Nick Bollettieri: Roddick needs a flying start to banish memories of Federer

The Wimbledon files

This is a potential firecracker match-up because it will represent the first real test of Andy Roddick's credentials as a tournament contender against someone who can cause him problems. Llodra is a big, strong guy with a powerful serve, and (like Roddick) has a game that is suited to the grass. He can serve and volley, and he's a leftie – which gives him all the usual advantages, including the slice serve out wide.

Llodra's in good form, having won recently on grass at Eastbourne and reached the quarters at Queen's, beating strong players including Marin Cilic on the way. Llodra has also been working recently with Amélie Mauresmo, a compatriot of the same age who knows what it takes to win the singles in SW19 having lifted the Wimbledon ladies title in 2006.

I find it fascinating, and heartening that Mauresmo is working as a mentor. One could argue that she underachieved in grand slams, and suffered at times with the mental side of the game, but she certainly seems to be helping Llodra now. Roddick's slam record still stands at just one – the US Open in 2003. But there is mitigation: he has played in the age of Federer, losing three Wimbledon finals alone to the GOAT. Andy will need a big serving day, but then I fully expect him to produce one.

The key to the match for me will be how well Roddick returns Llodra's serves. If Roddick can get an early read on it and get into the groove, his progress is going to be smoother – but it won't be easy.

Roddick has improved his backhand, using his left hand more, and he's now able to dip the ball further by playing from above the shoulder. He's in great shape physically; he's happily married and therefore at ease generally, and he seems to be full of confidence.

I know some people might ask whether Roddick has been affected by what happened last year here, when he was defeatedby Federer again despite playing out of his skin. I personally don't think that's an issue at this stage.

It's going to come down to tennis, pure and simple – which means two big servers battling to make sure their biggest weapons are firing. If Roddick copes with Llodra's serve better than vice versa then Roddick will win. Also key will be who converts more break points, and again you'd favour Roddick because he's comfortable on this stage whereas Llodra has never been past the second round here.

I would imagine that Roddick will have the crowd on his side. The Wimbledon fans seem to have soft spot for him and evidently appreciate what he's achieved here.

I think Roddick will win, but it won't be a cakewalk. He'll certainly get tested by the leftie serve. I don't think it'll be straight sets.

Today's big match: Michael Llodra v Andy Roddick


French .........  Nationality ......... American

30 .........  Age ......... 27

Rueil-Malmaison.........  Residence ......... Austin

Left-handed .........  Plays ......... Right-handed

6ft 3in .........  Height ......... 6ft 2in

No 37 .........  World ranking ......... No 7

5 .........  Career titles ......... 29

$5.2m .........  Career prize money ......... $18.4m

W5 L9 .........  Wimbledon record ......... W35 L9

R (Five times) .........  Wimbledon best ......... R-up (Three)

Head-to-head ......... Leads 2-0

4-1 .........  Odds ......... 1-5

Bollettieri's prediction Roddick in four tough sets

Coaching report: Rafael Nadal v Kei Nishikori: Rafa's serve looks in good nick but my man is still one to keep an eye on

Rafael Nadal opened the 'defence' of his 2008 title with a straight-sets win over one of my students, Kei Nishikori, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4, but it wasn't the stroll the score suggests. I bumped into Rafa afterwards and congratulated him. His serve especially has improved on its considerable qualities. That biting slow slice to the ad court was a real problem for Kei. Rafa looked fit, mobile and strong, and that all bodes well for a long run.

I then saw Kei and we had a quick chat about what a positive performance he'd given as he returns from his long-term arm injury. There were games where Kei was 40-0 ahead and 15-40 up on Rafa's serve that he subsequently lost, but the point is not to dwell on letting slip those positions but that he was competitive in those games in the first place. He's a young guy and a big star at home and a major hope for Japanese sport. Getting his recovery right is more important than achieving it quickly.

You gotta tell it like you see it

I was sitting on a bench in the sun before play started yesterday and Michelle Larcher de Brito walked past, ahead of her match on Centre Court with Serena Williams. Michelle is still only 17 but has been at my academy for years. "Hey Michelle," I said. She looked at me, a little annoyed. "Two sets?" she said. Whoops, I thought. She'd read my online predictions that had forecast a two-set win for Serena. "Two sets, Nick? Two sets, eh?" I just said to her I had to give an honest view and her only prayer lay with outright attack. I'm not in any way pleased, for my prediction's sake, that it came true. It wasn't about suggesting an easy match, just an acknowledgement that Serena is a great champion, in great shape, and would be a tough opponent for anyone in the world.

Michelle bangs that ball like crazy. She has a strength and force to her game that belies her frame. She's a battler and a fighter and mentally tough. But the lesson here is she lacks variety and needs to realise she must add it to her game. She's a talented girl but in the modern game you need weapons – plural. You gotta tell it like you see it.

Murray in a hurry, home to Surrey, job done

Andy Murray got off to the perfect start with his three-set win over the Czech world No90, Jan Hajek, and it was more impressive, not less, for the quick bounce back from a break down to be 1-3 behind in that first set. Murray put enough on the ball to control it well, and control the match. He looked confident and got the tricky opening match out the way. Psychologically he's made an important step, quickly and efficiently, towards week two.

World cup of tennis

I try to predict soccer matches in South Africa based upon the strengths of the nations in tennis, and by assessing national sporting personalities through the traits of tennis players I've known and worked with. Then, I project my findings onto the soccer and see what happens. And Holy Cow! Yesterday we hit a bull's eye in predicting that France would come a cropper against the hosts. Domenech's troubled side let their petulance get the better of them.

USA v Algeria

This is a mismatch in tennis terms because there's just one Algerian player in the world's top 1,000 (that's Lamine Ouahab at No 160), while even with US tennis not at a peak there are 66 American men inside the top 1,000 and eight inside the top 100, including Andy Roddick at No 7. On that count, the US are going to come out on top today.

Even in soccer terms the US win, with Algeria ranked No 30 in the world against the US's No 14.

What if we take a US soccer player and an Algerian player and imagine who'd win a tennis match? Let's pit Landon Donovan – who I know because he trained at our soccer academy, which was the US base at one time – against Portsmouth's Nadir Belhadj.

I imagine Belhadj having good footwork, and his strength and stature could help him be a power server. But Donovan is a good all-round athlete and a brilliant thinker, so he'd win. USA today? Yes.

Win a week at my academy

Want a week's tennis holiday at my academy in Florida? Included in the prize is five days' top-class tuition. The prize can be for an adult wanting to shape up your game, or for a child who wants to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Andre Agassi, Monica Seles and Maria Sharapova, among other players who went from being kids under my tuition to No1 in the world.

All you have to do is email to tell me who will win today's big match. I want a specific score line, and as a tie-breaker, a one-sentence summary of the manner in which your pick will win. All winners go into a hat, with one overall winner picked from there. Email:

Yesterday's winner was: Julie Kurtzman.

If the prize is for a child, parent(s) or guardian(s) must accompany at your own expense. The winner arranges the travel.

Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
Life and Style
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions