Female Tennis Stars (and 1 guy)

Our hometown boy was back for a visit! Andy Roddick was born in Omaha, NE and tonight, 12/14/07, he and Serena Williams were here to give a tennis exhibition….the event was Rock-N-Racquets….and the Quest Center in Omaha rocked!

This was the first time I had seen Andy and Serena play, other than on television. Serena is much prettier and slimmer than I had thought. Plus, she has a wonderful smile. And, Andy at 6’2” much bigger than expected.

Nebraska is a football-lovin’ state, and Andy is a Nebraska Cornhusker fan. So what could be better than having three of Nebraska’s most famous football celebrities on hand to welcome him back. Roars from the crowd lifted the roof off the Quest Center….out onto the court came Heisman Trophy winners Johnny Rogers (1972), Eric Crouch (2001) and the former coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Tom Osborne!

Then, out came the players, Sam Querrey, Ashley Harkleroad, Serena Williams and Andy Roddick. Andy strolled onto the court wearing a Nebraska football helmet (and tennis clothes) much to the delight of the crowd. Andy is a charismatic, professional tennis player who reminds me so much of Jimmy Connors.

Photo by Jeff Bundy

Andy “plays to the crowd” much in the same way that Connors did….involving them in jokes, and even calling a “heckler” down to the court to receive one of his serves. The serve, at 144 mph according to the machine that tracks them, had the boy running for cover.

Speaking of serves, you can’t believe how hard those serves are! We were in the middle section, and were VERY happy that we weren’t sitting directly behind the players. Andy’s serves, even in warmup, were bouncing into the seats (and people) at both ends, and at 75 to 100 mph, those tennis balls HURT! Another spot that wouldn’t have been my favorite were the chairs lining the court. People in those seats had to be really alert because if they didn’t get beaned with a ball, they were likely to find either Andy or Sam landing in their laps.

I kept thinking “don’t hit Tom Osborne, Nebraska needs him!”

Serena and Ashley put on a nice exhibition match, Serena winning 6-4, 6-2. I didn’t feel that
Serena was hitting as hard as she normally does…but why should she! This is an exhibition match, not the US Open. Her tennis was awesome nevertheless. Ashley has a beautiful forehand, hard and low. The ball doesn’t come up, causing her opponents to dig for it. And she looks like such a kid…although she is 22. They had some great points and it was wonderful tennis.

The momentum of the game changed 100% when Andy and Sam Querrey came out and started to warm up. Zing went those serves! Again I thought, “watch out for Tom Osborne!”…..he was in one of those on-court chairs.

Their match was awesome to watch…Andy had some unbelievable saves (some were just plain LUCK) and his placement and power were overwhelming. Querrey, a rising young professional tennis player has been called America’s next great talent. He is 6’6” – try lobbing over that guy! He has a huge serve and forehand, and gave Andy a good match. But, cream rises to the top (grin)…Andy won 6-4, 6-4.

Later Andy and Serena teamed up to play a let of mixed doubles against Sam and Ashley. I had expected that Andy and Ashley would play against Sam and Serena to even up the talent. But, Andy and Serena made a great team…not only their tennis, but the joking and facial expressions whenever he or Serena did something silly or goofed up the point. He had the crowd shaking with laughter---and Serena had a case of the “giggles” over some remark or action of Andy’s….it was so much fun to watch. The tennis was outstanding....they are so quick (and so young) and watching the exchanges at net took your breath away. Once again, cream rose to the top….the ‘stars’ came out ahead – 6-3.

Andy Roddick is doing his part to better our world. In 2001, he founded the
Andy Roddick Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to provide children in need with quality education and other necessary resources. The foundation accomplishes these goals by donating to charities that focus on aiding abused children, children with childhood diseases and keeping children in school.

The foundation is directed by Roddick’s mother and is based in Boca Rotan, Florida. It is staffed exclusively by volunteers.

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