Category Archives: Andy Roddick

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


Andy Roddick Drops from Top 10. Will He Get Back In?

I’m not even sure what it means, exactly, to write off Andy Roddick. But I just have a sense that that’s what I’m doing. It’s what I’m feeling.

Andy Roddick, so long ago

After his early loss in Miami to some guy named Pablo Cuevas, Roddick, now No. 8, will drop down to, roughly, No. 15 when new rankings come out Monday. He will definitely be out of the top 10.

And I’m not sure he’ll ever get back in.

This whole project with coach Larry Stefanki, one-last run for a second major title, is not going to come through for Roddick. It has peaked. It was thrilling to see the immediate results, a near-Wimbledon title in 2009, when Roddick lost a classic five-set final to Roger Federer. He beat Rafael Nadal on the way to winning in Miami last year, too.

For nearly a decade, Roddick has been the face of American men’s tennis, and a regular in the top 10. But he has driven us crazy, stuck at one major and one moment at No. 1.

The argument for him has been this: He would have won way more if not for the colossal bad luck of two of the greatest players of all time – Federer and Nadal – coming along during his prime.

The truth is, Roddick let the top of the game pass him by. If the Federer-Nadal argument were real, then Roddick would have been ranked No. 3 all these years. He hasn’t been No. 3 since 2007. Continue reading