Re: USA Davis Cup (2006)
Roddick seeks Sampras advice on how to beat Russia
By Gennady Fyodorov
MOSCOW, Sept 19 (Reuters) - U.S. number one Andy Roddick has consulted former tennis great Pete Sampras on how to beat Russia ahead of their Davis Cup semi-final this week in Moscow.
"I've just asked him for some advice," Roddick told reporters on Tuesday at the Olympic Sports Complex, the site of the last clash between the two countries on Moscow clay in the 1995 Davis Cup final, which the United States won 3-2.
Then, Sampras, who holds a record 14 grand slam titles, was victorious in all his three matches to power the U.S. to a record 31st Davis Cup title.
The Americans have not won the men's team competition since.
"We played an exhibition match last week (at the World Team Tennis tournament in Irvine, California) and we just had a nice chat about the Davis Cup," said U.S. Open finalist Roddick.
"I've never been to Moscow before and, obviously, I wanted to know what the stadium was like and what the atmosphere was. It wasn't a long conversation, just a small talk, but I appreciated all the help I could get."
Roddick was asked what made the biggest impression on him in the Russian capital.
"I enjoy looking at the women," said the American, who is reported to be dating U.S. Open champion Maria Sharapova.
"They are all beautiful here."
On a slower clay surface, Russia are considered hot favourites to reach their first final since winning their maiden Davis Cup title in 2002.
"Obviously, we would like the court to be a little harder," said U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe. "It's a new court, so it has a lot of holes in it right now and it is a bit slow but I think it will get better in the next couple of days."
McEnroe considered his team to be underdogs.
"It has been a long time since our last match," he said, referring to the first round tie between the countries in 1998 when the U.S. beat Russia 3-2 in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
"Obviously, playing here in Moscow makes it difficult for us. It's a tougher surface for us and it probably makes us slight underdogs, but we have enough experience on our team and it's going to be a very close match," he added.