Roddick downed in first round
Former World number one, Andy Roddick exited the French Open when he was beaten by local player Nicolas Mahut on Sunday.
It is easy to understand why Andy Roddick never enjoyed playing on red clay all that much.
First and foremost, the footing is tricky as can be. The soft courts take his booming serves and forehands down a notch, too. Put simply, his game is built for hard or grass courts. As if that weren't enough, he arrived at this French Open having played only 16 matches in a season interrupted by injuries to his right hamstring and right ankle.
If Roddick was tempted to sit out Roland Garros altogether - or tempted to use his health or rust as an excuse for playing poorly - he did not. The 26th-seeded American, once ranked No. 1 and once a Grand Slam champion, gave it a shot and came up short Sunday, exiting in a major tournament's opening round for the first time since 2007, and at the same venue.
His 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 loss to 88th-ranked Nicolas Mahut at the French Open dropped Roddick's record to 7-10 this season, 0-4 on clay. Of the seven previous major title winners in action on Day 1 in Paris, only Roddick was beaten.
"I wasn't playing really well. I move horrendously out here. My first step is just so bad on this stuff," Roddick said. "I feel like I'm always shuffling or hopping or not stopping or something."
Mahut hit more aces than Roddick, 13-8, and broke him seven times, including in the last game.
Roddick only once made it as far as the fourth round in 10 trips to Roland Garros, in 2009. He's lost in the first round five times now. And there's a reason the guy never saw success at the French Open the way he did at the U.S. Open (champion), Wimbledon (runner-up three times) or Australian Open (semi-finalist four times).
"I just feel like I get exposed too easily out here. I feel like I'm not set on most shots," Roddick said. "You can't fake it out here. ... It's tough to lie out here."
Mahut lost in the first round eight times in nine previous appearances in Paris. He is best known for losing the longest match in tennis history to John Isner, 70-68 in the fifth set at Wimbledon in the first round in 2010.
Mahut acknowledged the 29-year-old man he faced Sunday "was not the No. 1 Roddick, the No. 1 player in the world that we know."