WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Andy Roddick will use the confidence he gained by reaching last month’s Wimbledon final to fuel his bid for the U.S. Open title, the American said on Monday.
Roddick, however, conceded that his epic five-set loss to Roger Federer at the All England Club was the culmination of an impressive year, not just a fabulous fortnight.
“It does help my confidence going into the U.S. Open the fact that I was recently able to navigate my way through a major tournament,” Roddick told reporters at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic where he is the top seed.
“Those results can only help on a short-term basis, going into the U.S. Open. But nothing’s guaranteed. You still have to be in-form.”
The 26-year-old Roddick has been recovering from a hip injury and this week will play in his first tournament since his riveting 5-7 7-6 7-6 3-6 16-14 loss to Federer.
Three-times winner of the D.C. hardcourt event, Roddick will play either American Robby Ginepri or Benjamin Becker of Germany in his first match Wednesday.
“I‘m not expecting to pick up where I left off a month ago,” he said. “I’d love to get off to a great start. But it would be presumptuous of me to expect that in my first match.”
When Roddick won the U.S. Open in 2003 many believed he would have won several major championships by now. But that title remains the only grand slam hardware in his trophy case.
In the wake of his courageous Wimbledon effort, however, those expectations have been re-kindled. Roddick said his resurgence actually began with a semi-final appearance at the 2009 Australian Open.
“I‘m having difficulty separating Wimbledon from the rest of the year,” said the fifth-ranked Roddick. “Everyone’s focusing on that but I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of the things I applied at Wimbledon from January forward.”
Roddick said coach Larry Stefanki, hired late last year, has helped him in several areas, including fitness, nutrition, and his mental approach to the game.
“Toward the last six months of last year I felt I was going the wrong way. I dealt with some injuries. Then you start dealing with self-belief. Then you come back and take it on the chin a couple of times,” he said.
“Now, mentally, I’ve grown up on the court. I don’t get too up or too down, which I used to be guilty of a lot earlier in my career. I‘m just going to keep an even keel.”
Roddick admitted he is enjoying reading his post-Wimbledon press clippings but concedes he must back it up with an impressive run at Flushing Meadows.
”I feel like I’ve been a pretty good tennis player regardless of what’s happened over the last six weeks,“ he said. ”I know I‘m on the defensive quite a bit for that.
“So I’ll take the good press coverage while it’s there. I know it’s fleeting.”
Editing by Pritha Sarkar