WASHINGTON – Top-seeded at Washington's Legg Mason Tennis Classic,Andy Roddick is confident he will overcome any challenges as the biggest tennis event of the year,the U.S. Open,draws near.
“I will punch him,” Roddick said,laughing at a press conference Monday addressing a reporter's question about playing in the U.S. Open against the world's best player,Roger Federer of Switzerland.
Roddick,the 2001 Legg Mason champion who in 2003 set the world record for the fastest serve,153.5 mph,compared Federer,the three-time Wimbledon Champion who is not playing here,to another legendary athlete.
“He's been able to do to tennis what Tiger Woods did to golf a couple of years ago and just forcing us to become better players,” he said.
Even though he lost to Federer in the 2003 Wimbledon semi-finals and the 2004 and 2005 Wimbledon finals,Roddick said he does everything in his power to be the best player he can be.
“I am working harder than I ever have. And I am still pretty good,” said Roddick,who is from Omaha,Neb.
“Roger Federer is difficult mentally and psychologically to everybody,” Roddick added. “Federer is the guy who upset a lot of players at the bigger matches.”
Roddick said that the goal of his heavy summer schedule is to be in the U.S. Open playoffs,and therefore he must be ready to play against the world's strongest players. The tournament begins Aug. 29.
Roddick ranked his chances “as good as anyone not named Roger.”
Roddick is the world's fourth best player behind Federer,Australian Lleyton Hewitt and Spaniard Rafael Nadal,Roddick said he feels prepared for the Legg Mason tournament,which began Monday and ends Aug. 7.
Two weeks ago,Roddick lost in the semifinals to U.S. player Robby Ginepri at the RCA Championship in Indianapolis. However,Roddick had beaten Ginepri in their previous six meetings.
“I went home,had a rest and recovered,had a good week of training,and I feel prepared now,” Roddick said.
Addressing Andre Agassi's withdrawal on Sunday from Legg Mason,in which he has played for 15 years,Roddick said it is disappointing for both the tournament and fans.
“Obviously it's disappointing. Obviously he made a decision to take care of his health for the rest of the summer,” Roddick concluded.
Roddick plans to take a week off before the U.S. Open starts,likely missing the Pilot Pen tournament in New Haven,Conn.