Monday, August 07, 2006

Roddick Out of Toronto. Oh, Who Cares? He's Dating Maria!

"I don't discuss my private life."

— MARIA SHARAPOVA.
Doing her part to keep the
Roddickpova media frenzy alive.


Well, hell. Just as I was working on my Toronto preview we get the bad news that Roddick won't be going to Toronto after all.

Andy out of Toronto:
Andy Roddick withdrew from the hard-court Rogers Cup tournament Sunday, citing the injury that forced him to pull out of another U.S. Open tuneup last week.

"Unfortunately, my side strain is still preventing me from being able to play matches," Roddick said in a statement. "I will be working hard this week and I am optimistic to be back in top form for the U.S. Open."

He strained the lower left side of his back while playing in an event in Los Angeles last month and pulled out before the quarterfinals. Then he withdrew from the hard-court tournament in Washington.

As a result of Roddick's withdrawal, Robby Ginepri of the U.S., the highest unseeded player in the draw, will become the 17th seed and take Roddick's slot, meaning he will play a qualifying opponent.

You have to feel bad for the tournament promoters like American Express who put a lot of time and money into heavily promoting Roddick for this tournament but, thems the breaks. That's sport.

I know a lot of people will be disappointed about this decision but I think it will work out for the best for him. If he is not 100% recovered from the strain then it makes no sense for him to play Toronto (where he has no points to defend) and risk reinjuring his back which would then jeopardize his chances of playing Cincinnati (where he has important finalist points to defend) and especially the USO where he should be able to pick up some much-needed points. He especially must do well at Cincy otherwise he risks a lower seeding at USO that could potentially have him facing Federer in the fourth round.

Anyway, seed ranking points whatever, all of that is not important right now. I just want him to get healthy and strong so that he can finally get his game going again and start playing some great tennis.

* * *
The Resurrection of Roddickpova

Or, Sharadick if you're Perez Hilton. Bwahaha! OK, I know Andy and Maria make for a great excuse to get everybody's tongues wagging but must this stupid rumor come back to life? Must my blog be turned into a Maria battleground? It must be US Open time because some gossip geek decided to post an old photo of Andy and Maria together (circa 2005 at the Playboy Mansion) and call it a Love Match! Give me a break.

The original source came from US magazine, an American celebrity tabloid rag. In other words, hardly the most reliable source:
Mandy Moore's ex-boyfriend Andy Roddick has reportedly found love with fellow tennis star Maria Sharapova. The couple have been secretly dating for over a year and recently went public with their relationship at the Zinc Lounge in Manhattan Beach, California. A source tells American publication Us Weekly, the pair were "beside each other all night." A friend of Roddick's tells the magazine the couple have kept their relationship quiet because "she was too young." Roddick is 23 and Sharapova turned 19 on April 19.

I love the part where they claim that Roddick wanted to keep the relationship a secret because Maria was "too young." Too young? They're only four years apart! And Just how the heck can this relationship be "official" if both parties keep denying it anyway? Duh.

But I admit that this is all good publicity for the US Open, though. With all the focus on this glamorous, imaginary tennis love match, Roddick's real-life girlfriend is saved from being outted by the media. So sneaky! Mwahaha.

"I'm not sure which players loathe me for what I write, but I get along with most of them just fine, including Andy [Roddick], when he's not yelling at me."

— MATTHEW CRONIN.

* * *
Fight Club

Peter Bodo from TennisWorld and Matthew Cronin from TennisReporters often tit-for-tat each other in their blogs (they are good friends but love to argue with one another) and this week's fight/discussion is about Andy Roddick. Interesting stuff. Meow!

Peter Bodo starts by responding to a fly-by-night comment Cronin made about Roddick a while back in his blog entry "Pundit Candy": (click on the link to read the entire post)
Cronin's original post: Roddick’s future is troubling. It’s hard to say this about a 24-year-old, but at this point, he’s looking like a one-Slam wonder, and that’s too bad. He’s a fiery, intense competitor who’s an honest, likeable guy despite his tendency to let his mouth run, but it’s very difficult to see just how he’s going to become a top-5 player again. He’s now ranked No. 11. He may never be an elite player again because really, what’s he bringing to the table that’s so special these days? There are at least 25 other guys on tour who can hit a forehand as well as he can. There are at least 100 with a better backhand, and a good 30 with better volleys. His transition game continues to be suspect, and although he tries very hard on defense, he certainly doesn’t turn points around like Federer, Nadal and Hewitt do, much less Murray.

Bodo responded:

1. If so many guys are as or more gifted than Andy, how did he end up winning the U.S. Open? In Matt’s analysis, Andy winning the Open was like a Volkswagen Beetle (the one with the dashboard vase) winning the Indianapolis 500. That can only happen if everyone else crashes, right? Well, I was at the Open when Andy won and so was Matt. Nobody crashed. [. . .]

3. What do we make of the fact that so many among those 25 who have comparable forehands and 100 who have better backhands – many of whom qualify for both groups - never won jack? [. . .]

A comparison of Roger Federer and Andy Roddick is not an apples-and-oranges comparison, but an Andy Roddick and, oh, Fernando Gonzalez comparison is – the rankings and results over the past five years demonstrate that. And that’s because tennis is first and foremost about the head and heart, not the backhand and “transition game” (my how good that phrase sounds, rolling off the tongue - it’s pure pundit candy!)

Ultimately, and this is the wild card in the argument,the head and heart are, quite simply, more volatile and changeable than anything in the stroke production department or repertoire. The seeds of greatness germinate in the head and heart, and technique and talent are their light and water, not their soil. Juan Carlos Ferrero, can you hear me?

Matthew Cronin responds to Bodo's "Sour Grapes":

[. . .] I've written many times that I think that Roddick is great competitor with a tremendous heart, which is why he has managed to hang around the Top 10 so long.

But I'm not sure that he's the most accomplished on-court thinker in the game. I've seen him play plenty of times when I liked his tactics and he won, and I've also seen him try to employ a more diverse game and lose because he wasn't executing and going outside of his comfort zone. We've seen him get out-thought by Andy Murray twice this year and be baited into extremely uncomfortable positions.

Funny enough, the day that Peter blogged, I had discussed Andy's year with one former male player and another current women's veteran, both brainy and well respected types who will go unnamed because they weren't formal interviews. The woman commented that Roddick has no idea how to construct a point, and the man swears that after watching tape of Roddick's win in the '03 US Open final, that Andy was much better mover then he is now.

To Peter's main points:

Peter: #1 – If so many guys are as or more gifted than Andy, how did he end up winning the US Open?

Answer: Because he was serving much better, guys couldn't read where he was going with his serve as much as they do now, his forehand had more stick on it and he wasn't such a lazy return of server. And of course, he displayed tremendous guts.

Peter: #3 – What do we make of the fact that so many among those 25 who have comparable forehands and 100 who have better backhands - many of whom qualify for both groups - never won jack?

Answer: Here we would have to go through the entire ATP player list. But grant Roddick a Top-5 serve and Top-5 in competitiveness and that's why he's won so many matches. But go and scroll the current Top 35 like I just did and find just one guy who Roddick has a better backhand than. I just looked at the Top 25 and found 12 guys who can hit a forehand as well as he can.

There are plenty of men who have won jack based on stroke production, but have nowhere near Andy's fight or nerves (Nicolay Davydenko, for example). Those elements will win you big matches, but not forever, which is why Andy hasn't won even a Masters Series in two years. But the other elite players do have the strokes, the hearts and the minds, which is why Roddick has fallen so far behind Federer and Nadal.
[. . .]

And on it goes. I may not always agree with them but I still enjoy reading Bodo's and Cronin's comments about Roddick because I sense through their rough criticisms of him that they do like him and know that he's capable of playing much better than he has been and they just want to see him reach his potential. Also, unlike Bodo's crazy KAD (Kool-Aid Drinkers) readers who sully his blog entries with their intellectual sewage, they can both discuss Roddick's game intelligently, objectively, and without the usual banal schadenfreude the KAD's employ (most of whom appear to be Fedtards anyway, and in Fedtard Land, you're not allowed to admire/applaud/discuss any player outside of the mighty Roger Federer without the requisite hostility and turn-up-your-nose snobbery).

* * *
10 Questions with Andy Roddick

The new issue of Smash tennis magazine is out (Roger Federer on the cover) and there's a great paragraph called "10 Questions with Andy Roddick":
1. If not tennis, what would you be doing with your life?
"I would be a sixth year college student [laughs]. Other people would be in medical school, but I would still be on General Studies. I guess I'd do anything where I'm not in an office. Maybe I'd be a trainer. Something in sports."

2. You wouldn't want to be a sports agent?
"No, I'm not shady enough."

3. Who would play you in the Andy Roddick movie?
"Sean Penn is my favorite actor, but he's not shallow enough to play me."

4. Your biggest fear?
"I guess the fear of the unknown. Five years from now I could be on The Surreal Life with Lil John."

5. What is your favorite cuisine?
"Right now I'm into Indian food. I've really developed an eclectic taste in food from the traveling I've done. I started off liking Italian, then it was Mexican, then sushi."

6. Favorite movie?
"The Shawshank Redemption for sure. But Wedding Crashers is really good, It's working it's way up my favorites list. I also like the Star Wars series. I got into that because of my brothers."

7. What is your favorite non-tennis clothing label?
"Lucky Jeans. They're cool because when you unzip them, it says LUCKY YOU inside the zipper."

8. Where's the best spot to take a vacation?
"I like Hawaii. That's one of the few places I've gone for fun without having to play a tournament at the same time. I also like Rome because it's so old. You walk around and see these things that are a thousand years old. That blows my mind."

9. What's your vice?
"Chewing my nails. They're disgusting . I will never be able to quit. And I drink too much coffee. At first I was into the sweet stuff with whipped cream. But now I'm into the darker stuff like really dark coffee and espresso."

10. What is the craziest thing a fan has ever done for you?
"Sending me underwear in an envelope, Luckily my new address isn't listed so my parents get a lot of fan mail. It's funny because my mom will open some of it and read it and say ' Not with my son, you won't!"


* * *
This blog entry wouldn't be complete without videos!

WATCH the brand new US Open series ad where Andy flubs up his line. Very funny!

WATCH a short paparazzi video of Andy entering and leaving a club, talking to fans, etc.

Roddick's bum wiggle VIDEO is back up!

Watch a great highlights VIDEO of Roddick vs Andre Agassi from the 2004 Cincinnati masters semifinal here.

Another great VIDEO here of an amazing squash-shot play Roddick made vs Nicolas Kiefer at 2004 Cincinnati.

HINT: If you want to download and keep any of the YouTube videos, use this web tool.

1 comment:

.sg said...

wow! too much Andy for me to process but I think you like his game?

I'm not convinced. Every so often there is an American hottie who flashes quick then dies...

Roddick is just this gen's Aaron Krickstein.

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