NEW YORK — Andy Roddick remembers being grateful for a chance to spend time with Andre Agassi and soak up what he could from a Grand Slam champion.
So a similar offer was extended by the 29-year-old Roddick when he finished beating 18-year-old Jack Sock 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in a veteran vs. kid, Nebraskan vs. Nebraskan matchup at the U.S. Open on Friday night.
After shaking hands at the net, Roddick invited Sock to visit him and practice together during the offseason in Austin, Texas.
"I certainly feel the need to pay it forward. This game has been great to me; it's pretty much an impossibility for me to do it," Roddick said. "I enjoy having the young guys at home. I think I can help them. It's inspiring for me. You can kind of feed off their hunger a little bit."
Roddick said he and Agassi hit together a decade ago in Florida. Roddick was 18, Agassi was 30; it was during the offseason before Agassi won the 2001 Australian Open for one of his eight major titles.
"He was my hero. You know, it was surreal. I felt like I was in a daze. It was really cool, because my dad put this court together in our yard in Florida. (Agassi) would come over there and hit," Roddick recalled. "So the neighbors who would complain that we were out there hitting balls at 6 in the morning all of a sudden would look through the bushes — and they didn't complain anymore."
Roddick, the 2003 champion at Flushing Meadows who is seeded 21st this year, and Sock were both born in Nebraska — and now Sock, like Roddick a decade ago, is a young guy being pegged as a future tennis star.
"I didn't think I'd ever play another guy from Nebraska in my career. You know, it was just cool. I could draw so many parallels to what he was going through," Roddick said. "But also I could draw on my experience a little bit. I had a good time."
Sock, a Lincoln native, earned a wild card into the U.S. Open each of the last two years by winning the boys' national championship. Against Roddick, he showed off some of the skills that make some think he could be the country's next tennis star.
"I went out there and I soaked up all the experience I could and learned a lot from it and had a good time," Sock said.
One stat: Sock hit 10 of the match's first 11 winners.
One more: He smacked two aces in the very first game.
"His forehand's got some serious RPMs on it," Roddick said. "You can't teach that."
But Roddick converted 5 of 5 break points. Sock managed to make good on 1 of 7. Sock whiffed on his first six break chances, including four in the fourth game of the match, which Roddick ended with one of his 11 aces.
In the very next game, Roddick broke to go ahead 3-2 when Sock netted a volley at the end of a 13-stroke exchange.
"Changed the whole dynamic of the match," Roddick said.
Struggling with various injuries, former No. 1 Roddick is having a tough season, and his ranking dropped outside the top 20 for the first time in a decade. Most recently, he was sidelined by a torn abdominal muscle that made him unsure of whether he'd even be able to enter the U.S. Open.
Now he's into the third round for the ninth time in 12 appearances at the year's last Grand Slam tournament and will play 81st-ranked wild card Julien Benneteau of France.
Sock, meanwhile, has a memory that'll stick with him — playing Roddick at the U.S. Open in Arthur Ashe Stadium at night — and an invitation to go to Austin.
"He was the guy to watch for guys my age growing up. He was the up-and-comer, doing really well on tour. Obviously, being from Nebraska, that was more incentive for me to watch him. I enjoyed watching him. I watched him a lot," Sock said. "To be able to play him was the best tennis experience of my life."