Sportime Stadium at Randall's Island was buzzing last night as some of tennis's greats, both past and present, were on-hand for the WTT match between the New York Sportimes and the Philadelphia Freedoms. Andy Roddick (representing the Freedoms), John McEnroe (Sportimes) and Billie Jean King (WTT Founder) all helped in making the night special for the large crowd who turned out for the matches. Asked before the match his thoughts of playing in front of the New York crowd McEnroe said, "It's great! New York crowds are loud and opinionated, that's my style of play, and more importantly, that's what we want here at World TeamTennis ... enthusiasm from the fans!" On this night, the crowd had much to be enthusiastic about.
While there was some fear early in the day and into the evening that the rain may wreak havoc on the evening, Mother Nature cooperated and the weather was beautiful. The night started with the two stars of the evening on the court together. The mens doubles match featured Andy Roddick & Prakash Amritraj for the Freedoms taking on John McEnroe & Robert Kendrick of the Sportimes. Roddick & Amritraj pulled out the win, 5-4.
The Sportimes got their first win of the night in women's doubles, as Abigail Spears & Ashley Harkelroad defeated Noppawan Lertcheewakarn & Courtney Nagle, 5-2. This gave the Sportimes a 9-7 overall match lead going into the featured match of the night, the men's singles battle between two of the best of their respective generations, John McEnroe and Andy Roddick.
McEnroe joked before the match that "he had a secret plan" to take down Andy, and while he wouldn't divulge that plan before the match, whatever it was seemed to work well. Using a wide serve to pull Roddick off the court and then utilizing his patented style of serve and volley, he was able to hold his serve throughout the set. Of course, trying to break Roddick was a whole different problem. Roddick using his big serve and powerful ground game held his serves with relative ease as well, which set up an exciting tie-break at 4-4. With WTT rules in effect (the tie-break is first player to four points, alternating serves, no win by two rule) and the game tied at 3-3, it came down to the final point. McEnroe came to the net with a deep approach, but Roddick whipped a forehand winner for the 5-4 match win.
Next up was the mixed-doubles match where Roddick teamed up with Nagle to defeat Kendrick & Spears, 5-2. This gave the Freedoms a 17-15 overall lead with one match to play. It was up to Spears to get the win for the Sportimes, and as she has for much of the season, Spears delivered. With a 5-2 win over Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, the Sportimes capped off a fantastic night of World TeamTenns in New York with a 20-19 victory.
The Sportimes are back in action Thursday evening, July 15 at 7:00 p.m. at Sportime at Randalls Island when they take on their rivals, the Washington Kastles. On Monday, July 19, the Sportimes will host Martina Hingis and the New York Buzz. Both John McEnroe and Kim Clijsters will be playing Monday for the Sportimes.
For more information, visit www.nysportimes.com.
All photos credited to Kenneth B. Goldberg
Andy Roddick in action for the Philadelphia Freedoms in World TeamTennis action
John McEnroe in his historic match for the Sportimes against Andy Roddick of the Philadelphia Freedoms
Billie Jean King was honored during the Sportimes-Freedoms match at Sportime Stadium at Randalls Island
Abigail Spears, Jesse Witten and John McEnroe of the New York Sportimes pause for a photo
Ashley Harkleroad in World TeamTennis action for the Sportimes in their July 14th match against the Freedoms
Andy Roddick proudly represents the Philadelphia Freedoms in his match at Sportime Stadium
John McEnroe greets a young fan prior to his July 14th WTT match with Andy Roddick
Noppawan Lertcheewakarn (pictured here) of the Freedoms fell to Abigail Spears of the Sportimes as New York clinched the victory
John McEnroe fielding questions from the media prior to his World TeamTennis match with Andy Roddick
Andy Roddick returns a John McEnroe serve during their match at Sportime Stadium
John McEnroe awaits another serve from Roddick