A true comedian knows exactly how to craft a joke. He also knows when to get out in front of it. Though he's still in more than fighting shape, if not at a touring-pro fitness level, Andy Roddick dubbed himself "a fat pusher with an average serve" ahead of facing off against active ATP World Tour player Rajeev Ram two weeks ago.
That serve: still a thing of power and beauty.
The occasion: this tandem's 2016 EntouRaj for Kids exhibition match. They engaged in a locker-room take just before heading on court:
When Roddick and Ram squared off at Five Seasons Sports Club in Carmel, Ind., just north of Indianapolis, they couldn't have known the match, notably on a lesser stage than Queen's or Wimbledon, would also go the distance. The 2016 EntouRaj event started with the two engaging in a few games of mixed doubles alongside local teaching pros.
Then Roddick and Ram began blasting serves and forehands at and often past each other for about two hours. Here, a series of Periscope-video looks at the match, the first of which features a Roddick ace serving as a near–body shot to yours truly:
Ultimately, Ram outlasted his retired opponent by a 3-6, 6-4, 10-7 count. (See a full photo album from the event here).
(Sidebar—or sideline—here. Roddick and Ram once appeared on the same side of a grass court.
That image hails from June 2009, when the two, aside from having played against each other at Wimbledon, teamed up at the Queen's Club event against none other than Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Murray. Andy-Ram—oh wait, that's another player entirely—fell to Andy-Hewitt 12-10 in final-set super-tiebreak.)
The morning after their exo encounter, Roddick and Ram led a lineup of private lessons and group clinics benefiting EntouRaj initiatives, which include offering scholarship assistance to students with tennis-playing pasts and monetary aid to underprivileged Indiana high-school tennis teams in need of equipment, uniforms and the like.
The pair also took part in a 10-minute Q & A session with clinic attendees, with questions ranging from training regimens to favorite pro tournaments, top opponents to best memories.
When the day's friendly hits were over, the forever-sweaty Roddick and Ram paused to speak with a reporter from local channel WISH-TV about the Rio Olympics, giving back, and more:
Here are more looks at the 2016 EntouRaj events—exhibition match and clinics—which annually bring pro tennis back to Indianapolis, a city that lost its ATP tournament after the 2009 iteration.
Learn more about EntouRaj for Kids.
Follow Jon on Twitter @jonscott9.