Murray shows time must be served in modern game - Roddick

Wed Nov 7, 2012 4:36pm EST
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By Simon Evans

MIAMI (Reuters) - Former world number one Andy Roddick believes the days when players captured grand slam titles in their teens are over and that Britain's Andy Murray has shown that years of hard graft need to be put in to achieve success in the modern era.

Roddick, who retired from the sport in September shortly after his 30th birthday, believes that the current generation's supreme fitness has made it hard for players to compete in their thirties and this has also made winning a slam young almost impossible.

"Boris Becker won when he was 17, Rafa (Nadal) won when he was 19, I won when I was 21 and now there is not a teenager in the top 100 at the moment because you aren't strong enough at that point in your career," Roddick, the last American man to win a slam at the 2003 U.S. Open, told Reuters in an interview.

"The game has got more physical and the schedule has got longer. It's a really difficult sport physically and mentally," he said.

Murray is known to spend the off season, including Christmas Day, doing hours of intense training in the Miami heat and Roddick said he was delighted to see the Scotsman's hard work finally pay off when he won his first slam at the age of 25 at this year's U.S. Open.

"He gets it. He gets what it takes. It just seems that over the years he became more and more motivated, perhaps because of the pressures that were put on him, he almost took it the other way and ratcheted it up and worked harder, that is something you respect," Roddick said.

"I don't think you could have known that about him when he was 19 years old. He has taken his lumps, every defeat for him got magnified and to see him break through... I was really truly happy to see him have his success.

"One little secret of the guys who have won one slam, is that we don't want other guys to win one because it's like a bit of a special fraternity. But I was cheering for Andy to break through. He is too good a player not to.   Continued...

Britain's Andy Murray reacts after losing a point to Serbia's Novak Djokovic during their men's singles tennis match at the ATP World Tour Finals in the O2 Arena in London November 7, 2012. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez