Roddick says time for new coach: Andy Roddick dumped Brad Gilbert as his coach last month because "the relationship had run its course," Roddick said Tuesday at the Australian Open. "I had plateaued a little bit at the end of last year and definitely needed ... to get a fresh start," Roddick said after his 7-5, 6-2, 6-1 first-round victory over Irakli Labadze. "I think Brad and I did a great job, and we worked very well together for a year and a half. I just decided it was time to go in a new direction. The last six months or so, I had stopped kind of improving. And that's something I definitely wanted to work on." Roddick, currently ranked No. 2, replaced Gilbert with U.S. Davis Cup and Olympic coach Dean Goldfine. Roddick reached No. 1 and won the 2003 U.S. Open during his 11/2 years with Gilbert. "I called him, and we spoke for a while. He obviously was disappointed," Roddick said. "I was disappointed, too. It's never fun when you have a good amount of success with someone and you part ways. But he's been good about it."
Blake's difficult year: James Blake is putting a year he "wouldn't wish on my worst enemy" behind him and says he is viewing life in a new way. His father, Thomas, died of cancer in July. Blake, 25, broke vertebrae in his neck when he slipped on a court during a practice session in Italy in May and missed two months. He also came down with a condition affecting hearing and sight that caused temporary paralysis on one side of his face. "Unfortunately, things happen and all you can do is try to find silver linings and find reasons to improve or find ways to improve on what happened," Blake said after a 6-1, 6-2, 6-0 first-round win over Florian Mayer at the Australian Open on Tuesday. "The only thing I think I got out of it is a different perspective on life." Blake's ranking slipped from No. 37 in 2003 to 94th at the end of last year.
More tsunami aid: Fans at Rod Laver Arena had a chance to get up close and personal with five high-profile players at the Australian Open. Amelie Mauresmo, Anastasia Myskina, Jonas Bjorkman, Todd Woodbridge and Paradorn Srichaphan took UNICEF buckets into the crowd before the night session began to collect money for Asian tsunami victims. Paradorn is from Thailand, where nearly 5,300 people were killed by the Dec. 26 disaster. More than 160,000 died in 11 countries.