Despite one of his best fights, Roddick had lost to Federer for the third time at SW19 and fourth time in a Grand Slam.
Roddick knew he had given it all. He knew that this encounter was the closest he could ever come to winning his second Grand Slam. But this chance had also slipped away. No wonder he looked like a boat with a mast but no sail.
Scaling new heights is a magnificent achievement—not in spite of the arduous uphill tasks and the inbuilt perils and pitfalls, but precisely because of them.
This can be said of champions like Djokovic, Nadal and Federer, who keep winning titles despite mind-boggling competition among themselves and from younger opponents.
But what could we possibly say about Roddick's career shredded with loss?
The Other Side
When it comes to men's tennis, these are obviously interesting times, with the top trio whipping up media frenzy almost before and after every tournament. On the flip side, I don't think those out of this triangle, barring Murray, get consistent media attention as much as they deserve.
But Roddick, on the other hand, often attracts media wrath for his erratic on-court tiffs with umpires and linesmen.
I often wonder if this is how the American takes his frustration out and shoots the messenger, instead of facing the crisis head on.
Is this how he stokes the simmering resentment arising out of his stockpile of defeats? Or, is this how Roddick, the heart-throb of yesteryears, tries to send out a message that he's still alive?
Maybe yes, maybe no. But, in all fairness, there's something more that defines this player.
He may be a power fraying at its borders. He may be a player who may never win another Slam. He may be a player most remembered for his on-court misdemeanor and occasional wins against top players.
But there's something you can't dismiss about Roddick that easily—his staying power.
Otherwise, what could possibly bring him back to practice sessions every day when his early-round exits have ceased to be a surprise? How does he ward off disconcerting thoughts as he walks down from his locker room to the tennis court dominated by the young and strong?
What keeps his hopes of revival alive when the media have written him off and consigned him to the ledger of the inconsequential? How does he digest questions on his retirement thrown at him all too casually?
Thanks to his doggedness, Roddick simply refuses to be cut off from the raw throb of existence of competitive sports. He keeps coming back for the 24th time regardless of his chances of winning against his greatest nemesis, Federer.
It is this staying power that helps him hit four consecutive forehand winners to go up a break and shake off the complacence of mighty players like the Swiss Maestro.
Keep 'em coming, Roddick.
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