Roddick Dishes On Tiafoe, Isner & The New York Open
Former World No. 1 Andy Roddick has plenty of fond memories in New York. He is the last American man to win a Grand Slam, capturing the title at the 2003 US Open in Flushing Meadows. So visiting the New York Open for an exhibition ahead of its second edition, Roddick was happy to see an ATP Tour event in this area.
“It’s great. This market has so much history with the game. Obviously the US Open is the one that comes to mind. But the year-end Masters was here so many times. There’s so much tradition of tennis in Madison Square Garden,” Roddick said. “There is so much history in this market and it’s nice to see new tennis history being made with the New York Open.”
It’s not just that the event is in New York. Roddick says that early in the year, it’s important for players to get matches under their belt to build up their form. Last season, Kevin Anderson won his first title in two-and-a-half years here to launch his personal-best season, qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals in London.
“There’s no doubt that an event where you’re trying to gain momentum for the season is probably a little bit different mentally than a Grand Slam,” Roddick said. “I don’t think there’s any substitute for real match play, especially early in the season. You want to get your motor going. It was always important for me to try to establish myself early in the season and these guys are the same. The margins are so thin at this level, it just takes two, three matches getting into an event and all of a sudden you feel like you can roll into the next month or two.”
A player competing on Long Island who has already gained momentum early in the year is #NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe. The wild card advanced to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open, his first trip to the last eight of a major. This time last year, he had never made the quarter-finals of an ATP Tour event before doing so at the inaugural New York Open.
“It’s good. It’s the progress you want to see. You want to see the trajectory going up, up, up without a lot of hiccups,” Roddick said of Tiafoe. “I do think Australia was big for him. I think playing week-in and week-out is one thing, I think winning really, really tough matches, best-of-five over the course of two weeks is another animal entirely both physically and mentally, so that was seemingly a huge step for him. We’ll see how he builds from it.”
The top seed at this ATP 250 event is John Isner, who broke through in 2018 by winning his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami, qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time and finishing inside the year-end Top 10 of the ATP Rankings for the first time at 33 years old.
“I don’t know that I saw the trend of tennis getting older, but obviously John statistically having his best year ever, playing a little bit better at the Slams, playing lights out in Miami, he made it a real priority to try to finish in the Top 10,” Roddick said. “So to get there at 33 was really cool from a friend’s perspective but also professionally, to see him do the right things and reach a new level in his career.”
Did You Know?
The New York Open was relocated from Memphis last year. Roddick triumphed in Memphis three times (2004-05, 2008).