Of all the tennis players of the current era, Andy Roddick is probably the tennis player who have suffered the most under the unstoppable reign of the GOAT. I think he can consider himself unlucky to have not won at least three or four more majors. And none more so than Wimbledon 2009. For almost any other player that heart breaking loss to Federer would have been the final nail in the coffin. Yet for Roddick, who is down 19-2 in career head-t0-head meetings to Federer, that loss was a positive. He had a backhand volley to an open court in that epic Wimbledon clash which was a virtual match point, but all the heart breaking losses against Federer in the past must have flashed through his mind just before he made a mess of that volley. You have to give Roddick a huge amount of credit for how he moved on from that devastating loss.
It kind of reminds of Roger’s loss to Nadal in the Oz Open final in the same year, after which Roger hit back in true champion style. Roddick hasn’t won another major. Not yet anyway, but he has done the next best thing which is to win a Masters Series event, beating Thomas Berdych in Sundays final, 7-5, 6-4. A routine win. And he wasn’t too far away from doing the illusive Indian Wells/Miami double either. The North American heart court season belonged fair and square to the American, while each of the players in front of him in the rankings, with the exception of Nadal and the injured Del Potro and Davydenko, have failed miserably. What is wrong with the top 6?! I have already reviewed Roger’s American hard court run, which I actually thought wasn’t miserable, but not good for his own high standards. Djokovic and Murray was the most disappointing.
Both of them seem to find themselves almost in no man’s land right now. It is as if they have taken steps in the right direction, but are falling over the final hurdle. They are finding out just how hard it is to dwell at the dizzying heights that Federer and Nadal have inhabited the better part of a decade. Whether they will ever take the next step in their tennis evolution is doubtful too. They just don’t have what it takes to be a Roger or a Rafa. The utter dedication to their craft that made Roger and Rafa so dominant over the last few years is lacking with Murray and Djokovic. Even after all these years no one seems eager enough to take over form Federer and Nadal, and until someone becomes eager enough, they will probably keep dominating. Well, at least I think Roger will. Rafa is a bit more questionable.
Can Roddick make a late resurgence in his career and make inroads into the top four? I guess you can’t completely dismiss that possibility either. If he can win another major he could. I’m already hearing some people suggesting him as a real threat to Roger at Wimbledon this year. Not so fast, I say. It is one thing to come close to beating the GOAT in a match where there was a lot of expectation on his shoulders, and it will be another thing to beat him this year when he will have no such expectation. If nothing else, Federer is a more relaxed player this year than he was last year, and it is no secret that he is very happy with his current situation. Having said that, I won’t count Roddick out either. The win over Rafa in Miami and the title itself, as well as the run in Indian Wells, is a big career boost for him and will go a long way towards soothing the scars of Wimbledon 2009.
Time will tell as always.
Ps. Just found this article on twitter which goes all the way back to 2003 when Roger terminated Agassi in the Basel final, 6-3, 6-0, 6-4. That was also the year that Roddick won the US Open and ended the year ranked number one, ahead of Roger. Check it out: