Boos rain as Roddick departs; Hingis makes successful return
PARIS As it is, the French Open is the cruelest Grand Slam tournament for Andy Roddick, the toughest for all U.S. men over the years, really. Toss in a bum ankle, and Roddick never really stood a chance this time.He quit Tuesday because of his injury while trailing Alberto Martin of Spain 6-4, 7-5, 1-0 in the first round at Roland Garros, and the fifth-seeded American hobbled off the court to a chorus of full-throated boos and whistles.His exit, combined with that of No. 17 Robby Ginepri, left the United States with only two men in the second round at the French Open for just the second time since 1967. It also happened two years ago; in 2005, a trio of Americans made it that far.Its like Groundhog Day, Roddick said. Whatever I said last year, just copy it. Whatever I said last year, Im sure it still fits.For the record, Roddicks assessment in 2005: We all have a lot of pride, and it has gotten taken down a lot in the last couple of years here.Unlike the hard courts at the U.S. Open which he won in 2003 or the grass at Wimbledon where hes been the runner-up twice the red clay at the French Open hampers rather than helps Roddicks strengths: his serve and forehand.Clay also makes for longer points and requires plenty of good footwork, and Roddick sprained ligaments in his left ankle last week. He tweaked it in the eighth game against Martin, whos ranked 68th, had lost his previous five matches at majors, and entered 0-4 vs. Roddick.The ankle got worse when Roddick tried to cut back for a lob in the second sets 11th game, which he closed with a double-fault to fall behind 6-5.I was definitely tentative sliding around out there, Roddick said. It started affecting the way I landed on my serve. You know, not much else was working besides my serve. It was a lost cause, I think.He double-faulted twice starting the third set, and cursed loudly. He also hit a ball into the 20th row of the stands. After losing the game at love on a forehand that sailed 5 feet long, Roddick sat in his sideline chair. He removed his left shoe, sock and ankle brace, and called for a trainer.What do you think? Roddick asked. Do you think its dangerous?He decided to stop, the chair umpire informed the crowd, and Roddick walked off Court Suzanne Lenglen to a nasty serenade, his career mark at the French Open now 4-6, including three first-round departures.I dont like that the crowd boos a player. I wouldnt like it to happen to me, Martin said. Were professionals here. We come to do our jobs. We try to do our best. Its a bit sad that people boo when youre just doing your job.Consider this: No. 25 Gael Monfils was jeered for giving the chair umpire a hard time during his 6-4, 6-7 (2), 1-6, 6-2, 6-1 comeback victory over fellow 19-year-old Andy Murray and Monfils is French.You know youre acting up a little bit, when your own crowd is booing you, Murray said.Martina Hingis knows quite well how unforgiving the French Open fans can be: She sobbed after being harangued for disputing calls during her infamous loss to Steffi Graf in the 1999 final.When Hingis stepped out Tuesday morning for her first Roland Garros match since 2001, what few spectators were in attendance warmly applauded. One unfurled a banner reading: You are our princess. Thanks for your return.Hingis dispatched Lisa Raymond 6-2, 6-2, then scoffed when asked about this being the only Grand Slam event she hasnt won.So what? she asked. There are many players out there who never won anything.The 25-year-old Hingis went into retirement for three years because of foot and ankle injuries, but shes already established herself as a contender for major titles since returning to the circuit in January.Today I would probably beat the Martina back then, Hingis said. I have weapons today the brains and everything, experience and more mature.Two seeded players in her half of the draw were sent home: No. 3 Nadia Petrova, twice a semifinalist in Paris, was upset 6-2, 6-2 by Akiko Morigami of Japan, and No. 23 Tatiana Golovin lost, too. Otherwise, form pretty much held, with two-time champion Justine Henin-Hardenne and 2004 champion Anastasia Myskina winning in straight sets.Most of the seeded men fared OK, too, including the one with the roughest assignment: No. 9 Fernando Gonzalez, who beat two-time major champion Marat Safin 6-3, 1-6, 6-3, 6-1. Safin was fined for refusing to do a post-match news conference.The mens seeded losers were No. 18 Thomas Johansson, Roddick and Ginepri, a semifinalist at the 2005 U.S. Open. If part of Roddicks problem was his health Tuesday, Ginepris was in his head, and he freely admitted as much.Im out there, and Im wondering: How am I going to win the next point? Im questioning. Im not out there trusting my instincts, Im not out there believing I can overcome whatever I need to, he said. I dont feel that hunger that Ive had.So he joined countrymen Paul Goldstein, Vince Spadea and Justin Gimelstob on the sideline. Left among U.S. men? No. 8 James Blake (who faces clay-court expert Nicolas Almagro) and Kevin Kim (vs. defending champion Rafael Nadal).Right now, obviously, were not in a dominating position, Roddick said.
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