Friends reunited with Roddick at Wimbledon
LONDON: Andy Roddick hopes his high school reunion at Wimbledon is a good omen as he attempts to roll back the years at the All England Club.
It's four years since Roddick reached the second of his two Wimbledon finals and the American remains on course for a third appearance after defeating Igor Kunitsyn 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 on Thursday to set up a third round clash against Austria's Jurgen Melzer.
Roddick, the sixth seed, lost both his previous Wimbledon finals to Roger Federer and would love the chance to make amends against the Swiss this year.
But for the moment the former US Open champion has been enjoying the success of his old friends from high school in Boca Raton, Florida.
Roddick and compatriots Mardy Fish and Jesse Levine all emerged from Boca's high school and tennis academy to make their mark on the ATP Tour.
Fish and Roddick came through first, even playing in the same basketball team, while Levine graduated several years later.
Now all three are through to the third round at Wimbledon, with Levine, who eliminated former world number one Marat Safin in his opening match, especially impressing Roddick.
"We're both from Boca. We went to the same high school actually. He was younger but I've hit with him and I like him a lot," Roddick said.
"I think he's doing a pretty good job here. He goes about it the right way. You wish all the young guys had his work ethic and professionalism.
"Mardy went to Boca Prep also. The tennis academy is around the school. You certainly knew there was talent. It's not surprising to see these guys doing well at Wimbledon."
Fish faces fourth seed Novak Djokovic next, while Levine, a 6-2, 6-1, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 winner over Pablo Cuevas, takes on Swiss 19th seed Stanislas Warinka.
Roddick will also find a familiar face across the net when he takes on Melzer after becoming a firm friend of the Austrian 30th seed.
"We've known each other probably 10 years now, going back to juniors. We kind of grew up together. I think we enjoy each other's company a little bit," Roddick said.
"We've kind of developed a friendship but you leave that in the locker room when you go out on the court."
As ever at Wimbledon, the post-match press conferences are always liable to take a bizarre turn and Roddick was especially baffled when he was questioned on his recent revelation, made public on his Twitter website, that he is a fan of 1980s British pop star Rick Astley.
"What do you want me to say? I said I wasn't proud, but I'm not going to lie to anybody. I busted my wife on some of her rubbish music. She brought up Rick Astley," Roddick said.
"I can't deny it. It's in my iPod. I bet it's in your iPod, too, so shut up."