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Beyond the Baseline

Roddick, Sharapova, Murray, Ivanovic hit offseason exhibition circuit

Andy Murray, Andy Roddick Andy Roddick (right) beat Andy Murray in a matchup of U.S. Open winners. (Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

It's only an offseason if you actually, well, take it "off." The weekend saw two exhibitions on two continents feature some big names, with Andy Murray, Andy Roddick, John Isner and Nicolas Almagro competing in the inaugural Miami Tennis Cup at Crandon Park, and Maria Sharapova teaming up with Ana Ivanovic to take on Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in Milan.

As expected, the matches yielded some great moments. Here are some of our favorites.

1. Roddick chills out: After beating Murray 6-2, 6-3 on Saturday to make the finals of the Miami Tennis Cup -- remember, this is an exhibition, folks -- Roddick, who says he's carrying an extra four pounds since retiring in September, joked, “If we would have gone three sets, I would have had a full body cramp. It would have been awkward for all of you.”

So how does a retired tennis player keep himself loose during a match to avoid that cramping? Let Roddick show you.

Larry Marano/Getty Images Larry Marano/Getty Images

2. Sharapova, Ivanovic get third degree: These two glamour girls were a bit of an odd match for the Milan exhibition, given that they don't really know each other and have spent their careers competing hard against each other. Matching them up to play doubles? Well, the idea was pretty laughable. But the weekend yielded entertainment, including this joint Q&A spearheaded by Ubaldo Scannagatta, a veteran Italian journalist who never met an awkward question he didn't want to ask.

Highlights from the interview:

• Ivanovic and Sharapova may get dogged for their movement on the court, but off the court they're two of the best movers in the game. There was some deft question-dodging here.

• Asked which would get married first, Ivanovic looked over to Sharapova, who ended her engagement to Sasha Vujacic at the end of the spring, and said, "You were closer."

• Nice move by Sharapova to praise the Serbian fans. She'll win some points in Belgrade for that one. Then again, she might lose some points for refusing to move to Serbia.

• Sharapova proves she's the pro, though. As the interview gets a bit more ridiculous, she slowly begins to gather her things and then finds a prime moment to shut it down. Perfect timing as ever.

You can see the full interview here:

*****

3. Grigor Dimitrov's surprise cameo: Unless you're a hardcore tennis nerd, you probably aren't going to sit and watch this 18-minute video of Sharapova's walking the streets of Milan. But if you did, you were rewarded with a surprising cameo by the 20-year-old Dimitrov, who, for some inexplicable reason, joined Sharapova's team for a stroll. He even offered Sharapova some Sugarpova at the 16-minute mark. Dimitrov, who now trains in Sweden after splitting with the Mouratoglou Academy in Paris, was last seen buddying up to Serena Williams. Things that make you go, Hmmmm.

4. Sharapova and Ivanovic doubles: Yeah, let's not let this happen again. There's a reason these two don't play doubles. The pair lost, unsurprisingly, to Errani and Vinci 6-4, but their awkward high-fives more than made up for their confusion.

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