FanDuel - WFBC

September 09, 2006

Roddick and Federer to meet in finals: This is the match that all American tennis fans have been waiting to see again and it has finally happened.

posted by kidrayter2005 to tennis at 09:28 PM - 24 comments

Federer takes it. But it's good to see Roddick back on top of his game.

posted by NightingalesGone at 11:04 PM on September 09

Well, I was waiting for Federal - Nadal, but maybe next year. As much as I'd like Andy to succed, I think he's a good guy and good for the game, I think Federer will probably destroy him (again).

posted by psmealey at 08:36 AM on September 10

Nadal just didn't have the same intensity at the Open as he did at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. I wonder if he was distracted by Nike marketing campaigns or something. Shame. I've had trouble getting into this Open, I think it was all the rain delays, but I ended up missing almost the entire first 4 rounds. I didn't even see Aggasi's swan song.

posted by sic at 10:10 AM on September 10

This won't be close. Federer in 3 sets.

posted by dbt302 at 11:06 AM on September 10

LET'S GO RODDICK! (Federer is incredible but I would like to see someone compete with the guy)

posted by stofer71 at 11:22 AM on September 10

Am I the only one that found Andy's name-drop of Agassi after yesterday's match less a tribute and more some over-the-top working of the crowd? Tasted Ipecac-ish to me.

posted by Ufez Jones at 12:05 PM on September 10

I have had similar thoughts about this year's open, sic. I enjoyed the Baghdatis/Agassi match, and the Agassi/Becker post match speech, but I haven't been terribly inspired otherwise. Watching the semifinal yesterday, I was glad to see that Roddick's working with Jimbo has resulted in his improving his backhand a bit. It's still not nearly enough of a weapon for him to push Federer, though. Who knows, though, maybe Fed was out partying last night, and we'll see a close match?

posted by psmealey at 12:09 PM on September 10

This is the match that all American tennis fans have been waiting to see again Not me. I agree with psmealey, Roddick's game has definitely improved under Conners' coaching, but I think Blake gave Federer more of a fight than Roddick has a chance to. I think Blake is gonna beat Federer some day, too. That was a match with some energy; the final, I'm afraid, is gonna be an old-fashioned beat-down.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:50 PM on September 10

I have had similar thoughts about this year's open, sic. I enjoyed the Baghdatis/Agassi match, and the Agassi/Becker post match speech, but I haven't been terribly inspired otherwise. Roddick-Becker was good, as was Federer-Blake. Underdogs with fight and game will always give a good show.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 12:51 PM on September 10

the final, I'm afraid, is gonna be an old-fashioned beat-down. Okay, I take it back. Second set, and Roddick's giving him about all he can handle.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:21 PM on September 10

Third-set tie breaker. Roddick isn't going away quite as easily as predicted. I haven't watched a lot of tennis since Connors retired, but Roddick is showing some of his mentor's gutsiness -- especially in his third win of this set (7 deuces).

posted by BullpenPro at 05:47 PM on September 10

Great middle two sets there. But, like Federer does as I've seen nobody else do, he ends up allllllllmost letting his competition back into the match. Just as everyone thought 3rd-set tiebreaker, Federer was like, "whatever," and turned it up that extra notch to steal the 3rd set. Once Federer won that 3rd set...Roddick had thrown his best at Federer, Federer actually looked human, and Roddick still lost the set. He's something else to watch!

posted by jmd82 at 06:47 PM on September 10

How appropriate that Federer won Grand Slam Title #9 at the same tournament they celebrated Billie Jean King's influence on Title IX.

posted by chicobangs at 11:52 PM on September 10

Sublime. Roddick played well in the 2nd and third, but was simply outmatched in the opening and closing sets. There just wasn't any weakness in Federer's game for any extended period of time. Just a surgery.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:04 AM on September 11

As good as Federer is, I still think he benefits from a very weak field. A fit and focused Marat Safin has the power and ballstriking ability to push Roger to the distance, if not beat him outright. Andy did well by trying to vary his pace, but his poor footwork (and subpar net game) really hampered his ability to hit sharply and cleanly, and Federer jumped all over every short ball, and weak approach shot... And there were many of those.

posted by psmealey at 11:39 AM on September 11

I'm not so sure about that, psmealey. As I recall Ivan Lendl recently said in an interview that this generation of players is much better than his and implied that most of the top twenty are capable of beating the best that he faced during his career. I don't think Federer benefits from a weak field. I think he makes the field look weak.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:51 PM on September 11

I don't think Federer benefits from a weak field. I think he makes the field look weak. Agreed with your distinction, although I'm not sure I'd use the word "weak". I think they're catching up to him. Nadal's already done it, and I predict that there will be more guys soon who will have a lot more of something and enough of the rest to beat Federer in the next year or so.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:13 PM on September 11

All due respect to Lendl (one of my all time favorites), I buy the old adage that, owing to differences in training techniques, advances in nutrition science and equipment, you cannot fairly compare players of different eras in that way (I'm certain a 26 year old Andy Roddick - at no. 5 in the world - would destroy a Rod Laver or Jimmy Connors at each's peak). And yes, I know that Lendl's day was only 12-15 years ago. Players are incrementally stronger and better athletes now and are routinely hitting 110-115mph second serves (with bite) whereas your typical Boris Becker second would be in the 80s or 90s. I get stuck on the fact that, a couple of years ago, Marat Safin took it to Federer at the AO, and beat him head on. It's a shame Safin's head and lack of commitment to fitness robbed us of such a great potential rivalry. Does this make Federer less great? No, I guess it just makes me think of how good Safin is when he's on his game, and bemoan the fact that there aren't enough players of his calibre to give Roger a run for it. That said, Roger got his 9 slams so quickly that clearly you can safely call him one of the greatest of all time, even if he retired like Borg, at age 27. But, I suspect that, as Pete found out, the next five will come a lot more slowly. If Federer wind his next five slams to tie Pete's record, and leaves time for four or five more (Martina's record?) I will bow down to him as the greatest of all time.

posted by psmealey at 08:49 AM on September 12

I think they're catching up to him. Nadal's already done it The only place Nadal's on better than Federer is on clay. Otherwise, Federer is still a step above him.

posted by jmd82 at 09:05 AM on September 12

(I'm certain a 26 year old Andy Roddick - at no. 5 in the world - would destroy a Rod Laver or Jimmy Connors at each's peak). I never saw Laver play so I won't comment, but a mid-1970s Jimmy Connors would have ate Roddick's lunch. In the words of David Foster Wallace, Connors had the serve of an ectomorphic girl, but he did have something that Roddick and few of today's top players do not, mental toughness and an all around understanding of how to win matches. Why do you think Roddick has turned to guy like Connors to help revive his game? The future looks good for the Men's Tour, there are a lot of really young players that look like they are going to be tough, some of them may be all time greats: Nadal (may be a world beater), Murray, Baghiditis (sp), Gasquet, Berdych, Blake, etc. Federer may still be a step above him in grass, but Nadal's beaten Federer on hard courts as well in the past year. He and Murray are the only people in the world who can say that.

posted by sic at 10:53 AM on September 12

We'll never know how a vintage 1970's Connors would have returned Roddick's 140+ mph serve, but I was merely echoing Lendl's sentiment. Having thought about it, I don't know if I buy it either. And yes, I know exactly why he hired Connors. It was to rebuild his confidence, learn some tactical and psychological tips from tennis's all time best competitor, and maybe improve his lousy backhand and his leaden footwork. Of the players you mention, I like Gasquet's game the most, but he seems to lack some mental toughness at this point (same with Murray, as evidenced by being bageled in the deciding set last week). But, if Andre could learn mental toughness into his mid 20s, after years of shoddy training and eating habits, any one of these guys can do it.

posted by psmealey at 12:39 PM on September 12

Well one thing we do know is that when Roddick's hitting his 140 mph serve within the lines, not even Federer can deal with them. But we've also seen that a big serve is not enough. That's kind of besides my point anyway. I think that many modern athletes, including tennis players, are so good at just one facet of the game or they are so athletic that they never have to polish their whole game and they never develop mental toughness. It's interesting that you brought up Agassi, because he is one of those rare athletes that figured that out half way through and was therby able to prolong his career by what, a dozen years? If we just look at raw power, speed and strength (not to mention raquet technology) today's players would dominate players from 30 years ago, but I think that true champions like Connors have certain intangible qualities that set them apart. I see those qualities in Federer, I suspect I see them in Nadal (which is why he has me excited in tennis again). And Roddick? Roddick has a big serve.

posted by sic at 02:16 PM on September 12

Jimmy Connors: the Grand Slam's Captain Intangibles. And Roddick? Roddick has a big serve. Did you watch the US Open? I saw more than a big serve.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:41 AM on September 13

As the last two Open finals took very similar shape, it seemed that in both instances, the commentators suggested that Federer possesses this mythical extra gear that no one else does. That he "raised his game another level". Of course we can debate it all you want, but I didn't see it quite that way. In both cases, there were critical points in the third set (Agassi was up a break in '05 and trying to consolidate, and Roddick had a break point on Fed's serve and netted a potential winner) where both players choked and then quickly unravelled, surrendering multiple games in a row. I don't think it was so much that Roger raised his game significantly, it was that he was able to capitalize on the disappointment or loss of focus by a still shaky Roddick and a then 35 year old Agassi , both of whom had to play almost flawlessly to be even with him at the stage. I don't know that this is a question of Roger's greatness, or extra gear, or higher level, as it is his unbelievable focus and concentration. I think this is why Nadal has been able to beat him on occasion, not because his strokes are any better (they aren't), but because he also has that same focus. Safin, a guy who I mentioned before, I think has better strokes (or at least a better backhand) than Roger, but his 10 cent head rules him out more often than not. I too am looking forward to more men's tennis the next few years. I don't particularly like Federer as a fan mostly because he reminds me of Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan: a tremendous talent, that while classy, is something of a corporate billboard and is somewhat humorless on the court. That's why I've always preferred personalities like Nastase, McEnroe, Courier, Becker, Rafter, Agassi and this new kid Baghdatis. These all were awesomely gifted players, but they added a touch of personality and humor to the game, that Federer just doesn't seem to have.

posted by psmealey at 01:37 PM on September 13

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