Roddick hopes for long birthday stay at Open

Andy Roddick won his opener in straight sets.

Andy Roddick turns 30 on Thursday, which is the equivalent of being a senior citizen on the men’s tennis tour.

Asked what he wants for his birthday, the 2003 U.S. Open champ cracked, “I just want to be around [at the Open] until next week. That’s all I want for my birthday. Then I’ll renegotiate.”

Roddick passed his first test Tuesday, knocking off 21-year-old former University of Tennessee star Rhyne Williams, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 thanks to 20 aces, one of which peaked at 141 mph.

“I haven’t hit 140 for about three years so that was nice,” said Roddick, who is married to the actress and model Brooklyn Decker.

With the Big Three of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray heavily favored to dominate this tournament, Roddick is an extreme longshot to add a second major championship to his trophy case.

He faces hard-serving Australian Bernard Tomic next and could potentially face 2009 Open champ Juan Martin del Potro in the fourth round.

“You play your second round, try to win your second round,” Roddick said. “You go as far as you want. Or as far as you can.”

Even Roddick remains impressed with the 31-year-old Federer, who regained the world No. 1 ranking after winning Wimbledon and won his first-round match here Monday night over American Donald Young.

“I’m not surprised to see him back there,” Roddick said. “It’s not a story for me because you know, he never stopped being the greatest.”

With Federer, Djokovic and Rafael Nadal winning 29 of the last 30 majors, an American man hasn’t captured one since Roddick’s Open title in 2003.

“I think the game has changed a lot,” Roddick said. “You probably were able to get two feet under you and kind of launch the ball a lot more then. I had a massive serve at 135, and this kid today was hitting them that big. I think the game has gotten significantly better since then.”

Still, Roddick, No. 9 seed John Isner and No. 27 Sam Querrey, who won in four sets Tuesday, remain America’s best hopes of challenging for another Grand Slam on the men’s side.

“Isner has impressed me this summer,” Roddick said. “He’s only a couple of years younger than me, but he’s coming into his own with that serve.

“Sam’s been playing better. So I have liked what I’ve seen from the guys that we know.”

And even after he turns 30, Roddick hopes he’s still around for another Open run.

Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter @AdamZagoria for coverage of the U.S. Open all tournament long.


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