A New and Improved Andy Roddick
At 26, Andy Roddick is considered to be in the twilight of his career. If his performance against Novak Djokovic is any indication of what 2009 has in store for Roddick, a revival may be in order.
Roddick made it to the semifinal of a Grand Slam for the first time since the 2007 Australian Open, out-lasting Djokovic when he was forced to retire in the fourth set.
Roddick proved to be the player with superior fitness in the match, something that new coach Larry Stefanki has stressed since coming into Roddick's camp last December. Roddick has lost 15 pounds and is moving around the court as well as he ever has.
The other key point in Roddick's victory over Djokovic was his aggressive play. Roddick played rather conservatively in the first set and lost it in a tiebreaker. Roddick picked up his intensity after the set, and as Djokovic's fitness failed, Roddick stepped on the gas and put immense pressure on his foe.
Roddick returned the ball deeper, hit better ground strokes, and was able to come into the net and finish points with relative ease. He covered the entire court well and was putting away several of Djokovic's drop shots with ease. It is this type of play that Roddick must maintain in order to return to the game's elite, and to win another major.
Roddick will face Roger Federer in the semi-finals, and represents a gigantic test for Roddick. This match-up should test just how far Andy has come. Although Roddick won their last encounter, Federer is playing like the 13-time Grand Slam winner that he is.
Roddick needs to forget about the one-sided record he carries head-to-head with Federer, and focus solely on their last match and the way he has played in this tournament.
Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic have shown that despite some outstanding tennis in the last year, neither is on the same level of Federer or Rafael Nadal. A win over Federer to advance to the final will show the world that Roddick has plenty left in his tank, and the "Big Four" might have to make room for a fifth.
If Roddick can continue to serve big and stay aggressive against Federer, he can pull off another upset and show that despite his advancing years, he is playing the best tennis of his career.
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