For the first time since 2002, Andy Roddick will finish the year outside of the Top Ten. Roddick, a former US Open Champion and world No. 1, is 29 years old and not getting any younger.
Luckily for American tennis fans, Mardy Fish was able to revive his career, and has taken over Roddick’s role as the lone-American in the Top Ten. Roddick now has to take on the challenge of making it back into the Top Ten.
The 2011 season did not turn out the way Roddick would have liked.
His highlight was winning Memphis, a hard-court event in February. Roddick defeated Milos Raonic in a three-set final with a diving winner that was nothing short of spectacular (watch below).
However, his overall season did not impress. Roddick was forced out of the French Open with a shoulder injury. He also pulled out of the Legg Mason tournament in Washington due to an abdominal injury.
You can’t do anything about injuries, but Roddick has been playing professionally for about a decade now. That is a lot of wear and tear on your body, and it’s bound to be felt at some point.
It really makes you wonder how in the world Roger Federer has gone his whole career without suffering a serious injury. His ability to stay healthy has been astounding.
Roddick’s best result at a major in 2011 was a quarterfinal appearance at the U.S. Open. In the quarterfinal match, Rafael Nadal blew him off the court. Roddick won five games the entire match.
It really showed Roddick does not belong on the same court as a Nadal.
Roddick has relied on his huge serve his entire career, and it has worked. The veteran American has had tremendous success, and he still has one of the biggest serves in the game, but it is just not enough anymore.
The best players are getting very good at playing a neutral return back into play.
Once the point is started, Roddick lacks the firepower on both wings. His forehand does not drive through the court like it used to. Roddick should be more aggressive, and shorten the points. Whether it is going for more on both his first and second serve, or flattening out his forehand, he needs to take command.
I am not his coach. I will leave that to Larry Stefanki, but Roddick needs to make a change in order for him to compete with the best players in the world.
He has the ability to beat many players ranked behind him with his serve and consistency, but I do not think he can compete with the big guns anymore.
Roddick is an extremely hard worker, so you know he is going to do everything he can to make it back to the top. I’m sure he realizes he is in the ending stage of his career.
As an American tennis fan, I will be rooting for Roddick. Roddick has been the face of American tennis for many years now. I just will not be counting on his return to glory.
And let’s not forget: Retirement will allow him to spend more time with his supermodel wife Brooklyn Decker, so there's no need to be dishing out any pity to Mr. Roddick.