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Roddick ready to return

WASHINGTON, August 4 – Andy Roddick declared himself mentally and physically ready for his return to competition after a month off following his heartbreaking loss to Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final.ANDY_RODDICKThe fifth-ranked US star will be back on the court Wednesday after a first-round bye at the 1.4 million-dollar ATP Washington Classic, having found perspective about the Swiss star’s historic marathon five-set victory.

"Heartbreaking for me, but at the same time not a lot of people get a chance to play for that title. That was not lost on me," Roddick said Monday.

"Was it the greatest loss I’ve had as far as afterward?… Yeah, that hurt. But at the same time it’s still a pretty good existence to play matches like that.

"I don’t sit back and cry in my Cheerios."

Federer won his sixth Wimbledon title and career record 15th Grand Slam crown 5-7, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 16-14. Roddick pushed him for four hours and 16 minutes, holding 37 service games in a row before dropping the last in the July 5 epic.

Asked how he got over the loss, Roddick replied, "I’ll keep you posted."

Putting the defeat in perspective has proven elusive as Roddick, whose only Grand Slam title came at the 2003 US Open, sees himself little differently than before.

"It changes daily. I don’t think I really understand," Roddick said. "For me it’s probably not the same but I understand it might be a good story.

"I’ve been a pretty good player throughout my career regardless of what has taken place in the last six weeks."

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A day after the longest fifth set in Grand Slam final history, Roddick withdrew from a US Davis Cup quarter-final tie at Croatia with a right hip flexor, an injury Roddick said no longer troubles him.

"I feel great. I decided not to make the error of coming back until I was physically ready to play an event," Roddick said. "It’s not the type of injury where I expect anything lingering."

The only thing Roddick expects to linger from the thriller loss to Federer as he begins hardcourt matches ahead of the US Open is the emotional lift brought by the entire Wimbledon fortnight’s work.

"It does help my confidence going into the US Open that I was able to navigate my way through a major tournament," Roddick said.

"I’m not going to come in expecting to pick up where I left off a month ago. It’s a process. This is the start of the process for the US Open. It would be presumptuous of me to expect that in my first match back after a month."

Roddick, who turns 27 on the eve of the US Open, will play fellow American Robby Ginepri or Germany’s Benjamin Becker in his first match. Hot-handed US rival Sam Querrey, the champion Sunday at Los Angeles, could await after that.

Roddick has worked to keep his emotions in balance better than in the early days of his career, saying his normal evolution has played out before the world step by step.

"I’ve pretty much been portrayed as every style thing you can be," Roddick said. "After Wimbledon you are Andy Everyman, who everybody is rooting for. I think the meat and potatoes of who I am hasn’t been covered yet."

Roddick, 39-9 this year and two wins shy of 500 career ATP triumph, won his 27th career title at Memphis in February. He won titles at Washington in 2001, 2005 and 2007.

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Roddick, who married model Brooklyn Decker on April 17, credits improved nutrition and fitness for better position on the court to enable superior shotmaking.

"It was just a matter of what avenues hadn’t I explored," Roddick said. "Once confidence is there, it makes the decision-making process a lot easier when you want to pull the trigger on shots.

"I wasn’t playing amazing at Wimbledon until the semis and final. There’s still a lot of work to be done."

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