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12:03AM

Mardy Fish is Winning at Life

by JAMES HENRY

ATLANTA – The scoreboard showed a different result. It would be 2014 finalist Dudi Sela advancing to the second round of the BB&T Atlanta Open.

But Mardy Fish, playing only his second tennis match in nearly two years, still was a winner.

“It was a success just to get out there and play,” said the tournament’s 2010 and 2011 champion.

Fish has been sidelined by anxiety-related issues. He retired in the third round of the Winston-Salem Open in August 2013 and, after a year-and-a-half hiatus, attempted a comeback at the BNP Paribas Open in March earlier this year.

The winner of six ATP World Tour singles titles plans to retire at the U.S. Open this fall, after competing in Cincinnati next month.

Fish said he is grateful to finish his career on his own terms, reconnecting with the sport and people he cherishes.

“I’d love to win some matches, but that’s not in the forefront of my mind,” he said. 

“This sport, my job, was taken from me so abruptly that it took me a long time to sort of get my life back. I have different goals now than I did a couple years ago – just to play again, just to compete out here again in this tournament is a blast.”

“It’ll be a lot different at the Open, I’m sure,” he added.

Fish is speaking candidly of his crippling panic attacks and strides to overcome them, hoping his story helps others.

Click to read more ...

5:11PM

Rising Star Frances Tiafoe Ready to Work

by JAMES HENRY

ATLANTA – Frances Tiafoe. If you don’t already know it, it’s a name you should remember.

Just 17 years old, the son of immigrants from Sierra Leone already is being touted as the next U.S. tennis star. 

His talent – raw, but undeniably impressive – was on display during the Celebration of American Tennis exhibition at the BB&T Atlanta Open.

As his hero Andy Roddick, retired former World No. 1 and winner of the 2003 U.S. Open, hit ace after ace after ace, Tiafoe’s sharp eyes, quick coordination and solid forehand allowed him to return a blistering 140 mph serve.

“I think I’m playing better and better every day,” he said, adding he has grown a lot stronger since he competed in the qualifying draw of the Atlanta tournament a year ago.

Click to read more ...

6:06PM

Roddick Dances Again in Atlanta

by JAMES HENRY

ATLANTA – Andy Roddick knows what it takes to win – and he’s willing to share that knowledge with the next generation.

Retiring in 2012 at the U.S. Open, where he was the champion in 2003, he is the last North American male tennis player to win a Grand Slam singles event.

On July 27, Roddick was set to participate in the Celebration of American Tennis exhibition with 17-year-old junior tennis player Frances Tiafoe, touted as the next U.S. tennis star.

Also at the BB&T Atlanta Open, the 32-year-old agreed to come out of retirement to play doubles with longtime friend Mardy Fish, the Atlanta trophy winner in 2010 and 2011.

“This is always a place I’ve really enjoyed playing. It’s where I won my first title, and it’s where I won my last title,” said Roddick, the champion in 2001 and 2012.

In all, the former World No. 1 claimed 32 ATP World Tour singles titles, including five Masters 1000 singles titles. He also reached four other Grand Slam finals – Wimbledon in 2004, 2005 and 2009 and the U.S. Open in 2006, losing to icon Roger Federer every time.

Roddick conceded that his return is “a little awkward.”

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2:28PM

Rafa Named the New Face of Spanish Olives

 

Fresh from the wires, a story in Olive Oil Times (I know, I didn’t know about this site either until yesterday) announcing Rafa as the celebrity face of Interaceituna’s “Olives From Spain” campaign to promote the greatness of their homegrown table olives and olive oil.

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10:22PM

@IvoKarlovic's Favorite Things

Aside from being a fantastic tennis player with a crushing serve, Ivo is also known for his sense of humor - especially on Twitter (@IvoKarlovic). We caught up with him after his quarterfinal win over Dustin Brown and per usual, he kept us laughing throughout the interview. Despite the anticipation, we never got to his favorite guilty pleasure and you'll understand why. See the video above and/or the transcript below.

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8:02PM

Cheer Up! Classic Feliciano Lopez Shirt Change

In an attempt to ease the pain felt round the world today as the photos of Feli and Alba's wedding started popping up on Twitter, here's a nice little memory of his bachelor days. It was taken a few years ago but I doubt anyone will mind given the subject matter.

9:38AM

@DreddyTennis' Favorite Things

We caught up with Dustin after his first round win in Newport and, after all of the questions about his recent Wimbledon win over Rafa, we asked him about some of his favorite things.  His favorite cheat food happens to be a very popular option on tour! Check out the video above and/or the transcript below.

Click to read more ...