Roddick not worried about future
Before defending champ Andy Murray stunned the packed galleries at the Queen’s Club by losing 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 to Nicolas Mahut of France, Andy Roddick, a three-time titlist at the Aegon Championships, went out in his first match of the year on grass to another Frenchman, Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5.
Even if the 28-year-old Roger-Vasselin had been ranked higher than 67th in the world, the questions would still have swirled around Roddick’s head:
• If this is not actually the end, is it in sight?
• Will a man who spent 10 straight years in the world’s top 10, winning the US Open and challenging for Wimbledon titles, be able to put up with these kinds of reverses?
• What is the future for Andy Roddick?
He wasn’t prepared to say. An article in London’s Mail on Sunday had suggested Roddick was intimating the end was near, but he refuted that.
“I don’t think what was said and the way it has been interpreted is completely on the same page,” he said. “I didn’t really say anything. I’m not at the point where I am to deal in absolutes with my career. I’m not going to sit here and say I’m going to play three more years — so take that as what you want.”
Roddick insisted he doesn’t worry about what will happen after he retires. “I don’t worry about after tennis really,” he said. “I have great friends at home (in Austin, Texas). My social life isn’t out here. But I still enjoy the work. I enjoy being up at the track early and hitting with the guys and putting in the hours. So I have thought about it, and I don’t really worry about it.”
As far as this match was concerned, Roddick had a right to point out that it could have gone differently. “It wasn’t that bad,” he said. “I served (at) 80 percent (79 percent officially) and had 22 aces. It was better than I have been doing. But the guy played great. I didn’t hit the ball too badly. I’ve certainly played a lot worse so far this year.”
And on the crucial question of his fitness? “I don’t know. I’m fit enough to play,” was his curt reply.
But the miles while on the clock are a crucial factor in assessing Roddick’s future. Mats Wilander, winner of three Grand Slam titles in 1988, says it does not look promising. “He’s a big guy, and he’s been at the top a hell of a long time,” said the Swede. “To me, it looks as if he’s about to hit the wall. I can’t see him playing for that much longer.”
But only Roddick can decide how much longer that will be. He’ll be at Wimbledon — he could even show up at Eastbourne next week — and he’ll be at the Olympics. And only then will we be able to make an educated guess as to whether the US Open will be a final farewell.
Murray, who faces different kinds of pressure as soon as he sets foot on a court in Britain, suggested he wasn’t that far off his game. “It was a very close match,” he said. “I thought dropping serve after breaking him at the beginning of the third was not great; got him back into the match. And I didn’t move very well at the start of the match, but that got better. He’s a very good grass-court player. He’s been in the final here. He’s beaten Nadal. He played well today.”
Murray, however, did look tentative at times and missed three shots in the deciding breaker that he would normally make with one eye closed.
So what about Wimbledon?
“Oh, panic stations,” he smiled. “I mean, there’s no reason for me to panic. I lost the match 7-6 in the third. I didn’t spend hardly any time on the practice court but the weather wasn’t a factor. It’s been the same for everybody in the tournament. I just need a few more days to get my movement right and then I’ll play better.”