Roddick Wins, Safin Bitches at Athens Olympics

Posted on August 16, 2004

Despite a case of the jitters that kept the match close, No. 2 seed Andy Roddick moved into the second round at the Athens Olympics with a 6-3, 7-6(4) win over unheralded Brazilian Flavio "Of the Day" Saretta.

"I was a little more nervous today than I would be normally for a first round match," said Roddick, who threw down 12 aces in the windy contest. "Seeing other athletes in the village, there's so much stuff going on, so much excitement in the air. It's definitely a different dynamic than I've been a part of before."

Roddick said the poor tennis attendance on day one of the event is understandable.

"You have to understand -- people see tennis a lot," Roddick said. "If it's a choice between that or swimming at the Olympics, people possibly go to swimming."

Seeds joining the American in the second round were the oft-injured (5)Juan Carlos Ferrero (d. Arazi), (8)Sebastien "The Skateboard Kid" Grosjean (d. Luis "Me So" Horna), (9)Marat "The Olympics are SO Important" Safin (d. Kucera), (14)Nicolas Kiefer (d. (ALT)Voltchkov), and (16)Fernando "The Flayin' Chilean" Gonzalez (d. Greek (WC)Economidis).

Safin was not happy with the balls used for the competition, Wilsons that have proved fast according to a number of players.

"We have very bad balls, I have to admit and I have to be honest," Safin said. "It's not balls that we used to play. I don't know who choose to play with these balls, but it definitely made a lot of people suffering."

There were two upsets on the day with Jiri Novak, whose game has fell off in 2004, shocking (4)Tim Henman in straights, and Max "The Beast" Mirnyi bringing his awkward net game to fruition in a win over (11)Juan Ignacio Chela in three.

"I do feel that I've lost a little bit of rhythm in my game," Henman said. "That's something I need to pick up again. I need to play some more matches and get the balance right of being aggressive and being consistent."

Other un-seeds into the second round were wildcards Wayne Arthurs of Australia (d. (WC)Hanescu) and Hyung-Taik Lee of Korea (d. Zabaleta in three), Fin Jarkko Nieminen (d. (WC)Lu), Cyprus' Marcos Baghdatis, who has not played an ATP-level match this year, advancing in a shocker (d. Carraz in three), Spain's Feliciano "F-Lo" Lopez (d. Soderling in three), American Mardy Fish (d. Bjorkman who retired in the second with a pulled stomach muscle), Russian Mikhail Youzhny (d. Xavier "X-Man" Malisse), and former No. 2-ranked German Tommy Haas (d. Mario "Baby Goran" Ancic to set up a meeting with Roddick).

The No. 1s take to the court today in Athens in world singles No. 1 Roger Federer and doubles No. 1s Bob and Mike Bryan. Monday's schedule: (3)Moya vs. Enqvist, (1)Roger "Club Fed" Federer vs. Davydenko, Andreev vs. (7)Rainer "Shine" Schuettler, (10)Massu vs. "Guga" Kuerten, "Dr." Ivo Karlovic vs. (13)Pavel, (12)Paradorn "The Thai Fighter" Srichaphan vs. Joachim "The Jackhammer" Johansson, Mark "Scud" Philippoussis vs. Olivier "The Roach" Rochus, Dent vs. (Alt)Niemeyer, Clement vs. (WC)N.Lapentti, Sargsian vs. Ljubicic, Dominik "The Dominator" Hrbaty vs. Younes "From Tunis" El Aynaoui, Jurgen "Tuna" Melzer vs. Vincenzo "Rollin' in the Benzo" Spadea, Berdych vs. Florian "Oscar" Mayer, Calleri vs. Beck, (INV)Ouahab vs. (15)Tommy "The R." Robredo, and Fabrice "The Original Magician" Santoro vs. Flip Volandri.

Doubles highlights today are (5)Mahesh Bhupathi/Leander Paes of India vs. unseeded Americans Mardy Fish/Andy Roddick, wildcard Croatians Baby Goran/Ivan Ljubicic vs. unseeded Swedes Jonas Bjorkman/The Jackhammer, wildcard Czechs Tomas Berdych/Jiri Novak vs. Aussies (2)Wayne Arthurs/Todd Woodbridge, unseeded Spaniards F-Lo/Tommy The R. vs. Argentines (6)Gaston Etlis/Martin Rodriguez, and top-seeded Americans Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan vs. unseeded Russians Marat Safin/Mikhail Youzhny.

"Roddick is one of the best singles players in the world, and Fish plays both," Bhupathi said on he and partner Paes facing off against the big-serving Americans. "They may be unseeded, but they are among the best teams here."