On Matters That Matter

The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones

Meet the new Roddick

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Andy Murray played very well under quite some pressure and weight of immense expectations, and really didn’t cause any harm to his rising reputation. It was the other Andy though who swam against the tide and made the home crowd give him a rousing ovation that they had otherwise planned for their ‘own boy’.

Roddick didn’t just bring the serve that has earned him the sobriquet of ‘A-Rod’ but instead brought out a game and an attitude to the Centre Court that many people thought was beyond him; he was simply ‘A Star’. This wasn’t the same man who had a lopsided win-loss record of 2-6 against Murray; and he wasn’t the man who an inspired Murray had sent packing out of Wimbledon three years ago.

This was Roddick at his best; with attacking net play and a feel for the big points to go along with his big serve. Murray made some stunning passes, but on the whole was a tad too passive for the kind of game Roddick was playing.

Roddick’s coach Larry Stefanki had said when asked about Murray before the semi-final that he has a great court sense and an all round game, which is the reason why he is so consistent and ranked number 3 in the world. Stefanki didn’t say much about his ward Roddick though, and after the match he didn’t need to as the approach of the American was there to see.

The American was also wonderful with words when he was retreating to the locker room, “I had to play my best tennis today. I can’t say enough good things about Andy’s game but I can play some tennis sometimes,” said Roddick, responding perhaps to the fact that not too many people gave him a chance going into the match.

Roddick has shown scant respect for previous head-to-head so far in this tournament. And he now needs to overcome just one more statistic heavily loaded against him. Roger Federer has a mind-boggling 18-2 career advantage against Roddick, and at Wimbledon finals in 2004 and 2005 the Swiss knifed the American’s game with the kind of precision that on a tennis court can only be associated with him.

The semi-finals have shown that Roddick is no longer the same player; he has worked on his fitness, has evolved from being a player just reliant on a devastating serve and has developed tactical nous. The new Roddick was too hot for Murray on Friday, but Sunday would really show whether he is hot enough to melt the ice-cool Swiss.

Written by Deepan Joshi

July 4, 2009 at 6:54 pm

One Response

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  1. You’re right.

    He is no longer a one trick pony.

    The Binocular

    July 4, 2009 at 7:42 pm

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