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Roddick ready for Wimbledon

by Howard Fendrich
| June 20, 2010 9:00 PM

"Rodd-ick! Rodd-ick! Rodd-ick!"

Surprising as it may have been to hear full-throated chants echo through the often-staid Centre Court stands - 15,000 or so voices rising as one in the moments after last year's Wimbledon final concluded with a 16-14 fifth set - what was most remarkable was the name the spectators chose to yell.

They did not salute the champion, Roger Federer, who claimed his sixth title at Wimbledon and record-breaking 15th Grand Slam title overall. Instead, they hailed the runner-up, Andy Roddick, who dropped to 1-4 in major finals, including 0-3 at the All England Club - each loss against Federer.

"Rodd-ick! Rodd-ick! Rodd-ick!"

When Wimbledon begins Monday, Roddick will resume his quest for a championship that would mean quite a lot to him, one that barely eluded him in 2009.

Roddick served almost impeccably and was broken only once, in the 77th and last game of Federer's 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14 victory - the longest match and longest fifth set, in terms of games, in Grand Slam final history. And don't forget this: Roddick injured his hip when he tumbled to the court in the fourth set.

"I'm always anxious going into Wimbledon. I don't think that's going to change," said the 27-year-old Roddick, who lives in Austin, Texas. "I don't go in with any sense of entitlement or any sense of anything like that. I'm excited to get onto a surface that I actually feel that I can impose my game on a little bit more."

Or as Roddick's coach, Larry Stefanki, put it: "Grass is what you'd call his bread-and-butter."

Roddick's fastest-on-tour serve only gets speedier and tougher for opponents to handle on the slick surface used at Wimbledon. It's a formula similar to one Venus and Serena Williams employ to dominate opponents at this Grand Slam tournament, divvying up eight of the past 10 Wimbledon championships.

Roddick did win the 2003 U.S. Open, but he is still waiting for No. 1 at Wimbledon.

On the women's side, Justine Henin, who owns seven Grand Slam titles but none from Wimbledon, will be back for the first time since 2007, having rejoined the tour this season after a 20-month hiatus.

Kim Clijsters, a two-time U.S. Open champion and twice a semifinalist at Wimbledon, hasn't played at the grass-court major tournament since 2006, owing to a 2?-year semi-retirement, during which she got married and became a mother.

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