Australian Open 2012: Roddick, Wozniacki and Fish Are the Biggest Flameouts

Paul Grossinger@@pgrossingerAnalyst IIJanuary 27, 2012

Australian Open 2012: Roddick, Wozniacki and Fish Are the Biggest Flameouts

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    It's life in the fast lane for Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.  Nadal is already in the final while Djokovic and Murray will face off in the semifinals!

    But it's been a tough tournament for some top players.  Federer reached the semifinals without a struggle but then fell in four sets to Nadal.  Kim Clijsters couldn't close out Victoria Azarenka.  Still, those players did well, relatively speaking, while others were not so lucky. 

    So, who were the 2012 Australian Open's three biggest flameouts?

Andy Roddick Bows out Early: Should He Retire?

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    Andy Roddick is one of the toughest competitors on the ATP tour.  He is one of my favorite players and, even though he does not always prevail in big matches, his fans know that he plays hard.  

    But his injury-induced retirement against Lleyton Hewitt in this tournament's second round was hard to swallow.  

    Roddick has not been fully healthy since sometime in 2010.  He suffered his worst combined majors performance in 2011 and did not even sniff at a Grand Slam title.  If 2009 was his year of resurgence, 2011 may be the year the coffin slammed shut.

    He is not a player one dismisses easily.  But if he cannot get fully healthy, and nothing short of a months-long hiatus from the game will get him there, he has no chance for that long elusive second major title.  So, either way, his flameout performance here signals he needs some time off from tennis to heal and rejuvenate.  Whether it is temporary or permanent, who knows?

Caroline Wozniacki Is Crushed in the Quarterfinals

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    Caroline Wozniacki looked great until the quarterfinals.  She breezed through lower-level opponents until the top eight, hit a brick wall in Kim Clijsters and bowed out meekly, 6-3, 7-6.

    It's become a familiar tale for Wozniacki: win big at the tour's smaller events, accumulate ranking points and bow out from Grand Slams without a title. 

    It's now become a two-part question: Why can't she develop her game into one that can win a title?  And why does she bow out meekly when she is faced with a tough opponent?

    This defeat will take away the No. 1 ranking.  The 2012 Australian Open winner, which will be either Maria Sharapova or rising star Victoria Azarenka, will become the new top dog in women's tennis.  Both are Grand Slam winners.  Will that motivate Wozniacki to change her style and become more than a top-ranked also-ran?

Mardy Fish Crashes and Burns in Another Major

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    Mardy Fish is usually an inspirational story. After years of underachieving and struggling through injuries, he took time off, slimmed down 40 pounds, honed his skills and became a top-10 player.  He could be in a Michelle Obama healthy eating commercial!

    But his performance at the 2012 Australian Open was not part of that inspirational tale.  After most pundits picked him to lose early, he decided to prove them right by losing to journeyman Alejandro Falla in straight sets in the second round.  Yikes!

    Fish isn't Roddick or Wozniacki.  No one expects him to win Grand Slams, which is why his exit is not quite as big a flameout.  But, as top-10 player, he should do better than that.  Perhaps another diet regime is in order?