Throughout his tennis career, Andy Roddick has had a strong connection with the city of Houston. Some of the greatest success for the Austin, Texas resident came in the city when playing in the annual U.S. Clay Court Championships, the Davis Cup and the ATP’s year-ending Tennis Master Cup – all held at Houston’s Westside Tennis Club. Roddick will renew his love affair with Houston when he competes in the Camden Wealth Advisors Cup, part of the PowerShares Series “legends” tennis circuit (www.ChampionsSeriesTennis.com). Roddick will compete at the Toyota Center on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 7 pm alongside Andre Agassi, Jim Courier and James Blake. The following are Roddick’s top five tennis moments in Houston.
2001 U.S. Clay Court Championships
May 6, 2001 – Andy Roddick, at age 18, wins his second career singles title at the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships at the West Side Tennis Club in Houston, Texas, defeating Hyung-Taik Lee of South Korea, 7-5, 6-3 in the final. Roddick becomes the first American man since Andre Agassi 14 years earlier to win his first and second singles titles consecutively, following his tournament victory in Atlanta the previous week. “I’ll feel like I belong instead of being a charity case because I’m a young guy who can play a little bit,” Roddick says of moving up the ATP singles rankings, his win in Houston moving him to No. 46 in the rankings. In his semifinal win over Jerome Golmard the previous night, Roddick endured a four-hour, five minute rain delay before advancing to the final. After his win over Golmard, Roddick tells the 200 remaining fans in the stands that he will personally pay for their tickets to the final the next day.
2002 USA vs. Spain Davis Cup Quarterfinal
April 7, 2002 – Andy Roddick is the hero of the U.S. Davis Cup team and improves his undefeated record playing for his country to 7-0 defeating Alberto Martin 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 to clinch the United States victory over Spain in the Davis Cup quarterfinals on grass courts at the Westside Tennis Club. ‘The thing that I’m proud of is that I feel like I can be competitive on any surface,” Roddick says. ”I guess my surface of the moment is grass.” Roddick has 35 winners, including 17 aces, against Martin. He has 35 winners, with 9 aces, in his opening victory over Tommy Robredo. “ I freak out a little bit during Davis Cup,” says the 19-year-old Roddick. ”I can’t contain the joy I feel when the crowd is behind you. I just love it. Davis Cup is more important in my heart than an everyday Tour event. The juices are flowing as soon as I wake up.” Says U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe of Roddick, “’He absolutely has a presence and energy for Davis Cup. It’s hard to bottle that. He’s a leader, a perfect guy to have on your team.”
2002 U.S. Clay Court Championships
April 28, 2002 – With former President George W. Bush in attendance, 19-year-old Andy Roddick successfully defends his U.S. Clay Court Championship with a 7-6 (11-9), 6-3 victory over 30-year-old Pete Sampras in a “Battle of the Ages.” Roddick becomes the first player to win back-to-back U.S. Clay Court Championships since Argentine Jose-Luis Clerc in 1980 and 1981. The win comes just three weeks after Roddick leads the U.S. Davis Cup team to victory over Spain on grass also at the Westside Tennis Club. “He’s really the main focus of American tennis,” Sampras says of Roddick. “He has a lot of power and he has a great future.” Says Roddick, “I feel at home here in Houston. I’m a Texas boy at heart. If felt good to play good tennis here this week. The fans and the tournament bring out the best in me here in Houston.”
2003 ATP Tennis Masters Cup
Nov. 14, 2003 – Andy Roddick clinches the year-end No. 1 ranking with round-robin victories over Carlos Moya and Guillermo Coria at the year-end ATP Tennis Masters Cup at the Westside Tennis Club. Roddick, however, loses to eventual champion Roger Federer in the tournament semifinals. “I came here with one goal and that was to finish No. 1,” says Roddick after his round-robin win over Coria that moves him into the semifinals. “Now that I did that, everything else is kind of a little bit of a bonus.”
2005 U.S. Clay Court Championships
April 24, 2005 – Playing in his fifth consecutive final at the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships, Andy Roddick wins his third title at the event in Houston, Texas, defeating Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean 6-2, 6-2. The win his Roddick’s 17th career ATP singles title. Roddick needs only 70 minutes to take the final and he does not lose a set in the entire tournament. “I’ve never seen Andy play like that on clay, moving well, seeing the ball,” Grosjean says. “His kick serve was pretty high. Even when I returned, he was hitting so well.” It was Roddick’s fifth consecutive appearance in the clay-court final, the longest ATP tour streak of that kind since Russia’s Yevgeny Kafelnikov reaches the title match at Moscow from 1996 to 2001, winning the last five. Says Roddick, a resident of Austin, Texas, of his week, “It was the best I’ve played here at Westside,” Roddick says. “It’s a different week for me. It’s something as simple as being able to drive to a tournament and have your friends and parents watch, that makes it something special. The car is ready and I’ll be home in two and one-half hours.”