Roddick to Skip 2008 Olympics

By Agence France Presse

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US star Andy Roddick will skip the Beijing Olympics in August to defend his crown at the ATP Washington Classic two weeks before the US Open. Roddick will bring star power to the only event on the men’s tennis tour that conflicts with the high-profile showdown for Olympic gold in China.

Roddick has decided to remain in the United States to better preapre for the US Open, the year’s final Grand Slam tournament that starts in New York on August 25, the day after the Olympics conclude in Beijing.

“My goal every summer is to win the US Open,” said Roddick. “I have won the Legg Mason Tennis Classic three times and feel defending my title in Washington best prepares me for another Grand Slam title.”

Sixth-ranked Roddick captured the ATP title in Dubai last weekend with victories over Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic and reigning French Open champion Rafael Nadal in the run.

Roddick defeated big-serving US wild card John Isner in last year’s Washington final.

The Olympic tournament and Washington’s event are both set to be played on the week starting Monday, August 11.

With Roddick’s absence, ninth-ranked James Blake is the top-rated American in line to play for Beijing Olympic singles gold.