The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Relaxed Roddick learns a lesson

Basel: Rising young American Andy Roddick has learned that relaxed tennis is his best route to success.

The 20-year-old Roddick cruised into the second round of the Davidoff Swiss Indoors tournament Wednesday with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Belgian Xavier Malisse.

“That made up for last week for me,” he said with relief afterwards, referring to his early exit from the Madrid Masters. “I talked to my coach and I’m trying to be more aggressive and to enjoy it more.

“My coach said just ‘go for it’, just try and make things happen more and be a bit more relaxed about it. I had become too tense and analytical about things.”

Roddick, winner of two titles this year and five in all, said he had been through a consolidation period since making his breakthrough at the top level last year when, at 19 years and four months old, he finished as the youngest player in the ATP top 20.

“I was forcing it too much,” he said. “I was trying to build Rome in a day and that’s just not possible. Luckily, it didn’t take me too long to figure that out.

“Some people get stuck in that rut for a long time. I managed to get out of it and get back to basics.

“I know that earlier this year I was putting myself under far too much pressure. I did too much analysis. I went out there to try and win every tournament. I just forgot to take each match as it comes.”

Late push

He added that he retained hopes of making a late push for a place in the season-ending showpiece Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai.

“Realistically, I’m on the outside for that now,” he said, conceding that his 11th position in the Champions Race left him with too much to do in the Basel tournament and in Paris to claim one of the automatic seven qualifying places.

“After last week, my chances are pretty slim. So I am just going to focus on Basel and then on Paris and if make it, well I make it. And if I don’t, then that gives me an early start for next year.”

Reflecting on his season as a whole, he said he was not thrilled.

“I’ve not really played my best this year, but I think I have matured and become a better player in general. I’ve won a lot of matches, but the trouble has been that I’ve not always done it at the right time.

“If you look at my matches won, I think I’d be third in the rankings. But I’m not because I messed a few things up. But I can’t say I’ve struggled. I’ve got something to build on and I’m there around the top 10.”

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