Madrid Masters: How Long Will Andy Roddick Bait the Madrid Clay?

Rohini IyerSenior Writer IMay 11, 2009

KEY BISCAYNE, FL - MARCH 31:  Andy Roddick looks on against Gael Monfils of France during day nine of the Sony Ericsson Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 31, 2009 in Key Biscayne, Florida.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

While we are on the subject of Madrid Masters, and while the animated discussion about the musical chairs-esque tennis between Federer-Nole-Murray rages on, including Andy Roddick's name among the choice of topics seems appropriate, too.

After enjoying a nearly two month sabbath from live action and revelling in wedding bliss, Roddick faces the brunt of drama once again, though this time the coasting might be a tad difficult for him.

The tennis world across knows, that clay is perhaps the only surface where Roddick enters a huge landslide-like block in his route and the statistical records stacked against him in clay prove and solidify this debilitating factor.

Though this year, it might prove to be a dark horse like situation in his favour; for, of all the players in the ATP circuit it's only Roddick who hasn't played any dirt tournament this year and reflecting the improvement Larry Stefanki has brought in his overall game, gauging about his clay preparation should be easier said than done.

Yet, for all we know he might have improved: at least marginally if not entirely on the slow dirt court. It may appear as if I am sounding over optimistic on this, but at this particular stage in the complicated workings of the play and the players, I have observed that nothing ends up the way it's anticipated in the first place.

So, if he has indeed improved, it will be worth the wait for his fans and if he isn't able to add much to the Madridian clay, the prospects about Roland Garros could be construed as being bleak too.

Furthermore, the dripping and tripping of his ranking points also adds to his passive resume, accentuating the need for him to perform better; initially capturing the World No. 5 spot from Davydenko whose injury cost him almost six months of the 2009 season, Roddick is now back to his original rankings of World No. 6 relinquishing it due to his inactivity among the playing lines to the Argentinian Del Potro.

And just as the ranking shuffling among the top half of the draw is heating up, the same can be said about the bottom half, too. Roddick faces competition and a quite stiff one at that from Del Potro, Verdasco, Wawrinka and Ferrer who are literally thriving on the redness at the moment and who look readily poised as though waiting for a cue to override him.

At present, being the only American in the top ten list, Roddick has a lot of hopes riding on him; his fans are banking on him heavily to mark a perfect start to his post nuptial tennis career making their wait to see him in action worth every Milli-second.

however, there is just one scene of irony involved which is enough to disrupt the idyllic and perfect Roddick comeback: His potential QF encounter against Federer; who, in spite of all his supposed drawbacks on clay, is definitely shades better than Roddick on the surface, and given the way his track record against Federer goes, I am sure playing against the Swiss in Madrid, would be something that Andy would least look forward to!


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