Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Roddick out of TMC Shanghai

After much hand-wringing and discussion, it is now official: as reported by the official Masters Cup website, Andy Roddick has pulled out of TMC Shanghai due to lower back spasms and David Nalbandian will take his place.

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A day after playing in a charity event, Roddick backs
out of Shanghai due to continuing muscle spasms.

TMC Masters Cup site reports:
Nalbandian Replaces Roddick in Shanghai Field

A lower back injury has sidelined World No. 3 Andy Roddick, forcing him to withdraw from Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai. Roddick sustained the injury on Friday during his quarterfinal match versus David Ferrer at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.

The 23-year-old American was to make his third consecutive appearance at the $4.45 million circuit finale, which begins this Sunday at the new Qi Zhong Stadium. Roddick owns a 5-3 record in the event and reached the semifinals of Tennis Masters Cup Houston in both 2003-04.

"Though I have tried to continue with practice, the lower back spasms continue," said Roddick. "After being evaluated by medical staff upon my return to the United States, it is now clear that I am not able to resume tennis-activities for 10-14 days.

"I apologize to the loyal fans and sponsors that have expected my participation in Tennis Masters Cup. It is an honor for me to have qualified for this event for the third-straight year. I realize the tremendous amount of time and effort the ATP and the Chinese government have spent on the event, and know it will be a huge success. I look forward to getting healthy, starting my off-season workouts for the 2006 season, and working towards qualifying for Shanghai next year.”

Roddick's injury translated into David Nalbandian's good fortune. The Argentine, who had a strong circuit finish that included back-to-back semifinal appearances in Masters Series Madrid and Basel, was elevated from his alternate status to a berth in the elite eight-man field. The Argentine titled in Munich this year, and was one of three players along with Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt to reach the quarterfinals or better in three Grand Slam tournaments.

Nalbandian played in the 2003 Masters Cup, and is the third Argentine to qualify for this year's finale, joining countrymen Guillermo Coria and Gaston Gaudio. The other contenders set to take the stage in Shanghai include World No. 1 Federer, Spanish teen sensation Rafael Nadal, 12-time circuit finale competitor Andre Agassi, and first-time qualifiers Nikolay Davydenko and Ivan Ljubicic.

TMC Shanghai Field of Nightmares

With Roddick's exit, this Masters Cup field now ranks as one of the weakest fields in years. Instead of a tournament of the elite, we get a tournament of the B-squad. Roger Federer, the No. 1 seed, was first to arrive in Shanghai to prepare but even he says he is not sure if his ankle will be healed enough to play. No. 4 seed Lleyton Hewitt withdrew to be with his family with his wife due to give birth any day now. Marat Safin has been trying to heal from a torn ligament in his knee for months now. Nadal, Agassi, and a very tired Ljubicic are the only three top contenders remaining. Nalbandian is the wild card of the group, having proven his all-surface ability but mentally, he's still a bit of a flake. The others, first-time qualifier Nikolay Davydenko, and repeat qualifiers Guillermo Coria and Gaston Gaudio do not have favorable hardcourt records.

In better news, Andy's participation in Elton John's AIDS foundation charity event last night was a hit.

As reported by the Lebanon Daily News:
Roddick, in particular, went the extra mile to make it to Hershey to take part, having only returned from Paris, where he was playing in an ATP Tour event, on Sunday.

"It's not out of the ordinary for what we do," said Roddick, shrugging off the hectic travel schedule as part of the life of a pro tennis player.

The most heralded player in the event, Roddick, currently ranked No. 3 in the world, was also the most entertaining, playfully bantering with players and fans alike throughout the three-hour event and clearly enjoying the break from the intensity of life on the pro tour.

"This event is fun because it allows us to be more interactive with the fans," Roddick said. "And it's fun to interact with a team, since we're usually playing for ourselves. That being said, we're also athletes, and we want to win."

Roddick was able to satisfy his appetite for victory, capping off the night and clinching the match for Team Billie Jean with a singles victory over Blake, the Harvard grad who made a thrilling run to the semifinals at this year’s U.S. Open before falling to Andre Agassi in five sets.

Roddick was also victorious in men's doubles with Ferreira, defeating the Blake brothers 5-4, and in mixed doubles, as he and Raymond got past Blake and Kournikova by a set score of 5-3.

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A-Rod goes the distance for charity. And pays the price.


1 comment:

Noelle De Guzman said...

Charity shmarity. I wish Andy were playing in Shanghai. In any case, he'll be getting the off season of his dreams. :)

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