Sunday, April 11, 2010

Caesars Tennis Classic is a hit for tennis, fans and Atlantic City!

Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander, Andy Roddick, Marat Safin, Pete Sampras all playing in one night...and all introduced and interviewed by Venus Williams (and Justin Gimelstob)...

Atlantic City, NJ USA hosted it's first major tennis event in 14 years drawing 7300+ fans, spectators and tennis-lovers from the greater New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia area. And former 8-time Grand Slam champion Ivan Lendl played his first competitive public match in 16 years at the Caesars Tennis Classic last night, Saturday, April 10, 2010...and I had the good opportunity to attend in person!

Despite the fact that one of the stars James Blake had to withdraw before the event due to a knee injury, the evening was a fun and memorable one for all with some exciting tennis from 3 generations of champions for 3 generations of fans...

Four one set exhibition matches with no-ad results:
1. Wilander wins v. Lendl (6-3)
2. Safin wins v. Sampras (6-4)
3. Roddick wins v. Sampras (6-4)
4. Roddick wins v. Safin (6-4)

My takes on the night: Lendl played better than his score, he moved well, looked slimmer and his chronic bad back did not seem to hinder him. His serve and power baseline game (and even some volleying) could be seen, yet he needed to improve his consistency and timing. Wilander simply showed more consistency and less errors.

Safin looked strong with some solid serves and passing shots. Sampras continues to serve at a very high level, but perhaps is just a little slower in court movement. Roddick, just coming off his win at Sony Ericsson-Miami, seemed to really enjoy himself, having fun on the court and knocking off some real power serves and showing his "new" game play of variety, including slice backhands and drop shots.

All in all, the exhibition matches gave the players a chance to enjoy some competition in a relaxed setting and gave 3 generations of fans some fun and interesting tennis.

Caesars announced that the event will return in 2011 and Sampras said he would like to play again...

For more information and photos, check out:
Press of Atlantic City: Caesars Tennis Classic a smash

Best, Gary

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