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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Roddick lays low and stays focused

Photo Titled Roddick rocket
Roddick rocket

Andy Roddick, the American number one, is no stranger to attracting headlines after wowing the press year after year with his witty, opinionated interviews and tying the knot with gorgeous swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker in a ceremony in April that saw music legend Elton John perform.

But, entering this year’s Wimbledon as a married man, Roddick admits he’s happy laying low and letting top seeds Andy Murray and Roger Federer grab the limelight.

Speaking at his press conference after his four-set 6-3, 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-3 win over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, Roddick certainly looked a very different character from the man perhaps many are used to.

His usual banter was replaced with straight-forward answers, refusing to let the conversation stray far from tennis matters at hand.

The 26-year-old former US Open Champion said: "I felt happy today. I don't care who you guys are writing about. It doesn't matter. Doesn't matter to me.

"You know, predicting two weeks from now, that's not how we go about our tournaments. I understand you have got to make people read about the sport. As players, we appreciate that, but that's not our job. Our job is to try to get through each round. As far as who's talking about what, I don't really care. I just want to go out and win matches. I’m just trying to keep focused."

Roddick finds himself promoted to sixth seed after defending champion Rafael Nadal was forced to pull out of the tournament with an injury. The recognition is justified too after a good run of form from the popular American, twice a beaten finalist at the All England Club, which saw him reach the second week of the French Open and the semi-finals at Queen’s.

He certainly got his SW19 campaign off to a flier today, opening the match against Chardy on Centre Court with two aces and racing to a 5-0 lead for the loss of just three points in 12 minutes. Luckily there was no sign of the ankle injury that forced him to retire from Queen’s against compatriot James Blake 10 days ago.

He said: "My ankle's fine. At this point, it's not something that's even worth talking about. I’m glad to get that match out of the way. It’s good to advance."

Roddick now looks ahead to his second round clash with Russian Igor Kunitsyn with confidence. He quipped: "At this point in my career, I'm not going to face many new scenarios. I've played everyone about 86 times each. It’s more strange facing a guy I’ve never played before and now it’s going to happen for the second time in a row.

"But I feel like I probably know Kunitsyn's tendencies a little bit and he knows mine a little bit, even without having played before."

Kind-hearted Andy also offered words of commiseration to his friend Blake who lost in the first round to Andreas Seppi yesterday.

He said: "Yeah, you know, he's gone final, first round, final, first round. It's just unfortunate for him that the first rounds have come in Slams. He'll be the first to tell you he's had an inconsistent year, but James is certainly capable of going on a hot streak.

"More than anything, I'm sure he's looking forward to getting back to the hard courts of the States. He'll just keep working at it. There's no magical scenario to kind of get out of it. You've just got to work. And it can turn. It can turn in a couple of matches. I'm sure that's what he's hoping for right now."

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