Monday, January 09, 2006

Kicking It Off In Kooyong

Happy New Year, Roddick watchers! While Andy was busy preparing for his Australian tour by training with Lance Armstrong in Hawaii, I was busy prepping the first issue of Roddick Monthly.

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Larger versions of these covers will be available in the RW photo gallery.

What is Roddick Monthly you ask? Well, it's a Mad magazine/Onion-style publication dedicated to tennis that I used to create to amuse myself and my friends over at MTF. But I had stopped doing it a little over a year ago. It's quite simply a visual tongue-in-cheek commentary on Roddick and tennis, and is not meant to be taken seriously. It's a joke. If there's any ATP player out there who might actually take offense to this silly magazine and try to sue me for slandering them then I will countersue you back for being a humorless prat and also tell your mother on you. I also run with scissors.

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Kooyong, Here We Kome!
Andy's first tournament of the year begins with the AAMI Classic exhibition in Kooyong, Australia. He was runner-up at last year's event. His first match is scheduled for Wednesday. As far as I know, Kooyong is not being televised anywhere (ESPN, BBC, Eurosport, Skysports) except for the Tennis Channel, which will show the final. Thanks a lot, Tennis Channel.

Wishing Andy much luck for this year's play and for a healthy and successful 2006 campaign!

***
Andy's good friend James Blake is blogging for the ATP while he's at the Medibank International tournament in Sydney, Australia and mentioned Andy in his first blog entry:
A game I really would have loved to have seen was the Rose Bowl between USC and Texas. It's fun to see the good players like Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and Vince Young before they embark on their NFL careers. Will they be the next Peyton Manning or the next Akili Smith? USC had won so many in a row it was good to see Texas win. I haven't spoken to Andy since the game - he may have been in the stands for all I know - but I'm sure he was going crazy.

***
Andy gave a conference call for the San Jose tournament over the weekend:
'More aggressive' Roddick trying to be better athlete

. . .[Roddick] mentioned he's revving up his own training routine in an effort to develop a "more aggressive mind-set" and enjoy more success in 2006.

Not that 2005 was a bust. Roddick won five tournaments, beginning with the SAP Open in February -- his second straight San Jose title -- and prevailed in 59 of his 73 matches. He reached the finals at Wimbledon, where he bowed to Roger Federer.

But failing to get past the first round of the U.S. Open, falling to little-known Gilles Muller, made Roddick reconsider his training regimen and prompt more rigorous work in the weight room and on the track.

"The biggest thing that upset me at the Open was the guy played more aggressively than I did, and that shouldn't be the case with what I'm able to do with the ball," Roddick said. "To be completely frank, it really ticked me off. It gave me something to prove, and maybe it was a blessing in disguise.

"I think the biggest thing for me is having an offseason to prepare. I've been off six weeks and worked extremely hard on getting fit. I'm trying to become a better athlete in general, and I'm more excited to begin a year than I ever have."

As always, click on the link above to read the entire article. His complete Q-and-A conference call can be found here.

***
The New York Sun discusses the new challenges tennis will hold in 2006:
ANDY RODDICK As well as the American played last season (five titles and runner-up at Wimbledon), the year will be remembered for several disappointing losses, first in Australia (Lleyton Hewitt), then in Paris (lost a two-sets none lead in the second round) and worst of all, at the U.S. Open (first round defeat at the hands of no. 69 Gilles Muller). Roddick says he will play more aggressively in 2006, a welcome change considering how lethargic he was at times in 2005, especially on his service return games. With Nadal, Marat Safin, and Andre Agassi out of Australia, Roddick should settle for nothing less than the final. We'll pick him to win in an upset.

***
ESPN's Bonnie DeSimone, who has a Viagra-sized hardon for Federer, chimes in with her version of a 2006 tennis preview:
What does Andy Roddick need to do to win another Grand Slam event?
He's strong, versatile and … competing in the shadow of two guys who don't appear to be going anywhere. Roddick says he'll ditch a lesser tournament here and there to focus on the majors and the Davis Cup, and play more assertively off his opponent's serve rather than counting on his own bazooka blasts to win every battle. "Constant aggression. That's going to be my mantra in 2006," Roddick told Charles Bricker of the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel in December. Any other approach might leave him in a long-running gig as No. 3.

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Tennis.com's Steve Tignor mentioned Andy in his blog article "Six for '06":
2. America’s Leading Men
In my 2005 preview for TENNIS, I asked if it was time to write off the latest U.S. generation of men. My conclusion was that when it comes to Taylor Dent, Robby Ginepri, James Blake, and Mardy Fish, all you can say is that you never know what’s going to happen next. This proved to be true in a big way in 2005, when Blake and Ginepri, both perilously close to also-ran status as the year began, had simultaneous breakthrough summers and finished in the Top 25.

So what’s next for them—retirement? I’m going to go out on a limb and say they’re for real this time, and that each will improve his ranking again in 2006. Blake is as explosive as any man this side of Roger Federer, and Ginepri seems to have found a winning combination of patience and fitness. They should both thrive on the neutral surface at the year’s first major, the Australian Open. Let’s hope that Blake, in particular, continues his winning ways: No one in the game, man or woman, has more crossover-star potential.

Of course, there is one other American man of note. Andy Roddick won five tournaments and finished No. 3 last year, but it was widely seen as a disastrous season. Roddick says he’s going to let loose on his return of serve to start the year, and that sounds good. But he’s looked confused the last couple of seasons about whether to throw caution to the wind, as he did in his early days, or play a thoughtful, controlled game, which his coach, Dean Goldfine, has urged. The one thing I would say is that when Roddick has won big matches in the past, my main memory is of him controlling the action with his forehand and going to any length to get a crack at it.

***
Matt Cronin from Tennis Reporters made 16 predictions for 2006. Here's his prediction for Andy:
3. Will Andy Roddick regain his confidence and win another Slam title?
America's top player had a rough year in 2005, winning five mid-sized titles but no Master Series crowns or Grand Slams. Federer is dominating him; Lleyton Hewitt is still a better player, and Nadal has already passed him in the rankings. The good news is that Roddick has improved his backhand, his transition game and his volley. The bad news is that he's lost a fair amount of confidence. But the fast-talking Roddick is super-determined and will find a way to serve through the field at Wimbledon and win his second Slam crown.

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Jon Wertheim at SI.com gets in his licks with this fun little 2006 primer quiz:
7. After a forgettable 2005, Andy Roddick will:
a) Seek the counsel of coach Todd Martin and surmount the rankings.
b) Play tennis that is at once riskier and more judicious and, aided by Rafael Nadal's injury-addled season, return to No. 2.
c) Become a claycourt specialist.
d) Give tennis a rest and commune with his inner slacker, taking a job as a barback at Stubb's.

The answer is: b.

***
Tennis-x remembered to include Andy in their 2005 Year End Awards:
Best Meltdown: Andy Roddick vs. Lleyton Hewitt, Australian Open
The never-say-die Aussie bested Roddick 3-6, 7-6, 7-6, 6-1, with Roddick taking the long break between the third and fourth set after losing consecutive tiebreaks, then coming out to melt in the fourth and final set. "I was changing my clothes," said Roddick of his long break. "Then the referee came and started getting on me about changing my clothes, so that was fun. You know, asked him if he wanted to tie one shoe for me, and I could tie the other one, we could just save time. I guess that wasn't a good idea. But, no, I mean, I was just changing my clothes. I told the chair umpire I was going to."

ESPN commentator and U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe on Roddick's mental collapse: "This was a huge match. Going in, we knew at some point his mental toughness would be tested by Hewitt or the crowd. Roddick didn't handle it well. He double-faulted twice in a row. He let Hewitt back in and let the crowd get in. He had chances to win the set in the tiebreak, but they slipped away. Roddick forgot what was working for him. He started to rush and go for shots that weren't there. There was no reason for him to do that. If he'd stuck with his guns off the ground and continued with his variety, he would have been fine. I was disappointed with the way he competed in the fourth set. He mentally lost it and let Hewitt run away with it."

Most Prophetic Statement of the Year: Brad Gilbert
"Beej" after being sacked by Andy Roddick, going on the record in January: "We'll know in year or two from now when we see what Andy's results are whether he made the right decision. He still has improvements to make and I thought I could help him with those. Whether he makes those with someone else only time will tell."

Tennis-x has always been harsh on Roddick. He often ends up on their "Who's In The Trunk" demerit list. I like to think that Tennis-x doesn't really hate Roddick, they just care so much that they prefer to use the Tough Love approach with him.

4 comments:

ellen said...

tangy, that roddick monthly is genius. so is your blog and im glad it's back for the new season!! :D

Noelle De Guzman said...

Roddick Monthly. *cries* OMG that's hilarious!

Anonymous said...

I love the Roddick Monthly cover. It is too funny!!

Anonymous said...

Oops. I did not mean to send the above comment unsigned.

Steve (aka Winston's Human)

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