Andy Roddick has the easiest role in sports.
He just needs to sit back, relax, and let Roger Federer beat him.
He never fails to meet expectations because no one expects him to win.
In fact, he has every excuse in the world to lose. He had every excuse in the world to lose on Sunday. He has every excuse in the world to lose every time he plays the man who now owns the record for most Grand Slam titles won.
Andy Roddick lost in the 2009 Wimbledon Finals at the All England Club on Sunday. But he has no reason to make excuses.
His chances at victory over Federer are usually deader than the grass at the hash mark on Centre Court. On Sunday, they were alive and well like a new born baby. Which makes sense because, on Sunday, Roddick was reborn.
Normally, Roddick doesn't deserve to shine Federer's shoes. In the 2009 Wimbledon Final, he gave him a full-body wash.
There wasn't necessarily an aura of overwhelming confidence around the 26-year-old from Austin, but at the least, Roddick played with self-assuredness. And from a man who has perennially doubted his own place among the game's greats, this sentiment is monumental.
There was a level of comfort from Roddick never before seen from any challenger to Federer's throne apart from the one person who actually is a true challenger: Rafael Nadal.
Roddick served with dominance, even more so than usual.
He owned the T and ruled out wide, and Federer never really stood a chance. While tennis's Mt. Rushmore of Rod Laver, Pete Sampras, and Bjorn Borg looked down from the grandstands and while Federer made history, Roddick served like an all-time great. Federer broke him once in 77 games.
He hit forehands with the stature of a champion, which is essentially remarkable because Roddick is not a champion. He is the No. 6 player in the world.
Yet, he catapulted heavy inside-outers to the corner of Federer's fabled one-handed backhand with the poise of Daniel in the lion's den, irrationally, supernaturally perhaps, knowing that he could compete.
He pulled out backhands that were breathtakingly brilliant in the way that dynamite is breathtakingly brilliant. Roddick passed Federer up the line with two-handers that exploded off the racket not just with power but with defiance.
He crawled the net with passion. Volleying has never been Roddick's strength, but on Sunday, it wasn't his strength along the same lines that Michelangelo's self-proclaimed weakness was painting. Nobody noticed, and nobody cared. Roddick's net game was his Sistine Chapel.
To more accurately describe Roddick's performance, just relive the second set tiebreaker.
There was genuine surprise when he lost after being up six to two. Folks, there is genuine surprise when Beethoven misses a note, when Jordan misses a buzzer beater, or when Federer misses an overhead. Not when a scrappy World No. 6 drops a set to the best man to ever play the game.
This is mere evidence to Roddick's greatness.
The analysts call him a victim of circumstance. The fans call him a lovable loser. On Sunday, July 5, Andy Roddick was neither a victim nor a loser.
Well done to Roger as you earned your 15th win, but congratulations are in order for Roddick as you received your 19th loss. Let this serve as a prediction that you won't reach 20.
The Queen missed a good one.
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