He skipped a clay court event in Rome so he could celebrate his wedding anniversary with his wife, Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model Brooklyn Decker. He missed another tune-up tournament in Madrid because of a stomach virus.
Scrambling to get set, Roddick played a couple of hastily arranged exhibitions and practiced a bunch at Roland Garros with fellow pro Mardy Fish, a pal since high school. If Roddick felt he needed more match time on his least favorite surface, he accumulated it in a hurry Tuesday, digging himself out of a hole and coming back to beat Jarkko Nieminen, of Finland, 6-2, 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the first round.
"It's kind of like when you miss an assignment in school, and they give you a chance to get extra credit. I've been trying real hard to get extra credit ... and I definitely wasn't match-tough," the sixth-seeded Roddick said. "There was a lot of ugliness out there today. But at the end of it, I get to play again."
So does a group of other Americans: Roddick and Fish are among five U.S. men into the second round, equaling the largest contingent at this tournament since six made it in 1998. Robby Ginepri knocked off 18th-seeded Sam Querrey 4-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 6-2 in an all-American match Tuesday, while former Georgia standout John Isner and Taylor Dent won Monday.
Roddick hadn't competed on clay since last year's French Open, when he reached the fourth round -- and he hadn't played on tour anywhere since April 4.
Two U.S. women -- Jill Craybas and Bethanie Mattek-Sands -- won Tuesday, too, to join Serena and Venus Williams in the second round.