Category Archives: Andy Roddick

U.S. OPEN: Was this Andy Roddick’s Last Run?

Andy Roddick

Reporting from the U.S. Open for FoxSports.com

FLUSHING, NY — Whatever Andy Roddick is, he’s energy. Either he’s an overachiever reaching No. 1 without much talent or an underachiever winning young and then letting the game pass him by. But he’s emotion.

Either he’s a feisty competitor or a creep, but he’s passion. And that spills over into the crowd, which wants to cheer him on or curse him out. Sometimes both.

Either way is fine with Roddick. With him, everything is an argument.

But on Friday in the world’s biggest tennis stadium, in the world’s loudest city, in the quarterfinals of maybe the world’s most important tournament, the US Open, the crowd did something different.

It sat there quietly while Roddick was crushed by Rafael Nadal.

Crickets.

And it was so strange that it threw Roddick off, made him suspicious about what was going on and why.

“I think you’d rather be booed than have silence,’’ he said after losing 6-2, 6-1, 6-3.

“You know, it’s an empty feeling.’’

The match, as well as the crowd, was the sound of one hand clapping.

And you can’t be certain what thousands of fans are thinking. They might be thinking thousands of things. But they all acted as one, and I’m pretty sure I know why:

American tennis fans felt sorry for Roddick. Not just for the moment, but also for the realization of where his career is. This was Roddick’s last stand. Jimmy Connors’ famous run? Andre Agassi’s? Pete Sampras’?

This was Roddick’s. The last stand for the longtime face of American men’s tennis.

 

Please read the rest of the column at FoxSports.com

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U.S. OPEN: Tennis’ Conflicts of Interest Leave Players out in the Rain

Reporting from the U.S. Open for my column in FoxSports.com

Rafael Nadal not looking happy in the rain

NEW YORK – It doesn’t look good when super-rich athletes who travel the world for work, with supermodel wives or girlfriends, are complaining about working conditions, publicly talking about the need for a union because they were expected to compete when it was misting outside.

I mean, boo hoo.

But Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick went into the US Open tournament referee’s office Wednesday to stand side by side and complain after they had been forced to play. And despite appearances, this was important.

“They know it’s a lot of money, and we are just part of the show,” Nadal said later, on ESPN. “They are working for that (show), not for us.”

The thing is, the players were right. And it’s a much bigger issue than the player mini-revolt suggested. It might be a turning-point moment in tennis.

It might be, but I doubt it. That would take untangling the world’s biggest ball of yarn first.

 

Please read the rest of my column in FoxSports.com


Widdle Andy Woddick has Another Tantrum. But this one had a Twist

Andy Roddick had another embarrassing tantrum

I don’t dance unless there’s music playing.

That’s what Widdle Andy Woddick said to the chair umpire during his latest itty bitty temper tantrum Monday night in Cincinnati. He had blown the second set, broken his racquet and then, a little later, angrily drilled a ball into the stands.

He didn’t think the chair umpire should have done anything, I guess, much less give him a point penalty, as the rules called for. From there, Roddick fell apart. Time spent on the court during play was sort of the filler for Roddick until he could get on with his main objective, which was to sit down during changeovers and argue some more.

We’ve seen plenty of tantrums from Roddick before. He once spent endless time arguing with a line judge who had said he foot-faulted with his right foot. Actually, it had been his left, as if that mattered.

Roddick is great when he gets ahead. But any speck of trouble, and he falls apart. That’s not new. What is new is this:

Roddick gave up. He stopped running for balls. His comfort wasn’t in winning, but in whining. That was pretty stunning, as he took a 7-6, 4-2 lead over Phillip Kohlschreiber, and then lost 6-7, (7-5), 7-5, 6-1.

He just quit trying. Why? I think it’s starting to hit him that he isn’t going to win another major, that his time as a top tier player has passed, that his career isn’t going to end up the way he expected. Continue reading


How Far Can Mardy Fish Go? Should We Buy in? Does he Believe?

 

Mardy Fish

The feelgood story that is Mardy Fish just keeps feeling better and better. He is into the top 10 now, won in Atlanta, and is heading straight for the finals again this week in Los Angeles. The problem with Fish is this:

How much should we buy in? How far can he take this?

Up to now, his story is about his newfound maturity and commitment late in his career, his weight loss and commitment to fitness. It was a cute story when he passed Andy Roddick in the rankings this spring to become the top-ranked American. Roddick wrote him a note of congratulations and said he’s coming back to reclaim that ranking.

But the truth is, it wasn’t just a nice moment for Fish, and Roddick isn’t going to pass him back. Fish isn’t just the top-ranked American.

He is the best American.

For now, no other American man can win a major championship. Can Fish? The stars would have to align.

He is rolling through the first part of the U.S. hard court season, leading up to the U.S. Open. But Americans have been duped for years by believing in Roddick. And if they’re going to buy into Fish, it would be nice to know that he’s buying in, too. Continue reading


Three Inconvenient Truths About the U.S. Loss to Spain in Davis Cup

Spain celebrates Davis Cup victory over the U.S.

Three stone-cold truths about the U.S. loss to Spain in the Davis Cup quarterfinals this weekend:

1)    Andy Roddick, and the U.S. team, should have insisted on playing that last match out of respect for the fans.

2)    The Davis Cup is not nearly as big a deal as it could be.

3)    U.S. tennis is even worse than I thought.

Let’s start at the top.

1) Roddick. The whole event was tailored for him, to thank him. It was sort of a tribute. The home country chooses the site. Roddick, who lives in Austin, Texas, asked for it to be in Austin. So it was put there.

“I appreciate the USTA for even considering Austin,’’ Roddick said after the U.S. had beaten Chile in the previous round. “I think it’s been no secret that I have wanted it for a long time. It would be a dream come true to play at home.’’

Then on Sunday, with the U.S. mathematically out, but with one match left to be played, Roddick apparently forgot his dream.

“I think Andy has a history of not liking to play those matches,’’ U.S. team captain Jim Courier said.

Well, maybe the fans, hometown fans who paid to see Roddick, would have liked to have seen him. Instead, after Spain clinched the win with David Ferrer’s victory over Mardy Fish, the last match never happened.

Boo. The crowd was justifiably upset. Roddick had played on Friday, but should have played Sunday, too. Under the rules, they don’t play a meaningless fifth match unless both coaches agree. Well, both coaches should have agreed, and Roddick should have insisted. Continue reading


WIMBLEDON: Roddick Loses. Can he Channel his Inner Caveman Again?

Andy Roddick

 

What Andy Roddick doesn’t seem to get is that the little touches and things that he added to his game are supposed to be there just for variety, and maybe a Plan B. I mean, good for him that he learned how to hit a loopy, soft forehand, figured out how to keep his knuckleball backhand on the court a few shots in a row and developed a slice backhand.

But those things are just the extras, the add-ons. Instead, Roddick has now centered his game around them. He’s like a guy who just built a three-car garage onto his house and then decided to move into the third stall. He has abandoned the main part of his game, the part that made him successful.

In the end, he lost again Friday, in the third round at Wimbledon, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 to Feliciano Lopez, a talented career choker who had never beaten Roddick.

For Roddick now, every major championship is a disappointment waiting to happen. Two days ago, I wondered if maybe the window for winning a major might not be completely closed. Now, it’s closed and nailed shut with a concrete wall built over it. This was his chance (last chance?) at a miracle run to another major, playing well on his best surface with a draw through the middle rounds filled with flawed players.

But I guess the path to that run is just filled with too many self-imposed obstacles. Someone asked Roddick, now 28 with one major title, if a loss like this makes even him wonder if he’ll ever win another major. Continue reading


WIMBLEDON: Andy Roddick Wins Again. Window Closed for Another Major or Still a Puncher’s Chance?

Andy Roddick

This is a trick and there’s no way I’m falling for it again. It’s so easy and comfortable with the acceptance that Andy Roddick is never going to win a second major. It stops the disappointment, the frustration, the annoyance of watching his infamous meltdowns.

The problem is this: Roddick is still ranked No. 10. And he’s poised for a deep run at Wimbledon.

This is the place where his game works best; he’s not hitting such pat-a-cake forehands; his serve looks like it used to; the draw sets up perfectly. He beat Victor Hanescu 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 Wednesday to advance to the third round.

Please, no. I’m not going to believe. Rafael Nadal is going to win this thing. If not him, then Novak Djokovic. Not him? Roger Federer. It’s just that Roddick seems to have actually made some adjustments and maybe found his, well, let’s just say that before this, he had castrated his own tennis game.

This is destined for disappointment. He always has some sort of mental breakdown. But just when you finally accept that he’s done,  things line up like this and you wonder if he still has one last puncher’s chance at a major.

So many athletes have one last great run. Pete Sampras was finished, too, when he came back to win one last U.S. Open (beating Roddick along the way, of course). But Sampras’ greatness was unquestioned, and long-lasting. He had more to draw from.

Was Roddick ever great? Continue reading