Training courts, buses fully booked as WTF start nears By Bill Scott
Andy Roddick scheduled a double dose of practise Saturday, a day before the start of the ATP World Tour Finals while two other players at the year-end spectacular did their bit to stir up interest by having a hit-up in front of London's iconic Big Ben, DPA reported.
Roddick is only American who will be competing at a season wrap-up for the ninth consecutive year, was set for training at the O2 arena with Spain's David Ferrer in the morning followed by an afternoon session with Scot Andy Murray.
"It's not an easy field, and I'm the lowest-ranked player here," said number eight Roddick, a one-time number one and longtime best American who begins play Monday Rafael Nadal, whom he beat in their last meeting in March in Miami.
"I've got to deal with Rafa, you can't beat him in a prolonged game of cat-and-mouse. I need to play aggressive from the start it's a matter of execution."
Meanwhile, world number four Robin Soderling of Sweden and Ferrer took off on a promotional swing in central London aboard a red double-decker bus for their photo-op street-side hit-and-giggle outing.
Play at the eight day event starts Sunday, with home hero Murray facing Paris Masters winner Soderling and Roger Federer taking on Ferrer having won all ten of their meetings.
Murray missed out on the semi-finals a year ago as the eight-man event came to the capital for the first time and is keen to make amends in front of his home public.
The fifth-ranked home player is optimistic on his chances. "Some days you play badly and some you play well. If I play well, I'll give myself a good chance of winning the matches.
"If I don't it's going to be hard. I just have to try to play my best tennis.'
Murray, who lost the Australian Open final to Federer but beat the Swiss for his only titles of the season at Masters 1000 events in Toronto and Shanghai, called his season "inconsistent".
"But definitely in the last few months I feel like I've improved a lot, I've improved many different parts of my game. I feel like I'm starting to learn new things again.
"I'm hoping to improve more before the beginning of next year," said the 23-year-old who has operated since July without a coach and has said he is prepared to go into 2011 in the same state until he makes a choice about a possible mentor.
Meanwhile, he is guided in London by part-time Spanish advisor Alex Corretja.
Murray's Group B also contains Federer and Ferrer while world number one Rafael Nadal heads Group A with with Novak Djokovic, Roddick and Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych, the only debutant in the field.