DUBAI, March 9 (Reuters) - When Andy Roddick defeated Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-7 6-4 6-2 to win the Dubai Championships on Saturday, he did it against the odds.
The sixth-seeded American had arrived late after competing in Memphis the week before and admitted that he almost sleepwalked through his first two rounds.
“I was literally asleep before my first match, on the floor in the players lounge with people stepping over me and (Novak) Djokovic dropping stuff on me,” said Roddick after his victory.
“I actually didn’t warm up that day because I was pretty tired. I really didn’t know what to expect coming in, and maybe that’s why I played well. Who knows?”
In addition to jet-lag, Roddick was imbedded in a half of the draw that included two reigning grand slam champions, Roland Garros winner Rafael Nadal and Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic.
But the former world number one wanted to test himself against the best and he came out on top in both encounters without the loss of a set or even a service break.
“I stated a couple of weeks ago that a big part of decision to come here was to try to get a shot at the top players,” said Roddick.
“I was able to do that, and success here has made it look like it was a good idea. I’m just happy to be playing really good tennis right now.
“If I can keep the form I had this week I’ll definitely be a threat again at the slams.”
A third card stacked against him was that he had split from his coach, Jimmy Connors, just a week before arriving in Dubai.
But travelling now with just his brother John and trainer Doug Spreen, he was still able to talk with Connors before tackling Djokovic in the semi-finals.
Roddick’s victory, his second this season after his win in San Jose last month, also gave him the opportunity to hit back at critics who claim his game is one-dimensional and consists of nothing but a big serve.
“I think the only thing that bothers me is that sometimes I get presented as not a very good tennis player,” said Roddick. “I can play sometimes, besides the serve.
“I’m serving well, but I think I’m hitting my forehand pretty well and there’s not much I’m not happy with as far as this week goes. I’ve been playing the right way, which is good.
“Sometimes I tell people that I’m the best bad tennis player of all time.”
He added: “With the exception of Roger (Federer), if you look at my record against the rest of the top 10 it’s pretty good for a guy who can serve and can’t really volley or hit a backhand or his forehand isn’t big anymore.
“The list goes on and on and on. There must be something there.”
Editing by Martin Petty
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