Roddick last US man standing
PARIS: Andy Roddick was the sole American male survivor out of nine starters in the French Open on Friday but he warned not to expect any miracle on clay out of him.
The former world No.1's 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7/2) win over Ivo Minar of the Czech Republic on Thursday put him into the third round at Roland Garros for just the second time in his career - the first being in 2001.
From now on, it was a case of just taking it one match at a time, he said, and not getting too far ahead of himself on what is by far his least favourite surface.
"I'm not going to sit here and jump up on a soap box like I'm really good on this stuff now because I won two matches. I think that's what you need to guard against," said the American.
"I think I have improved physically from the past times I've been here, and I think that lends itself to having some more options out there.
"But if you are asking me if I've come here thinking I can win this tournament then the honest answer would be no.
"Do I feel like I can make a run and then see where that takes me? Yes. I think it would be extremely presumptuous of me with my record here to come in and say I think I'm going to win this tournament.
"Right now I'm going to go match by match, and I think I have a shot to win my next match. We'll go from there." Part of Roddick's new found belief in himself on clay he believes is down to a weight loss coincidental to his recent marriage to swimsuit model Brooklyn Decker. Next up for the American is French journeyman Marc Gicquel, a player he has beaten in their two previous matches.
"Obviously it's going to be a challenging atmosphere whatever court we get put on. He's certainly talented, certainly comfortable here," he said of his opponent.
"He moves real well. I'm sure he's very comfortable moving on this surface.
"I think we're both pretty familiar with each other's games. We've played a couple times. Obviously it doesn't get easier." A win for Roddick, and a place in the last 16, would represent a modest improvement for US men at Roland Garros which has been little less than a graveyard for them in the last few years since Andre Agassi completed his career Grand Slam set here in 1999.
More worringly for the Americans is that the last of their number to win a Grand Slam tournament was Roddick at the 2003 US Open, a run of 21 blanks which is the longest gap between Grand Slam triumphs for US men in the Open era since 1968.
Compounding the problem is that the latest crop of US professionals such as Donald Young, John Isner and Sam Querrey are struggling to make their mark and there is little sign of any relief in the junior ranks.