Saturday, February 11, 2012

Roddick hopes to be fit for SAP Open

   Andy Roddick expressed concern about his hamstring injury entering next week's SAP Open in San Jose.
   The No. 2 seed and three-time SAP Open champion retired from his second-round match against Lleyton Hewitt in last month's Australian Open. A subsequent MRI showed a partial tear of a right hamstring tendon.
   "I haven't hit a ball since Australia," Roddick said last week on a conference call from his home in Austin, Texas. "We've just been working on different types of treatments trying to get it right. The MRI came back probably not as good as we were hoping. But I'm hoping to be hitting balls for the first time next Monday. If all goes well there, that should be plenty of time to be ready.
   "Bill (SAP Open tournament director Bill Rapp) was nice enough to confirm a Wednesday night start of me in San Jose, so that gives me a little extra time. If all goes well on Monday, I should have a good seven, eight, nine days to hit balls beforehand, and I think that should be enough."
   Roddick, who will turn 30 on Aug. 30, won the SAP Open in 2004, 2005 and 2008 and was the runner-up in 2010. He earned his 30th career ATP singles title in Memphis last year to join Roger Federer as the only active players with at least one crown for 11 consecutive years. However, Roddick's streak of finishing in the year-end top 10 ended at nine.
   Roddick, Milos Raonic and John McEnroe conducted separate conference calls to promote the SAP Open, Monday through Feb. 19 at HP Pavilion.
   Raonic, a 6-foot-5 Canadian who turned 21 in December, won his first ATP World Tour title last year in San Jose. He was named the ATP's Newcomer of the Year after jumping from No. 156 in the world at the start of the season to No. 31 at the end despite undergoing hip surgery in July and missing two months.
   McEnroe, an International Tennis Hall of Famer from New York who will turn 53 on Thursday, won 17 Grand Slam titles (seven in singles, nine in men's doubles and one in mixed doubles). Overall, he captured 165 singles and doubles titles combined, by far more than anyone else in the Open Era. Five of his singles crowns and nine of his doubles trophies came in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he also attended Stanford for one year and won the NCAA singles title.
   McEnroe will play an exhibition doubles match with Raonic against Gael Monfils of France and rising star Jack Sock, a 19-year-old American, on Monday at 7 p.m. Monfils is seeded first and Raonic third in singles.
   To see the SAP Open singles draw, go to www.sapopentennis.com/ftpuploads/MDS.pdf. Evening schedules are available at http://www.sapopentennis.com/.
   Here are other highlights of the conference calls:
     Roddick on Novak Djokovic's epic victory over Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final: "It almost looked like the kind of tennis you see when you play Xbox, where the guys really don't get tired, and they just hit whatever shot they want.
   "It's pretty remarkable. Probably at no time in my career -- and I've been in pretty good shape throughout it -- I'm not sure I could play back-to-back six-hour matches of that intensity. It's not like those guys were getting a lot of free points on their serves, either. What they're doing right now physically is impressive."
   Raonic, on winning last year's SAP Open: "Everything just came together really well. I felt like the Australian Open (fourth round as a qualifier, beating 10th-ranked Mikhail Youzhny) was a really big surprise for me but also gave me very good insight into my potential. I felt like I came into San Jose a lot more confident that I could play with the top guys and win matches and not just squeeze through them.
   "So it was sort of the first time I really felt I was stepping into a tournament and feeling like I truly belonged. But not only like I belonged, but that I can win a title."
   McEnroe, on the level of interest in tennis in the United States: "I think the sport isn't as popular as it was. I still think it's a great game. There are a lot of other things out there that people can gravitate towards. If you had told me 25 years ago that poker would outrate tennis, I would have laughed at you. For that matter, golf, bowling -- you could go on and on.
   "I think tennis is better than any of those things. Having said that, you have to think outside the box and go after the fan who has 500 choices on TV now instead of 10."
   Pro results -- Two members of the Sacramento Capitals in World TeamTennis lost Friday.
   Eighth-seeded Vania King fell to third-seeded Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 7-6 (7), 6-4 in the quarterfinals of the $220,000 PTT Pattaya Open in Pattaya City, Thailand. King, 5-foot-5, dropped to 0-7 against the 5-11 Hantuchova.
   Mark Knowles, King's teammate on the Capitals, and Robert Kendrick, a Fresno native, lost to the British team of Chris Eaton and Dominic Inglot 4-6, 7-6 (5), 10-8 tiebreak in the doubles semifinals of the $100,000 yp Challenger of Dallas. Knowles has homes in Dallas and his native Bahamas.
   Maria Sanchez of Modesto also lost in a doubles semifinal, falling with Amra Sadikovic of Switzerland to third-seeded Valeria Solovieva of Russia and Lenka Wienerova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-3 in the $25,000 Childhelp Desert Classic in Rancho Mirage, near Palm Springs.
   College results -- Fifth-seeded Cal blanked Miami 4-0 in the first round of the ITA National Women's Indoor Team Championship in Charlottesville, Va. The Bears will meet fourth-seeded Georgia in today's quarterfinals.

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