Andy Roddick defeated Lleyton Hewitt in a five-set dogfight at last year's Wimbledon Championships, blasting a career-high 43 aces past a helpless Hewitt. He then defeated home-crowd favorite Andy Murray in an impressive semifinal victory.
That sent Roddick to the Wimbledon Finals for the first time since his back-to-back trips in 2004 and 2005. He would be facing a familiar foe in Roger Federer, the one man who saw his monster of a serve crystal clear on his way to stomping him in those two finals.
Roddick threw everything at Federer in that final, displaying his remarkable return to top form for all those doubters who were eagerly watching the event unfold.
Roddick won a record 39 games in that match, serving unbelievably consistent. He took advantage of his first serve by taking control of a majority of the points, firing aggressive forehands from corner to corner. He also capitalized on Federer's inability to pick up his serve, something he did not benefit from in their last two meetings on Centre Court.
Roddick looked uncharacteristically aggressive, courageously coming to net over and over, rushing Federer and making him pay for his errors. He held his serve until the very end of the match.
It wasn't enough.
Andy Roddick's return to form in 2009 showed the world that he is the hardest-working player on tour, with unlimited resolve in the face of adversity. However, Roddick's loss to the mighty Fed at Wimbledon last year could prove to be one of two things:
1. One last, desperate attempt at a major, one final push with a newly polished game that would end his streak of failure and capture another Grand Slam title.
2. A demonstration that Roddick has improved his game drastically and that his new and improved game is here to stay.
Of course, Roddick fans would like to think that it is the second option.
Roddick has continued to have mixed results in addition to a series of injuries as the 2010 season kicked off.
There is no doubt his game has improved. A lot of experts and players believe his backhand is the most underrated and improved shot on the tour. His approach and volleying skills have dramatically improved—just look at how uncomfortable he was able to make Federer in that classic Wimbledon Final. With his new coach, Larry Stefanki, he has honed his forehand, making it more aggressive and penetrating deep into the court.
The resolve is there; the mental toughness is there; the unwillingness to give in and undying resolve to win have always been there. For all of the loud-mouth ranting and complaining to umpires and officials Andy displays throughout the season, he has garnered tremendous respect for the aforementioned qualities.
Besides Federer, Roddick has been the most consistent performer on the tour in the last decade. He has never given up, and he has never put to rest that voice inside telling him to keep working because that title will one day come.
Many would argue that no one deserves a Wimbledon title more than Roddick. Wimbledon seems to be his best shot for another Grand Slam title, a place he has experienced the most success in past years dating back to his 2004 and 2005 Final appearances.
Does he have what it takes to get it done?
2010 Wimbledon awaits. Is it do or die this time for Roddick?