Before the finalists take the court on Sunday, the Oracle Champions Cup put on a thrilling men’s legends event for a packed house of fans at the Yale Tennis Center. As afternoon turned to evening, a foursome of familiar ATP Tour faces took the court and added to the excitement of the week at the Oracle Challenger Series New Haven. The special one-night Invesco QQQ series event featured tennis legends Andy Roddick, James Blake, Tommy Haas and Mark Philippoussis.
In many ways, a player field this star-studded is fitting at a Challenger level event. Few understand the work ethic and grind that goes into rising up the ranks better than those who made a living doing just that.
Andy Roddick is the most recent American champion to be World No. 1 as well as Grand Slam champion, while Tommy Haas held a career high singles ranking of World No. 2. Fans at the Yale Tennis Center are more than familiar with James Blake, a Fairfield, Connecticut native who spent years thrilling crowds across the globe with blinding court speed and a powerful forehand. Last but not least, Mark Philippoussis is a two-time Davis Cup titlist who had legendary battles against some of the game’s most notable names.
The first to take the court in New Haven, James Blake took on Mark Philippoussis. The crowd was clearly in Blake’s favor and cheered him throughout the one-set match, but he was unable to move on to the final round of the event. Next up, Andy Roddick and Tommy Haas elated fans with witty banter amongst the friends, as well as impressive on-court play. Each of the legends showed that much of their game has stayed with them in retirement, firing off serves that were reminiscent of their finest days in the sport.
In the final matchup of the night, Haas and Philippoussis put on a back-and-forth set that had a little bit of everything. Ultimately, Haas came out on top 6-4 as the legends put on an event that gave those in New Haven everything they wanted and more.