On Tennis: U.S. Open crucial for inconsistent Roddick
By RAVI UBHA
SPECIAL TO THE P-I
It's been a strange season for Andy Roddick.
He ended his jinx against Roger Federer and took out the mercurial
pair of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in back-to-back matches at the
Dubai Tennis Championships in the winter, boosting hopes the big-
serving Austin, Texas, resident could return to the top four -- and
At the same time, Roddick exited in the third round at the Australian
Open and second round at Wimbledon, his four-set defeat to
unpredictable Serb Janko Tipsarevic at the All England Club downright
ugly: a few second-serve returns barely made the net and left his
support camp gasping in frustration. To remind, Roddick hasn't reached
a Grand Slam semifinal since the 2007 Australian Open.
The next two months will thus be crucial, with Flushing Meadows his
last real shot at glory because Roddick is electing not to compete at
next month's Beijing Olympics.
Not a good start so far.
Roddick pulled out of a World Team Tennis encounter in St. Louis over
the weekend because of the shoulder injury that sidelined him at the
French Open and probably hindered his play a tad at Wimbledon.
The immediate prognosis is less than promising.
"Due to the same injury I've been rehabbing since mid May, I'm seeing
a specialist and have been advised not to travel," Roddick wrote on
his Web site.
Roddick wasn't scheduled to participate at the Indianapolis Tennis
Championships that start Monday, although he's penciled in to compete
four consecutive weeks beginning with the Canadian Masters in Toronto
on July 21, the other stops being Cincinnati, Los Angeles and
Washington, D.C. Expect a withdrawal or two along the way.
RAFA & ROGER REVISITED: How good was last week's Wimbledon men's final
between Nadal and Federer?
So good that Sports Illustrated called it the best tennis match ever,
ESPN Classic replayed the nearly five-hour epic the day after, and NBC
drew its highest overnight rating for a Wimbledon men's final since
2000, when Pete Sampras collected his seventh and final title at the
expense of Aussie Patrick Rafter.
Nadal edged Federer 9-7 in the fifth set, pulling himself together
after squandering two match points in the fourth to end the Swiss'
five-year reign in southwest London and claim his first major outside
the French. The quality was high, despite three rain delays and a
"This rivalry has engaged, and I felt that before the match, so
frankly what was needed was a great match, and it was everything we
could have imagined," NBC Sports president Ken Schanzer said.
Let's hope officials at the ATP, WTA and ITF can use the surge in
attention to draw in more viewers -- and sponsors.
Still on the final, anyone notice the behavior of Federer's parents in
the players' box? It's nothing we didn't know already, but Federer's
dad, Robert, was a class act, applauding Nadal as he perilously
climbed into the box post match and offered him a hand; Federer's mom,
Lynette, was equally as gracious. The same could be said of the
Spaniard's mother and father.
JILTED JANKOVIC: Jelena Jankovic is none too happy with how she was
treated by some at Wimbledon.
Jankovic lost in straight sets in the fourth round to Thai
journeywoman Tamarine Tanasugarn, a round after suffering a knee
injury against fast-rising Danish *** Caroline Wozniacki.
Jankovic fell as she patrolled the baseline against Wozniacki, and the
spill did appear pretty ***. Still, a few in the media suggested the
malaise wasn't that serious.
"I decided to play through the injury, through the pain instead of
letting people down by pulling out," Jankovic, usually a bundle of
laughs, wrote on her Web site. "I don't expect credit for this, but I
read some negative reports about the legitimacy of the injury, and
that was tough to take. I would like to invite these reporters to look
at my MRI."
SECOND SERVES: Michael Chang, who dazzled the tennis world by claiming
the French Open as a 17-year-old in 1989, was inducted into the
International Tennis Hall of Fame. ... Gael Monfils' coaching carousel
keeps turning. For the second time in less than two years, the
excitable French Open semifinalist ditched Thierry Champion. ...
Fiercely patriotic Argentine David Nalbandian is dealing with an arm
injury and might miss the Olympics. ... Nadal, Federer and Djokovic
already earned berths at the season-ending Masters Cup in Shanghai.