SHANGHAI // The world number six Andy Roddick pulled out of the $4.45 million (Dh16.3 m) Masters Cup because of a right ankle injury. The 26-year-old American lost his opening match in the season-ending championship for the world's top eight players to Andy Murray on Monday and was due to play top seed Roger Federer in his second group encounter later on today. "It was during a warm-up drill in practice yesterday, I just went over on it," the former world number one said. "I can't really stop and start very quickly. It's definitely a tough prospect trying to beat Roger with no serve and not being able to move much."
The first alternative to the American is Radek Stepanek, the Czech world number 27. He will now step in to take on Federer. Roddick, who was playing in his fifth Masters Cup, said the injury should not disable him for too long. "They don't think it's too long term, which is nice," he said. "It's unfortunate for this event as far as I go but I don't think we're looking at anything more than a week or so.
"I'm very much looking forward to getting healthy and actually having some time to try to get fit again and be prepared going forward next year." The 2003 US Open champion emphasised that his injury was the result of an accident but did not pull his punches when asked about the danger of the top men playing too much tennis. "I think too much is asked of us as far as playing 11 months of the year and now they're imposing more mandatory tournaments," he said.
"It doesn't make a whole lot of sense. At a certain point you would hope they start respecting our opinions a little bit more." Stepanek can still qualify for Saturday's semi-finals but he must beat defending the champion Federer and Simon in his second match on Friday and hope that the other results go his way. *Reuters