Andy Roddick put on a brave face despite his frustrating drought in Grand Slams being extended when he was beaten by Croatian Marin Cilic in a five-set Australian Open marathon on Tuesday.
The 27-year-old fought back gamely after being two sets down with a sore upper arm, but as has been the case so often in his career, he came up short when it mattered against an opponent who refused to yield.
Four times a semifinalist here without ever reaching the final, the world number seven has not been able to add to his sole Grand Slam success at the 2003 US Open, despite making the last eight 18 times in his career.
He was beaten by Roger Federer in last year’s Wimbledon final, his fourth defeat in a Grand Slam decider.
Roddick was philosophical, dismissing any talk of disappointment as he believed he played well considering the arm problem.
“To be able to push it and have a shot, I thought it was a pretty good effort,” he said.
“I hit the ball about as well as I could throughout the whole match. I still hit the ball pretty well in the fifth.
“I think maybe he calmed down a little bit after he was able to get out of that hole.”
Roddick received treatment on his right arm after the first set and again during the second.
When the trainer told Roddick he didn’t think he would do any more damage by playing on, the American decided to stay on court.
“The trainer said it was stemming from the neck down,” he said
“By the end of the first set, I was pretty numb in the bottom two fingers.
“I could still hit it pretty hard, I was just having trouble controlling it. I didn’t really have the full deal.”
But he was confident the injury would not be a lingering problem.
“All signs at this point are good,” he said.
“Sounds like it was a nerve that was compressed or something, I don’t know, cutting off something.
“But they don’t think it’s going to be anything too serious long term.
“I’m sure we’ll take the proper precautions and check it out, but at this point I’m not real, real scared about it.”
He looked down and out when Cilic took a two-set lead, but battled back to level the match.
Cilic has spent more time on court than anyone else in the tournament after five-setters against Bernard Tomic and Juan Martin Del Potro, but dug deep to protect an early service break in the final set and end Roddick’s tournament.
Roddick said Cilic’s serve improved dramatically in the fifth set and paid tribute to the Croatian’s temperament.
“He was the same after he lost two sets as when he won two sets and I think that will definitely serve him well over the course of his career,” he said.
“I feel like there’s a lot to like about him.” — AFP