Tennis-Mahut removes himself from Roddick's line of fire

Reuters

Sun, 27 May 21:45:00 2012

When the Roland Garros draw pitted Nicolas Mahut against Andy Roddick in the first round, few would have blamed the Frenchman if had chosen to walk out for their showdown donning a bullet-proof vest.

But instead of Mahut being flattened by some Roddick sharp shooting, it was the big-serving American who found himself in the line of fire on Sunday.

"When I saw Roddick (in the past), I thought he would always kill me," Mahut told reporters after reaching the Paris second round for only the second time with a 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-2 win.

"You know, six or seven or eight times I played against him... at the Queen's (Club) final with the match point, you know what happened.

"When I see him in the locker rooms (from now on), I'll feel better. I won't feel like ... he was shooting at me like a pigeon."

After wiping off the imaginary target off his forehead, Mahut was revelling at pulling off a rare victory on home soil.

"I was defeated eight times during the first round and another time during the second round," explained the world number 89, who will long be remembered for his record 11-hour five-minute tussle with American John Isner at Wimbledon in 2010.

"It was my 10th time here. The audience were waiting for this. They want to support the French players. They want us to beat seeded players.

"This was the time for me. I wanted to make the most of it. And at the age of 30, there we are. It happened. It's almost one of my best matches."

 

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