Top-seeded Andy Roddick has won his third Legg Mason Classic tennis title in Washington. But as VOA's Jim Stevenson reports, Roddick and the rest of the tennis world may have witnessed the emergence of a new American tennis star.
Roddick is no stranger to playing in tournament finals. With his win Sunday at the Legg Mason Classic, Roddick has now prevailed 23 times to win events, including three at the annual Washington tournament. But this time he faced a 22-year-old opponent who made an improbable run while playing in just his second ATP tournament.
Fellow-American John Isner was a last-minute wild card entry with an 0-1 record. But he reeled off five straight wins, all with third set tiebreakers, to reach the Legg Mason final. Despite playing a determined Isner in 36-degree Celsius heat, Roddick emerged the winner, 6-4, 7-6.
After the match, Roddick said he was happy to see a new American player on the court.
"I am very intrigued and excited to see how he is going to follow that up. I told him, I said 'this is the start. Now this is where you start your career," Roddick said. "You have had great momentum, great confidence. People are going to respect you a lot more. But this is the beginning.' I told him at the net (after winning the match) to keep going, do not be satisfied (with his success)."
Isner came into the event ranked 416th in the world. His success this week will push him into the top 200 and give him a wild card into the Cincinnati tournament in two weeks. He says he has a positive approach to the game, especially after this week.
"Tennis is more mental than anything," Isner said. "It is amazing, confidence comes and goes. And right now, I am really, really confident. Trust me, losing to Andy Roddick does not take any confidence away from me. So I am a very confident player and feel like I can go out there and compete with anybody."
The Legg Mason tournament is one of the warm-up events leading to the U.S. Open, the year's final Grand Slam event which begins in three weeks.