Monday, Aug. 16, 2004 | 9:08 a.m.
SUN WIRE REPORTS
ATHENS -- Playing in his first Olympics, Andy Roddick admitted it was "definitely something different" than anything he has been a part of before.
And Roddick has been a part of a lot of big events. He won the U.S. Open last year and was a finalist at Wimbledon in July.
"I was a little more nervous today than I would be normally for a first-round match," said Roddick, who struggled a bit to overcome Brazil's Flavio Saretta 6-3, 7-6 in his Olympic opener Sunday. "I don't think you can be the same because of all that's going on here."
Venus Williams, on the other hand, has been here before. She won both a singles and doubles gold medal at the 2000 Olympics, and the experience helped her breeze to a 6-1, 6-2 win against Melinda Czink of Hungary in the United States' other first-round center court match of the day.
The Americans batted a perfect 5-for-5 on the first day of competition.
Martina Navratilova, at age 47, became not only the oldest tennis player to compete in the modern era of the Olympics, but also became the oldest to ever win a match. Navratilova teamed with Lisa Raymond to score a 6-0, 6-2 women's doubles victory over Yuliy Beygelzimer and Tetyana Perbebiynis of the Ukraine.
"I sort of felt like I didn't belong because I look around, and they're all like 12. They're so young," Navratilova joked.
Chanda Rubin defeated Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-2, 6-7 (10-8), 6-0 in women's singles. Mardy Fish won 7-6 (9-7), 1-0 when Jonas Bjorkman of Sweden retired with a pulled abdominal muscle.
The success of the U.S. tennis team was a stark contrast to what was happening elsewhere Sunday in Athens.
The American men's basketball team was stunned by Puerto Rico, the men's volleyball team lost to Italy and swimmer Michael Phelps was denied his bid for eight gold medals in only the second day of competition when the men's 4x100 relay team finished third.
Japan's Kosuke Kitajima won the men's 100 breaststroke gold from Brendan Hansen of the United States. Australian Petria Thomas took the women's 100 butterfly gold. On a windy day, and with events such as beach volleyball and table tennis playing before near-empty grandstands, Ukraine's Olena Kostevych won the women's 10-meter air pistol, while Russia's Alexei Alipov captured the gold in men's trap shooting. Iraq's soccer team secured a place in the quarterfinals with a 2-0 win.
The U.S. eight-man rowing crew covered the 2-kilometer (1.4- mile) course in a world-record 5 minutes, 19.85 seconds, to take 2.95 seconds off Canada's previous mark. The women's eight clocked 5:56.77 to shave 0.47 second off the mark held by Romania.
Both reached next week's final, where the men are joined by Australia, whose crew includes three brothers -- twins James and Geoff Stewart, 31, and Steve, five years their junior.
The women's cycling road race was won by Sara Carrigan of Australia. Hungarian fencer Timea Nagy retained her epee title.