Wednesday, August 5, 2009

August 5, Clay-less in D.C.

Dear friends and tennis junkies,

Finally, a glance around the ATP schedule for this week yields zero (count 'em) clay court tournaments currently happening. Not that clay isn't a worthy surface, but it's summertime in the U.S. — and when it comes to summertime in the U.S. the theme is cold beer and hot concrete.

Which takes us to the nations capital, Washington D.C, the site of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.

And my oh my do we have a nice looking draw this week. Andy Roddick, a three time champion at the Legg, will be playing his first ATP matches since his Wimbledon heart stopper. Fresh off of yesterdays tour of the White House (follow him on twitter if you don't already, Roddick will be taking on German Benjamin Becker. Becker handed Robby Ginepri his second consecutive loss yesterday, but it was no walk in the park. The German found himself down 4-1 in the third set tiebreaker but stormed back to win the next six points.

Roddick, who is two wins away from his milestone 500th victory, is 2-0 vs. Becker in his career.

While this match may not be the most enticing of matches, the fact that a win by Roddick will more than likely set up a 3rd round clash with red hot Sam Querrey (if he can get by Russian Igor Kunitsyn) is huge. Think about it. Roddick going for 500 and Querrey, now ranked a very solid 26, looking to provide further proof to the world that he has indeed arrived on the scene.

And if it's up and coming Americans that get you fired up, you must take note of the fact that John Isner, a semi finalist in Indy, is set to do battle with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga today. It'll be their first head-to-head meeting, and while there is huge disparity in their individual rankings (Tsonga is 7 and Isner is 80), Isner's booming serve always makes it difficult to play against him.

Tsonga, if you'll turn your memory back to Wimbledon, had a lot of trouble with Dr. Ivo Karlovic's serve — the fact that he's drawn Isner so early in the tournament (in his first match since Wimbledon no less) must seem like a bad omen to him. Keep your eyes on this one.

It's only Wednesday, but, weather permitting, the William H.G. Fitzgerald Tennis Center should be abuzz, as Robin Soderling, Fernando Gonzalez, Ivo Karlovic, Lleyton Hewitt, and many others are all set to compete.

What did I tell you — too much good stuff. Throw in a cold beer, a thunderstorm, the sound of tennis shoes squeaking on the hard court, and you've got yourself the perfect summer day.

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