Sports

Roddick back on Grand Slam stage as U.S. Open begins

NEW YORK – Everyone, it seems, wanted to talk to Andy Roddick about his loss to Roger Federer in last month’s epic Wimbledon final: the 16-14 fifth set, the 77 total games, the Centre Court crowd chanting the American’s name afterward.

They wanted to console Roddick, maybe offer some advice for next time. Fellow players in the locker room. Fans on the street. Even the guy who delivers Roddick’s mail at home in Texas.

As Roddick recounted in a series of Twitter postings on July 20, two weeks after that heartbreaker at the All England Club, the letter carrier told him he lost “cause i sweat a lot and dont change my shirt enough during the course of a match and it weighs me down.”

Roddick wrapped up the story: “the best part was that he prefaced his shirt/sweat analysis with this quote ‘i dont know anything about sports or tennis but…..’ ”

What struck Roddick the most was how much that match resonated. If anything, that one defeat figures to make the best-known and highest-seeded U.S. man at the U.S. Open even more popular than usual at the American Grand Slam tournament.

“I’m not sure what kind of made people kind of emotionally invested in it,” said the No. 5-seeded Roddick, who faces 84th-ranked Bjorn Phau of Germany in the first round tonight.

Others scheduled to play Day 1 include five-time defending champion Federer against NCAA champion Devin Britton of Jackson, Miss.; No. 21 James Blake against Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo; three-time champion Serena Williams against American wild-card entry Alexa Glatch of Newport Beach, Calif.; and 2005 champion Kim Clijsters, just back from retirement, against Viktoriya Kutuzova.

Today’s matches are the first on a Grand Slam stage for anyone since July 5, when Federer’s 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14 victory over Roddick set records for most games and longest fifth set in major final history.

“It was amazing. Kind of did a lot for tennis,” said Sam Querrey, who is seeded 22nd at the Open. “People were talking about that for a solid two, three weeks after.”



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