Andy Roddick: Can He Break The Federer-Nadal Stranglehold at The Grand Slams?
In tennis years, it was a long time ago—more than 7 years ago, it was a slightly chaotic scene at the tennis tournaments. Pete Sampras was done, and an aging Andre Agassi was bound to call it quits soon. A new generation of players from all over the world began to flourish: Lleyton Hewitt, David Nalbandian, Marat Safin, Roger Federer, and Andy Roddick.
Andy Roddick stepped up his game when he claimed the 2003 US Open title. It was a master act of escape: one grand slam away from the start of Roger Federer's (and also Rafael Nadal's) stranglehold of the sport, including the grand slams.
After his most impressive escape, he was no longer able to escape the dominance of Federer and Rafael Nadal. Not one more grand slam in 7 years, though he's reached semifinals and occasionally, the final. If anyone could consider himself 'unlucky,' Andy Roddick could; he was born in an era of such iron fist ruling that only Marat Safin, Novak Djokovic, and Juan Martin del Potro could peck just at the smallest 'crumbs.' In fact, Roddick was so close—5 points away from touching the 2009 Men's Wimbledon crown. Alas, it was not to be. Federer once again seized a coveted second grand slam from Roddick.
As 2011 is just beginning, and as the Federer-Nadal domination is still going strong, let us take a look at 10 reasons Andy Roddick has a chance at snatching a grand slam right under the noses of Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, or should I dare say, both?
Quarterfinal, third round, fourth round, and second round—it was not a good year for Roddick at the majors.
In Australia, Roddick's loss to Croat Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals seemed to be caused by a shoulder injury. Reaching the third round of the French Open was a feat itself for Roddick, but a bathroom break after the first set of play made the commentators speculate if he had gotten ill. After Wimbledon, Roddick revealed he was suffering from a mild case of mononucleosis. Roddick was not expected much of at the US Open, and he did not deliver. His loss included his ten minutes of shouting at a lineswoman, bringing back memories of Serena Williams's default the year before.
This year, however, Andy Roddick's health is back. He would not mind leaving his mononucleosis behind. If Andy Roddick can stay healthy this year, it can be that he will hoist a grand slam trophy.
After a year of unimpressive results, Roddick is sure to be hungry as ever.
Tennis's A-Rod also knows that he will not be at his highest level for long, and this year and next year will probably be his best chance at nabbing a second grand slam title.
Hunter Versus Hunted
As Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer toil to defend their grand slam titles, Andy Roddick will have less pressure since he has few ranking points to regain.
Roddick has not necessarily played up to par when under pressure, like his British counterpart, Andy Murray. With the weight off his shoulders, he can swing freely and play well. It is not at all unlikely for Roddick to do a Schiavone this year.
Old age does not mean a weak serve, at least for Andy Roddick. The American has not seen a decline in effectiveness in his serve, which continues to give him free points. Though the Texas-based player may not be setting serving speed records anymore, his serve is still the dominant part of his game.
If Roddick is serving during a crucial point, he can often come up with a massive serve, rather it be spun out wide, or sliced into the body. His variety on his serve is great, and his speed is a bonus.
Like his serve, Andy Roddick's forehand is a great shot.
He has variety on his forehand. He can hit it flat, with topspin, and can easily change the pace of his shot. Roddick is open minded to changing his tactics with his forehand, as seen last year in his Miami semifinal match against Rafael Nadal, where he switched from a heavy topspin forehand to a flatter, faster forehand, which helped him win the match.
Andy Roddick's forehand is one of the best in the game right now, along with Federer, Nadal, Soderling, and del Potro. An easy way he can win points is by hitting a fast serve, where he would likely get a short ball. Then he can finish off the point with a decent forehand to the court.
With higher seedings, come better chances to win the championship.
Roddick will likely have at least a top 8 seeding for all of the grand slams this year. Roddick's seeding advantage will definitely play an important role for Roddick's chances for a second slam.
Andy Roddick's improved speed and mobility will help him win another major.
With a quicker player comes a better defender.
Though Roddick has excellent offense, his defense is not that great. But he has improved over the years, with the help of Larry Stefanki.
Hangin' In There Tough
Roddick's stamina and fitness has greatly improved over the years.
During best-of-5 set matches, Roddick was often physically tired, and also mentally tired. His improved mental game has allowed him to go deep into grand slams.
It will probably be the same this year.
Higher Confidence Level
With a good showing in Bribane, Andy Roddick can certainly gain confidence after a low-morale last year.
If he wins the tournament (he's currently in the semifinals) he will have the belief that he can beat opponents, and win titles.
Of course, a grand slam, is a whole different story, but every confidence-boost is greatly beneficial.
His Last Chance
This year may well be Andy Roddick's last chance at grabbing a second grand slam title. It is now or never.
One grand slam title is an accomplishment itself, but who wouldn't want to shed off the "one-slam wonder" label?
He has improved everything for a second grand slam title; this year very well maybe Andy Roddick's for the taking.