Roddick game for US Open
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, pat him on the back, tell him what that match meant to them. Maybe offer some advice for next time.
As Roddick recounted in a series of Twitter postings July 20, two weeks after that heartbreaker at the All England Club, the mailman 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.’’
Ah, yes, everyone’s an expert, huh? Really, though, 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 US man at the US Open even more popular than usual at the American Grand Slam event.
“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. “The kind of the support I got from fans, from peers, from everybody - it was pretty surprising, in the best way possible, and pretty humbling. I was really surprised when I had got back here as to how many people watched it and kind of were affected by it. To be honest, that really helped the process.’’
Others scheduled to play on Day 1 include five-time defending champion Roger 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 (8-6), 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 16-14 victory over Roddick set records for most games and longest fifth set in major final history, topping marks set in 1927.
American Mardy Fish has withdrawn from the tournament because because of a rib injury. Fish, the 25th seed, was a quarterfinalist at Flushing Meadows last year. He had been drawn to face Austrian Daniel Koellerer in the first round. Instead, Koellerer will play Rui Machado of Portugal. Fish lost in the second round of last week’s Pilot Pen tourney in New Haven.