The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on July 28, 2003 · Page 26
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The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana · Page 26

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Monday, July 28, 2003
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D6 MONDAY, JULY 28, 2003 Sports THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR - WWW.INDYSTAR.COM RCA CHAMPIONSHIPS Ancic and Ram rally to win doubles title By Mark Ambrogi mark.ambrogiindystar.com Mario Ancic and partner Andy Ram found themselves in serious trouble in Sunday's RCA Championships doubles final. They dropped the first set and were behind 3-1 in the second set to Diego Ayala and Robby Ginepri. "They played unbelievable the first set and a half," Ancic said. "There were no mistakes from them. It was windy and it was tough for us to return. We said to ourselves, 'Let's hang in there and put in as many returns as we can. Let's fight into this." " Ancic and Ram rallied for a 2-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-5 triumph over Ayala and Ginepri. The comeback was impressive considering it was the first tournament that the two had played together. They agreed to play together two days before the main draw began. They had never practiced together. It was the first doubles title for both Ancic, a 19-year-old Croatian, and Ram, a 23-year-old from Israel. Ancic and Ram were the last players to get into the 16-team field on their rankings. "We got in on my singles ranking (No. 73) because (Ram's doubles) ranking was down because he was injured last year," said Ancic, who was seeded 11th in the RCA singles field and lost in the second RCA NOTEBOOK round. "He's a great doubles player and, for sure, his ranking will (improve). I hope we can both improve our rankings, so we can play more." Said Ram: "This is the start of a great friendship." Ram, who reached the Wimbledon semifinals with Jonathan Erlich, will play doubles with Graydon Oliver in the Legg Mason Classic in Washington this week. Ram and Erlich will play in the U.S. Open together. "Jonathan and I don't always play the same tournaments," Ram said. "So when I'm not playing with Jonathan, hopefully, I can play with Mario." None of the top-10 teams in the tour's doubles race were in Indianapolis. The race leaders, twin brothers Bob and Mike Bryan, were entered but withdrew because of Bob's injury. Ram and Ancic split $29,800 as the doubles champs. Happy with attendance Sunday's finals crowd of 6,920 boosted the tournament's total attendance to 73,489. Last year's attendance was 80,298, but there was one more session. This year, the Saturday sessions Stove Healey The Star Way to go! Doubles partners Andy Ram (left) and Mario Ancic celebrate their victory over Diego Ayala and Robby Ginepri in the finals. were combined. "We had a lot of good fortune and we see it as equivalent to last year," said tournament director Rob MacGill, who had fewer highly ranked players in this year's field but had a strong draw in eventual champion Andy Roddick. "We exceeded our expectations in a transition year." The tournament was held in mid-August prior to this year. Call Star reporter Mark Ambrogi at 1-317-272-4406. Roddick He plans to return to RCA Championships next year. FromDI triumph over No. 2 seed Srichaphan before 6,920 fans at the Indianapolis Tennis Center. The 20-year-old Boca Raton, Fla., resident earned $74,250 for his eighth career ATP Tour title. Srichaphan, a 24-year-old from Thailand, picked up $43,700 for finishing second. . Both players were making their first appearance in Indianapolis. Even before he won, Roddick committed to return next year. Roddick delivered 15 aces. He saved the only break point he faced in the match's first game. "The opening game I felt like I was hitting it pretty big and getting a lot of action on it," Roddick said of his serve. "I didn't start off playing that great from the baseline. (Saturday) my serve wasn't there and my baseline game worked for me. (Today's victory) was in large part because of my serve." Roddick lost just two points on his serve in the second set. Srichaphan felt there was nothing much he could do against the blazing serve. "After he won the first set, he had more confidence in his serve," Srichaphan said. "He was getting at least two aces in each game. I just lost one game on my serve, so that was enough for him to win a match." Roddick broke Srichaphan's serve to take a 3-2 lead in the second set. That was the only edge he needed. Roddick came to the net more than he had in the previous four victories in the tournament. "Paradorn likes to chip his return a little more," he said. "So especially on the side with all the wind out there, if he's going to chip in short, I'm going to play the first ball and get in there. I didn't want to give him too much court." Roddick has won three of his four career meetings with Srichaphan, including a four-set triumph in the fourth round of Wimbledon last month. His coach, Brad Gilbert, told Roddick to take the opportunity to come to the net if it was there. "A lot of it depended on how he was going to try to return," Roddick said. "If he was taking full cuts and full swings, it's tough to come to the net. But if he was going to be chipping and looking to hit the next ball, I wanted to make him hit a passing shot and not just a rally balL So I had to feel it out a little bit." Ranked No. 6 on the tour, Roddick won the Queen's Club in London and reached the semifinals at Wimbledon before arriving here. "In Queen's and Wimbledon, I was playing close to my abilities," he said. "Here I got through matches. Some were good. Some were bad. But I'm definitely excited about the progress that I made in the last couple of months." Srichaphan said Roddick should be a favorite at the U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 25. "Big chance," he said of Roddick's odds of winning. Call Star reporter Mark Ambrogi at 1-317-272-4406. Kravitz Young American begins to fulfill the expectations. From D1 in the doldrums and searching desperately for somebody to fill the Pete Sampras-Andre Agassi vacuum. So he does the right thing, the only thing he can do. He embraces it with a knowing smile. Even his MTV-style Web site blares the message, unabashedly calling Roddick the next great star in American tennis. "I know he gets tired of hearing the same thing, but he han dles it well, and he wants to be the next big thing," said Bud Collins, the legendary NBC announcer. "He's not intimidated by it. He's not a shrinking violet. Everybody will say, 'You're the heir apparent to Sampras,' or he hears about Agassi, and it gets old . . . but it's true." Ask Roddick about being the heir to the throne, and it's immediately apparent Collins is right: He is tired of hearing about it. But he understands it and accepts it, and has developed a decent ability to spit out a rote answer while sounding moderately sincere and engaged a very important quality in a media-sawy athlete. "I know the (hype) is there and the American public has been spoiled in the best possible way, with (American) champion after champion after champion," Roddick said after his victory in the final. "So they're used to it. But I can't play for other people. I have to play for myself." Then he laughed. "I give the same answer every week," he said playfully. It's a hard way to carve out a career, especially in a snap-judgment age. Win, and he's The Next Big Thing. Lose, and he's dismissed as an Overhyped Bust. There is a job to do, and everybody wants him to get it done right now. Replace Sampras and Agassi. 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"Full Maintenance covers all factory recommended maintenance on all MY 2003 vehicles and newer vehicles, as determined by the Service Level Indicator, for 4 years or 50.000 miles, whichever comes first. See the Service and Warranty Information booklet for more details and specific terms, conditions and limitations. t'- Wx livmi. April 2000. tffloob Renal. June 2000. 2003 BMW of North America. LLC. The BMW name and logo are registered trademarks. Indianapolis Dreyer & Reinbold 9375 Whitley Drive (317) 573-0200 (800) 875-2269 Greenwood Dreyer & Reinbold 1301 US 31 South (317) 885-4800 (800) 315-2288 nis mattered and everybody knew about John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors. And do it with flair. But he seems to understand all that. He seems to understand how ridiculous and twisted all of this is, and he does so without dwelling on the essential unfairnesssilliness of it. The hype machine will operate at full throttle no matter what he does, so why fight the thing? Why expend the energy? What's important is, his game is starting to catch up to the hype. He has struggled at times and he nearly flamed out in the first round of this tournament, raising questions about his mettle and suitability as heir apparent. But he's come on in recent months, especially with new coach Brad Gilbert at nis side, justifying the endless hype. It's hard to remember sometimes: He's just 20. "There's no question, he'd be a great torch carrier for American tennis," Collins said. "He's smart, young, he's frisky, and people like him. He makes a good impression most of the time." On Sunday afternoon, Roddick displayed all the game and all the qualities he will need to be that next real star. His groundstrokes were electric. His serve was dominant. And his soul was on display, which will separate him from the legions of accomplished but hardly compelling past champions. When he's happy, you know it. When he's angry, and he did a little McEnroe act late in the first set, the whole arena knows it. "You're on live TV, you know," Roddick snapped at the umpire after a disputed line call "You look like a real moron right now." By tournament's end, a special little relationship had been established between Roddick and the area's tennis cognoscenti It began when they cheered him through a difficult first-round match. And they were there for him again Sunday. Afterward, Roddick went out of his way to acknowledge the people, and promise a return visit next summer. They fell for him for the same reasons the tennis establishment has nominated him to be The Next One. There is talent, first and foremost. But there is passion. And that, in the end, is what endures. Bob Kravitz is a columnist for The Indianapolis Star. Contact him at 1-317-444-6643 or via e-mail at bob.kravitzindystar.com j j M J" I i C Hl td B H n .1 Til tl r 5m7v77 Indiana's First Choice Because so much is riding on your tires. n b . x (5i i B -Sl-A. a?l , 11 flR!-F REBAH on any ; 4 tVEicheiins 50." Mail-in rebate 20." 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