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2004 Davis Cup Tennis Tournament Return to Family Circle Cup Tennis Events


2004 Davis Cup Tournament USA vs. Belarus





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Story last updated at 7:43 a.m. Monday, September 27, 2004

Roddick, rain finish off Belarus
Of The Post and Courier Staff

He flicked balls toward either end of the net in between points, forcing the ball crew to scramble. He drew a laugh from the crowd by faking a service toss. He tried to smash a serve so hard that his racket slipped out of his hand, and then stabbed at his opponent's return shot with a foot.

Andy Roddick was clearly enjoying himself Sunday at the Family Circle Tennis Center. With the United States' Davis Cup semifinal over Belarus clinched the day before, his mood was light and loose. The world's No. 2-ranked player toyed with both the crowd and 18-year-old Alexander Skrypko before finishing off a 6-4, 6-2 victory that gave the Americans a 4-0 lead in the event.

That wound up being the final score when rain clouds rolled over Daniel Island, washing out Mardy Fish's singles match against 15-year-old Andrei Karatchenia with the American ahead 3-0 in the first set. The rain did nothing to dampen what was a spectacular three days for the Davis Cup, which drew 9,036 for Sunday's two meaningless matches and 27,652 for the tournament.

U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe gave Roddick, now en route to an event in Thailand, the opportunity to sit out Sunday's "dead rubber" against Skrypko, a freshman at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. But Roddick felt the crowd deserved an encore appearance.

"I thought about it, but there was no reason for me not to play," said Roddick, who improved to 14-3 in Davis Cup matches, good enough for 16th all-time among Americans. "I'm going to be here anyway watching the guys, and Charleston has been great for us so far. They've come out every day. Even today, it was a packed house for what is essentially an exhibition. I felt I owed it to the fans to go out there and give it a whirl."

That decision came as no surprise to McEnroe. Roddick is passionate about Davis Cup, hosting a U.S. team camp prior to the semifinal, and willing to adjust his schedule in any way to be ready for the Americans' next step: the final Dec. 3-5 in Spain.

"He understands his position in the game, particularly in this country. We've had tremendous support here from the fans, and he feels like he owes it to them come out and play," McEnroe said.

"That's just a great sign of someone who gets the bigger picture. A lot of times you're up 3-0, and it's a little wind taken out of the sails. But he understands the bigger picture, that people bought tickets and there are almost 10,000 people here. It was still a great crowd here today. I think they get extremely excited to see Andy, and Andy is obviously happy to play for them."

Skrypko stuck close early before Roddick got serious and pulled away. Roddick won 40 of 56 service points and slammed five aces, one clocked at 151 mph late in the final set. Skrypko was a long way from SMU, where he went 21-5 last season.

"It was my biggest game, in my opinion," said Skrypko, who won a Davis Cup match against Wayne Black of Zimbabwe last year. "He's a very good player, and I was very excited. I was a little bit nervous in some moments, but I need more experience to play against players like this."



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