Andy Roddick: Five Reasons It's Too Soon to Count Him out in 2012

Van Sias@@Van_SiasContributor IIIFebruary 22, 2012

Andy Roddick: Five Reasons It's Too Soon to Count Him out in 2012

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    Andy Roddick, the defending champion at this week's ATP World Tour stop in Memphis, Tennessee, enters the tournament at his lowest spot in the rankings since 2001. There's been a lot of talk that the slide is irreversible, due to the facts that he's getting older and injuries have become more of a problem.

    However, it may be too soon to kick dirt on Roddick, who's been one of the top players of his generation for a decade now. Here are five reasons why he can make a move back up the rankings—and possibly find himself back in the Top 10—by the end of the year.

His Serve Is Still One of the Biggest in Tennis

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    It's not the biggest serve out there anymore, but Roddick still has one of the most massive deliveries in the men's game. Though the majority of the players on tour have improved returns, Roddick's serve still allows him to start the point on his terms the majority of the time.

    Plus, when he's not bringing the heat on the first ball, he has one of the best kick serves of all time.

The Forehand Is Still Potent, Too

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    If you have an above average forehand in the men's game today, odds are you'll be able to find success. And while his isn't among the top-five most dangerous ones anymore, Roddick's stroke is still quite effective.

    He's capable of busting points open with the forehand, and his inside-out shot is still a weapon.

Masters 1000—Winning Moments Weren't so Long Ago

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    In 2010, Roddick had one of the best month-long stretches he's had in the past few years when he reached the finals of the Masters Series 1000 tournament in Indian Wells, then followed that up by winning the Masters 1000 event in Miami.

    Solid showings in 2012 at the game's biggest tournaments after the Grand Slams could lead to a rankings boost. It was less than two years ago when he was winning those titles.

He's Solid on All Surfaces, Including Clay

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    It may be hard to believe, but four of Roddick's first 11 career titles actually came on clay. Before Sam Querrey won the tournament in Serbia in 2010, Roddick was the last American to win a title on the dirt in Europe.

    Playing more clay court events could actually help his results on other surfaces. Case in point: his run to the finals and epic loss to Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2009 came on the heels of his best showing at the French Open.

There Are Few Points to Defend from '11

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    Last year, Roddick won only one title: the indoor event in Memphis. After that, he didn't make another final for the rest of the year. He did advance to two semifinals after the French Open and reach the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open, where he lost to Rafael Nadal.

    Other than defending those points, the rest of the year is wide open for him to make gains in the standings. Opportunity abounds, and provided he's healthy, Roddick has the ability to take advantage of them.