Andy Roddick has come to Washington as one of the marquee names in this year's Legg Mason Tennis Classic. The American quickly justified that status with a 6-3, 6-4 win Tuesday over Ecuador's Giovanni Lapentti in his first match. It was Roddick's 40th match victory of the season. And while this year's tournament features a number of well-known players, Roddick said he has no problem being the center of attention.
"You know, it's cool for me. I think you want to play in that kind of environment. That's what you work for so it's always a good time," said Mr. Roddick.
It has been a hectic summer for Roddick. After winning on grass at Queen's Club in England and losing the Wimbledon final to world number one Roger Federer of Switzerland, he struggled after switching to hard courts for the U.S. Open Series. The fifth-ranked Roddick only reached the quarterfinals on the hard courts in Indianapolis, but he made the semifinals at Indian Wells, California.
He also said that it can be hard to avoid injuries at this time of year, especially since many American tournaments are played outdoors in the summer heat.
"I don't think you can try to stay healthy. You're either healthy or you're not," he noted. "But I think what you can do is put in the work off the court throughout the year. I guess it gets paid more attention to because now we're here playing in DC, but we play week after week after week after week pretty much the whole season."
Nonetheless, Roddick pronounced himself happy with his game at the moment.
"I think the good thing for me is that it feels like the momentum for me is swinging in the right direction right now," he added.
The road to Sunday's Legg Mason championship match seems to be clearing up for Roddick. Fellow American Andre Agassi withdrew before the tournament began, while Australian Mark Phillipoussis and Britain's Tim Henman were upset in their opening matches. Nonetheless, Andy Roddick said he is not taking it for granted that he will make it to the championship. He says many good players are still in the tournament.
"There are dangerous players out there. Tennis is so deep right now. But I'm only going to look as far as my next one," he explained.
Roddick plays his next match here Thursday night. His opponent will be the winner of Wednesday night's match between American Brian Baker and Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela.