Roddick A Declining Force

Posted: September 3, 2010 in Tennis
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It was a most disappointing end to the year of competing in tournaments at the top level for Andy Roddick.

Not only did he fall in four sets to the unseeded Serb, Janko Tipsarevic, but ended up in conflict with a line judge over foot-faulting calls.

With his current ranking unlikely to earn him a place in the Master’s matchplay at the end of the year, it brings to an end to a season of disappointment for the American, who will now probably view that epic final with Roger Federer in 2009 as his last chance to win a major title.

It’s a sad predicament for one of the most entertaining members of the circuit to fall from realistic competition, when he was always perceived as a threat, but the rankings don’t lie.

For the first time in some 10 years, Roddick has slipped out of the world’s top ten players. The serve is no longer the terrifying weapon it used to be and he is not quite as quick around the court anymore to compensate for that.

In his heart of hearts, Roddick will realise that he will leave the game with just that one solitary Grand Slam to his name, the US Open in 2003.

There had been high hopes for Roddick to emulate that success again this year. Federer is not quite the player he was either, whilst Rafa Nadal isn’t the same unplayable man on the hard court as he is on clay and grass.

As proved last year with Juan Martin Del Potro, the hard court tournaments are the place for someone else to come through and claim gold.

But alas, it was not to be for Roddick. He just never got going against Tipsarevic, the serve wasn’t working and there appeared to be no Plan B for him, as his frustrations grew.

It has to be said that the Nebraskan-born Roddick is suffering from mononucleosis, or glandular fever, so was never going to be at the top of his game at these championships. But at this late stage of his career, it seems unlikely that he will fully recover from such an illness to mount a serious challenge for the top honours in the game again.

It is unfortunate for one of the more likeable members of the circuit. Roddick has been a great source of entertainment on and off-court, with his signature cheeky attitude.

Clever, yet corny, one-liners, whether to an interviewer or the match umpire have set him apart from the rest of the pack, whilst the occasional short fuse on court reminds us of the great John McEnroe.

We gasped in awe as he continually smashed records for service speed, still holding it for his amazing 155mph hammer blow in 2004.

He has done plenty of humanitarian work as well, with the Andy Roddick Foundation set up to raise money for at-risk children. He has done a lot of work for UNICEF as well; as he combines a genuinely caring person to the cheeky-chappy demeanour he carries himself with.

So it seems a shame to say, that with that comprehensive defeat to the be-goggled Tipsarevic, we have seen the end of Andy Roddick as a genuine title contender against the big guns.

It’s a shame he doesn’t have more gold to adorn his mantelpiece, but he’s been unfortunate to have peaked in the same era as Roger Federer.

It’ll be interesting to see how he dwindles down the final years as a professional tennis player, whether as a man who wants to enjoy his sporting sunset, or whether bitterness will take over that he has not achieved more with all his ability.

He will manage it all in his usual good graces, that you can be assured of. But it’s time to look to the future for new champions and Roddick is now the past.


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