Teeth Like Tombstones In a Rainy Churchyard

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124406794FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. — His four-set triumph over tireless Spaniard David Ferrer having all but exhausted his reserves, Andy Roddick knew it would be a tough ask to come back the next day against 10-time Grand Slam titlist Rafael Nadal in the U.S. Open quarterfinals.  And from the moment he stepped onto the practice court on Friday morning, it was obvious to him that an upset of the world No. 2 just wasn’t in the legs.

“It just felt just like nothingness,” said the No. 21 seeded American, who struggled with his most potent weapon, landing just 40 of his 68 first serves in a 6-2, 6-1, 6-1 loss.  “No quick switch at all, which is unfortunate…It’s tough playing a lot of matches regularly, but I had zero reserves.  I didn’t have any time to train this summer, so playing a tough match like yesterday – I felt like I played six sets.”

Roddick’s left thigh tightened up on him (he took a medical timeout in the final set to get a massage), preventing him from getting any lift in his serve.

“I was trying to push up on serves, and I felt like I was falling over as opposed to pushing up,” said Roddick, who didn’t register a single forehand winner on the afternoon.  “Just didn’t have much.”

So quick was the match (1 hour, 53 minutes), that the A-Rod-backers inside Ashe Stadium had little chance to vocalize their support.  Instead, there was silence.

“It’s a bad feeling,” he explained.  “It’s almost worse than competing.  You feel helpless.  I think you’d rather be booed than have silence.  It’s an empty feeling.  It’s not fun.”

“I think he was tired because the match of yesterday,” said Nadal, who took another step toward defending his USO title, and will next play hot Scot Andy Murray.  “You know how tough is play best-of-five two days in a row, and he played against very difficult opponent like David yesterday. So is always a very hard match against him, and probably he was tired.  That happens when the rain comes.”

VOTE NOW!!!: There’s a website called AndyMurrayometer.com, which allows viewers to vote on whether Andy Murray is British or Scottish.

NOT A THING OF BEAUTY: The Wall Street Journal’s Tom Perrotta called Andy Roddick the U.S. Open’s new “chief moisture bubble inspector.” Perrotta also said the Texan’s serve “has a herky-jerky, he’s-going-to-hurt-himself quality.  A thing of beauty it is not.”

GOLF’S GAIN TENNIS’ LOSS?: Word is that nine-year-old Jaden Gil Agassi is a golf fanatic.  “He’s been crazy about it every day,” says mom Steffi Graf.

NOT-SO-SUPER-SATURDAY?: Informed that Roger Federer is not in favor of back-to-back matches on Super Saturday at the U.S. Open, John Isner asked, “Super Saturday?  What’s that?”

ANDY ON NEGATIVITY: During his quarterfinal run at the U.S. Open, Andy Roddick often scolded the media, saying he was tired of all the negative press. When Inside Tennis asked him how the media has changed since he was growing up reading about Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras, etc., he said, “There’s just so many more outlets.  There are so many more outlets now. At the beginning of Pete and Andre, I couldn’t go online and every person with access to a computer was all of a sudden a journalist.  Those are the facts of it.  It didn’t exist like that. My beef was just it’s tough for me to sit back and watch a match and see a guy 20 in the world in tennis be referred to as a ‘journeyman.’  Let’s take for instance a Major League Baseball All-Star.  There were 87 of them this year. But if you say you’re an All-Star, there’s a certain amount of clout that comes along with it, correct?  I’m not sure if it’s a 12- or 15-person roster in the NBA, but if you’re 24, you’re an all-star in the NBA.  And I don’t like people mispronouncing names of guys 22 in the world.  I think just at a certain point we need to build it up and maybe show people how good these athletes really are.  There’s probably less guys making a really, really good living in tennis than there are Major League All-Stars.  I think it’s a hard thing to do, and I don’t think it’s always presented that way.  It’s not me being bitter. I’d rather point out how good some of these players are more than three guys or four guys.”

MIXED CHAMPS: The U.S. lost two men on Friday as both John Isner and Andy Roddick fell in the quarterfinals.  But all the news wasn’t bad for American tennis. Newcomer Jack Sock and Cinderella girl Melanie Oudin teamed up to top Eduardo Schwank/Gisela Dulko 7-6(4), 4-6 (10-8) in the U.S. Open mixed doubles final.  “It’s pretty cool,” said Oudin, two years removed from her captivating surge to the USO quarterfinals in singles.  “We kind of can’t believe that we actually won a Grand Slam.  Like, I have a title now…We didn’t even know if we were going to be able to play mixed doubles here because we didn’t know if we would get a wildcard. We’re just really excited.”

THE NUMBERS

4: Consecutive years in which the U.S. Open men’s final has been pushed to Monday due to inclement weather.

HEADLINES

Fading Tennis Empires Cling to Their Andys

Feisty, Outspoken Andy Roddick Is Starting to Look Like the Sport’s New Ugly American: But Is That a Good Thing?

Bright Sun, Dark Moods

Disorder On the Court

Open Run Ends ‘4’ Young-ster

QUOTEBOOK

“Tempers bubbled.  So did the court.” — Doug Robson, USA Today

“Is Andy Murray British? What sort of question is that, you ask?  With those pallid, hairy legs and teeth like tombstones in a rainy village churchyard, what else could he be?” — Gerard Baker, The Wall Street Journal

“It’s been so long since England won anything of importance, that they’ll claim every Scot, Welshman, Irishman or ex-colonial as their own if they win.  Heck, they’ll even insist Novak Djokovic is British if it turns out his great-great-uncle three times removed once spent a week on the beach in Bournemouth.” — Gerard Baker, The Wall Street Journal

“I’m a sweater.” — John Isner, who went through 10 shirts during his fourth-round win over Gilles Simon

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