Roddick's game matures with grown-up approach

For semifinalist, pressure is no longer a problem


July 02, 2004|By Diane Pucin | Diane Pucin,LOS ANGELES TIMES

WIMBLEDON, England - Andy Roddick is an itchy, twitchy guy. Sitting still isn't easy. He has been growing a beard during this Wimbledon fortnight, a scraggly thing that makes Roddick seem an unfinished product, a man still dangling a foot in teenage life.

His tennis game, though, has grown up.

Roddick used to be an itchy, twitchy guy on the court, too. He jumped around between points and when he hit a ball, his arms and legs had extra movement. It was as if he were a Slinky and his appendages moved in sections. When the nerves began, he sprayed his shots.

This Roddick was also impatient. Waiting two or three shots before trying to hit a winner did not suit him.

Now, Roddick is 21 and has won a major title, the 2003 U.S. Open. As he has progressed through Wimbledon without losing a set, Roddick has proved he is all grown up.

After Roddick knocked Sjeng Schalken out in the quarterfinals, the Dutchman said: "When he used to play, he wanted to go for it a little bit more. But now, he's just going for it in the service game and the rest of the game is very solid. So he's doing very good."

If Roddick is serving, there is no holding him back. If the rally starts, Roddick doesn't have to win with the first big forehand. He doesn't have to go for broke. He's got game.

"It's a matter of experience," Roddick said. "Since last year's [Wimbledon] semi, I've played a lot of big matches. ... I've been in a lot more pressure situations and I think that helps."

Roddick, seeded second, will play in his second straight Wimbledon semifinal today. His opponent, Mario Ancic, is ranked 63rd, is younger (20), less experienced, more impatient and proclaimed by former champion Boris Becker as the future, which apparently has arrived.

In the other semifinal, veteran Sebastien Grosjean of France will test the fluid, multidimensional game of defending champion and top-seeded Roger Federer.

Grosjean, seeded 10th, has never made it past a Grand Slam semifinal, but his battle with Federer is guaranteed to feature an array of spins, smashes, volleys, touch shots and clever serving into corners and on lines.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.


Women's singles


Maria Sharapova (13), Russia, def. Lindsay Davenport (5), United States, 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1. Serena Williams (1), United States, def. Amelie Mauresmo (4), France, 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-4. Schedule


Men's semifinals

(Play begins at 8 a.m. EDT) Roger Federer (1), Switzerland, vs. Sebastien Grosjean (10), France. Mario Ancic, Croatia, vs. Andy Roddick (2), United States.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.