WIMBLEDON, England - A frustrated Andy Roddick threw his racket at a garbage can Saturday, which may or may not have been a commentary on the state of his game.
“I hate myself,” he muttered a few points later during a practice match at Wimbledon. “I just can’t stand myself.”
Roddick was runner-up to Roger Federer in 2004 and 2005, but this year he’s seeded only sixth and considered a darkhorse when the tournament starts Monday. Given Rafael Nadal’s improvement on grass and the emergence of Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, Roddick faces more potential obstacles than ever at Wimbledon.
“The three guys have established themselves as most consistent on tour this year,” Roddick said. “They’re certainly the favorites, but I’d consider myself probably right after them.”
Roddick has beaten all three this year, but a shoulder injury curtailed his recent schedule. He missed the French Open, then reached the semifinals on grass at Queen’s Club in London last week before losing to Nadal.
“I feel OK,” Roddick said, sounding less than confident. “I came out of Queen’s healthy, which is what I wanted. Going in there I didn’t really know what was going to happen. But I’ve been practicing here this week. It has been going OK. It’s not perfect ... doesn’t feel as good as it should some days.”
Roddick, who won his only major title at the U.S. Open in 2003, has advanced to the second week at Wimbledon four of the past five years. The grass at the All England Club is slower than it was in the 1990s, but it’s still a surface favorable to big servers, and Roddick ranks second on the men’s tour this year with 380 aces.
That makes Roddick impossible to rule out, even if he’s a long shot to win the title.
“When it comes to grass, he’s got the hardest serve I’ve ever seen anyone hit,” three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe said. “He’s got a very loose arm; he’s got that huge forehand. So he’s got that puncher’s chance to win another major. Most guys can’t say that.”
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