Despite falling in the first set, Robby Ginepri recovered to defeat long-time foe Andy Roddick in a three-set exhibition match Monday at the BB&T Atlanta Open.
“Well he’s got about 15 or 16 more wins than I do, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do,” Ginepri joked after winning 1-6, 6-2, 10-7.
It was a playful match between the 36-year-old now-retired friends. Roddick, a former world No. 1 ranked player, was born 38 days before Ginepri in 1982 and said that they first played in 1994 in Nashville.
From then, they moved up through the juniors circuit and into the pros together.
“We shared a lot of significant moments,” Roddick said in a pre-match press conference. “We were trying to do things at the same time. We were getting to our first pro tournaments together, playing our first slams at the same time.”
Despite their history, Monday night was their first match in Atlanta — Ginepri’s home turf.
The 3-time ATP singles champion graduated from Wheeler High in Marietta, lives in Kennesaw and owns Marietta’s Old Towne Athletic Club, home of the Ginepri Performance Tennis Academy. Roddick is also connected to the city, winning his first and last singles matches on tour in 2001 and 2012 in Atlanta.
In the first set, Roddick nearly bested his opponent in six straight. Ginepri managed a win in the second game to tie the set 1-1, but dropped the next five as Roddick won the set 6-1.
Ginepri won the first game of the second set uncontested and, after dropping the next game, won the next three for a 4-1 lead. Roddick responded to trail 2-4, but behind two more from Ginepri, the latter tied the match in the second set.
In the tiebreaker, Ginepri lost the first two game points, but recovered to lead much of the remainder of the tiebreak set, securing the exhibition win at 10-7.
“He was a feisty competitor then and nothing’s really changed,” Ginepri said of Roddick. “Funny how it comes full circle.”
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com