- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 30, 2006

Officials at the Legg Mason Tennis Classic are still optimistic that Andy Roddick is coming to town, but Roddick isn’t so sure he’ll play.

Roddick, the defending champion at the Legg Mason, withdrew from the quarterfinals of the Countrywide Classic in Los Angeles on Friday with a muscle strain on the left side of his back. Roddick was injured in the final set of his second-round victory over wild-card Scott Oudsema.

Roddick has asked Legg Mason tournament director Jeff Newman for a Wednesday start time. He is scheduled to participate in a charity event tomorrow, when he will join James Blake and Bob and Mike Bryan to read to children for part of the Arthur Ashe “Reading is Fundamental” program.

“Andy has every intention of playing in the Legg Mason Classic, and we’re hopeful that he will be fit and ready, but at this stage we are taking it day-by-day,” Newman said.

But Roddick isn’t as confident in his ability to make the trip to Washington. He said he had trouble taking his socks off after Thursday’s match because he couldn’t bend over.

“At this point it’s guarded optimism, that’s for sure,” Roddick said about playing in the Legg Mason. “I’d be hopeful, but nothing more than that at this point.”

If Roddick decides not to play, then a “lucky loser” would be chosen from the qualifying bracket to fill in. Thirty-two qualifiers compete for four spots in the Legg Mason’s main draw.

The 10th-ranked player in the world, Roddick is 30-13 this year with no titles.

Blake is No. 1

James Blake received the top seed in the tournament yesterday in the main singles draw.

Blake, the No. 5 player in the world, won the Legg Mason in 2002. He lost to Roddick in the final last year.

Blake has won two singles titles this year. He most recently won the RCA Championships in Indianapolis on July 23, defeating Roddick in the final 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (5).

Roddick received the No. 2 seed. Lleyton Hewitt, Andre Agassi and Dominik Hrbaty round out the top five.

Journeyman Paul Goldstein, a Washington native, will face a qualifier in the opening round. If Goldstein advances, he will meet Agassi in the second round.

American Mardy Fish has the last bye as the No. 16 seed.

Local player loses

Treat Huey, an Alexandria native and current Virginia player, lost to former top-25 player Jan-Michael Gambill in straight sets in the second round of qualifying yesterday.

Gambill defeated Huey 6-1, 6-3 in just 58 minutes. Gambill, who has been sidelined since January with a shoulder injury, showed no signs of rust in winning 73 percent of his service points.

Huey defeated Guillaume Tarralle 6-4, 7-6 (6) in the first round with plenty of local fan support.

“It was unbelievable — stadium court,” Huey said. “I have never played on a court that big before. The crowd was great, helping me out, cheering for me. … I’m real happy that I got a wild card. I played well today and I’m happy with myself in that sense.”

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