After Another Loss to Federer, Where Does Andy Roddick Go From Here?

Donald FincherAnalyst IJuly 5, 2009

WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - JULY 05:  Andy Roddick of USA waves to the crowd 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 Julian Finney/Getty Images)

One has to wonder about Andy Roddick's psyche right about now.  

He has to feel like he had the Wimbledon title in his grasp and was about to put Roger Federer in a deep hole of two sets to zero, when the wheels began to come off that wagon.

Could Roger have won three straight off of Roddick today had he gone down 2-0?  

Well, given that he didn't even win fourth set, one would have to say that the match would have been Andy's.  

And that has to hurt.

Also, it's just embarrassing no matter how well you play, no matter how much improvement you've made, and no matter whether you're playing the greatest player ever to lose a 19 out of 21 times to the same guy.  

It all sounds like some bad Soderling yoke (um, I mean joke).  

Can't you just hear him wanting to scream, "nobody beats Andy Roddick 20 out of 22 times."?

From what I can tell, Andy seems to recognize that the tennis community in general was happy about the passing of a milestone and watching history being made.  

The fact that Pete Sampras is okay with it makes it okay for us to also be okay with it. 

But, I think Andy would have liked to have heard Roger, be in on court or in an interview, say that Andy should have won this match.

Roger always says he got some "lucky breaks" as a way to deflect and dispel any hints of arrogance. So, when he gives us that tired line again, it's not enough to leave it at that because we've heard it before.  

Andy is too classy to come out and say it for Roger, but the truth is that Roger was beat today...and I say that as a Federer fan and someone who wanted him to break the record.

For Roddick to know that he had Roger beat and he let him off the hook—it has to sting a lot.  

After all, this isn't some guy that stole one from him that Andy otherwise has a stellar record against. He needs every win against Roger that he can get. But the fact that Roger hasn't (and probably won't) admit it, and instead keeps saying things like "it was crazy," "it was incredible," and "I got a couple of lucky breaks," just doesn't get it done.

Now, Andy is having to deal with the actual outcome, the elephant in the room that he had the match won, and fact that it looks like bad taste and sour grapes for him to point out the obvious himself.

So, where does Andy go from here?

First, I think it benefits him from a mental standpoint that he will see his ranking points rewarded for this effort.  

If he can pass Del Potro and eventually Djokovic, that will take some of the sting out. It will help him fare better in future tournaments as his seed will be higher and his path a little less filled with potential landmines until later rounds.

Secondly, I think he takes away from this that he beat Djokovic soundly at Australia, beat Murray at his "home" tournament, and had Roger beat too. To beat (or at least outplay) the top players consistently like that has to give him the hope he needs to keep working hard.

Finally, he gets to go back to the hard courts.  

Having recently beaten or outplayed the list of players I just mentioned and knowing that even though Nadal has won a slam on hard court, it's his least preferred surface, puts Andy in a great place as he returns to his best, and most preferred surface for the rest of the season.

I think Andy, with the help of his coach and his wife, will step back from the ledge and eventually focus on the positives of his run at Wimbledon in its entirety rather than this one match.  

And I think he will defer his own assessment of himself until after he sees how he performs in the US Open on his home soil, with the crowd more fervently behind him this year because of this recent performance.

If Andy can make the semis or finals of the US Open, he will know he is back and among the consistently elite, and this loss can be viewed as more of a bump in the road rather than a last chance that was blown.  

Obviously, if he wins it, he won't even have to lick old wounds, because he'll be treasuring his new trophy instead.

Ultimately, Roddick has had a lot of disappointment in his career. He has had to learn to deal with it.  

Is today the straw that breaks the camel's back, or will he realize that he played the match of his life and that the old Roddick would have been smoked, so he should keep things in perspective?  

I guess that's the $64,000 question that will be answered in the days and weeks to come.