Roddick back for shot at US Open

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The Independent Online

The hip he injured in last month's Wimbledon final is healed and Andy Roddick is raring to go as he begins his build-up to the US Open. The 26-year-old American has not played since losing to Roger Federer at the All England Club but starts his preparations for the year's final Grand Slam event today at the Legg Mason Classic in Washington.

"Physically I feel great," Roddick said, having hurt his right hip when he fell in the fourth set of the Wimbledon final. "I didn't want to make the error of coming back until I felt physically prepared to play."

Roddick's performances at Wimbledon, including his semi-final defeat of Andy Murray, have re-established his criteria as a genuine contender for Grand Slam honours, six years after he claimed his only major title, at the US Open. The world No 5 said his Wimbledon showing was merely a continuation of the improvements he had made since appointing Larry Stefanki as coach at the end of last year. Stefanki worked in particular on improving Roddick's fitness, helping him lose nearly a stone in weight.

"I'm having difficulty separating Wimbledon from the rest of the year," Roddick said. "Everyone's focusing on that, but I feel like I've been doing a lot of the things I applied at Wimbledon from January forward."

He added: "Toward the last six months of last year I felt I was going the wrong way. I dealt with some injuries. Then you start dealing with self-belief. Then you come back and take it on the chin a couple of times. Now, mentally, I've grown up on the court."

Roddick, who has won the Washington tournament three times, is the second seed behind Juan Martin del Potro, the defending champion. In his opening match he meets the winner of last night's encounter between Robby Ginepri and Benjamin Becker.

Roddick agreed that his Wimbledon showing had improved his confidence as he prepared for his home Grand Slam tournament, which starts in less than four weeks' time. "Those results can only help on a short-term basis going into the US Open, but nothing's guaranteed," he said. "You still have to be in-form."

Federer, Rafael Nadal and Murray all return to competition at next week's Montreal Masters. Nadal has not played since the French Open because of tendinitis in his knees but has resumed training and is flying to Canada today.

Murray has been preparing for his return in Miami. The former French Open finalist Alex Corretja, who had previously joined Murray's coaching team only during the clay-court season, has been working with the world No 3 at the University of Miami.

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