By Leighton Ginn
Andy Roddick said one of the appeals of playing in the International Tennis Hall of Fame exhibition on July 17 is the opportunity to return to his favorite surface, grass.
Roddick was a three-time finalist at the most storied grass-court tournament, Wimbledon. But Roddick has not played on the surface since the 2012 Olympics, which was held at the All England Club, the home of Wimbledon. A few weeks later, Roddick would retire from the tour, but continues playing on the seniors’ PowerShares Legends Series, which is part of the July 17 event in Newport, R.I.
“There’s not a lot of grass court tennis available for retired players,” Roddick joked during one of two conference calls on July 13. “Grass was my favorite surface to play on, so any excuse to get back on that court and play on grass is a win all the way around for me. I’m excited about it.”
Roddick will join James Blake, Mark Philippoussis and 2016 Hall of Fame inductee Marat Safin in the exhibition. Joining Safin as an inductee will be Justine Henin. Two other honorees, Yvon Petra and Margaret Scriven, will be inducted posthumously.
It will be the first time Roddick will play in Newport, R.I., as he missed the ATP event during his career.
Although he never made it to Newport, Roddick is knowledgable of the history, which makes it appealing for him this weekend.
And grass is the perfect surface, as much of the history of tennis was played on grass.
It also helps that grass was one of the surfaces that suited Roddick’s game, featuring a rocket serve and power forehands.
“On some other surfaces, the slower surfaces, I had to make more adjustments than I did on grass,” Roddick said. “What I did well as a player translated well on grass, and it just made sense to me.”
Roddick’s shoes from his 2003 US Open title are on display in the museum. In the future, Roddick hopes more than his shoes will be displayed in the Hall of Fame.
In addition to his US Open title, Roddick was a former No. 1 and led the US to a Davis Cup title.
“That’s the goal of any tennis player because it’s the pinnacle achievement for what can happen to you post-career,” Roddick said. “I almost feel weird talking about it, because you feel undeserving when you look at the people who have been inducted. But it’s natural to think about. I certainly hope to be considered.”