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Wimbledon 2011: 5 Reasons This Is Andy Roddick's Year

Neri SteinFeatured ColumnistJune 15, 2011

Wimbledon 2011: 5 Reasons This Is Andy Roddick's Year

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    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 Croque
    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Watching Andy Roddick wipe tears from his eyes and look longingly as Roger Federer walked past with his sixth Wimbledon trophy was a truly difficult thing to see. 

    That 2009 Wimbledon was Andy's third runner-up trophy at Wimbledon and fourth overall to go with his one and only Grand Slam trophy, the 2003 US Open. That's the last time an American male won a Grand Slam. 

    But that's about to change. 

    Andy is still the best American male tennis player in the game today. True, Mardy Fish is ranked one above Roddick at No. 9 at the moment, and young guys like Sam Querry and John Isner are putting themselves on the world map.

    But Andy has more experience at the highest levels than any of them, especially bad experience, and he's still got that wicked serve. 

    Here are five reasons why this is Andy Roddick's year to finally win Wimbledon and end his, and the USA's, drought. 

5. He's Had a Nice Long Rest

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 11:  Andy Roddick of the United States returns a shot during his Men's Singles semi final match against Andy Murray of Great Britain on day six of the AEGON Championships at Queens Club on June 11, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo b
    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Andy Roddick hasn't been fully healthy in a while. Andy's clay court game wasn't great this season when he lost in the first rounds in Madrid and Italy, and then he suffered a shoulder injury while competing in Rome that subsequently forced him to pull out of the French Open. 

    The rest won't help his world ranking, but it will help his body. 

    Roddick has already started to prepare for Wimbledon, and the fact that he has not competed much on clay courts will now make his body fresher for a tournament that better suits him.

    He made it to the semifinals of Queen's Club but was beaten soundly by Brit Andy Murray (who is hoping to end a much longer streak), and he will next be competing at Hurlingham. 

    Fatigue is the worst thing for any tennis player or athlete to fight, but Roddick should have no problems with that at Wimbledon. 

4. He's Running Out of Time

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 11:  Andy Roddick of the United States returns a shot during his Men's Singles semi final match against Andy Murray of Great Britain on day six of the AEGON Championships at Queens Club on June 11, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo b
    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Andy Roddick watched Roger Federer parade around with his sixth Wimbledon trophy—15th overall, breaking Pete Sampras' record—with the ultimate look of jealousy in his eyes.

    And A-Rod had been just one point away from taking a two sets to love lead in that match a few hours before.

    That was Andy's best chance to win Wimbledon, no doubt, but King Fed was not to be stopped in regaining the world No. 1 and taking back his most prized trophy.

    At almost 29 years old, Andy's time is running out to win another major, and everybody is saying it.  

    After his epic performance in that 2009 final, Andy's form has taken a downturn. He has battled injuries and illness and hasn't made it past the quarterfinals of a grand slam since. 

    He's still ranked in the top 10 (eight years in row), but that ranking is in serious danger if he doesn't put in a good performance at Wimbledon.

    With all the other factors, this is the best summer for Andy to win another major and, with more competitors stepping up their US Open game, Wimbledon presents the best opportunity. 

3. He's Still Got Game

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 09:  Andy Roddick of the United States serves during his Men's Singles third round match against Kevin Anderson of South Africa on day four of the AEGON Championships at Queens Club on June 9, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Cli
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Andy Roddick hired a new coach in late 2008 and changed his workout regime, and the result was a vastly improved overall game. 

    He's quicker, stronger and has better movement around the court, but most importantly, the best parts of his game got better as well.

    Roddick's volleying skills and backhand have both improved, and he still has his forehand to win a him a lot of points. 

    His serve is a constant, and while it may not be quite as quick as it used to be, he continues to place it with terrific accuracy and rarely loses his serve. Even his second serve is a weapon. 

    In his 2009 Wimbledon Final loss, Roger Federer only broke Andy's serve once, in the very last game. Since then, Andy's losses in majors have not been littered with losses of serve. 

    Injuries and unfortunate mental lapses have cost Andy dearly in recent years, not his game. If he can keep his head straight, his game is still there to do the rest. 

2. He's Got Some Wrongs to Set Right

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    WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - JULY 05:  Andy Roddick of USA looks despondent as Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates with the trophy during the men's singles final match on Day Thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis a
    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    Andy Roddick has been a runner-up four times in a Grand Slam final since he won the US Open in 2003; one of those came at the US Open while the other three have all been at Wimbledon (he's lost to Roger Federer in all four).

    It's no secret where Roddick has performed best. But now it's time to take it a step further.

    Roddick needs to lose the bridesmaid tag, and he also needs to banish the memories of his Grand Slam performances since Wimbledon 2009.

    Fear of failure, especially repeated failure, is among the strongest motivators out there. So is being labeled a one-hit wonder. 

    A-Rod was so highly touted when he was first ranked No. 1 to end 2003 and subsequently earned his only No. 1 seed in a Grand Slam at the 2004 Australian Open (which Federer won, thereby taking the No. 1 ranking). 

    He needs to prove he's more than just a spectacular serve; he's the whole package, and he can certainly play that way. 

1. The Door Is Wide Open

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 10:  Andy Roddick of the United States lines up a shot during his Men's Singles quarter final match against Fernando Verdasco of Spain on day five of the AEGON Championships at Queens Club on June 10, 2011 in London, England.  (Phot
    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Let's face it, this is just about everyone's year to win Wimbledon. The door is wide open.

    Rafael Nadal is still No. 1 and the defending champion, but he did that without having to go through Roger Federer and without much of a fight from Andy Murray. And despite winning the French Open (again), Rafa isn't close to being in the type of form he was in this time last year.

    If Andy meets Rafa and has his serve working, it could be a fantastic match that the American has every chance of winning. 

    Fed is still Fed and can never be counted out (Novak...), but his star has faded, and he can most certainly be beaten. It's all about having the right mentality. 

    We'll have to wait and see how Novak Djokovic will handle losing to Federer in the French Open semis, thereby missing out on the No. 1 ranking. The Djoker has had a fantastic season so far, but Roddick plays his style and has been in more big situations and is older and wiser. 

    A-Rod can take the Serb.

    Andy Murray is the real competition because he'll have all of Great Britain cheering him on and willing him to break the UK's 75-year title drought. Murray also has a great run of form on the grass and on clay to boost his morale.

    Murray is certainly due to win a Grand Slam, but he's more prone to failing in the big moments than Roddick is! A-Rod's serve would be too much for Murray to take. 

    All in all, it's a wide open field this summer at Wimbledon, and Andy Roddick needs to take advantage of it. He has all the tools to win the famed trophy, and nothing is working against him.

    As long as he doesn't beat himself, he can go all the way and finally win his second (and hopefully not last) Grand Slam title. 

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