Andy Roddick received medical treatment on his leg before withdrawing from his match against Lleyton Hewitt. (Reuters)
MELBOURNE, Australia — On set point in the third set, Lleyton Hewitt sliced a cross-court backhand that zipped along until it hit the netcord, popped up, clipped the netcord again and dribbled over onto Andy Roddick’s side of the court. That shot gave Hewitt a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 lead, proved to be the last point of the match and summed up Roddick’s luck on Thursday night, a night that began with promise and ended in disappointment.
Roddick retired from his much-anticipated match with his longtime Aussie rival after re-aggravating a right hamstring injury that he suffered while training in December. Roddick came down awkwardly after lunging for a forehand in the third game of the second set. He called the trainer on the changeover and left the court for treatment, but his movement was clearly hampered when he returned, particularly to his backhand side.
Roddick gamely played on — “You don’t really have much time for clarity in that situation,” he said later – but after dropping the next two sets, he discussed the situation with the trainer and promptly retired, sending Hewitt through to the third round to face Milos Raonic.
“If somehow you pull a rabbit out of the hat, I don’t think you play in two days,” a somber Roddick said. “If I’m looking at timelines, I think there’s three weeks or so before I have to play again. I like those timelines a lot more than two days.”
It’s a frustrating result for Roddick, who, thanks to a slightly longer offseason, came here fit and hungry to fight his way back into the top 10 where he feels he belongs. To come up lame in a completely winnable early-round match was a crushing blow of bad luck that knocked him out of the tournament and leaves him racing the clock to get himself fit for the rest of the season.