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Roddick out of French with injury

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The American, who has lost in the first round at Roland Garros for the last two years, expects to be fit for the start of the grass-cou

The American, who has lost in the first round at Roland Garros for the last two years, expects to be fit for the start of the grass-court season at Queen's.

Roddick had been due to play at this week's World Team Cup in Dusseldorf, where his brother John is US captain.

"Andy is pulling out with an upper back shoulder injury, the same thing that he had in Rome," said John Roddick.

"He's pulling out of here and he's also going to miss the French Open, too."

Roddick, 25, had flown straight back to the US after being forced to withdraw in the semi-finals of the Rome Masters earlier this month.

"The shoulder doctor we use is out of New York City so he was right there, and Andy had an MRI and there's some inflammation so he pulled him from here and the French," said John Roddick.

"I don't think it's going to be anything that's terribly long and I would be surprised if he was not ready to go for Queen's, but as for now he needs to take a good 10 days, 12 days, just rest."

Defending champion Rafael Nadal insists he will be fully fit for an assault on a fourth consecutive French Open title.

The Spaniard, 21, has never lost at Roland Garros and collected yet another clay-court title in Hamburg on Sunday.

But Nadal has been highly critical of tour organisers over a packed schedule that left him struggling with blisters and a hamstring problem last week.

"How am I not going to have strength and desire to play Roland Garros?" said the world number two.

"It's the climax of the season on clay. Yes, it's been made more difficult by those who make the calendar, but fine.

"Even though I couldn't be at a 100% in Rome, I'm here and I'm playing well and I aim to get to Roland Garros in as good shape as possible."

And looking beyond Paris, he admitted that after twice finishing runner-up at Wimbledon he is keen to go one step further this year.

"Of course I'd swap a Roland Garros for a Wimbledon," he said.

"If you win in more tournaments you're regarded as a more complete player but I've been close to winning Wimbledon before."

The French Open, the second Grand Slam tournament of the year, gets under way on Sunday.

Roger Federer suffered his eighth defeat in nine matches on clay against Nadal in Sunday's Hamburg final but remains optimistic about his chances in Paris.

"I wish I could have won in Hamburg, that would have given me an even better feeling for Roland Garros," said Federer.

"To have won here would have just confirmed that I am definitely playing well. I can definitely say I am feeling good, the three hours wasn't a problem from the physical standpoint.

"But from Rafael's standpoint, he is perhaps struggling a bit more due to the stress with the levels of the last few weeks. I am completely fine and I will be ready for the tournament."

Meanwhile, Lleyton Hewitt will head for Paris optimistic that he will be fit for Sunday's start.

The Australian has played only one low-key Davis Cup match since picking up a hip injury in Miami in March.

He said: "I thought it best to go to Paris and start my originally planned preparation, in the hope that the hip will be OK for me to compete.

"I am being optimistic about playing the French and also the grass-court season, especially Wimbledon."

The 27-year-old former world number one will spend the coming week at Roland Garros practising on the clay with coach Tony Roche.

"I've now just got to prepare as well as possible and hope the body holds up for me," said Hewitt.  



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