Wimbledon 2010: Five Reasons This is Andy Roddick's Year

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Wimbledon 2010:  Five Reasons This is Andy Roddick's Year
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It was a heart-breaker alright. 

Andy Roddick lost in the most gut-wrenching fashion possible last year when his serve was finally broken while trailing Roger Federer 14-15 in the fifth set of the 2009 Wimbledon Final. 

Many thought it was Roddick's one final shove towards erasing his place in the game's history books as a "one-slam wonder." 

Losing such a match, he was destined to slowly shy away from the bigger moments, surely losing the motivation to keep reaching Finals only to lose to Federer once again.

Roddick never wavered, he never faltered, and he has done what he said he would do during his post-match interviews after that historic Final—he has stayed the course.

2010 has picked up right where 2009 left off for the No. 1 American.  By far, he posted the most successful hard-court season of any man on tour, reaching back-to-back Finals at Miami and Indian Wells, winning the former.

Although many were worried about his form due to his lack of match play coming in, Roddick seems to be finding the game that brought him ever so close to that elusive second Grand Slam title.

If Roddick does indeed find that game, he certainly should be the favorite to win the tournament.  And why not?  The only man who seems to beat him when he is on form is Roger Federer.

Here are five reasons why Andy Roddick will win Wimbledon 2010:

 

1)  The New Andy Roddick

The Andy Roddick we are watching in the here and now is not the same Roddick we saw before he took on coach Larry Stefanki. 

The old Andy had a massive serve, maybe even faster than it is now, but it was neither placed as well as it is now nor mixed up as well—Roddick has become like something of an Ace in baseball, picking apart his opponent with combinations of speed, power, and precise placement.

Roddick now has a full arsenal of weapons at his disposal. 

The forehand may have slowed down a bit too, but he has honed it nicely, and it is more penetrating and consistent than it has ever been. 

Combine that with shored up volleying and net play, a few pounds lost, and a slightly quicker step, and a vastly improved backhand—Roddick now has a complete game.

The most evident cases of Roddick's complete game are his Fourth Round finish at Roland Garros last year as well as his Wimbledon Final. 

A Fourth Round appearance may not seem like anything to brag about for a guy who has been in the Top 10 for the majority of the last decade, but he had never been there before, and nowhere do you need a more complete game to be successful than on the red dirt in Paris, where long, extended rallies truly bring out the game's best.

As for the Wimbledon Final, Roddick has never shown off his backhand better, slapping down-the-line winners, and passing shots in key moments of the match. 

Additionally, some experts think he could have won that match had he come into net more and utilized those improved volleying skills.

The New Andy Roddick is good enough to stay with Roger Federer all the way to the end, there's only one other guy I can think of who has done that in a Grand Slam Final and he has netted seven for himself.

 

2)  Shaky Competition

The list of contenders with a real shot at the title going into Wimbledon was quite large considering the heavy dose of injuries recently suffered by players in the Top 10. 

After the first two rounds here at SW19, that list may not have gotten any shorter, but it has definitely gotten a lot more questionable.

The tournament's two standout favorites, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, were both pushed to five-set matches already—Federer probably should have been out of the tournament, and admitted so much in his post-match interview. 

On the other hand Nadal does not look like the grass-court champion of 2008, at least not yet. 

Let's not forget about Novak Djokovic, who played a five-setter that set the record for latest ending time for a match at the Wimbledon Championships.  Needless to say his form hasn't looked good in quite some time either.

As it stand today, I think Roddick takes out any of the three contenders I listed above.  Most importantly is his Swiss Nemesis, who has denied Roddick of so many titles in the past (including three at Wimbledon). 

If the Swiss keeps playing the way he does, he most likely won't reach the Semis, but if he somehow does I think things end a lot differently than last year.

The only real worry for Andy is the other Andy, who with the inspiration of Her Majesty, is looking by far the best out of any of the top contenders.

 

3)  This Could Be His Last Chance

OK, so last year was not the emotionally draining, career-crumbling loss the media made it out to be.  But you can bet that suffering a tragic defeat once again, especially if he comes close or reaches the Final, will certainly have some long-standing effect the second time around.

Roddick is 27 years old.  He knows his time is limited, so this could be one of his last chances to capture that elusive second Grand Slam title that he has morphed his game and worked so hard towards. 

So far, Roddick looks as hungry as last year, and that only bodes well for the American's chances.

 

4) Wimbledon For Which Andy?

No, the Wimbledon faithful were not pulling for Andy Roddick to beat their own Andy, but they were darn close. Roddick has always been popular with the crowd at the All-England Club. 

The effort and emotion he invested into that epic Final last year can only he warmed up to even more of Britain's hearts. 

In fact, Roddick had the crowd behind him for that entire match with Federer despite the fact that the Swiss was trying to break Pete Sampras' record 14 Grand Slam titles. 

A match-up with Andy Murray may be the only thing that keeps this crowd from backing the American on the lawns of Wimbledon.   

Hey, it can only help.

 

5) Experience Pays

Roddick likely will meet Roger Federer in the Semifinals of The Championships should both players find their way that far. This means that should Roddick advance, he will face someone other than Federer in the Final. 

Roddick has now played in three Wimbledon Finals, that's three more than most of the top contenders except for Rafael Nadal. 

Wimbledon is the Super Bowl of tennis, and there is no bigger stage in the game than Centre Court on the final Sunday. 

I don't care what anyone says, tennis is a game of raw nerves and emotions, and Roddick surely will have the edge unless he faces Nadal. 

Having been there before, he can take advantage early by playing high-percentage tennis and letting his opponent crumble under the pressure. 

It may be too early to speculate so deeply into a player's prospects, but much like last year I have a feeling Roddick is due for a deep run here at the All-England Club. 

2010 Wimbledon is Roddick's tournament for the taking.

 

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