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Recovering Roddick expects to play for U.S. in Davis Cup

May 25, 2008 01:13 PM

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) -- Andy Roddick practiced Tuesday despite a strained left hamstring and plans to play for the United States in the Davis Cup quarterfinal against Spain this week.

"Right now I'm going to play, barring some setback,'' Roddick said. "I started playing some points this morning and those went OK.''

Roddick was injured while lunging for a shot in the fifth game of a quarterfinal match against Andy Murray last week in the Sony Ericsson Open and was forced to retire.

An MRI showed no tear, and after several days of intense ice, laser and other treatments, Roddick said he's nearing 100 percent ahead of the first matches Friday on the hard court.

"I don't know if it's 100 percent, but it's getting better daily and that's a good thing,'' Roddick said. "It might be safer (to sit out), but at this time, Davis Cup is one of my biggest priorities. If I'm here and can go out and try to get a win, I'm going to do that.''

Roddick, ranked No. 3, has been a reliable player for the U.S. in Davis Cup play, going 22-9 in the past six years and rarely passing up a chance to play. He won both his singles matches in the first round victory over the Czech Republic in February, including a four-set victory over Tomas Berdych in the clinching match.

"I think Andy is going to be 100 percent. I think he's very close right now,'' U.S. captain Patrick McEnroe said. "I'm certainly not going to let him go out there if he's not 100 percent. All signs point to him being 100 percent to play two matches.''

Roddick would be the No. 1 singles player and James Blake No. 2 against Spain, which will be without its top player. Rafael Nadal, ranked No. 2, pulled out of the event last week, citing a sore right foot.

Tommy Robredo and David Ferrer are expected to be the singles players for Spain. Robredo is 0-7 against Roddick.

"I don't care if he's beaten me in the past or if he's going to beat me in the future, the important thing is to beat him here,'' Robredo said. "The important thing is to win three points here, and that's why we're here. If not, we'd be preparing for the clay season.''

Despite Blake's struggles of late -- he's dropped six of his past nine matches -- the Americans' chances improve without Nadal.

Spain captain Emilio Sanchez expects to see Roddick in singles matches Friday and Sunday.

"He's the most successful player from the American team, so if he says he's healthy, he'll play,'' Sanchez said. "We will not change our way of approaching the tie whether he plays or doesn't play.


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