Roddick using fans' passion to his advantage at U.S. Open
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Andy Roddick said New York's passionate crowd is an invaluable weapon for him as he attempts to win the U.S. Open in a fairytale end to his career.
Roddick's dream run continued in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Sunday when he defeated Italian Fabio Fognini 7-5 7-6 4-6 6-4 to reach the last 16 and set up a berth against Argentina's 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro.
The 30-year-old Roddick had deafening support against Fognini, kindling memories of Jimmy Connors' run to the 1991 semi-finals at the age of 39.
Roddick vowed to continue tapping into the raucous cheering against the seventh-seeded del Potro.
"I'd be an idiot not to use the crowd right now," Roddick said. "It's a huge advantage. Each match is almost like it's another memory. I'm certainly going to use them."
Roddick was once coached by Connors, who turned 60 on Sunday, but said one of the game's great showmen had never spoken to him about his stampede through the draw in 1991.
"Jimmy, unlike a lot of people who have had as much success as he's had, Jimmy doesn't like to talk about Jimmy in the past," Roddick said. "He doesn't reference himself at every turn.
"You would have to ask him about it. You know, he certainly didn't equate everything that happened on a tennis court back to something that he did that was great."
Roddick said he remembered being at Flushing Meadows as a young boy for Connors' charge, sneaking into the players' lounge.
"Yeah, I was here for it," Roddick said. "In the lounge - I didn't quite make it to the locker room. I didn't want to press my luck. They had free stuff in the lounge, so I was fine with that.
"That was my first taste of live tennis and it was that run, so that's as good as it gets."
Roddick denied having any of Andre Agassi's resentment of the game, which the former world number one admitted in retirement, and said the past few days, since announcing his retirement, had been memorable.
"We're all mentally exhausted or physically exhausted at one point but I didn't resent the game," Roddick said. "I never had that moment.
"I've been walking around with a smile on my face for three days. All of a sudden you're kind of smiling, humming, whistling, walking around, and you feel pretty good about it.
"Then all of a sudden you have to say good-bye to something. It's like this gut-check moment. It's these extreme emotions from five minutes to the next five minutes.
"You think you know what's going on, but I don't think there's any way to prepare yourself for it."
Del Potro expected the respect of the crowd if not the numbers of people on his side.
"I know this is special, this day for him, but I'm doing my job," del Potro said. "The match is going to be very tough but if I play at a high level, it will be tough for both players.
"Big atmosphere. The crowd loves Andy here and they have respect for me so it will be a fantastic show. Argentinian fans come to watch me.
"I don't know if all the crowd will be with him. I will like to win and I will try to do my best tennis."
(Editing by Steve Ginsburg)
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