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World Sport

Andy Roddick through to next round


SPECIAL REPORT
• Olympics 2004: Special report 

ATHENS, Greece -- American star Andy Roddick got the Olympic tennis show on the road by beating Brazil's Flavio Saretta 6-3 7-6 in Athens on Sunday.

There was little of the Olympic spirit about Roddick as he unleashed his fearsome serve on Saretta.

He never got close to threatening his own record of 153 miles per hour (246.2km/h) but the deliveries he did pound down left many fans courtside wincing.

Certainly Saretta could not handle the heat from Roddick's racket and, despite a creditable performance, the Brazilian never seemed to be able to threaten the young American's chances to move on to the next round.

Still Roddick insisted that for him it wasn't the usual opening round: "I was a little more nervous than I would have been for a normal first round match," Roddick said. "But I am having a blast."

Despite Roddick's good performance, the number of spectators watching the game in Athens was moderate.

Tennis, recalled to the Games in 1988, might claim to be a fully-established Olympic sport but the dire stories of more than half the tickets going unsold appeared to be confirmed, at least on the first day.

But US Open champion Roddick was unconcerned.

"People see tennis a lot. It was perhaps a choice between tennis and swimming but I wasn't too concerned, I was just concentrating on wining the match," he said.


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