Emotional Roddick vows to 'stick around'

NEW YORK Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:58pm EDT

1 of 4. Andy Roddick of the U.S. gets set to hit a return to Bernard Tomic of Australia during their match at the US Open men's singles tennis tournament in New York, August 31, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Adam Hunger

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - An emotional Andy Roddick postponed his farewell speech and stayed alive in the U.S. Open by routing Bernard Tomic in the second round at Flushing Meadows on Friday night.

Roddick needed only one hour and 27 minutes to defeat Tomic 6-3 6-4 6-0, just one day after the 30-year-old announced he would retire at the end of the tournament.

Winding back the clock to play with the power and aggression that made him U.S. Open champion and world number one in 2003, Roddick will play Italy's Fabio Fognini in round three for a place in the last 16.

"I'm going to try and stick around a little longer," Roddick told the packed crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Roddick said he became emotional shortly before the match when he saw a tribute to his career being shown on television in the locker room.

"I had no idea what was going to happen out there, honestly, even before the match," Roddick said. "I've played a lot of matches and that was a different kind of nerves than I've had before.

"That was surprising for me. I felt weird before the match. Twenty minutes before it was kind of getting the best of me. I had to get my stuff together before I walked out there.

"I played well and I don't know why."

Roddick said the entire day was an emotional rollercoaster as he contemplated the possibility it would be the last match of his career.

"I've been pretty good about everything but the moment hit me a little bit," he said. "You start realizing the finality of the situation. You think different things.

"I walk out for warm-up, and 'Is this going to be the last warmup?' It works along those lines. It got to me a little bit."

Roddick said his coach, Larry Stefanki, was responsible for calming his nerves.

"Larry had to come over and kind of tell me to knock it off," Roddick said.

The 19-year-old Tomic admitted he was overawed by a full house inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"He played very good," Tomic said. "I couldn't do anything, really. He served well. I didn't have many chances to do anything. I was a bit nervous the first set.

"It's very difficult, the first time, to be in front of 22,000 people. It's very different. I'm used to playing in Australia.

"Here it's a bit different. Different feeling playing on the backcourts than playing on the biggest stage in the world, biggest country in the world."

Tomic conceded he felt uncomfortable when the pro-Roddick crowd cheered his errors and said he was denied the chance to practice on the court before the match.

"I felt like anything I did, I wasn't quite sure how to respond," he said. "The ball jumps on that court. It's different to the outside courts. I would like to have had an opportunity to play on it this week.

"It's difficult to get to hit on that court. The more I looked up, the more I realized how many people were there. Like I say, I feel like I needed to hit 10 minutes on the court.

"It's difficult. The top seeds always get the opportunity to hit on that court."

(Editing by Steve Ginsburg)

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