After getting spanked by Federer, Roddick lights up the post-game news conference: But the only thing that can help Roddick save face is if the red-hot Gonzalez goes down in straight sets as well.
posted by antwan to tennis at 07:01 AM - 27 comments
Roddick has a terrific personality that's great for the sport. It's really a damn shame that he has nothing in his arsenal that can hurt Federer on the court. Even worse than that for him is that, psychologically, he's pwned. Behind the jokes and the charm is a guy that, absent Federer dying in a freak accident, knows that he has no chance to get back to no. 1.
posted by psmealey at 07:12 AM on January 26
If Jimmy Connors can manage to give Roddick a chunk of the heart Connors himself played with, maybe he'd actually have a chance to play consistent, aggressive, winning tennis. As it stands, keep the one-liners handy, Andy, because you're not looking like an elite player. Beat some of the mid-level field, but not able to hang with the big boys on a consistent level. American (men's) tennis needs someone, but Roddick will never be the one.
posted by dyams at 07:35 AM on January 26
But the only thing that can help Roddick save face is if the red-hot Gonzalez goes down in straight sets as well. I don´t think there´s anything that can save the face of this: “I got broken. Then I got broken three more times. Then I got broken two more times in the third set. Then it was over 26 minutes later."
posted by zippinglou at 07:53 AM on January 26
Eh. Not so sure I agree with y'all -- and I was calling Roddick weak and worthless a year ago. He's definitely acquired some more grit since then. I've enjoyed watching him play in this tournament, for the most part. Remember that guy called Andre Agassi? Roddick is a young kid still; he's got time and room to reinvent himself. Can't wait to see the final -- I haven't seen any of Gonzalez's matches, but if he could beat Blake in straight sets, daaaaaaamn...
posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:20 AM on January 26
Funny guy. Loved the reporter who said "Your performance here is better than the one on court." The look on Roddick's face was pricless; as was the "No shit" response. Well, in fairness to Roddick, he can't help what era he played in - and the list of people that give Federer trouble is pretty fucking short. Roddick is at the far end of his career in Tennis terms and likely won't have many more shots at Grand Slams. I would think he just missed his window - he needed to be at his best when Sampras was winding down and before Federer came into his own. That was his chance - he rose high, but didn't stay there and now - not much of a chance. Sure Agassi managed to reinvent himself, but I would think he's the exception rather than the rule. I mean - we're still talking about a top ten player, here - and a very wealthy man who dates pop stars. I can't quite bring myself to feel too bad for him.
posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:22 AM on January 26
jez...tough crowd! what do you want the guy to say? people are saying that federer is the greatest sportsman of all time. in the new sports media age, press conferences where an athlete is honest and doesn't stick to the same tired cliches and PR blah blah, is a refreshing change in my book. Unfortunately sometimes the media can't handle that.
posted by oliver_crunk at 08:47 AM on January 26
a refreshing change in my book. Unfortunately sometimes the media can't handle that. Seconded. No wonder people stick to pablum the media can digest.
posted by yerfatma at 08:53 AM on January 26
I would think he just missed his window - he needed to be at his best when Sampras was winding down and before Federer came into his own. That was his chance - he rose high, but didn't stay there and now - not much of a chance. Sure Agassi managed to reinvent himself, but I would think he's the exception rather than the rule. The other thing worth noting in this exchange is that Federer is only a year and a few days older than Roddick. Unless Federer does one of those superstar "I have nothing left to prove" things and retires early, I don't see Roddick as being anything better than a consistent runner up.
posted by holden at 09:09 AM on January 26
The thing people need to remember is Roddick probably won't be another Agassi, or any other of the big U.S. stars in recent history. Agassi won 8 grand slam titles, and 60 other titles. Roddick is only 24, but that's not as young as it sounds in tennis circles. The media jumped on this guy early in an attempt to make him another Agassi, and while I will never feel sorry for him (because he has made a great deal of money), he'll be more down the lines of Jim Courier. In all honesty, though, I agree that losing to Federer is never a shock.
posted by dyams at 09:21 AM on January 26
I don't think the problem is that he lacks heart; I think it's moreover that he lacks game. His second serve (Sampras's secret weapon) doesn't adequately support his first, his approaches are often ill-timed and short, his volleying is mediocre at best and his backhand is abysmal. On the whole, as an elite player, he has more weaknesses in his game than strengths. What does not bode well for him beyond this is his history of injuries, and that his rigid, violent mechanics indicate that he doesn't have much time left before his body starts to break down on him. I think if Federer does a Bjorn Borg, the field is just too deep for Roddick to be a shoo-in as the next #1. Roddick should consider himself fortunate if he finishes in the top 10 in 2007, I'm thinking teens and twenties for him in subsequent years. if he could beat Blake in straight sets, daaaaaaamn... Blake has had some great matches over the past 3-4 years, but I still consider him a second tier player on the level of a Todd Martin. When he puts it together, he can be a thing to watch, but he lacks that extra gear to win a slam.
posted by psmealey at 09:22 AM on January 26
he'll be more down the lines of Jim Courier. He's not even close to Courier. Courier won four slams, including the brutal French Open twice, when that tournament was starting to go to the clay court specialists (Sergi Bruguera, Andres Gomez, etc.).
posted by psmealey at 09:26 AM on January 26
That second set against Federer was outrageous. Roddick walked off the court 4-3 up in the first and then sometime later was 0-2 in the third, without winning a game inbetween. Some of Federer's stuff in that second set looked like it was made up. 'Physics says I can't do this? Well screw physics!' When Federer plays like that I begin to think he's found a way to control the Matrix. Six points lost in an entire set in a Grand Slam semi-final? It must be disheartening for these guys that have a couple of years of peak left to know that if they do their very best they might, just might, make #2.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:54 AM on January 26
Federer is absurd. The moment of realization came for me in the Finals of the US Open a couple of years ago. Andre had him at one set apiece and was actually up a break in the third, playing the best tennis I think I had ever seen him play. He was even pushing Federer around a little bit. Andre was serving to consolidate his break at 40-30, and then, it happened. Federer just stepped on the gas and glided away. I think Agassi lost the next 6 or 7 games and that was that. I can't say in all my years of watching tennis, that I have ever seen a player so consistently dominant for this many year in a row on all surfaces. Borg was incredible on clay, Lendl was brutal on clay and hard courts, and Sampras was peerless on grass, but Federer just does it all, whenever and however he wants to do it. I fought the whole "Federer is the greatest of all time" thing for a long time, but even if he retired this year, short of Sampras's record, I think you could still make a case for it. The four year stretch this guy has put together is astonishing.
posted by psmealey at 11:10 AM on January 26
know that if they do their very best they might, just might, make #2 Well, if that's the way they're thinking, they deserve what they get. The guy who will topple Federer will have to believe he's better than him. Nadal has already shown that it is possible to beat Federer, and to have a psychological edge over him.
posted by qbert72 at 11:10 AM on January 26
The press conference made me like Roddick even more. I think he has a lot of potential still, and I'm hopeful that Connors will help him with that. I think he was a better player when Gilbert was coaching him, and I think it was a mistake for Roddick to dump him. I didn't get to see the Roddick/Federer match, but I think historically Roddick's biggest problem has been between his ears. I basically agree with psmealey on Blake, though I enjoy watching him much more than I ever enjoyed watching Todd Martin.
posted by paulus andronicus at 11:11 AM on January 26
He's not even close to Courier. At this point in time, Roddick and Courier are about neck-and-neck with regard to career titles. Roddick's one career grand slam win compared to Courier's four is a lot closer than Roddick finds himself to Agassi, and God forbid, Sampras. I always liked Courier a lot. Comparisons to Federer aren't even realistic, but Roddick finds a way to lose to many other players who shouldn't even be mentioned in the same name as him (Roddick).
posted by dyams at 11:30 AM on January 26
Can't wait to see the final -- I haven't seen any of Gonzalez's matches, but if he could beat Blake in straight sets, daaaaaaamn... I saw Gonzo vs Blake. It was amazing! Gonzo has always been a hard-hitter, but it was like he was brainless. With Larry Stefanki, he's learned how to put a game plan togoether and have a little margin for error in his shots. The way he's blitzed through the field has been just as amazing. Not just anybody can beat Nadal in straights, and make Tommy Haas (on a good little run of his own) look like a hacker. The final should be good stuff unless Gonzo freezes a la Ferrero at RG 2003.
posted by somethingotherthan at 11:40 AM on January 26
Blake has had some great matches over the past 3-4 years, but I still consider him a second tier player on the level of a Todd Martin. When he puts it together, he can be a thing to watch, but he lacks that extra gear to win a slam. I agree. It took him a long time to have a killer instinct at regular, optional events. He's 26 and he's never won a five-setter -- two strikes against a Grand Slam win.
posted by somethingotherthan at 11:41 AM on January 26
Well, if that's the way they're thinking, they deserve what they get. The guy who will topple Federer will have to believe he's better than him. Nadal has already shown that it is possible to beat Federer, and to have a psychological edge over him. I meant more in the rankings, qb. Whoever does depose Federer will obviously have to believe they can do it, (at least until Roger's legs run out), but right now, Roger's consistency is unmatched. I read back in November that if Federer had decided to show up to the first round of each tournament he's played in since, lose and go home, he'd still be number 1 in the world until the end of next month. Nadal's psychological edge is meaningless in the World Rankings, because Nadal doesn't have Federer's metronomic consistency anywhere but clay, which shows in Federer's 3,595 point lead over Rafa in the ATP Rankings. The gap between first and second is currently comfortably more than anyone else on the tour has.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 11:45 AM on January 26
My sense is that Nadal's psychological edge might not be what it was (Federer beat him in straights at the Masters Cup). We'll see this spring in Europe, I guess. I'd love to see if Nadal can again play at the level that comported him to the final at Wimbledon, but he's somewhat off his game since then. It's like all that energy and focus he put into winning Wimbledon caused him to break something.
posted by psmealey at 11:56 AM on January 26
The moment of realization came for me in the Finals of the US Open a couple of years ago. I remember that match. It was when Federer was starting to get into, "dude, this guys ROCKS" talk. Now, I don't see anybody toppling Federer. Maybe a match here or there, but certainly not over an entire year. He has unmatched consistency. To go along with that, he is the most fluid player I've ever seen. Even when Sampras was winning, I could still see him exert effort. With Federer, it's like he simply knows he's going to win. And he just goes out there, does his business, and wins.
posted by jmd82 at 12:10 PM on January 26
I meant more in the rankings, qb. Oh, understood. I don't know how much credence the players themselves place in those rankings. If a guy came up and started beating Federer consistently, he would be considered #1, even if Roger held on to the ranking for another year or two. Now I'm not saying that guy exists right now, but he will someday. Hopefully before Federer starts to fade. This Gonzo guy has made an impressive run, I hope he can give us a match in the final. My sense is that Nadal's psychological edge might not be what it was I agree, which is why I used the past tense. I agree with your analysis too: it's as if Nadal put too much into Wimbledon, and hasn't been able to get over that "failure". Also, his nevertheless remarkable performance on grass raised expectations. He was becoming an all-surface guy, and quick. Maybe we saw his progression quicker than it really is. Looks like he did too.
posted by qbert72 at 01:55 PM on January 26
I read all the way through -- did anyone else catch the bit at the bottom about Tony Stewart panning the new NASCAR car? “Oh, what a basket of junk. It drives like a station wagon, an old station wagon, like an old Oldsmobile station wagon, green with wood panel trim on the sides.” Now's that's down-home funny.
posted by wfrazerjr at 03:56 PM on January 26
I don't know. I think this is the year Blake surpasses Roddick as the premier American on the tour. It doesn't matter, though. Nobody's going to touch Federer for years.
posted by carolinared at 04:08 PM on January 26
people are saying that federer is the greatest sportsman of all time. Federer, as awesome as he is, will not even be the greatest in his sport unless he wins a French. Then I'd be happy to discuss both. Also, what qbert said...
posted by bobfoot at 07:51 PM on January 26
I think that the Federer beating Nadal in straight sets in the Masters was a bit misleading in that he didn't dominate those three sets, each one was a dog fight. It was probably the toughest match Federer played in that tournament. Still he won in straight sets. Nadal definitely isn't the same player on hard courts, or to be more precise he's the same, but the other top 5-7 players on the tour can hit through his defense on hard courts (Berdych, Blake, Gonzalez) where they can't on clay or grass; It's going to be interesting how he does in the French. Perhaps he'll reestablish his confidence going into Wimbledon.
posted by sic at 03:12 PM on January 27
Quite simply, I am in agreement with those who say that Federer is the best ever. With all do apologies to Sampras fans (and I count myself among them) what Federer is doing to men's tennis right now is unbelievable. He typically makes whoever he plays look so utterly pedestrian and average...It amazes me. His performance against Roddick was some of the best tennis I have ever seen (Federer's game). He is so much better than the rest of the men's field, I feel sorry for 2-10 in the world (forget about 11-100). His game lacks any obvious weaknesses...he does everything well. Having said that, I am in agreement with those of you who applaud Roddick's performance in the press conference afterwards...It is refreshing to hear someone say what he really thinks instead of what the press want to hear (cliches).
posted by timbo31771 at 08:54 PM on January 27
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