AT 8.0am on Saturday, Andy Roddick ordered a cappuccino, an espresso and a bottle of sparkling water at his five-star hotel in Park Lane. In spite of his lingering jetlag, Roddick is never happier than when he contemplates the grasscourt season in London.
And perhaps Roddick longs like never before to feel grass beneath his feet at the AEGON Championships at Queen's this week.
More than three months have passed since he won a match and the prestige of beating Roger Federer for the third time, in their 24th meeting, cannot salvage a rotten year for a man who has appeared in three Wimbledon finals, only to see Federer parade the trophy around Centre Court on each occasion.
Roddick, though, retains his sense of perspective. When the United States needed someone to keep alive the legacy of Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi on the global stage, Roddick obliged by winning the US Open and becoming world No 1 shortly after his 21st birthday. And the rewards have never dried up.
He has a stylish home in Austin, Texas, his wife Brooklyn Decker, a swimsuit model who is establishing herself as an actress, arrives in London; and his fortune is counted in tens of millions.
'My worst days are still pretty good days,' said Roddick. 'That's something I might lose in the moment sometimes, but I have a pretty good grasp of it.'
Thirteen years as a professional makes Roddick one of the longest survivors on the circuit. Injuries have taken a toll over the past 18 months and Roddick accepts that his days, while not numbered, are running out.
'Of the guys I started with, it's only Roger [Federer] left now,' said Roddick, 30 in August. 'We were in the top 10 for so long, and everyone else's body has been banged up.
'I can't do what Rafa [Nadal] does with his racket, I can't do what Roger does with his racket. I guess I have to believe my coach, Larry Stefanki, when he says I can't run through walls any more. We're trying to find the fine line and work against nature a little bit.'
Roddick realises that this summer in England - at Queen's Club this week, at Wimbledon, then again at the All England Club for the Olympic Games - could be his last meaningful visit as a player to London.
'I'm just trying to play in the moment,' said Roddick. 'I'm just here trying to win some matches. But do I think this could be my last Wimbledon? Possibly … but that's so much of an unknown.'
For most of the past decade, Roddick has been the solitary American in the world's top 10. He is both senior statesman for tennis in the US, and sergeant-at-arms; and Roddick can empathise with the burden of expectation that Andy Murray will carry with him to Wimbledon once more.
'I think Andy handles it great,' said Roddick. 'The guy can play. I think he is the best player that hasn't won a Grand Slam title - ever.
'He's good enough to win one. I've always had to contend with Roger through my career - but Andy's playing with three Rogers now: Federer, Nadal and Novak Djokovic. It's a tough situation, but I think Andy will win a Slam.
'I'm not going to predict when, because then we're dealing in headlines. But he will. He's too good not to; he's beaten all of them, and it's just a matter of getting a break.
'A faster surface will be his best chance. I like Wimbledon, I like the US Open. He can construct points, he can get his chip into play and he gets a little more help on the serve. If he can get a high first serve percentage, that's a step up.'
Roddick's last injury, a torn hamstring, has healed at a time when he can be at his most destructive - on a grass court. 'This period offers me chances,' he said. 'I don't know that my body can take 35 weeks a year, but it can certainly take two. And last time I checked, that's how long a Slam lasts.'
One the bounce: Roddick accepts his days are numbered
His reputation, and the affection with which he is held by the British public, will not be diminished by age. His four titles at Queen's Club, and the cruelty of his third defeat by Federer at Wimbledon three years ago, will be a story retold forever.
Roddick lost his serve for the only time in five sets, in the 77th game, as Federer claimed a record 15th Grand Slam with the previous record-holder, Pete Sampras, in the Royal Box. Only two Wimbledon finals have provided more melodrama: Nadal's triumph over Federer in 2008 and Bjorn Borg's victory over McEnroe in 1980.
In the privacy of the locker room, Roddick admitted he cried. 'I'm just glad I managed to keep it together on the court, and not cry in public because that would've been embarrassing,' he said, as he sipped his espresso-doused cappuccino.
'It's one of my toughest memories, but it's probably my best memory.
'I think that's where people, from a public perception, "got me". Earlier, people saw tantrums, going after umpires, the big serve, a million things. But I think that's the day when people saw that, you know what, this guy works hard, he's almost kind of like us. He might not be quite good enough for Roger, but he left everything out there.
'The week after you think of the match randomly, it comes in your mind 15 times a day; and now, we're down to just three, so it's good! If you gave me my career without that match, or with that match the way it is, I'd take it the way it is. I wish I'd won. I went to Wimbledon yesterday, and you see the names on the board and wish yours was there. But it didn't happen and we're still here.' Last night Roddick went to a London studio to broadcast his live weekly show, sold to 650 radio stations, with co-host Bobby Bones.
'He's a genius at what he does,' said Roddick. 'The first segment I have no idea what's he coming out with. It's been raunchy stuff, it's been sports, but our bosses don't want us reading stats! It's fun.'
No wonder he is a successful broadcaster. Roddick's day job, delivering a cocktail of aces, strong opinions, irreverent humour and entertainment, has been an appropriate apprenticeship. And he is prepared for all an English summer can throw at him, as Roddick made clear before he practised with Lleyton Hewitt yesterday. 'I've got my thermals with me,' he laughed.
Andy Roddick will compete at the AEGON Championships at Queen's Club. For more information, go to www.aegonchampionships.com