The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Other Sports

June 6, 2014

Roddick to join legends at Greenbrier

Former No. 1 will play at resort in September event

The Greenbrier Champions Tennis Classic will be back for its third year this September, and a new name will likely infuse even more excitement into what has become a popular event.

Tennis legends Pete Sampras and John McEnroe will be back for the third straight year, while current tour player Tommy Haas will be back after his first appearance in 2013. The new face is that of Andy Roddick, who reached No. 1 in the world before retiring in 2012.

“I’m excited to visit The Greenbrier for the first time in September to play some tennis,” Roddick said in a release. “It’s a great opportunity to stay connected with the fans, and I’m looking forward to playing Pete, who was always an idol of mine.”

The event will begin Sept. 20 with a singles match pairing McEnroe against Haas. That will be followed by a singles showdown between Sampras, The Greenbrier’s recently-named tennis pro emeritus, and Roddick.

On Sunday, the “veterans,” McEnroe and Sampras, will take on the “young guns,” Haas and Roddick, in a doubles match.

Combined, the four stars of the event have won 22 Grand Slam men’s singles titles and nine Grand Slam men’s doubles titles.

“We are so excited to welcome Pete, John and Tommy back to The Greenbrier to continue the legacy of tennis at the resort, which dates back to the 1890s, for a new generation of guests and fans,” said Greenbrier owner Jim Justice. “Year after year, we’ve been thrilled to introduce new star players to our Champions Tennis Classic, and the addition of Andy Roddick to this year’s roster is bound to bring it to a whole new level.”

Roddick, who is married to model and actress Brooklyn Decker, turned pro in 2000 and won the U.S. Open title in 2003, rising to No. 1 in the world. He became the youngest ATP Player of the Year that same year, and he spent most of the next decade ranked in the top 10.

The Omaha, Neb., native, who now resides in Austin, Texas, posted a 612-213 singles record, winning 32 career titles. He made the Wimbledon finals three times but never won. He’s known for his powerful serve and big forehand.

His singles opponent for The Greenbrier Champions Tennis Classic, Sampras, is an International Tennis Hall of Fame member, who won 14 Grand Slam Titles during his professional career from 1988 through 2002. He had a 762-222 singles record and was No. 1 for six consecutive years from 1993 through 1998.

“I’m really looking forward to my return trip to The Greenbrier this fall for the Tennis Classic, now in its third year,” said Sampras. “John (McEnroe) and I always have a great time during the tournament.”

McEnroe is a seven-time Grand Slam winner, know for his explosive temper, as well as nearly 900 singles victories. He was No. 1 in the world in 1980.

McEnroe, who’s now a popular tennis analyst, also had an ultra-successful doubles career, posting a 530-103 career record with 71 titles. He was ranked No. 1 in doubles for a record 257 weeks.

“It’s really great to see The Greenbrier continue this tournament,” said McEnroe. “It’s a beautiful resort, and my wife Patty and I have a great time every time we stay there.”

Haas is the only member of the foursome still active in professional tennis. He was ranked as high as No. 2 in the world in 2002 and is currently No. 17. He has a 556-311 career singles record and has captured 15 career titles. He’s advanced to the semifinals of a Grand Slam on seven different occasions, but has never played in a final.

A pro since 1996, the German-born Haas, who now has homes in Florida and California, was honored as the ATP Comeback Player of the Year for the second time in 2012. He recently defeated Stanislas Wawrinka, ranked No. 3 in the world, in the Italian Open.

“I’m very excited to once again be part of The Greenbrier’s Champions Tennis Classic,” said Haas. “Anytime there is an event like this where I get to play against my idols, it’s an incredible experience. Hopefully, I’ll be able to bring my family this time and get to experience the whole resort.”

The matches will be played outside on the clay courts weather permitting but will move indoors in the event of rain.

Tickets are available for both days, starting at $100 per seat. Meet and Greet sessions with the players are also available for $25 per session. To purchase tickets, visit www.greenbrier.com/tennisclassic or call 1-888-302-5441.

— E-mail: chuffman

@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.

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