Make No Mistake- Andy Roddick Returns As A Force

James TriggsCorrespondent IJuly 5, 2009

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - JULY 05:  Andy Roddick of USA looks despondent after defeat during the men's singles final match against Roger Federer of Switzerland on Day Thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 5, 2009 in London, England. Federer won 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, due to time zones, I was unable to see the entire epic match between Roddick and Federer that recently took place. But what I saw was impressive.

I was impressed less with Federer's performance at Wimbledon than Andy Roddick's. Federer was doing what Federer normally did. Roddick pulled off something new and that caught my notice.

Everyone has been singing the praises of Federer and rightfully so, but Wimbledon 2009 is an important tournament for Roddick too.

He has slipped under the radar due to all the media attention on Federer's historic win but make no mistake, Roddick is back and better than ever. If he remains consistent, he returns as a force to be reckoned with.

It started with his quarterfinal win over Lleyton Hewitt, 6-3, 6-7 (10), 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-4. This is clearly a newer, improved Roddick. He pulled off some great passing shots and extraordinary half volleys.

Essentially, Roddick has diversified his game. He still has his serve, but he has added some new volleying weapons.

Roddick has been criticised in the past by some for a lack of diversity and thus, predictability. That appears to have been rectified, to some extent, at least and this shows in the performances he has put on. No longer is he losing to the mediocre players on the tour, as he has done for some time in the past.

In his semi-final match against Andy Murray, 6-4 4-6 7-6 (7) 7-6 (5), Roddick continued to play some great tennis.

He was able to keep up with Andy Murray's intensity after dropping the first set. Indeed, here he used his net approaches wisely, though he is still developing in this area.

This was a match the old Roddick would have had much more difficulty with and could very well have lost. The new Roddick not only kept up, but overpowered Murray in the face of his weapons using angles in a way he hasn't quite used before.

Then we have the final. The scoreline, 7-5, 6-7(6), 6-7(5), 6-3, 14-16, underlines the epic nature of this match. Roddick was not broken until the very end, but there were times where Federer was close. Roddick's new weapons could not overcome Federer, but they pushed him further.

Federer and Roddick had a hard-fought battle, which could be the first of a series. Forget the previous matches in the rivalry. The rivalry has yet to truly begin.

Now think just a minute. So Roddick has been this close. In your mind, has it yet to fully sink in just what this means? For some of us the answer is no. He is better, but so what?

Of course, it is old news now that he has improved. What has yet to sink in for some of us is that he is once again very capable of taking out a Grand Slam, not just again being very capable of putting on great pressure on players.

Now, we are talking about Federer as the opponent here. Having such a close game with him is quite the feat. Roddick might have won against a different opponent and even might have won against Federer if things were a little different.

Wimbledon 2009 means a lot to Federer, but also to Roddick. Roddick has proven he has what it takes to become a champion again. He can still play at the highest level and indeed, Roddick is better than he has ever been.

If Roddick improves his net game and learns when to use it for greatest effect combined with his groundstrokes and his superb serve, we might see a lot more in store for Roddick. His serve alone makes him a threat, but along with a greater arsenal, as we saw at Wimbledon, even the best can be hard-pressed to break him.

Roddick nearly beat Federer at Wimbledon. What's to say what will happen next time?

For all the focus on Federer, it is Roddick we have to take notice of. Federer is his usual self and his win confirms what tennis fans have long thought. There's nothing new in that department.

Roddick, on the other hand, is a new tennis player. He hasn't changed his game hugely, but the changes are filling in gaps in his game. Roddick is once more able to take out Grand Slams.

Wimbledon 2009 marks the start of a renewed Roddick and that means he emerges as a truly formidable threat on the circuit.