By JOE KAY, AP Sports Writer
MASON, Ohio (AP) -- Andy Roddick senses that his epic loss on Wimbledon’s grass has changed the way he’s perceived. Instead of staining his image, it has enhanced it.
“I’m very thankful for the support that I have right now, because it’s been fleeting throughout my career,” Roddick said Monday, at the start of the $3 million Cincinnati Masters. “I hope it stays.”
The 26-year-old American had one of the most historic moments of his career at Wimbledon this summer. He knocked off Andy Murray in the semifinals, disappointing a crowd that hoped to see the Scot reach a final. Then, he lost to Roger Federer in one of the greatest Grand Slam finals.
The longest fifth set in the tournament’s history ended with Federer winning 16-14 on Roddick’s shanked forehand. Roddick went to his chair, slumped over, and heard the crowd begin to chant: “Rodd-ick! Rodd-ick!”
The gesture surprised Roddick, who had just lost the Wimbledon final to Federer for the third time.
“I would be lying if I sat here and said I totally understood it, but it definitely made it easier to kind of motivate me to get back on the court,” he said. “It was pretty humbling.”
The best was yet to come.
Roddick understood all the fan attention in England, especially with Murray coming to close to reaching a final. When he got back to the United States, he was shocked by the attention the match received.
“I knew that people were paying attention there,” he said. “But to come back here and kind of not be able to get coffee without people wanting to talk about tennis … I was sad, but that was awesome because that’s not something I’ve been a part of here before. It was really cool that for a couple of days, tennis was kind of at the forefront of water cooler talk.”
Roddick, ranked No. 5 in the world, had Monday off along with the tournament’s other top seeds.