Roddick in ‘mellow’ mood at Devonshire Park

Andy Roddick at Devonshire Park
Andy Roddick at Devonshire Park

The Sunshine Coast has made a good impression on former world number one Andy Roddick after he got his first taste of competitive action in Eastbourne this week.

The American tennis favourite debuted at Devonshire Park in his opening round match against compatriot Sam Querrey on Tuesday and said what he’s seen of the town is so far, so good.

“It’s been great here. It’s nice, it’s mellow. There’s always available practice courts – there’s a whole long line of them.

“It’s been pleasant so far.

“The courts felt good. I heard coming in that the courts can be a bit uneven but honestly they’ve been great. I’m pleasantly surprised.”

The world number 33 was granted a wildcard entry into this year’s tournament after his early exit from the sponsor’s championships event at Queen’s Club in London to French underdog Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

He said, “You’re just here to work and I felt like this was the best place to do it. You can’t really replicate match situations in practice, so this is something I needed.

“They afforded me the opportunity to play here and I’m thankful for it.”

The 2003 US Open champion was gifted a place in the second round of the tournament after his opponent, world number 63 Sam Querrey, retired from their match with a back injury when the score was 5-2 in favour of Roddick.

The big-hitting crowd favourite was unaware of Querrey’s niggling problem but said he still feels confident ahead of the grass-court season, despite only having seven games under his belt so far.

“Regardless of what he had going on, I hit the ball really well. Last couple of days it’s been really good in practice. I don’t know why or how or what the process is but it’s felt pretty good.”

Roddick will be hoping the AEGON International tournament will help him rediscover some of the form that saw him win the first and only Grand Slam title of his career to date and hit the top rank of men’s tennis back in 2003.

Roddick, known for his powerful serves, has dropped from the radar slightly over recent years after a string of disappointing results. Now ranked at number 33 in the world, he looks at the likes of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic as the ones to beat in his quest to climb back up the order.

The only problem now is how to do that.

“I’m not really sure how to go about that. They’ve been pretty selfish about Grand Slam titles for a little bit.

“It’s going to take some extraordinary tennis and consistency. It’s going to take digging out of holes, and you saw that with Roger and Novak during Paris. That comes from confidence.

“Even being a couple of sets down, they were able to dig in and beat some pretty good players in their own right. There’s something to be said for that.”

His second match of the contest will no doubt be more challenging than his first but all he hopes is that a successful run in the tournament will stand him in good stead and good confidence ahead of the third Grand Slam of the year - and one he’s generally done well in - Wimbledon.