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Roddick and Connors End Coaching Arrangement

Andy Roddick, Jimmy Connors© Getty ImagesAndy Roddick, Jimmy Connors

After his biggest victory in more than four years Thursday, Andy Roddick surprised the tennis world by announcing that he had ended his partnership with coach Jimmy Connors. Roddick fired 17 aces to upset second seed Rafael Nadal 7-6(5), 6-2 to reach the Dubai semifinals. It was the American's first victory over a player ranked No. 2 or higher in more than four years.

But the bigger news was that the former World No. 1 had split with Connors one week earlier. Connors had traveled to just one tournament with Roddick in 2008 - the Australian Open.

"Jimmy resigned," Roddick said in his post-match media conference. "Our team is just me, (brother) John and (fitness trainer) Doug (Spreen). [It happened] probably about a week ago. I still have the utmost respect for Jimmy and I thank him for his time.

"I think it was tough for him to do it part time, maybe not getting exactly the results we wanted... It was amicable. We're friends. I have so much respect for him as a person. I'm sad but thankful for what he was able to give to me and that he could take time out of his retirement and spend it with me.

"Communication is tough. When the match isn't on TV and you try to explain where your head is at. We did the mentor role as well as you can from a distance, but when I'm going from Australia to Austria to California to Memphis to Dubai, it becomes difficult. It was a matter of logistics as much as anything."

The Connors' Effect
Asked what improvements and changes Connors had made to his game, Roddick said: "Playing up in the court. I had to adjust my game. He's helped my backhand a ton. It's a different shot than when we got together. And the fighting spirit. When we got together I was as close to down and out as I've been. I spent the week after Wimbledon as closed to depressed as I've been, as far as my career goes. I really credit him for that spark and getting me back into the Top 5 and a Slam final."

Roddick began working with Connors in July 2006 in Indianapolis. At that moment he had fallen outside the Top 10 (he was No. 11) for the first time since October 2002. But he found immediate success with Connors, going 18-2 through the summer hard court season and reaching the US Open final.

Roddick's record under Connors was 23-8 in 2006, 54-16 in 2007 and 8-1 in 2008 (through San Jose, where he won his 24th ATP title). His combined record under his time with Connors was 85-25 and he reached as high as No. 3 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings. He won four titles from seven finals during the partnership.

Roddick added: "I was keeping him away from the golf course and he likes to walk his dog every morning. But I was happy to have spent some time with a legend."

No Replacement
Roddick said that he had no immediate plans to find a replacement for Connors, adding that he had eight years of experience at ATP level - and the support of his brother and Spreen - to call upon. "I'm really not too worried about it. Tonight is an example... I know how to play. I'm really not thinking about [a replacement]. I'm happy with John and Doug right now."

Asked if there was a chance he would re-unite with Brad Gilbert, who recently parted company with Andy Murray, Roddick answered: "Absolutely not."

And, Roddick said that he felt confident he could seek advice from Connors from time to time if the need arises. "I don't see him hanging up the phone if I want to ask him a question."

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