yes he does
It's so great that ND is so excited about this
PRO TENNIS: Agassi-Roddick ready to roll
Exhibition match brings two of the best in world to Grand Forks
By Kevin Fee
Herald Staff Writer
Andre Agassi feels he might be in an icy, dicey situation tonight.
He's a little nervous about facing Andy Roddick's world-record serve, especially at the home of the UND hockey team - Ralph Engelstad Arena.
"Hopefully they have something solid to put over the ice," Agassi said, "because if we're playing on top of ice, I'm not liking my chances of returning 150 mph serves."
Actually, Agassi is among the best in the world at returning serves. Roddick serves up the hardest serve in the world, recently clocked at 155 mph. So it should be an interesting matchup when the two meet at 7:30 p.m. in an exhibition match billed as The Engelstad Open.
Prior to the Agassi-Roddick match on the cushioned hardcourt that will be brought in from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Luke and Murphy Jensen will play an exhibition doubles match against a team of former University of Minnesota players, Alex Zharinov Will and Chris Wettengel.
Those involved in bringing the event to Grand Forks expect a little show but hard competition between Roddick and Agassi.
"They said they're going to have fun and play loose, but they're going to play a competitive match," said Chris Semrau, director of events for Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Roddick agrees. While it's not a crucial or serious match, he says nobody likes to lose. The Agassi-Roddick match will be the best-of-three sets.
"It's a different kind of match," Roddick said. "I'm sure we'll be able to get the crowd involved, and we'll be talking a little more."
Trash talking? It's doubtful.
"Andre and I are really good friends," Roddick said. "I wish I could give you some more controversy, but there's nothing there."
When Roddick and Agassi get together, it's usually a tight match. Both players still have things they want to accomplish this season, so Luke Murphy says he expects them to play hard. In one of the top matches of the year on the ATP Master Series in Cincinnati in August, the 34-year-old Agassi defeated the 22-year-old Roddick 7-5, 6-7, 7-6.
"If you talk to the (American) players around the locker room, they say this match I'd like to pay to see," Luke Jensen said of Agassi-Roddick.
Agassi has a 5-1 career record against Roddick.
"I got a couple of wins early on that were uneventful, ... but they've been getting tougher and tougher," Agassi said. "I broke his serve once last time we played, and he didn't break me any. The time before that, he beat me. The secret for me is to fight for my life from the first point."
Time is running out on this matchup. Agassi is approaching retirement age.
"I can see Agassi retiring at any time," Luke Murphy said.
Semrau expects to have more than 8,000 fans.
"It should be a good night," he said.
Some of the proceeds will go to Agassi's foundation. Roddick also has a foundation, which he started when he was 19.
"I've participated in events such as this one that have benefited (Agassi's) foundation," Roddick said. "His is what I would like mine to be some day. It's a lofty goal."
Roddick's father lived in North Dakota for a while.
"I've heard bits and pieces," Roddick said of North Dakota. "I was pretty excited because I know there's not much pro tennis that way, and I haven't played that way. It's always exciting to take tennis to places that don't see it that often."
EVENTS: Tennis, anyone?
Engelstad preps for tonight's Roddick-Agassi exhibition
By Lisa Davis
Herald Staff Writer
The Ralph is sporting a new floor at least for a day or two.
A blue (not ice blue, though) tennis floor was put down Monday in the Grand Forks arena for tonight's Engelstad Open featuring top pros Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi.
"I think it's more unique than any concert coming to Grand Forks," said Chris Semrau, director of events. "Right now, this exhibition is one of the most successful ones in the whole world, not just in ticket sales but in the caliber of players as well."
Before Agassi and Roddick take to the court in the best-of-three-sets exhibition, Luke and Murphy Jensen, known for their entertaining antics, will open play against an area doubles team in an eight-game pro set.
Semrau said the Jensens will be "miked," giving the crowd a new perspective to the game.
Crews worked Monday to install the tennis floor, which arrived in the arena in 22 crates from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Each crate keeps the sections of floor suspended so they're not squished during shipping. After the ice was melted and drained, crews worked for about five hours Monday to put the floor in place.
Chip Moreland with Vintage Contractors said the same floor also is used in the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul and, of course, in the Staples Center.
"It's similar to carpet backing with an acrylic tennis court top," Moreland said.
The out-of-bounds lines already are on the floor, so once it is in place, it's ready.
"It's just like what you see on every tennis court," Moreland said.
When the match is over, the floor will be rolled up, placed in the crates and shipped back to Los Angeles.
The Ralph also can be converted to a basketball arena and will serve as the home for conference games for men's and women's basketball.