MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Andy Roddick wasn’t able to play through an injury this time.
A bad back hampered Roddick at the Kroger St. Jude on Friday night, and he lost to Thomas Enqvist 7-6 (8), 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
He refused to blame his back for the loss.
“Thomas came out firing on all cylinders, and I thought he served very well. I would have had my hands full either way,” Roddick said. “He plays great indoors. He came out, we had some good rallies, and he just played better on the big points. I just didn’t bring it enough.”
Roddick is 14-3 in matches this year, with his lone tournament victory coming last week at San Jose, Calif., in the Siebel Open. Treatment helped him play through a neck problem there.
But he woke up Friday morning with back spasms. He had a chiropractic adjustment and treatment and felt ready to go, especially after warmups. Then his back started acting up.
“I was walking back from the locker room, looked this way, and it kind of froze,” Roddick said.
He wasn’t sure whether he would be able to play and kept working to loosen up his back.
“I definitely didn’t want to let the fans down out there,” Roddick said.
But he fell short of making his third straight trip to the finals in this event.
Roddick showed early how much his back bothered him. He barely got his powerful serve above 130 mph, and double-faulted while leading 6-5 in the tiebreaker.
“It would catch on me, I’d kind of wince a little bit and maybe not commit to the shot totally,” he said.
He still had 17 aces and three break points in the 78-minute match but could not convert. Enqvist was just too strong.
The Swede, ranked 95th at the end of 2003, fought off two set points in the tiebreaker. Then he broke Roddick’s serve to go up 3-1 in the second set, and clinched the victory on his fifth match point.
“Roddick’s one of the best players in the world, so I’m very satisfied,” Enqvist said.
This was not how Roddick wanted to leave the tournament. He won his fourth title at The Racquet Club in 2002 and lost to Taylor Dent in the finals here last year.
Fans tried to cheer Roddick through his discomfort. Roddick said he really wanted to win again in Memphis and called the support amazing.
“See you here next year,” he said.
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic wasted a chance to serve out the match and was beaten 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 by sixth-seeded Tomas Berdych in the Italian Open quarterfinals Friday.
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