Andy Roddick made a triumphant return to the land of his birth Wednesday, defeating his former U.S. Davis Cup teammate and good friend James Blake 6-1 in the one-set championship match at the Champions Cup Presented by Woods Park Tennis, the third of 12 events on the 2015 PowerShares Series tennis circuit.
Roddick, who was born in Omaha, Nebraska and lived there for a short time, claimed his fourth career PowerShares Series title with the win at the Pinnacle Bank Arena. Roddick also won the title in Los Angeles last week in his 2015 Series debut.
“It’s great to be able to play tennis here,” said Roddick, a life-long Nebraska Cornhuskers fan. “I’ve come here so many times to watches games and visit family, but to do what I love here at this beautiful venue is really cool for me.”
During his playing days on the ATP Tour, Roddick was never shy of his allegiance to the University of Nebraska and its celebrated football team, often being seen wearing Nebraska hats or shirts. He talked Wednesday of playing all of his tennis matches in a Nebraska hat from age 8 to 12 – “That smelled fantastic at the end of it,” he quipped – and growing up, having Nebraska wall-papering in his bathroom.
When the 2015 PowerShares Series schedule was being planned, Roddick lobbied for Lincoln to be one of the sites.
“I definitely staked my claim to play back in Nebraska first. It was a priority for me,” Roddick said when the Series schedule was announced in December. “I’ve been to Lincoln many, many times. Never played tennis there, but I’ve been there for (Nebraska) football games a bunch.”
In the event’s semifinals earlier in the night, John McEnroe made his 2015 PowerShares Series debut and fell to Blake 7-6 (4), while Roddick defeated Jim Courier 6-3.
There was much anticipation surrounding McEnroe’s debut, with the PowerShares Series being played this year without linespeople and players calling their own lines with the Hawk-Eye line calling challenge system – with unlimited challenges – being used for disputed calls. Against Blake, McEnroe, known throughout his career for his arguments over line-calls, went 2-for-9 in Hawk-Eye challenges, while getting three calls wrong challenged by Blake.
“I think there are lot of line judges out there who are smiling,” quipped Blake in his post-match on-court interview of McEnroe’s line-calling efforts.
After three events on the 2015 PowerShares Series, Roddick moves to the No. 1 ranking with 800 points, overtaking Salt Lake City champion Philippoussis, who has 600 points. Blake moves to third place with 400 points followed by Courier with 300 points, Andre Agassi with 200 points and McEnroe with 100 points.
The PowerShares Series, the 12-city tennis circuit for champion tennis players over the age of 30, continues Thursday, April 2 in Chicago, Ill, at the Sears Center where McEnroe, Roddick, Courier and Blake will again compete. The Chicago matches will be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports 1 at 7:30 pm ET. For full schedule, player and ticket information, go to www.PowerSharesSeries.com
The remaining PowerShares Series schedule with full fields are as follows:
Thursday, April 2: Chicago, Ill. (Sears Centre) “PowerShares QQQ Challenge” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake
Thursday, April 16: Austin, Texas (Cedar Park Center) “Champions Shootout” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake
Friday, April 17: Little Rock, Ark. (Jack Stephens Center at the UALR) “Champions Cup” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis
Saturday, April 18: Dallas, Texas (Moody Coliseum at SMU) “Champions Showdown” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, Mark Philippoussis
Wednesday, April 22: Boston, Mass. (Agganis Arena at Boston University) “Champions Cup” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake
Thursday, April 23: Richmond, Va., (Siegel Center at VCU) “Champions Challenge” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Jim Courier, James Blake
Wednesday, April 29: Minneapolis, Minn. (Target Center) “Champions Shootout” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Michael Chang, James Blake
Thursday, April 30: Cincinnati, Ohio (Cintas Center at Xavier) “Champions Showdown” featuring John McEnroe, Andy Roddick, Michael Chang, James Blake
Saturday, May 2: Vancouver, Canada (Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre at UBC) “Champions Showdown” featuring Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Michael Chang, Mark Philippoussis