- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Mention the name Greg Rusedski to tennis fans and what immediately comes to mind is the left-handed Briton's booming serve, and justifiably so he holds the ATP tour record for fastest serve at 149 mph.
Rusedski set his record three years ago, but at 27, he can still slam serves with the best of the tour players. And last night in a 6-1, 7-6 (2) victory over Markus Hipfl, his first-ever match at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, Rusedski showcased his overpowering serve-and-volley game, but also displayed other parts of his repertoire in the win.
"I think he was used to the clay courts," Rusedski said. "He had a hard time adjusting… . you're always happy to get through in straight sets."
The Canadian-born Rusedski, seeded 12th, dispatched Hipfl, who was obviously having trouble adjusting to the faster surface at William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center. Rusedski romped through the first set but Hipfl pushed him to a tiebreak in the second. Rusedski came up with the big serve whenever he needed it.
As for the serve record, Rusedski said, "I don't really care … It's nice to have the record, but someone's going to come along and break it.
"When you have something that's different from everybody else," he said, "[people] really focus on one area. I'm a little older, a little wiser. I play pretty well from the back, I mix it up… . It depends on the strategy, being a complete player."
The Austrian never could solve Rusedski's prowess at the net and was inconsistent from the baseline. Rusedski, meanwhile, showed a crisp slice backhand and chipped and charged often.
Consistency is something Rusedski is trying to generate after two injury-ravaged years in 1999 and 2000. The 1997 U.S. Open runner-up has had a good hardcourt season, winning the Sybase Open in San Jose, Calif., in March and reaching the round of 16 at the Mercedes-Benz Cup in Los Angeles last month.
Rusedski's injuries the last two years ranged from foot to back to shoulder problems; he was entered in last year's Legg Mason but had to withdraw because of injury. His 2000 year-end ranking plummeted to 69th, but he has surged back into the top 30, and a strong showing in the Legg Mason could put him back in the top 20. In the ATP champions race (which only measures activity this calendar year) Rusedski is No. 22.
Rusedski is working with a personal trainer now, something he hadn't done in the past. He has also changed the mechanics of his serve so that he doesn't put as much stress on his body; he still hits the serve hard, though, reaching speeds of 129 mph last night.
"Everything feels great," he said. "If you're going to a doctor every two weeks [like he was in 1999] it can't be very fun, can it?"
Rusedski will play Frenchman Julien Boutter in the second round, and if he can win his third-round match, he'll likely face top-seeded Andre Agassi, who he lost to in Los Angeles three weeks ago. He wants to be successful this week, but he's got his eyes on the Grand Slam prize.
"This week, I'd like to try to play very well because there's still 10 days before the U.S. Open," Rusedski said. "If I can get two weeks off in a row of playing good tennis, that'd be very good."
In other action last night, No. 2 seed and defending champion Alex Corretja needed three sets to defeat Chilean Nicolas Massu, 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 in a match that was much closer than the score.
Corretja steamrolled through the second set, but was broken in the third game of the third set and trailed 2-1. However, Corretja broke back in the fourth game to tie it, then broke Massu again after a deuce game to lead 5-2.
"I'm pretty happy with my performance, considering he wanted to beat me pretty bad," Corretja said. "I love the [stadium] court here, the atmosphere."
Two seeded players were upset, as Ramon Delgado defeated No. 13 Alberto Martin 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 and American qualifier Michael Joyce beat No. 14 Galo Blanco 7-6 (4), 6-7 (6), 6-3.

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