiful summer night is all Roddick needed.

It almost made you forget there’s another A-Rod everyone is talking about.


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