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Original Issue

Helping Hand

Andy Roddick woke up to the smell of acrid smoke at 5:15 on
Sunday morning in Rome's Grand Hotel Parco dei Principi. When the
2003 U.S. Open champ, in town for the Italian Open, went into the
hall, he saw about a dozen guests amid thick black smoke. He
ushered them into his room, took them onto his balcony, then did
what any 21-year-old in a tight spot would do: He called Mom.
From Boca Raton, Fla., Blanche Roddick told her son to wet towels
and put them under the door, but Andy said, "It's way beyond
that." When Roddick realized that fire truck ladders could not
reach the balcony above him, he helped seven people from that
floor down to his balcony, including Sjeng Schalken, whom Roddick
caught when the Dutch player jumped 10 feet. The blaze killed
three guests, but everyone on Roddick's balcony made it to
safety. "I think it was instinctive, and there was a lot of
adrenaline going," he said.

COLOR PHOTO: RHONA WISE/EPA (RODDICK PLAYING) GOOD SERVICE After aiding other guests, Roddick walked away fromthe fire safely.