The start of the summer hardcourts begs the question: who will be Andy's Kiwi this summer?
For Roddick, It's Good to Be Home
By Liz Clarke
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 17, 2006
On the heels of a miserable showing at Wimbledon, Andy Roddick launches into the task of rehabilitating his ranking and reputation as one of the world's top tennis players this week, returning to his favorite surface and home country for the RCA Championships in Indianapolis.
The former world No. 1 tumbled out of the top 10 for the first time since 2002 after his third-round loss to Britain's Andy Murray at Wimbledon. He arrives at Indianapolis as the 11th-ranked player and second-best American, having been overtaken by sixth-ranked James Blake, the tournament's top seed.
The RCA Championships also mark the start of the 2006 U.S. Open Series, which links a six-week stretch of 10 North American hard-court tournaments with a goal of boosting interest in the game by making it easier for fans to follow through consistent TV coverage and raising the profile of tournaments by offering players financial incentives to compete.
Washington's Legg Mason Tennis Classic, July 31-Aug. 6, is among the series' participants and beneficiaries, boasting its most compelling lineup in years. The 48-player field includes Andre Agassi, who will retire in September; Roddick and Blake, last year's finalists; Australia's Lleyton Hewitt and Russia's Marat Safin.
Competitors in the U.S. Open Series collect points based on their performance at each event. The men's and women's series champion each receives $1 million, and the top three finishers are eligible for bonus prize money at the U.S. Open that could hike their payout at Flushing Meadows, N.Y., to $2.2 million.
New this year is the use of instant replay on all stadium court matches and a system of player challenges. Fans will be able to follow the resolution of disputed calls on video scoreboards. Each player will receive two challenges per set. If a player's challenge is upheld, he'll keep the same number of challenges. If he incorrectly disputes a call, however, he loses a challenge. The system, which relies on the Hawk-Eye technology featured on TV broadcasts, will make its Grand Slam debut at this year's U.S. Open.
Women's action in the U.S. Open Series gets under way July 24 in Stanford, Calif. Former No. 1 Lindsay Davenport pulled out Saturday after anticipating a return to competition after suffering a back injury in March.
Quote of the Day:
"As long as I don't lose three, it's OK." -- Federer, asked whether he was disappointed to lose a set Sunday, his first of the tournament.