Roddick Out, Oudin In, Verdasco Close.

Roddick out of Paris.
Andy Roddick’s knee injury is either more serious than he’s letting on or he’s just playing it safe for 2010. Either way, he’s withdrawn from the Paris Masters next week according to ESPN.com. He’s still officially playing the Barclays ATP Masters in London but I doubt he’ll be a factor.

Oudin Leads the U.S. Fed Cup Team.
Remember when Serena Williams said she would play the penultimate Federation Cup tie against Italy even if she had “to play in a wheelchair”. Well Serena backed out of that promise last week and so now it’s to American phenom Melanie Oudin to lead the charge this weekend. In an earlier post, I didn’t think it was fair to let Serena in the final due to her lack of commitment for U.S. Fed Cup all year. Despite playing on red clay, I still give the Americans a chance as they’ve been underdogs all year.

Gasquet, Wickmayer and Agassi Playing Defensive.
In what seems a tidal wave of stories about drug use and doping, this past week saw the withdrawal of rising Belgian star Yanina Wickmayer out of the WTA Bali event after she was given a one-year suspension for failing to show up for three drug tests in a row though she plans to appeal. Xavier Malisse was handed a similar ban and in his press conference he cried through tears that this could be the end of his career. Richard Gasquet is set to defend himself before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland for his alleged “cocaine kiss” incident. The ITF and WADA still seek a one or two year ban for Gasquet though an independent bureau cleared him for play in August. And of course, Andre Agassi is set to defend himself and his book “Open” on 60 Minutes this weekend. Not exactly the best way to end the year for the sport.

Verdasco on the Verge.
And yes the ATP Masters points race still has some drama left as Fernando Verdasco and Nikolay Davydenko appear to be in good shape to secure the final two remaining spots as both have reached the semifinals of the Valencia event.

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