Andy Roddick: 5 Keys for the American to Start Winning Again
"Slump" is the word to describe Andy Roddick's current form.
Once upon a time, the American was a prodigy; a youngster showing tremendous talent; a teenager with slams guaranteed his way. After he won the 2003 US Open, people were thinking that he would definitely win more.
He then made the finals of the 2004 Wimbledon, the 2005 Wimbledon, the 2006 US Open, and the 2009 Wimbledon, but lost all of them to Roger Federer.
In the '09 final in London, however, Roddick played extremely well, and many people thought that it was a sign of things to come. That tournament, he had played some of the best tennis of his life, and it was at such a high level that if he could continue like that, he would win a few more majors.
That, however didn't happen.
Now Roddick is in one of the worst stages of his life, as he hasn't won anything in a while, and he has been throwing tantrums in matches and during press conferences.
How can he escape from this?
Stop Slicing so Much and Hit Through the Backhand
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
The quintessential American game is this: huge serve, good forehand, terrible backhand, bad volleys, and decent footwork.
For a while, Roddick's backhand looked like it was going to cost him, until he started getting coached by Larry Stefanki. Stefanki totally changed Roddick's backhand, and even though it was his weaker groundstroke, it helped him a lot.
During the period where he got to the 2009 Wimbledon final, you could see him hitting many backhand winners for the first time in his career.
Now, for some reason, "A-Rod" has developed a bad habit of slicing his backhand, rather than driving it.
This means that the American tries to neutralize a lot of shots rather than attacking them, which doesn't help him much.
His backhand was great at its best, and he needs to get that back.
Try to Get More Free Points off the Serve
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Let's face it.
Andy Roddick isn't getting any younger.
Already 29, the American is going to have to shorten points, which is why he will need to start hitting service winners, or even putting it away on the second shot.
To say that Roddick doesn't already have a good serve would be a lie, but it's been fading in the last few months.
Normally someone who aces left, right, and center (literally), there is less and less zest on Andy's serves. He holds second place for the fastest serve in tennis history, as he served at 155 mph in a 2004 Davis Cup match.
It would help him a lot if he started getting free points.
Control His Temper
Andy Roddick is normally a pleasant guy.
He is very gracious towards opponents, he says interesting things, he cracks funny jokes, and does other things of the sort.
Recently, however, he has started to lose his temper. For example (in the video above), in a match against Philipp Kolschreiber, he double faulted, and slammed the ball out of the stadium in frustration.
He went on to argue that it was not out of anger that he did so, but he claimed that he had "hit a lob into the stands" and that it was very soft.
He has to find a lid for his temper, otherwise nothing will come together for him.
Stand Closer to the Baseline
Lucas Dawson/Getty Images
You remember the old attacking Roddick? The one who stood inside the baseline to whack shots for winners in the corner?
Well now, for some reason, he has become very defensive. Roddick stands far behind the baseline, and as a result, he finds himself defending a lot of the time.
This is terrible for him, considering he is a much better attacker than defender. His movement on the offensive is quite good, and even though he is very fast, his footwork isn't so good when he is pinned in the corner on defense.
To change this offense/defense problem, a solution is to stand closer to the baseline. This means that he will be able to take balls on the rise, and he won't be running back and forth retrieving opponents' shots so often.
He needs to dictate play.
Believe in Himself
Al Bello/Getty Images
His confidence is at an all-time low.
Even in the picture above, though Roddick has just won the match, he is feeling very pessimistic, and that's what he is showing with his face.
He needs to start to believe that he can come back; that he is good enough to bounce back from his slump; that he can overtake Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and others. (Even though that's very unlikely, a little arrogance won't hurt.)
If that happens, it will help him to do all the things previously mentioned in the slideshow.
(It sounds so corny, but it's true!)