Roddick out of French open

American pulls out of Grand Slam event with shoulder injury as US face Grand Slam drought.

    Roddick was the last American man to win a Grand Slam singles title - at the 2003 US Open - 29 major tournaments ago [EPA]

    World number 11 Andy Roddick has withdrawn from the French Open due to a shoulder injury picked up at the Rome Masters last week.

    The former world number one has failed to recover from injury ahead of the Roland Garros tournament which starts on Sunday, and joins Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain, the 2003 champion who has also withdrawn from the event.

    Ferrero, champion at Roland Garros in 2003 and runner-up in 2002, has played only five matches this year and is languishing in 72nd spot in the rankings.

    Winless streak

    It is shaping up to be a dire time for US tennis, with the country having now passed 29 Grand Slam tournaments without celebrating a men's champion.

    Andre Agassi was the last American to win the men's crown at Roland Garros in 1999 and Agassi was the last US player to get as far as the quarter-finals in 2003.

    Since then, the mantle has passed to Andy Roddick, his country's last major winner when he lifted the 2003 US Open.

    But Roddick has never got beyond the fourth round in nine visits and has now set his sights on recovering in time for Wimbledon where he has been runner-up three times.

    Roddick is not even the national number one anymore, with that spot taken by close friend Mardy Fish, whose Roland Garros best is a second round finish.

    Last week there were no male or female US players in the world's top 10 for the first time since the ranking system was introduced almost 40 years ago.

    Serena Williams, the last American Roland Garros women's winner in 2002, is absent this year through injury as is sister Venus.

    America's top player in the women's draw will be Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the world 36. But the 26-year-old's best performance in Paris is two second round showings in 2008 and 2010.

    Development phase

    However, Roger Federer, who along with Rafael Nadal has carved up 24 of the 29 majors since Roddick's 2003 US Open win, believes the Americans should not be written off.

    "There are not that many teenagers in the top 100 so I think many countries are going through a phase where they do not have the talent they hoped to have," said the Swiss.

    "Even in France, Germany, England or America, all those countries are struggling and waiting for an up and coming player like we always hope for like Rafa (Nadal), Novak (Djokovic) and myself, or (Andy) Roddick or (Michael) Chang.

    "This is kind of missing at the moment and those countries have to be patient and this creates a lot of pressure on the people working in the federations and the media, especially in the bigger countries like America." 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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