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Roddick pins hopes on grass revival
Wed 31 May, 6:11 AM
PARIS (AFP) - The green, green grass of Queen's and Wimbledon will be a sight for Andy Roddick's sore eyes as well as a welcome resting place for his troubleseome ankle after another fruitless French Open campaign.
The American was trailing 6-4, 7-5, 1-0 in his first round clash with Spanish journeyman Alberto Martin on Tuesday when he called it quits, still hurting from the injury he picked up in Germany last week.
Now, the 23-year-old is heading for safer territory in London and another assault on a Wimbledon title which has come up short at the hands of Roger Federer in the last two finals.
"That's my surface. It's the one that I look forward to every year," said Roddick, happy to put behind him another frustrating European clay court season where the slow, heavy surfaces slam the brakes on his feared service game.
Roddick, who was a second round loser on his last two visits to Roland Garros and has never got beyond the third round in six attempts, was always destined to struggle on Tuesday having damaged ligaments in his right ankle at the World Team Cup in Dusseldorf.
"It's unfortunate because I feel like I was making progress," said the American who reached the quarter-finals on clay in Houston and in Rome in the run-up to Paris.
"It was two steps forward and two steps back. But I will be pumped up for grass."
"When I started playing tennis and turned pro, my goals were to win the US Open, be number one in the world, win Wimbledon and be part of a Davis Cup winning team. I've got a couple and come close to two others."
He was US Open winner in 2003, the same year he achieved the top ranking.
His next shot at the Davis Cup will recommence in September when the United States face Russia in Moscow in the semi-finals.
Roddick admitted that making progress in Paris was always going to be a struggle.
"Alberto is the kind of guy who is going to make you work every point which is unfortunate right now," he said.
"I didn't have much time to practice and I caught the ankle again at 5-5 in the second set.
It affected the way I landed on my serve and not much else was working apart from the serve."
"It was a lost cause. I think I had been stupidly optimistic. It was never going to be 100-percent."
"I felt like it was only getting worse and I wanted to avoid something huge. If I rolled the ankle again, who knows how long I would have been out."
No American man has won the French Open since Andre Agassi in 1999 and with Roddick's demise, hopes rest with James Blake and Kevin Kim.
Blake, the eighth seed, takes on Spanish teenager Nicolas Almagro in his second round match while Kim, a lucky loser, should see his luck run out when he faces defending champion Rafael Nadal.
"It's a tough draw for James but I will be pulling for him," said Roddick.