Roddick excited by Wimbledon prospects

When the tournament begins, the American will resume his quest for a championship that would mean quite a lot to him.

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LONDON // Surprising as was to hear full-throated chants echo through the Centre Court stands - 15,000 voices rising as one after last year's Wimbledon final concluded - what was most remarkable was the name the spectators chose to yell. They did not salute Roger Federer, the champion who claimed his sixth title at Wimbledon and record-breaking 15th grand slam title overall. Instead, they hailed Andy Roddick, the runner-up who dropped to 1-4 in major finals, including 0-3 at the All England Club, all against Federer.

When Wimbledon begins tomorrow, Roddick will resume his quest for a championship that would mean quite a lot to him, one that barely eluded him in 2009. He served almost impeccably and was broken only once, in the 77th and last game of Federer's 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14 victory ? the longest match and longest fifth set, in games, in Grand Slam final history. "I'm always anxious going into Wimbledon. I don't think that's going to change," Roddick said. "I don't go in with any sense of entitlement or any sense of anything like that. I'm excited to get on to a surface that I actually feel that I can impose my game on a little bit more."

Roddick's fastest-on-tour serve only gets speedier and tougher for opponents to handle on the slick surface used at Wimbledon. It's a formula similar to one Venus and Serena Williams employ to dominate opponents at this tournament, divvying up eight of the past 10 Wimbledon championships. His close calls at Wimbledon have increased his intention to do well at the All England Club. "The fire, the drive, the internal flame is going to be there until he climbs the peak," his coach, Larry Stefanki, said. "But you've got to find a balance. That's the last thing you want to think about - winning a major - when you've got seven rounds to win."

* AP