“His tennis game is average, there is definitely room for improvement”

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Far from the Laver Cup spotlight, American tennis stars Andy Roddick and John Isner were in action on Sunday at the Dirk Nowitzki Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic. Held at the SMU Tennis Complex in Dallas, the annual Pro Celebrity Tennis Classic is hosted by basketball star and Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki. All proceeds from the event are donated to the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation, which provides grants to organizations supporting children’s well-being, health and education.

Besides the two American tennis professionals, former world number one Mardy Fish, former basketball players JJ Barea and Mardy Fish and actor Ben Stiller also participated in the event, among others.

In a conversation with The Dallas Morning News, Nowitzki shared his thoughts on the event, its success and his excitement about hosting it. The event has returned after a two-year hiatus imposed by the coronavirus.

“It’s our fifth year doing it. It started with me being a huge tennis fan, and we wanted to do our own event, and so tennis was something I’m passionate about, so we started this event there. a few years ago, and it was fun to see how we grew up,” he said.

“We had to take a few years off for the pandemic. Even last year we did it, 2019 before the pandemic, to see the support – it was sold out and Luka played. It was such an event wonderful for us that we really wanted to bring it back,” he added.

Dallas Mavericks and basketball watched the event closely as it saw the involvement of former legend Nowitzki and current star Donic. The 44-year-old German leaned on Donic for his tennis skills, before thanking him for taking part in the tournament.

“His tennis game is, I would say, average. There’s definitely room for improvement. I always tell him to stick to basketball,” he said, adding, “For him, supporting me and supporting the foundation and the event means a lot, so we’re excited to bring him back in. You know, he’s the man here, so he’s obviously going to get a lot of attention, and that means a lot that gives of his time and supports the event.

In a press conference, Luka Donic responded by claiming that Nowitzki always avoids taking him one-on-one.

“The challenge is that he never agreed to a one-on-one. So, I’m waiting,” he said.

In a doubles match that day, Andy Roddick found himself ahead of Donic. The 2003 US Open winner later said he was praying the Slovak wouldn’t get injured in the game before the NBA season kicks off on October 18.

“My only thought was not to let Luka Doncic get injured before the start of the season,” said Andy Roddick.

Andy Roddick after his first round win against Luka Doncic: “My only thought was not to let Luka Doncic get injured before the start of the season.” https://t.co/4NMT1Kwycv

Steve Nash, former Mavericks great and current Brooklyn Nets head coach, emerged victorious from the tournament. Nash and his partner, Spencer Papa, beat British tennis pro Luke Bambridge and Leo Antonio to win the title in front of a sold-out crowd.


“He gave me nightmares for so long” – Andy Roddick on Roger Federer

Roger Federer and Andy Roddick pictured at the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida.
Roger Federer and Andy Roddick pictured at the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida.

While busy with the charity event in Dallas on Sunday, Andy Roddick also kept tabs on Laver Cup developments in London as the tournament marked the end of Roger Federer’s long and illustrious career.

In a video posted on social media, Roddick paid tribute to the Swiss maestro’s achievements and wished him well in retirement. The Ameircan was Federer’s main rival ahead of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

“When I hear Roger’s name I have nightmares because he gave me nightmares for so long,” recalls Andy Roddick, who lost his eight Grand Slam battles to Federer, including four in the final .

“But Roger is very classy. He acts the same when no one is watching. I worry about a lot of people after retirement, Roger is not one of them,” he added.


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