Some of the best tennis players in the world will descend upon San Jose beginning Monday for the 124th SAP Open.
“You’ve got these young guys gunning [for the established players],” tournament director Bill Rapp said. “It’s my job to go get the wily veterans and then some of the young guys. It’s been lots of fun seeing things coming together.”
Among the participants this year are defending champion Milos Raonic, San Francisco-born Sam Querry and Andy Roddick.
Tennis legend John McEnroe will also take part in an exhibition doubles match Monday.
“He still brings craziness, incredible athletic ability,” Rapp said. “If you’re in your late 30s or older, everyone remembers him. He’s not only a legend in tennis, but a legend in sports with an attitude.”
Rapp went on to compare his on-camera work to that of another Bay Area legend, John Madden.
“I think he is the best TV commentator in tennis,” Rapp said.
McEnroe will be paired with Raonic to take on Gael Monfils and Jack Sock in the exhibition.
Monfils reached the semifinals in last year’s SAP Open before retiring prior to facing Raonic.
Monfils is considered one of the more athletic players on the tour and is currently ranked 13th in the world.
Raonic won the championship in straight sets over Fernando Verdasco and is ready to defend his title.
“He’s very confident that he’ll come back and defend,” Rapp said.
Querry returns to the SAP Open after being knocked out in the first round last year, but had an eventful season.
The 6-foot-6 player is currently ranked 85th in the world, but last season became one of only three players to collect four wins on three different surfaces, joining Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Roddick makes his return to the SAP Open after a one-year hiatus from the event. Roddick has won the event three times, the last one coming in 2008.
Rapp compared Monfils’ exhibition partner, Sock, to a young Roddick. The 19-year-old from Kansas compiled an 80-0 record in high school while winning four state titles.
“You can say the SAP Open is a bit of a launching pad,” Rapp said.
Fourth-ranked Andy Murray won his first ATP match in San Jose in 2006 and followed it up with another championship in 2007.
WHEN: Monday-Feb. 19
WHERE: HP Pavilion, San Jose
WHO: Andy Roddick, Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils and Sam Querry are some of the top stars who will be competing